But just a couple years earlier, in 1883, a close architectural relative was going up at Fifth and 23rd in Manhattan.
1883 was a productive year; The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires was built by Thomas Edison, a telephone line connected New York and Chicago, the Brooklyn Bridge opened after 13 years of construction and Coco Chanel was born. And apparently, the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style was all the rage.
This building right across Fifth Avenue from the Flatiron Building also features the same decorative clay inserts as our ClockTower, the same fancy brickwork, the same round top windows.
Now that Summer is drawing to a close, our bounty of fine, acidy tomatoes will slowly dwindle back to whatever the supermarket can offer. Alas. It’s time to take advantage of the last of the lot.
A quick favorite pasta sauce around here takes only minutes because it doesn’t actually cook. It softens and heats through but once it bubbles a bit, it’s done. That’s the point. Every ingredient is coarsely chopped so every flavor remains clear and fresh.
Start your pasta to finish just in time; drained, steaming and ready so the sauce can go right on. You only need excellent tomatoes, fresh basil, fresh garlic, evoo, salt and freshly ground pepper, maybe a hard grating cheese to garnish.
First clean and coarsely chop the garlic. Enormous, ridiculous amounts.
Now heat a few tablespoons of the best extra virgin olive oil you have on a fairly high flame until just before smoking. Hot. Don’t by shy with the oil either, it mixes with the acid of the tomato (like oil and vinegar) to form a classic dressing.
When the oil is hot, work quickly.
Add the garlic and stir around until it just begins to turn golden, then slow the whole thing down without changing the flame: douse the heat with an avalanche of very coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes, about three smaller or two larger tomatoes per serving. A whole mess of them. Stir it a bit and the whole thing will stop cooking, although the high flame continues.
Now salt to taste, lots of ground pepper, lots, stir-stir and now…...it starts to bubble again. The coarse tomatoes are softening, a bit of liquid begins to form in the pan, finally the entire thing starts to get soupy and bubble and now…...toss in a good fistful of coarsely chopped fresh basil and toss it all around again, let it bubble another minute, maybe two more minutes and it’s off.
It’s heated through and the tomatoes are disintegrating but still in soft chunks, the basil is dispersed and the whole thing is piping hot. On top of the hot pasta it goes with a grate of reggiano and a glass of your favorite red, but because it's not thoroughly cooked every flavor still rings true.
With excellent tomatoes, it’s heaven. Without good tomatoes though, don’t even try. Wait till next July.
Flatbed trailers need to be ultra light for fuel economy yet still amazingly strong to bear unfathomable loads. The solution is a simple one, something the Romans discovered long ago: an arch is much stronger then a flat surface. An additional benefit is true tracking of the wheels and tires.
An arched surface under load becomes flat. Were the surface actually designed flat it would sag under the load, splaying the rear wheels out, setting up torsional stresses along the axles and wearing the rear tires ruthlessly. Thus, the arch actually settles into a truer path going forward, reducing friction and torsion while increasing tread life and fuel mileage.
Photo taken on the Via Verde building lot, Bruckner Blvd.