Saturday, October 16, 2010

I guess

Great prices this weekend at the WesternBEEF on fresh pigs
 (any size) and shipping barrels.

Good to know.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Choose your parents wisely

Another fine example of Romanesque architecture, 222 Bowery at Prince Street, has an interesting artistic heritage but a dreadful black mark earned just three years after it was built in 1884, about the same time as our ClockTower.
It was built as a YMCA and offered classes including penmanship, bookkeeping and architectural drawing.

Fernand Leger fled the German occupation of France in 1940 and took a studio for a couple years at 222 Bowery. Another painter, Mark Rothko, took studio space there in the late 1950's. And the beat poet and writer William S. Burroughs lived in a rear studio known as ''the bunker'' from the 1970's until his death in 1997. 
That’s all good.

But in 1887 a young, award-winning draftsman named Wiltshire Payne applied for a membership to take further study in a mechanical-drawing course, a subject in which he had already received a bronze medal elsewhere. 
From the New York Times, December 17, 2000:
“The institute... refused Payne's request for admission, saying that the existing membership in the Bowery building was so prejudiced that many would resign, jeopardizing the good work already in progress.”

It was left to the young man to withdrawal his application and “understand” the situation he had created for the institute, and so he did.  
Wiltshire Payne was black.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maybe three?

ClockTowerTenants already know I'm a big fan of avocados.
Avocados have been a staple food in Mexico, Central and South America since 500 B.C. But the local name, ahuacate, was Aztec for testicle.
No wonder the farmers renamed it.
California farmers didn’t begin to grow this fruit until the early 1900’s but by 1914 fancy west coast hotels were paying $12 a dozen, the equivalent of about $262 today. That’s about $22 apiece.

The Western Beef sells them ve-r-rry ripe and about 9 or 10 to a bag for $.99.
Yes. Ninety nine cents. About a dime apiece. So I bought a bag of nine yesterday. One was already so soft it was brown inside and unusable. I had to throw it away. Caveat emptor.
But seven were perfect for guacamole, so I made some.

And one was still fairly hard, oddly, so I set it aside to ripen further.  
Avocado’s have about 4 grams of fat but are very high in fiber and with more potassium than bananas. They have loads of folates and vitamin E and the avocado has more protein than any other fruit.
The Aztecs thought the avocado was an aphrodisiac. Hm.
As an excellent guacamole, late on a Saturday night? 
With a good glass of malbec? Or two?
Who knows? ;-)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cherry Cola

Drawing on a wide range of influences from her Saudi Arabian Father and her Dominican Mother, Bronx photography artist Madi Cedeno appreciates a distorted image even more than the original.

Not one to settle for a simple ‘shopped version that changes only color or texture, she crops and composites them into entirely new images... imaginary portraits that reach for the edges while still referencing her original exposures.

She’s a featured artist this weekend in the CHERRY COLA show---”something dark, sweet and full of pop”--- at The Gallery Lounge, 26 Bruckner, right around the corner from our own ClockTowerSalon.
You can see her work and that of many others at the opening this Saturday night, October 16th from 8pm to 4am.

Cedeno, self-portrait.

Where we live, today.

Literally and figuratively.

Been there and

We have a Motorcycle Safety School just a block away,
 did you know that?

It’s true. Right down by the river at the foot of Alexander Avenue. Two days in the saddle there and not only do you qualify for an “M” on your NYS Drivers license but your insurer will give you 10% off, too.

They teach good riding technique, basic maintenance and safety measures like the value of leathers and how essential a quality helmet is. Good helmets can cost in the hundreds of dollars. In the motorcycle world they say “if you have a 10 dollar head wear a ten dollar helmet.” 

NBC did a feature on this Motorcycle school not too long ago.

Wisely, the instructors put you on the calm and very easy GZ250 from Suzuki. 

Here’s the official factory photo.

This particular bike is a great choice for beginners. It offers a confidence inspiring combination of light weight, small engine and with such a low seat height it is very easy to get your feet down. 

Statistically, motorcycles are less likely to be in an accident than a car in part because bikers in general are more skilled than your average car driver. Riding schools like this help ensure that. Of course, no amount of practice and education will protect you if the other guy sneaks up from behind.

done that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

control is rapidly becoming illusion.

I belong to a daily mailing list from the entertainment industry that discusses technology and the laws that regulate our digital infrastructure. It’s a fascinating, often philosophical discussion.
The internet is global and so any national legal jurisdiction is rendered largely meaningless. With an ISP (internet service provider) in one country, the servers in another, a user in a third location and the actions broadcast to recipients around the world in a fraction of a second, often anonymously and at extremely little cost, you can see that the idea of control is rapidly becoming illusion.

So the other day I received this:

Take a look.
Is it a valiant affirmation of our basic first amendment rights and does the fact that it is an equal opportunity offender make it okay?

Is this the kind of website a responsible government would take down?

Should Freedom of Speech under our First Amendment take precedent if it is hosted in America?

I wonder.
This could be an important declaration of our intention to live in freedom regardless of the realities of our brave, new, modern world... or it could be a reckless call to war depending on the viewer.

What do you think?

Monday, October 11, 2010


Remember this guy?

I met his girlfriend.

She lives in a nice place.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let the sunshine in

So. It turns out...

Those as interested as I am to learn the provenance of our ClockTower building will remember this post from October first,

I asked about the painted billboard on our eastern face that advertised 12 Rathbone Place in London. A comment offered a link that showed an Estey Organ facility at that location in London.
Then a quick Google of Estey Organ led me to the Estey Organ Museum website……

...and from there I found email for John and Mary Carnahan, museum founders. Their mission?
From their webpage:
I wrote and asked them what they knew about all this.
They sent back a very nice, very encouraging letter with loads of information and a connection to a historian who wrote a book about this company. Except for the first Rathbone photo, these photos are all from their webpage.
So. It turns out that Jacob Estey…

...was actually manufacturing pump organs first, in Vermont pre-Civil War beginning around 1848. 

By the 1880’s he was doing so well he branched out into piano’s and that’s when he built the showy 1886 ClockTower to celebrate his success and to make a statement to the community and to house his piano manufacturing.

Piano’s flourished too. Demand ramped up in Europe and the showroom at 12 Rathbone Place came into being. Old Mr. Estey apparently made one of the best pianos in the world. From the Landmarks Commission statement about our ClockTower:
“Estey grand and upright pianos soon became a dominant
factor in the piano trade”,…….they often “carried off highest awards for superior construction and workmanship. In 1887, (note: one year after the ClockTower opened) the trade publication Musical Courier wrote that the Estey Piano Factory was “one of the most complete in the country”; two years later, it called the firm’s upright “a most beautiful specimen of piano manufacturing,” of which Estey would “find no difficulty in disposing in the best musical circles in the land.”
No wonder they clamored for them in London.
Nice sleuthing, Selina.