Archive for May 2008

Memorial Day

May 26, 2008

My family was military. At least, my dad and brother made it their life’s work. Neither died in battle and so aren’t really honored by this day, at least formally.

And the military didn’t begin with them. My Grandpa, a man I barely remember, was also military; at least for a lot of his life. And he came close to being a formal part of Memorial Day.

Here he is in 1918. Second row, second from the left. This is the U.S. School of Military Aeronautics in Illinois (I can’t read the name of the place but it looks like “Champanoy”) on May 1, 1918.

Here’s another picture of him with another group of pilots. This photo was taken July 29, 1932. He’s in the back row, fourth from the left. (The first guy with part of his head in front of the prop.)

He did have a very nasty accident in an airplane. Below is the front page of the Detroit Times from February 20, 1933. That’s him in his hospital bed and that’s his aircraft (and another guy’s) as a complete wreck. It reads that Captain Henry M. Tunis and Lt. Raymond D. Robison collided and both had to take to their parachutes after a mid-air collision. They were flying in formation and at about 3,000 feet they veered together and collided. My grandfather broke his shoulder and the other pilot suffered some lacerations. Both men were members of the Air Corps Reserves and were keeping up with their flying hours through weekly flights.

He was a good pilot with a lot of hours. But he almost became one of the “no old bold pilots” that day and would have left a wife and eight-year old son in the midst of the Depression.


Bad Apple in the Big Apple

May 25, 2008

We’ve all seen the cool Ipod ads from Apple. You know the ones: the dancing silhouettes. Very funky, right? Nah. It’s not even close. They are as stodgy and as corporate as an ad for a Ford truck. At least, that’s what came to mind when I was wandering through a very, very cool area of the Lower East Side and saw that Apple had put up a billboard right on top of some local art.

Tell the truth. Which is better? Which is the true bit o’ “art” here? I don’t think it is even close.

Look at all the local art and how the Apple ad doesn’t even begin to fit in. Who’d a thunk that Apple would look so…horrid?

You know the solution someone will find, don’t you? White paint on the old stuff and a few more corporate ads that pay the owner as opposed to the local art. I’ll be sad to see it go. And go it will, don’tchaknow?

Come to think of it, for Manny’s Auto Repair, a Ford truck ad wouldn’t be bad. Not if the same artist did it.

Worship at St. Paul’s Chapel

May 24, 2008

I went to services at St. Paul’s Chapel on Broadway; way down toward the tip of Manhattan. It’s just next to the World Trade Center site (Ground Zero). As you may be aware, it’s an Episcopal church. As I understand it, the Chapel is closely united with Trinity Church; which is just down the street. (When I went down there, I was trying to go to Trinity’s services. They sent me up to St. Paul’s (it’s just a couple of short blocks).

St. Paul’s claims to be Manhattan’s oldest public building in continuous use. It even operated during 9/11’s aftermath. As I understand it, the chapel was used as a sleeping area and rest station for the crews.

I like the front doors.

I was in there for the 8am service. They used Rite 2 (for those who know the Prayer Book and have their preferences). But, there were some variations. Unlike every other Episcopal church I’ve been to, this one is brightly lit; mainly from the ample windows. I’m sure that’s not original, though. Glass was expensive way back then.

And another thing; the service was performed “in the round”. There was a table at the center and the priests and visitors sat in chairs that circled the table. It was only an alter in the formal sense. You can see it in the picture below.

It does have a formal alter. Nothing particularly memorable. It’s got the Ten Commandments and a very tiny Cross. The picture below is viewing the church’s interior from the alter. As you can see, the spirit of 9/11 is still held tightly. During the non-service times, St. Paul’s has a steady stream of people looking at the exhibits that surround the perimeter of the church’s interior. There’s lots of memories of those days there.

An outside is the church’s graveyard; or churchyard as they like to call it. Remember, we are only a few blocks away from the NY Stock Exchange and, I believe, just across the street from the American Stock Exchange.

And just outside of the churchyard in the back┬ástands the big open area that was the WTC. You really can’t see anything there anymore. They’ve blocked it off.


Just another day at Union Square

May 23, 2008

Last weekend, I decided to take a little trip by Union Square. Something’s always going on at Union Square.

This time, one of the items was a flower market. Pretty impressive. The weather was just fine and the local vendors were out in force.

There were, of course, tons of flowers around; but in addition to them there were lots of the usual artists and, off to the side, the traditional farmers market. I’ve taken so many pictures of those crowds, I didn’t feel like doing another. Here’s more of the flower market vendors.

Surprisingly, the free hugs at Union Square people were out again. Good for them, but the crowd seemed a little more standoffish this time. And there were fewer huggers.

At the bottom left of the above picture, you can see some chalk writing. There was also an anti-restaurant-on-Union-Square protest going on. They were protesting the felling of a tree. I still haven’t seen the spot that they plan on building the restaurant. I just haven’t even thought about looking for it. In fact, it is probably so plainly visible that I’ve seen it and just haven’t even noticed.

Yeah, there’s always something going on in Union Square.


Carnegie Hall

May 22, 2008

Over the weekend, I passed by Carnegie Hall. It remains one of the highlights of cultural life in NYC.

It’s located on 7th Avenue and takes up the block from 56th Street to 57th Street.