Friday, July 15, 2011
but stay offa mah blue suede choos
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is too far from the south Bronx and Central Park is way too crowded on the weekends.
Instead, go north eleven stops on the 4 train to BedFord Park.
Then walk eight blocks down the hill on Bedford Park Blvd to our beautiful New York Botanical Garden, only in the Bronx.
The Mertz Library is one of the largest and most important botanical and horticultural research libraries in the world.
Over one million items including books, journals, original art and illustration, seed and nursery catalogs, architectural glass house plans, photographs and over 4,800 linear feet of archival materials are carefully curated here.
Established in 1899 thirteen years after our ClockTower, the other major research libraries in New York City have transferred their plant-related collections to the Mertz acknowledging its role of as the primary plant-focused library in the metropolitan area.
But 250 acres of meticulous grounds---five times the size of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden---are the real reason to visit.
You’re gonna like it here. I sure did.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Rapper role model and hip hop artist Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls was born and raised as “Chris Wallace” by a single Mother in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn. By the age of 12 he was selling street drugs and although a good student at a technology school he dropped out in 1989 at the age of 17.
He was arrested that same year on weapons charges and sentenced to five years probation, later violating that probation in 1990. A year later he was arrested again for selling crack cocaine, this time serving 9 months in prison.
In 1994 he got caught up in the East-West hip-hop dispute and was later arrested again for threatening to kill autograph seekers and smashing the windows in their taxi cab while punching one of his fans. In 1996 he was arrested on new drug and weapons possession charges.
By October 1996 rapper Lil Kim was pregnant with him and Tupac Shakur’s wife Faith Evans was giving birth to The Notorious B.I.G.’s son.
In early 1997 he faced criminal assault charges and was ordered to pay $41,000 in damages after he and his entourage beat up the friend of a concert promoter.
At 12:45am March 9, 1997 at the age of 24, Biggie Smalls was shot to death in a Los Angeles drive-by. According to police reports there were too many people with a motive for his death and his murder remains unsolved.
That’s what everyone asks when I tell them I moved to the south Bronx last year. The answer is yes, by and large it is. At Bruckner and Lincoln in the 40th precinct, we’re good and I like it here a lot.
But go a mile and a half north and things change. The Longwood section is notorious for social problems, their 41st Precinct is immortalized in the 1981 Fort Apache movie starring Paul Newman.
So I rode my bike up to take a look. 165th Street and Bryant Avenue is right in the heart of it. Colin Powell grew up just south of here on Kelly Street. The city has responded to this sea of daily crime with a half dozen public housing buildings (on the map in pink) truly worthy of the neighborhood.
They are fortresses.
Cops and sodium lights are everywhere.
This impressive housing is also along 165th street.
The entry doors suggest a kind of security usually reserved for prisons.
Every entry and exit is on camera and fed right to the 41st. There are more cameras here than in Hollywood.
Where two hinges will suffice and three starts getting serious, no fewer than five, beefy, stainless-steel hinges hang every solid door.
Don’t forget your keys. If you don’t know someone inside you’re gonna need ‘em.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law this morning that will allow police to stop motorists and fine them $150 for texting while driving.
Apparently New Yorker’s need to be threatened with a fine to drive the car instead of texting. To me this all seems too Darwinian to be real.
But it’s true.
We’re morons and we need government to protect us from ourselves.
“The illusion that times that were are better than those
that are, has probably pervaded all ages.”
City Hall, New York
Horace Greeley (1811-1872) was an American newspaper editor and politician known for his opposition to slavery and a host of reforms ranging from vegetarianism to socialism. He also said:
“Washington is not a place to live in.
The rents are high, the food is bad,
the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable.
Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”
It’s hot. He’s cool.
Back in May a group of ClockTowerTenants headed downtown to hear one of our own, the Greg Smith Group, and as Paul Simon used to sing, he “blew that room awayyyy….”
If you missed him then I’ve great news now, Greg Smith and his group are appearing tomorrow night, Wednesday July 13th at
They go up at 10pm so get down there and grab your place at the bar!
Posted by Gregory