Day 318

My first post-Sandy walk

November 12th, 2012



While Hurricane Sandy notoriously devastated much of coastal New York, the vast majority of the city escaped relatively unscathed. Sitting safely above the height of the floodwaters (check out this map to get a sense of things), most neighborhoods were subjected only to the storm's high winds, which — not to downplay things — did topple more than 10,000 trees in NYC alone. Two weeks later, all the fallen street trees seem to have been hauled away, but there are still plenty of arboreal casualties on display in parks across the city. Here in the Bronx's beautifully forested Seton Falls Park, a trail is rendered impassable by a tangle of downed branches.

Day 318

Beneath the 5 train

November 12th, 2012



Back here again, on a nicer day

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Anchored

November 12th, 2012


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A rather precipitous incline

November 12th, 2012


Day 318

Reeds Mill Lane

November 12th, 2012



This mighty thoroughfare is one of the oldest roads in the Bronx. From the inimitable John McNamara's History in Asphalt:

This lane dates back to the 1600s, when it led from Boston Road to a mill on the Hutchinson river. . . . The mill was operated in succession by Thomas Shute, Joseph Stanton, John Bartow and (in 1790) John Reid was the miller. His son, Robert, continued on until the 1850s. In the ensuing century, the name was rendered 'Reed.' After the Civil War, it was abandoned and stood forlornly on the salt meadows for decades, finally to be blown down in a storm in 1900. . . . later its site would be roughly the center of Co-Op City.

Day 318

This must be the big brother

November 12th, 2012



of li'l Parking Rock.

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Gotta keep it somewhere

November 12th, 2012


Day 318

A house divided

November 12th, 2012



The line in the pavement denotes the boundary between New York City (on the left) and Westchester County (on the right), which runs, as it happens, right through the middle of the red and white house in the background. That house is a duplex, and, according to its mailboxes, its two apartments are located in different cities! (One is 4047 Dyre Avenue in the Bronx; the other is 788 South 5th Avenue in Mount Vernon.)

Day 318

A City That Believes

November 12th, 2012



There are about two dozen streets that cross from the Bronx into Mount Vernon. You can always tell where the city line is by inspecting house addresses, but, if memory serves, this spot — where Dyre Avenue turns into South 5th Avenue — is the only place where the border is celebrated with official signage. And what glorious official signage it is!

Day 318

Mountainside cat village

November 12th, 2012


Day 318

Cross bracing

November 12th, 2012



Nativity of Our Blessed Lady

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Still standing

November 12th, 2012


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Tea ball urinal screen

November 12th, 2012



Not a bad fit!

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Krazy katz!

November 12th, 2012


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Portal of the day

November 12th, 2012



Yes/No

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Oriental bittersweet

November 12th, 2012



Don't let her good looks fool you — this seductive beauty is a dangerous sociopath.

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Hutchinson River

November 12th, 2012



This waterway is named for Anne Hutchinson, a "courageous exponent of civil liberty and religious toleration" who moved to the area in 1642 after being banished a few years earlier from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a patriarchal Puritan society whose leaders considered her a "hell-spawned agent of destructive anarchy".

Day 318

Sittin’ in the woods

November 12th, 2012



Sippin' on malt liquor

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Still life with pallets

November 12th, 2012


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Welcome to New York Portables

November 12th, 2012



This must be the showroom.

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Looks kinda familiar…

November 12th, 2012


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Even after a few 50- and 60-degree days, there are still some remnants of the nor'easter that followed Hurricane Sandy.

Day 318

The Love Shack

November 12th, 2012



In New York, it's not uncommon to see kung fu movies, along with other forms of non-erotic entertainment, advertised on the outside of a sex shop. This seemingly odd practice is rooted in Mayor Giuliani's crusade to shut down the bulk of the city's adult establishments by pushing through a zoning law in 1995 that prohibited them from operating within 500 feet of residences, schools, places of worship, and each other.

During litigation that followed the passage of this law, the city's attorneys declared in federal court that they considered a business to be an "adult establishment" if more than 40% of its space or inventory was devoted to sexual entertainment. Once this definition had been stated on the record, many of the city's purveyors of pornography, rather than closing up shop or relocating, simply started stocking up on the sorts of things you see advertised above, reducing their overall percentage of so-called "adult materials" below the legal threshold.

The city decried this circumvention as "sham compliance" and passed additional legislation in 2001 to broaden the definition of "adult establishment". This new law has never been enforced, however; it's been tied up in the courts ever since its inception. These legal battles have pitted the city's Law Department against an indefatigable, and seemingly unlikely, opponent: a genteel East Side lawyer with the hilariously blue-blooded name of Herald Price Fahringer. Mr. Fahringer, despite his proclaimed personal distaste for the sex-entertainment industry, has been a steadfast defender of its First Amendment rights, even representing Hustler's Larry Flynt in the famous 1978 obscenity case during which Mr. Flynt was shot and paralyzed.

The city has ballyhooed its legal victories over the years, but Mr. Fahringer and his army of topless bars and adult video stores have prevailed most recently, convincing a State Supreme Court justice in August that the 2001 law is unconstitutional. The Law Department plans to appeal the decision, but, in the meantime, it will be business as usual at the city's emporia of booby mags and kung fu DVDs.

Day 318

The Rag Factory

November 12th, 2012



If it's a Rag, we sell it!

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Gotta protect your property

November 12th, 2012


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Gun Hill Fence

November 12th, 2012



Now with fences!

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You don’t say!

November 12th, 2012



(Unrelated to the previous photo.)

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Approaching Saint Paul’s

November 12th, 2012



About half a mile down the street, on the Mount Vernon side of the city line, stands Saint Paul's Church, an 18th-century structure that served as a Revolutionary War field hospital. Its bell, cast at the same London foundry as the Liberty Bell, was hidden during the war to keep it from being confiscated and melted down for military use — a story that calls to mind the World War II-era concealment of that statue of Columbus we saw back in Astoria.