Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sinkhole opens on 23rd on Tuesday afternoon

Driver injured as school bus nearly plunges into Brooklyn sinkhole (Daily News)

City Department of Environmental Protection officials arrived on scene (23rd between Fifth & Sixth) to check the street’s water mains, and an official with the city Office of Emergency Manager said workers were looking to identify a nearby “gushing sound.”

Photos to follow shortly, but at least the one above (taken Monday) is thematically apt.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Contractor Has Left The Building

I haven't paid too much attention to 669 Fifth Avenue.  Plans were filed for an Alt 1 vertical expansion back in 2005, though work didn't get going until 2013.  The building's been shrouded in scaffolding and netting ever since, and has become one of those peripheral construction hulks that are all too common round here.  Work seems to have limped along over the years, accompanied by failure to maintain and safety violations (scaffolding unsafe and/or without permits). The DoB information for 669 isn't very helpful with alteration details; the virtual job folder is empty.

A few days ago I noticed a new(ish) SWO on the building:


It seems a good partner for 657-665 Fifth, at the other end of the block, now entering its twenty-first month of inactivity.

Seasonal Style

I'm fond of the festive decorations at Batrouni's.  There's a wreath above the auto shop, but I prefer the main attraction. A string of lights adorns a shrublet which is perched atop the unwrapped Cadillac DeVille. Happy Holidays to you too!  I don't know how much longer the business will be around, with the lot advertised for sale, but I hope it's a while longer.

The lights look nice at night!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

W. 47th

My little pocket camera died in the Diamond District Friday.  Here's its last bleary shot.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

On Third

Morning in midtown, a cafe on Third.  The place was nothing special, but the food was decent. Mostly the customers were getting their food to go, and only a few of the tables were occupied.  On one side of me a trio of construction workers talked loud and ate quickly.  They kept their hard hats on. On the other, a couple of tables away, an elderly lady was breakfasting alone.  She was taking her time, all too well-versed in the careful arts of self-sufficiency.  In looks she was a Sitwell through and through, with the long, dolorous face and hooded eyes.   I glanced at her every so often, though I didn't want to stare too hard. There was something of the 1940's in the good wool coat, the white powdered cheeks, the arched, querulous eyebrows.  She was a faded queen. When I left, I couldn't help but turn her way directly. We smiled at each other, her face lit up, and beauty flooded in. Imagine the palest of blues, a thin, light, almost transparent shade, and that was the color of her eyes. Of course she'd commanded hearts and kingdoms.

Edith Sitwell

Liquors, Wines

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Let's Go Back ...

If you could escape the current state of national, nay global angst we've all been suffering these last several weeks, would you take the chance on a little time travel?  I can't promise the period of your choice - that Eden of childhood, or the city in that decade you loved the best - but I have found a pocket of the past in the most unlikely setting.  This afternoon, in the sullen climes of the Cadman Plaza Post Office, between windows 6 & 7, an LED display is counting down the hours til the Millennium. I captured the clock this afternoon, the 8th of May, 1998, with only 520 days, 11 hours, 29 minutes and 35 seconds left of the twentieth century.

I thought of Ray Bradbury.  If I strayed off the customer waiting line could I possibly make the difference?


Refuge from the rain for a white slice at Luigi's, where Meet John Doe is playing on the TV.   Gio's sitting at a table, his attention half on pizza and half on the screen.  The place is a living room, where familiar guests drop by.

I head down to Fourth and find the top of the Uneeda building gone.  Underneath the scaffolding there's a woman with a cooler - lunches for construction workers.   It's a good spot to sell food, with three of the corners at 15th active.  Chicken & rice & salad & hot sauce & home.

Nuts and Oddballs on Fifth

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


When Cars Ruled the Night: New York City, 1974-1976 (New Yorker)

The automobiles are the stars here, but the backdrops are equally striking. They immerse the viewer in the unreconstructed New York of the era between the Fun City nineteen-sixties and the land-grab madness of the eighties. Other collections of photographs documenting those years tend to focus on extremes of misery, on infrastructure breakdown, on evanescent outbreaks of colorful behavior that will disproportionately resonate in later decades. Here you see the city as it actually was.

The South Bronx of America: photographs by Mel Rosenthal - at the Museum of the City of New York through January 8, 2017 (Guardian)

More on Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s Maintenance Art, on view at the Queens Museum through February 19, 2017 (City Lab)

When maintenance work is ignored, it may be at society’s peril. When it is celebrated, the results expand our very notions of beauty. Ukeles should be better known, and so should the spirit of her work.

How 'Maintainers,' Not 'Innovators,' Make the World Turn (City Lab)

More flooding in Gowanus, & the Lightstone development has only made things worse (Pardon Me for Asking)

Sunset Park pol hosts a march for a day of unity and solidarity (Brooklyn Reporter)

John Lewis: ‘Read everything.  Be Kind. Be Bold.' In conversation with an American hero (Literary Hub)

More Than Coffee: New York’s Vanishing Diner Culture (NY Times)

Shakespeare Trilogy review – Donmar's phenomenal all-female triumph (Guardian)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Atlantic

On Atlantic in the golden hour, a piece of boomtown Brooklyn always has to crash the scene.

Is it too cheap a trick to catch the light at three or so, in late November?

The bottom picture shows my favorite church on this stretch of Atlantic, St. Cyril of Turau Cathedral, the Belarusian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, which appears (sadly, I'd say) to be getting a brown paint-job.  According to Slavs of New York (an inspired choice of blog name), the parish, founded in 1950, bought the Episcopalian church on Atlantic in 1957, and in 2005 had "about two dozen members."  It's still active.

The Belarusan Church website includes photographs of Feast Day, and a post-Christmas celebration for the children of Belarusian emigrants in the New York area.  Both pictures were taken this year.


Not even one hot bagel here. The stores at the SE corner of 16th have been long-shuttered, but an auto-shop owner who recently sold his business told me there were plans for this location.