January 26, 2009

Smiling Support Pillar at 25th Street Station

Where: 25th Street Station, southbound platform. Third pillar from the back. He smiles at every R and M train as it passes by.

Tell him the Phantom sent you.

January 25, 2009

Sunday Music: " Sunny " by Bobby Hebb

( below from the great wikipedia )

Hebb's parents, William and Ovalla Hebb, were both blind musicians. Hebb and his older brother Harold performed as a song-and-dance team in Nashville, beginning when Bobby was three and Harold was nine. Hebb performed on a TV show hosted by country music record producer Owen Bradley, which earned him a place with Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff. Hebb played spoons and other instruments in Acuff's band. Harold later became a member of Johnny Bragg and the Marigolds. Bobby Hebb sang backup on Bo Diddley's "Diddley Daddy". Hebb played "West-coast-style" trumpet in a US Navy jazz band, and replaced Mickey Baker in Mickey and Sylvia.

On 23 November 1963, the day after John F. Kennedy's assassination, Harold Hebb was killed in a knife fight outside a Nashville nightclub. Hebb was devastated by both events and sought comfort in songwriting. Though many claim that the song he wrote after both tragedies was the optimistic "Sunny", Hebb himself says otherwise. He immersed himself in the Gerald Wilson album, "Would You Believe", for comfort.

"All my intentions were just to think of happier times – basically looking for a brighter day – because times were at a low tide. After I wrote it, I thought "Sunny" just might be a different approach to what Johnny Bragg was talking about in "Just Walkin' in the Rain".

"Sunny" was recorded in New York City, after demos were made with legendary producer Jerry Ross. When Hebb toured with The Beatles in 1966 his "Sunny" was as wildly received as any Beatles tune, as evidenced by tapes of the concerts. It is one of the most covered popular songs, with hundreds of versions released. BMI rates "Sunny" number 25 in its "Top 100 songs of the century".

"Sunny" has been recorded by, among others, Boney M, Cher, Georgie Fame, Johnny Rivers, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, the Electric Flag, The Four Seasons, two different versions from Frankie Valli, the Four Tops, James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Les McCann, Dusty Springfield, Classics IV and The Alex Trio featuring David Wise. One cover, a disco version called "Sunny '76" was a hit for Hebb in that year. In 2000, Musiq did an updated dance version retitled "Just Friends (Sunny)," which went to #31 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

January 22, 2009

Landlord Refuses to Shovel Snow

Photo taken on Wednesday morning, but the conditions are the same Thursday morning. Click to enlarge.

The owner of the building at 386 68th Street almost never shovels the snow in front of his property.

NYC law requires that landlords remove snow from the sidewalk in front of their property within four hours of the end of snow, or the next morning if the end of the snow is at night.

The most recent snowfall ended Monday in the daytime. It's now Thursday, and the sidewalk at 386 68th St is still unshoveled, and is now hardpacked and dangerous.

Note that Fourth Avenue in the background ( and every other street in the city ) have been clear since Monday night. Not this sidewalk.

NYC does not enforce the snow removal law.

The worst offender? New York City itself. Take a good look at the overpasses over the highway up on Seventh Avenue. They're owned by the City. And the City has never shoveled any of these walks, not for the past fifteen years anyway.

January 19, 2009

Hail to the Chief

I did not vote for Barack Obama, and I'm sure that I'll disagree with many of his policies.

But, tomorrow at 12 noon, he'll be sworn into office. He will be my President, and I will wish him great success.

Obama's already off to a good start, having selected a strong and largely centrist cabinet.

More importantly, he has set a bipartisan and respectful tone that seeks to end the Gingrich/Pelosi etc hyperpartisanship/sore losing mantra that bedeviled both Clinton and Bush.

The political tone in Washington has been dreadful for 16 years. I want this to change.

Hail to the Chief. And lets resume the tradition of the "loyal opposition"

January 18, 2009

Sunday Music: Gary Moore and Eric Bell - Whiskey In The Jar

Is there a better song than this? Not a bad version either.

By Gary Moore and Eric Bell, both from the mighty city of Belfast, both formerly of Thin Lizzy.

Believe that this is from an outdoor concert in Dublin, on the occasion of the unveiling of a statue of Phil Lynott.

Play it loud.

More Photos from " Bay Ridge " book.

Picking up from yesterday's post, discussing the photo book " Bay Ridge" , by Peter Scarpa and Lawrence Stetler, for the Bay Ridge Historical Society, which is released this Monday...

When you first look at this photo, it doesn't seem that impressive, but bear with me here. This photo was taken in 1915, near the corner of 68th Street and Fourth Avenue ( which is narrower than it is today. )

The thing that looks like a railcar is a piece of construction equipment that will be used in the building of the Bay Ridge section of the Fourth Avenue subway, which will open in 1915. Just past the third telegraph pole on the left hand size is a still under construction Bay Ridge High School.

A young boy and a dog are to be seen on the ( trolley? ) tracks running down the avenue.
Click the photo for much greater detail.

What looks like a lovely summer day in the 1890s, on Third Avenue and 75th Street. See two horse drawn carts and a trolley cart. Blow up the image and you can see " Brooklyn City RR Co." on the trolley.

Just love all those trees. Brings Paris or Berlin to mind.

It's 10:30 in the morning in seventh grade class in PS 102. Photo taken in 1901. Boys are in jackets and ties and the girls are in dresses and big bows. Math on the blackboard to the left, penmanship on the one to the back? But what's that thing on the ceiling?

This photo was taken in 1932. That healthy baby you see is Marion , in her wicker pram, along with her mom Mary Alice, in front of their home on 77th Street, near Fourth Avenue. The book has another photo from today- of Marion Sinnott, in the doorway of the same house, where she still lives. How great is that?

The authors of Bay Ridge will be at a book signing at Barnes & Noble, 106 Court Street, Brooklyn, at 7pm on Monday January 19 ( Take R train to Borough Hall or take the Third Avenue ( B37 ) bus to Court and Livingston Streets. )

This is a fine little book, and anyone who loves Bay Ridge should get themselves a copy.

More pictures available here and on Left in Bay Ridge.

Photos printed with permission from Bay Ridge, by Peter Scarpa, Lawrence Stelter and the Bay Ridge Historical Society. Available from the publisher online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665.
I went past the site of the proposed new Key Food supermarket on 69th Street today. There is a new Electric Construction permit dated January 7. Hopefully, things are moving along. Behind schedule, but moving along.

January 13, 2009

" Bay Ridge " Book to be released January 19, 2009

The old Bay Ridge Theater( the book says the late 1960s, but I suspect its a bit later) before the marquee came down. Click to enlarge. Note Ro Val car service vehicle in foreground.

I've spent the last few days reviewing a copy of Bay Ridge, a 96 page quality paperback that will be available on January 19.

Most pages have two photos - one of a Bay Ridge scene from the past, the second a current or near-current image.

The contrasts in some cases are wonderful.

Some of my favorites include-
  • an image from 1894 showing a rural 76th Street with houses with turrets, then called "witches hats", and another showing that house today
  • a shot at Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street ) and Fourth Avenue in 1913 showing construction machinery for the construction of the Fourth Avenue Local and Bay Ridge High School under construction in the background ( the block I type this from is visible, and is largely an empty lot here)
  • a photo taken of Marion Sinnott as a baby on 77th Street in 1932. A photo taken by Marion Sinnott after a big snowstorm from the same buiding in 1947. And a third photo of Marion Sinnott -today! She still lives there!
The book is filled with little treasures like this. I've picked it up a number of times, only to discuss wonderful new details and points of history.

Bay Ridge, one of Arcadia Publishing's " Then and Now " series, is written by Peter Scarpa and Lawrence Stetler along with the Bay Ridge Historical Society. Mr. Scarpa is the president of the Bay Ridge Historical Society. This is his second title on Bay Ridge, his personal gift to the neighborhood.

The authors will be at a book signing at Barnes & Noble, 106 Court Street, Brooklyn, at 7pm on Monday January 19 ( Take R train to Borough Hall or take the Third Avenue ( B37 ) bus to Court and Livingston Streets. )

Unfortunately, Bay Ridge does not now have a book store in which a book signing could be held.

Bay Ridge is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores or direct from Arcardia Publishing.

This building as it stood on the Northwest Corner of Bay Ridge Avenue (69th Street) and Third Avenue in 1891 when ( one of the streets ) was known as Bennett's Lane and " Yellow Hook Road " and when the intersection was known as " Pope's Corner". Bay Ridge Family Eyecare shop there now.

Photos printed with permission from Bay Ridge, by Peter Scarpa, Lawrence Stelter and the Bay Ridge Historical Society. Available from the publisher online at www.arcadiapublishing.com or by calling 888-313-2665.

Will post more images from this fine little book tomorrow.

See article on the book and more images from it on Left in Bay Ridge

An Our Lady of Angels blog has been created by concerned Bay Ridge residents who want to help save the school. I support this move, and have linked to that site.

January 12, 2009

OLPH and OLA Schools to Close?

OLPH Basilica 60th & 5th, originally uploaded by radper11220.

Monday's NY Times reports that the Brooklyn Catholic Archiocese may close up to 14 schools , including Our Lady of Angels and Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

No final decisions will be made until February, but these two elementary schools could close this June.

Closing these schools would be a devastating blow to what's left of Catholic life in Brooklyn.

I'm one of the few who attended both schools - I went to first and second grade at OLPH, third through eighth at OLA, bedeviling the nuns and brothers at both places.

It wasn't so long ago that these churches and their schools were mighty fortresses. They did an awful lot of good. They still do a lot of good. And I hope a way is found to keep them open.

from a release by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn:

It is proposed that 11 schools in the Diocese close at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 school year:

Flatbush Catholic Academy (Bk), St. Vincent Ferrer (Bk), Most Precious Blood (Bk), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (Bk), Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Bk), Our Lady of Angels (Bk), St. Anthony of Padua (Qns), St. Benedict Joseph Labre (Qns), St. Catherine of Sienna (Qns), St. Aloysius (Qns) and Blessed Sacrament (Qns).

It is proposed that nine schools merge and three new schools be created. In the Windsor Terrace section of Brooklyn, it is proposed that Immaculate Heart of Mary (Bk) and Holy Name (Bk) merge and form one school with a single campus to be located at Prospect Park West. In Flushing, it is recommended that three schools, St. Michael, St Ann, Mary’s Nativity merge to form one school with one campus. The school will be located at the St. Mary Nativity site. The four Williamsburg schools are recommended to merge in 2010-2011. The number of sites is to be determined by the Board of Directors following the merger next year. These schools are Northside Academy, St. Stanislaus Kostka Ss. Joseph and Dominic Academy, St. Nicholas.

It is proposed that the five schools close and reopen at the same site as an Academy. If these schools do not reopen as Academies they will be recommended for closure at the end of the 2008-2009 school year. These schools will adopt a two-tier governance model and be required to meet. Schools in this category are Mary, Gate of Heaven (Qns) 2009-2010, Our Lady of Grace (Qns) 2009-2010, St. Anastasia (Qns) 2009-2010, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (Qns) 2009-2010.

A special task force has been created to explore the creation of a new academy at St. John the Baptist, (Bk).

January 11, 2009

Benefit for Michael Garrigan January 18 at Kopperfields

Legendary local singer and guitar player Michael Garrigan passed away on December 31, 2008 due to major heart complications. He was 58.

Called affectionately Beefboy, a nickname given to him by Jon Bon Jovi, he will be missed by his many friends in Bay Ridge.

Mike played locally for many years. Recently, he was diagnosed with heart problems and was told he needed a pacemaker. His friends decided to host a benefit to help offset some of the medical expenses. That event was to take place on Sunday,January 18, at Kopperfields. The event will still take place. said Frankie Marra, friend and fellow musician, It will be a memorial concert now with donations going to pay funeral costs.

The benefit will run from 3 p.m. until midnight, and bands already committed are Frankie Marra & His Band, Prodigal Child, John Lepore & The Silver Falcons, Mike DoCampo, Piranha Brothers, Pill Hill Radio and the DirtyStayouts. The cost is $20 per person.

Garrigan releasedhis first record in 1968. The tune was named Night Time Music and the band was Majic Ship. Mike and the band released four more singles and one album. They hit number two on New York's WPTR radio charts with their second single,Hummin.

Garrigan had been an opening act for such names as Edgar Winter, Procul Harum, Black Oak Arkansas, and the Guess Who. In 1999, while living in Santa Monica, Mike reunited with Tom Nikosey from Majic Ship and released the CD, Songwaves on Gearfab Records. While recording CD, Mike called on a few friends in the industry for help with the record, including a very special guest, Cher.

In 2002 Mike played guitar for for Cher on her farewell tour. The tour lasted 3 years. During that run he was thrilled to perform at his hometown venue, Madison Square Garden. Six times.Mike has toured the world with Bon Jovi, Chicago, The Beach Boys, REO Speedwagon and Stevie Nicks.

Garrigan had been playing the Bay Ridge circuit most recently with Mike DoCampo. If you wouldlike to make a donation in Mike's name, contact Joseph Schirripa c/o Kopperfield's Bar, 8910 5th Avenue, Brooklyn,11209 whose phone number is 718-745-9609.

( thanks, Tom Kane, Brooklyn Daily Eagle)


City worker Gennaro Montello's final thoughts were with his beloved children after a giant conveyor belt fell on him at Owl's Head Pollution Plant on Friday : "Tell my kids I love them," the 45-year-old whispered as he was rushed to the hospital. More about a terrible incident at Owl's Head from NY Daily News


Newfound baby found at 316 68th Street today. Expect to see this in the papers tomorrow. I saw NYPD and TV News vehicles in front of the building this evening. A newborn was left alone and you will soon learn a lot more about this.


Brooklyn for Peace is doing a protest this Wednesday at Borough Hall against Israel's invasion of Gaza.

Don't remember the lads doing much protesting when Hamas was firing missiles into south Israel for months and years.

If someone was launching missiles into Bay Ridge, I'd want the federal government to stop it.

Israel " occupies " the moral high ground here.

January 10, 2009

Johnny Horton : " North to Alaska "

Johnny Horton was a huge country singer in the late 1950s up to 1960. Many of songs dealt with historical events, songs that simply have no parallel now.

Johnny Horton died far too young. On November 5, 1960, Horton was killed instantly in a head-on collision with a drunk driver on Highway 79 at Milano, Texas while he was returning home from a performance at the Skyline Club in Austin.

Johnny Horton reportedly had experienced premonitions several months before his own death about the possibility of dying in a car crash caused by a drunk driver. He always said that if he was in a head-on situation to drive into the ditch. His accident took place on a bridge so there was no ditch for which to head.

Both Horton and Hank Williams died in auto accidents. Both were married to the same woman at the time of their death, and both played their last shows at the Skyline Club . Both died in Cadillacs.

Johnny Cash was a good friend of Horton. When he learned about the collision, he said "[I] locked myself in one of the hotel's barrooms, and cried."

For another Johnny Horton song, see A Tangled Web

January 06, 2009

Johns Famous Deli For Sale?

I heard a rumor. And now I see an ad stating that Johns Famous Deli on Third Avenue is "for sale".

I called the deli earlier today, and they said it was not closing. But is it really for sale?

January 03, 2009

Brad Paisley: You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive

Where the sun comes up about ten in the morning
And the sun goes down about three in the day
And you fill your cup with whatever bitter brew you're drinking
And you spend your life just thinkin' of how to get away

I heard this song for the first time the other day. I've been playing it a lot since then, this fine version by Brad Paisley, and another by Patty Loveless

There's another good version by Kathy Mattea, who like Paisley, is a West Virginian. Patty Loveless is from Kentucky, the daughter and granddaughter of coal miners.

These words are based on actual events, and on the strong mountain folk who survived them.


The Gyro restaurant at 68th and Fourth has not opened for the past four or five days and may have closed. The general consensus is that the food sucked, which would be consistent with my experience. They had a lot of customers who went there once, but not twice.


Apple Express car service has merged with Dyker Car Service, and now operates out of 94th and Third. If you call the old Apple Express number, (718) 836-8200, they'll pick it up at the 94th Street location. The 69th Street storefront has closed.


Hope Bay Ridge Rover is OK. His last post was November 19. People can and do get sick of blogging, or they get writers block, or they just get very busy, and as a result, many of them just disappear suddenly, never to return. I hope that doesn't happen with the Rover. He's a good voice, and having him post once every two weeks is better than having most bloggers every day. Happy New Year Rover.


Welcome new additions to the blogroll


I started the New Year with a cheese omelette at Anopoli, at 6920 Third Avenue, next to Grandma's Pizzeria. The omelette was excellent, and the service was good.

Anopoli ( 718-748-3863 ) is a Greek diner situated in what had been an old-fashioned ice cream parlor, perhaps dating back to the 1950s or before. The fixtures there have been faithfully preserved, stools at the counter, and booths off to the side. And good honest food in front of every diner. They deliver, too.

January 01, 2009

East River View from 199 Water Street, Manhattan

( click and then hit "all sizes" to get a full screen image of this photo )

Looking onto the East River from 199 Water Street., December 31 2008 maybe 2pm.

in the left /bottom corner are the old fish market buildings.

There are very few cars on the FDR Drive, as many took this day off

Across the highway, the South Street Seaport, which is not in good financial shape.

Uprriver, first the Brooklyn Bridge, and then the Manhattan Bridge