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Day 2146

Still at it!

November 14th, 2017


I'm still walking and regularly posting — I'm just working through a big backlog of photos right now. See below for the latest posts. (The dates on the posts are the dates I took the pictures.)

Day 1331

Died in accident

August 22nd, 2015


Day 1331




I first heard of Louis Windmuller, founder of the Pedestrians Club and "the noblest walker of them all", back in the summer of 2012 when I passed through a little park named after him in Woodside. It seemed fitting that it was only by wandering around myself that I learned about this forgotten practitioner of the peripatetic arts. And then today, completely by chance, I came across his grave right here in Mount Olivet!

Day 1331

HALLETT

August 22nd, 2015





The patriarch of the Hallett family in Queens was William Hallett, who was born in England in 1616 and came to America sometime in the 1630s or 1640s. By 1664, he owned 2,200 acres encompassing all of what is now Astoria.

Many of William's descendants were laid to rest in a little family graveyard near the modern-day intersection of Astoria Boulevard and Main Avenue, where the earliest documented headstone was dated 1724. In 1905, the contents of these graves were transferred to this lot in Mount Olivet Cemetery. Here's a look at the site of the old Hallett burial ground today.

While we're on the subject of deceased Halletts, I should mention the grisly demise of William Jr. (William the patriarch's grandson), his pregnant wife, and all five of their children, who were axe-murdered one night in 1708, allegedly by two of their slaves (specifically by one male slave at the urging of his female counterpart).

After the slaves were found guilty and sentenced to death, "the woman was burnt at the stake; her accomplice was hung in gibbets, and placed astride a sharp iron, in which condition he lived some time, and in a state of delirium which ensued, believing himself to be on horseback, would urge forward his supposed animal with the frightful impetuosity of a maniac, while the blood oozing from his lascerated flesh streamed from his feet to the ground."

The preceding account was taken from a history of Newtown, Queens, published in 1852. After retelling the story, the author went on to comment: "How rude the age which could inflict such tortures, however great the crime committed."

The slaying of the Halletts led the New York provincial assembly to pass, later in 1708, "An Act for preventing the Conspiracy of Slaves". The murders also served as part of the backdrop for the slave revolt of 1712, "a violent insurrection of slaves in New York City that resulted in brutal executions and the enactment of harsher slave codes."

Day 1331

Japanese Cemetery

August 22nd, 2015



The Japanese Cemetery at Mount Olivet was established in 1912, making it the oldest Japanese burial section in a city cemetery.

Day 1331

Mount Olivet Cemetery

August 22nd, 2015



Rising above the surrounding areas, this hill in Mount Olivet offers an impressive view of the Midtown Manhattan skyline.

Day 1331

Eliot Avenue

August 22nd, 2015



That's Mount Olivet Cemetery on the left and All Faiths Cemetery on the right.

Day 1331

Fugitive grapevine

August 22nd, 2015



It's escaped from someone's backyard and climbed into the limbs of a mulberry tree.

Day 1331

Sam the Glazier

August 22nd, 2015



Here's a closer look. The window-breaking ballplayer reminded me of an old painted ad I saw on a wall in Bushwick back in 2012. The company name is no longer legible on that ad, but the phone number is — and it matches this one!

Given the age of these two ads, I figured the business had probably gone under some time ago, but it turns out Sam is still glazing away, just down the block from the aforementioned ad in Bushwick.

Looking at Sam's store in Street View, you'll find, on an adjacent wall, another painted ad for the business, this one with a catchy slogan: "Don't hold your new windows up with sticks".

(The Street View image linked to above also reveals an impressive collection of pigeon coops on the roof of the building where the ad is painted.)

Day 1331


Day 1328

9/11 memorial #257

August 19th, 2015



Lt. Robert F. Wallace

9/11/2001

Day 1328

Collyer’s Mansion

August 19th, 2015



Homer and Langley Collyer were NYC's most famous hoarders. The reclusive brothers, rumored to be quite wealthy, lived out their lives in a jam-packed Harlem row house "honeycombed with tunnel-like passageways through the piles of newspapers and debris."

One day in 1947, while bringing food to Homer, who had been blind and paralyzed for several years at that point, Langley accidentally triggered one of the many booby traps he had set inside the house, causing a mountain of rubble to collapse and suffocate him. Left alone with nothing to eat, Homer died some days later. Responding to a call, the police discovered Homer's body on March 21. Because the house was so crammed full of junk, they were unaware that Langley lay just ten feet away from his brother. His body wasn't found until April 8.

The Fire Department still uses the term "Collyers' Mansion" to refer to a dangerously overstuffed dwelling. The owners of this home goods shop adopted the name for their original Ditmas Park location, "a tiny store . . . filled with stuff" arranged "like Tetris".

(In the window at left, you can see a reflection of what once was a painted sign for John Curtin Inc., Sail Makers & Canvas Goods — and what now is essentially decor for an Urban Outfitters store, helping to convince its customers that they're enjoying an authentically vintage shopping experience.)

Day 1328

Bret and Nina

August 19th, 2015


Day 1328

Montero Bar & Grill

August 19th, 2015



Montero's is "the last of the longshoreman’s bars on Atlantic Avenue".

Day 1328

Adam Yauch Park

August 19th, 2015



A year after his death, this park was renamed for the late, great member of the Beastie Boys, who grew up playing here. The park's seemingly mundane former name, Palmetto Playground, was actually one of Henry Stern's strangest appellative concoctions. As told by the Parks Department:

Palmetto Playground’s nomenclature was inspired by the names of the surrounding streets: Atlantic Avenue, Columbia Place, and State Street. Columbia is the capitol of South Carolina, an Atlantic state, and the state tree is the Cabbage Palmetto, hence, Palmetto Playground.
(There is at least one trace of Mr. Stern's personality still remaining in the park, however: those dancing bear statues in the background.)