December 20, 2009

Soccer Tavern

After work on Friday, I met up with the Kong and James in the Soccer Tavern, at 6004 Eighth Avenue.

This bar opened about thirty years ago, at at time when Eighth Avenue was still kinda sorta a Scandinavian neighborhood. Three decades later, this is a Chinese neighborhood, but there's still some remnants of the old Norwegian, Swede and Irish influence.

I arrived first, since the plan was for James to give the Kong a ride and for me to arrive straight from work. I arrived from work right on time, but James was lost somewhere near Father Capodano Boulevard in the wilds of Staten Island.

When I got there, the crowd was mostly Chinese men. A bunch of customers " right off the boat " hung out in the back benches, while I grabbed a seat by the bar and tried to save two seats for Kong and Jimmy, if Jimmy was ever gonna show up.

Its a comfortable, neighborhood place. The barmaid used to work in Bay Ridge's long lost Glenroe, and was well accustomed to the magnificent tradition of the buyback. Mugs were kept in the freezer.

The day bartender was sitting at the far end, and, wobbly legged, had to be helped from his chair when it was time for him to head home. You have to like a place where the employees like what they sell.

The Chinese guys left after a while, and a mixed Chinese, Scandinavian and Irish crowd carried on after that. Someone played " Fairytale of New York ".

This was my first visit to this bar, but it won't by my last. It's near a large number of good Chinese restaurants, and is in walkable distance of home, so why not?


Our sources say that the new Key Food supermarket on Bay Ridge Ave. / 69th Street will open on Sunday January 10

December 05, 2009

Liam Clancy, RIP

Response to post in ATW

Bob Dylan once called Liam Clancy "the best ballad singer I've ever heard." Clancy died Friday at a hospital in County Cork, Ireland. He was 74.
From NPR

December 04, 2009

John Batchelor Show Back on the Air Five Nights A Week

Effective this week, the John Batchelor Show is back on WABC 77 New York, from 9pm - 1am , Monday through Friday.

John Batchelor is the best public affairs talk host on the US radio airwaves. He's not a screamer, and he does not fit into any right or left wing cubbyhole. He's got serious international connections, and on every show you'll hear detail and frankness on domestic and international issues that you won't hear elsewhere.

Check it out, on radio or on the WABC stream. Highly recommended.

November 28, 2009

Ticket Trap on 67th Street / Lief Erickson Park

View Larger Map
There is a ticket trap on 67th Street, just west of Fifth Avenue, on the north side of the street, by the Lief Erickson basketball courts .

( click on photo to enlarge. Photos taken early Thanksgiving morning ) My sister came in from out of state to visit. This past Monday, on or about 5pm, she parked on 67th Street, a few car lengths from Fifth Avenue. She made sure to double check the closest Parking Regs sign which is shown here. It says " No Parking " only for 8:30 - 10am Monday morning.

Imagine her surprise when she came back Tuesday to have a parking ticket that said she had violated a " No Parking Anytime " sign.

I walked up there last Tuesday night trying to figure out what had happened. One space down from the " No Parking Except for 830-10am " sign was a lightpole with brackets where a sign might be placed. But there was no sign. Maybe it fell out. Maybe there was never one there.

Only if you walk way, way down the block, past the light pole, past the fire hydrant, will you see this sign, which says " No Parking Any Time ".

It looks like there is one missing sign, leaving two signs in conflict. One says " OK to park at any time except Monday morning ". Another sign, quite far away says " No Parking Anytime "

On Thanksgiving morning, I saw that the 68th Precinct had given two additional tickets. People thought that they were parking legally, and their Thanksgiving present was to get bad faith parking tickets.

On tomorrow, I will call the 68th Precinct at 718-439-4211 to report this Parking Trap.

On Monday, I will call City Councilman Gentile's office at 718-748-5200. to see if they can help.

take a walk over to see this situation for yourself
call the Councilman and 68th Precinct to complain. There is power in numbers
Report any nearby Bay Ridge Parking Traps. I'm certain that they're out there.


It has been found. Thank you, youtube.

I think it was from the early 1970s. My mother, like so many Irish, would listen to various Irish radio programs. They could be heard on college stations like Bronx based WFUV, whose FM signal was barely strong enough to push past the Manhattan skyscrapers into Bay Ridge. The Sunday night program was hosted by Adrian Flannery I think. If you positioned the radio just so, you could hear a song or two. Then the signal would shift again, and you'd get more static than song. You'd fiddle with the controls, move the radio around, and you'd have the signal again. Maybe.

It was from such a tenuous link that I recall the heard " Shanagolden ". For maybe two years in those old days, it was one of the most popular songs in the micro-universe of Irish-American radio. They'd play it every week.

It was written by one Sean McCarthy, a Kerry man who wrote his first song at the age of seven. Many of his songs dealt with sadness and death.

The protagonist of this song is a woman, whose husband died fighting " the Saxon stranger " in Limerick a long time ago. There are good versions by female singers, but to me the best is this one, by Brian Day.

The audio imperfections make this all the better to me. The words harken to a distant past, to long ago battles in Limerick, to long ago broadcasts from the Bronx.

November 22, 2009

Three Oak Trees Planted on 68th St

Three young English Oak trees have been planted in front of 374, 370, and 366 68th Street. These replace trees that were destroyed during the freak tornado that hit the block in 2007. ( Will post a photo of the trees soon )


Our crack sources tell us that the new Bay Ridge Avenue Key Food will open on Sunday December 13. Some of the shelves have been stocked, things are finally rounding into shape there.

November 09, 2009

This morning, I went to visit the USS New York at Pier 88 with some friends.

The line to get on board was not long. The troops could not have been more friendly.


Giving some marksmanship tips :)

Be safe, boys.

message in message in

November 02, 2009

USS New York Comes to Town

The USS New York is an amphibious transport dock ship.

It was built near New Orleans. It will be commissioned as a US Navy warship on November 7, after which it will be based in Norfolk, Virginia.

What makes this vessel very special is that it's bow was made with 7 1/2 tons of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Ruined ploughshares turned into a righteous naval vessel.

This morning, the USS New York sailed under the Verrazzano Bridge into New York Harbor. I didn't see it enter the harbor, but I hope to see it later on this week.

The public can visit this important ship when she is docked at Pier 88 at 12th Avenue and West 48 Street., next to the Intrepid. The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, November 4 - 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 5 - 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 8 - 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Monday, November 9 - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Tuesday, November 10 - 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11 - 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Please note dates and times subject to change.

Members of the general public wishing to tour the ship should:
- Arrive early as lines my be long, especially on the Sunday, Nov. 8.
- Enter at West 46th Street and 12th Avenue (by the Intrepid).
- Bring a photo ID (adults).
- Wear comfortable shoes.

Ships have websites these days. Visit the USS New York web site here.

Election Day Tuesday November 3

  • Polls open from 6am - 9pm
  • Alternate Side Parking Suspended
  • No Trash Pick Up
  • They're moving, and probably ticketing, cars on Senator Street on both sides of Fifth Avenue. Movie shoot
  • Bloomberg people put a yard sign in front of my house today, without my permission. Guess they figure they can do anything that they want. No way I am voting for this creep tomorrow.

November 01, 2009

Hold Your Nose and Vote for Mike Bloomberg?

Maybe I should hold my nose and vote for this Mike Bloomberg, but I don't know if I can.

He's a sneak, and I don't like him.

I oppose smoking and don't think that anyone should smoke, but I didn't respect the way that he imposed smoking bans without ever mentioning the possibility when he was running for mayor. He kept his opinions to himself like a sneak, and then rammed home the bans once he was in.

I oppose term limits and voted against them, but the people of NY City voted in term limits. But Bloomberg decided that he himself was indispensible. Instead of having the matter brought before the voters again, he snuck in a term limits exception for himself with the weaklings of our City Council. Don't you ever say that there were quid pro quos.

He's continued the good work initiated by Rudy Giuliani in policing, and has been a good actor as respects public schools

But still. He is supposed to be this hands on genius who gets everything done.

Yet every day I pass by a small public park ( Lief Erikson Park ) that has been marred with a " temporary " building necessitated by construction work at Bay Ridge High School. The major construction at Bay Ridge HS has been finished for well over two years, yet the ugly and abandoned building remains in the park, ruining it.

Everytime I see this mess, I think of Mike Bloomberg.

Bloomberg has a weak joke of an opponent in Bill Thompson, a guy who is not worthy of a keystroke. Yet I don't know if I can pull my nose and vote for the sneak and opponent of democracy that is Mike Bloomberg.

October 24, 2009

Marty Robbins: " Billy The Kid "

Marty Robbins was a major American singer - songwriter in the fifties and sixties back when there was such a thing as country and western

The work at the 69th Street Key Food has continued steadily. The wooden fence and scaffolding has been removed, and looking through the door you see some signs, and, along the right hand wall, a row of brand new freezer cases.

One of the guys working there said that they'll open the new supermarket in about four to five weeks.

October 21, 2009

Message from the Bunker

I've not stopped blogging - things just got insane at work etc. I will write about something soon. If you liked it before, you'll like it again soon. Promise.

September 20, 2009

Sunday Music ; Skip A Rope, Henson Cargill

Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King were still alive in early 1968 when Henson Cargill's " Skip A Rope " became a No. 1 Country hit, which it remained for a number of weeks.

It was his only hit song, but it was important. It stays in the mind.

September 16, 2009

Mary Travers and Friends : I Shall Be Released

Jim Carroll Joins the People Who Died

I got around to reading yesterday's NY Times only today. A story kicked me in the head near the end of the main section. Jim Carroll, poet, writer and musician had died of a heart attack at 60.

I didn't know he was 60. I don't know how in the hell he got to be 60 with the life that he lived.

Jim Carroll was an Irish-American kid who grew up in Manhattan. He was a tremendous basketball player at Trinity High School. He kept a diary during high school. When he began the diary, he was full of hope. By the end of the diary, he was a heroin addict, " hustling " in the old, horrible Times Square of the Sixties.

He was befriended by Patti Smith, who called him the " best poet of his generation ". She brought him onstage to read poetry while the band played background. He later wrote lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult and Boz Scaggs. Keith Richards helped him get his own deal with Atlantic Records. His most famous song " People Who Died " came from his album Catholic Boy.

Punk wasn't my thing at all, but this guy had something, and I salute you Jim Carroll, a troubled, brilliant soul hopefully now at peace.

For extra credit, his song Catholic Boy

People Who Died

Jim Carroll

Teddy sniffing glue, he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others
And I salute you brother

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Herbie pushed Tony from the Boys' Club roof
Tony thought that his rage was just some goof
But Herbie sure gave Tony some bitchen proof
"Hey," Herbie said, "Tony, can you fly?"
But Tony couldn't fly, Tony died

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Brian got busted on a narco rap
He beat the rap by rattin' on some bikers
He said, "Hey, I know it's dangerous, but it sure beats Riker's"
But the next day he got offed by the very same bikers

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Teddy sniffing glue, he was 12 years old
Fell from the roof on East Two-nine
Cathy was 11 when she pulled the plug
On 26 reds and a bottle of wine
Bobby got leukemia, 14 years old
He looked like 65 when he died
He was a friend of mine

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

G-berg and Georgie let their gimmicks go rotten
So they died of hepatitis in upper Manhattan
Sly in Vietnam took a bullet in the head
Bobby OD'd on Drano on the night that he was wed
They were two more friends of mine
Two more friends that died

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

Mary took a dry dive from a hotel room
Bobby hung himself from a cell in the tombs
Judy jumped in front of a subway train
Eddie got slit in the jugular vein
And Eddie, I miss you more than all the others
And I salute you brother

Those are people who died, died
They were all my friends, and they died

September 13, 2009

September 11, 2009 - Photos

The Towers of Light were up, but you could barely see them through the clouds. I walked down to the entrance of the Battery Tunnel and captured them.

The FDNY Memorial down at Engine Company Ten is just south of the WTC site. It was hard to photograph Friday night, as it was raining, and there were many visitors, including a group of middle aged and trainee firemen from the Anaheim California Fire Department, and various US military.

There was an FDNY Honor Guard. Here, the senior officer is about to dismiss them.

One small block south, O'Hara's pub did a roaring trade.

Bay Ridge Avenue Key Food to Open Sometime in Indefinite Future

Spoke to a construction guy down at the Bay Ridge Key Food site. He says that it will be open " in two months ". This project makes the WTC rebuilding look like a model of efficiency. I'm looking forward to doing my Christmas food shopping there. Christmas 2010.


6805 Third Avenue

Construction crews have been hard at work over the past couple of weeks gutting the place. A construction foreman said that the building might reopen " in eight months "

This would be much better than any of us expected.

Spoke to a neighbor who says that the owner, Bill, is a well respected guy who tried to keep the building in good shape.

Perhaps this building will reopen before the Key Food opens?

- - -

Garage Wanted

One of our readers is returning from Italy at the end of September, and is looking for a private garage in the Bay Ridge / Dyker Heights / Fort Hamilton area. If you know of one, let me know and I will relay it to him. His car is 193 inches long, 71 inches wide, and is 58 inches high.

September 11, 2009

September 11, 2009

Eight years on, to the hour.

I passed by the World Trade Center site this morning. The Fire Department Pipe Band played a lament on the corner of Cedar and Church Streets. They gather here as they have gathered for each of the anniversaries, as they will gather for the next hundred years.

Many of us who worked in the World Trade Center remember in our own way. Many don't come in to work on 9/11 and will never do so. Some gather in places such as Jeremy's Ale House in lower Manhattan where they paused eight years ago before they walked some miles across the Brooklyn Bridge.

I vary the routine each year. In 2002, I spent 9/11 morning in London, and flew home on a near-empty American Airlines flight to JFK that night. In other years, I have stayed away from work and gathered with others in lower Manhattan.

Today, I come in to work, and will pass by the WTC site in the morning, in mid-day and on the way home. I see what is, and remember what was.

I worked on the 103rd Floor of the World Trade Center, and was there late September 10, 2001. I remember it, and the many fine people I knew there, so very well.

August 24, 2009

Italy Vacation : Bologna's Twin Towers

As when one sees the tower called Garisenda
from underneath its leaning side, and then a cloud
passes over and it seems to lean the more,
thus did Antaeus seem to my fixed gaze
as I watched him bend...
Divine Comedy, Inferno, XXXI, 136-140[1]
Ten days ago, I returned from an all too short eight day vacation to Bologna, Florence and Rome.

I went solo some days, and met up with friends from North Carolina on other days.

I flew into Milan's Malpensa Airport, took a bus to the main train station, then took a train south to Bologna.

Bologna is a city of about 375,000 population in the metro area. It's not on the main tourist trail, but that's not really fair.

Bologna is just a lovely town - clean, safe and walkable. Like seemingly all of Italy, you can't walk two blocks without running into history and beauty. And terrific restaurants that cost less than the ones back home.

Walking down to the Piazza Maggiore, to my left I saw the impressive Towers of Bologna, which brings the World Trade Center to mind.

The taller one is called the Asinelli while the smaller but more leaning tower is called the Garisenda.

They were built in the early 12th Century, and probably had some sort of military purpose. Apparently, at one time Bologna had about 180 towers, which must have been one amazing sight.


I walked past the 69th Street Key Food site yesterday. They were working there on a Sunday, and progress continues to be made. The foreman said that it will open in about six weeks. We'll see.

Don't know about the parking lot across the street. It looks awfully cramped and small in there, no matter what they do to it.

August 07, 2009

Fundraiser for 6805 Third Avenue Fire Victims

Thanks Kelly


I came across your blog about the fire that happen last week. There is going to be a benefit at Shenanigans on 89 and 3rd this Sunday, August 9 from 1-6. You can find it on facebook, I copied and pasted the information for you.
Jill Brown and Shenanigans
Donations at the door, Drink Specials, 50/50, Raffle
Sunday, August 9, 2009
1:00pm - 6:00pm
89th and 3rd Avenue

August 06, 2009

Ciao, Bella

Italy wasn't like a Fellini movie when I was there before.It was more Felliniesque than that.

Off to Italia tomorrow night, back a week from Friday. Let's see if Italy is still Italy, in all its insane beauty.

Silver Gull Beach Club

Manny Fernandez, a reporter for the NY Times, is writing a story on the Silver Gull Beach Club. If you're a member or a former member who'd like to chat, please give Manny a call.

August 05, 2009

Broken Car Mirrors - The Sign of Bloomberg's Bay Ridge

Broken Mirror
Originally uploaded by Mirandala
Mayor Giuliani acted on the
Broken Windows Theory
, driving historic reductions in " quality of life " and more serious crime.

In Bay Ridge, Mayor Mike Bloomberg deserves to be known for the Broken Mirrors Theory. Under Bloomberg's theory, crime stats continue to decline. It's an excellent theory. If only it were true.

Are any of Bloomberg's stats real? We keep getting reports of vandalized cars all over Bay Ridge. Is the 68th Precinct doing anything to prevent these incidents? Are they even reporting these incidents? Are you?

If your car has been vandalized in any way, don't you dare keep it to yourself. First, report it to the 68th Precinct at 718-439-4211. Then report it here.

I want less talk from this " can't get it done " Bloomberg. I want results from this malingerer.

News 12 Brooklyn is looking into this story. If anyone has had their car vandalized in Bay Ridge recently, please call them at 718-861-6818 or email them at ( News 12_ I gave Tom your phone number tonight. His car is in the prior post. Hopefully he will call you tomorrow ).

News 12 did a good report on last week's fire, we should pay attention to them.


I'm flying off to Italy tomorrow night, where it is impossible to have a bad meal or a bad glass or red wine. Will be back a week from Friday. Keep an eye on things, guys.

August 03, 2009

Cars Vandalized on 68th Street at 5pm ish Today

Tom was able to put the unit back in-it had been hanging loose. But the mirror was smashed

At appx 5pm at least two cars on 68th Street between Third and Fourth Avenues had the drivers side rear view mirrors ripped off the vehicle.

A group of 17-18 year olds described as " Albanian " in appearance were observed by kids playing on the block. The vandalism was reported to the 68th Precinct, who sent officers to take a statement from one of the vehicle owners.

This is not the first time this has happened in this general vicinity.

August 02, 2009

Is the Post Office Committing Suicide in Bay Ridge?

Yeah, I know that the Post Office has to do something.

First class mail must be way down - no one writes letters anymore, and it seems most of the young and middle aged switched to electronic bill payment years ago. I understand.

This past Monday, the NY Daily News reported that the US Postal Service may close 40 smaller retail post offices

I live close to the Ovington Retail Station at Fourth Avenue near 68th Street. It's open Mondays through Fridays, so I don't visit it often - I'm at work in Manhattan during the week. But, every time I do go there, I see a line of people - buying stamps but also mailing packages.

If this small post office closes, the many older people, businessmen, and immigrants will be asked to schlep all the way to 88th Street and Fifth to the Fort Hamilton Post Office or to the Bay Ridge Post Office at 55th Street and Seventh Avenue.

Guess what? No one will do that. Not for packages anyway.

Everyone from this end of Bay Ridge who wants to send a package will walk to the UPS Store at 7105 Third Avenue ( 718-238-1805 ) . They're open from 8:30am-7:00pm; Monday through Friday, Saturdays 10am-5:00pm;and Sundays 10:00am-3:00pm. They'll be happy to take the customers that the US Postal Service is running away from. Tell 'em the Bay Ridge Blog sent you.

The USPS must do something - but if they abandon this community, its their funeral.

August 01, 2009

Luke Kelly and the Dubliners: " The Black Velvet Band "

Luke Kelly was born about a quarter mile from O'Connell Street, in 1940. His dad worked in the Jacobs Biscuit factory.

Luke performed in clubs and as a busker throughout England and Scotland for years.

He was a founding member of The Dubliners, with Ronnie Drew and the rest, in 1962. He gave sensitive, beautiful renditions of many old and new songs.

On 30 June 1980 during a concert in the Cork Opera House Luke Kelly collapsed on the stage. It was a brain tumor. Which killed him four years later. He performed until the end.

Above, see Luke Kelly at the peak of his powers as he performs " The Black Velvet Band " on the BBC's " The Talk Show " way back in 1970. Wish I was there.

July 31, 2009

6805 Third Avenue

7am this morning.

( Click photo to enlarge )

story as reported by NY Daily News

July 30, 2009

6805 Third Avenue Bay Ridge Fire

The fire began about 1130 Wednesday night, and wasn't put out until nearly 3am.

Amazingly, everyone in each of the sixteen apartments got out. The Red Cross took good care of them.

It was a four alarm fire. That would mean Engine Company 241 and Ladder Company 109 from just down Third Avenue, along with the guys from three other firehouses.

There were 14 injuries - 12 to firemen, two to residents.

The Sunnydale Farms deli has been at this location since the 1970s. I worked there over 30 years ago, along with a bunch of troublemakers. It was owned by John Bae, from Korea. It had been owned by different Korean families ever since. I've shopped there hundreds and hundreds of times. It was a clean and friendly place, just what you want on your block.

I knew the current owners by sight. They normally closed at eleven. So, last night, they would have left right before the fire started. They came by today. As you might expect, they were devastated.

At seven tonight, scaffolding was being put up around the building.

I hope that they can find a way to save the structure. And that the residents find new apartments that they like. And that Sunnydale Farms reopens soon, in a place very close to the corner of 68th Street and Third Avenue.

FromNews 12 Brooklyn including a video interview with Sunnydale owner Sung Ho.

Major Fire at 6805 Third Avenue

There was a major fire last night in the apartment house at the southeast corner of 68th Street and Third Avenue. The building appears intact, but I think that all or nearly all the windows on the street side were smashed in. The building appears empty and smoke damaged, including the Sunnydale Farms store on the corner.

I couldn't take a photo this morning but will try to do so this evening.

There was an army of media trucks there at 7am today. A woman reporter from WABC said that everyone got out.

From Brooklyn Paper

From NY1

WPIX Eleven reports that there were 14 injuries, including 12 firefighters.

Very good video from WABC Channel 7

Photos in NY Post

The fire took place from around 1130 - 2am last night.

There are reports of " severe " damage to the building.


I feel very bad for the residents, and for what appears to be the loss of the Sunnydale Farms deli. For decades, that store has been a clean, friendly place with good prices. The Korean owners were constantly tinkering with the place, trying to make it just a bit nicer and better. I hope that they can reestablish the business soon. I shopped there maybe twice a week, and was there this past Tuesday night.

July 22, 2009

Why I'm Leaving the Republican Party

These days, the Republican Party doesn't stand for very much. And I don't like some of the things that it stands for.

Today, a bill sponsored by South Dakota's Republican Senator John Thune came within two votes of largely overriding state laws restricting the right to carry concealed firearms. Basically, someone who had the right to " carry " in North Carolina would by virtue of this law be given the right to carry that concealed weapon even when visiting states like my own state of New York. A state which requires, but rarely grants, permits in order to carry hidden firearms.

New York has had sensible restrictions on weapons since 1911, when the Sulliaan Law was passed. They're a major reason why New York City is the safest big city in America, and why New York State has lower violent crime rates than the large states with loose rules on who can carry a firearm in public.

These laws are immensely popular around here, among both Democrats and Republicans.

Today, Senator Thune essentially pulled a gun on the populations of New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts and a number of other states. The Republicans talk a good game about local control and states rights, but, here, the citizenry in the Northeast / West Coast / urban Midwest were told that their views don't count at all.

Senator McCain shamed himself by voting for this bill. Senator Spector, the new Democrat from Pennsylvania voted against it. Specter may have been the deciding vote on this, as some Democratic senators - Reed, Feingold, probably voted against their conscience for tactical and political reasons. But, no doubt about it - this was a Republican shot at the heart of responsible gun control and the right of states to reflect the wishes on this issue.

States like New York would no longer have any real right to tailor gun laws to local needs. They could presumably have controls on their own citizens, but not on the millions of out of state residents who pass through. That's ludicrous and irresponsible.

This is one of the more divisive issues in America now. You might think that a good solution would have Texas values prevail in Texas, while the values of New York apply in New York. Not according to the Republican Party. The views of urban America on these matters are not to be taken into account.

The Sullivan Law has been around for nearly a century, and now they decide to go after it.

I've had some serious problems with the Republican Party over the past decade, over budgetary and some other issues. But here, they're attacking my rights and the rights of my city and state to maintain the level of safety we've enjoyed.
Since the Republicans appararently don't stand for much, and since they don't respect my rights, I'm going to fire a shot right back at them. In tomorrow morning's mail will be a signed " change of party " form to the NY Board of Elections. I'm leaving the Republican Party. I won't be going to the Democrats - there's nothing there for me. As soon as the paperwork is processed, I will officially be an " independent " - allied to no party.

To paraphrase what President Reagan said about the Democrats: I didn't leave the Republicans. The Republican Party left me.

I Resign!

I resigned from an organization today. Details and reasons why to be provided by 10pm Brooklyn Standard Time tonight.

Speculation invited.

Over and out.

July 13, 2009

The R Train is Not the Dirtiest Subway Line!

R Train: Bat Signal, originally uploaded by specmotors.

A recent survey by the borderline useless Straphangers Campaign atated that the 7 train was the cleanest line , while the R train was the dirtiest line in the system.

The survey was done by means of 2200 observations made by 29 volunteers from September-December 2008. They checked exactly 100 subway cars on each line Astonishingly, litter was not one of the things that was measured!

I ride the NY subway more than most people, at all hours. While I have a lot of complaints about the R train, as to most people, the simple fact is that it is not dirtier than other train lines by any objective measurement. Try riding the A train to Kennedy Airport at 5am some day and then you'll see some dirty subway cars.

The sample was too small to be meaningful. And as it did not include litter, what was measured didn't make sense.

Speaking of the R train, I've noticed a lot of really old cars being used on the R line over the past couple of weeks. Including lots of the R 42 models which haven't been seen much on the R until recently.

These now old trains will all be " retired " soon. They were widely used on the " RR " back in 1970. ( See the nice graffiti on the pole )

June 23, 2009

Baracklyn Cyclones - Phantom Meets Barack Obama

Minor league baseball is great fun - you see good athletes who hope to play in the big leagues some day in a small arena setting. For much less money than the thieving major leagues would charge you.

But its a lot more than that. The minor leagues are fun . The low cost regime allows for the stands to be jam packed with families and young kids. There are loads of activities designed for those kids, and their parents.

And the teams will do anything for the sake of fun. Tonight, the Brooklyn Cyclones, who play their games beneath Coney Island's Parachute Jump, made the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of fun. They re-named their team for one night in honor of the election of Barack Obama. They became the the Baracklyn Cyclones

And the world was amazed when Barack Obama himself arrived at Keyspan Park to throw out the first ball. He made it a point to seek out the Phantom. Here, we shook hands after some extended policy discussions on Iran or one of them countries that begins with an I. It was like Nixon traveling to China, but I'm not sure who the Nixon is in this situation.

Barack Obama was not the only celebrity to attend the Cyclones game tonight. King Henry himself was there, from England or Bensonhurst, or one of them foreign places. Here, he says hello to Angelina, Bobby, and Keri, as we move from left to right.

Tonight's tickets cost $5 each. For that, we all had the best time. They announced Keri's birthday on the PA system, and she so loved that. If you're in the Brooklyn-centric universe, I highly recommend a trip to see the Brooklyn Cyclones

If you're in the US or Canada but not in near Brooklyn, I recommend that you attend a minor league game near you. It's good, it's very good, and I intend to see the Cyclones again this year.


Baracklyn Cyclone night as reported by Brooklyn Eagle
NY Daily News
the Staten Island Advance which reports that some Brooklyn fans hated the "gimmick"

June 14, 2009

Canadian Invasion - Fleet Week, May 2009

( click on image to enlarge )
My nephew Bobby and I went to the Phillies- Yankees game on Saturday, May 23. I went to get him at grandma's house in NJ. We parked the car near Tottenville, Staten Island, and went to traveled to Yankee Stadium by the Staten Island Railway, Staten Island Ferry, and the No. 4 train.

As we passed the Stapleton SIR station, we saw a cluster of navy ships, in for the annual friendly Fleet Week invasion.

On the ferry, we met up with Jordan Payne, from Prince Edward Island, and Renee Blais, and Philippe, both from Quebec, from the Halifax-based HMCS Fredericton, one of those ships off Staten Island.

Gents, hope that you had a good time in the Big Apple. Come again.

June 06, 2009

Is Verizon FIOS In Bay Ridge Already?

I saw a Verizon truck just now, and I asked the employee ( Rick ) if FIOS was going to be coming to Bay Ridge anytime soon. He said that the lines were already being installed along 71st Street, and that you could expect it to be available in much of the neighborhood by the end of the summer.

This fiber optic technology offers the fastest internet connections available in the US, and, I am told, the best TV images.

Plus, Verizon includes the BBC World 24 News Channel, which neither Time Warner nor the satellite TV companies have chosen to offer. That's a big deal to a news junkie like me.

I love my Directv, but when FIOS comes to 68th Street, I expect to switch.

More than one year after the construction ended, the incompetent Bloomberg Administration has removed the No Parking signs on Senator St, by Bay Ridge High School. In another city, this could have been done in a week. In Bloomberg's New York, it takes more than a year to execute the removal of a " No Parking " sign.

May 17, 2009

Manhattan ALS Walk - May 16, 2009

Team Duffy assembles before 11am on Saturday, on Charles St ( West Village ) before the walk up to 55th Street, along the banks of the Hudson River. It was an overcast day, a good day for a three mile walk.

Team Duffy and its magnificent supporters in America, Ireland, England, and Australia ( yes! ) raised $2680 for medical research and for important services for patients and their families.

Warm thanks to all who contributed. If you'd still like to throw a few bucks to a great cause, it is not too late. Take out your credit card - click on this, follow the instructions, and thank you very much.

C'mon kids. It was only three miles. Get back up there!! Give me three more miles!!

May 10, 2009

Sunday Music: " The Dark Eyed Sailor " by Steeleye Span

In the midst of rock's unquestioned rule, the British "electric folk " band Steeleye Span began its life in 1969.

The voice of the great Maddy Prior leads here. I really like the languid, intentional, lack of sync between her voice and that of Dublin's Gay Woods here.

I heard this song ages ago. It stays in the mind. The usual cut the ring in half / love lost and then found deal.

It's quite wonderful. Steeleye Span is still around. That's even more wonderful.


as i roved out one evening fair
it bein' the summertime to take the air
i spied a sailor and a lady gay
and i stood to listen
and i stood to listen to hear what they would say.

he said "fair lady, why do you roam
for the day is spent and the night is on"
she heaved a sigh while the tears did roll
"for my dark-eyed sailor
for my dark-eyed sailor, so young and stout and bold."

"'tis seven long years since he left this land
a ring he took from off his lily-white hand
one half of the ring is still here with me
but the other's rollin'
but the other's rollin' at the bottom of the sea."

he said "you may drive him out of your mind
some other young man you will surely find
love turns aside and soon cold has grown
like the winter's morning
like the winter's morning, the hills are white with snow."

she said "i'll never forsake my dear
although we're parted this many a year
genteel he was and a rake like you
to induce a maiden
to induce a maiden to slight the jacket blue."

one half of the ring did young william show
she ran distracted in grief and woe
sayin' "william, william, i have gold in store
for my dark-eyed sailor
for my dark-eyed sailor has proved his honour long"

and there is a cottage by yonder lea
this couple's married and does agree
so maids be loyal when your love's at sea
for a cloudy morning
for a cloudy morning brings in a sunny day.

New Bay Ridge Key Food Coming Soon

There's been a lot of activity inside and outside the new Key Food supermarket on 69th Street, between Third Avenue and Ridge Boulevard.

Nothing noticeable going on in the projected parking facility across the street, but this afternoon I saw a couple of construction guys taking a look inside there.

This new supermarket will be a very welcome addition to Bay Ridge and hopefully will give a jumpstart to economic activity in the 69th Street and Third Avenue areas.

May 09, 2009

Support the Greater NY March to Defeat ALS

Brendan ( Pete ) Duffy, with grand-niece Keri, at New York Mets baseball game, July 2006.

Brendan ( Pete ) Duffy grew up in the country in County Monaghan, Ireland. Crossed over to New York in the mid 1950s, the old fashioned way, on the ship. Built a life for himself and his family in the Bronx and nearby.

Strong and cheerful, great with adults, a hundred times better with kids.

With his much beloved children, played the pipes with the Monaghan Pipe Band many times in the NY St. Patrick's Day Parade, and in many other events.

Now, not so good.

In late 2008, he was diagnosed with ALS, or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Which was not a surprise. His legs had started to fail long before then. He no longer walks.

On Saturday, I'll be joining Brendan's daughter Annette and many others as we walk in the Greater NY Walk to Defeat ALS. These funds will help the ALS Association provide research for a cure - and to provide essential assistance to ALS patients.

If you care to make a contribution, please click here.

I am registered under the name " The Phantom ", so hit the button above the total calculator that says " Support The " and give what you can. It's a really good cause

Thank you. I will have photos of the march here a week from today.

May 04, 2009

New Yankee Stadium- Authentic or Fake?

I went to the Angels-Yankees game this past Thursday. It was strange entering the new ballpark, with the magnificent old Yankee Stadium still there, on Death Row, right across 161st Street.

As with the new Mets Stadium, this stadium offers a slow and expensive wait for very poor food. Do not believe the hype. My brother in law went to the " Johnny Rockets " fast food place and had to wait a long time. The staff were told in the fourth innning to say that they didn't serve french fries, which is funny as it is a fundamental part of their, ahem, " menu". After 25 minutes at the counter, I think that they discovered that they did have fries after all.
The new ballpark is interesting, but it has a lot of design flaws. There were lines at the mens rooms, which may help curtail beer sales. There are many severely obstructed bleacher seats.

It's mostly good, but is it Yankee Stadium? After so many days and nights, I don't know. Is the new place real or fake, an improvement over the House That Ruth Built or a formula new stadium by HOK Sport for the suits, with a fake facade slapped on the roof?

As fog rolled in, some memories of the old 1973 and before true Yankee Stadium came to mind.

The jury is still out.

May 02, 2009

Flying Monkeys, Green Witches and No More Third Avenue Bus?

I did a little free association search on youtube yesterday, and came up with this little gem. It's as though every word and every note of this Beatles song was made with " The Wizard of Oz " in mind!

The B-37 ( Third Avenue ) has served the Bay Ridge to Downtown Brooklyn communties since 1942. And before then, trolley cars ran the same route.

This important route, a lifeline for our many seniors and others, is slated for elimination unless the MTA finds a lot more money. The politicians claim to be concerned, and perhaps something will be done.

So what is the MTA spending it's money on these days? A couple of weeks ago, they built this fancy shelter at 72nd / Third. Others have been built elsewhere on Third Avenue. For a route that supposedly won't be here soon.

Either someone's bullshitting somebody, or these people cannot be trusted with money.

( The NY Times reported on the same phenomenon - new shelters being built on Cortelyou Road for bus routes about to be eliminated -on April 10)


On the bright side, saw five construction guys clearing debris from the projected new Key Food site on 69th Street. I'd noticed a bunch of fresh permits there the weekend before. Think we'll have our much needed supermarket before too long now.


I treated myself to a lithograph, and it ( along with something they gave me when I left the Navy base in Naples Italy ) needed to be framed. I went to Polizzi Fine Art on 7813 Third Avenue yesterday. The husband and wife team there gave me some good ideas, and I'll have my custom framed works in a week or two. These guys appear really good, and the prices were fair. Can't wait to see the final result.