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Call me how!

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Bhuvaneshwar Mandir

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’73 Chevy Nova

April 1st, 2013


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it's banging tailgates.

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9/11 memorial #133

April 1st, 2013


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Why don't you come up sometime and see it?

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Home improvement?

April 1st, 2013



More like self-improvement!

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One sign; two messages

April 1st, 2013


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Cross-Section

April 1st, 2013



That's the name of this 200-foot-long art wall surrounding the DOT's Sunrise Yard Maintenance Facility. The artist, Samm Kunce, also created Under Bryant Park, which you've probably noticed if you've ever transferred to or from the 7 train at 42nd Street.

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IFUSAYSO

April 1st, 2013


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of this fella

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Front-yard menagerie

April 1st, 2013


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Portal of the day

April 1st, 2013


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Variegated crocuses

April 1st, 2013


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Ironworkers Local 361

April 1st, 2013


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Lowrider Connection

April 1st, 2013


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’57 Chevy, $8,600

April 1st, 2013


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Barberz #9, revisited

April 1st, 2013



Didn't get a very good shot last time.

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Another survivor

April 1st, 2013



The old Lalance & Grosjean clocktower

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The clouds are moving out

April 1st, 2013


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Daffodil, after the rain

April 1st, 2013


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St. Matthew’s

April 1st, 2013



This neo-Gothic stone church has been closed for almost two years now.

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Whoops!

April 1st, 2013


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as seen from the L train platform at Wilson Avenue

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Never seen these before!

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"An interesting feature of the cemetery is that nearly all of its original monuments were made of metal--from the earliest days, stone monuments were not allowed because no distinctions were permitted to be made between the rich and the poor."

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Mother and Child Reunion

April 2nd, 2013


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Plastic tie crucifixion

April 2nd, 2013


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The downside of metal

April 2nd, 2013


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The Canarsie-bound track is on top; the Manhattan-bound one is underneath, behind the metal grates in the concrete.

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Charlie and Murphy

April 2nd, 2013



Members of the NYPD's mounted unit (a.k.a. "10-foot tall cops"), they were busy having mounds of their waste shoveled up by a human colleague.

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The Evergreens Cemetery

April 2nd, 2013



If you've ever spent any time looking at a map of Brooklyn and Queens, you've probably noticed the huge agglomeration of 17 contiguous cemeteries (and a couple of big parks) clustered along the middle of the border between the two boroughs. In order to understand how this area came to be so popular with the dead, we have to start back about 18,000 years or so during the Wisconsin glaciation...

It was around this time that the Laurentide ice sheet began its final retreat from Long Island, leaving behind the massive ridge of glacial debris it had been pushing in front of it. Known as the Harbor Hill Moraine, this ridge forms a hilly spine that runs lengthwise across Long Island and through the Brooklyn-Queens borderland where the cemeteries mentioned above are located. (Here's a map of the region's moraines.)

Fast forward to 1847, when the New York State Legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act, which established the commercial cemetery industry in the state. It paved the way for a proliferation of large cemeteries outside of Manhattan, particularly in parts of western Queens that, while conveniently located only a few miles from the city center, were still quite sparsely populated at the time. Supposedly, the rocky land along the Harbor Hill Moraine was particularly appealing to cemetery developers because it was difficult to build on and thus relatively cheap.

This is just speculation on my part, but it seems like the moraine's hilly topography would also have been a draw, since the rural cemeteries of those days were intended to be beautiful, park-like spaces. (As we learned previously, Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery once rivaled Niagara Falls as a tourist destination.)

The Rural Cemetery Act prohibited a cemetery corporation from acquiring more than 250 acres in any one county. Purchasing land that spanned the border of Kings (Brooklyn) and Queens Counties would have allowed for larger single tracts of cemetery than would otherwise have been permissible. This is often cited as a reason that so many cemeteries are located in this area. None of the individual cemeteries, however, occupy more than 250 acres — in fact, the total area of all of them is less than 1000 acres — so I don't think that theory holds water. Unless perhaps a couple of larger tracts were originally purchased by speculators who then divided them into smaller parcels for resale.

The Evergreens Cemetery, above, opened in 1849 with plots on both sides of the county line. At 225 acres, it's one of the two largest cemeteries in the area, the other being Cypress Hills Cemetery, a fellow border straddler.

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The Reed mausoleum

April 2nd, 2013



Every day for a decade or so, Jonathan Reed visited the tomb of his late wife Mary here at the Evergreens Cemetery. The hours he spent with her were limited only by the opening and closing times of the cemetery. He furnished the mausoleum like a living room, hung paintings on the walls, and installed an oil stove for warmth. He ate all his meals here, was often visited by friends, and even held conversations with Mary, who he believed was still alive.

Mr. Reed was found unconscious and near death at his wife's side one day in 1905. According to the NY Times's report: "The story of Mr. Reed's devotion to the memory of his wife has long been one of the topics of the section of the city in which he has lived so long. He always appeared to be very happy."

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Rear view

April 2nd, 2013





Remembering the victims of NYC's deadliest industrial disaster

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Of the earth

April 2nd, 2013


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Clinging

April 2nd, 2013


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Phineas L. Slayton

April 2nd, 2013



"Phineas had been poor like most inventors . . . he was good natured — had no ability to accumulate money as others had from his many inventions, upon which he studied continually."

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Ornamented

April 2nd, 2013


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John Bunny

April 2nd, 2013



Largely forgotten today, this portly comedian achieved international stardom during the silent-film era. From his 1915 obituary in the NY Times:

It was with the coming of the movies that Mr. Bunny's fame became universal, till at the time of his death his face was one of the best known in the world. . . . He had grown exceedingly heavy — he weighed 260 pounds — and as he was beneath the average height his figure immediately suggested the comic. His face, in keeping with his pudgy body, was round and puffy, with little gimlet-hole eyes that peered out from their depths in a kindly, humorous way. It was a mobile face that broke into ripples when Mr. Bunny laughed.
A few days after his death, the Times ran this piece by the poet Joyce Kilmer praising Mr. Bunny's artistry and defending him against his critics. Here are some of my favorite excerpts:
As to John Bunny's success being due to his fatness, that criticism is generally made by people who never saw "Autocrat of Flapjack Junction" or "Love's Old Dream," or by rival actors.

If fatness alone was the source of his success, how crowded his profession would now be!

No, people did not laugh at John Bunny because he was fat, or because he fell from horses and automobiles and aeroplanes, and submitted to various picturesque forms of assault and battery for their amusement. They laughed at him because he was fat humorously, because he fell from vehicles humorously, because he was a great clown — that is, a master of a difficult and important branch of dramatic art.

The written word sometimes loses its power to bring laughter as the years roll by. Topical allusions, phrases, and sentiments that amuse us will bring no mirth to the hearts of our grandchildren. But there are certain things that are elementally funny, that make all people laugh who have any laughter in their souls. And one of these things is the face of John Bunny.
If you'd like to see Mr. Bunny in action, you can find a few of his films posted on YouTube. Sadly, however, The Autocrat of Flapjack Junction is not among them.

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The mysterious Sharkey

April 2nd, 2013



The cemetery map offers the following description of what it calls "Sharkey's Corner": "Imposing Monument built by a grieving father. There are no inscriptions."

The only thing I can turn up on the web is this record at findagrave.com:

Sharkey
Birth: unknown
Death: unknown
There was, however, one clue to be found on the scene. Let's take a closer look at that cylindrical object lurking in the umbra of the monument's shadow...

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William Steinitz

April 2nd, 2013



The first undisputed world chess champion. (If you look closely, you can see a chess board on top of his gravestone.) From his 1900 obituary in the NY Times:

William Steinitz, who for years was the champion chess player of the world, died Sunday afternoon in the Manhattan State Hospital, on Ward's Island. For months he had been insane. The last few years of his life were especially tragic. After being recognized as the most expert chess player of the world for over twenty years, he met his defeat at the hands of Lasker, a comparatively young man.

This defeat was his undoing, and since early in 1894 he had not been himself.

His mental condition had not been of the best since then, and after his second meeting with Lasker, at Moscow, Russia, in 1897, where he again met defeat, his decline was rapid.

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"How could there be a new way to go upstairs?"