Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

station airy


Horace Greeley was a cool guy in the mid 1800‘s,
 so I featured him back in 2011.


He was dedicated to exposing truth. 

For instance, it was his newspaper, the New-York Tribune that forced President Lincoln’s hand to reveal he wasn’t really about freeing the slaves at all, but rather saving the United States.

Said President Abraham Lincoln at the time:

Gee. Who knew?

What I also did not know is Greeley purchased a farm in Chappaqua in 1853, 146 years before Bill and Hillary set up there.

Greeley settled there with his wife and kids for a quiet country retreat and to experiment with farming techniques.

In 1871, he published a book “What I Know About Farming”, based in part on what he learned from his country home.

He died the very next year. 

His daughter Gabrielle inherited the farm and for the next 25 years city families followed Greeley’s example and moved out to the leafy suburbs. 

By the turn of the century the train station could no longer handle the traffic, so Gabriella donated 2.7 acres from his farm to the town of Chappaqua on which to build a windowed and airy, new railroad station.

THIS railroad station.

Designed by Charles Reed in 1901--who also worked on Grand Central--its fine all-red-oak interior qualified it for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Just 32 miles from Grand Central.

Descended direct from Horace Greeley.
Now you know.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

define “best”

Asia placed three cities in the top ten, according to the Economist Magazine, including Hong Kong, which came in at #1.

Europe placed four cities out of ten, two of them in Germany.

Australia placed in #5 with Sydney. 

Scandinavia was represented by Stockholm, which came in 6th.

Canada placed Toronto at #8.

The first American city did not rank until #14, Washington DC.

Washington DC ahead of Chicago at #15?

New York in 16th place?

Los Angeles at 17, San Francisco #18 and Boston coming in at number 19?
Washington DC ahead of all those?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

doesn’t give an “F”

There’s a lot in the media this week about how our education tax dollars are not returning on that investment.

Some of the data is specious. 
The Heritage Foundation posts a misleading chart that appears to show education budgets going through the roof.

In reality, we spend less than half of what we spent on the kids in 1970, in adjusted-for-inflation dollars.

So I decided to dig deeper 
because we pay teachers a lot more. 

A new teacher starts here in NYC at more than the median teacher gets paid nationwide, after years of seniority. 

That’s working part time, 9 months a year, 
with more income than our national family of four earns 
working full time.

Working fulltime that salary pro-rates to $72,548. 

To start.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows that New York spent $19,076 per student in the 2011 fiscal year, as compared to the national average of $10,560. 

Almost twice, yet 90 of our public schools failed to educate and pass even ONE black or hispanic student at state testing levels last year.

Did you get that?


That’s disgraceful.

So clearly we need more meaningful teacher evaluation standards, to weed out these incompetent “educators.”

But good luck with that.

Last year the union was so successful in protecting their own that there were only 306 proceedings to remove teachers
 for bad behavior or incompetence, 
down 25% from the previous year.

Yet these same teachers post a graduation rate of less than 2 out of 3, a lousy 64.2 percent for all of New York City public schools against a national average of 80%.

So we pay big salaries, 
allocate almost double the national budget per kid 
and this is what we get.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

we don’t say those things

because we don’t feel them.


an imminent fare increase.

Monday, March 9, 2015

all fired up

“Fire chasing” is nearly as old as fire itself, 
but Lillie Hitchcock Coit took it to a whole new level. 

21 stories, to be exact.

The Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco is her gift to a city that knew her as a fire-obsessed eccentric.

Built in 1933 and taking five years to complete, this art deco Historic Landmark cost $125,000 at the time.

It’s only 210 feet tall but Telegraph Hill is 295 feet to the summit, so a viewer at the top is about 500 feet above sea level.

The TransAmerica Pyramid is the tallest building in the city, at 853 feet.

But the Coit Tower views are unparalleled. 
That’s Alcatraz on the island.

Lillie was a wealthy socialite with weird habits. 

She smoked cigars, wore fireman’s clothes and chased firetrucks all over the city at a time when San Francisco was largely wood.

The tower is not wood. 

It is three concentric tubes of reinforced concrete, 
the outer tube a cosmetic shell. 

The inner tube holds an elevator and the tube between is where the helical staircase rises.

If you’ve never been up there as I had not, take the time next time you visit.

It gives an immediate sense of the lay of the land, 
and there’s a public toilet just outside.

San Francisco is thoughtful that way.