There are free tours by the (federal) Park Rangers. This guy was great, very funny. Here, he glares at a young girl as he does a mock rough and ready "legal inspection" as the immigrants at Ellis Island experience.
July 30, 2006
So we went out for a trip to Ellis Island today.
Here is the main ( Registry ) room. The Italian craftsmen who did the ceiling were the same people who built the magnficent ceiling at Grand Central Terminal. One of the provisions of their taking this job was that noone could watch them. They knew they were good, and they did not want to give away their secrets.
July 27, 2006
Update: a transit employee told me that the man killed was walking on the train tracks. I will speculate that this may have been a homeless man going to or from a small emcampment that has always been there under or near the Bay Ridge Towers.
July 26, 2006
Clear thinking from long ago
In the process of a blog argument, in which otherwise rational folk were outdoing one another calling the Israelis "murdering scumbags" and that kind of thing, I was led to a posting on Burton Front from way up there in Burton, New Brunswick, Canada. I've been to Montreal, and Quebec, and to Yonge Street in Toronto, but I've sure as hell never been to Burton. Never knew there was a Burton. But I know it now.
Burton Front links to a news story about a book of psalms that was found at a Dublin construction site. The 20 page leather book had been preserved in a bog. The book from the bog is estimated to be about 1,000 to 1,2000 years old. It could have been destroyed 1000 years ago but was not. It could have been destroyed in this modern construction, but was not.
The book was found open to a page describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of
Israel. In the context of today's fighting in Lebanon, and widespread condemnation of Israel for defending itself, is this frail book, this tiny remnant, is a kind of sign?
"This is really a miracle find," said Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland. Yes it is.
A big hat tip to Anselm Fintan of Burton Front from Burton, New Brunswick, Canada, which is hereby blogrolled.
July 25, 2006
OK, here's the arrangement, which has changed from yesterday's plan:
- Thursday, August 31 fly Continental to Belfast, arriving Friday morning.
- Tuesday, Sept 5 fly Ryanair Dublin-Marseilles
- Monday, Sept 11 fly Continental Airlines Milan-Newark
Ireland is familiar and friendly territory, which will be good to revisit. I've never spent much time in the south of France, and look forward to relaxing there and mangling the language at will.
Italy will be a fine bonus. It has been 25 years since I've been there. This will be just a short stay, but I look forward to it. And I've never seen the great city of Milan before. Can't wait.
What's the fare from Camden Yards to Fourth Avenue and 68th Street, Brooklyn. Well, you got me, but on July 24th at 615pm, this Baltimore taxi was seen parked in Bay Ridge.
Baltimore is a great blue collar place, so this cab was a welcome visitor.
July 24, 2006
OK, here's the deal. There's an excellent chance that I will be traveling to Cannes, France this September to hang out and visit with friends. And if I do that, I will probably make an overdue visit to Ireland before or after the French leg.
And I may rent a car over there, the first time I'd be driving on the left side of the road! Though being unfamiliar with a stick, will get an automatic vehicle, still an unusual thing over there.
Here's where I need some information from my friends over there:
- I may fly in to Belfast Airport and out of Dublin Airport, or vice versa.
- I -may- rent a car. Which of the car rental firms would have the lowest drop-off charges, or cheapest overall rates?
- Is it cheaper to rent a vehicle and/or to buy petrol in the North ( have heard both )
- Recommendations as to cheap but good hotels in Belfast
- Outside of the main downtown area in Belfast, can you park for free on the street?
- Are there any toll roads either side of the border ( don't think so, but have heard of people accidentally getting in trouble by driving on such roads in Europe )
July 20, 2006
A very large section of an old tree fell to the street in front of 374 68th Street in the heavy windstorm Tuesday night , July 18. It was a hell of a sight on Wednesday morning. I believe that noone was hurt-this could easily have killed someone.
July 17, 2006
Back in 2001, I got a personal domain name from yahoo. This allowed me to have e-mail sent to me at my own personal name. Instead of having e-mail going to firstname.lastname@example.org, I could have it sent to email@example.com
But now I'm doing a little experiment. I'm switching my personal domain to google.
I'm doing this because I've made the decision to move my e-mail to google, and it makes a lot of sense to have the personal domain e-mail at the same place where the rest of the e-mail goes.
I'm moving away from yahoo for two reasons--one, I get the sense that they collect a great more personal data than does google. If you sign up for yahoo, they ask you for your date of birth. If you use " my yahoo" and list the stocks you own, they ask you how many shares of the stocks you have.
Well, google does not ask for this information.
Why does yahoo? To "customize advertising " according to your "needs". Well, I will take care of my own needs, and I don't want yahoo to have too much information on me.
I like google better because I think that they are less aggressive in tracking and mining personal information.
Plus, google sites look simpler. Cleaner. I like simplicity.
The google domain service is in beta, so don't go looking for it. They invited me, and I responded right away. I will tell you how it works out in the next few days.
July 16, 2006
In better days
Today's NY Daily News reports that dozens of Arab- American families are now stranded in Lebanon. With the runways at Beirut Airport bombed by airstrikes, they may be stuck there for some time.
I support Israel in this conflict. The great Italian writer Oriana Fallaci spoke for me in 2002, when she wrote I Stand With The Jews...the world situation hasn't changed a lot since then.
But spare a thought for the Lebanese. There have been Lebanese in Bay Ridge since the year of the flood, and I've known lots of them. Most of them are warm and generous, a big asset to this neighborhood and to their adopted country.
I wish Israel well in its effort to root out the Hezbollah criminals who have brought war to two countries.
And to the many Brooklyn Lebanese who are stranded in Beirut and elsewhere, I wish them a safe return.
Added to the Blogroll
Bay Ridge Talk
July 12, 2006
I'm not a huge soccer fan, which makes me like most Americans. But like most sports fans on the planet, I watched a lot of the World Cup Final game. And like most of those who watched, I was astonished at the sight of Zinedine Zidane head butting opponent Marco Materazzi with minutes to go in a tie game.
A French "anti-racism" group claimed that Materazzi called Zidane a "terrorist", but they apparently made it up, as Zidane said Materazzi said no such thing.
Zidane spoke on the Canal Plus tv station today. He said that he was mad at Materazzi for pulling on his shirt, and for saying insults about Zidane's mother and sister.
The best player of his generation, a man of 34 years, and he lashes out violently in the World Cup final because someone insults his mother and sister?
``I am a man before anything else.'' said Zidane.
If his account is true, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, I cannot be angry with Zidane. He did something that was wrong and which was stupid, but he did it to protect the honor of his family. There are worse crimes in the world, and besides, it was just a game.
Zidane, all is forgiven.
Shamil Besayev, one of the world's most vicious terrorists, has reportedly been killed by Russian Special Forces. This is very good news.
Besayev was a Chechen rebel "fighter" responsible for some of the worst atrocities in Chechnya and in Moscow. These attacks include the Beslan school siege, the blowing up of two civilian airliners by women suicide bombers, and the destruction of apartment houses in Moscow.
There were many other crimes that Besayev was responsbible for. But perhaps no terrorist action in history stays in the mind as does Beslan. This was an extended act of cruelty against very young children. Over 300 deaths resulted from this attack. This you do not forgive.
If the reports are true, the Russian Special Forces have killed that country's Bin Laden. And if that is so, Russian friends, I lift my glass to you. Congratulations.
July 10, 2006
I was on the phone with someone in NJ, who told me that he just heard on the radio about a large explosion on East 62nd Street. Only nine blocks away.
A quick look at the NY Times and other websites showed tha the report was true, and that the four story building had actually collapsed. The sound of sirens could be heard from 36 floors below, and helicopters were heard from above.
Wasn't really scared, but I did make sure that I had my cell phone on me, and I did take my wallet and keys from the briefcase, so that I'd have them in case the building was evacuated.
I walked up to the area during my lunch break. There were firemen all over the place. The immediate block was cordoned off ; there was smoke in the air.
Well, this wasn't terrorism. It was a gas explosion that may have been precipitated by a suicide attempt by the building owner, who was going through a bitter divorce.
But I'm sure that I was not the only one whose thoughts ran to the possibility of terrorism, and the events of four years and ten months ago.
July 09, 2006
July 08, 2006
This Sunday, Italy plays France for the World Championship.
A scientific poll here reveals that 100% of the people in Bay Ridge and Brooklyn and in all of New York and in every state of the USA will be rooting for bella Italia.
We like Italy and Italians. And they will win.
July 07, 2006
A year ago today, 56 people died in a series of coordinated suicide attacks on the London transit system. Three bombs went off in the underground, another on a London Bus. I remember the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach hearing the news that morning. Not again.
"Enter Sandman" comes on, and Billy Wagner comes in for the top of the ninth. The fans are fired up.
Wagner is a bit like John Wetteland used to be: he gets the job done but its always an adventure. He gave up a run to make it 7-5 but that was it.
Went out to the big Shea Thursday night with Brendan, Steve and Keri.
It's sad to think that Shea Stadium will not be around a few years from now. It doesn't have the history that Yankee Stadium does, but it has seen some of NYC's best baseball ( and football ) memories. I saw my first game here. I will miss the place.
July 05, 2006
The new Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn is a wonderful addition to a borough that does not have enough good food markets. Behind the market, there is an outdoor cafe where you can eat by the water, right by the Statue of Liberty. But you also see three old streetcars. You might think that they're old Brooklyn streecars, but actually they're from Boston. ( Saw an old "T" sticker in one ) I believe that someone in Red Hook had the dream to bring back streetcar service to Brooklyn. Ain't gonna happen. This streetcar has truly reached the end of the line.
Don't the front of these streetcars look like the old green buses?
July 04, 2006
Happy Independence Day.
Effective immediately, View from 103 will be folded into Bay Ridge Blog. This will remain a Bay Ridge/Brooklyn-centric blog, with the occasional comment on other subjects.
Bay Ridge, and much of the rest of New York City, once would be ablaze in fireworks every July 4, and the days leading up to it. This was the case all through the 1960s , the 1970s, and the 1980s...up until the administration of Mayor Guiliani.
He put a stop to that. It was the right move, as fireworks are dangerous things. Kids used to get hurt every year.. An errant bottle rocket caused a house to burn down some blocks from here years back. But I truly loved fireworks when I was a kid. The bigger and the d the louder and more dangerous they were, the more I loved them. We used to ride our bikes up to Bath Avenue to buy them from a a local car service, behind which a garage was filled to the roof with fireworks of every description.
We'd set trash bins afire and throw mats of 1600 fircrackers into them. We'd set off cherry bombs, ash cans and M-80s all over the neighborhood, including in the subway exits, where they would make an unbelievable echo. Then it was down to the 69th Street Pier to set off more big and small fireworks, the bombs and the rockets. Whistling Jupiters, ***chasers, "Jap Rockets". It could be dangerous to walk down Shore Road or any street in the neighborhood. It's a miracle that juvenile delinquints like me and the rest never blew our hands off. It was another time. And good God it was fun!
Happy July 4, one and all.