Saturday, November 12, 2011

where there used to be rain

New York is one of those cities where “right around the corner” can reveal a world of difference and our ClockTower is just a 3 minute walk to Manhattan across the Third Avenue Bridge.

Our focus tends to be to the south, back towards “the city.”

But with our Bruckner Bar cocktails, dinner specials and live music, electric gated parking, elevator, laundry, private gym and roof deck, bicycle room and awesome super, our life here is comfortable and it’s easy to forget the grinding poverty that lives just blocks from our front door.

The day after I moved in I decided to take a break from the boxes and walk north to check out my new neighborhood.

Just one day later, and wow.

what a difference a day made.

The immortal, Grammy Award winning Dinah Washington

Friday, November 11, 2011

think of something you really believe in

Got it? Now. 

Would you die for it?
Photo: US Marine Corps
That’s what a Veteran was willing to do.

Veterans Day, 2011

Listen to history passing by

Every night ClockTowerTenants are treated to the mournful wail of a passing freight train. It’s the CSX recycling pick-up and it comes through right where Lincoln Avenue meets the Harlem River, 100 meters from our door.

Back around 1903 or so, the Central Railroad of New Jersey shared a northern Harlem terminus in Manhattan. Their line ended there and all the trains had to turn around and head back south again. But the railroad wanted a terminus of their own.
1938 (top)
So in 1905 they purchased the lease for the big lot diagonally from our front door, (shown above) and built a Mott Haven terminal where the OZ Moving company now parks their trucks. They framed a bulkhead on the river and then constructed a circular train shed for unloading trains and turning them around. It was right across from the Bruckner Bar and it opened August 16th, 1907.

Inspiring vintage photographs are on the web so I set out on my bicycle to try and find the same locations to take current photographs and then match them to the old ones.
1957 (top)
See the white train shed on the left in front of the ClockTower? Now it’s gone, replaced by the OZ parking garage.
The bridges have been replaced too, and they look a little different now. But the “BronxLoft” building across the way is unmistakable.
1954 (top)
I climbed to the roof of the piano repair building diagonally from the Bruckner Bar to get this shot over the bridge roadway. It’s not exact but it’s close, and you can see the old bridge roadway in the lower right of the vintage shot.
1944 (top)
The Mitchell House projects weren’t built until 1966, but much else is remarkably similar to circa 1950.
1950 (top)

In 1959 the Central Railroad of New Jersey reduced this Mott Haven yard to just three tracks. The other tracks and the round freight shed were demolished. They ceased operations entirely at the Bronx Terminal facility on November 27th, 1961.
Too bad. Tonight, really listen.


once in a hundred years

Thursday, November 10, 2011

and then the jukebox plays a song I used to know

Uh uh uhhh uh uh uh uh uhhhhh


The lower lip bitin’, head bobbin' 80‘s.
Turn it up. 

all in a days work

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

so much in life is timing

A coal-fired pizza oven can go through 100 pounds of high grade Pennsylvania anthracite in a single day.

Coal ovens impart a distinctive smokey taste to a very crispy crust, and it can reach 1200 degrees fahrenheit in there, too.

Once I asked a pizza oven baker how long it takes to bake a pie at that temperature.

He said... “At 57 seconds I pay close attention. 
At 58 seconds I get ready to pull it out.”

“It’s done at 59 and I can still serve it at 60 seconds. 
But at 61...”

“...we throw it away.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

keep the greasy side down

ClockTower recycling cage

27 seconds on a dyno:

Monday, November 7, 2011

you think maybe I need help

(No, I know that I’m right. Alright.)


hard to agree more

Sunday, November 6, 2011

here they come again

Here they come again, mmmm-mm-mm.

Catch us if you can, mmmm-mm-mm.

Time to get a move on, mmmm-mm-mm.

We will yell with all of our might,

Catch us if you can.

Catch us if you can.

Catch us if you can.

Catch us if you can.


Andy Rooney, R.I.P.

and stay out.