Kids, a long time ago, it seemed that everyone was reading books on the subway. Now it'a all Candy Crush and tablets.
Yesterday I tried to do a little bookpeeping. That is, I tried to spy on what those rare book readers were perusing.
I had a bit of success as I traveled from Lower Manhattan to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.
On the Z train (yes, there is a Z train):
The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams:
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Kids, a long time ago, it seemed that everyone was reading books on the subway. Now it'a all Candy Crush and tablets.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
Friday, May 03, 2013
Thursday, May 10, 2012
(Aracelis Girmay, b.1977)
Rain who nails the earth,
whose infinite legs
nail the earth, whose silver faces
touch my faces, I marry you. & open
all the windows of my house to hear
your million feral versions
of si si
Seen on the R train, Brooklyn, May 2, 2012
Or, so you can see it:
Sunday, April 01, 2012
The following post appeared on BillyBlog five years ago, meaning that we are celebrating the silver anniversary of one of the greatest April Fools' pranks in the history of humankind. Well, certainly any I was involved with. This story has taken on a life of its own and, rumor has it, it might even make a cameo in an upcoming issue of The Occidental magazine. Best to look back at the original post here (and a follow-up here) to see the comments posted five years ago....
20 years ago today, Gary McMillan's truck was the special of the day. We were offering a "no money down sale with 3.9% APR financing". Lance Mendelow was the executive salesmen and Nathan Schmoll was very much alive. Brig was having an aneurysm and John Zacker was trying to tell you to "use your dorm influence" to get all of the cars out of the Newcomb lobby.
It's too bad John Zacker never attended one of our Bacon Burger Dog nights I think he might have at least enjoyed our company, if not our horrible cooking!
For those of you who were copied on this email I hope life finds you well. Erich thanks for taking so much heat for us.
Great times, time just goes by too fast,
It's a little hard to tell, but there's at least a half dozen steps leading up to the entrance, so maneuvering the vehicle there was no easy feat for Gary.
The truck was actually an exclamation point on what transpired as a collaborative effort by several dozen people, it seemed.
For inside the dorm, in the common room that housed the television in a large wooden box bolted to the wall, four cars were parked, with makeshift price tags. The windows of the
residence hall proclaimed that there was a sale on cars and that there was affordable financing available.
I know that one of the vehicles was Tino Ramirez' orange Volkswagen bug, and another was a shiny red pick-up belonging to Tim McLean:
I don't recall the other two vehicles' owners. [Update: But Rob does: "It will be forever etched in our memory! The other two cars where Carey Marks' Toyota MR2 and Kevin Hattori's Datsun B210."]
Many photos, I imagine, were taken,
but I haven't seen any in years
and I have included the few that Lance Friedman, Resident Adviser extraordinaire sent me just today. Until today, the only photos I had was this collage Lance had sent me:
Click to enlarge, if you dare. The top row features Paul Batmanis and Bill [ I thought his last name was Holmes, but now I'm not sure], next to which is a shot of me carrying a box of something past the Head Residents' apartment. Incidentally, Erich Marx, said H.R., did take a heat from the shenanigans of the
residence hall's 100+ residents. He was copied on the above-referenced e-mail and subsequently responded:
Wow. I just broke out into hives and a cold, cold sweat. I feel sick to my stomach and my nose has begun to bleed. All of sudden, I can't stop crying and I have the shakes. All of this because of you, Rob.
Wouldn't trade the memories for all the world.
Happy April Fool's. Hope you're all well. I live in Nashville now where another Newcomb-ite, Jennifer Krauss, also lives. She's the weekend news anchor on the local CBS station! Pretty cool stuff.
The middle row of pictures features a shot of Ann Blank and Rob (of the above-referenced e-mail) on the left and JohnMcGee and Lance Mendelow on the right.
The bottom row shows someone making an obscene gesture, I believe on Halloween, and another picture of Lance at the barbecue.
John Zacker, Director of Residence Life, meant well. He did the best he could concerning the challenges he faced with the students of Newcomb. This was a
residence hall that created a
If memory serves me correctly, Mr. Zacker demanded that Erich turn over the perpetrators of this heinous prank.
Residence halls are not zoned for vehicle storage, apparently. Erich came to his residents requesting the names of the persons responsible. Over twenty people put their names down, and we had to tell many others that they couldn't add their names to the list because they hadn't been there.
Were Rob, Tino, and I the ring-leaders? I don't recall it being that way. However, some evidence may cause one to believe otherwise.
It really was a collaborative effort. It was my idea to put newspaper under the vehicles in the TV room to protect against any oil leakage, and we composed a heartfelt note to Housekeeping on the chalkboard apologizing for the mess, but assuring them it would be cleared up by the end of the day. Mr. Zacker cited these two examples as evidence that we had been involved. In the end, after meetings and the patronage of another resident Owen Clayburgh, who took his share of the blame, and used his position as a student well-connected to the Board of Directors of the college, to what effect we may never know, the punishment was meted out.
[Update: Another photo from that night. Sure, I'm in it, as is Tino, but look at all the other guilty parties!]
Top row: Tino "Red Bug" Ramirez, Kevin "That's my B210" Hattori, Ann Blank, Yours Truly, and Tim "Red Pick-Up" McLean.
Bottom row: Owen Clayburgh, Carey "MR2" Marks, and Gary "4x4 on the Front Patio" McMillan.
I, along with Rob, Tino, Owen, and perhaps some others, stood up at a
residence hall meeting
"dorm spread" and apologized to everyone present for endangering their lives. Mr. Zacker pointed out that a vagrant could have entered the locked
I still think it was brilliant. I still think the "Newcomb Used Car Lot" is the stuff of legends, and I wouldn't have done anything differently. Sorry Mr. Zacker, if you're reading this, but that was the reality back then.
By the way, after we sincerely apologized to all our fellow residents at that dorm spread, we received a standing ovation.
Happy April Fools' Day.
UPDATE FROM APRIL 2:
So, can I get a witness? You betcha...
Marie Barber aka Mikey aka Micus sent the following reply, along with the best photographic evidence yet. This is the first I've seen of these in 20 years.
You losers. I have 8 lbs of investigational anti-psychotics in my office (don't ask), the kids are all in bed, and THIS is what I'm doing..... Damn you, Rob.
Bill, attached is my contribution to your memoir. Personally, I'm particularly fond of #2, Tino's "Cheap Piece o' Sh*t for 29.99" (the death machine that left me in need of the 8 lbs of investigational anti-psychotics in my office.....but that's another story for another time). Also, please note in #7, the sign on the desk behind the 3.9% reads "Lance Mendelow Executive Salesman". Yep, aim high. That's my motto.
Now stop tempting me, or I may just pull out the photos I'm saving to blackmail you all when you think of running for public office.
So, let's caption these suckers....
First, a better shot of the McMillan ride, perched up a set of steps in front of the Newcomb Hall entrance:
Ok, so there are at least four steps visible. I'm sure someone with a physics degree can extrapolate the number of steps by the angle of the camera vis-a-vis the position of the truck. Or someone can just run on over to Newcomb and count the steps for me. Needless to say, Tino's bug wouldn't have made it.
Now, the entrance to the showroom:
With some detail:
Here's Kevin Hattori's B-210. I've e-mailed Kevin, but haven't heard back. According to the alumni directory, he works about a mile away from me in Manhattan.
And here's the sophisticated price tag we improvised in the heat of the moment. And yes, it does say "Cheap Piece O' Sh*t $29.99". We were bold enough to roll four cars into a dorm, but not brave enough to spell the word "shit". Go figure.
And this last one, again, implies that Tino, Rob and I were behind this thing, but we were just whoring for the camera. Let me add that the wig I'm wearing got a lot of mileage. I am also wearing my famous Hawaii Fire Department fireman's coat. And I am wearing an Iron Maiden tour shirt from the March 31, 1985 show they did during their "Powerslave" tour. It was customized for the Hawai'i show only and is extremely rare. About six years ago, as I had expanded to a size far beyond the shirt in question, I sold it on eBay to someone in Italy for $91.00, American. It's likely worth much more now.
Needless to say, the shot Rob launched on Sunday morning had generated quite a fit of nostalgia. I've passed the link on to several former Newcomb residents and heard back from John McGee, also a New Yorker now, Yvonne (Grgas) Beck, who heard about the car lot and came to visit, as well as a few other residents of the old Newcomb Hall.
Let's see how this post grows!
"Hmmmm...is that a scratch in the paint?"
Posted by Tattoosday at 8:54 AM
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Readers of this blog in the past can attest to my love of the project and I bemoaned the end of it in NYC a few years back. Documenting the not-as-worthy Train of Thought series was less satisfying.
Imagine my excitement then, dear readers, when I saw this news item earlier in the week.
And then, I saw the first new poster yesterday on the D train:
Welcome back, Poetry in Motion!
He told us, with the years, you will come
to love the world.
And we sat there with our souls in our laps
and comforted them.
This from the MTA website:
A painter, sculptor, printmaker, novelist, and memoirist, as well as the author of two books of poetry,
Dorothea Tanning was known as a ceaselessly inventive visual artist first inspired by the Dada and Surrealist
movements of the 1930s. Taking to poetry only in her late 80s, Tanning, according to the Washington Post,
jokingly dubbed herself “the oldest living emerging poet.” Her poems appeared in theParis Review, The
New Yorker, and The Best American Poems of 2000. She published two volumes of poetry “A Table of
Content” and “Coming to the That,” which The New Yorker called one of the best books of 2011.*Born in
Galesburg, Illinois, she attended Knox College there. Tanning lived much of her life in Europe amongst a
veritable pantheon of 20th century artists. She was married for 30 years to the painter Max Ernst and
counted among her friends and sometimes collaborators such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Dylan Thomas,
John Cage, and Andre Breton. Her late-blooming love of poetry was further confirmed in 1994 when she
created and endowed the Wallace Stevens Award, which each year grants $100,000 to an American poet.
Artist Joan Linder created The Flora of Bensonhurst for the 71st Street subway station in Brooklyn.Best
known for her labor-intensive drawings that transform mundane subjects into conceptually rich images,
Linder has exhibited throughout the US and in Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Japan and Korea at venues
including White Columns, NY; the Queens Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Albright-
Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Kunsthallen Brandts, Denmark; and the Gwangju Art Museum, Korea. Awards
include residency fellowships at Smack Mellon Studios, Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony; The Foundation
of Jewish Culture’s Ronnie Heyman Award; and a grant from the Pollock Krasner Foundation.*Born in
New York, Linder attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and received and MFA from
Columbia University and a BFA from Tufts University. Linder is an Assistant Professor of Visual Studies
Studies the State University of New York at Buffalo, and is currently represented by Mixed Greens Gallery
in New York City.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
When I first started writing Tattoosday, I may have had a couple of tattoos, but I was really very naïve when it came to the subject of the craft itself.
I learned very quickly, maybe within the first week or so, that one should never refer to a tattoo machine as a "gun". An anonymous reader chastised me over that one and I still bear the emotional scars of that mistake.
Another term that is thrown around a lot is "tats". Again, I started out thinking that it was okay, and was quickly called out by a reader.
In all fairness, you hear the words "tat," "tatted up," and other variations with fairly common regularity, so it's not as taboo as calling a machine, a gun, but I made a decision early on to use the extra syllable, and always say "tattoo". It just sounds better, and since I am writing posts that I assume will live forever, I figure I better use full and proper terminology.
Next up: who are the Meaty-Beaties, and why don't I like them?
Saturday, June 18, 2011
BillyBlog begat Tattoosday and, since then, BillyBlog has been my neglected alter-ego. But, there may be hope. I have decided to attempt yet another form of CPR, and it involves Tattoosday.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Friday, December 10, 2010
First spotted on the R train, November 2010:
"Life is a train of moods like a string of beads;
and as we pass through them they prove to be
many-colored lenses which paint the world their own
hue, and each shows only what lies in its own focus."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1892), "Experience"
Sunday, July 25, 2010
I found this on the bike path along the Belt Parkway between Dyker Beach Park and Caesar's Bay:
The following cards have been found previously:
The Ace of Hearts (March 27, 2010)
The Five of Clubs (February 20, 2010)
The Two of Spades (August 17, 2009)
The Ten of Diamonds (July 2, 2009 - found June 1, 2009)
The Five of Spades (June 18, 2009)
The Eight of Spades (January 6, 2009)
The Eight of Diamonds (December 5, 2008)
The Two of Hearts and the Queen of Spades (November 1, 2008)
The King of Spades (October 26, 2008)
The Ace of Spades (September 22, 2008)
The Jack of Diamonds (September 18, 2008)
The Six of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, and Eight of Clubs (August 10, 2008)
The Six of Clubs (July 21, 2008)
The Seven of Hearts and The King of Diamonds (April 24, 2008)
The Three of Clubs (March 29, 2008)
The King of Hearts
and the Three of Spades (February 28 and March 25, 2008)
The Ace of Diamonds (July 7, 2008)
The Jack of Hearts and Five of Hearts (July 19, 2008)
View the whole set here.
And here's the scorecard with the latest addition:
Diamonds: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
Saturday, July 24, 2010
"The gaunt trestle-work of the els brings twilight to miles of streets, the tunnels of the subways honeycomb rocks and rivers and skyscrapers. Their trains are the first things a good many New Yorkers observe in the morning and the last things a good many more remember at night."
From The WPA Guide to New York City (1939)
Click the tag below to see other Trains of Thought.
I spotted this one on the R train.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Spotted on the F train between 23rd Street and West 4th in Manhattan:
Spotted on the D train between West 4th in Manhattan and 36th Street in Brooklyn:
Spotted on the R train between 36th Street and 95th Street in Brooklyn: