Saturday, November 01, 2008

Nighttime New York

Overexposed: Times Square, originally uploaded by Stephen10031.

"As for the evening, it wafted away in seconds, the quick, furtive wing beats of the dark bird of sleepless night scattered its ashes. Suddenly, there was the sun, poking huge fingers through everything.

In the racing seconds from evening to sunrise, I saw the usual array of Manhattan night craziness: naked men, fumbling and churning each other, breathing too heavily, heaving urgency up out of their chests and shoulders. I saw a great crowd of young people, spilling in and out of a club, rah-ing and aw-ing at their own unique moment.

I saw police officers, jaws like armored bulldogs, scanning each dark corner, laser eyes sweeping with no mercy: do they fall on me, fall on guilty me? This time their police wheels spin on, past.

Then there were just those aimless scattergories of humans, limping out of the bar one last time. And then there was me, too fast, too hurried, too focused for the time of slumber, frantically stamping up and up another unnecessary hill to..." -- Father Jonathan Mercer.

Manhattan Mini Storage takes a stand...

I've been meaning to mention this for ages -- and many other people have pontificated about it already -- but local storage company Manhattan Mini Storage has been putting up overtly liberal, political ads for ages now.

The question I've been wanting to ask by bringing attention to the ad campaign, is: is MMS the only company with the balls to come up with ads which, while jokey, nevertheless have an edge to them that makes the (almost certainly sympathetic New York City-residing) passer-by appreciate both the gag and the underlying political message?

One of the strangest things about living through the eight years of George Bush's Presidency has been the complete lack of sustained, reasoned, angry opposition to the dirty hallion and his henchmen, even when they were at their most insanely illogical tilt. Every time they predicted welcoming-hero-liberator crowds in Baghdad, I watched and waited for someone to say "bullshit!" and instead, there was at best a sort of querulous noise which translated as "better get in line with them again."

I'm scratching through my brains, and to the best of my knowledge, all I can recall from the past eight years of any company or corporation prepared to say "eff you" to the powers that be, was a coffee joint (might have been a Starbucks but not sure) which, when former Senator Trent Lott suggest that the U.S. would have been better off maintaining racial segregation, advertised a new beverage: the Trent Latte, separate but equal -- black coffee in a cup with separate milk in a jug!

Does anyone know of a corporation as brazen as MMS? They got even edgier with this one, from a year or two ago:

[N.B: from BoingBoing, Jan 13th, 2003: "Kramerbooks, a bookstore/eatery just off Dupont Circle in Washington DC, is selling a new coffee drink, the Trent Lotte: A glass of black coffee, and a glass of steamed milk, in separate but equal portions."]

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Birthday, M A McKee, esq.!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Goodnight, sweet print

On Tuesday, The Christian Science Monitor announced that, after a century, it would cease publishing a weekday paper.

A song for today, Thursday October 30th, 2008.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

One person only in the entire world will get this

Hey, I miss you! And them too...

Ancient Tubes Finally Buried At Ground Zero

Before the NYC Subway system, there was the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, which today we now call the PATH train, and consider it a sort of lame-ass frumpy second cousin to the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, J, L, M, N, Q, R, S, V, W and Z subway lines.

But it was the PATH that came first, and it was one of the engineering marvels of the age. The builders had to conquer the Hudson River, from Manhattan to New Jersey. They did it by building a cast-iron tunnel in sections, dropping the sections on to the riverbed and joining them into two long tubes. The water in the tubes was then pumped out. They were and are strong enough to withstand the pressure of the river water above and around them.

Above, one of the tubes, or tunnels. They were partially exposed by the World Trade Center catastrophe, because one of the PATH trains brought commuters from New Jersey into a station in the basement of the towers (several of the regular NYC subways also stopped under the WTC). An associated story in the New York Times...