Monday, September 22, 2014

equinox is Latin for “equal night”

There’s no better place in the Bronx 
to say goodbye to Summer

than City Island.

Tonight at 10:29pm the sun passes over the equator from north to south making day and night nearly the same.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Cath├ędrale des Gains mal Acquis

French Canadian Roman Catholics founded St. Jean Baptiste in a 77th Street stable in 1882, then later at a small building on east 76th Street.

One Sunday a parishioner and his wife arrived a bit late for mass and found standing room only.

But this was no ordinary churchgoer, this was Thomas Fortune Ryan, a well known cutthroat who had made $10’s of millions of dollars in stocks and banking, tobacco and insurance and transportation operations, some of it reputedly under shady circumstances.

"How much" he asked the priest, "would cost to build a new church?" 
The priest answered off the top of his head 
(according to wikipedia),


Ryan replied, "Get me some plans and I will pay for it."
They broke ground in 1910 and finished in 1913, 
exactly 100% overbudget.

Then again, the $600,000 final cost included some of the finest stained glass windows in the city, hand crafted in Chartres, France.
For his part, Ryan had no complaints. 
For one thing, he got a nice church. 

For another, he died in 1923 worth $155 million, or about 1/633 of the entire United States Gross National Product at the time.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

pronounced joi-sie

Let’s go “DownNeck” for dinner, she suggested. 

The accent sounded odd on the second syllable, Jersey-style. 

Down-NECK refers to a south-swooping neck in the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey.

It’s not far actually, just 12 miles from New York’s PENN station on west 33rd.

Ride 15 minutes on NJT and then breeze through Newark’s PENN Station.

About a four minute walk and you’re here.

The Ironbound section of Newark.

It’s a nightlife district rich in Portuguese, with 75% of the people coming here from some other country and with an enviable 97% employment.

They call it “Ironbound” because it is bounded by railroads on all sides.

With the lowest crime rate in Newark (!), it’s been a social place to go for garlicky food and decent drinks for decades.

Iberia is a sprawling complex of restaurants and bars, outdoor seating, live music, a huge parking lot and fantasy brickwork. 

Like a theme park with lobster!

This kinda place serves beer food!

Paella, naturally, 
and a sirloin steak with insanely garlicky shrimp.

The neighborhood is old school retail with fading signage, glassware and crockery shops, gifts and clothing and Brazilian music.

The food was not haute but it was fun and still memorable. 

And hey! 

For a beer-fueled, garlic-laced cultural experience it was ideal.

So inexpensive too, and we took the PathTrain home.

This was fun. Is there an UP-neck in New Jersey?

Friday, September 19, 2014

I’ll be here all weekend

A water tank and some cell antennas met on a roof.

They fell in love and got married. 

The ceremony wasn't much.

But the drinks and reception were excellent!