USA | NYC
 


Day 2323

Still at it!

May 10th, 2018


I'm still walking and posting; I'm just working through a huge backlog of photos right now. The latest posts (below) are much more recent than they appear — the dates you see are the dates I took the pictures, not the dates I published the posts.

Day 1339

Panther on the prowl

August 30th, 2015



Ron Austin's Jaribu System of martial arts

Day 1339

Baghdad Deli & Grocery

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

Barberz #117

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

Sidewalk grapes

August 30th, 2015



Day 1339

Crab apples

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339








and peppers and tomatoes and okra and eggplants and cucuzza squash...

Amazingly, all of these plants are growing in this tiny front yard.

Day 1339


Day 1337

On Sept. 9, 1977

August 28th, 2015



Abraham D. Beame, mayor of the City of New York, planted this tree, the first of 75 trees donated for the beautification of our community by the Third Ave. Merchants' Assoc.

The guys I ran into yesterday who were assembling the world's largest tennis ball mosaic told me about a free Songs of the Soul concert today in Manhattan. While waiting in line for the concert, I looked down at the base of an American elm on Third Avenue near 23rd Street and noticed this plaque.

Beautifying a community may seem like a joyful cause, but Mayor Beame probably wasn't in the sunniest mood during the planting ceremony. As this blog points out, September 9 was the day after he lost the Democratic mayoral primary.

Day 1336

A piece of a record

August 27th, 2015



After leaving Mount Hebron, my family and I headed to lunch at Annam Brahma, in the heart of Sri Chinmoy territory. When I saw these guys — obviously disciples of the late spiritual leader — walking down the street carrying a large panel of tennis balls, I was initially puzzled.

But then I remembered Sri Chinmoy was born on August 27. And I knew his followers, among them the world's foremost record-setter Ashrita Furman, like to set an unusual world record in his honor on his birthday each year.

This year's record? The world's largest tennis ball mosaic. 10,084 balls for the guru's 84th birthday.



His 76th birthday, the last one he was alive to see, was celebrated with a 76-foot-tall pencil that prompted a visit from the cops after it was picked up by satellite surveillance.





That's Ashrita crawling over the mosaic to smooth out the seams where the individual panels meet.

It looks to me like the mosaic is 140 x 72 balls, with one extra ball at each corner. Which does indeed add up to 10,084.

In case you're wondering, the reason I knew Sri Chinmoy was born on the 27th is that the original 1996 version of what is now the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race was 2700 miles long, a distance based on his birthday. Then he increased it to 3100 miles the following year because hey, why not, and he was born in 1931.

Day 1336

Yiddish theatrical memorial

August 27th, 2015



Today my family and I paid our annual visit to my grandparents' gravesite at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens. Afterward, we walked over to the neighboring Yiddish Theatrical Alliance section, where my aunt and uncle were delighted to discover Molly Picon is buried.

The memorial above reads:

DEDICATED TO THE ETERNAL MEMORY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN YIDDISH THEATRICAL PROFESSION WHO WERE MURDERED BY THE NAZIS AND OTHER TYRANTS

Day 1335

The old PS 79

August 26th, 2015





Built in 1885, the former Public School 79, "a rare example of High Victorian Gothic school design in Manhattan", has been converted into an apartment building. The name of the school is still faintly legible above the main entrance.

Here's a bird's-eye view of the old school, which extends much deeper into the block than is apparent from the street. And here's a photo from 1920, shot from approximately the same angle as the one at the top of this post.

(I took these pictures down in the East Village after finishing my official walk uptown.)

Day 1335

A lush and fecund isle

August 26th, 2015



This is what late August* looks like on the artificial island built around the central pier of the Macombs Dam Bridge, one of the seven swing bridges over the Harlem River that can pivot open to allow large watercraft to pass by. Each of the seven bridges has a water-level structure that lines up with the movable span of the bridge when it's swung open, but this is the only one of those structures that is filled in with soil.

Visible in the far distance are some northern Manhattan landmarks. From left to right: the Four Sisters (Bridge Apartments), the High Bridge Water Tower, and Yeshiva University's Belfer Hall, with the High Bridge in front of it.

* You can use Street View to inspect the vegetation (or lack thereof) at various points over the past several years.

Day 1335

Scripture on Summit Ave

August 26th, 2015



Emblazoned on the wall of this apartment building (zoom in) is a somewhat abridged version of the much-debated Bible passage 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (not "II Corinthians 6:9", as the mural states).

Day 1335




As best I can tell, this imposing stone edifice on Summit Avenue was erected sometime between 1911 and 1921 by St. Alban's Episcopal Church, and it served as both house of worship and rectory. (The main entrance is on the other side, accessible via a staircase and walkway leading up from Ogden Avenue.)

Sacred Heart, a Roman Catholic parish, purchased the building in 1943 and renovated it, naming the refurbished chapel St. Eugene's. Records from that time indicate the building also contained classrooms.

Sacred Heart still owns the building today, although I'm not sure how or if it's currently being used. Until recently, it was home to the main office of the Highbridge Community Life Center, a community services organization founded by nuns that operated from the late 1970s until 2014.

The center made the news in 1987 when Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega attended a fiesta here while he was in town for the United Nations General Assembly (where he had forcefully denounced President Reagan in a speech the day before). The center's director told the NY Times: "I had heard he was looking for a place like the Bronx where he might - you know - hang out with some poor people . . . So we asked him over."

UPDATE (Aug. 24, 2017): Sacred Heart has sold the building and the surrounding lot to a developer. This is the first time in more than a century that the property has not been owned by a church.