Posted: Dec 21, 2012 | 1:47 AM
Winter is here.
Touring through NYC's winter days and nights can be a wonderful experience. The horizontal
light, clear air, and bare branches make Brooklyn Heights tours and
touring Greenwich Village ideal, for example. Many residential neighborhoods look great. And you avoid the crowds so you can get great pictures.
Even so, most people don't consider walking tours in winter.
Well, Santa taught us that Coca-Cola is not just refreshing in summer. I'm telling you that touring in winter can be great, if you use a little planning.
We hear the terms on the weather reports, but what do they mean?
All American weather reports are based on the National Weather Service, which has official terms with precise meanings that are good to be aware of because NYC weather can be harsh and nasty. Fortunately, with this glossary and improved weather predictions, you can have days to plan and schedule or reschedule.
My rule of thumb for winter is: If the weather is in your eyes (eg blizzard), then no tour. See which other terms denote dangerous conditions that warrant a rescheduling. I will denote this with !! !!
If you book a winter walking tour, work out a policy for weather.
One thing to keep your NYC Tour Guide aware of: suburban driving and bridge driving conditions are more hazardous than most NYC street conditions. If you cannot make it to or from the tour safely, then alert your guide.
Winter Weather Terms
Statements that are issued by the National Weather Service for probable weather situations of inconvenience that do not carry the danger of WARNING criteria (see below), but, if not observed, could lead to hazardous situations especially with regard to driving, such as slick roads.
A blizzard means that the following conditions are expected to prevail for a period of 3 hours or longer...
* sustained wind or frequent gusts to 35 miles an hour or greater; and
* considerable falling and/or blowing snow (i.e., reducing visibility frequently to less than ¼ mile).
Blizzard Warning !! means that snow and strong winds will combine to produce a blinding snow (near zero visibility), deep drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.
Blowing Snow !! is wind-driven snow that reduces surface visibility. Blowing snow can be falling snow or snow that has already accumulated but is picked up and blown by strong winds. Blowing snow is usually accompanied by drifting snow.
Channeled High Winds ! In cities with tall buildings, air may be channeled through constricted passages producing high winds. Channeled high winds are local in nature but can be extremely strong. These winds generally occur in well-defined areas.
Drifting Snow !! is an uneven distribution of snowfall/snow depth caused by strong surface winds. Drifting snow may occur during or after a snowfall. Drifting snow is usually associated with blowing snow.
ENHANCED WORDING is in ALL CAPS !! !!
E.G., the statement "THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF EXTREMELY DAMAGING WINDS," usually when an event is occurring or forecast to occur.
!! I generally cancel or postpone tours with ENHANCED WORDING or reports with "Warning," "Dangerous," "Hazardous," "Storm," "Heavy," "Severe," "High," "Squall," "Strong," "Flood," maybe 'Gusts' !!
Not all tour companies and operators cancel or postpone due to hazardous conditions. This is an indicator of their prioritization of money over safety.
I have learned this through bitter experience in which I have been endangered or those of my guests have been, despite my advance warnings based on weather reports. I don't work for such companies anymore.
In fair weather, this kind of policy also might indicate that the quality of their guides is uneven. If they don't care about safety, then what about quality?
Freeze A freeze is when the surface air temperature is expected to be 32°F or below over a widespread area for a climatologically significant period of time. Use of the term is usually restricted to advective situations or to occasions when wind or other conditions prevent frost. "Killing" may be used during the growing
season when the temperature is expected to be low enough for a sufficient duration to kill all but the hardiest herbaceous crops.
Freezing Rain or Freezing Drizzle ! This occurs when rain or drizzle freezes on surfaces, such as the ground, trees, power lines,
motor vehicles, streets, highways, etc. Small accumulations of ice can cause driving and walking difficulties while heavy accumulations produce extremely dangerous and damaging situations primarily by pulling down trees and utility lines.
Frost describes the formation of thin ice crystals on the ground or other surfaces in the form of scales, needles, feathers, or fans. Frost develops under conditions similar to dew, except the temperatures of the Earth's surface and earthbound objects
falls below 32°F. As with the term "freeze," this condition is
primarily significant during the growing season. If a frost period is
sufficiently severe to end the growing season or delay its beginning, it is commonly referred to as a "killing frost." Because frost is primarily an event that occurs as the result of radiational cooling, it frequently occurs with a thermometer level temperature in the mid-30s.
Hail !! ice particles that fall to the ground in storms, causing more than $1 billion in damage to property and crops each year, and sometimes falling at speeds faster than 100 mph. This is a good reason to postpone a tour.
Heavy Snow !! This generally
accumulating to 4" or more in depth in 12 hours or less; or
accumulating to 6" or more in depth in 24 hours or less.
In forecasts, snowfall amounts are expressed as a range of values, e.g., "8 to 12 inches."
However, in heavy snow situations where there is considerable
uncertainty concerning the range of values, more appropriate phrases are used, such as "...up to 12 inches..." or alternatively "...8 inches or more...".
Another good reason to cancel.
High Wind !! Sustained wind speeds of 40 mph or greater lasting for 1 hour or longer (Near Gale to Gale), or winds of 58 mph or greater for any duration (Storm to Violent Storm).
I don't like touring in winds that flap flags, generally over 15 miles per hour, known as "Moderate Breeze." This is based on the Beaufort Scale.
Ice Storm !! describes occasions when damaging accumulations of ice are expected during freezing rain situations. Significant accumulations of ice pull down trees and utility lines resulting in loss of power and communication. These accumulations of ice make walking and driving extremely dangerous. Significant
ice accumulations are usually accumulations of ¼" or greater.
Knot = A nautical unit of speed equal to the velocity at which one nautical mile is traveled in one hour. Used primarily by marine interests and in weather observations. A knot is equivalent to 1.151 statute miles per hour or 1.852 kilometers per hour. Rule of thumb: 1 Knot is around 1 Mile.
Medium Range In forecasting, (generally) three to seven days in advance.
A cyclonic storm occurring off the east coast of North America.
These winter weather events are notorious for producing heavy snow, rain, and tremendous waves that crash onto Atlantic beaches, often causing beach erosion and structural damage. Wind gusts associated with these storms can exceed hurricane force in intensity. A nor'easter gets its name from the continuously
strong northeasterly winds blowing in from the ocean ahead of the storm and over the coastal areas.
Outlook ! is used to indicate that a hazardous weather or hydrologic event may develop. It is intended to provide information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event. When you read or hear this word, call your tour guide.
SEVERE WEATHER !! Generally, any destructive weather event, but usually applies to localized storms, such as
blizzards, intense thunderstorms, or tornadoes.
Shear Variation in wind speed (speed shear) and/or direction (directional shear) over a short distance. Shear usually refers to vertical wind shear, i.e., the change in wind with height, but the term also is used in Doppler radar to describe changes in
radial velocity over short horizontal distances.
Short Term Forecast A product used to convey information regarding weather or hydrologic events in the next few hours.
Sleet ! is defined as pellets of ice composed of frozen or mostly frozen raindrops or refrozen partially melted snowflakes. These pellets of ice usually bounce after hitting the ground or other hard surfaces. However, it can accumulate like snow and cause a hazard to motorists.
Heavy sleet is a relatively rare event defined as an accumulation of ice pellets covering the ground to a depth of ½" or more.
SNOW ADVISORY ! A statement or advisory issued when snow is expected to create hazardous travel conditions. It warns of less severe weather conditions than a winter storm.
Snow Flurries are an intermittent light snowfall of short duration (generally light snow showers) with no measurable accumulation (trace category).
Snow Showers is a short duration of moderate snowfall. Some accumulation is possible.
SQUALL ! A sudden onset of strong winds with speeds increasing to at least 16 knots (18 miles per hour) and sustained at 22 or more knots (25 miles per hour) for at least one minute.
The intensity and duration is longer than that of a gust.
STORM !! An individual low pressure disturbance, complete with winds, clouds, and precipitation. The name is associated with destructive or unpleasant weather.
TSUNAMI !! An ocean wave with a long period that is formed by an underwater earthquake or landslide, or volcanic eruption. It may travel unnoticed across the ocean for thousands of miles from its point of origin and builds up to great heights over shallower
water. Also known as a seismic sea wave, and incorrectly, as a tidal wave.
WARNING !! Issued to inform the public that a significant weather situation is imminent or in progress. Warnings state a particular hazard or imminent danger, such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash and river floods, winter storms, heavy snows, etc.
Watch Issued to inform the public and cooperating agencies that current and developing meteorological conditions are such that there is a threat, but the occurrence is neither certain nor imminent, of the possibility of a particular hazard, such as
tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, flash and river floods, winter storms, or heavy snows.
Wind Chill ! One of the gravest dangers of winter weather is wind chill. The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin by combined effects of wind and cold. As the wind increases, heat is carried away from the body at an accelerated rate,
driving down the body temperature. Cover up and wear layers.
Wind Chill Advisory !! Issued when wind chill temperatures are expected to be a significant inconvenience to life with prolonged exposure, and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to hazardous exposure.
Wind Chill Warning !! Issued when
wind chill temperatures are expected to be hazardous to life within several
minutes of exposure.
WINTER STORM !! Any one of several storm systems that develop during the late fall to early spring and deposit wintry precipitation, such as snow, freezing rain, or ice. Related terms: blizzard, ice storm, and nor'easter.
Winter Storm Warnings ! are usually issued 12 to 24 hours before the event is expected to begin.
Winter Storm Watch means that severe winter conditions, such as heavy snow and/or ice, may affect your area, but its occurrence, location and timing are still uncertain. A winter storm watch is issued to provide 12 to 48 hours notice of the possibility of severe
A watch is upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning !! when hazardous winter weather in the form of heavy snow, heavy freezing rain, or heavy sleet is imminent or occurring.
Winter Weather Advisories ! weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences that may be hazardous. If caution is exercised, advisory situations should not become life-threatening.
Watch --> Advisory --> Warning
Posted: Dec 20, 2012 | 10:02 PM
by Jared Goldstein
1860: Henrietta Szold, founder of Haddasah, the women's
charity for Israel, born. She died in 1945.
A few blocks from me is a mini-street, Szold Place
between 10th and 12th Streets and parallel between Avenues C and D. It is quite obscure, but it is no longer a place to get lucky for a parking spot.
It used to be Dry Dock street, because that is what was there. As you can imagine, with a name like that, it was severely flooded in 2012's Super Storm Sandy.
I am trying to find out why this particular place is named for her, except perhaps as a sop to the Jewish population that was in the area through the 1950s.
1913: The crossword puzzle born in NYC at the New York World newspaper, also the birthplace of investigative journalism. Speculation has it that its creator Arthur Wynne was inspired by a similar puzzle carved onto an Egyptian tomb.
This is the first crossword puzzle
1935: Phil Donahue, talk show host, the inventor of the talk show, the longest running one (until at least 2015), celebrates his birthday. Sometimes during tours I use his style of getting into the audience on the level, asking different people what they think to get them involved and to gauge my audience's reactions.
1937: Actress Jane Fonda born in NYC.
1950: Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg born in NYC.
1957: Queens' Ray Romano, Actor, "Everybody Loves Raymond," born.
1958: Harry Wills, the "Black Panther,"
heavyweight boxing veteran fighter of 100 battles dies. Because of his race, Wills was not able to compete for heavyweight champion of the world against Jack Dempsey.
After the racism following Jack Johnson's success, Wills was barred. He later became a Harlem Real Estate Broker.
1967: "The Graduate" premiers in NYC. I like to show off Dustin Hoffman's townhouse on Greenwich Village tours.
1971: The UN Security Council elects Kurt Waldheim as secretary-general. He succeeded U Thant, who has a little East River Island across from the UN named for him.
1987: The racist "Howard Beach" manslaughter conspirators convicted a year and a day after their deadly and violent attacks, including on Michael Griffith, a young black man who was killed by an automobile after the teens chased him onto the Belt Parkway. By way of reference, the Belt Parkway has aggressive traffic and nowhere for pedestrians.
1988: Pan Am Flight 103, from London to New York was bombed over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 aboard and 16 on the ground. It was the greatest loss of American life until the attacks of 9/11/01. The saga for justice is still continuing for the families caught between politics, international relations and other deals.
1994: A local man firebombed a subway downtown injuring over 40 passengers, and earning him 94 years in prison.
Posted: Dec 19, 2012 | 8:53 PM
1879: Edison demonstrated incandescent light at Menlo Park (now Edison), NJ. It will rapidly spread to NYC.
Scientific American cover about urban electric lighting
Edison's company became General Electric. In 2010 GE stopped making light bulbs. Edison also founded ConEd.
1880: Electric lighting comes to NYC after Cleveland and Wabash.
"Like stars emerging from darkness," the fancy Broadway shopping district from 14th St. to 26th street is lit first. Throngs clog the sidewalks, window shopping, and celebrating just being out during one of the longest nights of the year. Some New York women complained that the lighting was not flattering.
The new arc street lights are twice as tall as the old gas poles.
Shop windows are lit. People are out having fun at night. Urbanity and retail is revolutionized yet again in NYC.
1881: Brooklyn's Branch Rickey born. He was the baseball executive who hired the major league's first black players.
On the left, Branch Rickey signs Jackie Robinson to the Brooklyn Dodgers.Rickey created the farm team system. He died in 1965.
I like to show this plaque off on Brooklyn Heights walking tours.
1946: Happy Birthday, Dick Wolf, "Law and Order" producer. Thank you, sir, for helping NYC's visibility from 1990-2010. You've provided jobs in tourism, acting, writing, and for technicians.
1946: Frank Capra's film "It's A Wonderful Life" previews for charity at New York City's Globe Theater. Initially it was a flop, but it set the standard for positive Christmas movies as it became a television classic.
1947: Knicks play their first afternoon game at Madison Square Garden prevailing over Boston 70-58.
1968: John Steinbeck, author of American classics and Nobel Literature prize winner, dies in his Upper-East Side apartment with 66 years.
1973: The Bronx' Bobby Darin, pop star, died at 37.
1986: White youth from Howard Beach chase Black men having pizza there into traffic, killing one that way, and severely beating another. The 1980s early 1990s in NYC was very racially charged.
1993: Donald and "Georgia Peach" Marla Maples marry at
Trump's Plaza Hotel, beginning six years of bliss until they divorced. The Broadway starlet met Trump sitting weekly in the front row of his church wearing fetching hats. This was where Trump married his first wife. When a reporter asked Trump if he met his second wife during his first wedding 'Trump vehemently denied it.'
Trump is a rich source of mirth for tour-groups, or at least their Guides.
One day maybe I'll tell you about my elevator ride with Trump. It was mortifying for everyone including him.
2005: NYC Transit Workers strike for three days.
Posted: Dec 19, 2012 | 12:10 AM
1776: Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay, "These are the times that try men's souls; the summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.." Washington had these words read to embolden his troops, many had already fled, but those that remained were so inspired that they crossed the Delaware with him.
1882: Paul Krichel, the Yankees' Scout
from 1920-1957 who signed and/or discovered Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Whitey
Ford, Mark Koenig, and Vic Raschi, born in New York.
1903: The Williamsburg Bridge opens, opening up the Lower East Side's density like a pressure release valve to what was to become 'the Jewish Riviera,' Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
The bridge carries the J and the Z trains, which a young Shawn Corey Carter took to the rough Marcy Avenue projects where he grew up. He was later named Jay-Z, partially for his train lines. It also plays a role in many other aspects of NYC culture.
For around 20 years, the bridge was the longest in the world.
1924: August Belmont, Jr died. He was a great figure in Thoroughbred Horse racing, who founded Belmont Raceway and
the Belmont Stakes.
Belmont is to the right.
Belmont financed the development of New York City's subway,
and he used the same architect, LaFarge to design part of the Cathedral of St John the Divine, which he also financed. He had good taste in heaven, turf, and under earth.
1933: Happy Birthday to Actress Cicely Tyson, who cut her teeth in the Harlem Y's theater.
1968: Dave DeBusschere joins the NY Knicks as big forward, with teammates Willis Reed and Walt Frazier, they led the Knicks to great years for over five years.
1974: NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller sworn in as Vice President, replacing Ford, who replaced Agnew and then Nixon as President. Ford, accidental President, was lampooned as accident-prone by Chevy Chase.
2000: The UN Security Council imposes
broad sanctions on Afghanistan's Taliban leaders unless they closed
terrorist training camps and surrendered Osama bin Laden, who was indicted for
the African Embassy bombings.
2000: Ex-Mayor John Lindsey died at age 79.
What a mixed legacy of idealism,
enduring aesthetics, fiscal failure...
1980: Happy Birthday Jake Gyllenhaal,
who puts people to sleep on the subways, but not in the cinemas.
1986: The Mets' World Series parachutist sentenced.
Posted: Dec 17, 2012 | 8:34 PM
1839: NYU Professor John Draper daguerreotypes the moon, the first space photograph. He was part of a golden age of NYU science greats, including Professors Colt (revolver) and Samuel Morse.
1888: Robert Moses, the colossus of public works, was born. He lived until 1981.
He was probably the greatest master builder in history, including the ancient Romans, Egyptians and the Chinese.
At the height of his career he was simultaneously in charge of a dozen New York City and New York State agencies, creating hundreds of parks, including Jones Beach, the next great parks models since Vaux and Olmsted.
Moses built power dams, highways, the longest and tallest bridge in the world, the Verazanno, the Triborough Bridge, Lincoln Center, Shea Stadium, public housing, and much more.
He started out as an idealistic reformer helping rid the city
government of Tammany Hall's century-plus era of corruption in public works. He was so beloved for his wholesome gorgeous works, such as charming Jones Beach, connected by Parkways, parks you drive through. His power and responsibilities and achievements increased exponentially until he lost touch with whom these projects were for and whom they ruined. He took the 'you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs' approach to the furthest limits.
I have much more about Robert Moses below. His achievements merit consideration and debate, yet they still impact America and the world, since they are a model for what to do, and what not to do.
Happy Birthday, actor Ray Liotta (1955)! I don't know if he's a New Yorker (and I'm not going to check right now), but he was great in Goodfellas, the first mob movie I liked, and it took place in NYC.
1956: A year after retiring from the Yankees as a star shortstop Phil Rizzuto returns to baseball as a broadcaster for Yankee Games, which he'll do for the for the next 40 years.
1968: Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang premiers in NYC.
Happy Birthday, singer Christina Aguilera (1980)!
1987: Ivan Boesky, convicted of insider-trading, sentenced to three years in prison. Convictions have a way of changing behavior. Something to consider for the the world of finance's behavior the last fourteen years.
1992: Mark Goodson, Game Show Producer, died. He was born in 1915.
2006: Television Animator Joseph Barbera died. He was born 1911. His television cartoons were the best produced probably. While the animation was a step down from film cartoons, the characters and the writing was good. I suspect that the Flintstones writers were drunk while on tight deadlines.
More about ROBERT MOSES:
Robert Moses wanted the Lower Manhattan Expressway since the 1940s. Looking from Hudson to East River Bridges.
Although he couldn't drive himself (he had a chauffeur for his rolling office that he didn't look out of), Moses never envisioned a highway possibility he didn't like. He was a master at getting federal funding for highways and public housing, both of which led to a white and middle-class flight to the suburbs after World War 2.
Moses also had bias against the low-income and blacks, using his
low-bridged Parkways as a filter against public transit reaching his white peopled and white sand State Park beaches.
Later, his expressways flew over decaying neighborhoods festering below the highways which bisected them. Entire neighborhoods, social fabrics and local economies were razed, and replaced with public housing or elevated highways.
Moses created filters to keep low income people on the edge of city parks. He located public housing as far from the center of the city as he could, such as on Ave D on the East River, separating the Lower East Side from the East Side, Coney Island, or Red Hook at the extremes of Brooklyn. All three such projects were hard hit by Super Storm Sandy in 2012.
Ironically, this waterfront property with its light and views would be hugely valuable real estate now, if it were developed soundly.
Initially, the housing projects in the LaGuardia - FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt era were low-rises and family-oriented, but they grew, through 'urban renewal,' to dozens of stories of tall warehouses for the poor, like minimum security prisons without any security.
The surrounding blocks decayed as blocks upon blocks were demolished to make way for massive housing projects. It took over fifty years for some neighborhoods to recover. 650,000 New Yorkers live in public housing.
The elevated highways were great works of traffic engineering, overpassing New York City's snarled streets, but also putting communities under shadows, thumping tires, dust, pollution, asthma, broken glass, and being left behind economically, as the people with money whizzed above.
Lower Manhattan Expressway (LoMEx) contemporary urban studies rendering of what could have been. Had Little Italy and SoHo had been cut through. I think this rendering is kind. I think that SoHo would have decayed and been demolished, replaced with 1950s brick boxes.
Moses' first defeats happened in Brooklyn Heights and Lower Manhattan.
I would love to take you on a Brooklyn Heights walking tour after a Brooklyn Bridge tour.
Moses' vision was for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) to slash across the western part of the neighborhood. Some historic and charming houses, some from the late 18th and early 19th centuries were destroyed. Many more were on the chopping block. The expressway was going to have an entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge cutting through Hicks Street, the center of Brooklyn Heights. Had this plan been enacted, Brooklyn Heights would be a noisy, smelly, polluted place not worth as much visiting on foot, or living there.
Hicks Street in spring. This was going to be an elevated highway.
Bounding Brooklyn Heights is Moses' ugly Brutalistic urban
renewal behemoths on Cadman Plaza. While touring past there it is hard to convince passengers that just behind those massive buildings is one of America's loveliest charming enclaves.
What saved it? How was mighty Moses defeated? Tour guides!
Thanks to weekly consciousness-raising tours given by volunteer tour-guides from the Municipal Art Society in the early 1960s, Brooklyn Heights was the first New York City neighborhood that was landmarked. Thanks to this public attention, the buildings improved and families moved in and stayed, and the artists, writers and sailors and their adult entertainers moved out to more affordable neighborhoods, or the successful writers like Norman Mailer stayed.
Now Brooklyn Heights is quiet and leafy. It is one of the world's greatest collections of Victorian townhouses, especially
The BQE was cantilevered under Brooklyn Heights, above the Brooklyn waterfront. This engendered the Promenade, one of New York City's favorite parks and places, and a national model of responsible highway development. You can hardly notice the traffic and pollution.
On the other hand, the BQE there is nearly impossible to repair or upgrade. Also the entrance ramp to the Brooklyn Bridge from the area was not built. To this day, it is a confusing mess to get your car onto the Brooklyn Bridge. So Moses wasn't nuts. From a traffic engineering perspective, it makes sense to cut through those old buildings and streets clogging up efficient traffic flow.
The tall things near the bridges are huge Brutalist projects by High Modernist Paul Rudolph, whom I love, but whose municipal projects in Boston and Goshen City Halls are hated by locals. Many Rudolph projects have been and are threatened with demolotion.
Rudolph's developments would be higher than the 19th Century bridges. The hubris of High Modern Architecture.
Another defeat for the Master Builder was the LoMEX, pictured above.
The Lower Manhattan Expressway, which was mostly an elevated highway from two East River Bridge Bridges across to the Holland Tunnel to New Jersey. Not only were entire swathes through neighborhoods going to be hacked to make way for this overpass, but hugeurban renewal (1950s style) buildings would be built along the highway.
The message being: the past is a failure and the highway is the
perfect future leaving the old city and its problems underneath while you fly across it towards somewhere nicer, like another suburb.
SoHo (not named that then -- it was Hell's Hundred Acres!) was largely abandoned, and the highway was going to raze it.
Another heroic tour-guide, Margot Gayle, led tours showing how special the area is. She used magnets sticking to the columns to demonstrate that this is really a treasure: the cast iron district. Magnets don't stick to plaster, rotting wood, or cheap stone.
Abstract Expressionist and Pop Artists and some pioneering galleries specializing in Pop Art were able to stay in in the area, which was finally preserved in 1973.
I remember visiting SoHo in 1978 with my Mom, and the energy was exciting. I thought my mom was nuts; "let's go to SoHo." It sounded so weird.
Where the artists and galleries grow, then come the restaurants and boutiques. Now it has Prada, but the artists and galleries have moved to more affordable post-industrial spots.
The SoHo/Cast Iron District is one the most attractive shopping
districts in the world. Basically, it is a municipally managed (publicly paid for) outdoor mall with really good historic architecture, hearkening back to the era when those streets hosted the world's first department stores, with attractive window displays, using lighting, spurring consumption, and changing retail across planet earth.
Driving all this was nearby sweat shops, cheap labor making the world's first ready-made clothes. The garment industry was the number one employer of New Yorkers for about 100 years, and NYC was not just the fashion capitol, but the manufacturing capitol. The legacy of these factories' unions is felt today with fire safety, labor rights, and New Deal programs that have saved and are saving millions of lives. I love going on tour to Chinatown, Little Italy, and SoHo.
Greenwich Village, was a related defeat was Moses' vision for
the 5th Ave exit of the LoMEX, which would pass through LaGuardia place and land onto Washington Square Park to Fifth Avenue.
Nowadays, Washington Square Park is able to be the heart and soul of Greenwich Village, as well as the birthplace of the Folk Music revolution and its biggest star and turncoat, the chameleonic Bob Dylan, bard of the 1960s generation.
Preserving Washington Square Park led to the emergence of some pretty formidable local ladies, Jane Jacobs, and Doris Diether, who still, in her 80s, serves on Community Board 3 of
Greenwich Village as the doyenne of the Landmarks Committee. They changed urban planning from "Progress" to mixed use, considering 'the ballet of the sidewalks.'
Moses' legacy on New York City, New York State, and as a model for the development of highways, parks, cities and
suburbs across the United States and the globe is still felt for better and for worse.
Posted: Dec 17, 2012 | 1:08 AM
by Jared Goldstein
1831: Samuel Ruggles establishes NYC's private Gramercy Park maintained at the expense of the neighborhood, in exchange for exclusive keys.
In that era NYC had many private parks, and fewer public ones. The private parks got sold off, and the public ones were, too. Tompkins Square park lost around 1/3 of its space.
1835: Canal Street's ditch blown up to stop the Great Fire from spreading. It already claimed the New York Stock Exchange.
1929: New York born and New York Times columnist (based out of Washington, DC) William Safire born. He died in 1929.
1930: Bob Guccione, founder of Penthouse and several other magazines, born in Brooklyn. He died on Oct. 20th 2010. I think I have a firmer profile of him on that date.
1933: The football Giants make it to the first NFL Championship game, but they lose to da Bears 23-21 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. 1945: Happy Birthday, Chris Matthews. Ha!
1954: For the fourth time, New York's Baseball teams get both Most Valuable Player awards. Willie Mays of the Giants for the National League, and Yankee Catcher Yogi Berra wins the American League MVP. This will happen for three more years in a row!
New York also got both MVPs for the 1936, 1941, and 1951 seasons.
Besides having legendary players, we also had at least three home teams in that era, so that stacked the decks, too, besides big city cash contracts. It was an amazing time to be a baseball fan in NYC.
1969: Tiny Tim married Miss Vicky on the Tonight Show in front of 50 million.
1989: "The Simpsons" premiers on Fox. I have more great pictures from a rare episode in which they visit NYC and the original World Trade Center below.
1991: The Federal Southern District Court of NY held that sampled music must be licensed.
1992: Colonel Ben Johnson, Columbia's sprinter who set the 60-yard dash record in 1938, died at age 78.
(Bad day for Columbia and NYU track.)
1992: Howard Cann, NYU's athletic star in football, basketball and track, as well as coaching, died. He led the Violets' hoops scoring all the way to the 1920 AAU nationals, as well as winning the shotput that year at the 1C4A championships. He served as NYU's football coach for a year while being hoops coach from 1923-58.
(This fish eye view reminds me a little of the beginning of Fritz the Cat.)
Homer is illegally parked in the plaza between the Twin Towers.
Posted: Dec 17, 2012 | 12:28 AM
by Jared Goldstein
TripAdvisor Review for my Urban Adventure tour:
“Slice of New York with Jerry Goldstein”
It ended up being a private tour due to the weather conditions, I imagine (it rained a bit that morning).
Jerry was very knowledgeable and really excited to show me the city; I could tell he loves New York. And it was contagious!
Jerry knew the history of all the places we visited, and was able to answer all my questions. Plus, he gave me pointers on what other places I should visit on my own.
Jerry was fun and engaging, and really showed me New York he knows and loves.
It was my first time in this city and I would definitely get another tour when I come back.
Thanks for a great tour and delicious pizza, Jerry!"
Nataliya B, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Reviewed November 20, 2012
Thank YOU, Nataliya! :D
Booking me through Urban Adventures NYC is a good way to get a good value, if you don't mind a set tour that will be with other folks.
Posted: Dec 16, 2012 | 5:37 PM
by Jared Goldstein
1835: The Great Fire of 1835 lasts Dec 16th until the 18th, destroying 20 square blocks Downtown and 700 buildings.
The fire and smoke could be seen from Philadelphia 100 miles (162 k) away. Water shortages, wind, and freezing fire hoses stymied the firefighting.
New York City's iconic water tanks are a result of the Great Fires of 1776 and 1835. They are to keep water pressure up for buildings over six stories tall. Most large buildings mask the tanks.Ever wonder why you don't see any Dutch buildings or only one Federal Era building in the capitol of Nieuw Amsterdam and the birthplace of the Federal Style in the first Federal capitol of the United States? See the previous paragraph.
I go over this on my Downtown tours, my Financial District tours, and my Colonial tours.
Fortunately, no one died.
1893: The New York Philharmonic debuts Antonin Dvorak's New World Symphony No. 9 at Carnegie Hall. He was inspired by the music of Native Americans, Negro Spirituals, and Longfellow's poem "Hiawatha." He composed it while living near Gramercy Park. His old house was demolished to make way for a Beth Israel Hospital extension, but they put a statue of him nearby in Stuyvesant Park. I showed this recently on my New York City Czech-Slovak-Hungarian History Tour.
1901: Margaret Mead, the American anthropologist at Barnard and the Museum of Natural History, who authored 44 books and over 1000 articles, was born. She died in 1978.
1905: Variety, the showbiz newspaper, debuts. It brings into our lexicon 'D.J.' and 'Deejay,' as well as 'sitcom.' Variety also pioneered 'Slanguage' headlines, using frank, humorous, short-hand, snarky, knowing language that prolix me would love to achieve.
Here are some examples from Variety, the NY Post, and the New York Daily News, which I show on my 42nd Street tour:
STICKS NIX HICK PIX
translates to 'Rural People Object to Hollywood Movies' Portrayals of Rural Life' (based on a 1935 Variety headline).
HEADLESS BODY FOUND IN TOPLESS BAR (1983 New York Post headline).
FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD
translates to 'President Ford Objects to Using Federal Funds to Guarantee Financial Bailout for New York City to Avoid Bankruptcy' (based on a 1975 New York Daily News headline).
Here's a Jared@JaredtheNYCTourGuide.com challenge. What is a better headline for "Variety, the showbiz newspaper, debuts."? I was thinking: "Variety Lays Its Egg," which is based on a famous Variety headline, but it didn't make sense. What do you think?
1917: Frank Gotch, the first American undisputed world professional wrestling champion, died.
1931: Churchill hit by a NYC motorist on 76th and Fifth Ave. Churchill took responsibility for looking the wrong way (the British look right) before crossing the street. That was his story, and he stuck with it while recovering from a concussion and bruises.
Recent NYS Governor Al Smith brought him some good medicine, slipping Churchill a bottle of whiskey in the hospital.
The driver, deeply apologetic, met with Churchill who is not reported to have shared his whiskey.
1935: Frick Museum opens to the public. Frick's collection is notable for its Rembrandts, Vermeers, a good Bronzino, and a mansionful more. It started as Frick's mansion, but he planned for it to be converted to museum.
I love the museum because it is packed with masterpieces, but it isn't huge. You walk on oriental carpeting among Louis XIV furniture, Ming vases, and an indoor pool with spouting frogs.
Children not allowed (bwaaaah!). Compared with the Metropolitan Museum of Art up Fifth Avenue, it is quiet and intimate. Two hours and you've seen it all.
1941: Happy Birthday to Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes.
1943: Happy Birthday to Steven Bochco, the TV producer of "NYPD Blue." I show where a couple of the characters lived on Brooklyn Heights tours, DuMBO tours, and City Lights Tours.
1960: Two jet planes collide in heavy fog, killing 134. A United Airlines DC-8 crashed in Park Slope in Brooklyn (back when it was middle class, not rich), setting fire to 11 buildings and killing 9 on the ground. The TWA plane fell onto Staten Island and into the Harbor.
The planes were heading to LaGuardia and Idlewild (now JFK)
Airports in North and South Queens, respectively. Human error and equipment caused the collision.
Very strange: Yesterday, December 15th 2012, as my group was returning to Manhattan from a Brooklyn Holiday Lights Tour, the driver brought up this crash as we drove by the area.
1974: The first professional woman golfer, Helen Hicks dies. She won the Metropolitan Open twice, and the USGA championship.
1977: Sonny Werblin becomes President of Madison Square Garden just after creating the Garden's cross Hudson Rival, the New Jersey Meadowlands, 6 miles away. My parents publicized both places.
1983: Doug Kotar, the NY Giants' running back from 1974-81 dies of cancer at age 32.
1985: Mob Chief Paul Castellano killed outside Sparks Steakhouse on busy 46th St. John Gotti, who succeeds him, is later convicted for the hit.
In the early 1990s I worked at a housing organization in northern Little Italy(now NoLita), around the corner from Gotti's modest Ravenite Social Club. He evaded conviction once (the recordings from the social club were garbled), and the neighborhood erupted in support with fireworks to welcome Gotti back. Gotti was popular for big tipping and giving away $100 bills.
Taking in the spectacle, I tried to flirt with a lovely young Jewess who came to the fete. She was having none of it. She kept singing "That's Amore.'" She wasn't impressed with an educated social-justice-committed Jewish guy working at a self-help affordable housing solutions organization, and a nice Jewish guy... .
That was an eye opener! I sure wasn't an undergrad at liberal Columbia anymore.
She wanted to seduce the Don.
She wasn't successful either.
The Ravenite is now a boutique.1991: The U.N. General Assembly cancelled its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism
.2000: NYC's Colin Powell is the first African-American Secretary of State
.2010: Larry King retired from his CNN talk show after 25 years
. I show where his studio was on my tours of the Upper West Side, Central Park Tours, and Columbus Circle Tours.
Posted: Dec 15, 2012 | 1:40 PM
by Jared Goldstein
1832: Gustave Eiffel, Engineer of the Statue of Liberty, born.
1837: George Post, Architect of the NYSE
City College of New York, born. The dark stone is literally from the bedrock of Manhattan from the subways' development.
1871: Boss Tweed indicted on 100 counts of corruption.
Tweed was on the lamb in Spain. He was caught because of a cartoon by Thomas Nast. There is a bit of this in my Santa the NYC Tour.
He was prosecuted for stealing around $70 million, but they only found $40,000.
Beyond it being spent or squirreled, I have an idea of where boss Tweed's money went: into the gorgeous lower Manhattan government buildings built by Irish immigrant graft.
Huh? In the US graft is synonymous with corruption, which I believe is part of a pattern of anti-Irish bias. [Similar to how Prohibition was partially emplaced to get at the Irish.]
Why? I have learned from doing my tours that in parts of the UK, Ireland and Australia graft means labor or hard work. If you went along with Boss Tweed's Tammany Hall political machine you got work.
At the bottom of today's entry, I compare the fruits of the Tweed corruption with the development with the mid 2000's construction of the enormous costly US Embassy in Iraq, which I regard as a corrupt boondoggle that benefits huge American corporations, but not workers from here or anywhere.*
1877: 135 years ago, Edison patented the phonograph.
1896: USA's 1st Ice Hockey Rink and League. St Nick's beat Brooklyn 15-0 at St Nick's rink on Columbus Ave and 66th St.
[I told you that St Nick is the city's patron saint!]. Two other teams are in the league, forming America's first hockey league, the American Amateur Hockey League, which continued until 1917.
Mechanical ice making was invented three years prior.
1925: NHL debuts in NYC. Montreal won 3-1 before a 17,000 black tie clad audience at MSG. Mayor Hylan and Mayor-elect Jimmy Walker, as well as the bands from West Point USMA,
and the Candian Royal Footguards were there.
1944: Band Leader Glenn Miller died, MIA, while flying to France in the Army Airforce band to entertain the troops.
1978: Superman with New York City as its set, starring Julliard's Christopher Reeve, premiers.
1980: Outfielder Dave Winfield became a Yankee for the next ten seasons.
1996: St Johns wins the NCAA Division 1 Soccer championship prevailing 3-1 over Florida International.
Today is Julie Taymor's Bday. Late 2012: there is a free Lion King exhibit across from Bryant Park.
*Some Tweed projects, such as the 'Tweed Courthouse,' now the Department of Ed building behind City Hall, went seven years and seven million dollars over budget.
That money went into labor, overbuilt foundations (nearly indestructible buildings built to last centuries), and
ornate beaux arts exteriors. Most of the buildings in the Municipal District are Tweed's Tammany-machine built projects that employed thousands.
I touch upon some of these issues on my Downtown tours amidst the gorgeous City Beautiful Ecole des Beaux Arts Buildings.
These are three pictures of an even more lavish project across the street, the Surrogate's Court.
Compare that to an example of today's government-funded jobs program: the Vatican-sized US "embassy" in Iraq. It has been crumbling even as it is being built!
At least 19th Century corruption left us with world-class
buildings that will last as long as the Roman Coliseum. Violence and abuse of democracy aside, if you went along with the
Tammany Hall political machine you would get work, a turkey for Christmas, and some response from government for solving local problems and providing neighborhood services.
This is our embassy (actually probably a nest of spies, viceroys, and mercenaries). It is crumbling as it is being built!
The War on Iraq is built on violence, abuse of democracy, cronyism, and American corporate profiteering, but it doesn't benefit US workers. The Kuwaiti contractors use Sri Lankan laborers, or slaves, because their passports are confiscated.
The Iraqi Embassy suggests the failed public housing project "Pruitt-Igoe" in St. Louis. It was demolished less than 20 years after it was built in the 1950s.
Pruitt-Igoe after in 1972. Pruitt-Igoe is commonly used as the symbol of the failure of modern architecture.
The US Embassy in Iraq from the mid 2000s suggests the failure of US empire, the failure of US democracy, because of kleptocracy, authoritarianism, and oligarchy. At least Tammany provided US jobs, empowerment for immigrants, social mobility, and left us with gorgeous durable buildings.
The first time Tweed was jailed, he had luxury conditions. His prison is where Seward Park HS is today, which is a sight on my Lower East Side Tours.
He escaped. After Tweed was scurrying around on the lamb for years, he was recognized because a Nast cartoon of him in Spain, and then arrested. He is later convicted, and dies in jail
in 1878 in miserable conditions.
Posted: Dec 14, 2012 | 12:26 AM
by Jared Goldstein
1653: Nieuw Amsterdam's CEO/Director-General/Governor Peter Stuyvesant declares to the new city government's General Assembly that his authority derives from "God and the Dutch West India Company, and not from a few ignorant
This Foreshadowed Mayor Bloomberg's approach* to governing,
But back to the past, the Assembly had gathered to discuss the city's defense and fiscal issues, as well as Stuyvesant's "arbitrary government."
About ten years later the city fell to the British Navy, which overwhelmed the nearly defenseless city.**
1920: Jack Dempsey, Heavyweight Champ, successfully defends his title in a difficult bout, his only one at Madison Square Garden.
Dempsey beats Brennan at MSG
1928: Mayor LaGuardia opens the Sixth Avenue subway line, including includes the F, B and D trains, running from West Fourth to 50th Streets.
1946: The United Nations General Assembly establishes the U.N. headquarters in New York City.
The land was donated by the Rockefellers, who encourage international relations and globalization.
After completion in 1950, it became international territory, so buy a UN stamp there if you want to mail a letter from the east side of 1st Avenue and 46th St after you take their wonderful, if somewhat depressing yet hopeful tour.
Being international territory, the diplomats enjoy diplomatic immunity, including not paying millions of dollars worth of parking tickets,
buying guns at Jovino Gun Shop
and packing their pouches with them to be enjoyed in Africa, the most armed place on earth.
Jovino's interior for Serpico. 'You're fighting an army?'
1954: Sandy Koufax joins the major leagues and the Brooklyn Dodgers.
1963: Last major sporting event at the Polo Grounds. Jets lost to Buffalo 19-10.
The first pro-football game was played there in 1920, and the first major league baseball game happened in 1890.
1977: Saturday Night Fever opens.
1980: Elston Howard died at age 51. The baseball catcher was the first black to play for the Yankees from 1955-1967. He was an MVP in 1963 and the Yankees' coach.
What's the deal with Yankees' stars dying at 51?!
1985: Roger Maris died at age 51. The right-fielder led the Yankees to win five Pennants (1960-64), and beat Babe Ruth's single season home run record with 61 in 1961.
2000: The Federal Trade Commission approves the $111 Billion merger of AOL and TimeWarner with AOL as the bigger half!
By this point, the tech bubble already burst, but the deal began before that.
This move probably cost the CEO of TimeWarner his job, as the
TimeWarner corporation spent the next few years decoupling itself from AOL.
2005: King Kong returns to the Empire State Building.
2006: Ban Ki-moon of South Korea sworn in as the eighth secretary-general of the United Nations.
**Stuyvesant's proposed defense in 1664 against the mighty British Navy was for New Amsterdamers to die defending the city to the end. The Assembly over-ruled him that time, negotiating a peaceful transfer to the British guaranteeing the newly renamed British colony of New York's continued tolerance, property rights, rights, customs, rule of law, freedom of press and religion, and free trade -- all of which distinguished NYC from all the other British colonies on the east coast which had official religions and trade restricted to Britain.
Fiscally, the former military man, Stuyvesant, was the best leader the colony ever had. But he was a bitter pill who hated diversity and its sometimes inefficiencies.
Not sure what's going on here, but it looks like Stuyvesant is hassling Asser Levy the respected Jewish Butcher and Lawyer whom the Assembly gave rights of citizenship to, over the Governor's objections. I like how the dog is barking at Stuy. Maybe he wants to take his peg leg.
He made a difficult transition to New York City life, which elucidates why he keeps haunting St Mark's in the Bowery Church, which I like to highlight on East Village Tours.
I love to cover all these topics in my Nieuw Amsterdam tour (Queen's Day is coming 30 April!), and in my Seaport Tour.
*Back to the present:
[*Even Giuliani couldn't get his term limited term extended
in the wake of the 9/11/01 attacks, but
Mayor Bloomberg used the "economic emergency" to get the City Council to set aside term limits, even though limits had been passed by two voter referendums.
A few months later in 2009, Bloomberg held a press conference to announce how he successfully shepherded the city through the financial emergency. A reporter asked if Bloomberg would withdraw his candidacy for a third term, since he accomplished his emergency mission already.
The Mayor replied: "I don't see how that is relevant" and then he strode off the stage, ending the press conference.
No one asked that question again, making it irrelevant.
After spending $100 million, or a half percent of his wealth, he
narrowly beat the Democratic candidate, winning his third term, which we are honored to be experiencing this day.
Stuyvesant's authority derived from God and corporate investors, Bloomberg's from tens of billions of dollars.]