Saturday, June 18, 2011

SoBro Sunset

Friday, June 17, 2011

Farrokh Bulsara is smiling somewhere

Fredrick Larsson, 25, lives in Gavle, Sweden.

The most popular Swedish musician on YouTube, 
with more than 100,000 subscribers and 20,000,000 views.”

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a bit of morning math

News out of Arizona this morning is the Wallow Fire, started on May 29th and still burning, is the largest fire in Arizona state history. This morning it is still less than 1/3rd contained and approaching 500,000 acres in size.
How big is 500,000 acres?
An acre is 43,560 sq. ft. so 500,000 acres is 21 billion, 780 million square feet. Think of about half the Lincoln Avenue side of the ClockTower as roughly 100 feet wide.
So 500,000 acres would be a strip of fire half the width of the ClockTower by 217 million, 800,000 feet in length. There’s 5,280 feet in a mile so that’s about 41,250 miles.

That’s enough fire at 100 feet wide 
to almost wrap around the earth twice.

someone used to live here

I was riding my bike in the Hunt’s Point section by the elevated Bruckner the other day and I came upon this little house near Longwood and Barry.

1127 Longwood Avenue. I’ll bet once-fancy woodwork looked swell under fresh paint when it was new in 1899.


Now it’s falling apart.

It’s a very bad idea to nail asphalt shingles to the exterior walls of a wooden house.

The same water-shedding qualities that make asphalt shingles ideal on the roof become water trapping qualities when installed vertically on the siding. The result?

Water vapor condenses and gets trapped inside the walls so the house stays damp and rots from the inside out. I called the For Sale phone number: $350,000 firm, taxes $1200 (!) a year and zoned M, now industrial use only.

Someone used to live here. This old house has probably seen babies and grandmothers, young folks in love, homecooking and parties and over one hundred New Years, candle lit birthday cakes, maybe even the occasional Christmas tree and the laughter of little kids running through its halls.

Now it will likely be purchased for the land underneath and they’ll tear it down.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

what’s new pussycat?

Two years ago Selina and I went to see living legend 
Tom Jones live at Terminal Five.

He’s 71 now, still in powerful, amazing voice 
and he moved like a man 25 years younger.

Women threw their hotel keys and brassieres 
onstage as always.

Tom Jones has sung and danced his way to over 
100 million records.

See him live just once and you’ll know why.

“Doctor, I can’t stop singing Green Green Grass of Home.”

“Hm. Sounds like Tom Jones syndrome.”

“Is it common?”

“It’s not unusual!”

photos by Selina

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Jose, can you see?

By the dawn’s early light.

Flag Day, June 14th, 2011

amazingly cool

Wanna know something else cool about the Bronx? How about the largest Victorian glasshouse anywhere in the United States?

Opened in 1902 and declared a New York City Landmark in 1973, it’s right here in our home borough. Here’s the story:

Frederick Lord was a simple carpenter in Buffalo, New York back in 1849. To augment his business he began designing and building small custom greenhouses then moved his shop east to Irvington on Hudson in 1870 to serve the estates of the lower Hudson Valley.

When his son-in-law William Burnham joined him in 1872, Lord & Burnham was founded and quickly became synonymous with the finest greenhouses in the land. 

So naturally, when 250 northern acres of the Bronx were set aside in 1891 for a new Botanical Garden--just 5 years after our ClockTower was built--Lord & Burnham were retained to design and build the glass conservatory. It remains the centerpiece of the Bronx Botanical today.

Renamed Enid A. Haupt Conservatory for the $10million Ms. Haupt donated to save it, this structure endured poor quality renovations in 1935, 1950 and again in 1978 before her 1993 grant finally set things right.

$5 million went into the buildings right away and another $5mill was put away for continuing maintenance. Consistent interior atmospheric conditions contrast with the four seasons and that ever-shifting contrast wreaks havoc with the framing and the glass.
“It's definitely a low-performance structure," 
said one of the consulting engineers, Liam O'Hanlon of Ove Arup & Partners.

And it’s big, too. It covers an entire acre of bamboo, acacia, aloe, elephant ears, rubber, banana, cacao and quite a few wandering tourists.

The whole conservatory is 512 feet long, over 2 city blocks in a ‘C’ shape with a nine story pavilion in the center.
Inside it’s really awesome.

Her gift allowed for computerized windows and venting, an energy management and plant misting system, new heating throughout and replacement of some elaborate Victorian detailing removed in earlier renovations.

The interior picture below is actually upside down; 
the photo was shot in a reflecting pool.

ClockTowerTenants will feature the interiors soon. 
Go see the conservatory this Summer.
Amazingly cool.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Freedom rising

Courtesy WHotel
The W Hotel DOWNTOWN at 123 Washington Street has an outdoor terrace on the setback that functions like a Broadway theatre mezzanine overlooking Ground Zero.

Four World Trade is rising on the eastern border and will be 64 stories, 975 feet tall.

The Freedom Tower is also well underway, steel now erected above the 65th floor and the facade glass-- eventually over 1 million square feet-- is installed up to 40.

70 elevators will service 104 floors. The publisher Condé Nast will move 5000 employees into 20 of those floors overlooking memorial park in 2013.

Here is a comparison to the Empire State Building.

Including the giant communications antenna, the Tower will rise 1,776 feet, referencing that important year in American history. 

On July 9th, 1776 in defiance of the British crown, an angry mob of New Yorkers pulled down the gilded equestrian statue of King George III in Bowling Green, just a few city blocks to the south.

Freedom rising.