Saturday, November 20, 2010

Let's get lunch

Steel “I” beams are the go-to method for clear spanning bridge distances up to about 30 meters, just under 100 feet.
Because they must be rolled at the mill into a single length, they can difficult to transport on public roads.

A very long steel “I” visited the ClockTower briefly the other night, passing under our windows on Lincoln, then turning left up Bruckner Blvd.

They make a handy bench for lunch, too.

Image courtesy of the Bettmann Archive

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quicksilver in the street

Let’s end the workweek on an amazing note. I’ve featured rapper Sciryl Cooper in these pages before. You can see photos of him at work here
and here.
Why do I think a rapper can provide that end-of-week amazingness? What’s more South Bronx than hiphop?

Sciryl has an intelligence that interests me. He has an effortlessly prolific mind that moves like quicksilver in the street and is always a half dozen steps ahead of everyone else in the room. I once saw him do his signature HipHopA2Z live and I didn’t believe it. “This had to be planned”, I thought, meticulously memorized and then presented as if it were on the fly. A clever illusion.
No way, another musician told me. He does this live and every time it’s different. Really? Amazing.

Watch this 4:18 and see why I’m a fan. It’s all right off the top of his head.
But be warned, he uses a few bad words. 
Hey. It’s hiphop. And amazing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I live here

and damn proud of it.
Thank you, 40th Precinct.

Thanks to the very busy 40th

Last evening no fewer than nine police officers (!) and well over 40 ClockTowerTenants gathered in the wake of a tenant mugging to discuss neighborhood safety and to define a strategy going forward. A sincere thank you to all the tenants who contributed to our successful turnout.
Captain Elias Nikas and Police Officer Dimas Cortez from the office of Community Affairs led a spirited exchange that ranged from accusation to gratitude. They touched on crime statistics, prevention methods and the undercover efforts largely unseen by our residents with a humorous moment provided by the appearance of an undercover Lieutenant dressed down in Tims and a hoodie!

Thanks to the very busy 40th for their time and impressive turnout and their sincere involvement in our wellbeing. In future posts we will pursue their suggestion that we form a small board of ClockTowerTenants to serve as liaison to their Community Affairs office. 
In the meantime, 40th Precinct Community Affairs meetings are the first Wednesday of each month at Lincoln Hospital at 6:00 p.m, the next one is December 1st.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The incredible, edible...

It’s getting dark early now and coming home to a hot, satisfying meal in a chilly loft is a nice pick-me-up. I love omelets and I love them made in the French style. With a crisp, green salad and a good glass of wine few quick meals are as elegant, as rewarding and as inexpensive. Let’s make one.

First... and foremost really, you'll need a well seasoned omelet pan. Without one you might as well make scrambled eggs.
A nonstick like teflon or silverstone will work okay but not as well as a calphelon or a copper sauté pan. If you want that heavenly, classic combination of crispy edges, papery surface and creamy, autumnal center, you’ll need a proper pan.

“Seasoned”, by the way, means it’s been used with olive oil and/or butter over and over so many times with little or no soap in between that every microscopic pore of the metal is saturated and nothing will stick. Chef’s prize their well-seasoned omelet pans. Bring soap near one and their eyes will shoot daggers. Just rinse it well and wipe it out and let it dry. Every great kitchen has one, and it’s used for nothing else.

I found a fine Stilton at Zabars and with lots of black pepper it will make a killer omelet. Two or three eggs and we’re off.

Add two or three tablespoons of cold water and beat the eggs smooth. The longer you beat them the airier they become. Some folks add milk for a heavier omelet but I prefer water to keep it light as a cloud. Now melt a pat of butter in your pan. The flame should be fairly high.

Don’t add the egg too soon. An omelet is made of layers. You want the cool egg to stifle “almost too much” heat, because it’s that shock of heat that begins to cook the egg and create the first layer. See how the majority of the butter is melted and hot and not yet coloring but at the top we can see it just beginning to brown? Perfect. Hot. Dump it in.

If the pan is hot enough the egg immediately bubbles and a skin forms on the bottom. Now work quickly. Use the spatula to gently lift that skin and tilt the pan to let the raw egg on top run under the cooked layer. You may do this two or three times before the egg runs out, adding layers as you go.

It’s okay if it is still quite raw on top for it will continue to cook. Add whatever you have on hand, I’ll use the crumbled blue cheese and what seems like way too much pepper. Don’t worry, the bite of the pepper will soften and grow more rounded as it is tempered by the cooking egg.

When the egg has structure and will hold itself together, fold it over in one, confident motion. 

Give it 20 seconds or so to brown it a bit on that side and then flip it. 

Now let it sauté another few seconds until it reaches your favorite degree of “doneness” in the middle. Only practice will tell you what this is and how long it takes to get there. I like them soft, almost wet in the middle so mine is coming off.

A little toast, that salad, maybe a good pinot noir or malbec? It’s been a long day.

Welcome home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Change of venue, mark your calendars

The ClockTowerSalon is receiving a fresh brickface at the moment and is no longer available for our meeting with the 40th Precinct tomorrow night, November 17th at 7:00pm.
The new venue is loft #418, 4th floor: step out of the elevator and turn left or top of the stairs and turn right.
#418, 7pm, with our local NYPD precinct to discuss neighborhood safety going forward. Please be there, thanks, and see you tomorrow night.

My favorite thing!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tag of the morning

Do an internet search for “MEK graffiti” and you’ll find thousands of hits from all over the United States and much of western Europe, especially the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. 

MEK is famous. Mass market sites like Flickr and YouTube offer countless examples, and so does the street artist site “”

But you can see MEK’s work right here in our neighborhood, just five blocks east of the ClockTower where 136th Street meets Bruckner Blvd. Yesterday I found a fine triptych on the brick of an auto detailing center. 

And if this is not enough, check out this 2:37 slideshow of MEK and the vicious styles crew in front of DJ Khaled rapping “We takin’ Over.”

It’s Monday morning, right? Better than caffeine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010