Friday, April 27, 2018


Gertrude Jeannette, Actor, Director and Cabdriver, Dies at 103 (NY Times)
Ms. Jeannette got her hack license in 1942. She had responded to an ad in a newspaper looking for women to replace the male cabdrivers who had been drafted into World War II.
“Women were going into plants and everything else, taking over jobs,” she recalled in a 2005 interview. “I said, well, I know one thing — I can drive a car.”
“Thirty-two of us took the test and only two of us passed,” said Ms. Jeannette, who learned how to drive a Chrysler truck at the age of 13 in Arkansas. “But the other girl didn’t get her license because she had citations on her driver’s license. And so I, I was the first.”

First Communion Pictures - Larry Racioppo  (Brooklynology)
I’ve been photographing First Communions, one of the three Catholic Initiation Sacraments, since 1971. One of my first ‘serious’ photographs depicts my Aunt Millie and her son John standing in the rain outside our parish church. John has just made his First Communion and is proudly holding his little prayer book wide open for me. Over the years I often returned to photograph at this church St. Michael the Archangel in Sunset Park (where I had made my First Communion), and to St. John the Evangelist in South Brooklyn where I lived in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Brooding time in Tompkins Square (Laura Goggin Photography)
At last, Christo and Amelia have at least one egg!
On Friday, April 20, the hawks were observed sitting low in the nest and making nest-exchanges throughout the day, indicating they are sitting on eggs.  No one can see into the nest, so it's impossible to know how many eggs are in there.  We have to pay attention to the hawks' behavior.
Hooray, Amelia!

New MTA Plan Proposes ‘Top-to-Bottom Transformation’ of City’s Sluggish Bus System (City Limits)
The MTA unveiled a plan Monday to revolutionize the city’s struggling bus system, vowing to improve service and speed up rides by re-evaluating all 326 bus routes for potential changes, implementing things like all-door boarding and even testing out the use of double-decker buses.
The MTA’s “Bus Action Plan” is the first step in the “full-scale modernization” of the city’s transit system, and looks to specifically address declining bus ridership numbers, New York City Transit President Andy Byford said.

Scenes from a Chinese Restaurant: A photo essay exploring what it’s like to be raised in a family business (The Outline)
The children spent most of their days after school at the restaurant — at ages 11, 9 and 5 they’re too young to be at home alone. If they weren’t doing homework, they were watching YouTube videos of K-Pop stars and Asian dramas or running around the restaurant. For dinner, they would eat a simple steamed fish with a bowl of white rice or a fish cake soup. Often, the kids said they wanted to only eat “American” food — pizza or burgers — but their mother told them it wasn’t good for them.
The mother of the family said this isn’t her dream life, but something she has to do. “It’s for my kids,” she said, in between phone calls and cooking the next order. “Their education and their future. I don’t think about mine.”

A Cinematic Journey Through Paris, As Seen Through the Lens of Legendary Filmmaker Éric Rohmer: Watch Rohmer in Paris (Open Culture)
He tells this story early in Rohmer in Paris, his hour-long video essay on all the ways the auteur used the city in the course of his prolific, more than fifty-year-long filmmaking career. Misek describes Rohmer's characters, "always glancing at each other: on trains, on streets, in parks, in the two-way shop windows of cafes where they can see and be seen," as flâneurs, those observant strollers through the city whose type has its origins in the Paris of the 19th century. "But their walks are restricted to lunch hours and evenings out. They form detours from less leisurely trajectories: the lines of a daily commute." With ever-increasing rigor, the director "traces every step of his characters' journeys through the city with topographic precision. His characters follow actual paths through Paris, paths that can be drawn as lines on the city's map."

Outskirts by John Grindrod review – life in the green belt (Guardian)
John Grindrod used to tell friends: “I live in the last road in London.” He grew up on the fringes of the capital, in a council estate near Croydon. His parents’ 1950s house was on the edge of the estate, facing woodland which was part of London’s green belt. It was at the edge of town and country, “the outskirts of the outskirts”. He spent the first 30 years of his life in this “intermediate nowhere”, a liminal space that profoundly shaped him: “so much of my head has been formed by it, from the outskirts, looking both ways”. Growing up, Grindrod was a loner who was bullied at school, “secretly gay and obviously gay at the same time”. The green belt became a sanctuary, a place of refuge where he could be himself: “lost in my imagination, talking to the trees and hawthorn bushes and hearing their replies”.

Mychael Barratt’s Whitechapel Mural (Spitalfields Life)
“No artist can refuse a mural,” Mychael admitted to me with a grin and a shrug, introducing the unlikely story of the origin of his vast painting, executed over six weeks in the summer of 2011. When lawyers, TV Edwards, who have been established in the East End in the vicinity of the docks since 1929, were refused permission for a large advert on the side of their building, senior partner Anthony Edwards, saw the possibility for a creative solution to the bare wall in Mile End Rd. So, after noticing Mychael Barrett’s work on a hoarding while going over Blackfriars Bridge in a taxi, he gave the artist a call.
Mychael came to London from Canada in the eighties. “I was travelling around Europe and I was only supposed to stay in London for a week, but I never left,” he confessed to me. Yet Mychael’s Huguenot ancestors first came here three hundred years ago as refugees and the history of the capital has proved an enduring source of inspiration for his work.

Municipal Dreams by John Boughton review - the rise and fall of council housing (Guardian)
One word Boughton keeps coming back to in his account of “the rise and fall of council housing” is “decency”. It can be used romantically, he acknowledges, as a kind way of overlooking how brutal living conditions can come to brutalise those who endure them. But it also sums up his view of what, and whom, council housing is for: a sense of societal decency and fairness, in which every member enjoys comfort and safety.

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