December 31, 2008
Hi guys. I just bought a little Canon SD880 IS point and shoot camera. I took this short film with it earlier today.
This is the southbound R train arriving at 25th Street. I love this camera.
Happy New Year, one and all.
December 28, 2008
Just wanted to drop a line and see if you knew or had heard anything about the shooting on Shore Road [ Friday night ] . Took place on Shore, between 97th and 99th at around 10:30 last night. Haven't seen anything posted on your site, which i read frequently. You usually have this sort of thing posted. Please keep your fellow Bay Ridge residents informed if you hear anything.
This is the first I've heard. If anyone has details, please comment.
December 27, 2008
This looks like original reporting, so good job BRH!
I just got ahold of Sammy Abed, who says that he expects the 69th Street Key Food to open in February 2009. Hope that's true!
December 24, 2008
December 21, 2008
Some warm music on a cold night.
I wasn't even aware of it, but some numbskull apparently wanted to put up volleyball courts in Lief Erickson Park between Third and Fourth Avenues.
Community Board 10 just voted it down the volleyball plan according to the Brooklyn Paper.
For decades this was a nice patch of green in a busy area. Then it went into severe decay, as the city basically stopped maintaining it. For years, it's been scarred by the thugs who run Bay Ridge High School ( excuse me "Telecommunications HS" is the current alibi ) , who took it upon themselves to put a shitty temporary classroom there, and who choose to leave it there even though it is no longer used.
Why can't it go back to being a well maintained green park, with benches? Why does every blade of grass have to be paved over? Apparently it will now be returned to parkland . Look for the work to begin 50 years from now.
The Brooklyn Paper also reports that the site of the Bay Ridge Methodist Church is likely to be turned into a K to 8 elementary school.
They better not give any landmark preservation classes to the 8th graders. Emerick will get pissed.
The Daily News reports that the sainted Richard Martin is losing his position as the crankiest superintendent in Brooklyn. Say it ain't so, Russian Lady.
December 18, 2008
December 07, 2008
Johnny Cash didn't make this video, and his record company didn't either. But someone who understands Cash a lot did.
December 05, 2008
About 35 years ago, in Shea Stadium, OJ Simpson of the Buffalo Bills had one of his best days ever. He went over 2000 rushing yards for the season- the first NFL player to do that. Earlier in the game, he surpassed the single season rushing record of the great Jim Brown.
Thirteen years ago, he was falsely acquitted of two vicious murders.
Today, some long overdue justice as he was sentenced to up to 33 years for robbery and kidnapping.
Karma's a bitch. The wheels of justice grind slow, but here they have ground fine. He may die in prison.
Thirty five years ago, he was cheered by the fans at Shea, and had the world at his feet.
December 01, 2008
The trip to Israel was all too short, but I'm glad that I went. I had been to Haifa in 1979 aboard the USS Albany back in 1979, but that was a long time ago. I stayed in Tel Aviv and made day trips out of town on three days. The rest of the time I just hung out.
The first photo was in the middle of the Old City, which is filled with tiny stores and stalls.
This is a sweaty me at the Wailing Wall- one of only two things in Jerusalem that I wanted to see.
Some of the elders are having a very tough time. I left wishes for their recovery in cracks in the Wailing Wall.
November 30, 2008
This dramatic photo was found on flickr and was taken by Jenniferrt66
Click on the photo to enlarge it.
If you look under the wing, by the small slit and where the Belt Parkway and Verrazano access roads merge, you see the twin [reddish] Bay Ridge Towers buildings and can navigate from there. My house is about four blocks to the left of the east tower, the one closer to the bottom of the photo.
From the low traffic volume on the BQE access roads, my guess is that this was an early morning flight into LaGuardia, probably on the weekend.
At the lower right, you can see the Dust Bowl sports field, dusty as ever. Grass will never grow on that land for very long because of very heavy use by softball / soccer / football teams.
As you go from left to right on the photo, the roads head to Manhattan.
Going right to left by the water, you can see Owls Head Park, the 69th Street Pier. baseball fields, and Fort Hamilton High School and its athletic field.
Staten Island and New Jersey are across the great Narrows, a part of New York Harbor that connects the Hudson / East Rivers with the Atlantic Ocean. If you head a couple of miles to the left, you'll pass the Verrazano Bridge and be in the open Atlantic.
Bet you didn't know this: Muhammad Ali once spoke at a KKK Rally . And they liked him. No joke. From a film primarily about the great Joe Frazier, and recently shown on British television. It shows a different side of Ali- who was vicious and cruel to the great Joe Frazier for years. Ali wants to forget this. The proud Joe Frazier never will.
Saw this today while working out at NY Sports Clubs on 86th Street, looking out at Century 21 through the drizzle. And I knew what this week's song was going to be.
The Fratellis are an alternative rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli (real name John Lawler), bass guitarist Barry Fratelli (real name Barry Wallace), and drummer, backing vocalist, occasional guitarist and banjo player Mince Fratelli (real name Gordon McRory).(wiki)
November 25, 2008
There's an economic crisis, and services are going to be cut. The buses and subways are not immune, nor should they be.
The Brooklyn paper reports that the following route cuts , which would impact Bay Ridge/Sunset Park/Bensonhurst directly or indirectly are possible:
- elimination of the the X27 Express bus on the weekend
- the M train will be truncated, and will no longer run from downtown Brooklyn to Bay Parkway during rush hours
- elimination of the W train
- elimination of the B37 bus ( Third Avenue bus )
Elimination of X27 Bus Service on the weekend is Completely Justified
Let's begin with the X27 bus. This service runs a ludicrous route along Shore Road along the far edge of the neighborhood, before it hits the Gowanus Expressway, which means that it is inaccessible to most Bay Ridge residents. It's not a Bay Ridge service at all, it's a service that only has value to those who live on Shore Road or Narrows Avenue.
The dirty little secret is that this service is not that popular. The buses are rather crowded in the rush hour ( though rarely full ), and they are rather empty mid day or late night, and near completely empty during over the weekend. Don't believe me? Take a walk over to Senator Street/Third Avenue on the weekend and watch any bus as it arrives back from Manhattan or just before it goes into Manhattan. I'll bet you a round at Three Jolly Pigeons that the bus will be empty.
These buses serve a tiny minority of Bay Ridge residents. Weekend service should be cut, for budgetary and environmental reasons. Its bad environmental policy to have empty buses running along a crowded highway.
Elimination of the W Train is Completely Justified
The W Train runs from Astoria down Broadway in Manhattan, and technically doesn't go near Bay Ridge.
Except that if you are traveling early in the morning, sometimes you can luck out and catch a W train on the way from the Coney Island yards to Manhattan. They pick up passengers on the local track from 59th Street into Manhattan with a largely empty train. It's great to catch this train, but its an inefficient use of resources.
Another way this train impacts Bay Ridge is that they bunch up around its Whitehall Street terminus, as a southbound W waits for the northbound W to leave the center island track. This can and does cause delays on the southbound R train during the day. I notice it during the late evening trains.
This is a lot of trouble caused by a W train that seems to run empty to uncrowded all the time. This train is like the V line - there was never a good reason for it to exist. Lets kill the W train right now. Like the weekend X27, this is a no brainer.
Shrink the M Train? Only if They Revive the Chambers Street Shuttles
Let's get real- few people take the rush hour lower Manhattan- Bay Parkway leg of this train. While the R/N/D trains are crowded all through the rush hours, the M Trainis one train where you have nearly an 100% chance of getting a seat.
And, just as the W causes delays at Whitehall, the M has a nasty habit of arriving at 36th Street at the same time as the D train. The southbound (crowded) D train is always given priority and the M waits on the local platform, blocking the more crowded Bay Ridge bound R train.
The south Brooklyn M train should be eliminated, but some of the resulting savings should be used to re-establish the Chambers Street Special, running from 95th Street to Chambers Street during morning and evening rush hours. This would alleviate the current overcrowding on the R train, would proactively address the greater overcrowding that will take place on R trains from 36th and Borough Hall if the M/W are eliminated and nothing takes their place, and does not involve unnecessary crossovers from one track to another.
The M train never made sense as it ran in south Brooklyn. Running it along the West End line was evidently done for the convenience of the Transit Authority ( who can run empty southbound trains right into the Coney Island yards ) and never made sense as far as respects passenger flows or operational efficiency for most of the route.
Don't Even Think of Getting Rid of the Third Avenue Bus
The B37 bus runs faster than the sluggish Fifth Avenue bus. If you take it all the way to downtown Brooklyn, you'll see that lots of people use it, especially older people who are nervous about taking the crowded subway or who have a hard time navigating the subway steps.
If this service is removed, the entire Third Avenue corridor that runs under the creaking horror that is the Gowanus Expressway will be turned into a lifeless desert. Elimination of the Third Avenue Bus cannot be considered.
If cuts must be made, Bay Ridge and Brooklyn must do their fair share. And this is as good a time as any to rethink some routes, such as the M train and the X27 bus that were never properly thought out.
Every route must be justified, and we can't tolerate buses or trains that run empty on a regular basis. But, even in the context of budget cuts, a smart administration should be able to add new routes such as the Chambers Street special that remedy long standing flaws in the system.
November 22, 2008
November 21, 2008
I am back from sunny Israel and will resume blogging soon.
Tonight, I expect to write on the major cuts in subway and bus service --the elimination of the W train and X27 and X28 buses, and the elimination of M train service to west Brooklyn, and how this will impact Bay Ridge and surrounding neighborhoods.
November 08, 2008
I said that I would leave the country if Obama was elected, and I have just backed it up. I flew to Tel Aviv Friday night, and am now in a small hotel on Allenby Street in town.
Now, it is possible that I will return to Brooklyn some day (perhaps a week from now) but for now, I'm going to hang out in and near Tel Aviv.
I'm very tired, so that's it for now. I bid you adieu from my exile!!
November 04, 2008
(click photo to enlarge)
This is one year I'll be swimming against the tide. The Republicans made an immense error by not choosing John McCain in 2000. Eight years later, the country is set to make the same mistake. A fake reformer will be chosen over a real reformer.
Finally, a long line at a Wall Street Manhattan polling station at 830 am.
Don't forget to go to Starbucks today. If you tell them you voted, you get a free cup of coffee!
November 03, 2008
November 01, 2008
John McCain has always served his country.
After five years of torture in Vietnam, he had the strength of character to leave it all behind him. He was instrumental in the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Vietnam. He could have stopped it by lifting a finger.
I respect John McCain more than any living American politician.
This Tuesday, you will have the opportunity to vote for this man for president. Please take advantage of that opportunity.
Most of NYC votes Democrat reflexively, without much thought. Bay Ridge has often been, along with Staten Island, a light in a sea of knee-jerk Democrats. We often --not always, but often --vote Republican. I hope that's the case this year.
The 2008 election takes place under brutal economic conditions. People are scared, and they have every right to be scared. They hold GW Bush to be largely responsible for the bad economy, and some have turned against McCain as he is from the same Republican Party. This is unsound thinking.
Bush - and nearly all the free spending Republican Congress - deserve great blame for the economic crisis. But so does the Democratic Congressional delegation, which spent and spent and protected Fannie Mae and in many cases accepted their money.
Alan Greenspan deserves blame too-- he served under both President GW Bush and under President Clinton, and had the same economic policies throughout the entire period.
The blame for the wreck belongs to both major parties.
There is only one reformer in this race, and he is John McCain. He sounded the alarm on Fannie Mae in 2006"
McCain has spent his entire career attacking the role of money in politics- Obama first said that he would accept public financing, then he went back on his word, possibly destroying that system. McCain kept his word- he said that he would take public financing. Which has left him outgunned by an Obama who has accepted a torrent of money from all kinds of people.
McCain served his country with great honor in Vietnam for over five years. When faced with an easy way out of the Hanoi Hilton ( which I have visited ), he chose the hard but correct path. Compare this to the career of the community organizer who took money from a man in Bill Ayers, a man who tried to kill NY police officers and US military men and who said he wasn't sorry about it one bit. Of course, Obama didn't know who Ayers or Dorhn were. He knew how to collect Ayers' money, he knew how to get to the living room in Ayers' house but this graduate of Columbia and Harvard Law didn't know nothin about Ayers' past. Obama, you're a liar.
Obama's plans to increase taxes are the worst possible tactic in dealing with a recession. McCain is a " JFK Democrat " who knows that the way to get the economy going is to lower taxes strategically--not to soak the so-called rich in order to give welfare checks to those who do not pay federal income taxes at present.
The issue of taxes is especially important in tax burdened New York City. People here pay very high Federal, State and Local taxes plus Social Security taxes as it is. We make more money than those in other parts of the US, but we also have higher costs for most things. Any New Yorker with a job who votes for Obama or the Democrats is voting against the interests of their own families.
The choice this year could not be clearer. You can vote for a cipher with bad friends, one who conceals much about his past, or you can vote for a man with a long history as a political and economic reformer.
New York will vote Democrat, but I hope that Bay Ridge and the rest of America does the right thing and votes for John McCain.
John McCain. Best for Bay Ridge. Best for America.
The Phantom approves of this mesage.
October 21, 2008
Today was one of the worst days in recent Bay Ridge history.
For more than 100 years, this lovely green building graced the corner of Fourth and Ovington Avenue.
Today, major demolition was completed. Only a part of the side wall remains, like the jagged edges of the World Trade Center after the terrorist attack. As I walked up the steps of the Bay Ridge Avenue subway station tonight, I could smell the destruction. A burning odor, dust in the air that shouldn't be there. Again, like the days after 9/11- you can literally smell the crime.
We know that the congregation had dwindled, that it needed money. Offers of help were made, with Councilman Gentile acting as an honest broker.
But Pastor Robert Emerick was pig headed. He resented any and all efforts to save this lovely building. If more money was to be had by destroying this building, he was determined to grab the cash. His mind was never going to change. I hope the son of a bitch is proud of himself tonight.
I was going to take a picture of the ruins today. But I can't bring myself to do it.
September 28, 2008
As I took this photo today, a man stopped by and said that he felt so very sad about what was happening. His take on it was that all everyone cared about was money these days.
"Maybe we'll see the building again in the next life" he said. We shook hands and I moved on.
The NY Daily News has an excellent on line poll which will allow you to vote on whether the Mets should "keep or dump" various players, as well as Minaya and Manuel. Great fun.
Vote early and vote often.
September 27, 2008
This shows both the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium. Hit the little square near bottom right to make this youtube video fit the entire screen. Hit escape to shrink it again.
This Sunday will be the last regular season game at Shea Stadium, very possibly the last game of any kind at the great old ballpark.
I've been to Shea maybe 200 times since the 1960s, with virtually every one of my family and friends.
Up until the early 1970s, nearly everyone in Bay Ridge was a Mets fan. The celebrations after they won the World Series in 1969 cannot be described.
Shea was for the most part a ballpark for the working man. When I was a young teenager, you could buy a ticket to the upper deck for $1.30.
Next April, they'll be moving to a creepy luxury place named after some bank, and I'm not very happy about it. The prices for tickets and food will be shocking. The average fan will not be welcome. In a small way, this is like the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn again, half a century later.
I'd rather blow up Citifield and keep Shea Stadium for another 44 years. Lend me a backhoe, and I'll drive out to Flushing and start the job tonight.
A wonderful era in New York baseball ends today. It was such fun. Goodbye, Shea Stadium. The fans will miss you a lot more than they think.
September 26, 2008
I was told that the new store will open this November. Makes sense to me. September did seem a tad ambitious.
September 23, 2008
Yesterday, went to the Mets-Cubs game. We were in Loge Section 28. Despite the fact that it is in short left field, the view was good. You can't go wrong with the Loge.
Only two things went wrong last night. The first was that the section was crawling with Cubs fans.
The second was that they had plenty to cheer about as the Cubs won 9-5. And as they say "it wasn't that close". Here, one of the good moments as David Wright lofts a chip shot to left for his 33rd Home Run. (click to enlarge)
Jason Marquis, of Staten Island's Tottenville High School, pitched 6 2/3 innings for the win and hit a grand slam in the fourth inning just to make sure.
I'll be back out there Friday night.
September 21, 2008
Yankee Stadium will soon no longer be with us.
On the broadcast tonight, they showed Reggie Jackson at the ballpark yesterday He was in the black seats, in deepest centerfield. Trying to find the exact spot where he hit a monster home run, the third of three consecutive home runs in the final game of the 1977 World Series clincher vs the Dodgers. Wearing sunglasses, crying.
So many great moments here, it's silly to even list them. I don't accept that they're tearing it down.
Hate to see you go, buddy. And where does the time go.
Speaking of doomed treasures, I tried to take photos of the Bay Ridge Methodist Church yesterday. It was impossible to get a decent angle with the gates locked so I didn't bother. The large round stained glass window has been removed, as have some of the windows on the side. The weeds are out of control. Its a sad sight.
Lutheran Elementary School of Bay Ridge
Attention Lutheran Elementary School Alumni: Send us your name, address, and email so we don’t lose touch. Lutheran Elementary School, 440 Ovington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11209, Attn: Alumni Office or LESAlumni@hotmail.com for news and information about your former classmates and teachers. (Hold the Date: Nov. 7 "Night at the Races”)
September 14, 2008
September 13, 2008
Bobby, Helen and I went out to Shea Stadium last night to see the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves.
The weather did not cooperate, so there was no game.
But we did get to hang out in the stadium until the game was called. We ate some shockingly priced food, chatted with some visitors from Atlanta, and walked around.
This was Bobby's first and only time in the House that Seaver Built. I took him to the upper deck, where I spent many days and nights.
We went to the last row of the the upper deck, just to do it. "This is really high" he said. You got that right. The upper deck of Shea Stadium seems like the highest place on earth!
September 08, 2008
I flew to Dublin Friday night. Had a cocktail with Doyle at O'Donahue's on Saturday, and dinnner with Mark, Una and the kids on Sunday.
Today, it was working the computer at the Mont Clare Hotel, waiting for the client to arrive tomorrow in the middle of a major rainstorm.
Always a pleasure to visit Dublin, one of the more comfortable and lovely large cities on earth.
Tonight, on RTE TV, there is a documentary about 9/11. Seven years it soon will be. Seven years is it?
September 03, 2008
Anyone who saw her speech tonight knows that she isn't the weak link on this ticket. There is no weak link, and she's no weak sister.
This is a true reform ticket on a Presidential ticket of the like that I've not seen in a lifetime.
She's going to play well in the cities, but oh my God is she going to be a megastar in the towns and suburbs.
She appeals on so many levels, it's going to take a few days to think this through.
It's over. I kid you not. It won't even be close. Congratulations, President McCain and Vice President Palin.
August 26, 2008
I attended my first baseball game at Shea Stadium in 1966 I think. It was still new. I was astonished at the bright colors. Especially that of the grass, which to me looked greener than green, especially as compared to the black and white TV we had at home.
Now, there are only about 15 regular season games to go at Shea. Like it's older, more famous cousin Yankee Stadium, it will be torn down before long. The new Mets stadium will be named after some bank.
But while many are sad to see Yankee Stadium go, you don't hear much regret at the passing of Shea Stadium. Even Tom Seaver, the best player in the history of the Mets, said the other day that he won't be sorry to see Shea Stadium go. Because of the "undistinguished" architecture.
Well, I'll be sorry to see it go.
I'm sure I've been to way over 100 games there every decade since the sixties. I saw Seaver in his prime. I saw the Big Red Machine strut into town - after I sneaked down to the box seats, I heckled a young Johnny Bench who heard it, then chuckled. I saw Nolan Ryan as a Met, and then, years later, as a Houston Astro, mowing down one overmatched Met after another in the second game of a twilight doubleheader.
So, last night, while Katie and Keri and the gang enjoyed the spectacle and the crude humor of the Shea fans, I saw ghosts everywhere. A still new Shea Stadium, where the outfield fence was green and the Flushing subways were blue. I saw Agee, Grote and Swoboda take the field against Santo, Aaron and McCovey. I saw a black cat make sure that the Cubs wouldn't win a game against Leo Durocher and his wicked Cubs.
There was a gorgeous cool breeze off Long Island sound last night. Young Mike Pelfrey pitched a complete nine innings the way starting pitchers should, and the Mets took home a 9-1 win.
Many great things happened at Shea Stadium over the past 40 odd years.
I'll miss it a lot.
Bad news from the Green Church ( Gowanus Lounge )
August 24, 2008
A hit in Canada, not heard to much in America From the late 1970s. The McGarrigles were and are great.
August 16, 2008
The Swedes love their Irish music and this is a recording from Swedish TV.
Don't listen to the lyrics too closely. They're pretty scary!
David Vance over at A Tangled Web advises that Ronnie Drew of The Dubliners has passed away.
Ronnie, and the rest of the Dubliners were deeply authentic performers of the old and the new Irish folk music.
Initially known as "The Ronnie Drew Group", the founding members were Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Ciaran Bourke and Barney McKenna. The change of name came about due to Drew's unhappiness with the name, coinciding with the fact that Kelly was reading Dubliners by James Joyce at the time.
Here, " And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", one of the most affecting songs I have ever heard.
From the Independent
August 11, 2008
Russian tanks have smashed into a small neighbor country. Russian planes are dropping bombs on cities. The Soviet Union is crawling back out of the dustbin of history, and that's not good at all.
"I looked into President Putin’s eyes and I saw the KGB"- John McCain
August 07, 2008
Eight is supposed to be a lucky number in Chinese. I was in China on August 8 last year, but my neighborhood and my block was not too lucky as we were hit by a VERY unusual tornado. It ripped the roofs off buildings between Third and Fourth Avenues on Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and on 68th Street ( my block ).
I was in Beijing at the time, breathing that lovely air, and maybe I was indeed lucky, since houses one block down and across the street and nearby were seriously damaged, while I just lost a couple of small panes in my skylight, an inexpensive repair. Maybe eight is a lucky number after all, some of the time.
Two houses down from me, the top of this tree was snapped right off at the base. My house up the street was nearly untouched. Just down the block, roofs of two story buildings were torn off and the people had to evacuate for months while repairs were done.
If you want the best in current phony baloney preaching, you gotta get Directv. Because they have the God Channel. And the unquestioned star of the God Channel, is Todd Bentley, who "heals the sick", like a new Jesus or whatever.
Like in the ole days, when we used to drink beers and watch Gene Scott,who used to curse and/or scratch off lottery tickets while giving sermons. Excellent comedy always to be found on the religion channels.
August 03, 2008
Israel "Iz" Kaʻanoʻi Kamakawiwoʻole(May 20, 1959 – June 26, 1997) (pronounced [kaˌmakaˌvivoˈʔole]) was a Hawaiian musician. He is to Hawaiian music what Bob Marley was to Jamaican music.
Let's give a listen.
Looks like I'll be heading over to Dublin ( hey Doyle, save me a Guinness!) and London for work in September. And its likely that for the second time since 2001, I will be flying London- NYC on September 11.
The first time was in 2002. I took a nearly empty American Airlines flight from Heathrow to JFK. Underneath my business shirt, I wore a t shirt with an American flag on it. Sometimes, everything you do makes a statement.
The New York Yankees held their Old Timers Day yesterday. Its the one day when they invite many of their former players to come back to be recognized, and for some to take part in a two-inning friendly game.
The Yankees have the richest history of any team in baseball, and probably in all of sports. This history was honored yesterday when old men ( Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford ) got to hang out with younger retired players ( Reggie Jackson, Bucky Dent ) and players who seemingly were playing just yesterday ( David Wells, Rickey Henderson ). Its a beautiful celebration of the long history of baseball, and of its most famous team.
In yesterday's NY Times, there was an op-ed piece bemoaning the fact that the New York Mets no longer have their own Old Timers Game.
Why not? You'd think that a team with 45 years plus history would have enough memories to work with. A team spokesman said that they stopped having these events because they "didn't make enough money". Well, if you want to remain the number two team in NYC for another thirty years, keep thinking like that.
July 31, 2008
I ran into Ludacris in Three Jolly Pigeons, where he was playing poker with Hon Fong, Richard Martin, the Swede and the Green Hornet. I took the opportunity to congratulate Ludacris on his fine new video. He's pleased with the public reaction, and hopes to sing it at the Democratic Convention.
Ludacris “Obama Is Here” Lyrics
I’m back on it like I just signed my record deal
Yeah the best is here, the Bentley Coup paint is dripping wet, it got sex appeal
Never should have hated, You never should’ve doubted him
With a slot in the president’s iPod Obama shouted ‘em
Said I handle my biz and I’m one of his favorite rappers
Well give Luda a special pardon if I’m ever in the slammer
Better yet put me in office, make me your vice president
Hillary hated on you, so that bitch is irrelevant
Jesse talking slick and apologizing for what?
If you said it then you meant it how you want it head or gut?
And all you other politicians trying to hate on my man,
watch us win majority vote in every state on my man
You can’t stop what’s bout to happen, we bout to make history
The first black president is destined and it’s meant to be
The threats ain’t fazing us, the nooses or the jokes
So get off your ass, black people, it’s time to get out and vote!
Paint the White House black and I’m sure that’s got ‘em terrified
McCain don’t belong in any chair unless he’s paralyzed
Yeah I said it cause Bush is mentally handicapped
Ball up all of his speeches and just throw ‘em like candy wrap
’cause what you talking I hear nothing even relevant
and you the worst of all 43 presidents
Get out and vote or the end’ll be near
The world is ready for change because Obama is here
’cause Obama is here
The world is ready for change because Obama is here, yeah
cuz Obama is here
Bay Ridge Food Co-op?
Some people have begun the process of exploring the feasibility of a food coop in Brooklyn.
If you are interested, happy to have you involved.
Here's a link to the graphic announcing the next meeting
July 27, 2008
Stolen from NY Times
Vickie Hofmo, local preservationist and activist is the subject of an article in the "City" section of today's NY Times.
I've known her for years, and was unaware that she has founded a museum, for Christ's sake. It's the Scandinavian East Coast Museum, which documents the long, rich history of the Vikings and Viqueens in Brooklyn and elsewhere on the US East Coast.
"There’s this thing in Scandinavian culture called janteloven. It means that you’re not better than anyone else. “We don’t brag. We’re humble. I think it’s part of the reason Scandinavians haven’t been documented so well. When I first started going around collecting things, people would say, “Is my stuff good enough?” I’m like, “All the stuff is a story, and of course your story is important.” I can toot their horn because I don’t have that same sense. I think it’s O.K. to be proud."
Hey, Vickie, good job. We're proud, too.
July 26, 2008
On August 4, 1974, Philippe Petit walked on a high wire strung between the towers of the World Trade Center. It was an act of such genius and beauty that words will never describe it.
Now, there is Man on A Wire a documentary about the crime of the century.
"Man on Wire has won the prestigious Special Jury Award and Audience Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, the International Audience Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Standard Life Audience Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. The film has also won the Jury Prize and Audience Award in the World Cinema: Documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival. To date, Man on Wire is only the 6th film ever in the history of Sundance to pick up both top awards and the first from outside the US" ( from Wikipedia )
Its showing in Manhattan and in some other places, and I intend to see it very soon. I've thought about this incident so often over the past seven years, wondering why noone made a movie of it. Now, someone has.
It's summertime across North America, and its time to relax. Put on some good music. And it doesn't get any better than Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.
Unless you want to hear Janis's completely different version. Which wasn't bad either. She's live from Stockholm, in 1969
July 20, 2008
Blotto was maybe a one hit wonder, but this was really just a Northeast area hit. But what a cool song it was.
It was played on MTV on the first day of MTV. So you have to give them that.
I am happy that the 75th and Third Avenue Starbucks survived the bloodletting. That location does do well, and is an absolute asset to the neighborhood.
"On some nights, New York is as hot as Bangkok". That was the opening sentence of Saul Bellow's "The Victim". This is one of the many such nights, and not the worst of them by a long shot. Lets pray for a nice cold front.
I cannot possibly understand why people wish to move and/or retire to places like Florida and other furnace-like places. If I was to move anywhere, I think it would be north. Give me Nova Scotia over Florida any day. I like the cold weather and love it when it is cool. But hot and humid days have no redeeming qualities. They're tolerable when the odd gust of wind comes by. Otherwise, they're days to be endured, not enjoyed.
The phone rang at 7am, but no one was there. It rang again a half hour later, and noone was there. This wasn't a prank caller, it was an incompetent caller. Caller ID showed it was Con Ed. I called them and they said that they wanted to advise Bay Ridge customers to cut down on electricity use Not sure how one-ring phone calls with no message were supposed to convince people of that, but hey that's our Con Ed for you.
July 15, 2008
But it was never as bad as the pinky- in- the- air beer snobs claimed. It was a middle of the road mass production light beer that most people liked. Nothing more, nothing less. Not a bad thing.
What made Budweiser great was its deep, American heritage. One hundred and thirty years of history in St. Louis, Missouri. ( It predated the fake Czech "Budvar" by about 15 years. ) The fact that they marked the ending of Prohibition by sending a team of Clydesdales to the White House to deliver fresh-brewed Budweiser to President Roosevelt. The fact that you and I had it in college and at weddings and with friends since we were old enough to drink, or since we were big enough to pretend that we were old enough to drink.
All this history went down the tubes this past weekend when a bunch of Belgian cutthroats acquired this American icon.
I love Europe and I love the rich and deep universe of European beers. But Inbev is not a quality brewer. And Budweiser won't be Budweiser if its owned by a bunch of cost-cutting smart alecks in Brussels.
An era has ended, and I'm not too happy about it. If you're coming over to visit, don't bring any Budweiser with you. They don't make Budweiser anymore.
July 06, 2008
Click to enlarge. Photo taken today, about 3pm
For the nearly 40 years I've known it, Bay Ridge High School ( now " High School of Telecommunications" ) has been an alien presence in the neighborhood. I knew of no local residents who attended school there, none who worked there. I never heard of any " open houses " or the like when the school ever invited the locals to come in. Blocks of parking spaces on 67th Street were reserved for the school staff. No locals need apply. The school never reached out, never tried to be friendly.
Students from the school sat on the stoops nearby, and didn't like it too much when they were asked to move. It's not as bad as it was some years ago, but you still see loitering "students" cutting class. smoking reefer, on 68th Street, Senator, all the nearby blocks.
Ten years ago, Bay Ridge High School took outdid themselves by commandeering a swath of Leif Eriscon Park that runs between Fourth and Third Avenues. They built temporary classrooms in the park, closed off the Fourth Avenue entrance, and told the locals to stay the hell out.
A major addition to the school has been completed for some time. They don't even need the temporary classroom anymore. But the principal and the Education Department didn't lift a finger to remove the festering sore from the neighborhood. They kept playing pocket pool between coffee breaks and were evidently planning on leaving the trailers in the park for another decade or two.
This was a lovely small park at one time. If you see the stretch near Third Avenue, you can see how the entire park could be pretty once more. But first the hostile and unwelcome Education Dept building must leave.
The NY Daily News, which covers Bay Ridge and Brooklyn better than the Post and the Times combined, covered this story 12 days ago. Only because of their persistent questioning, the sluggards, deadbeats and do-nothings of the NY City Education will move the trailers. One of these years.
It is also noted that the City still has "no parking" signs on Senator blocking three parking spots, even though construction of the Bay Ridge High School (or whatever they're calling it today ) annex has long been completed.
You can enter the park on the Third Avenue side. But if you walk up the path, this is what you run into. Shame on the City and on all of our elected officials for allowing this state of affairs to exist for even one day.
Today, on a Sunday, the air conditioning was going full blast in this empty building. I'm sure it was going strong all weekend.
July 02, 2008
I live in Bay Ridge, and commute to Manhattan by mass transit. This has always meant a journey involving the R train, but not this past week. I decided to conduct a scientific experiment and commute for a week via the Express Bus.
Since most people in Bay Ridge have never taken an express bus, let me first say what they are. There are two express buses serving Bay Ridge- the X27 goes to downtown Manhattan, while the X37 travels to midtown. They travel the length of Shore Road to 69th Street, from which they hang a left on Third Avenue, where they take the on-ramp to the Gowanus Expressway.
The Gowanus is painfully congested at all hours, but worse still during the rush hours. But since the express buses get to use the HOV lane, they cruise at a blazing 45 mph or so, while the cars to the right stand still.
For the week of my experiment, I boarded the X27 at Third and Senator, and took it to a stop at Rector and Church. The trip back was from Cedar and Broadway to 69th and Third Avenues.
How was it? On the way in to the city, it was pretty damned good. Despite the fact that I was boarding near the last Bay Ridge stop, there were plenty of cushioned, if tight, seats. The trip was very fast- 14 to 20 minutes going to Rector, vs 30-35 minutes on the R train to the identical location.
For whatever reason, the return trip always took longer, 22 minutes at best, 35 minutes the longest. I am told that its always longer going back.
Lots of women who don't like subway rush hour ride the express bus.
Unfortunately, cell phones work on the bus. The bus drives post nastygrams asking cell phone users to sit in the back and to keep it down.
The fare on the Express bus is $5 each way, vs $2 for a normal bus or for the subway. You can buy a special 7 day unlimited-use MetroCard that allows use of all local and express buses, plus the subway, for $41. That's a sweet deal, esp. if you use mass transit both to commute to work, and on the weekend.
I'll be returning to my normal R train commute tomorrow, but I'm happy I took the time to learn about the Express bus option. Everyone in Bay Ridge should learn how to use it--even if you don't live particularly near one of the stops. Its a boutique service, a mass transit luxury liner, and a handy option the next time the R train derails or is flooded out.
Which idiot decided to run it the express buses on Shore Road anyway? Very inconvenient for the huge majority of Bay Ridge residents. No skin off my back, as long as you keep that Senator St. stop, boys.
June 30, 2008
June 24, 2008
Carlin came out of an Irish-American circle of which I am very familiar. But I never saw anyone remotely like him in the neighborhoods.
Today, at work, three of us who some would call right-of-center happened to meet up, and Carlin came up. Though he tended to be on the opposite side of any political things (apart from his open despising of all forms of political correctness) we agreed that we all just loved Carlin.
Most political comedians that I've seen are so earnest and pedantic that their humor suffers for it. Not Carlin.
He was always personally nice to people, something that gets you great credit in my books. A lot of performers and politicians would like to be thought of as nice. Few are. Many try unsuccessfully to fake it. Carlin didn't have to fake anything. He thought he was as good as anyone who ever lived, but no better. And that's fine with me.
Two months ago, he was interviewed from his home in Los Angeles by phone by WABC radio in New York. Only it was six am in LA, so he took the call by cell phone from his car. His wife was still sleeping in the house, and he didn't want to wake her. I loved that.
Cross posted here
June 14, 2008
There'se no getting over the bad news of this past Friday, Big Russ. But you raised a great son who really understood what was important.
Luke, and the Russert girls are really going to need you now, big guy.
To Big Russ, to Frank and to Steve, to uncles Brendan and Pat, and to Patrick J, and to all the fathers out there who did the best they could: Happy Fathers Day to you all.
June 09, 2008
Sammy Abed's new Key Food will be at at 244 Bay Ridge Avenue. There will be parking across the street.
Our long neighborhood nightmare is coming to an end. We won't have to drive to Montauk to buy a gallon of milk after all.
As reported by Bay Ridge Rover and by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a new Key Food will open on 69th Street, between Ridge and Third this fall.
The new supermarket will be at 244 Bay Ridge Avenue, right next to the old firehouse and on the site of Harry's For the Home. It will be a 13,000 sq. foot store with a parking lot across the street.
The owner of the new store is Sammy Abed, who owns another Key Food out on Kings Highway ( see the Brooklyn Eagle article ).
I hope that Mr. Abed hires some of the crew from the 95th Street Key Food. I always found them to be friendly and helpful. If he plays 1950s- 1960s oldie rock music like the 95th St Key Food did for years, that would be a fun thing too.
There was a crying need for a supermarket to replace the A&P that stood for years on Fourth and Senator. Now, the Key Food era begins. Sammy Abed, welcome to the neighborhood.
Park the car across the street. Maybe they'll need to put a crosswalk and traffic light in the middle of the block here, like there is on 86th Street. If they don't, someone will get run over by the B-1 or B-9 bus.
June 02, 2008
June 01, 2008
This guy, "Father" Michael Pfleger, is a Catholic priest? We sure didn't have Catholic priests like him at Our Lady of Angels church back then. Imagine how poor elderly Bishop Boardman would have dealt with this guy.
These eruptions keep happening for Obama. There apparently are just a ton of youtube videos posted or about to be posted with sermons from Rev Wright, and now this false priest, this hateful minstrel act with a collar.
Obama sold himself as a post-racial candidate, but this is the second preacher of hate he's been associated with. Is it wrong to point this out? I think not. He's cut his ties with Trinity Church of Christ, but some might say it's about 19 years too late.
May 27, 2008
I've been meaning to do this for awhile, but finally got around to sitting around to make donations to some of my favorite charities.
These are all worthwhile causes, so if you're in a position to do so, please consider dropping one of these organizations a few bucks:
- Bay Ridge Volunteer Ambulance Service, or BRAVO. This organization, which turns 34 this July 4, provides free , high quality ambulance service to anyone in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, or Fort Hamilton.
- Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. They provide a broad range of social services to individuals and families in need. I've seen them up close. They're wonderful.
- USO or United Services Organization does many things to help active duty military and their families. I don't care what you think of the Iraq war. Say you support the troops? Then throw this organization a few bucks, right now.
- Police Athletic League This NYPD linked program provides a broad range of sports and other programs for NYC's kids and young adults.
- New York Councils of Boy Scouts of America If I had to only give to one organization, this would be it. Especially in the inner city, boys and young men need to have a bit of fun, a bit of structure and some guidance in a world that lacks it. And no one does it better than the Scouts.
May 19, 2008
Frank from the office recently sold his Jeep. He and Phyllis had driven it all over Queens and NYC for over 15 years. So by the time to let it go, it was like losing a member of the family. He was sad,she cried.
Similarly, it is with sadness that I read of the continuing retirement of old NYC subway cars. I love the new cars, but cars like the one in this photo served my subterranean tribe of NY subway riders very well for over 40 years.
These days, retirement for subway cars takes the form of being floated off the coast of Delaware, then being pushed into Atlantic Ocean. Where they have a valuable second career as artificial reefs.
The car seen here is the R32 model. These came into service in 1964, and I remember when they were shiny and new, running into the City on the N (Sea Beach) line, later on the R (RR, Fourth Avenue Local), or other IND or BMT lines. Every one of my family rode these cars, perhaps even the one car in this picture.
There are still R32s in service, but not for long. Enjoy them while you can. In the blink of an eye, they'll be gone.
May 18, 2008
I've loved this song for years.
Here, the great Scot Dougie MacLean performs it live in a small setting, backed by a terrific band that includes the Celtophile Kathy Mattea.
A very good interview with Kathy Mattea to be found here. Her new album "Coal" is well worth a listen. I've not bought a CD in ages, but will buy this one.
Sorry I've been a stranger lately. You know how it gets.
May 11, 2008
From "The Johnny Cash Show", May 1970. There's just so much good stuff from the archives of that show.
Happy Mothers Day, all.
May 08, 2008
You've all heard it now. Congressman Vito Fossella, nabbed for drunk driving in Virginia the other night. And now word has it that Fossella, married father of three, has a love child who resulted from an "extramarital relationship" he's been in for a few years.
In some countries, this wouldn't be an issue. But this is Bay Ridge/Staten Island, and this is America. I'll suspect that Mr. Fossella will be resigning before too long. He's damaged goods. And, besides all else, he's a moron for driving drunk while living this double life.
Fossella has for ten years been the only Republican Congressman in New York City. His actions have put that one solitary non-Democratic seat in jeopardy. It is a betrayal of his political party as well as those constituents who really care about the issue.
Fossella needs to fall on his sword right now, to resign and go away. And the Republicans had better quickly put up a credible candidate to run against Democrat Stephen Harrison. I propose Marty Golden
The alternative? A one party Congressional delegation in New York City, which is not in the interests of anyone who lives here.
May 05, 2008
I was in the City Sunday, and the trains were running strange on the way back. At 630pm, an N train came in to City Hall, which is not normal. It was very crowded. It ran on the local track to Pacific Street, where I caught --another N train-- on the express track. I got off at 59th Street, and walked the rest of the way home.
Turns out that the strange behavior of the trains stemmed from the fact that a Brooklyn bound N train had derailed north of 57th Street, Manhattan. 449 passengers had to be evacuated, but it looks like no one was hurt.
The R train at the time was being "re-routed along the F train" and I am not sure what that means so I am happy I decided to walk home from 59th Street. You get a feel for these things after decades of riding these trains.
Service expected to be normal for Monday morning. Doesn't matter to me, since I am taking the day off so that the Direct TV guy can restore their wonderful service to the Phantom Estate.
April 25, 2008
Music that, once heard, stays in your head forever. A tip of the hat to the old fellas, and to Ry Cooder for bringing them back and to the broader world.
For extra credit, listen and see this
Off to San Diego Saturday. Will be in touch from the road.
April 15, 2008
Billy DiCristina was having a few pops a few nights back at Bay Ridge's Bean Post Pub over on 76th and Fifth, where a patron told him about the treasonous attempt by
Gino ("the rat") Castignole to jinx the new Yankee Stadium by planting a Red Sox shirt in its concrete flooring.
Billy did what any red-blooded New Yorker would do. "Get me the Post " he said to the bartender. "We have to get that Boston garbage out of our Stadium"!
The rest is history. The Post broke the story to the world. The Yankees dug up the toxic waste. The curse is cursed. And Billy is the uncrowned King of Bay Ridge.
The Bean Post Pub is hereby declared the official Yankee bar of Bay Ridge. And Billy's money is no good there any more!
Billy DiCristina, Construction Worker, and Righteous Bay Ridge Bar Customer
April 13, 2008
Yesterday was one of the glorious spring days. Went down to Helen and Frank's house down in Wayne, PA where Bobby, Keri, Steve and I threw the baseball around.
I remember the days when baseball was the only sport. To me, its still that way. The other sports are filler for the grim winter days when you await Spring Training.
Many beautiful things come in the spring,. Baseball, and it's memories of my lifetime, and of everyone's lifetime, is one of them.
April 11, 2008
April 10, 2008
For the past three weeks, there's been a leak in a water pipe under Fourth Avenue by 69th St. The Bay Ridge Avenue subway station has been a bit of a lagoon during that time. Commuters have had to dodge the "raindrops" when entering the station.
Tonight, a construction crew was hard at work fixing the pipe.(click on photo to enlarge)
April 07, 2008
April 06, 2008
This song has been in the news recently, for all the wrong reasons.
It's one of my top songs of all time. Never sure what the lyrics were supposed to mean, but oh my God the organ music is the best. Hear it one time, and you remember it for the rest of your life. By Procul Harum, 1967.
This song will live forever. Here is a live performance by Belgian singer Helmut Lotti, in Brussels Square, in 2003.
Now, a pint of Brooklyn Lager to anyone who can tell me what these lyrics mean:
We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed
She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died
If music be the food of love [see note, left, about this verse + its opening]
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed
April 01, 2008
Our sources tell us that the Trump Organization is quietly acquiring land parcels south of the Bay Ridge Towers for the construction of Trump Bay Ridge.
The 50 story condominium will contain a mere 100 massive units, with prices ranging from $2,500,000 to $17,500,000 depending on whether the buyer prefers the "Gowanus View", the "Harbor View" or the "Commodore Barry View" that offers commanding vistas of the Verrazzano Bridge and the harbor.
All units will be fitted with Energy Star compliant appliances and triple glazed windows, so residents of Trump Bay Ridge will be striking a mighty blow against global warming.
Final construction details are being hammered out with City Councilman Gentile, who is trying to obtain a discount for existing Bay Ridge residents.
Interested buyers should watch for an official announcement in the Home Reporter and Sunset News shortly.