Just a quick update to let everyone know I’m still alive & kicking – the weather has been difficult and inconstant, but it looks like the cold temps are finally on their way out…
My pal Adam from Old Time Religion Radio Hour will be spinning along with the mighty Tony Conquerrah at Robert Bar next Wednesday (9/20); I fully intend to check it out, and invite fellow New Yorkers of taste and distinction to do the same.
The first of four special events at ROBERT BAR (104 Bond St, Brooklyn) happening every third Wednesday through the rest of the year. Come out to Boerum Hill for cocktail specials as I’m joined by fellow fiend Tony Conquerrah (Shanty Town) for loud psychedelia, hard rock, punk, heavy funk and breakbeats to keep your blood […]
The clock is ticking down on my week-long vacation; a lot got done, but I keenly felt my physical limitations like never before. It’s hard to tell if that’s just age, or a need to make even more lifestyle changes in a year that’s already overwhelming on that score. Yet there were also moments where I felt I was exactly where I needed to be – the right place at the right moment.
More over at mine.
There’s a new post over at mine; & a special Easter egg for those who click all the links!
A short update to let everyone one I’m alive, well and currently taking evening & weekend classes, hence the lack of posts. I’ll finish up the initial round of courses by the end of next month…
Read more over at mine.
On Saturday December 13th there were protests throughout the United States concerning police brutality against the African-American community. While the march in Washington DC arguably received the most press, it was the NYC march that made the strongest impression in terms of crowd size and duration. If both the official march and non-official excursions are combined, it lasted from 2 PM ET until after midnight, with a crowd of up to 60,000 in attendance. It started in Washington Square Park and moved uptown to Herald Square, snaked back downtown to One Police Plaza, then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and passed through the Fulton Mall to Barclays Center. A smaller contingent* moved onward through Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Brownsville and finally reached the 75th Precinct in East New York where the cop who gunned down Akai Gurley works. Sections of the march also branched out to Harlem, as well as over the Queensboro Bridge.
I didn’t march myself, mainly for physical reasons (I have a lingering ankle injury, and can’t outrun a cop). But I’m 100% in agreement with the protestors and support them fully. I live near where Eric Garner was killed, and remember often seeing him smiling and greeting people at St. George Terminal. It’s sickening to know he’ll never be seen alive again, that the only way most people will remember him is by the video of his murder. Daniel Pantaleo, the officer responsible for Garner’s death, has a history of violent & racist tendencies; while it’s unfair to tar all cops with the same brush, he’s far from the only one in the NYPD who thinks and acts like this.
It may seem surprising, then, that there’s been very little actual protest in Staten Island. We did have a 7-minute shutdown of the SI Highway, and Eric Garner’s daughter has been organizing die-ins at the spot where he died, but for the most part…folks aren’t showing up. Why?
That question has multiple answers. Start with the usual components – lack of time, money or awareness of anything outside one’s personal bubble – as well as the frank reality that Staten Island is a highly racially divided community. Add in the looming “revitalization” of the North Shore, including the shady EB-5 money pumped in for the New York
Eyesore Wheel. When North Shore residents are demonized as “thugs” and “criminals”, it’s easier for other Staten Islanders to look away as they get displaced for outlet malls and tourist traps.
Mind you, the much-maligned South Shore is going through heavy changes as well. Things still aren’t 100% after Sandy, and the Ethnic White Heroin Epidemic™ rages on. Staten Island is still the most insular of the Five Boroughs, but the national attention being paid to police brutality – Eric Garner’s case in particular – shines a cold, bright light on how things are, and perhaps how things need to change.
*An interesting thing about the Brooklyn section of the march: every neighborhood they passed through either used to be communities of color that were hypergentrified and reconfigured for affluent whites, or are currently communities of color in direct danger of being displaced by that same hypergentrification.
Jeremiah Moss dropped some heavy news this past Thursday when he mentioned that the Cafe Edison was getting the bum’s rush. Also known as the Polish Tea Room, Cafe Edison is one of the rare dining spots in Times Square for actual New Yorkers — theatre people, working-class folks and those who appreciate a phenomenal matzoh ball soup — mainly due to their reasonable prices, generous portions and ridiculously charming plasterwork.
Continued over at mine…
Checked out the opening of 24 Karat Gold, an exhibit of Stevie Nicks’ self-portraits using Polaroid cameras and film, earlier this month. It was a far superior presentation to the Blondie/Debbie Harry exhibit, even though both were shown in pop-up spaces. The Harry exhibition aimed for a raw, punk aesthetic but wound up looking weak and sloppy. Shame, because there were some incredible photographs that truly deserved attention. 24 Karat Gold was put together by Morrison Hotel Gallery, who specialize in just this sort of thing and know exactly how to make rock stars look good…
Read the rest over at mine.
I’ve been thinking about Wen Hui Ruan’s murder recently, specifically about the anonymous commenters over at EV Grieve totally getting off on how they’d like to see Jamie Pugh punished or killed. Because Pugh is so blatantly guilty, certain types of people feel they have carte blanche to run a young black kid through the wringer from the safety of their laptops, with all sorts of bells and dogwhistles at their disposal. Of course when they’re confronted on those dogwhistles, the response is “You’re playing the race card!” (Honestly, anyone who says that—instead of apologizing and clarifying their statements—is definitely a racist who’s been called on their shit.)
Not that I think Pugh should get a pass. He did it, he’s been arrested, he’ll stand trial and do time. Even though I can’t afford to live in the LES anymore, I still consider it my home; the fact that this murder took place there upsets me greatly. My grandmother lives in the area and still gets out and about; that could have been her instead of Wen Hui Ruan. Indeed, if there are any “copycat” attacks (although hopefully Pugh’s quick arrest will put paid to that) my grandmother could still be in danger.
Part of the commentary on those EV Grieve posts revolved around the tired old canard “You wanted the bad old days back, here’s what it looks like!” which…no, not really. Violent aggression between locals in the Lower East Side has been happening, still happens, and will certainly happen again. (That doesn’t make it any less upsetting for residents, however.) In fact, sometimes it even happens between locals and gentrifiers—usually those are the only cases where the cops bother to intervene. This particular attack got buzz because it was caught on tape (as was the non-response by police), so it had to be acted upon.
I hope this doesn’t become an excuse to “do something” about the folks in the projects, because whatever gets done will have nothing to do with finding jobs or educational opportunities for them. All that riverside property can’t be allowed to go to waste, you know!