NYC: September 2005 Archives

and eventually, when interest in them flags, we can use the two big footprints for parking

So, after watching four years of people fighting over the big hole, we're now to have nothing more than some dreary architecture sheltering a theme park for the dead, a high-rise corporate office park and a Wal-Mart.

The World Trade Center is back in business.

I'd weep, if I could care any longer.

[image from thinkandask]

bedlam immediately followed the arrest of the organizer of Cindy Sheehan's appearance in Union Square [the guy in the yellow shirt is a plainclothes punk "kid" who tried to start trouble before the rally began, according to a witness, Kim Arnold, one of the principals of the site where this image was spotted, tanasimusic]

Barry has a very good take on what happened when Cindy Sheehan tried to speak in Union Square on Monday.

No innocent in the ways of our benighted republic, including its most worldly city, he suggests, "They should have added some religious content". ["worldly" is a relative thing here in America]

Incidently, the secondary headline on Sarah Ferguson's Village Voice article reads:

City’s Finest pulls move even Bush wouldn’t have tried

[image courtesy of Mike Fleming via tanasimusic]

everybody into the streets!

They could hardly have come up with a petty outrage more perfectly designed to get me going. Hummer, blocked sidewalk, trashy action movie: Could anything be more civilized in a crowded neighborhood on a warm afternoon?

At 5 o'clock today I was walking west on 23rd Street across from my home when I saw a shiny Hummer facing me, almost totally blocking the sidewalk. Crowds of pedestrians were squeezing through the bottleneck it presented. The monstrous red tank was on a carpet, surrounded by chrome stanchions draped with black velvet ropes, and there were at least two spotlight towers positioned nearby. To add insult to this injury the parking spaces along the curb for a hundred feet ahead were blocked by traffic cones, apparently in order to keep a view of the Hummer clear for cars passing in the street (the prol's bus stop served the purpose in the area immediately to the rear).

I was told by a guy with "Star Theatrical Services" spread across his tee shirt that the car was a promotion for a film festival, but I suspect it was mostly only a promotion gimmick for a silly truck whose sales are currently plummeting, even if it was tied into some rude action movie playing in the multiplex behind it. There was no advertising other than a Hummer poster slappped on the movie house wall.

The guy also said they had a permit. That may be, but how does that happen in a city already choked by millions of cars routinely playing games with people on foot whenever they step into a street? I reported the installation to 311 anyway, for "impeding pedestrian traffic on a sidewalk", which I learned is the responsibility of the Department of Sanitation. The 10th Precinct said they'd send a car by. I'm not holding my breath.

UPDATE: As I was leaving our building just before seven, someone told me that Chelsea's Hummer show had been [taken down] just ten minutes earlier. That would put it a little over an hour after I called 311. No, I don't know if there's any connection. I just hope we don't see it there tomorrow.


I was up by the Central Park reservoir (the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir) yesterday. It was one of the last days of summer and I was anxious to find some sign of color or life other than the green monotone of the brush surrounding a body of water deliberately kept pretty sterile. As I peered over the fence, hoping to spot a flower or a duck, I spotted this slightly ragged, yet still rather natty gentleman standing on the rocks below.

Incidently, a low, elegant black-painted steel and iron fence now separates the reservoir from the busy jogging path which surrounds it. I checked when I got home and was surprised to find that it's been there two years, a huge improvement over the seven-foot chain-link horror most of us always associated with this underappreciated pond.

handsome, running fence


I was walking with Barry and some friends along 11th Avenue just above 24th Street when I spotted a birdhouse shape on the far side of a tree [by coincidence one of my most favorite trees in the entire city]. I went to investigate and discovered the entrance hole blocked by something constructed of wood and painted black. Concerned for any potential occupants, I poked the obstruction with the end of my umbrella and what looked like water flowed out of the perch/spigot below. The "water" turned out to be vodka.

I don't know this fairytale at all.





It was already early Saturday evening. We were walking down through Hudson River Park with a destination in mind, but we had started to assume that we would arrive too late to see the posthumous [performance?] of Robert Smithson's 1970 sculptural concept, "Floating Island", an homage to Manhattan and Olmsted's Central Park.

I stopped at the shore railing for a moment with my camera in order to capture a golden lining on the last clouds to witness a sun which had probably already set.

Then I caught up with Karen and Barry and we soon spotted downriver what the world had only seen as a child-like sketch until that afternoon: a little tugboat pulling a small barge along the shoreline, the barge filled with what looked like a chunk of landscape from the park itself, complete with shrubs, grass and boulders [the rocks borrowed from the park for the occasion].

The excellent skipper of the "Little Toot"-like tug had amazing control of his charges, and none of the spectators were disappointed, whether they stood on the shore or on the piers, as he passed by with his chunk of Manhattan in tow, then turned and passed again and again and again along the edges of both.

The three of us weren't even disappointed that we had forgotten about invitations to receptions which had promised food and drink. We had lingered too long among the temptations offered by Chelsea galleries that afternoon. By the time we arrived at the scene by the piers further downtown black-garbed, white-aproned caterers were emptying lots of unused bags of ice into the Hudson.

But the chase and the catch (here, the art, a delightful late-summer gift to the people of New York) was the thing, we reminded ourselves, especially if we couldn't picnic on the barge. It was now almost totally dark, so we crossed the highway and headed into the West Village to track down what turned out to be a fine dinner with excellent company.

One last thought: At what age did we first learn that most islands don't float?

Farley Post Office Building [at the top of the front steps]


Years ago they tore down the magnificent old Pennsylvania Station and replaced it with the current monstrous obscenity which became the latest incarnation of the peripatetic Madison Square Garden. The existing arena is the fourth location of what was originally the home of an earlier, somewhat less athletic freak show assembled by P.T. Barnum in 1874. The buildings in each of the previous locations have been destroyed. As the city grew, the land on which they were located was determined to be too valuable to be devoted to popular entertainment.

The word is out today that they're threatening to tear down another monumental building in order to move the Garden once again. Okay, it's only half of the building, but it's a half which would do honor to any city in the world.

When I told Barry about the story in today's NYTimes he said they're going to keep on moving until there aren't any decent buildings left in New York.

Some initial and random thoughts of my own:


Now can we have Penn Station back?

Nah, whadaya think this is, Germany?

What's a station?

Barnum would be proud of his heirs. Remember the sucker birth rate?

How much of a deal will they get from taxpayers this time?

Maybe they'll name it Bloomberg Garden.

The obsession with sports stadiums is gonna kill this city dead.


[image from]

Robert Boyd Heaven's Little Helper (from the series Xanadu) 2005 video still (Manson Girls)

News flash! ArtCal now has pictures as well as information. Well, it is all about the visual arts, so offering some images along with direction only seemed [more than] appropriate.

Marking the unofficial end of summer, there are gazillions of art openings this week, and most of them are on Thursday (see "Opening Soon" on the home page). The site's convenient geographical and, in the case of Chelsea, even sub-geographical arrangement of listings will help all you fanatics find your way through the rich offerings. Press the print button and you're halfway there.

Maye we'll all bump into each other. Say hi.

[image of a "Featured Opening" from ArtCal]

This page is an archive of entries in the NYC category from September 2005.

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