Saturday, December 11, 2010


From 124th and Madison to 134th and Lincoln.

Story tomorrow, on

Friday, December 10, 2010

Worth a trip from anywhere.

The reigning glitterati of the SoBro art world celebrated photographer and artist Emily Hara last night for her photographic work featured at the Gelabert Studios Gallery (jell eh bear) on West 86th Street in Manhattan.

Emily is a resident of the South Bronx, a habitué of our ClockTowerSalon and a regular on the New York City art scene.

The guest list included a broad spectrum of local artists including painters and sculptors, writers and lawyers, furniture fabricators and upholsterers, photographers and designers from all over the New York Metro area.

The Parlour across 86th Street hosted the afterparty with hot food and lively discussion, the product of a very cold night, strong drinks and a happy reason to celebrate.

The Gelabert Studios Gallery, 255 West 86th Street.
Nicely done, Emily Hara, SoBro is proud.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Rhinelander Mansion

Built as a private home in 1898, now Ralph Lauren’s flagship, corner of 72nd and Madison Avenue.

And I think, home to some of the finest 
holiday windows in the city.

From Wikipedia,”the most recent sale [of the Rhinelander Mansion] in 2005 being reported at a record US $80 million.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

the shorthand of brickmasonry

New construction is expensive enough as it is. Throw in a Landmarks designation and the obligation to fund historic restoration and the costs are no longer for the faint of heart.

ClockTowerTenants have been fortunate in recent weeks to have a team of brick masons repairing our facade. Carpenters have also added salon doors.

But the doors are new and were comparatively easy to install, it’s in the brickwork where the fiddly restoration lies.

Turn of the (last) century brick was made right here in New York State along the Hudson River because of prodigious natural claybeds. Beginning in 1905 a man named Eugene Frost operated brickyards in nearby Croton and also Montrose, New York. This section of the ClockTower was also added in 1905. Coincidence? 

Nah.  I think we’ve found our supplier.

But modern brick doesn’t match 105 year old brick. 

All the mason can really influence is the thickness of the mortar bed.

So it’s up to the skill of the mason--- occasionally skirting into artistry--- to faithfully render the Romanesque details of the era. A grinder for carving helps.

So does custom colored mortar. 

But the skill of the mason and his desire to make it all match is what counts in the end.

The plywood form that supports an arch until it sets is called a “template”.

A brick on end and on edge in the wall is called a “soldier”. See how the shoulder is facing you?

A brick on end and on the flat is called a “sailor.” See how it is open like a sail?

And so on, every brick position in the wall has a designated name. This is a bull header.

This position is called a bull stretcher.

There are at least a dozen other positions, the shorthand of brickmasonry.

With time and age, this repair should settle in pretty well. It wasn’t easy, and I enjoyed watching these guys.

I can watch other people work for hours. :-)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

As they shouted out with glee

you don't have to put on the red light

From our pals over at BoingBoing this morning comes this heads-up to the latest “YuleTide Derangement”, a Christmas Carol arrangement/mashup possible only in our new digital age.
With guitar and vocal tracks lifted from the Police hit ROXANNE from 1978,
and additional vocals and visuals from the 1964 TV special featuring Burl Ives as the snowman,’s not everyday we get to enjoy wholesome, holiday stop-action leavened with a song about a prostitute in Paris. 
lol Enjoy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Something’s come between us

December 3, 2010
55 stories, 610 feet to be exact.

January 8, 2007

Google Streetview
That’s the leading tip of the FLATIRON Building
 in the lower right.

November 13, 2008
The over-budget, behind schedule, oft beleaguered, near foreclosure, modernistic sliver building at 22 east 23rd Street, “One Madison Park” has changed forever the famous, northern skyline when viewed from Union Square.

January 17, 2006
Or at least for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

groves and fishes

"According to, early Christians in the Roman Empire were persecuted for their beliefs. Since the cultural climate was dangerous for Christians, when strangers met, if one was a Christian, he or she might draw or trace an arc on the ground. If the second person added a second arc to complete the fish, both individuals knew the other was a Christian so it was safe to discuss religious matters."