“Chill From His Rippling Rest”


Dawn seems to “chill from his rippling rest.” Few experiences are as ethereal as strolling across Brooklyn Bridge on a foggy morning. I did it a few times in my younger, more peripatetic days. While the view is opaque, the atmosphere is surreal; a sense of being suspended in time and space. But you inevitably reach the opposite shore and reality intercedes–unless you’re lucky enough to go on traversing in dreams.

Photo Source: Adam Scott

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest The seagull‘s wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high Over the chained bay waters Liberty– – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15444#sthash.mPSM5Ual.dpuf

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high Over the chained bay waters Liberty– – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15444#sthash.mPSM5Ual.dpuf

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high Over the chained bay waters Liberty– – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15444#sthash.mPSM5Ual.dpuf

How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him, Shedding white rings of tumult, building high Over the chained bay waters Liberty– – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15444#sthash.mPSM5Ual.dpuf
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One More Ghost Station


The IRT‘s original City Hall station was part of NYC‘s first major subway project and designed as a sort of ceremonial terminal. Construction began on 24 March 1900 in front of City Hall; the steps of the building leading to the station’s entrance. From this vantage point, NYC mayors could expound on the benefits of mass transit and, more or less, interact with the citizenry

The station was open to the public in October of 1904. Unlike most subway stations, it had a unique, sharply curved platform; a Guastavino tile arched ceiling in addition to the more basic (for the time) skylights and plaques honoring its construction.

Unfortunately, its location at this turning loop, at a time when more practically configured uptown and local trains were coming into service, rendered the station noisy and poorly situated. Improperly designed platforms, riddled with gaps, also made it unsafe. The station was closed at night, local trains by-passing it on their way to South Ferry; and even when it was open it was limited to an “entrance only” station. After a disappointing forty-one years of service, the station was finally closed in 1945.


In April 1995, efforts to reopen the City Hall station as part of the newly created NYC Transit Museum were introduced. The loop track was re-classed from “yard track” (or maintenance track) to “mainline,” which allowed the public to view the station without special permission. The commemorative plaques which had been moved to Brooklyn Bridge station in 1962 were reinstalled in their original positions in 1996. Everything fell through when the awaited funding never materialized and in 1998 the plans were canceled.

The City Hall station remains, an unseen yet ghostly presence frozen in time beneath Manhattan’s crowded streets and alongside its speeding trains: Out of sight in the onrush of progress and out of mind in the onrush of history.


For more on this and other NYC Subway curiosities, Abandoned Stations (the source for this post and accompanying photos) is a great site for NYC’s vast collection of underground stories.


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Scintillating Confinement

New York - 110

Gotham City

New York has a trip-hammer vitality which drives you insane with restlessness, if you have no inner stabilizer…. In New York I have always felt lonely, the loneliness of the caged animal, which brings on other madness.” – Last week I found myself roaming the streets of NY. In next couple of days I will post some photos from that walk around.  Nenad Spasojevic

Mountainous Musings


For the past twenty years Jake Berthot has painted his vision of the Catskill Mountains, where he has lived since 1994, after living in Manhattan, much of it on the Bowery, for thirty years. A painter of what he calls “small sensations,” Berthot has included fourteen paintings and six drawings completed in the last three years, in his current solo exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery (October 17–November 30, 2013)…..[read more]: Hyperallergic

Trinity’s Divine Stash


There was never any doubt that Trinity Church was quite well-to-do. In fact, the church’s total assets are currently estimated to be around $2 billion in well-to-do-ness. While this divine nest egg seems rather paltry when compared to the Vatican‘s inestimable store of heavenly manna, it still runs contrary to the essence of a Protestant Episcopalianism; the presumed values that, beyond King Henry VIII’s personal idiosyncrasies, led to its establishment.

When the church was founded in 1705, Queen Anne of England bestowed 215 acres of Manhattan farmland to the church. Trinity Church obviously took that profitable ball and ran with it for over three centuries. The New York Times explains that the 215 acres has since been parlayed into 5.5 million square feet of commercial real estate with an estimated value of more than $2 billion. This brought in $158 million in revenue in 2011, with philanthropic causes receiving only $3 million compared to$2.5 million going to  its music program.

This is what compelled a former parishioner to bring a lawsuit against the church that caused quite a stir amongst the congregation.

“I felt that the church was being too corporate and wasn’t acting on its values,” he says. The church’s rector, James Cooper, says Trinity Church is striking the right balance. But Cooper—who makes roughly $1.3 million a year in total compensation—is a controversial figure; last year a resigning vestry member said he had “created a glaring atmosphere of deceit.”

Personally, I know that Trinity Church’s famed Christmas presentation of Handel’s Messiah will sound forever off-key to this blogger from now on. Indeed, after all is said and done, it appears cozily appropriate that the church is situated right at the end of Wall Street.

via Newser

The Telescope Man of Union Square


The infinite twinkling of the stars, not the temporal glistening of neon, are what enraptured him. The unknown beauty of planets, moons and galaxies, not the schematic towering of skyscrapers, engaged his attention with awestruck scrutiny. Comets and asteroids, their paths through the untold vastness of space, absorbed his imagination and captivated him. For this was Arthur F. Nursey, aka the “Telescope Man,” who lived and viewed the universe in the early part of the 20th century.

I chanced upon Nursey while sifting through the New York Times archives (08/06/1932)…in a way, similar to Nursey’s own sifting through space. But I had heard of him long ago from my grandmother who told me of this little man that I had, until now, faintly remembered.

He was a small, gentle-looking man and, in today’s terms, perhaps “nerdy” in appearance. For thirty years he and his beloved telescope were fixtures in Union Square (Manhattan). He solicited passer-byes to “gaze upon the wonders of the universe, see the mountains of the moon, the pale splendor of the pole star and the beauty of Saturn…all, ladies and gentlemen, for a dime.” A small but sizable number of New Yorkers would take Nursey up on his offer and gaze through the metallic tube of his telescope, not really understanding what they saw but realizing that it was marvelous; a bargain at ten-cents.

This was Nursey’s sole means of income; rather small for a onetime Oxford student who was trained in astrophysics and astronomy. He lived alone at 224 East 21st Street and when rain or snow or cloudy weather would make star-gazing impossible, his typewriter could be heard deep into the night writing scientific treatises; at other times, poring over maps and charts, delving into various tomes, to learn yet more. He would have been a credit to any scholastic or scientific institution but preferred to make Union Square his classroom, the ordinary man and woman his student.

On the morning of August 1, 1932 he left his apartment to buy breakfast. Walking along First Avenue, he became, as usual, absorbed in thought. According to the Times, he “raised his head, his eyes turning in quest of a cloud or a mist that might interfere with his night’s work and, with his mind so occupied, he stepped off the curb….Brakes squealed, there was a thud, a smothered cry of pain.”

Nursey, 71 years old, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital. He was critically injured and dying but remained conscious throughout his remaining moments. His only concern was for the safety of his telescope. Attendants assured the astronomer that it was safe and to further comfort him had his apartment door padlocked. The Times ends Nursey’s story by stating that “the padlock remains on the door, his body is in the city morgue.”

King of Kings and Hipsters


“If you know that I am an unbeliever, then you know me better than I do myself. I may be an unbeliever, but I am an unbeliever who has a nostalgia for a belief.”– Pier Paolo Pasolini

Hosanna in the Highest. Brooklyn’s Catholic Diocese has now outdone itself in the field of  marketing by giving a new age spin to that miracle-spinning virtuoso from Bethlehem. Meet the 21st century’s new and improved Jesus Christ …re-resurrected as the original hipster.

As Katie McDonough at Salon notes, Jesus “was a carpenter, and craftsmanship is big in Brooklyn right now.” Not to mention that he famously turned water into wine, “which is very do-it-yourself and kind of locavore-ish.” And don’t forget the beard: http://bit.ly/ZTjp20

The Diocese was somewhat embarrassed that the ad was released unintentionally, appropriately perhaps, on April 1 (April Fools’ Day, of course). But since it’s gone to such groovy extremes, why should that matter anymore? Here in Park Slope, everyday seems like April Fools Day bordering on Halloween.


Jesus: The ‘original hipster’?–The Week