Saturday, October 29, 2011

thirty six years ago today

“President Ford, on Oct. 29, 1975, gave a speech denying federal assistance to spare New York from bankruptcy. The front page of The Daily News the next day read: 

According to the New York Times, Mr. Ford never explicitly said “drop dead.” Yet those two words, arguably the essence of his remarks as encapsulated in the immortal headline, would, as he later acknowledged, cost him the presidency the following year, after Jimmy Carter, nominated by the Democrats in New York, narrowly carried the state.”

Friday, October 28, 2011

taught by experts

By now ClockTowerTenants may have heard the discouraging news but if not, this is just awful.
I’ve been a big fan and public supporter of our 40th Precinct, especially after a ClockTowerTenant was mugged last year and the 40th turned out for us in spades. At the time I thanked them for that support.

Now comes word from the New York Times of an indictment charging 16 officers, many from our 40th, with such pervasive corruption it pains me to even type this. Some of this is low level ticket fixing and crap like that. Other charges are more serious.

But most egregious, apparently, is Officer Jose Ramos currently being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. Officer Ramos is subject to an unbelievable series of indictments including associating with a drug dealer, selling and using marijuana to settle a debt, tipping off others to wiretaps, a stolen electronics scheme, agreeing to deliver a large amount of heroin using his police cruiser, insurance fraud and even dumbass stuff like selling counterfeit CD’s and DVD’s.
You’ve gotta be a really bad guy to rip off Justin Beiber. 
But it gets a lot worse, it appears to go right up through the ranks of PBA union leadership including two Sergeants and even one Lieutenant in Internal Affairs, (!) someone I met at a Community Board meeting several months ago. The sad indications are this is likely a culture of corruption so institutionalized it’s hard to believe other officers not listed in the indictment didn’t actually know what was going on.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. 
Officer Ramos is quoted in a wiretap as saying he “stopped caring about the law a long time ago.” 

Oh really? Well I have a message to our 40th.

Many of you do fine work and we appreciate that, and the accused are innocent of these charges until proven guilty and I really hope they are innocent. 

But if any of this leads to plea deals or convictions be advised that SoBro residents will understandably embrace and extend your lousy culture of “whatever we can get away with.”
We are being taught by experts.
134th and Lincoln

Brace yourself. It’s coming.

I was working upstate yesterday and guess what?

many happy returns

Did you know the ClockTower and the Statue of Liberty are near-exact contemporaries? It’s true, in fact they are almost twins: built and opened in the very same year, 1886.
Her cornerstone was laid in 1884, but she was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland exactly 125 years ago today, October 28th, 1886. Today is her 125th birthday.

A rainy-day boatride took me for a visit a few weeks back because she’s being closed for interior renovations starting tomorrow.

After landing on Liberty Island the approach is from behind.

We all know she was a gift from France. 

Did you also know that her interior framework was designed by Alexander-Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower guy? The French paid for the statue while we American’s raised money to build her neo-classic granite pedestal.

She was almost painted in the early 1900’s. Her coppery color had given way to the verdigris green that covered her entirely by 1906. The Army Corp of Engineers did a study and concluded the patina actually protects the copper from further corrosion and "softened the outlines of the Statue and made it beautiful."

So they just painted the inside. 
We were able to climb to the top of the pedestal. Rainwater picks up the verdigris and stains the pink granite.

The copper work is cool. French artisans hammered it into handmade wooden forms to shape it, then packed and shipped the skin in 350 large individual pieces for assembly in America.

Frederick Law Olmstead, designer of Central Park, supervised a cleanup of the island to prepare for her assembly. She was an immediate success.

Then in 1916, the same guy who sculpted Mount Rushmore also redesigned the torch replacing the copper with glass so it could be internally lit. But that torch leaked so it was replaced again during the 1984 restoration. The glass torch is now on display inside the pedestal.

The 1984 renovation addressed a lot of problems. 
Eiffel’s underlying cast iron armature corroded in the New York harbor salt air so it was replaced piece by piece with stainless steel. Her copper skin is thicker than a penny but that was also corroding and needed repair. 

This is a full scale replica of her face displayed inside the pedestal.

Holes in her skin were repaired with copper taken from a copper rooftop at Bell Labs in New Jersey, which had a patina the same color as the statue's.

She reopened July 3–6, 1986.
Glass panels were installed into the pedestal’s ceiling so you can look up inside the statue.

At 305 feet including her pedestal, she’s roughly the same height as a typical UpperEastSide residential highrise.

Except at the end of Planet of the Apes, when she’s half buried in the sand.
She’s due to reopen in about a year. When you go out to see her, say Hi for me. 

Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

bucolic bomb

Bear Mountain, New York

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

riches to rags

The Metal Depot scrap and recycling center is located in the heart of Hunt’s Point, New York City’s most dangerous neighborhood.
Over half the population lives below the poverty line, consistently recording the highest violent crime rate per capita in the city with a lucrative drug trade and neighborhoods notorious for drug addicted prostitution.

google earth

This club, right up the block, 
managed to misspell “Gentlemen”.

But this squalor was not always so.

When the first Europeans arrived, Hunt’s Point was a rolling meadow with sparking streams and it quickly became a playground where the wealthy built their mansions.

Thomas Hunt Jr., namesake for this area, was the blue-blood-son-in-law inheritor from Edward Jessup who purchased the land from the Wekkguasegeeck tribe in 1663.

Founder of the Quakers, George Fox and his wife Charlotte Leggett and her son-in-law H.D. Tiffany of the famous TIFFANY & Co. are all represented in Hunt’s Point by street signs in their names. This was an elegant place on the sound back then.

But the period right after WorldWar 1 changed everything. A train line built along Southern Boulevard opened the door to industrial expansion and the Fox Mansion was finally pulled down in 1909. Hunt’s Point became a melting pot for heavy industry and the city’s misfits.

It would never be the same.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

feeling bearish

Selina's world

Monday, October 24, 2011

old fashioned fun

The pumpkins fielded a hardy team last evening but ClockTowerTenants came bearing knives.

It was no contest.

Thanks to the ClockTowerTenants for taking photos, our generous and trusting management, Jennifer and Greg especially for making it happen, our fantastic super Juan and...

 that upstate pumpkin patch.