Friday, May 1, 2015
My earliest NYC rent wasn’t paid in cash.
I worked 40 hours each week for a place backstage in the mid-1970’s.
My first rented apartment was in the Village. It cost $185, split 2 ways.
$92.50 was tough to gather every 30 days, back then.
Then rent jumped in various places to $265. $850. $1990. $3300.
Well, brace yourself Mott Haven, we’ve been discovered.
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Walk along Great Jones Street in Noho and you’ll pass what appears to be just another firehouse.
But look up and see how splendid it really is.
Designed and built at the turn of the last century, about 1898, engine company 33 bore witness to that pivotal era from horsedrawn to steam powered firetrucks.
...while wrapped in great Beaux Arts style.
This firehouse is so highly regarded for its architectural significance, it is both a NYC Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fourteen firefighters are regularly stationed here.
Ten of those fourteen lost their lives on 9/11.
Thank you, FDNY.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Supremes are debating gay marriage this week.
Let’s take a quick tour of the Castro.
The Castro District in San Francisco is like no other gay neighborhood in the world.
“Loud, proud and in your face” comes to mind today.
But back in 1986 the Supremes ruled to uphold a state law criminalizing sodomy.
Writing for the majority, Justice Byron White wrote:
“arguments that gay sex hold constitutional protection
are, at best, facetious.”
And he won.
But Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the losing side it wasn’t only about sex itself, but rather:
“the individual’s right to make certain unusually important decisions that will affect his own,
or his family’s destiny.”
That, he argued, deserved constitutional protection.
And he lost.
It wasn’t until 2003 (!) the court overturned that narrow-minded ruling, saying:
“intimacies in a physical relationship,
even when not intended to produce offspring,
are a form of liberty protected by the 14th Amendment.”
And so today in America you can screw whomever you like.
And as long as your partner is 1) human, 2) single and 3) of age, you are constitutionally in the clear.
Let’s hope the court doesn’t screw this up,
like they screwed up in 1986.