Category Archive 'Brooklyn'

09 Jun 2017

Portrait of a Generation

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Partisan hipsters watching Comey hearing in Brooklyn bar. More here.

18 Feb 2016

Bernie Sanders: a Linguistic Analysis

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Bernie Sanders: a linguistic analysis

Bernie Sanders has now spent most of his life in Vermont. But his voice tells a story of his past, and the history of New York City.

Posted by Vox on Thursday, February 18, 2016

08 Feb 2014

A Piece of History Closed Three Years Ago in Brooklyn

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Cornelius Vanderbilt built NYC’s first subway in 1841 in order to bring steam locomotives carrying Long Island Railroad passengers from Brooklyn into Manhattan wile bypassing the traffic-filled Court Street and Atlantic Avenue intersection underground. As the Verge notes: “The Atlantic Avenue Tunnel holds the Guinness world record for “oldest subway tunnel,” predating the Tremont Street subway in Boston from 1897, the 312-foot Beach Pneumatic Transit tunnel in Manhattan from 1869, and the first subway in the London Underground, which was built in 1863.”

Walt Whitman memorialized the tunnel’s closure in 1861 (after Brooklyn banned steam locomotives within its city limits): “The old tunnel, that used to lie there under ground, a passage of Acheron-like solemnity and darkness, now all closed and filled up, and soon to be utterly forgotten, with all its reminiscences.”

Reputedly, the 1611-foot-long tunnel was reopened decades later for growing mushrooms, and used during Prohibition for boot-legging, but it had remained closed and forgotten for many, many years when Bob Diamond, a local amateur archaeologist, persuaded the Brooklyn Union Gas Company to open one of its manholes and allow him to explore.

Diamond broke through a concrete wall and constructed his own staircase giving access to the tunnel, and operated his own small-scale business for 30 years, taking people (through the original man-hole) on tours of the historic tunnel.

At the end of 2010, however, jealousy of somebody else making a dollar out of an asset over which they could claim control provoked the city authorities to shut down Diamond’s tours, closing off access to the historic tunnel permanently, on the basis of safety concerns. (No one had been injured in the course of 30 years of Diamond’s operations.)

There is a bit more at Atlas Obscura.

Hat tip to Fred Lapides.

30 Jul 2011

Homeless Harassed For Game Poaching in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park

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Prospect Park

Anatole France remarked sardonically that “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges.” In Brooklyn, it forbids both evidently also to harvest fish or game in Brooklyn’s 585-acre Prospect Park.

A year ago, federal agents gassed 400 Canada geese resident in the park, which were considered to represent a hazard to planes using nearby La Guardia Airport. They had their reasons. In January of 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 ran into a flock of geese and would up crash landing in the Hudson River.

But can New York turn a blind eye as former Lehman and Bear Stearns executives now also resident in the park reduce the nuisance population of grey squirrels, pigeons, and geese or take panfish from the lake? Perish, forbid.

The New York Post reports that what my friend from Yale, Mr. Brewer, describes as “an awesome locavore experiment in living off the land” was rudely interrupted by “spoilsport cops.”

Cops have busted a group of oddball poachers in Prospect Park — a band of vagrants that was trapping and eating ducks, squirrels and pigeons.

Parks officers wrote four tickets — two for killing wildlife and two for illegal fishing — totaling $2,100 in fines during a two-day period last week. …

“This is a dodgy group,” said park-goer Peter Colon, who spotted one of the men catching a pigeon while his friend started a fire. “They are the most threatening people in the park.”

The disheveled — and possibly homeless — tribe in question uses “makeshift” fishing poles and traps to catch the critters, then grills them over the fire, according to park watchdogs.

“One woman uses a net to bag the ducks,” said wildlife advocate Johanna Clearfield.

The kind of person you or I would call a busybody or general nuisance always gets promoted in the conventional journalistic parlance of our time to some form of “advocate” or “activist.”

Lots of luck collecting those fines, New York City. I bet the hobos used the tickets to light their evening cook fires.

06 Aug 2009

Some of Us Thought the Real Estate Bubble Was Over

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Jim the Realtor from California describes a house being offered in Brooklyn.

Occupying what used to be a driveway, it’s a 1br/1ba home on a parcel of land 7.25 feet wide and 113.67 feet long. The interior area is just under 300 square feet: …ONLY $479,900!

I can remember a similar packing crate sort of residence located on top of Belmont Heights in San Francisco, in need of complete renovation, selling to a surgeon for $450,000 a few years ago.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

Correction, August 6:
John brings to my attention in his comment a Daily News story debunking all this:

The house is actually in Toronto, and the price is only $179,000.

It was probably built in Kenya, too.


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