Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bushwick Panorama 2

A panoramic move of Gilbert Ramirez Park on McKibben St, between Bogart and White

from nycparks
GILBERT RAMIREZ PARK,1.036 acres
“There are those who will not see that which they are not prepared to believe.”
“It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been knocked down, it’s how many times you get up.”
This park on McKibben Street, between Bogart and White Streets, is named for one of Brooklyn’s leading civic figures. Gilbert Ramirez (1921-2000) was born on June 24, 1921, in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico and was blinded in early adulthood. He received a Bachelors of Arts and a teaching license from the University of Puerto Rico, and continued his education at Columbia University Teachers College and New York University. He ultimately attended Brooklyn Law School, where he completed the four-year night course in three years, working full-time during the day. After passing the Bar Exam, Ramirez began his legal career as a trial lawyer from a Brooklyn storefront office. In 1965, Ramirez became the first Puerto Rican elected to the New York State Assembly. His legislative career was shortened by redistricting, but in 1967 he served as a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention.
Ramirez was appointed to the Family Court Bench by Mayor John V. Lindsay in 1968, and served until his election to the State Supreme Court in 1975. Ramirez recorded all of his court sessions on audiotape, and was famous for replaying key moments in the courtroom in order to jog his memory. He was affiliated with numerous professional organizations, including the New York Puerto Rican Bar Association, the National Black Bar Association, the Bedford-Stuyvesant Legal Services Corporation, and the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Law School Alumni Association. He was appointed to the New York State Commission on the International Year of Disabled Persons in 1981, and to the State Board of Regents Select Commission on Disability in the early 1990s.
In addition to his distinguished legal career, Ramirez was a vocal and active community leader in the Williamsburg and Bushwick areas. He gave his time and expertise to the Brooklyn Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, the Board of Directors of the Bedford-Stuyvesant Beautification Association, the Brooklyn Council of Boy Scouts, and many other organizations.
In all of his capacities, Ramirez worked to end discrimination on the basis of race or disability. As a judge, Ramirez received many awards and commendations for his service both on and off the bench, including the Presidential Medal from Brooklyn College, the Emilio Nuñez Judiciary Award, an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Long Island University, and the keys to the City of Miami. Upon his retirement in 1997, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani proclaimed a “Justice Gilbert Ramirez Day.” Ramirez died of cancer on December 23, 2000, at the age of 76.
Gilbert Ramirez Park opened to the public as McKibben Park in 1936. The original design included handball and basketball courts, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and senior swings. In 1999, Mayor Giuliani allocated $850,000 and City Council Member Victor Robles allocated $585,000 for the complete renovation of the site. Alecksandra Szefke’s whimsical design, which takes its inspiration from both the subway line and the proposed city water tunnel that run beneath the site, received the Art Commission Award for Excellence in Design in 2001. The materials and style of the construction reflect an exciting urban-industrial environment. The diagonal lines of the underground tunnels ascend to a play area with a subway theme. Musical chimes accompany a series of water spray arches. A fence along the edge of the property features cut-steel panels depicting neighborhood scenes. The park re-opened on May 2001 as Gilbert Ramirez Park. It stands as one more tribute to a memorable and inspiring man, who lived a life devoted to justice.

Municipal Tuchis Leching


The good folks at class size matters highlight the free ride bloomklein has gotten in the latest school budget fiasco and urges folks to email the daily news
over their tuchis leching editorials as quoted below
Stop the school scare Friday, May 30th 2008, 4:00 AM NY Daily News
Facing an economic downturn, Mayor Bloomberg has asked city agencies to trim spending. His plan calls for, manageably and relatively painlessly, nicking the budgets of every public school by just a hair over 1%. The response by education advocates has been outrageous. They are running hyped TV ads that predict whole programs will vanish, accusing City Hall of balancing the budget "on the backs of kids" and of "breaking faith" with children and parents.
Even worse, the City Council has descended into demagoguery, stopping just
short of accusing Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein of child abuse and of waging war on the poor. Meanwhile, restrictive funding formulas imposed by the Legislature threaten to whack as many as 500 of the city's best-performing schools with truly
debilitating budget cuts. Among the formula's architects was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,who has cast himself as a leading figure in a drive to push Bloomberg to
exempt schools from belt-tightening.
What Silver doesn't say, and what the Council and none of the advocates explain, is where they want him to get the money. From ordering the NYPD to cut patrol levels even more? From forcing libraries to shut their doors? From raising real estate taxes?
They all need to face facts, and the facts are as follows: - Since 2002, the schoolsbudget has jumped 63%, more than $8 billion - with the city kicking in far more than the state. Bloomberg is proposing to increase spending in the coming year, but not by
enough to cover all rising costs, such as teacher salaries. Thus, he's
asking schools to tighten up. - After cutting $200 million from the bureaucracy, Klein has developed a plan to shift $63 million among schools so they would each take an average hit of a doable 1.4%.- State law bars Klein from making those shifts. When Albany came through with a big aid increase a few years ago, the Legislature imposed mandates that drove the money overwhelmingly to high-needs schools. That's a great intention, but the mandates bar reducing spending in high-needs schools in tight times. - Unless Albany changes the formula, all the cuts will fall on 500 schools
that are not classified as having high needs. Some of the most successful -
Bronx Science, Stuyvesant,Midwood,Townsend Harris - would suffer hits of as much as 6%.Albany must ease the rules so a huge system can absorb what are essentially
minuscule trims. In fact, the Council should be pressing Silver to scrap the
rules entirely. On that point, lawmakers should listen to fellow Democrat and potential mayoral contender Rep. Anthony Weiner.
No fan of the chancellor, Weiner told us, "I side with Klein on this fight."He said "aspirational" parents could be driven out if their schools are hammered by budget cuts, and he added: "The much higher virtue here is the city have some independence from the clutches of Albany."
The advocates, including Silver, must recognize that the mayor needs the authority to manage and that Bloomberg and Klein have a prudent plan. As for the Council, it's time for Speaker Christine Quinn and colleagues to put up and shut up.
All the more power to them if lawmakers can find money for schools without
sacrificing cops or other vital services and without hiking taxes. Then,
they'll be in for a rude awakening because Albany will dictate how the funds
are spent. And that's nuts.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bushwick Panorama 1

A h/t to digitalurban
now I have to go back and change all my "tool-less pans" :)
A panoramic movie taken in Maria Hernandez Park in Bushwick

from nycparks
MARIA HERNANDEZ PARK,6.87 acres
In 1989 the City Council renamed this park for a community leader who gave her life in the fight to rid her block of drug dealers. A long-time resident of Bushwick, Maria Hernandez (1953-1989) was born in Brooklyn and was educated at public schools in the borough. She received an undergraduate degree in accounting from New York University. Residing in Bushwick, she worked as a bookkeeper for the Hospital Investment Management Corporation in Englewood, New Jersey.
Hernandez and her husband Carlos were leaders in the struggle against drugs in Bushwick. They pleaded with drug dealers to leave the streets and provided information to the police about drug trafficking. To rally support for her efforts and to educate her neighbors about the need to evict the dealers, Hernandez organized block parties, athletic activities, and social and cultural gatherings. She was a positive role model for young people and a loving inspiration to all. On the morning of August 8, 1989, Hernandez was struck by five shots fired through the window of her Starr Street home and died soon after. Her block, her neighborhood, and her city mourned the death of his brave and dedicated woman.
The park had been known as Bushwick Park for almost a century. The Dutch town of Boswijck, meaning "heavy woods," was established in 1660. After 1840 many German immigrants settled in the area, and by the 1880 there were at least eleven breweries operating within a fourteen-block area known as "brewer's row." Bushwick became part of the City of Brooklyn in 1854. Farms gave way to city blocks, and development increased after the 1888 opening of an elevated line to Manhattan. Other ethnic groups-including Italians, Puerto Ricans, African-Americans, and Dominicans-established enclaves in Bushwick in the 20th century. The last two local breweries in the neighborhood, Rheingold and F and M Schaefer, closed in 1976.
The City of Brooklyn purchased the land for Bushwick Park from several landowners including showman Phineas T. Barnum and his wife Nancy. Major landscaping and building transformed the site into a showplace park by 1896. Bushwick Park was a popular spot for neighborhood recreation, from Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations to croquet matches, from dancing to baseball games.
In the late 1930s new sliding boards, sand box, and swing sets were installed in the playground, and a softball field with bleachers was constructed. Renovations in the early 1970s added at least three more basketball courts and improved drainage and plumbing systems. Five years after the park was renamed for Maria Hernandez, it underwent an intensive five-day clean-up and repair campaign. Park workers removed broken glass, debris, and graffiti; repaired and painted benches and fencing; restored the ballfield; and cleaned the sewer line. The spruce-up paid particular attention to the trees, pruning existing ones and planting new ones. Kindergarten students from nearby P.S. 123 helped to plant a callery pear tree in the park.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bushwick Greenery

video
Every Tuesday Knickerbocker's "Son Of Seth" joins me on walking tours of New York neighborhoods in an attempt to recapture the magic of Knickerbocker Village.
Using information from Adrienne Onofri's Walking Brooklyn we traversed the path indicated., an excerpt:
In tracing the history of Bushwick, one of the five original Kings County towns founded by the Dutch (as Boswijck in 1661), two words are bound to come up: beer and blackout. Bushwick’s brewing industry, which before Prohibition accounted for 1 in 10 beers drunk in the country, may have begun with Hessian soldiers who stuck around after aiding the king’s army in the Battle of Brooklyn, but it burgeoned in the mid-1800s, when thousands of German immigrants moved in. After World War II, Bushwick started losing both its economic linchpin and middle-class stability. Beer companies consolidated production at plants outside New York, and families fled to the suburbs. The biggest blow occurred in July 1977, when looters and arsonists laid siege to ghettos like Bushwick during a 26-hour citywide blackout. By the time the lights came on, some 35 blocks in Bushwick had been nearly destroyed and $300 million in damage done. Within a year, 40 percent of businesses shuttered; the population fell considerably

Chancellor Klein, Don't Cut A Dime


from classsizematters of 5/28/08
graph above from eduwonkette
Klein also admitted that his personal staff of 8 was costing $968,000 -
averaging $121,000 each, rather than the $1,117 total claimed in the budget submitted to the Council, and that the accountability office actually now has a head count of 97, rather than only 18 staffers, as was in the same document. The Chancellor added that there would be a substantial increase next year --$154 million - in the so-called "indispensable initiatives" of the administration, most of which were unspecified, but include even more new small schools, the Leadership Academy, etc. (By the way, this does not include the increased payments to charter schools - which have totaled
nearly $100 million more in funding over the last two years.) It was a difficult day for the Klein, who usually likes to wrap himself in the mantle of Martin Luther King and Brown Vs. Board of Education, as he tried to explain why he wants the state to change the rules so that the portion of its aid allocated through the C4E formula should be allotted to high-performing schools in the exact same ratio as struggling schools. He seemed to claim that with the highly-flawed "Fair student funding" formula
he's done everything necessary to help these schools -- and to narrow the achievement gap. Clearly this is an administration that has run out of new ideas - and run
out of excuses. There were hisses and boos from the audience throughout, and at one point, a large contingent of parents in the balcony started chanting "Chancellor
Klein, don't cut a dime," and were ejected by the guards.

Northern Liberty History

Read this doc on Scribd: northern2

Hating Hillary

video
There's good reason to do so

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Northern Liberty Panoramic Movie 2




The panoramic movie of the intersection of Brown Avenue and North 4th Street in the Northern Liberty neighborhood of Philadelphia. Honey's Sit & Eat is visible



On the map below the site of Panorama is at B. The previous Northern Liberty Panorama (Fairmont and North 2nd) is at A

Northern Liberty Panoramic Movie 1




The panoramic movie of the intersection of Fairmont Avenue and North 2nd Street in the Northern Liberty neighborhood of Philadelphia



You can find tha intersection on this mind map below. From the map of the week blogsite

Delancey-Essex-Grand-Norfolk-Broome Panoramic Scene

Crossing Delancey was shown outdoors on 5/17/08 in the parking lot on Broome and Norfolk. It was an event sponsored by the LES Business Improvement District.
This panoramic scene connects three panoramic movies: a panoramic movie taken at the intersection of Grand and Essex, a panoramic movie taken of Essex looking North to Delancey, and a panoramic movie of the film site in a parking lot at Broome and Norfolk. Look for the hot spots that link one movie to another.

Northern Liberty (Philadelphia) Greenery

video
An interesting neighborhood in Philadelphia that my family explored over Memorial Day.
A highlight (besides the snoozing cat in the window) was the food at Honey's Sit & Eat on 800 North Fourth Street
This American Southern and Jewish fusion restaurant is a paradise for vegetarians and health-conscious individuals. It features tofu, veggie sausages, free-range eggs, organic fair trade coffees, and locally-grown produce. The dinner menu is equally good with a BYOB policy and items such as Honey’s homemade veggie burger and Honey fried chicken fingers served with scallion hushpuppies. The décor is country kitchen: hard wood floors, light green walls trimmed with flowered wallpaper and adorned with old-fashioned photos, accessorized with red and white checkered lamps. Excellent service, fantastic food, fresh ingredients, and a relaxing atmosphere are the reasons why Honey’s takes top honors in the city of brotherly love.

Mountain Greenery by Pennsylvania's own Perry Como

"Chancellor Klein, Don't Cut A Dime!"

video
from ny1.com, 5/27/08
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein appeared before the City Council Tuesday to discuss his wish to shift school funding around, in lieu of a $99 million budget gap projected for the next school year. Klein previously proposed using $63 million in state aide to help close the gap in the $22 billion budgetBut Governor David Paterson and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver have already rejected the plan, saying that the money is earmarked for struggling schools. Klein said without that money, hundreds of schools could see their budgets slashed by as much as 6 percent. "Throughout this process I have always told the mayor to give us as much money as is possible," said Klein. "If I could have done it, I would have done it. My endgame, the proposal I'm making is to have an across-the-board cut of 1.4 percent." Protesters marched out of City Hall after repeatedly interrupting Klein. Some bore signs and chanted, "Chancellor Klein, don't cut a dime!" Some members of the city council asked Klein why more is not being done to seek additional funds from the mayor. "To some degree you're pitting the parents of the more successful students against the parents of the less successful students," said Democratic Bronx Councilman Oliver Koppell. "I say that to you because you have to live with that every single day, that that's the perception that you're not standing up and fighting,” said Democratic Manhattan Councilman Robert Jackson.
Klein defended that the Department of Education has helped increase school funding overall. "Under this administration, there's $4.6 billion dollars -- significantly more money -- added to the schools. We've also taken $350 million-plus from the bureaucracy to the schools. So I think the facts can speak for themselves," said Klein. Other city lawmakers said that money for schools could be restored."Revenues's been up at least for this fiscal year which is going to be rolled over into the next fiscal year. We can find the money if we want to find the money," said Democratic Queens Councilman David Weprin. "If we were to make cuts to the DOE's contracts, budget and cuts to their central staff, and look for cuts and savings in other agencies, we could find the money we need to preserve services to our classrooms," said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Quinn said she will work with Klein to cut more fat from the bureaucracy instead of the classroom. While Klein said he has chopped all the fat from the budget, he said Quinn is welcome to look again.

Why A Duck? 2

more context for the previous post
Read this doc on Scribd: SCHOOL REPORTS MOM

Why A Duck?

video
There's
a "quack" at Bronx High of Science
that triggered the memory of this routine.
A transcript of some of the routine
HAMMER: Do you know what a lot is?
CHICO: Yeah, itsa too much.
HAMMER: I don't mean a whole lot. Just a little lot with nothing on it.
CHICO: Any time you gotta too much, you gotta whole lot. . .
HAMMER: Come here, Rand McNally and I'll explain this thing to you. Now look, this is a map and diagram of the whole Cocoanut section. . .Here's Cocoanut Manor. Here's Cocoanut Heights. That's a swamp; right over there where the road forks, that's Cocoanut Junction.
CHICO: Where have you got Cocoanut Custard?
HAMMER: Why, that's on the forks. You probably eat with your knife, so you wouldn't have to worry about that. . .Now, here's a little peninsula, and here is a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
CHICO: Why a duck?
HAMMER: . . .I say, here is a little peninsula, and here's a viaduct leading over to the mainland.
CHICO: All right. Why a duck?
HAMMER: I'm not playing Ask-Me-Another. I say, that's a viaduct.
CHICO: All right. Why a duck? Why a--why a duck? Why-a-no-chicken?
HAMMER: I don't know why-a-no-chicken. I'm a stranger here myself. All I know is that it's a viaduct. You try to cross over there a chicken, and you'll find out why a duck. It's deep water, that's viaduct.
CHICO: That's why a duck?
HAMMER: Look! Suppose you were out horseback riding and you came to that stream and wanted to ford over there. You couldn't make it. Too deep.
CHICO: But what do you want with a Ford when you gotta horse?
HAMMER: I'm sorry the matter ever came up. All I know is that it's a viaduct.
CHICO: Now look. . .all righta. . .I catcha on to why0a-horse, why-a-chicken, why-a-this, why-a-that. I no catch on to why-a-duck.
HAMMER: I was only fooling. They're going to build a tunnel in the morning. Now, is that clear to you?
CHICO: Yes, everything---except why-a-duck. . .
HAMMER: And then, there's a little clearing there, a little clearing around it. You see that wire fence there?
CHICO: All right. Why-a-fence?
HAMMER: Oh no. We're not going to go all through that again!

Click. Whir. Beep. Cool

from the nytimes
The City Visible
Click. Whir. Beep. Cool.By BONNIE YOCHELSON
WHEN Rich Press, a photographer, first saw a high school robotics competition, he thought, “In high school, I never came across anything like this, but if I had, it would have changed my life.” Mr. Press was impressed with the students’ brilliance, but robotics culture thrilled him. “They turn the prevailing culture — where being smart isn’t cool, where girls don’t program computers, where inner-city kids don’t get many engineering scholarships — on its head. Here, these are the coolest kids in school.” Robotics competitions are organized by a nonprofit organization called FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — which has its headquarters in Manchester, N.H. The competition, which began in 1989 with 28 teams, has grown to 1,300 teams nationally. With engineer mentors, teams of 10 to 20 students form in the fall to compete in local, regional and national competitions in the spring. Each team starts with an identical robot kit and a challenge. This year, the robots were required to move large balls around a track to score points. The teams invented a wide array of devices for moving the balls: tongs, pincers, grapplers, scoops, even vacuum-powered suction cups. Of the 64 teams competing in the Northeast Regionals last month at the Javits Center, New Jersey teams took all the field performance awards, but two New York City teams — the Warriors from Alfred E. Smith High School in the Bronx and the Harlem Knights of Frederick Douglass Academy and Rice High School in Manhattan — won Judge’s Awards, which recognize a team’s “unique efforts, performance, or dynamics.” Everything about these competitions is photogenic — the game, the “pit” where robots are serviced, the referees and the judges. It is Mr. Press’s team portraits, however, that best tell these students’ story.


Read this doc on Scribd: first

Owl's Head Park Panoramic Scene 2




This panoramic scene combines three panoramic movies in the vicinity of Owl's Head Park (2 of the Park and one of the nearby pier), look for the hot spots to connect one panorama to another. The hot spots approximate the real geographic connecting points

Merchant's Concourse Panoramic Movie




A panoramic movie of one of the parking lots in the Merchant's Concourse Shopping Center in Hempstead, Long Island. Featured are Target's and Famous Dave's

Merchant's Concourse Greenery

video
#11 in the May "Greenery" series. Visual highlights include Target and Famous Dave's BBQ. Several ex KVer's live in close proximity to this shopping mecca in Nassau County
Mountain Greenery soundtrack from
2 March 1967 (Season 1, Episode 20)
Salute to the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. All music program with no spoken dialogue. Songs include:
I Could Write A Book / The Lady Is A Tramp / Little Girl Blue / I Wish I Were In Love Again - Bobby Darin, Falling in Love With Love - Bobby Darin and The Supremes, Lover / With a Song in My Heart / My Romance / Blue Moon / Manhattan - The Supremes, Where or When / Thou Swell / Spring is Here / On Your Toes - Petula Clark, Any Old Place with You - Darin and Clark, My Heart Stood Still / Glad to Be Unhappy / Here in My Arms / Sing for Your Supper - The Mamas and the Papas, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue - The Doodletown Pipers with Count Basie and His Orchestra, Dancing on the Ceiling / Give It Back to the Indians - Peter Gennaro, Johnny One Note -Peter Gennaro with Count Basie and His Orchestra, Wait till You See Her - The Doodletown Pipers, Mountain Greenery - Cast. Quincy Jones was the musical director.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Peter Nero: My Goggle Maps


I've added Peter Nero to my famous people in Brooklyn google map He lived on the same block as famous boxer Al "Bummy" Davis and two blocks from famous author Jack Ezra Keats and within three blocks of Danny Kaye!

Peter Nero: Mountain Greenery

video
from wikipedia:

Born in Bernard Nierow i Brooklyn, New York, Nero started his formal music training at the age of seven. By the time he was fourteen, he was accepted to New York City's prestigious High School of Music and Art and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music. Constance Keene, his teacher and mentor, once wrote in an issue of Keyboard Classics, "Vladimir Horowitz was Peter's greatest fan!"
Nero recorded his first album in 1961, and won a Grammy Award that year for "Best New Artist." Since then, he has received another Grammy, garnered ten additional nominations and released 67 albums. Nero's early association with RCA Records produced 23 albums in eight years. His subsequent move to Columbia Records resulted in a million-selling single and album - The Summer of '42.
His first major national TV success came at the age of seventeen when he was chosen to perform Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on Paul Whiteman's TV Special. He subsequently appeared on many top variety and talk shows including 11 guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, and numerous appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show.
Hailed as one of the premier interpreters of Gershwin, Nero starred in the Emmy Award-winning NBC Special, S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, S'Gershwin. Other TV credits include performances on PBS-TV Piano Pizzazz and with the National Symphony in Washington, D.C. on its July 4th special titled A Capitol Fourth. Nero served as music director and pianist for the PBS-TV special The Songs of Johnny Mercer: Too Marvelous for Words with co-stars Johnny Mathis, Melissa Manchester and many members of The POPS.

Owl's Head Park Panoramic Scene




A panoramic scene (combining two panoramic movies) of Owl's Head Park, look for the hot spots to connect one panorama to another. The hot spots approximate the real geographic connecting points

Owl's Head Park Panoramic Movie 2




A panoramic movie of Owl's Head Park, approximate SW section facing New York Bay

Owl's Head Park Panoramic Movie




A panoramic movie of Owl's Head Park, approximate mid-southern section

Friday, May 23, 2008

Owl's Head Park Greenery

video
music by the Martin Hand Quartet
from nycparks
27 acres-Theories abound as to the origin of the name Owl's Head Park. The geographic explanation is that the land was once shaped like the head of an owl. Some insist that owls formerly lived here, but there is no survey or record to confirm this. A local journalist remembers a swank hotel of the same name on the corner of Third Avenue and 69th Street. The last theory derives from the fact that the estate which once nestled into the hillside had a pair of stone owls framing its entrance gate. Despite its uncertain source, the name has withstood the test of time.
Canarsie Indians, who were part of the Mohegan Nation and spoke Algonquin, lived in and around present-day Owl's Head Park. They fished in the Hudson River and New York Harbor, collected oysters on the shore, and farmed the fertile outwash plain. The first Europeans to settle this land were of Dutch descent. They established Yellow Hook, an agricultural community named for the yellow clay which leached from the shore into the water. Among these farmers, Swaen Janse, a freed slave, purchased land that included what is now part of the park.
In 1853 a group of citizens, concerned that Yellow Hook reminded people of the yellow fever epidemic, renamed the community Bay Ridge for the prominent geographic features of the area. Owl's Head Park is located on a terminal moraine that extends from New Jersey to the end of Long Island. A moraine marks the place where a glacier (in this case the 10,000-year-old Wisconsin glacier) deposited boulders, rocks, soil, and debris.
A native of Brooklyn, Henry C. Murphy (1810-1882) built his estate along the glacial ridge. The son of Irish immigrants, Murphy's political career included terms as Mayor of Brooklyn, U.S. Representative, U.S. Minister to the Hague, and New York State Senator. As Senator, Murphy drafted the bill which authorized the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and in 1866 he signed the bill at his mansion. He also founded The Brooklyn Eagle and was one of its first editors. Considered a founding father of Brooklyn, Murphy translated colonial sources and documented Brooklyn's Dutch heritage. Senator Street, which begins at the park, was named in his honor.
The Murphy estate was purchased in 1866 by Eliphalet W. Bliss (1836-1903). This wealthy manufacturer made his fortune by introducing and implementing techniques of mass production to the pressed metal industry. Bliss refurbished the mansion and built a horse stable and observatory tower from which one could view the bay, Staten Island, and the Orange Mountains of New Jersey. In his will, Bliss offered his million-dollar property to New York City for $835,000 with the stipulation that it would be used solely for parkland. In 1928 the land was designated a park upon acquisition of the remaining corners of the site. Although quite impressive at the time, Owl's Head Park fell into neglect, and the mansion, stables, and tower were demolished by 1940.
Owl's Head Park is now one of the premier parks in Brooklyn. Families picnic at the park in the summer, and children sled down its hill in the winter. The vista remains unmatched for watching ships enter and leave New York Harbor. Owl's Head Park also boasts an extensive collection of trees, including pines, locusts, oaks, maples, corks, beeches, and one S-shaped tulip poplar that defies gravity. In 1994, Borough President Golden and Council Member Sal Albanese, funded a $396,690 restoration which provided new playground equipment, landscaping and paved paths. What was once only the preserve of wealthy families, Owl's Head Park is now available for all visitors to enjoy.

Where Or When: Steve & Eydie & Frank

video
Sidney Leibowitz from Brownsville, Brooklyn, Edith Gormezano, a Sephardic Jew from the Bronx and Francis Albert Sinatra of Sicilian heritage from Hoboken, New Jersey.
When you're awake, the things you think Come from the dream you dream
Thought has wings, and lots of things Are seldom what they seem
Sometimes you think you've lived before All that you live to day
Things you do come back to you As though they knew the way
Oh the tricks your mind can play
It seems we stood and talked like this, before We looked at each other in the same way then
But I can't remember where or when The clothes you're wearing are the clothes, you wore
The smile you are smiling you were smiling then But I can't remember where or when
Some things that happened for the first time Seem to be happenin' again
And so it seems that we have met before And laughed before, and loved before
But who knows where or when Some things that happened for the first time
Seem to be happenin' again And so it seems that we have met before
And laughed before, and loved before But who knows where or when

Where Or When: A Song's Enduring Impact

video
I couldn't locate the video of Peggy Lee's version, but Nat King Cole is a more than adequate substitute. From Morning Edition, December 23, 2003 -
In 1941, Benny Goodman set out to record Where or When with a 21-year-old Peggy Lee. The Rodgers and Hart ballad came out during the Christmas season, at a time when America was at war. Music journalist Ashley Kahn reflects on the recording's enduring poignancy.

Greenpoint Panorama: Franklin Avenue And Calyer Street




A panoramic movie of the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Calyer Street in Greenpoint on 5/20/09

Greenpoint Pier Panorama




A panoramic movie from the India Street pier in Greenpoint on 5/20/09

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Behind The Green Door

Could this be what was happening in the mysterious building below. Probably not, but it would be nice to think so. From youtube user "jewboydude" video

"Alien" Encounters


It was about 6:30PM, at the end of my Greenwood Cemetery perimeter walk and I was on 6th Avenue and about 20th Street. A school bus with Hebrew lettering pulls up to the curb alongside me. I'm saying to myself WTF is that doing here? On cue it seemed an army of young hasids emerges from a non-descript factory across the street. As I stand frozen in astonishment the ever growing group, in turn, starts staring in me. Did I look like a terrorist or something? Didn't they know I was a "brother", or did my Sephardic tinge make them think I was an Arab. I refused to "back down" and just move on, but with about a 100 or more pair of eyes and many fingers on me it was unsettling. I devised a strategy by going to a nearby stoop to place a long overdue call to my aunt. I thought, "Let them think I'm calling for a back up." Finally the bus pulls away and I see one of the boys waving goodbye to me.
The picture above shows the real location with photoshopped yeshiva bochrers.

Greenwood Cemetery Greenery

video
I reserved Bing Crosby's version for this greenery

There Will Never Be Another You

video

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Greenpoint Greenery

video
KV author and 59.5 year celebrant joined me on a Greenpoint walking tour. Using information from Adrienne Onofri's Walking Brooklyn we traversed the path indicated. Highlight's included the view from the pier, the Astral Apartments, the Mechanics and Trader's Bank and great coffee and dessert at the Brooklyn Label.
from greenpunkt
A Short History of Greenpoint Brooklyn
In 1645 the streets of New Amsterdam, at the southern tip of Manhattan, were muddy and raucous with the sound of livestock and fowl. On a small path, north of town, young girls washed linen in a stream where today Maiden Lane crosses lower Manhattan. And, after three long years of bloody conflict with the Algonquin Indian tribe, a peace settlement had finally been achieved between the Indians and the Dutch Colony.
It was in that year (1645) that Dirck Volckertsen bought a peninsula of salt marsh, meadows and sandy beachline from the Dutch West India Company. Volckersten, known as “Dirck the Norman”, built a house atop a small knoll which stood just west of the present day intersection of Calyer and Franklin Streets. The house, as was typical of early Dutch settlements, bore the influences of contemporary Dutch architecture. Construction materials were limited, and so Dirck Volckersten took the stones from the fields, and the wood from a nearby forest to build the house.
By 1777, as the American Revolution raged, four new homesteads were built on the quiet and isolated land. Two homesteads were owned by brothers (Abraham and Jacob Meserole), while the other homes were owned by Jacob Bennett, Jonathan Provoost, and Jacobus Calyer. Each of these houses abutted a plot of farm land, and their harvests were brought by family boat to market at the southern end of Manhattan.
The landscape of the point, in these early years, was significantly different than it is today. Steep bluffs, some 100 feet tall, dropped into the East River between Java and Oak Streets. Just north of present day Huron Street, formed by the outflow of Newtown Creek, a scraggly point of marsh grass extended out into the river, giving the point its name. That point is now gone, as are the many streams, with fish and blue crabs, that drained the marshes and fed Newtown Creek.
Much of this change can be attributed to the arrival of Neziah Bliss, a resolute visionary. In 1834, after having purchased some 30 acres of land, Bliss had this southern portion of Greenpoint surveyed. Although surveyed for streets and lots, the first house was not constructed until late fall 1839. The interim between survey and construction might best be explained by the isolation of Greenpoint. Prior to the completion of what was named the Ravenswood, Green-Point and Hallet’s Cove turnpike, access to the land of Greenpoint was, at best, inconvenient. The turnpike ran along present day Franklin Avenue. As with the land survey, the turnpike was predominantly funded by Neziah Bliss.
Across the river, New York City was a burgeoning metropolis. Beginning in 1820, an enormous and overburdening influx of foreigners poured into the United States, and the preferred port of entry was New York Harbour. With the vast influx of foreigners, as well as a depression settling on the cities inhabitants, crime and poverty skyrocketed. By 1832, cholera joined the army of ills besetting Manhattan. Cholera was shortly followed by fire and insurection. It is of no surprise then, that following completion of the Ravenswood, Green-Point and Hallet’s Cove turnpike that Greenpoint's population rose rapidly.
With the opening of the turnpike in 1839, Neziah Bliss next set out to establish a ferry service between Greenpoint and Manhattan. Up to this point, all conveyeance between Greenpoint and New York City, was conducted on a system of privately owned skiffs. By 1848, Bliss had procured a lease from the City of New York, and by 1850 an established ferry system departed from the base of Greenpoint Avenue to 10th street on Manhattan.
Concurrent with the opening of the turnpike and the ferry service, the formerly isolated community of Greenpoint transformed into a center for shipbuilding and shipwrights. Shipbuilding facilities sprouted all along the Greenpoint waterfront, as did houses to house the shipwrights that worked in them. By 1850, twelve seperate shipyards lined the Greenpoint waterfront, employing thousands of workers.
In response to the turnpike, shipyards, and the influx of new inhabitants, the town of Greenpoint soon developed. In 1848 the first school of Greenpoint opened near Kent and Manhattan Avenue. The first general store opened on the turnpike (present day Franklin and Freeman streets) in 1850, with the installation of gasslights to the town in 1854. Saint Anthony's church, which stands as a kind of emblem of Greenpoint, was erected in 1874.
In 1862, the most famed of all the ships assembled in Greenpoint was launched from the Continental Iron Works yard (located at Calyer and West Street). This was the USS Monitor, the world's first ironclad, turreted warship, measuring 173' long and displacing over 900 tons. On March 9th, 1862 the USS Monitor engaged with the CSS Virginia in one of the most significant naval battles of the Civil War. Although niether side decisively won the battle, naval warfare was forever changed: the history of wooden warships had ended.
Other industries established themselves contemporaneous with the shipbuilding industry in Greenpoint, including printing, pottery, gas, glass, rope, pencil and iron manufacture and production. In 1867, the Astral Oil Works refinery was built (the Astral Apartments were later built to house its employees). Soon followed the American Manufacturing Company, with its interconnecting pedestrian bridges that still cross above West street today. In 1872, Faber Pencils also opened a factory in Greenpoint (between Greenpoint Avenue and Kent Street, on Franklin).
Although the Greenpoint shipbuilding industry declined following the Civil War, other industries remained, and bouyed its economy.

Who's Almost Who In Knickerbocker Village History: Lee Lok

I've been using a new search technique to find KV related history within the NYTimes' archive. What I do is search using specific addresses with quotes, e.g. "40 Monroe Street." That turned up the above article. I asked one of my favorite classmates, Alison Lee (Shue), if she was related. She wasn't, but she is related to the following: Lee Lok. On page 2 of the pdf document I boxed his name (near the bottom)
Read this doc on Scribd: lee lok

Four Horsemen Of The Ed-Apocalypse


From classsizematters
Today, results were released from a survey of more than one third of all NYC public school principals. Fifty-four percent of principals say that the enrollment at their own school is not capped at a level to prevent overcrowding. Fifty percent say that overcrowding sometimes leads to unsafe conditions for students or staff; 43% observe that overcrowding makes it difficult for students and/or staff to get to class on time.Nearly half (48%) of respondents believe that the official utilization rate of their own schools as reported by the Department of Education is inaccurate; more than half (51%) of principals whose schools are reported as underutilized say that the official rate is incorrect. Eighty six percent believe that class sizes at their schools are too large to provide a quality education – and that the primary factors that prevent them from reducing class size are a lack of control over enrollment and space. More than one fourth (26%) of all middle and high school principals say that overcrowding makes it difficult for their students to receive the credits and/or courses needed to graduate on time. At 25% of schools, art, music or dance rooms have been lost to academic classrooms; 20% of computer rooms have been swallowed up; 18% of science rooms; 14% of reading enrichment rooms, and 10% of libraries have been converted to classroom space. At 29% of schools, lunch starts at 10:30 AM or earlier; and at 16% of schools, students have no regular access to the school’s library. 18% of principals reported that their schools have classrooms with no windows. Many said that special education classes and services were being given in inadequate spaces, including closets. Principals also reported ongoing battles with DOE over their schools’ capacity ratings, and expressed resentment at being assigned excessive numbers of students, particularly when they tried to use available funding to reduce class size.Many observed that the problem of overcrowding has been exacerbated due to DOE policies: 27% said that overcrowding at their schools had resulted from new schools or programs having been moved into their buildings in recent years; and several reported that the decision to add grade levels in order to create more K-8 and 6-12 schools had led to worse conditions. Emily Horowitz, co-author of the report and professor at St. Francis College says, “The results of this survey should appall every New Yorker with a conscience. Principals report that their schools are seriously overcrowded, with excessive class sizes and insufficient enrichment space, even though the official data continues to show that they have extra room. I hope that the Department of Education pays close attention and revises the way school capacity is calculated - and admits the critical need to build more schools.” According to Leonie Haimson, co-author and Executive Director of Class Size Matters, “The administration has devolved more responsibility and autonomy to principals, claiming that they have all the tools they need to succeed. Yet principals themselves observe that they have no control over some of the most important factors that determine the quality of education they can provide: the allocation of space and the number of students assigned to their schools. Until and unless the DOE adopts a more aggressive capital plan, the condition of our schools – and the future of NYC schoolchildren --will not significantly improve.” As Council Member Robert Jackson, Chair of the NYC Education Committee concludes: “We've known for years that official statistics on overcrowding and capacity were wrong but now we have hard data to show just how wrong. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a multi-million dollar no-bid consulting contract to see that the current capital plan and budget cannot even begin to remedy the conditions described in this survey - facilities that fail to provide the setting for a sound, basic education. In light of this information, we will be looking and listening especially hard to DOE and SCA testimony at tomorrow's budget hearings on the capital plan."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

History Lessons For Right Wing Intelligence Challenged

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kudos to Chris Matthews for putting this idiot Kevin James in his place
from crooks and liars:
On Friday’s Countdown, guest host Rachel Maddow asked Chris Matthews about his refusal to allow talk show host Kevin James to blindly repeat White House talking points without having any idea what those buzzwords meant. We’re quick to call out Matthews when he does something wrong, I think it’s incumbent upon us to let him know when he’s done well too. And to his credit, Matthews understands how fundamentally detrimental these buzzwords are to a functioning democracy (and before you retort, no one is harder on him than I am, and he rarely allows them unchallenged on his program–he’s far more likely to be swayed by the perceived power–or attractiveness–of the person than the words they speak).
MADDOW: Do you think this is something new? Do you think this is something specific to our current, contemporaneous politics that we have these sort of buzzwords and bumper sticker slogans, whether it’s ‘appeasement,’ or ‘fight over there so we don’t fight them here’ or ‘they hate our freedom,’ any of these terms. Are they designed to be repeated and not to be interrogated?
MATTHEWS: Well, just look at the way people are basically exterminated or tried to be exterminated. Bill Maher makes a comment –which may not have been the right comment–but he was making a point he was trying to make, about stand back weaponry compared to people killing themselves. You can argue about the niceties of that. The Dixie Chicks say something about the war—and they shouldn’t have said it overseas, but they said it. The shutting up of opposition is critical to running a country in an undemocratic way, let’s put it that way. And so you have buzzwords like ‘appeasers’ or ‘cut and run’ and they’re used over and over again by the most mindless people. The trouble with them is they tend to work. The dittoheads can use them. Anyone can use them and they seem to have the same effect. They cause people to run from criticism.
On a related note: Media Bloodhound writes that the day after the ‘appeasement’ remarks, the ghost of Prescott Bush was seen hovering over the White House. Maybe because he grasps history so much better than its current occupant and his minions.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Eydie Gorme: 1966

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from a youtube user
Eydie Gormé giving a rousing performance of "I Wanna Be Around" on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1966.This is a very rare video for two reasons: First, because most footage of Johnny Carson's first ten years at the Tonight Show is not existing anymore. And secondly, because this is one of the first home video recordings ever.

from wikipedia
Alternative spelling Eydie Gormé (born Edith Gormezano; August 16, 1931) is an American singer credited heavily, along with husband Steve Lawrence, with helping to keep the classic Traditional pop music repertoire alive and well. She still continues to entertain and tour with husband Steve.
Throughout her long career she has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Grammy Award, and an Emmy Award. The couple's striking union of broad ballads and breezy swing has combined with the endurance of their marriage and their comic facility to make them American institutions---even though neither of the couple, as separate performers or together, has put a single into the American Top 40 since 1963.
Gormé was born Edith Gormezano in Bronx, New York, the daughter of Fortune and Nessim Gormezano, who was a tailor. Her parents were Sephardic Jewish immigrants, her father from Sicily and her mother from Turkey.She graduated from William Howard Taft high school in 1946 (legendary film director Stanley Kubrick attended the school at the same time), and worked for the United Nations as a translator, using her fluency in the Spanish language.
She made her recording debut in 1950 with Tommy Tucker Orchestra and Don Brown and a second recording which featured Dick Noel. MGM issued these two recordings on 78rpm vinyl.
She also hired out as a singer, working in the big bands of former Glenn Miller singer Tex Beneke In 1951 Eydie made several radio transmission recordings that have been issued on vinyl LP and recently on CD, in 1952 Eydie Gormé went on to record solo and her first recordings were issued on the Coral label.
She caught both her big break and her life partner when she and singer Steve Lawrence were booked to the original The Tonight Show, then hosted by Steve Allen. Andy Williams was also a singer on the Tonight Show during this period.
The couple were married in Las Vegas on December 29, 1957. They had two sons, one of whom predeceased them. They became famous on stage for their banter, which usually involved tart yet affectionate and sometimes bawdy references to their married life, which remains a feature of their stage style even now. (A typical exchange: Lawrence---"Baby, you're the only thing I've invested in that's doubled." Gormé---"Now you have to figure out how to make me split.")
Gormé enjoyed a few hit singles on her own, none selling bigger than 1963's "Blame it on the Bossa Nova", which was also her final foray into the Top 40 pop charts. Still, she won a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocal Performance in 1967, for her version of "If He Walked Into My Life", from the stage musical Mame. Like her husband, Gormé has appeared on numerous television shows over the years, including The Carol Burnett Show and The Nanny. She and Lawrence appeared together on Broadway in the unsuccessful musical Golden Rainbow, the gestation of which is covered in very unflattering detail in William Goldman's 1968 book The Season.
Gorme also gained unique crossover success in the Latin Music market through a series of albums she made in Spanish. One album being her bestselling album: Eydie Gorme, Canta en Español (Sings in Spanish) with a trio of musicians called Los Panchos. The second album is called Cuatro Vidas (Four Lives). The last album with Los Panchos is a Christmas collection titled Blanca Navidad.
As a duo with her husband, their show name was "Steve and Eydie". In 1960, Steve and Eydie were awarded the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group for their song "We Got Us." One of their best known duos was the 1979 Israeli song "Hallelujah," winner of the Eurovision song contest. They recorded it under the pseudonym Parker and Penny.
Since the 1970s, the couple has focused strictly on the American pop repertoire, recording several albums themed around individual American pop composers. As the 21st Century arrived, the normally indefatigable couple announced their plans to cut back on their touring, launching a "One More For The Road" tour in 2002.

Murder On Windsor Place

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from the nydailynews
The beloved owner of a Brooklyn dry cleaner was found dead in a pool of blood this morning when her son walked into the family business, police and neighbors said. The victim's son was opening the Windsor Terrace store about 8:30 a.m. when he discovered his mother face down inside a rear bathroom, police said.
"Everybody liked her in the neighborhood," said George Diamantkos, one of her loyal customers. "She was really nice and quiet. Nice lady." Another neighbor, children's book author Lauren Thompson, left a bouquet of white roses at the crime scene. She recalled the victim as quick with a smile and a wave to patrons and passersby.
The victim's car, which had been parked near the Eden Dry Cleaners at 16th St. and 10th Ave., was also missing, police said. The front door of the store was unlocked, but the lights were still off when the son arrived, police said. Racks of clothing still hung in the shop as neighbors described the attack as an anomaly. "We've been here all our lives, and we've never seen this," said Mary Ann Purdy, 71, standing with her husband Bill. "This is usually a safe neighborhood." Neighbors said the victim's shop opened more than a decade ago. Her husband fell ill about five years ago and could not longer work, leaving her to run the business, they said. The medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine how the victim died. She was not immediately identified by police.
Cops were searching for the victim's missing car, believed to be a blue Honda.

I took this picture on 5/17/08

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Reginald Marsh

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from wikipedia
Reginald Marsh (14 March 1898 - 3 July 1954) was an American painter, born in Paris, most notable for his detailed depictions of life in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s. He produced many watercolors, egg tempera paintings, oil paintings, Chinese ink drawings, and a number of lithographs and etchings.
Reginald Marsh was born in an apartment in Paris above the Café du Dome. Although he was most famous for his sketches and paintings, he also produced series' of photographs and linoleum cuts. He was the second son born to his parents who were both artists themselves. His mother, Alice Randall was a miniaturist painter and his father Fred Dana Marsh was one of the earliest American painters to depict modern industry. When Marsh was two years old his family moved to Nutley, New Jersey. He was able to attend prestigious schools in the states because his grandfather was a very well known man.
Marsh attended the Lawrenceville School and graduated in 1920 from Yale University. At Yale Art School he worked as the star illustrator for the Yale Record, the college newspaper. Marsh was noted to have fully enjoyed his time at Yale because he received a typical college experience. Marsh also secured full time jobs after graduation, he worked as a freelance illustrator, for the New York Daily News and for the The New Yorker. He also submitted illustrations to the New Masses, (a published American Marxist journal from the 1920s to the 1940s.)
Marsh did not really enjoy painting until the 1920s, when he began to study with other artists. By 1923 Marsh began to take painting more seriously. During his trip to Paris, he was able to see famous paintings at the Louvre and other museums, which fueled his excitement to paint. It was the first time Marsh had visited Paris since he had lived there as a child and he fell in love with what it had to offer him. Marsh was impressed by the 'old master' paintings he saw on a 1926 European trip. He returned with a desire to utilize the principles he felt were evident in the art of the Renaissance painters, particularly the practice of taking notes from observation of human subjects in their environments. Marsh then studied under Kenneth Hayes Miller, John Sloan and George Luks at the Art Students League of New York, and chose to do fewer commercial assignments.
Marsh had been influenced by the drawings of Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo since he was a child. When Marsh returned to New York City in the late 1920s after meeting Benton and learning from the "masters," he began to study with Kenneth Hayes Miller. Miller was a well known painter at the time and was teaching at the Art Students League of New York. Miller instructed Marsh on the basics of form and design in his art. He encouraged Marsh to make himself known to the world. He looked at Marsh's early, awkward burlesque sketches and at his more conventional landscape watercolors and said, "These awkward things are your work. These are real. Stick to these things and don’t let anyone dissuade you!" By the beginning of the 1930s Marsh began to express himself fully in his art. As late as 1944 Marsh wrote, “I still show him every picture I paint. I am a Miller student."
Reginald Marsh’s style can best be described as social realism. His style emerged as one that strives to capture the human figure in the context of reality. Marsh’s work depicted the Great Depression. What was expressed in his work was the effort to move out of the Great Depression. Therefore, his paintings have a social message for the need of a change. Although the need for change didn't occur, and he was not successful in ending the terrible conditions he saw because the nation was in bits and pieces, Marsh’s work was successful. His portraits depict a range of social classes that were heavily divided because of the economic crash. Marsh’s caricatures were people who had a crisis thrust upon them; which is why his work shows a loss of human integrity and control in all aspects.Marsh developed a love of crowds, of movement, form, and pattern, but at the same time he also depicted figures alone; showing the division of social classes. Marsh’s main attractions were the burlesque stage, the hobos on the Bowery, crowds on city streets and at Coney Island, and women.Marsh's etchings were his first work as an artist. In the early 1920s he began to work with watercolor and oil. He did not take to oil naturally and decided to stick to watercolor for the next decade. Yet, in 1929 he discovered egg tempera, which he found to be somewhat like watercolor but with more depth and body. Along with Marsh's paintings, he was also highly noted for his print's, first working in etching and lithography, and then moving on to ancient engravings in the 1940s. He kept careful watch of the technique he used for his prints. He noted the temperature of the room, the age of the bath that his plates were soaked in, the composition, and the length of time the plate was etched.
In Marsh’s earlier years, the 1920s, he drew from burlesque theatrical acts. At this time vaudeville and burlesque acts were flourishing throughout the country and were available all over New York City. The burlesque that Marsh captured can be described as raunchy and vulgar, but also comedic, and satiric. Marsh’s drawings depict chorus girls, clowns, theater goers and even strippers. Burlesque was "the theater of the common man; it expressed the humor, and fantasies of the poor, the old, and the ill-favored."Marsh felt alive when painting the burlesque and discovered that he himself was an entertainer.
Drawing people on the sidewalks and on street corners connected Marsh to the harsh reality of the life on the Bowery. Marsh simply believed that the lower class was more interesting to paint although he was not economically part of the lower class. In the 30s the hobo became a familiar figure in America because of the Great Depression that was sweeping the country.Marsh also painted other figures, such as the burlesque queens, the musclemen, and bathing beauties all of whom personified the 1930s for him. In 1930 Marsh was 32 years old living in New York, yet not starving as much of the country was because he had inherited his grandfathers money, besides having his own career.
Marsh liked to venture out to Coney Island to paint, especially in the summer time. There he began to paint massed beached bodies.[When Marsh looked at the contemporary world it reminded him of the world of the old masters. Marsh’s deep devotion to the old masters, led to his creating works of art in a style that reflects certain artistic traditions. His work often contained religious metaphors. Marsh’s crowd paintings are reminiscent of the Last Judgment, because of the masses of bodies tangled and weaved among each other. He also emphasizes the bold muscles and build of his characters, which relate to the heroic scale of the older European paintings. Marsh said "I like to go to Coney Island because of the sea, the open air, and the crowds - crowds of people in all directions, in all positions, without clothing, moving - like the great compositions of Michelangelo and Rubens." Through the techniques he had learned and connecting those techniques to what he saw, Marsh was able to capture characters of the present day and introduce them to the old masters whom he wished he knew from the past.
Marsh was also drawn to the ports of New York. He would sketch the seaports, focusing on the tugboats coming in and out of the harbor. He loved to include the details of the boats such as the masts, the bells, the sirens, and the deck chairs to capture the true reality of the vessels. In the 1930s the harbors were extremely busy with people and commerce due to the country’s necessity for economic recovery.The Great Depression brought about a decline in raw materials and therefore the demand for those materials grew dramatically. This caused the chaotic need for trade along with bustling harbors, in big cities such as New York.
Like on Coney Island and in the seaports of New York, Marsh captured the crowds of the bustling inner city life. Marsh spent a lot of his time on the sidewalks, the subways, the nightclubs, bars and restaurants finding the crowds. He also loved to single people out on the trains, in the parks, or in ballrooms to capture a single human figure and distinguish them from the rest of the city.
Marsh was also obsessed with the American woman as a sexual and powerful figure. This obsession began with his involvement in movie scenes and burlesque theaters. In his work with movies he made sure to capture all different sides to the theater, the rich and the poor and the women as revelers and powerful.In the 1930s during the Great Depression more than 2 million women lost their jobs and during this time was when women were said to be exploited sexually. Marsh’s work shows this exploitation by portraying men and women in the same paintings. Because Marsh was a painter of bodies his paintings depicted women as half clothed, or fully naked, often big and strong. The men portrayed in Marsh’s paintings were portrayed as voyeurs, often watching the women. These paintings share a relationship with the old masters, by portraying the raw sexuality of women. They were often erotic, and populated with heroic-like images.
The painting Fourteenth Street at the Museum of Modern Art depicts Marsh's interest in women. It illustrates a large crowd in front of a theater hall, showing the clashing of classes and of gender in the 1930’s. It features a large community of people interacting but at the same time, it singles certain people out, showing the socio-economic disruption of society and class. The women in the painting are depicted as strong and purposeful with large bodies. Women are idealized in this work and they appear larger then the men. They appear untouchable and unattainable. While the women look active and powerful, the men look like drunk hobos and are portrayed much smaller. The woman walking under the ladder is a large looming strong figure, while the man beneath her walks by on crutches and is slumped over.[Marsh’s world is filled with display: movies, burlesque, the beach, and all forms of public exhibition. Men and women are both spectators and performers within a heavily sexualized world. And Marsh was clearly fascinated by both aspects of that world - almost always presenting its two sides in the same image.” During the 1940s and for many years Reginald Marsh became an important teacher at the Art Students League of New York.
Although Marsh died in 1954, his artwork lives on in many places today. He is believed to be one of the greatest artists of all time by some of his close friends, Edward Laning, and Norman Sasowsky. Many of his prints and thousands of unpublished sketches were found in his estate after he died. They revealed more of the true depth of his work.