November 06, 2007
Lost and Found: The Past Recaptured in New York
David W. Dunlap's evocative November 2, 2007 New York Times article about the recent unearthing of a long-buried piece of New York City history (pictured above and below) follows.
- A Decorative Piece of Subway History Is Unearthed in a Busy Station
A lovely little piece of subway history on the uptown platform of the No. 1 line at 59th Street-Columbus Circle — so old it actually antedates the trains — was concealed from generations of riders by a false wall.
With the false wall being removed as part of the station renovation, history has come to light again: a blue-and-white Art Nouveau plaque, with a flowery border (worthy of willow ware) encircling the words, “The Tiles in This Exhibit are the product of the American Encaustic Tiling Co. Limited / Zanesville Ohio / New-York N.Y.”
It turns out that the 59th Street station was a kind of proving ground for the architects Heins & LaFarge in 1901, three years before the Interborough Rapid Transit Company trains began running through it.
“The architects used its walls as an art gallery, experimenting with decorative ideas in various colors of tiles and other materials,” Philip Ashforth Coppola wrote in “Silver Connections: A Fresh Perspective on the New York Area Subway Systems” (Four Oceans Press, 1984). “When the real decorating of Columbus Circle began, all these preliminary experiments were covered over and forgotten.” That is, until this fall.
The plaque and the tiles surrounding it, which were also experimental, are cemented into an 18-inch-thick original structural wall, said Paul J. Fleuranges, a New York City Transit vice president. That wall is being removed to provide more passenger space. Complicating an already complex job, Mr. Fleuranges said, “the historical find has presented project managers with another set of problems to solve.”
They plan to cut a segment out of the wall behind the plaque and surrounding tiles, extract that segment and then cut it down further to make it easier to transport and store. In the end, Mr. Fleuranges said, the plaque will be found where a lovely little piece of subway history ought to be: the New York Transit Museum.
At the moment, it is on display for anyone with a MetroCard to see. Diana Agosta, her husband, Ken Wessel, and their son, Leonardo Wessel, were heading home from the Ziegfeld Theater the other night when they caught sight of the plaque. Ms. Agosta took a picture with her cellphone camera.
“It seemed that the drab, 1960-ish wall had been stripped away and this perfect, gorgeous tile — decorated like a teacup — just appeared,” she said. “Even though New York is not an ancient city like Rome, it’s fascinating to me that when you look around, you so often see little remnants of the past like this.”
Australia + Nolita Mashup: UGG Tess Boot
Bag the outback — the Australian company's heading uptown.
Almond leather, black suede or "Charlie Brown" suede (top to bottom).
Blue Ridge Outdoors 2007 'Quote that made you feel most like a slacker' Award
The current issue (November, 2007) features the monthly's Best of the Outdoors '07 Readers' Choice Awards.
The envelope, please:
The quote is from an October, 2007 article about über-ultra-athlete Dean Karnazes (above), in which he said, "When I'm home I get up around 4:00 a.m. and run a marathon before fixing breakfast and taking the kids to school. When I'm home it's important for me to be there for them. Then I'll usually get another run in before picking them up and spending the rest of the day with them."
From the website:
Sometimes the most ingenious tools are also the simplest.
This bent piece of stainless-steel wire will convert a stick into an excellent campfire fork.
The sprung design of the wire ensures it will clamp securely onto any stick up to 1/2" in diameter.
The two prongs double your marshmallow roasting capacity and have slightly flared tips to firmly hold larger items, such as sausages, without fear of sacrificing dinner to the fire.
With a protective polycarbonate storage cover, its compact design (only 4" long and weighing less than 1 oz) is perfect for campers.
Made in Sweden.
Two for $8.95.
'We invest half a year of work to make an A. Lange & Söhne run flawlessly — then we take it apart again'
I've always enjoyed the print ad for the German watchmaker that begins with those sentences, atop a photo of a completed watch (above) on one side and an exploded version with all the myriad parts on the other.
In fine print below, it says, "To make our watches one-of-a-kind, we assemble them twice. After months of patient work, the time finally arrives when they [Lange's experienced master watchmakers] can verify that the Langematik Perpetual is running flawlessly. But even then, it is too early to celebrate. The step that follows is unique in precision watchmaking: the movement is totally disassembled again. Now, the finisseurs take over to create those extraordinary finshing touches. Using time-honored techniques, they decorate all movement parts with Glashütte ribbing, damascening, circular graining, or engravings — even those components that are later no longer visible through the sapphire-crystal back."
Here's a video demonstrating their double assembly process.
I guess their philosophy and approach reminds me, in manner if not degree, of how much I like putting in just one more link before I finish a post, and finding a marginally better word than the one I've used.
And then maybe one last additional link.
And on and on, to where, sometimes, it's a miracle to me that anything ever gets posted.
And the extreme delight I take in a reader pointing out a mistake, and then going back into TypePad to correct it.
Perhaps that's why I've always been drawn to Paul Valéry's observation that "A work of art is never finished, only abandoned."
The watch is $40,200.
Blast from the past: Timer-on-a-Rope — World's best (and cheapest) anti-procrastination tool
Where to begin....
Back on April 5, 2005 I introduced the Timer-on-a-Rope (above), a most useful self-powered timer that had long served me as an effective anti-procrastination tool.
How to use:
1) Set timer for 5 minutes
2) Hang around neck or put it in your pocket — just keep it on your person — as you go about your favorite procrastination activity
3) When the timer goes off, reset it for 5 minutes and continue procrastinating
4) Eventually the sequence above will get old and you'll start to feel kind of stupid (I really shouldn't speak for you, should I? That's how I feel after about the fifth or sixth iteration) and decide to just do whatever it is you've been avoiding
5) Now comes the special sauce you won't find anywhere else:
6) When you're all set to begin your oft-delayed/deferred task, set the timer once again for 5 minutes — this provides an escape route, such that you can say to yourself "Hey, I'll just work on it as best I can for 5 minutes, then I'm done with it"
7) If you're anything like me (Oh, I do feel for you if that's the case... but I digress), when the timer goes off you'll have warmed up sufficiently psychologically to continue working on whatever
8) Do another 5-minute timer run if you like, even a third — eventually you'll be rolling and well on your way to completion
Last year on July 11 I was delighted to introduce the long-sought-by-my-crack research team Black-and-White version,
which quieted the anxieties of the myriad fashionistas frequenting these premises who wouldn't be caught dead wearing a bright yellow object around their stylish necks.
Now comes this year's presentation, with — bonus! — a major price break.
From the website:
- Rope Timer
Just wear this bright yellow timer round your neck and you'll never miss its cheerful ring!
60-minute timer hangs from a 36" long cord to take with you or sticks to any metal surface with its magnetic back.
Originally $9.95, then reduced to $7.95, they're now being offered on a first-come, first-serve basis for as long as they last for $4.89.
Don't come crying to me next month when the website says "Sold Out."
You will anyway — tough noogies.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your timer, simply let me know and I will cheerfully refund every penny you paid for it.
That's the bookofjoe way.
MyMapMenu.com — 'Upload your restaurant menu'
Marcus Reimold, whose MyMapChat.com and MyMapNights.com websites were featured here recently, has done it again — in an email he wrote that he'd put a little backlink to bookofjoe in MyMapMenu.com, a site ... "I created today."
After I got that email I stared at it for a while.
"I created today?"
Where Marcus lives and where I live — in tech terms — are such different places, it's hard to believe we're on the same planet.
Put it this way: He's putting in solar panels to generate all his electricity while I'm trying to spin a stick between my hands fast enough to ignite the wood bits in the little hole.
Neo Country Rocking Chair — by Ineke Hans
to create a Shaker-ish rocker from solid lime wood.
£1,330 (€1,918; $2,779) at Cappellini stores everywhere.