New York Bites

One Bridge For Sale, the Train
Savant & the Churchyard Sheep

Self-confidence is the New York currency. That’s why stories about the city and its citizens are borderline hyperbolical, lest no one be accused of being meek. No wonder; with 27,000 people per square mile, one needs all the distinction they can muster. Even if involves tall tales.
At least, eight million of them, as the 1948 classic Naked City claimed. Then as now, all are outstanding. Heard the one about selling the Brooklyn Bridge? Or the guy who went to prison for stealing the subway dozens of times? But fear not, the sheep are coming back to town.
Big Apple; city that never sleeps; top of the heap. New Yorkers are so fed up with slogans, sobriquets, and movies about their town being destroyed. Specially since it’s now far from the lawless wasteland some still expect from it. Just don’t try to sell cat hair, of course.
But urban myths about sewer alligators, or rats the size of cats, die hard. And so does the belief that residents are rude – they’re not, Ok? gotta a problem with that? – or getting rich just by mining the streets. The thing is, the real New York stories are much better than these.
So, yes, you hear this place is the greatest of this and greatest of that, and self aggrandizing is a competitive sport. But you’d better back up what you say or you’ll get your behind kicked before you can say, trump. As for that orange sleazyball, don’t worry: we’re working on it.

ONE BRIDGE IN GOOD CONDITION
Speaking of con men, and dealers who can’t close a deal, there’s a New Yorker who truly may’ve been the greatest of them all, or at least, one of the first of a long line of pretenders and liars: George C. Parker. Yes, he did ‘sell’ the Brooklyn Bridge at the turn of the 19th century.
Not once, but twice a week, for 30 years. He was not the only one to try, but seemed to have beaten the competition. His scheme even inspired the Mae West‘s 1937 vehicle, Every Day’s a Holiday. By then, no fraudsters of that ilk were still alive, only their legacy.
It’s survived to this day in the Nigeria‘s sudden riches Internet hoax, and, somehow, in the U.S. presidency. The set up, and the bill of goods involved, may change, but two core elements are still around: snake oil salesmen, and the gullibility of get-rich-quick believers.

THE SAD TALE OF THE TRAIN MAN
Darius McCollum may be many things: impersonator, trespasser, lawbreaker. He also has Asperger’s syndrome, and his feats flared up New Yorkers’ imagination – hey, his train was always on schedule. But one place he does’t belong to: Rikers Island.
And yet, he’s spent half of his 52 years in prisons like that. His deed: invading the subway system and conducting the train, without working for MTA. Or missing a stop. He did that many times since he was 15, and also tried his able hands on LIRR trains and a Greyhound bus.
Many believed he should’ve gotten the job that’d have saved him. Instead, the agency with an ugly record running NYC (more)
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Read Also:
* Play Dough
* A Tale of Twin Cities
* Sour Apples
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On Track

Grand Central Terminal
Takes Off For New Century

One of the most pleasant, vital, and photogenic buildings in New York City reaches today its 100th year anniversary. In the past century, through many incarnations, it went from a prime train hub, to a movie star, to a dilapidated relic, scheduled to be razed just 30 years ago.
It survived, in no small measure thanks to efforts by a famous presidential widow, and it’s ready to welcome travelers for another full century. It offers them a reprieve from their commute, and shelter from the bustling metropolis it symbolizes as few other landmarks of its age.
Built over an old decrepit depot, and largely credited, in functionality and Beaux-Arts style design, to architects Charles Reed and Alfred T. Fellheimer, the popularly known as Grand Central Station of our time has gone through several profound changes, to keep pace with the changing city.

It served well its purpose, splitting transportation duties, and star wattage, with its sister from across town, Pennsylvania Station. It was after WWII, though, that its own existence (and secrets) came into question, since cars and buses seemed destined to take over railways as a preferable commuting means.
In the process, it got in the hit list of controversial urban planner Robert Moses, a man who single-handedly redefined much of what grand public works were supposed to be. Despite many misses, he got a lot Continue reading

Time Capsule

Below City Curbs, 

A Secret Art Show

JUST IN: Police continue to arrest trespassers to this show. Although there’s no current plan to paint over the works, said to be likely located somewhere under Williamsburg, the NYPD is determined not to allow anyone to see them, citing  safety and security concerns. Pictures on the Internet, though, show that some of the paintings have already been vandalized.

What you may experience walking the streets of New York at any given moment may follow you long after. That’s above the ground and no, it’s nothing to do with dogs. But what’s happening below your steps, you can only imagine.

Now here’s something you may be walking on too: a secret art show, hidden within the walls of an abandoned subway station that neither you, nor most of the 8 million people living in this city, will be invited to attend. Ever.

The Underbelly Project,” the creation of street artists Workhorse and PAC, and 103 other guests from around the world, is just such a show. By the way, they all would rather be referred to only by pseudonymous. Because, first, graffiti art is deemed Continue reading