December 29, 2007

Bay Ridge Blog Exclusive: Roger Clemens Speaks out on Steroids

I flew down to Houston yesterday so that I could record the following speech by my good friend Roger Clemens!

Actually, the brillant ariestheramne may have had something to do with it.

December 23, 2007

Snoopy's Christmas

"Snoopy vs the Red Baron", by Ocala Florida's "Royal Guardsmen" was one great song. But "Snoopy's Christmas" I think is even better.

Merry Christmas, mein friend!

December 22, 2007

Happy Christmas from the Beatles!

Every year, members of the Beatles fan club would receive special non-commercial recordings around Christmastime. This is a compilation, with photos, produced by Matthew Hawes of "The Happy Show", is great fun. The insane comedy that was very much a part of the Beatles is much in evidence here.

December 18, 2007

John Batchelor Show Returns to the Radio

America's long national nightmare is over.

The John Batchelor Show is back on the radio. Unfortunately, not five nights a week like it should be, but on Sundays 7-10pm Eastern time on WABC 77 AM in New York, and 7-10pm Pacific time on KFI Los Angeles.

This is a serious public affairs show, more fun and punchy than any PBS news show, with sources around the block or in Uzbekistan that anyone would be proud of.

If you you're from outside NYC and want to hear the John Batchelor Show over the internet, try WABC 7-10pm Soundays Eastern time, or on KFI, 7-10pm Pacific time (or 10pm Sunday-1am Monday, Eastern time)

this Sunday night.

Now, guys...lets get this show on more often !

December 10, 2007

Phantom Joins Zombie Army

So my niece Katie invited me to join a "Zombie Army" over at Facebook. I've just signed up. So you'd better watch out!

I am now at the category of "Zombie Newbie". You can't trust Zombies, and Katie now knows that, since my first act as a Zombie was to pick a fight with her. And I won. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!.....

December 09, 2007

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 058, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

I took the train from Second Avenue to Queens Plaza, then back down as far as Broadway/Lafayette.

Here, the train pulls out of Broadway/Lafayette.

These runs will continue every Sunday for the rest of the year. I am very happy that NY and the MTA preserve these trains and this part of history.

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 029, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

These runs are lots of fun for the crew. I think a number of retired transit workers came out for this day.

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 006, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

Loved these old scroll signs.

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 042, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

Suppose you were old? Give that lady a seat!!

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 017, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

The conductors on these trains had to go between the cars, step onto little footrests, and click on controls in order to open and close the doors. Not so much fun on those January days when this train ran outside.

New York Vintage Subway Ride, Dec 7 2007

subwayvintagedec2007 023, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

They broke out some of the retired IND subway cars today, and ran them between Second Avenue and Queens Plaza. Great fun. Here, grandpa and grandpa show the kids how they used to commute.

These R-1 subway cars date back to 1931. They served the people of NYC well through the depression and World War Two. They didn't take them out of service until the 1970s.

WABC- Curtis Sliwa in "internal exile"

The Phantom sent a team of psychic detectives to read the minds of WABC Program Director Phil Boyce and NY radio star Curtis Sliwa. Here's what we found:

  • Both Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby want to re-establish their show on another radio station
  • Four radio stations have already expressed interested in hosting a new Curtis and Kuby show
  • Ron Kuby does not have any current radio gig, and could move tomorrow morning. Curtis Sliwa, though, is still under contract with WABC for another 2 1/2 years. Though they don't want him for themselves, their strategy is to "warehouse" Curtis in the 5am-6am slot, when he still can be heard, and guest hosting at other times. The idea is to protect doddering imbecile Imus from the Curtis/Kuby team, which had killed Imus in the ratings for years.
  • Curtis has played the loyal soldier here. He has not criticized WABC at any time for its treachery. But he's no dummy. He has hired an attorney to help resolve the contract issue.
  • If WABC is smart, it will let Curtis Sliwa out of his contract. If they do not, they will soon have a war--not so much with Curtis Sliwa, but with an army of their listeners, who are very angry with the way Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby have been treated.
One good note WABC has rehired the great John Batchelor for the Sunday night, 7-10pm slot. So, there actually is good programming on WABC for eight hours a week. From 5 to 6am Monday through Friday, when Curtis holds his remnant of a show, and on Sunday from 7-10pm. The rest of the day, its Russ Limbahhh and Mark Levin yelling at people.

December 07, 2007

New York Sports Clubs to Open Second Bay Ridge Location

New York Sports Clubs, which seemingly has a location in every neighborhood, will soon open a second Bay Ridge Location--on 86th Street, across the street from Century 21 department store.

I belong to NYSC, and like the Third Avenue/72nd Street location. This new location may be even better. Soon, I can do the "triple play"--hard workout, which will burn the calories, followed by two slices at Pizza Wagon, and four pints at Henry Grattan's , which will restore the calories once more.

From their press release:

Bay Ridge 86th Street Coming Soon

Opening this winter, NYSC Bay Ridge 86th Street will be a 2-story, 17,000 square foot facility that will feature a wide variety of fitness options, including Group Exercise classes and personal training.

This club, conveniently located at the 86th Street station on the R Line, will also have state-of-the-art equipment and extra benefits like a sauna and available parking. With excellent amenities and accessibility, NYSC Bay Ridge 86th Street makes it easier than ever before to go to the gym!

Special features for this new club include:

  • All new, state-of-the-art equipment with audiovisual entertainment
  • Group Exercise studio
  • Spinning® Studio
  • Sauna
  • Towel service
  • Municipal parking

>> Join our VIP list to learn about charter membership rates and receive the latest updates.

We look forward to seeing you at the new Bay Ridge location opening March 2008.

NYSC Bay Ridge 86th Street
439 86th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11209

December 04, 2007

Pole Dancers on the R Train to Bay Ridge

Here's the MTA's latest improvement to R train service to Bay Ridge. They never stop thinking about ways to improve your ride.

This reminds one of the Daisy's Drum strip club up on Fifth Avenue near 83rd Street. It later became Peggy O'Neill's pub. I never went in there, but Kenny told me what went on. I was shocked, and had to go in to investigate.

December 02, 2007

" Curtis and Kuby Show " Is No More

For years in New York, we've had a wonderful morning radio show, on WABC, co-hosted by Curtis Sliwa, founder and head of the Guardian Angels anticrime group, and Ron Kuby, the Marxist civil rights lawyer.

You'd expect this combination of the "right-wing" Sliwa and the leftist Kuby to be a constant, shouting argument. But it wasn't like that. Though they often differed on issues, it rarely got angry or personal. They dissected the issues and played to their strengths- Curtis gave his shtick and shared his streetwise knowledge of NYC and of cities across America ; Kuby gave his lefty point of a precise dissection of legal matters of the day, in terms that a layman could understand.

This show began in 2000. Over the years, they enjoyed great ratings. But as of tomorrow morning, they're gone. They're replaced by Don Imus, the elderly, mean-spirited shock jock who likes to brag about his children's ranch in New Mexico.

I've disliked Imus for years before the overhyped Rutgers basketball team incident--he is a very bad guy.

But tomorrow, Imus inherits the WABC airwaves. Kuby was fired weeks ago. Curtis will stay on WABC doing who knows what.

I'm very unhappy with WABC. They used to have three good shows- Drudge (who left to do something else), and John Batchelor and Curtis and Kuby, who were both cancelled. Now, WABC 77 has no good shows. It has self destructed.

Curtis and Kuby-- please team up and find a new home on WOR or some other station that has no one in the morning. Then you can kill Imus in the ratings in NYC, as you did for many years.

November 26, 2007

New Trees on 68th Street

Last week, the city planted three trees on 68th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues. It will take them a long time to grow as big as the ones we lost during last August's tornado, but we're happy to have them.

Will take a look down 69th Street soon to see if they received any trees.

Work continues on many of the damaged houses. Some have had nearly all the work done, but await final inspection by the City's Buildings Dept.


There's a new discount store at the site of the old Thriftee's. Will scope it out later.

Went down to the library on 73rd Street and Ridge last Tuesday night, when its open until 8pm. There's a Snapple machine that claims to accept library cards as payment. ( Added to the account as if it were a fine?) .But when I tried to use the library card to get a Snapple Iced Tea, it didn't work.
Posted by Picasa

Bay Ridge Bus Riders Discuss Congestion Pricing

StreetFilms joined up with Transportation Alternatives’ Executive Director, Paul Steely White as he discussed congestion pricing with Express Bus commuters in Bay Ridge where riders could use a faster commute and less-crowded buses. White outlined how congestion pricing would decrease traffic in Bay Ridge and offer better transit as he listened to the commuters’ concerns.

A poll released by Quinnpiac today reports that a resounding 89 percent of respondents believed traffic congestion was a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. However, New Yorkers are divided on how to accomplish reductions.

( Thank you very much, Elizabeth, Streetfilms )

November 04, 2007

Bay Ridge Tornado: Recovery Continues

nymarathon2007 017, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

Most of the houses that were knocked out by the tornado are still uninhabited, but a lot of work is being done. Here, see 337 Bay Ridge Avenue.

I spoke with Edgar, from one of the still-damaged houses down 68th Street. He hopes to be back home by Thanksgiving Day.

2007 New York Marathon- British Women

nymarathon2007 011, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

Two English women "run" past. Three to one says that they never finished the race.

2007 New York Marathon Passes Bay Ridge

nymarathon2007 005, originally uploaded by bayridgephantom.

Every year, the New York Marathon passes within a half-block of my house. Most of the runners have lots of energy when it passes 68th Street, along Fourth Avenue. Here, Tommy from down the block watches the runners parade by.

November 03, 2007

The Meaning of American Pie

Mark Simone interviewed Don McLean on WABC redio today. McLean mentioned this youtube video, which he himself has not seen, but which he has heard about.

It attempts to explain the meaning of the song, and I imagine that he has a lot of it right. In any event, the video is filled with interesting facts. Wow--listen for the one about Waylon Jennings

October 27, 2007

Sunday Music: Planxty

If you like Irish music, or folk music, or traditional music, or good music of any description, then the righteous Planxty is for you. They broke up in 1983, but ...

Here, they sing "The Blacksmith", live on Ireland's "Late Show", in 1980. If I received tickets for concerts by the Rolling Stones and Planxty for the same night, I'd attend the concert by the better group. And I'd make someone happy by giving them Stones tickets.

A blacksmith courted me, nine months or better
He fairly won my heart, wrote me a letter
With his hammer in his hand, he looked so clever
And if I were with my love, I would live forever

Oh, where has my love gone with his cheeks like roses
He's gone across the sea gathering primroses
Will burn and scorch I fear the shining sun his beauty
And if I were with my love, I would do my duty

Strange news is come to town, strange news is carried
Sad news cried up and down, that my love is married
I wish them both much joy, though they can't hear me
And if I were with my love, I'd do my duty

What did you promise me when you lay beside me
You said you'd marry me and not deny me
If I said I'd marry you, 'twas only to try you
So bring your witness, love, and I'll not deny you

Oh, witness I have none, save God Almighty
And may he reward you well for the slighting of me
Her lips grew pale and wan; her heart did tremble
For to think she'd had one love, and he proved deceitful

October 22, 2007

American Place

I can't imagine buying anything in "American Place". This picture is typical of what its wares look like-huge piles of low-quality clothing, heaped up on tables.

I wouldn't take this stuff if you offered it to me for nothing.

Hopefully, American Place will be out of business before too long.

American Place

Years ago, the corner of Fourth Avenue and Senator Street was the site of an A&P supermarket, later a Waldbaum's, which provided a valuable service for the entire neighborhood.

In more recent years, a Duane Reade drugstore was on the site. It did not do so well, as it was in competition with the more centrally located Rite Aid supermarket on 69th St.

Now it's the site of "American Place", a clothing store.
Posted by Picasa

October 12, 2007

Al Gore Scams Nobel Peace Prize

Al Gore by Su Berton ©, originally uploaded by Su Bee.

It's been said before, but I must say it again- Gore is a hypocrite on monstrous scale. He uses more energy than your entire neighborhood He is clearly of the "do as I say, not as I do" school, and many in the environmental movement do the cause no favors by giving a knee-jerk defense of Mr. Gore when his personal carbon footprint is mentioned.

I question the value of this prize. In recent decades, so me of the choices have been bizarre and wrong -Henry Kissinger, Le Doc Tho, Yasser Arafat. War-makers getting peace prizes. Beautiful.

Any thinking person should be an environmentalist, and to try to make some of their choices accordingly. Which does not mean that you can't take a critical eye to all or some of the Global Warming Theory. (There's observed Global Warming on Mars. What's the cause of that?)

And which does not mean you accept as a leader a man who does not personally live an environmentally ethical life. He's the environmental equivalent of Bono, who preaches (government-financed) debt relief in Africa while not paying income tax in Ireland.
(Bono takes advantage of Irish law that exempts artists' income from the income tax. When the Irish government sought to tax one of his companies, he moved the company to the Netherlands.

Gore preaches environmentalism, and burns energy on a manic scale, Bono seeks huge revenue flows for Africa, but makes damned sure that he doesn't pay into it.

I could see these two meeting in some private-jet airport, and winking at one another. They've world champion scammers, and the living is very good.

Image (Al Gore by Su Berton ©)

September 30, 2007

2007 Mets: Chokers Complete Monthlong Collapse

Face it. The better team won. The Phillies never quit, while the Mets couldn't motivate Jose Reyes to run to first base.

Shame on the 2007 Mets. They had the division pennant won, but they couldn't be bothered to play hard in September. The less said about this team, the better.

The 1969 Mets, above, were a team that played hard all the time. They have a lot in common with the 2007 Phillies. While there are good competitors on the 2007 Mets, the team in the aggregate are a bunch of dogs. Shame on them. They didn't even try hard. The 2007 Phillies couldn't try hard enough.

Lets go Phillies.

Sunday Music: Ode to Billie Joe, by Bobbie Gentry

This song crept into America's consciousness in 1967, was maybe the year's biggest hit, and forty years later, still sounds as haunting as ever.

This was Bobby Gentry's only major hit. Where have you gone Bobbie Gentry? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

Want more? How about her joining Donovan for a duet on "Mountain"?

First there is a mountain, then there ain't no mountain, then there is!

Lets Go Mets

Let's go for the jugular today boys. We need the Mets to pound the bejasus out of the Florida Marlins again today, and hopefully those wicked Phillies will lose to the Nationals.

Lets Go Mets!!

September 25, 2007

"Brooklyn Rules" Review

L to R: Scott Caan as Carmine, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Mike,
and Jerry Ferrara as Bobby in BROOKLYN RULES

The Bay Ridge of the mid 1980s is the backdrop for Brooklyn Rules, and it's a violent place, where the Mafia has a firm grip on things. One of the first scenes depicts low level mobster Caesar Manganaro ( Alec Baldwin ) kicking someone down the steps of the 95th Street subway station. The young Carmine ( Scott Caan ) watches the assault with awe, and becomes a mafia wannabee on the spot. Mike ( Freddie Prinze ) has a bit of the smart aleck in him but is smart and ambitious enough to get himself into Columbia University. Bobby, he just wants a job at the Post Office.

As you'll expect from a mafia movie, there are the requisite truck hijackings, and your fair share of violent incidents. You'll never look at a meat slicer the same way, let's just say.

This movie brought echoes of any number of Mafia movies, but it also will make any Bay Ridge or Brooklyn person think of Saturday Night Fever. Goofing around the neighborhood with the guys, the attraction of Manhattan, inferiority feelings brought on by it. Mike brings the guys to a fancy Manhattan joint, where the bouncer won't let them in-- they're in sneakers. Brings you right to SNF AND John Trovolta shuffling his feet after moving Karen Lynn Gorney to the fancy Manhattan townhouse.

Much of the movie was shot on location in Brooklyn, so you see shots of the Verrazano Bridge, St. Patrick's Church, the 95th St. subway station, and the Cyclone. Key parts are shown in what are meant to be the long gone Pastels dance club and the Hamilton House.

Alec Baldwin is a terrific Caesar. You'll believe him as the lawgiver among thieves, the neighborhood head-buster, the cigarette-smoking wiseguy in Pastel's VIP section.

The other characters for some reason seemed flat to me, and I don't know why. I can't criticize any performance, and the dialogue was, at times excellent.

This movie absolutely bombed at the box office in May, but it has just come out on DVD. While not great, it's worth renting.

September 16, 2007

Sunday Music: "New York, New York" by Liza and Pavarotti

Liza and Pavorotti sing "New York, New York" " at the 1006 "Pavarotti & Friends" concert in Modena, Italy

This song became associated with Sinatra, but Liza sang it first, and if you ask me, best.

Its her song. And what can you say about the great Pavorotti? How cool was he?

Spiderman Movie - Original (World Trade Center) Trailer

Oh, do I wish that they hadn't reedited this movie in 2001. Though I can understand why they did.

Perhaps sometime in the future they will release the original version, the one that includes the World Trade Center.

September 11, 2007

Downtown Manhattan, September 11, 2007

9/11/07, originally uploaded by lzplksk.

Today was a day that alternated between rain and the threat of rain, so different from the clear and perfect Tuesday of six years ago. Most appropriate.

I once worked in Two World Trade Center, 103 stories above the Manhattan streets. For five years, my company relocated near Grand Central Terminal. Not too long ago, we moved back downtown, over by the South Street Seaport. So this was my first 9/11 anniversary back in lower Manhattan.

I went to work today, and walked over to the World Trade Center sight twice, once at lunchtime, the second time on the way home.

As I approached Church Street around 11:30, I could hear them, still, reading out the names of victims from the "family area" at Liberty Plaza. I saw a woman walk quickly from that area, pain on her face, followed by others, presumably family or friends.

By the PATH train station, a small army of "Truthers", those who think that the US Government had intentionally arranged for the attacks had gathered. They were all dressed in black t shirts. Most of them were arranged in a cluster facing the stairs of the PATH Station. Passengers exiting the station, some no doubt to pay homage to their loved ones, were faced by an unsmiling army of Truthers staring them down.

I went back there at around 7:30pm The Truthers were still there, including a guy in a George Bush facemask handing out brochures. I took one. I used to be so angry seeing these people. Now I'm more sorry for them than anything. They couldn't be more wrong or more disrespectful, but they know not what they do.

I looked in vain for the Towers of Light. Looking just north of the WTC area, where they had shone the past four years, they were not there. Then, as I looked left, southward, on Church Street, I saw them in all their glory, reaching to and through some low clouds. Words do not describe, but lzplksk's excellent photo does do them justice.

A lone piper played "Amazing Grace". I could not see him, but I heard him, as the blue Towers of Light reached for the sky.

We remember.

September 10, 2007

September 11, 2007

Were You Impacted by the Bay Ridge/Sunset Park Tornado?

A reporter for the NY Press newspaper wants to get in touch with Brooklyn residents who were hit hardest by last month's tornado. If you have been so impacted, or if you can put me in touch with someone who has been badly hit, please send me an e-mail soonest at, so that I can make introductions.

Open Letter from the Committee to Save the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church to Congressman Fossella

September 8, 2007

In June of 2005, on the steps of the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, Congressman Vito Fossella held a press conference announcing the formation of an “Overdevelopment Task Force” to study soft-sites in this district.

He was quoted in his own press release as saying “this task force will develop a comprehensive game plan for our community before a piece of institutionally-owned property is even on the market.” He even created a sub-committee to specifically study the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church.

According to local press reports, the property is already in contract to be sold to a developer. We all know that once the deal is closed, all the buildings on the lot will be leveled and new ‘luxury condos” will be built in its place. Not only will a much-beloved building be lost but the resulting massive development will strain our already overloaded infrastructure.

The Committee to Save the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church ( was formed in March of this year after an unsuccessful attempt by Council Member Vincent Gentile to explore alternatives which would have resulted in the preservation of this historic church building. The committee has been working tirelessly since March to find a solution that will keep this building from being torn down.

Congressman Fossella’s subcommittee has had over 2 years to formulate recommendations for this site should it be placed on the market. There has not been one word from this task force or its subcommittee reported in the press. Our community desperately needs help in protecting this valuable landmark and other properties in the neighborhood which are also at risk.

The reality is that once this building is razed there will likely be a domino effect resulting in the destruction of many other soft sites which Congressman Fossella’s task force was charged with identifying. We already know of at least one other nearby soft site which has been openly reported to be at risk of demolition.

There has never been a more urgent time than now for Congressman Fossella’s task force, and especially its subcommittee for the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church, to publish its report and recommendations for saving this and other ‘soft sites’ in our neighborhood before its too late.


Committee to Save the Bay Ridge United Methodist Church

Kathleen Walker, Co-Chair

September 09, 2007

Sunday Music: Songs of 9/11

If you want to know how irrelevant rock music has become, think of the fact that nearly no rock music of note came out of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Many good rock songs were written about the Vietnam war, but quick, what songs came out of September 11?

Bruce Springsteen: The Rising
Cant see nothin in front of me
Cant see nothin coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I cant feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far Ive gone
How far Ive gone, how high Ive climbed
On my backs a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile of line

A lot of people think that this is a good song about 9/11, but I do not. There's no direct or indirect mention of what caused the fireman to be in that position. There's no anger, no sorrow, no emotion other than a bouncy "la la la la la la la la la" chorus.

Sorry, this is not a meaningful song. Its typical up-tempo Springsteen stadium rock, of the same emotion as if he was singing about "Glory Days" , about bullshitting about the past in some Jersey bar. OK if you're into that sort of thing, but sorry, 9/11 was not a "la la la " day and this is not any great song.

Neil Young: Lets Roll

The one 9/11 rock song that had meaning for me was Neil Young's "Let's Roll" . I can't imbed it, but you can see the video here

Young grabs the issue of United 93 and the passenger uprising by the throat:

No one has the answer,
But one thing is true,
You've got to turn on evil,
When it's coming after you,
You've gota face it down,
And when it tries to hide,
You've gotta go in after it,
And never be denied,
Time is runnin' out,
Let's roll.

Let's roll for freedom,
Let's roll for love,
We're going after Satan,
On the wings of a dove,
Let's roll for justice,
Let's roll for truth,
Let's not let our children,
Grow up fearful in their youth.

I got chills after hearing these lines the first time.

Lets move to where the real emotional reaction came from. Lets go to the world of country music.

Toby Keith: Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue

Toby Keith's response to the 9/11 attacks: righteous anger

Now this nation that I love
Has fallen under attack
A mighty sucker punch came flyin in
From somewhere in the back
Soon as we could see clearly
Through our big black eye
Man, we lit up your world
Like the 4th of july

Hey Uncle Sam
Put your name at the top of his list
And the Statue of Liberty
Started shakin her fist
And the eagle will fly
Man, its gonna be hell
When you hear mother freedom
Start ringin her bell
And it feels like the whole wide world is raining down on you
Brought to you courtesy of the red white and blue

Justice will be served
And the battle will rage
This big dog will fight
When you rattle his cage
And you'll be sorry that you messed with
The U.S. of A.
cause well put a boot in your ass
Its the Aamerican way!

A few too many flags for my liking here, but this is a righteous and proper response. None of Bruce's la la la's here. Toby Keith is pissed. And why shouldn't he be? Bruce got all filled with artistic rage when he sang 41 Shots, about a botched police action in New York City, about a terrible incident when an innocent man got shot 41 times. Why couldn't he summon the same level of anger when 3000 of his fellow citizens were murdered? La la la.

Darryl Worley: Have You Forgotten?

This song hit me in the solar plexus when it came out in 2003. Yes, many people even then had forgotten, and more have forgotten now. I remember seeing this video for the first time: the image of the World Trade Center near the end is just devastating. This is a great song.

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And you say we shouldn't worry 'bout bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

They took all the footage off my T.V.
Said it's too disturbing for you and me
It'll just breed anger that's what the experts say
If it was up to me I'd show it everyday
Some say this country's just out looking for a fight
Well, after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right

Have you forgotten how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell?
We had neighbors still inside going thru a living hell
And we vowed to get the one’s behind bin Laden
Have you forgotten?

Alan Jackson: Where Were You? (When the World Stopped Turning)

I think that Alan Jackson's "Where Were You"? is the best song about the events of September 11. It sounds as fresh today as it was the first time I heard it. It's neither pro-war nor is it anti-war. And no Christian is going to have a problem with these simple, true, lyrics.

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

September 08, 2007

Tommy Makem, RIP

Tommy Makem died on August 1, and I heard about it only when I was on vacation in China. He was born and raised in Keady, County Armagh, only a few minutes drive from my family in Monaghan. When I was a child, the music of Tommy Makem and the Clancy Brothers would often be heard in my home. He was a fine artist, and a respected peer of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and the other folk stars of the 1960s. I hope you like the above song, which does not appear to be that old, but which features a Tommy Makem who is still fairly strong.

(from Wikipedia)
Makem was born and raised in Keady, County Armagh (the "Hub of the Universe" as Makem always said), in Northern Ireland. His mother, Sarah Makem, was also a successful folk singer, as well as an important source of traditional Irish music, who was visited and recorded by, among others, Diane Guggenheim Hamilton, Jean Ritchie, Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle.

He emigrated to the United States in 1955, carrying his few possessions and a set of bagpipes (from his time in a pipe band). He went to work in a mill in Dover, New Hampshire; but in 1956, a mill accident crushed his hand. With his arm in a sling, he sought out the Clancy Brothers in New York to make music.

The Clancys were signed to Columbia Records in 1961. The same year, at the Newport Folk Festival, Makem and Joan Baez were named the most promising newcomers on the American folk scene. During the 1960s, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem[1] performed sellout concerts at such venues as Carnegie Hall, and made television appearances on shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show. The group performed at The White House for President Kennedy. They also played in smaller venues such as Gate of Horn in Chicago.

Makem left the group in 1969 to pursue a solo career. In 1975, he and Liam Clancy were both booked to play a folk festival in Cleveland, Ohio, and were persuaded to do a set together. Thereafter they often performed as Makem and Clancy, recording several albums together. He once again went solo in 1988.

In the 1980-90s, Makem was a principal in a well-known New York Irish music venue, "Tommy Makem's Irish Pavilion." This E. 57th Street club was a prominent and well-loved performance spot for a wide range of musicians. A random list of performers and visitors includes Paddy Reilly, Joe Burke, and Ronnie Gilbert. Makem was a regular performer, often solo and often as part of Makem & Clancy, particularly in the late fall and holiday season. The club was also used for warm-up performances in the weeks before the 1984 reunion concert of The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem at Lincoln Center.

In 1997 he wrote a book, Tommy Makem's Secret Ireland, and in 1999 premiered his own one man theatre show, Invasions and Legacies, in New York. He also established the Tommy Makem International Festival of Song in South Armagh in 2000.[2]

Makem died following a lengthy battle with lung cancer in Dover, New Hampshire. He continued to record and perform until very close to the end. Paying tribute to him after his death, Liam Clancy said, "He was my brother in every way"[3]

His sons Shane, Conor, and Rory ("The Makem Brothers") and nephew Tom Sweeney continue the family folk music tradition. He also had one daughter Katie Makem-Boucher and two grandchildren Molly Dickerman and Robert Boucher. His wife, Mary predeceased him in 2001.

September 07, 2007

Brooklyn Tornado - Brooklyn Residents Eligible for Federal Aid

Holy Cow! Look how the security gate got pushed in by the winds!

Some belated good news for Bay Ridge and Sunset Park. Today, it was announced that those who suffered property damage will be eligible for FEMA Assistance.

According to Rep. Vito Fossella, R-NY 13, residents who suffered damage due to the storm must register with FEMA for assistance and establish eligibility. FEMA will verify eligibility and need before assistance is offered. Residents can file an application with FEMA by calling 1-­800-­621-FEMA (or TTY 1-­800-­462-­7585 for the hearing or speech impaired) daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and by logging onto
(From Brooklyn Daily Eagle )

Fossella said "“We have been speaking with federal officials on a near daily basis to demonstrate that our borough needed federal help to recover [and] this designation will allow Brooklynites … to apply for financial assistance from the federal government.“The damage throughout our community was widespread and significant,” he continued. “I want to thank FEMA for responding to our request and for providing a helping hand to affected Brooklynites.” (from The Brooklyn Paper )

Queens, which suffered more widespread damage, had been made eligible for FEMA relief last week. But individuals in Bay Ridge and Sunset Park were probably hurt more than individuals in Queens--some of them have suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to their homes, will be living out of hotels for six months, due to something completely and totally unexpected, almost unknowable.

Good job, President Bush, and good job, Rep. Fossella. You won't get any props from most NYC blogs, but credit will be given here where it has been earned.

September 04, 2007

World Trade Center: Depeche Mode Video

I found this haunting video for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Depeche Mode recorded "Enjoy the Silence" atop Two World Trade Center, where I worked for years. I may have been in the office when this was filmed.

I'd like to know when it was filmed.

August 30, 2007

My Internet Service is Down

My Time Warner Cable service-- phone, cable TV, and Internet service -- has been down since last night. Will advise when it is back.

Won't be much blogging until service is restored.

August 27, 2007

Bay Ridge Tornado: Who Helped the Most?

Bay Ridge Tornado Aftermath, originally uploaded by martine266.

Well we conducted a poll on the above subject, and the polls ended last night. So who won?

Who helped the most in dealing with the Bay Ridge Tornado?
  • Phantom 17
  • Fire Department 12
  • NY Sanitation Dept 11
  • NY Police Dept 5
  • Sen. Marty Golden 3
  • Mayor Mike 2
  • Red Cross 2
  • FEMA 2
Well, I hereby disqualify myself due to friendly ballot stuffing in various quarters. And I was away on that fateful day, so I cannot possibly qualify.

The winner is the NY Fire Department, with a total of 12 votes. But a huge tip of the hat goes to the Sanitation Department. My neighbor advises that their efforts to clean up 68th Street on August 8th were unbelievable. "There aren't enough words in the language to praise them for the way they worked. It was boiling hot, it was humid, but they did not leave until 68th Street was in broom-swept condition at the end of August 8th.

So the FDNY wins, deservedly so, but a big tip of the hat to DSNY. Good job, lads.

August 26, 2007

Sunday Music: Gigliola Cinquetti "Quelli erano giorni"

Linda Hopkin set the world on fire with "Those Were the Days". Its origin was as a Russian song, lamenting the passing of the golden folk music days of Dylan, Paxton, Ochs, and The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem. The song was the final recording by the Clancys.

Mary Hopkin did a version of this song in Italian. But here's a great version by an actual Italian singer, Gigliola Cinquetti.

August 25, 2007

R Train is the Party Train

This is how we commute from Bay Ridge every day. The R train. The party train.

When the R train comes into the station, its like New Years Eve. It never gets old.

How Kenny gets to the back of the car.

August 22, 2007

Tornado: Aunt Maude's Tree Cut Down

This tree, which had graced the south side of 68th Street, near Fourth Avenue, for many decades, was cut down on Tuesday. It had been sick for some years. A huge chunk of it spontaneously fell in July 2006. The tornado gave it a mortal blow. Still, its sad to see it chopped down. Hope new trees are planted soon.


From Steve Baldwin's great Brooklyn Parrots, an article on how the feisty Brooklyn parrots survived the tornado.


As I write this, I'm keeping an eye on CNN's "Holy Warriors" program, hosted by Christine Amanpour. I have my quarrels with this show --it gives equal weight to Christian, Jewish and Muslim "Holy Warriors", which is laughable moral equivalence. Yet, there is a lot of depth to this show. Amanpour here travels through Europe and the Middle East, speaking with knowledge to politicians and (literally) ayatollahs.

CBS totally missed the boat when they gave the "first female anchor" job to the perky airhead Katie Couric. This has only led to a complete collapse of CBS's ratings. Had they gone the more serious route, had they given an actual journalist such as Christine Amanpour a shot, they would have been so much better off.

Thriftee's : Going, Going....

This photo was taken on Monday. Which probably means that that it closes this coming weekend. So if you want a hairbrush for 59 cents or a similar bargain, you'd better get over there! After you emerge with your trinkets, you can stop across the street at Killarney Pub for a fine pint of Guinness. Or three.

August 20, 2007

Bay Ridge Tornado: Need Wood?

If you need some wood for the fireplace, head on up to Fifth Avenue, between Senator and 67th Street. Big pile of it there.

This big hunk of metal was blown into my next door neighbor's backyard by the tornado. He's not allowed to enter the yard until its gone. But the City has made no move to remove the thing, and my neighbor can't remove it without entering the yard!

Sunday Music - The Mamas and the Papas

The Mamas and the Papas had such a beautiful,joyous, haunting sound. My pick was going to be Creeque Alley, but I watched several of their videos on youtube, and the little dance that Michelle and Cass do here made me pick this one instead. Is Michelle beautiful or what? And John Phillips, where did you get that hat?

As Wiki tells us --"Dedicated to the One I Love" is the name of a song written by Ralph Bass and Lowman Pauling. Bass and Pauling were members of The "5" Royales, the group that recorded the original version of this song. A version by The Shirelles was a minor hit for them in 1959. The "5" Royales saw a re-release of their own version chart at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. Later that year, The Shirelles re-released their version and watched it rocket up the chart to #3. A subsequent remake by The Mamas and The Papas released on the Dunhill label went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967. Lead singer on the Mamas and Papas version was Mama Michelle Phillips. It was the first time Michelle was given the lead over Mama Cass Elliott in any of their songs.

August 17, 2007

Bay Ridge Tornado: Lief Ericson Park

Having heard stories of massive damage to the tree stands, I walked up to Lief Ericson Park yesterday, expecting the worst. But you know-its not in that bad condition.

A number of trees were uprooted, many suffered significant damage, and probably all suffered some damage. But--the streets along the park are still lined with strong, fine looking plane trees. Re-plant a few of the trees that were uprooted, and this entire area will be fine.

Bay Ridge Tornado: Bay Ridge Baptist Church

Looks like Bay Ridge Baptist Church suffered roof damage.

Bay Ridge Tornado: Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church

Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church,
Before the storm


Double click so you can read the sign

The Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church has always been a good neighbor. The building itself is damaged, but the Church is in fine shape.

August 16, 2007

Video of 68th Street near Fourth Avenue

Youtube video of 68th Street, near Fourth Avenue, taken on August 8, the day the tornado hit. Thanks, alecandy

Tornado; Report from August 9

I read the below article from China, in astonishment. Several of my neigbhbors are quoted in it. It was published by Newsday, who then edited it, removing the names of most of the local people. I finally found a replica of the original article on
Crown Heights Info. Thanks, guys.

National Weather Service officials confirmed Wednesday night that a tornado had touched down in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn this morning about 6:30 a.m.

The tornado, which was confirmed by twisting patterns in the debris left behind, was probably moving at speeds of 111 to 135 miles per hour, meteorologists said.

More pictures and videos in the Extended Article!

Hours after the tornado and violent thunderstorm pounded the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited one of the blocks hardest hit, shook hands with residents and said that, thankfully, no one was seriously hurt there.

The mayor arrived at 68th Street and 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge at about 11:20 a.m., less than three hours after the tornado and storm knocked windows out of the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, toppled trees and branches and blew the roofs — or portions of them — off a handful of row houses in the working-class neighborhood.

One area resident, Ted Najjar, 58, told the mayor he had grown up on the block — and that the house he currently lives in was previously owned by his parents. “To see the block like this is just terrible,” Najjar told the mayor.

“As long as nobody's hurt,” Bloomberg said.

Around them bricks, wood, pieces of roofs and downed tree limbs littered the street.

Officials at the National Weather Service confirmed this evening that a tornado had struck the area, after residents all day had described a tornado-like storm.

The storm caused the partial collapse of a building at 58th Street and 6th in Sunset Park.

It also ripped the roofs off of a number of houses on the north side of Bay Ridge Avenue, between 3rd and 4th avenues, while leaving buildings on the south side of the street untouched.

One resident of 68th Street, Vinny Ferraioli, 50, said he was getting ready to go to work as a computer programmer for Consolidated Edison when he turned on the Weather Channel and learned a tornado watch had been issued for Bay Ridge.

He said his 11-year-old daughter became concerned and he tried to calm her fears. “'Honey,'” Ferraioli told her, “'we never get a tornado.'”

Then Ferraioli said he got “a bad feeling” and decided to usher his daughter, his wife and his parents to the basement. But, before they even reached the basement door, the fury of the storm hit.

By 11:30 a.m. he was trying to figure out how to patch his roof, which had been partially destroyed by the winds.

“It's very weird,” he said. “I called my boss this morning and said, 'You won't believe this. There's actually a tornado.'”

Down the block, at the corner of 68th Street and 4th Avenue, Pastor David Aja-Sigmon stood on the sidewalk outside the Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Bay Ridge sweeping shards of glass with a broom.

Yellow New York City Police Department tape cordoned off the area. A fallen pine tree lay on the nearby street.

The storm had shattered front stained-glass window of the red-brick church — a huge pentagon-shaped window measuring at least 15 feet wide and perhaps 20 feet high.

“Right now, we're just mourning,” Aja-Sigmon said, surveying the scene outside the church, which also suffered storm-related damage to several side windows. “We're just thankful to god that no one was here and was hurt.”

Aja-Sigmon said he served the past two years as pastor at the church, founded by Syrian-Americans, having moved to Bay Ridge from Chicago.

“Never would I imagine there would be a tornado and the windows would be gone,” Aja-Sigmon said, saying neighborhood residents claimed it was a tornado that struck the area. “I thought I left that back in the Midwest.”

In the aftermath of the storm, Lisa Hickey, 46, was sweeping the steps outside her home on 68th Street. Branches were scattered across the sidewalk. Tiles had been blown off the top of her roof.

She said she heard a “big boom” at about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday — and then her beagle started barking.

“I was afraid to come out because there was lightning and thunder,” Hickey said. “It certainly sounded like a tornado, because we heard a whirring sound. . . . We felt the floor shaking in the house.”

Another resident, Tommy Scanlon, 69, she he had planned to go to the Rockaways Wednesday morning to play golf with a friend. Instead, the storm hit, leaving his 1998 grey Mercury Grand Marquis crushed by fallen branches.

“This morning a little after 6 I called my buddy and said, 'Charlie, it look like were not going to play golf today.'” Scanlon said he heard the wind blowing and said: “'All this wind. My God, it's got to be a tornado.' I hadn't felt anything like this since Donna in 1964 . . . Then I heard the alarms going off on the cars outside. I couldn't believe what I saw. My car was buried in branches. There won't be golf for another week.”

Councilman Vincent Gentile said residents had “never seen anything like this” in Bay Ridge, adding that it was fortunate no one was seriously hurt by the storm. Police could not immediately confirm if there were storm-related injuries.

“Luckily no one was seriously hurt,” Gentile said. “Had it happened later there would have been much greater injuries.”

“There was lightning and thunder like nothing we have every experienced,” Gentile added. “Some one said to me it felt like we were in the Gulf Coast and we're in Brooklyn, New York.”

The storm not only flooded roads throughout the metro area and caused service disruptions to New York City Transit, Kennedy, LaGuardia, Long Island-MacArthur and Newark-Liberty airports as well as on the Long Island Rail Road, it also forced the closures of all 18 Nassau County north shore beaches, as well as many beaches on the South Shore.

August 15, 2007

Tornado Aftermath- Favorite Trees Badly Damaged

68th Street, Bay Ridge

For this and other photos, double click to enlarge

One week after the tornado, the neighborhood stands tall.

There's a great deal of work that needs to be done.

Some of our neighbors have had the most awful week. They're living in hotels. They come back to their houses to try to move the process of rebuilding forward, or just to be there.

If you happen to walk or drive by, its easy to think that things are normal. They're better, but not normal. Some of our friends are having an awful time. A lot of the rest of us have had an awful scare. Some of us will only be discovering specific damage to our homes in the coming weeks.

I remember when this tree, in front of 374 68th Street, was immense, with strong branches extended over the street. The house was owned in the 1960s by a old lady named Maude ( "Aunt Maude" ) who had lived in the house since the 1920s, when there were vegetable patches across the street, in a Bay Ridge that still had lots of farms in it.

She saw this tree grow up, and we're now seeing it in its last stages. A huge chunk of it fell onto the street last July. Now the storm has ripped much of the remaining branches from it. Its a stick, a shell of its old self now.

A smaller, relatively young tree in front of 370 68th Street was destroyed.

This tree, in front of 366 68th Street suffered a lot of damage. A chunk of that big branch to the right snapped off.

And amazingly ( look closely) the top part of the trunk was ripped off cleanly.

The trees on this street and on Bay Ridge's other fine streets and avenues are its crowning glory. They've been hurt badly. I hope that new trees are planted and that the injured ones recover.
I was told that Mr. Macey, who with his family lived for many years at 370 68th Street, died last week, about an hour after the storm hit. He'd been living in Toms River, NJ. He was a good neighbor and a fine man. God Bless.

Bay Ridge Tornado Damage - One Week Later

329 Bay Ridge Avenue

This morning, I took a walk down 68th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues. There are still green, red or yellow stickers on many front doors.

Here is the status of the houses as I see it. If I've made any errors, please point them out:

68th Street

  • 370- Restricted Entry
  • 366- Inspected
  • 364 Inspected
  • 360 Restricted Entry
  • 358 Restricted Entry
  • 354, 352, 350, 348- Vacate / Unsafe
  • 344 Inspected
Major sidewalk damage on 68th Street, from tree uprootings I think:
  • 343
  • 357
There are crews from "Enviral Restoration" working on some of the houses on the block.

There are police on the block keeping an eye on things 24 hours a day.

Kirk and others in the neighborhood said that:
  • the City, State, Feds ( yes, FEMA was here ) and the Red Cross did an unbelievably good job cleaning up the block and providing aid to the shell-shocked residents who had to vacate their homes.
  • Twenty four hours after the storm hit, all the trees and other major obstructions had been removed. The block was in "broom swept" condition.
  • State Senator Marty Golden made sure that that governmental agencies responded, with the proper level of aid, right away. Mayor Bloomberg did everything that a mayor could possibly have done, but lets face it, Marty was the demanding coach who let nothing slip.
  • Time Warner Cable guys were working in the backyards today, replacing cable
  • There are signs reporting that there is a major failure of a Verizon cable.

On Bay Ridge Avenue ( 69th Street ) observed status as follows:
  • 357 Inspected
  • 353 Restricted Entry
  • 351 Restricted Entry / Vacate
  • 349, 347, 345, 341 339, 337, 335, 333, 329 Vacate/Unsafe Conditions
  • 327 Inspected
I believe that "Inspected" means that the exterior of the property has been inspected, with no visible defects

343 68th Street

August 14, 2007

Where Have You Gone, Phil Rizzuto?

Ah, Christ. I checked the headlines today when the plane touched down from Beijing, saw "Phil Rizzuto", and knew right away what it was. Phil Rizzuto, at the age of 89 years, was dead.

I never saw Rizzuto when he played a great shortstop for the championship Yankees teams of the 1940s and fifties.

Like any modern era NY sports fan, I remember him as the excitable, over the top "Voice of the Yankees" on their radio and TV broadcasts. He wasn't the most professional announcer --there were long stretches when the game was the last thing he'd be speaking of --but he was such fun.

In the late 1980s, I went to One World Trade Center for a short business meeting. As I entered the elevator for the trip back down to the lobby, who do I see in the car but Phil Rizzuto?

I introduced myself, we shook hands. I mentioned that I was from Bay Ridge, and the Brooklyn-born Phil said "Yes, I used to work near there. At the Bush Terminal".

So, while he'll be remembered as an announcer, for the guest appearance on Meat Loaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light", as a champion baseball player with seven World Series rings, I'll remember him as someone who was friendly to me in a chance encounter maybe twenty years ago.

I'm just back from China, which was fun. But as always, the best thing about going on vacation is the coming back. This year is different, in the aftermath of the tornado damage. There's a policeman standing watch tonight over a number of damaged buildings on 68th Street. Tomorrow, I'll try to take stock.

August 12, 2007

Vacation in China

I am in vacation in China until Tuesday, August 14. Vacation photos may be found
at Chinese Connection

The Great Wall. Walk a few miles on this thing, and you get a hell of a workout.

August 10, 2007

Bay Ridge - Recovery from the Storm

August 08, 2007

Bay Ridge Tornado - Two

Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church, with the entire front window blown out by the winds. This church is less than a block from my house.

These photos, and many other images from Bay Ridge and elsewhere from AM New York (thanks, Judy)

Quoted in Newsday, pastor David Aja-Sigmon said "Never would I imagine there would be a tornado," as he swept up the remnants of the stained glass window. "I thought I left that back in the Midwest."

Houses on Bay Ridge Avenue (a/k/a 69th Street) , between Third and Fourth Avenues, with extensive damage to the roof and facades. These buildings are on the other side of the city block from where I live.

The tornado apparently touched down right around here, then moved east/northeast across 68th Street , then across Fourth Avenue, in the direction of Sunset Park. It did not miss my house (on 68th Street, near Fourth Avenue ) by very much, but it did miss it. Thanks to Kenny and to Kirk and to the next door neighbors for confirming that little fact for me. I can breathe again now. If there had been damage, I was all set to cut the vacation short and fly back from China.

More coverage, and scary photos here, from btsnews.

Tornado in Bay Ridge

(tree damage to house in Bay Ridge, location unknown. This and other terrific photos
here )

This would happen when I am out of the country, in Beijing, China.

There was a small tornado, or something close to it, in Bay Ridge this morning. There are numerous reports of downed trees, broken windows, damage to roofs.

The best current news appears to be from Newsday, who quotes several friends and neighbors from 68th Street. (they've since edited the article. But the first draft of this article mentioned three people I know on my block by name!)

Kenny reports that 1010 WINS" is providing good coverage.

Quick Eyewitness Report from Kenny

I can't get anywhere NEAR 68 street. 69th is f**** up. lief eriksen park is all messed up about 40% of the trees are down. TV crews all over the place. it's tough to get near there. I tried calling **** but his lines been busy. maybe the lines down.

Reports the NY Times City Room
Storm Declared a Tornado

710pm NYC time
From Fox Five, news report, plus a series of photos. Click on the small photos to enlarge them. One is of a tree that blew into an apartment house window. Another is of several roofs severely damaged--I suspect that the photo of roof damage may be 68th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues. I was advised that 348 68th Street suffered $100,000 damage and that clearly could be one of the storm damaged houses in one of the photos we see here.

Very good photo gallery from NY Daily News, with a number of photos of the damage in Bay Ridge, Sunset Park, and elsewhere in Brooklyn.
Bay Ridge storm damage images posted in Flickr
Because China blocks all blogs, I am in the peculiar position of being able to post to my own blog, but I cannot see it or most blogs directly, nor can I read comments directly. If you've posted a comment, please also send it to me at so I know what is being said. Email can be received, but blogs are blocked.

August 04, 2007

Off to China!

Today, I am off to China for a 12 day trip in Beijing and Xian.

Many internet sites are blocked in China-perhaps even this one. If possible, I will post messages from there. If its not possible to post, you'll hear from me on or around August 15.

Next stop, the 13 hour nonstop flight to Beijing.

I don't have access to any blogs from here, including my own. But- it appears that I do have the ability to post messsges on it. So I can write here, but I can't see what I write until I return home. OK, thats what it is!

July 29, 2007

Sunday Music: Jimmy Cliff "The Harder They Come"

Jimmy Cliff sings "The Harder they Come" on the Dick Cavett Show.

I saw the movie of the same name many times when it was shown in Manhattan's Art Theater. Its gone now. It was on Eighth Street, near Astor Place. I worked as an usher there for a while. Do any movie theaters still have ushers?