Radical history walking tour to celebrates the life of Neil Smith (1954-2012), renowned radical geographer, condemner of the capitalist city, powerful agitator for the small and large cause. In this first video Ben Shepard of Times-Up the bicycle activists group, talks about the history of community gardens in the East Village and Lower East Side. It was a rainy day but many people came out for the walk.
Ben Shepard in front of the Creative Little Garden on 6th Street between Avenues A and B.
Matt and Steve two of the organizers of the walk.
Waiting for the tour to start at the Astor Place cube,(The Alamo).
Walking past Tompkins Square Park on Avenue B.
The Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space morusnyc.org
Father Pat, Rev. Patrick Moloney, a Melkite Greek Catholic priest, who has been an advocate for the poor and displaced in the East Village and a political gadfly for many years, has many stories to tell. Here in part 1 of my interview he talks about Bonitas House, the differences between the Easter and Western Church and the pros and cons of for celibacy in the priesthood.
I met Father Pat while wandering around photographing my East Village neighborhood shortly before Christmas. He was out in front of Bonitas House on East 9th Street, near Tompkins Square Park, contemplating the Nativity scene he had placed there. I remarked to him how unusual it was to see a manger in this neighborhood. It didn’t take much to get him spinning amazing stories about the neighborhood. I told him that I had to come back and record his version of East Village history. Yesterday I spent 3 hours recording him non-stop. And I plan to go back for more some time soon. We didn’t even get into what I originally wanted: stories about the Christadora House, the Tompkins Square Park riot of 1988 and the gang warfare of the 1980′s. But we did cover his childhood in Limerick Ireland and his four-year imprisonment in the 90′s for involvement in a 7 million dollar Brinks robbery, supposedly in support of the IRA (which he totally denies).
Marga Snyder of the community garden La Plaza Cultural gives the history of the garden from way back when it was a stream-crossed salt-marsh. It’s a large community garden in the East Village of New York City. It remains an open space today because the streams running beneath the landfill, make for poor building foundations.
This Elm was cut down in 2003 and I shot these photos then. It may have been afflicted with Dutch Elm Disease. Some neighbor nailed wooden tags to the rings giving radical perspectives on local and national history starting in 1931. It looks like the tree was a few years older than that. The stump is no longer there, the tags lasted a few months. The tree was near the corner of 10th Street and Avenue B. No tree has grown there since.
I was inspired to dig these photos out of my archives by the initiation of the online interactive map for my Tompkins Square Park Tree Identification Project. This project is rolling out slowly, I have thousands of photos to edit and add.
I shot these photos in 2003 with my cheap first digital camera and have enhanced the tags for legibility. The 1981 tag refers to the discovery of AIDS. The 1988 tag has police riot scratched out and replaced with “dirty animal.” The 1989 tag mentions Dinkinsville though David Dinkins wasn’t Mayor until 1990.
I’m continuing my Tompkins Square Park Tree Identification Project. Here are maps of the park that I am finding useful in my research. NYCityMap is a great resource, you can enter any NYC address or point of interest, and find maps, and aerial photos through the years of all the boroughs. Plus you can see building violations, zoning and overlays of such things as water fountains and parks. Keep an eye on map feature updates at their blog. The aerial photos start in 1924, think bi-planes buzzing overhead.
It looks like it was taken in winter. That must be a pavilion in the center. I’m imagining brass bands playing here. There’s another one further east. I’ve rotated the image to have it squared off with the streets.
Tompkins Square Park in 1951. The basic paths are established.
A friendly Tompkins Square community member let me photograph her copy of a map drawn by Lorna McNeur in the Spring of 1981 for The Friends of Tompkins Square Park. Notice how many elms were there then. Also note the bandshell and the various arrangements of benches, tables and fences. My photo does not do justice to this lovely drawing. I was dealing with reflections from glass over a faded print and had to tweak it severely to get readable details. But it is a great map, I was very happy to find it. The tree identifications on it are limited to major trees. I love seeing the arrangements of benches and tables that were there. I moved here in 1978 and I can vaguely remember them. View Full Size
The next date available on NYCityMap is 1996. Note the old dog run. There is a bit less green covering paths and details here. This might let me tighten up the cartography on my map. I don’t think the configurations of the fences have changed, other than the playgrounds.
The latest on NYCityMap is 2008. I know the west playground has undergone major changes since then.
My latest brainstorm is to use the seemingly uniform (40″) fence segments to calculate distances for my map. If it wasn’t raining today I’d be out there confirming some of the details I have here. So instead of pacing off like a pirate, I’m wandering around the park counting fence posts, and trying not to run into people.
This is a work in progress I am sure there are still many errors in it. The tree icons are proportional to their estimated trunk diameter. Right now I am more interested in notiing their positions and sizes as accurately as I can. The tree identification can come later. Your help is welcome in all this. I’m continuing to photograph the trees, and hope to have portraits of all the major trees of the park before the leaves are gone.
The purple arrows show trail directions. The idea is to sequentially number the trees along those paths for identification purposes. I’m using the Manhattan convention of north being uptown though that is way off the actual compass point.
Around 8:30 this morning I saw high school students being hurried east along Houston Street. I figured they must be heading to a September 11′th memorial of some sort. The most likely local spot, I thought, would be the local firehouse on East Second Street. I hurried out, but they were out of sight by the time I hit the street. Well they weren’t headed to the firehouse. The only memorial I saw there at 8:46 was one guy testing a loud powerful saw, the kind used to cut through metal. I took it as a tribute of sorts, a wake-up-call perhaps.
Ladder Company 11 Memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice while in the performance of duty operating at manhattann box 5-5-8087 World Trade Center September 11, 2001
Lieutenant Michael T. Quilty
Firefighter Richard J. Kelly Jr.
Firefighter John F. Heffernan
Edward J. Day
Michael F. Cammarata
Matthew S. Rogan
“5-5-8087″ is what comes in on the teletype, it indicates a fifth alarm assignment at box 8087” – the World Trade Center.
McCain and Keating had become personal friends following their initial contacts in 1981, and McCain was the closest socially to Keating of the five senators. Like DeConcini, McCain considered Keating a constituent as he lived in Arizona. Between 1982 and 1987, McCain had received $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates. In addition, McCain’s wife Cindy McCain and her father Jim Hensley had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators. McCain, his family, and their baby-sitter had made nine trips at Keating’s expense, sometimes aboard Keating’s jet. Three of the trips were made during vacations to Keating’s opulent Bahamas retreat at Cat Cay. McCain did not pay Keating (in the amount of $13,433) for some of the trips until years after they were taken, when he learned that Keating was in trouble over Lincoln.
Arthur C. Clarke, former Space Cadet of the British Interplanetary Society, and Science Fiction writer on the occasion of his 90th orbit around the sun. He is currently wheelchair bound, and sleeping 15 hours a day. But this does not keep his mind from roaming the Universe.
“I have a great faith in optimism as a guiding principle, if only because it offers us the opportunity of creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.”
Sixty two years ago Arthur C. Clarke of the British Interplanetary Society sent a letter to the editor titled Peacetime Uses for V2 which was published in the 1945 February issue of the Wireless World magazine suggesting the use of Geostationary Satellites for the instant global communications.