Monday, January 28, 2013

Existing in New York City in a Wildly Growing Concrete Jungle

Foto by tgw, "Madison Square Park," New York City, January 2013
Say Goodbye to: Ed "How'm I Doin'" Koch, a man I often lampooned as Ed Crotch since most of his mental capacity was in his crotch.  He started as a liberal (Village) Democrat but ended as a rightwing nutjob, attending the Republican Convention one year when he had become a Rudi Guiliani stooge.  All I remember him giving NYC were bike lanes and the worthless Javits Center.  Oh well, we don't have Ed Koch to kick in the crotch anymore.  Ed Koch, 88, Mayor of New York City (1978—1989).
Nobel Peace Prize Winner President Obama Again Does Something G.W. Bush Couldn't Do
President Obama's military goons announced today that thanks to us probably spreading a couple of billion bucks around poor old Niger, we have finally have a military base in Africa...a drone base in Niger...HOT DAMN, now we can control the skies over Northern Africa from Libya over to Mali...Niger is right next to Mali where we are currently aiding the French Colonial forces in their recolonizing Mali as again our military nutjobs are claiming Mali is an al-Queda hotbed.  Watch out Nigerans, especially your women and children, U.S. drones will soon be shooting missiles at your dumb asses...remember, our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president and commander in chief considers any male a possible member of al-Queda and on his KILL list.  Today it was also announced that President Obama's popularity is now near the heavens.  He has successfully pulled the wool over our blinded eyes for a second time.
Say Goodbye to: Patty Andrews, the bad seed of the swing-era singing sensations The Andrews Sisters.  Patty broke up the group when she without notice took off on a solo career, her sisters reading about it in the gossip columns.  Who'd'a thought an Andrews Sister was still alive up until yesterday (Jan. 30). Patty Andrews, 94, American singer, last surviving member of The Andrews Sisters, natural causes.
Who Lives in the Clouds?
I live amidst a jungle of tall and taller and going-taller buildings.  Edifices of brag, I suppose.  In Uptown Manhattan on 59th there is going up a 93-story apartment building exclusively for billionaires.  All around me in Midtown are now sun-blocking, star-blocking high-rise buildings, one new one looming up 72 floors.  Over on Fifth Avenue they are going to build the world's tallest luxury apartment building, a building that will outskyscrape the venerable Empire State Building, again billionaires being the only jive asses who can afford such residential vanity.  These are not architectural splendors either.  Most are dull nondescript look-alike box-like towers.

The Manhattan Borough president agrees with our billionaire mayor, Mikey Bloomingidiotberg, that these billionaire real-estate ventures will raise the tax base and put the city in the black for years to come, which is, of course, bullshit.

I look at cities around the world and I'm amazed at the gaggles of heaven-reaching buildings on their constantly evolving skylines.  It causes me to wonder, "Who the hell rents the vast spaces in these behemoth edifices?"  Like the skyline of Hong Kong.  It is one long islanded glob of mile-after-mile of high-rise skyscrapers, each one taller than the next one; again I ask, who the hell or what the hell are housed in those buildings?  Chinese Communist capitalist pigs?  Foreign corporations?  Banks?  Financial pirates?  And Shanghai's dazzling skyline, who resides in those overtall buildings? Or are they just for show; for Chinese Communist Capitalism propaganda?

There's a competition around the world to see who can build the world's tallest buildings.  Here in Manhattan, they are continuing to build on what was once called the Freedom Tower but has now been reduced to Number One World Trade Center, though construction of this the world's most expensive-ever office building, cost overrunning to way up over 2 billion dollars now, has been slow as a turtle in Hades for a good while, its unfinished tackiness looming up where the boring and what proved to be easily collapsible WTC twin towers once stood.

In my Midtown Manhattan neighborhood I can easily see from my window tons of empty apartments and offices in the popping up hi-rises that in the past 5 years have grown up like nuked mushrooms around me.  The hi-rise luxury (max-tacky) apartment building up my block from me now has a permanent "For Rent" sign out on its concrete front lawn.

The old Jack Webb-produced Dragnet teevee shows (from 1969 and 1970) open with a panoramic view of Los Angeles in those years.  it amazes me to see how few hi-rise buildings there were in L.A. when these shows were filmed.  The L.A. City Hall (a magnificent building by the way) looms the tallest in its neighborhood then, a neighborhood that now fences in City Hall with hi-rise buildings; L.A. Center City is now crammed with reaching-for-the-heavens skyscrapers.

There are no jobs anymore in this country, so who the hell are renting these office spaces?  And who are renting these ultraexpensive luxury apartments?  Due to the rent levels, these hi-rise luxury apartment  buildings take rents up to astronomical heights.  My apartment building, the oldest still-standing building on Broadway, a building over 150 years old, once a fleabag SRO hotel catering mostly to working-class Chinese, now boasts apartments renting for $2,000-a-month up to $2,500-a-month.  Plus, more and more, and a lot of these buildings are doing this, floors in my building are being converted into hotel rooms--its against the law, but what the fuck do landlords give a damn about laws?  Tourists to New York City are willing to shell out $350 to $500-a-night for a conventional hotel room (plus a 14% hotel tax is tacked onto their final bill), so why not tap into that market by offering tourists who don't want to pay big bucks for a room a room for say $200-a-night?  More and more I see these people in my building.  Of course, I'm thinking BEDBUGS!  It's well known here in NYC that tourists from around the world bring bevies of bedbugs with them.  I've got a Holiday Inn right next door to my building and I know for sure the bedding in that building was sitting in there for over a year before the hotel opened...filling up with dust and dust mites and rats and mice and bedbugs during that time; yet, hey, this shoddy little Holiday Inn does a good business of cheapy tourists piling in there day and night with their cheap-ass wheeled luggage.
Photographing From Ground Level
I once prided myself as being a "photographer on the roof."  I loved going up on the roofs of neighborhood buildings and shooting my shots.  Then suddenly I found I was banned from going on building roofs; even my landlord took my building's roof away from me.  Not only did he lock the door leading to the roof, he installed cameras up there and if you do manage to find the door open and try to advance out onto the roof, an alarm goes off and spotlights come on and the cameras start whirring away filming your trespassing ass.

Yesterday, I decided to break with my photographic tradition and start photographing from the millions of other goofy photographers both amateurs and professionals do.  I hate becoming part of the normal, except I have developed what my old photographer pal and teacher taught me use of what he referred to as "your photographic eye."  A true photographer like a painter has different perspectives of what untrained photographers see as commonplace scenes.

I have had my eye for weeks now on Madison Square Park just up Fifth Avenue from me as a place I might could find interesting in terms of my photographic eye and its perspectives.  So yesterday I took my ancient Toshiba digital camera up there and sat a while scoping the many scenes there and then, while sitting on a bench, started seeing shots and then taking them, including two of the Flatiron Building, one of the sides of some surrounding buildings---I like combining what I call building patterns into photos---one across the top of a statue, a statue of a soldier type whose identity I don't know nor even care to know, onto the sides of surrounding buildings (the foto shown at the top of this post), and one of the old Metropolitan Life tower.  What lured me to this park to shoot were the winter trees, all naked of leaves but thick of limbs.  My urge was to shoot these famous landmarks through this webbing of tree limbs.  After five shots, my old camera suddenly decided not to work.  I pressed the shutter release button and nothing happened.  I got pissed and aimed the camera to the ground and sure enough when I got home and downloaded the day's take, there was a shot of my shoes.
And there it is, folks, a photograph of thegrowlingwolf's shoes as he stands in Madison Square Park in New York City pissed off at his obstinate elder Toshiba digital camera after it refused to shoot an upward shot of the Metropolitan Life building and an adjoining hi-rise luxury building on 23rd Street.
Obama's Inaugural Speech 
First of all, after reading that this inauguration shindig was costing We the People of the USA around 170 million bucks, I began to ask why the fuck these inaugural ceremonies are held?  Obama had already taken the oath of office indoors, so why was this sham event imposed upon us?  His second oath-taking was a sham.  The first one was the real one; the one done in secret, like everything else in the District of Corruption is done.  Then came the speech.  Here we go again, I thought, remembering Obama's sparkling "Yes, We Can" speeches back in 2008.  Here goes this guy off again on a speech that we should all know by now is pure-dee bullshit!  And that's exactly what it was.  It was a speech full of high-blown platitudes with little absolutely defined procedures.  At no time did he mention our many war/military involvements around the world.  At no time did he mention how the crooked banks and pirating financial institutions are still throwing out-of-work and in-debt Americans out of their homes and off their lands and stealing their tax dollars.  At no time did he mention the 50 million Americans who are dangling on the brink of poverty.  At no time did he mention how his administration has deported more immigrants than all the previous administrations combined?  At no time did he mention how his drone flight attacks have killed mostly innocent men, women, and children in countries from Pakistan across the globe to Yemen and the Sudan.  The speech to me was a big pile of District of Corruption bullshit.  The only hope I got out of it was that perhaps he could be sort of paying attention to the polls that show the American people voted for him because he was to them the lesser of two evils.  Last night, however, on the CBS entertainment show 60 Minutes, Barry appeared at the side of Hillbilly Hillary, who we assume is retiring from her high-paying Sec'y of State job to start organizing her run for the presidency in 2012, though her recent brain clot might put a stop to that.  What a pompous piece of acting that little sideshow was.  During this bullshit session, Barry Obama did reveal a glaring truth about his deviousness when he said people in his and Hillary's positions were really oblivious to criticisms, to the many critical blogs and Twitters that offer up criticisms of him and his administration.  He said arrogantly, he never paid attention to criticism of that sort; he let his staff deal with such critical shit hurling.  Hillbilly kept nodding "yes" to Obama's statements, and especially his defense of her world-travelling time in office.  Now to be replaced by world-travelling John "Ketchup Lips" Kerry, that two-faced poor little spoiled rich boy and former war protester.  What a bunch of total fools we have running our Ship of Fools.  Sorry, folks, that's how I interpreted all this flurry of heavily thrown bullshit.  You need a pretty big shovel to shovel your way out of all that District of Corruption bullshit and a champion bullshit shoveler I am, no matter how deep my own bullshit becomes.

for The (Non)Daily Growler

The Art of (my old friend) Will Shuster:
Blessing of the Woodmen
Blessing of the Woodmen, Will Shuster, 1939 

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