Rest in Peace, Ed. You Did Fine!

koch-photo-2
Mayoral until the end, Ed Koch welcomed New York Observer photographer Emily Anne Epstein into his office just two weeks ago. Showing him at his desk in the city he loved, these photos strike us as a fitting remembrance of one of the city’s most beloved figures. — Mayor Ed Koch (1924-2013) (4 photos) — The New York Observer

What’s The Buzz! Where’s The Bursting in Air!

This Is How Many New Yorkers Saw The Fireworks Last Night

From Gowanus

Phot by Ryeofthetiger

From a 4th floor walkup in Park Slope. Photo by Erin S. [I wonder who she is!]

From Greenpoint. Photo by Valerio Bruscianelli

Last night, for the fourth year in a row, Macy’s held their 4th of July fireworks display over the Hudson River, a display that many New Yorkers—particularly residents of Brooklyn, Queens, and the east side of Manhattan—cannot see. Prior to this year’s event, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio announced their online petition to bring the fireworks back to the East River—something even Mayor Bloomberg favors, at least on alternating years. {read more} The Gothamist

After a short while, my wife and I gave up and went inside to watch Nicholas Hytner‘s film The Madness of King George; a much cooler, thought-provoking experience.

Sphere Of Contention

The Sphere at its original location.

The 9/11 Sphere, that iconic relic of the World Trade Center attack, has been getting the bum’s rush lately. Designed in 1971 by Fritz Koenig, the sculpture once graced Austin J. Tobin Plaza situated between Towers 1 and 2. It was retrieved from the rubble, virtually intact but obviously damaged, and moved to Battery Park in 2002. New Yorkers, victims’ families and visitors alike viewed it as a permanent addition to the park, a permanent tribute to 9/11. However, the Port Authority, the autocratic agency that owned the WTC, viewed it differently.

At Battery Park.

The agency had originally said it would haul the 25-foot sphere to a storage hangar at JFK Airport‘s Hangar where it stores other large 9/11 artifacts by the end of April — but reversed course following a public outcry from many 9/11 families, who feel the sculpture should be returned to its original home, between the Twin Towers, inside what is now the 9/11 Memorial.

Nevertheless, the sphere’s future is still uncertain; the Port Authority, that acts according to its own desires regardless of public concerns, is silent on that issue. Even Mayor Bloomberg came out in support of the sphere. “I think it’s beautiful where it is,” he said recently. “You have people going elsewhere to understand this is something that affected the whole city, not just on the World Trade Center Site.” Ever the politician, Bloomberg also added that he won’t interfere with whatever the Port Authority  decides to do with the sphere.

Currently surrounded with construction fencing and with indecision.

DNA Info

NEW LOW IN HIGH ART

For a brief and chaotic moment, many people were convinced that yet another person was about to take a high dive into eternity from the Empire State Building. They spotted the rather uniquely placed figure on the 24th Floor ledge of the building and, quickly determining that he wasn’t a sightseer, called the police. Rushing to the 24th Floor, the cops were just about to reach out to this suicidal person when they discovered that it was neither suicidal nor a person…it was a solid cast iron statue!

The life-sized figure was bolted to the iconic building by the boneheaded organizers [in particular, resident artist Anthony Gormley] of the “Event Horizonart installation, which has infested the city with realistic-looking metal men. They’re placed on dangerous roofs and ledges around Madison Square Park and other Midtown locales — but none in a place so linked to death plunges.

Needless to say, many people didn’t appreciate this new low in high art. While Anthony Malkin, who heads the Empire State Building’s management group, said that he had received “over a dozen requests from meaningful people in the arts” to agree to the art installation and had checked with the NYPD and got their OK, everyone (the police, the public, and the ESB staff) appeared to be equally fooled by the Metal Man.

Forty people (six in the last 10 years) have jumped from the Empire State Building since it opened in 1931. The Metal Man was installed on the ESB in late March (in place on March 30 when a Yale grad student leapt from the observation deck but seems to be attracting attention only now). In fact, Mayor Bloomberg himself gave his full support to the project and doesn’t plan to intervene.

(originally posted: 04/17/10)

Read more: New York Post

Daydreaming Vintage Yankees

I remember the New York Yankees in distant yesteryears before free agents, avarice, cynicism, narcissism, and George Steinbrenner set in. Going to Yankee stadium then meant going to the legendary (if grossly inaccurate) “House That Ruth Built.” But then that house grew old (1976) and was newly refurbished until the newly refurbished house also grew old (2008) and was abandoned; the team, having attained the heights of celestial ostentatiousness, moving into a new “cathedral” across the road.

However, even though Yankees fans can no longer see the old house(s) and team that I once knew, they can now see the new cathedral and team that I no longer have any use for. What’s more, they can get there the way that I, in days of old, used to get there: via aged Lo-V trains, tottering holdovers from the 1920s.

[Riders] marveled over how the narrow rattan benches lining the walls seemed to provide more leg room than on modern trains, helped by the absence of poles interrupting the floor. Riders instead clutched rows of handles above, illuminated by naked white bulbs.

Though the train seemed spacious, passengers were squeezed tight by the time it reached East 86th Street, so much so that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, surrounded by police officers, could not even get on. (He caught a conventional No. 4 train right behind it, a spokeswoman said.)

If Micky Mantle were to be playing first base, Roger Mantle in the outfield, Whitey Ford pitching, this ride would intrigue me…hot, stuffy and as awkward as these Lo-Vs were/are. Then again, that impossibility would dispel this entire vintage-inspired  daydream; a shock like that would be enough to level cathedrals of baseball.

Source: NY Times

Frozen Vestige

Out on that enchanted bit of suburbia known as Staten Island, a sagacious groundhog peacefully resides. Appropriately named Staten Island Chuck, NYC’s in-house weather forecaster, tomorrow is his big day; once again he’ll be called into service to do his winter long-winter short prognosticating thing. Crowds will be on hand at the Staten Island Zoo at 6:30 a.m., along with Mayor Bloomberg and various other dignitaries, to witness if the oracular Chuck sees his shadow.

However, owing to the approaching ice storm that’s soon to hit here (a storm of “monstrous” proportions, according to more technically-equipped weather pundits), Chuck’s much ballyhooed, shadowy writing on the wall might very well be a shadowy whiteout. In fact, the mayor, the crowds, the dignitaries, and especially Chuck, would be much better off staying in bed; it’s almost a certainty that neither man nor beast will see much of anything tomorrow morning, except for what we’ve been seeing for the past five weeks.

SI Live

UPDATE (2/2/2011): Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, etc, kept Staten Island Chuck from fulfilling his appointed task.  He did emerge from his icy hole after all; what’s more, he didn’t see his shadow: an early spring is on the way.

Our intrepid Mayor Bloomberg (who, say what you will, usually turns out to be a sport), joyously announced to the assemblage at this morning’s event:

“No shadow, no shadow,” Bloomberg said, donning the infamous thick leather gloves he began wearing ever since Chuck, formally known as Charles G. Hogg, chomped on his finger two Groundhog Days ago. “Spring is coming!”

As for myself, I was fast asleep at the time.

SI Live

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