National September 11th Memorial - 2011

After two months of waiting for the date of our reservation to arrive, Andy and I went last Friday to survey the progress on the 9/11 Memorial.  The experience was moving, impressive and well managed.  After being asked by seven (7) different attendants for our proof of reservation and I.D. along the maze of stanchioned entry paths, we arrived at the airport-style security room.


"Rub and Jostle"

-- or -- How Traffic Affects Neighborhoods and Social Interaction.

Two films -- 41 years apart -- that identify the same problem with contemporary streets:  cars.  In the earlier film, the solutions of Ulrich Franzen are campy, adorable, unfeasible, and stink of Robert Moses.  In the modern film, Donald Appleyard has taken what Jane Jacobs served up 40-odd years ago and made it sexy and sensible.  Both are worth a view.  Enjoy.

Revisiting Donald Appleyard's Livable Streets from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

The Popsicle Test

Can a child on foot get to the store, purchase a Popsicle, and make it home without it's melting?  Here is a short and bright piece about designing livable spaces from placeshakers' Scott Doyon that not only introduced me to the concept of the Popsicle Test, but also addresses the modern scourge of trying to buy your child happy.


 . . . it is, however, a slipper or part of a Peter Pan costume.  That is all.

This is unacceptable:


Stay in your Lane, or How I Could Have Made the City $3,565 in One Day

The penalty for parking or standing in a marked bike lane is $115.  I biked to work and back and snapped violations in ONE DAY.

Crown Heights on foot, May 1, 2011 Herbs, Cloves, Spices

Inspired by the beautiful weather, and a desire to get my garden going, Andy and I took a walk to King's County Nursery in Crown Heights (the new hood) to get some containers and extra seedlings.

We took off down Nostrand toward Empire Blvd. having decided to try and find the remnants of Old Clove Road, the first Dutch road that once linked Greenpoint and Canarsie when brooklyn was nothing but fields and farms and forests.  The road appears in maps through the last several centuries, but was all but totally covered up by the modern grid system by the late 1800s.  Only one block of the original "highway" remains . . . a confusing alley-like section we found at an angle to the grid here:

Old Clove Road (the block that remains)

The Belgian Block paving from the 1800s
Labeled with NYC street signs as "Clove Rd.", it seems to be an actual city street, and is half-paved, but impassable due to a city street light's being placed directly in the center of the access to Montgomery St.  It seems like you can get your car onto this lost road by Malbone St. (another historical remnant only 1/2 block long).  Malbone St. and Nostrand Ave. (my street) is where a saloon brawl (at Nealy's Saloon) led to the death of one Thomas Lennon in 1896.  Francis J. Hamlin was one young man detained in the murder investigation, and he lived in MY HOUSE.  See below from the NYTimes:

It's all coming together.  But on to the nursery.

For a carless New Yorker like me, King's County Nursery is a MAJOR find.  In the heart of Crown Heights, it is a family owned and operated (I'm pretty sure the son lugged our soil, the dad found our buckets, and the grandad rang us up) full-service nursery within walking distance!

I had started some seedlings inside the house, and after a few thoroughly enjoyable hours on my fire escape with soil, buckets, and water, I had sun-smacked shoulders and this:
"Balcony" garden day one

Ariel view
Looking forward to beans, peppers, tomatoes, celery (we'll see), basil, rosemary, and lavender . . . and the fun and challenge of gardening in a world of rats, pigeons, and lugging six gallons of water out the window every day . . . gotta devise a  watering system for that.

You'd think that would round out the day nicely, but after all that soil lugging, and planting and climbing in and out of windows, a man gets hungry.  And wants  . . . wings, of course.

Enter our new favorite Sunday pleasure:  SUPER WINGS  I have no idea how this woman does it, but this joint has the BEST wings I have ever had.  Ever.  
Super Wings.  Go here.
We waited about 25 minutes (and met some great people) and then carted three pounds of them home where they looked like this:
We got:  Ginger Buff, Trini Tamarind, and Spice Island Rubbed, and they were "Shut your mouth" good (with sides of corn salad, chick pea fritters, and spinach balls, and lots of ohmygoding)

Later (like 12 minutes later):

There are like eight other flavors left to try, but I'd be happy with Spice Island Rubbed as my desert island only choice.

So, in summation, Herbs in the garden, Old Clove Road, and Spice Island Rubbed.  A fine day, the first of May.  Hope you all had an equally beautiful one.


Make Beautiful Music RIGHT NOW

This is the coolest thing I've seen in awhile . . . have fun figuring out the timing, scales, and patterns, then unclick your way out of your composition . . .   It's pretty cool.

LINK HERE -- Make some MUSIC!