As you read this, I will have just returned from a trip to New York City to experience the magic of Christmas as only New York does it. We visited the World Trade Center, Ellis Island, attended The Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, Times Square and all the beautifully decorated store windows — one more thing off my bucket list. I had been to NYC a few times before 9/11 but never at Christmas. One more item in my bucket list is to attend the Rose Bowl. My son-in-law is currently checking that out for us. I went with my southern family to a spectacular light display in Clearbrook, Virginia last Monday. It was very nice, and similar to the one in Upper Sandusky except you walk through this one on paved walkways. The grandbabies were both excited and afraid of Santa. I remember those times with my own children. Those who know me, know that I love to decorate for Christmas and decorate every nook and cranny. My late husband always used to say he was afraid to sit in one … [Read more...] about Musing: New York City Christmas is a magical experience
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[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox .] Apartments lose heat in the winter. Buildings are bedeviled with leaks, mold and lead paint. Entire housing developments are overrun with rats. Conditions for the more than 400,000 low and moderate-income New Yorkers living in buildings managed by the New York City Housing Authority have worsened to the point that the federal government is considering taking control. Now, two men from opposite ends of the political spectrum, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Ben Carson, are trying to hammer out a deal to save the housing authority, also known as Nycha. Mayor de Blasio and Mr. Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, met last week to continue negotiating what sort of oversight would be imposed on the city’s housing authority, which is under scrutiny for years of mismanagement and a dilapidated housing stock in need of $32 billion in repairs. The mayor, a progressive whose reputation as a … [Read more...] about New York City’s Public Housing Is in Crisis. Will Washington Take Control?
SPARTA TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The knights, squires and other armored combatants gathered near a snowy battlefield and prepared for a violent melee. “Are you ready to kill things in the snow?” yelled Queen Vienna de la Mer, who with her husband, King Wilhelm von Ostenbrücke, addressed the loyal subjects of the East Kingdom. The 170 fighters roared back, readied their armor and collected their swords, spears and battle-axes. They split into two armies for a clash that resembled a medieval battlefield in Europe, with a touch of surrealism worthy of “Game of Thrones.” In reality, it was a recent Saturday on a former Girl Scouts campground in northern New Jersey — a township called Sparta, of all places. The fighters were members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a worldwide organization whose members share an affinity for pre-1600s life. During the week, they lead conventional modern lives — “mundane” in members’ jargon … [Read more...] about The Weekend Warriors of the Crown Province of Ostgardr (Otherwise Known as New York City)
The Brooklyn-born playwright and critic Lionel Abel, who cut his political teeth in left-wing circles in Greenwich Village in the 1930s, remarked in his memoirs that during the Depression years, New York City “went to Russia and spent most of the decade there.” Leaving aside Mr. Abel’s taste for the mordant, he had a point. For a few decades — from the 1930s until Communism’s demise as an effective political force in the 1950s — New York City was the one place where American communists came close to enjoying the status of a mass movement. Party members could live in a milieu where co-workers, neighbors and the family dentist were fellow Communists; they bought life insurance policies (excellent value for money) from party-controlled fraternal organizations; they could even spend their evenings out in night clubs run by Communist sympathizers (like the ironically named Café Society on Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, a showcase for … [Read more...] about When New York City Was the Capital of American Communism
Marvin Schneider, 79, flashed his New York City employee identification badge — “clock repairer” — and walked into City Hall in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning. The end of daylight saving time was approaching — clocks are supposed to be turned back Sunday at 2 a.m. — and Mr. Schneider had gone to City Hall to turn back time. Mr. Schneider’s actual title is a bit more grandiose than his badge description. He is the city’s official clock master and he has been tending some of the city’s grandest public clocks since the late 1970s. His year-round maintenance includes timing adjustments — although these old clocks are surprisingly accurate, he said — and repairing the gears, levers and chains behind those giant clock faces that some people still rely on even in the smartphone age. He also replaces worn-down or broken parts and always applies liberal amounts of oil to the old mechanisms, using his “Wizard of … [Read more...] about The Man Who Turns Back New York City’s Clocks, Hand by Hand