The scrapbook is pretty large, about 15 x 17. Each linen page is pasted back and front with scraps of printed woodcuts and engravings hand-colored with watercolor paint.
The whole thing is dirty, creased and coming apart— but its fabulous.
In terms of American History? You would not have to go too far in New York to find a T REX or some semblance of ancient architectural tid bits in our own Gotham city. There is no place in the whole of the U.S.A that fascinates me more than the Lower East Side of New York and most especially the area called 5 Points where immigrants landed circa 1840′s and of course earlier. A sullied and insipid version, which was attempted to be covered in the film, Gangs of New York by Martin Scorcese.
Scorcese’s version of our very own local anthropology focused solely on the personal lives of the rival gangs, but covered very little of the cultural magic of the very area where he was born.
Scorcese lived briefly, I stress very briefly right here in Little Italy on Elizabeth Street adjacent and above Mary and Moe Albanese, the local butchers. Mary lived to the grand old age of 100 and her son, Moe still serves the community in terms of local restaurants. Elizabeth being aka the Sicilian street then.
I was deeply disapointed and the only culinary anthropology which exists in his film, is the bloody steak of Bill the Butcher. Bill is a fictional character undoubted influenced by Mary and Moe! Alas, I am positive Mary and Moe made a better dinner.
Bill’s cooking technique is to barely take his tough as nails cut of beef on a pointy tines and let the fire barely breath over it like a stifled whisper. He would pan fry some for less than a second over his diabolical fires and then with his blackened teeth (and not Cajun!) : Chew it up blood thirsty like a swamp beast. It’s impossible not to have mixed feelings about this powerful portrayal. Lewis invites us to a terrific and amazing character he plays, as Bill the American Butcher!
His strange accent so lush and angular with squawks and little admonishments of staccato trills and his favorite word “Festoon”. He has invented a brutal hormonal TRex cocktail of testesterone and mad cow diseased mad man! Of course later he has played an award winning version of Lincoln. How ironic and apropos. Alas, American history is a wee bit more than senseless violence and blabbering hordes of primal ooze.
The fictional book , Gangs of New York, the novel written by Asbury spoke of the area just South of Canal street called The Five Points. I have waltzed the streets in search of magic. A few documentaries have covered the myriad of tunnels beneath the ground which allowed a few lucky insiders a private world of travel.
Fortunately there are remnants of each eventually thriving culture, be it Dutch, English, Irish, Chinese and Italian have left an indelible mark recording
I was hoping that Scorcese would delve a bit more into their intricate cultural tapestries as Coppola manages to do in the Godfather series. But? You just have to walk to Ludlow street and this historic district to learn about the later periods when the rich Jewish and Italian cultures made their entry. I love the Farmers Market and the area once known as the 5 Points. I love to envision what these early settlers ate and drank? Wore and bought? What books if any did they read? Where did they live and how? The Tenement museum gives terrific tours and you never know what will be dug up? An old accordion from an organ grinder to antique shot glasses or even ?Exploring these areas for me is much more interesting then Mystic CT and it’s hard biscuits the sailors ate or their enchanting figurines and scrimshaw carvings. I love every inch of the Lower East Side.
The reinvigorating of the Farmers Market is no doubt a luxurious and expensive version of what simple fare the poor peasants may have endured? Alas, you can find a lush dichotomy of old and new.
Before Farmers’ Markets Were Cool: Essex Street Market19 Thursday Jan 2012Posted by ny history walks in Lower East Side, Manhattan
≈ 1 CommentTagsculture, Essex Street Market, Fiorello LaGuardia, food, history, immigration, Lower East Side, Manhattan, New York City, tenements, travel, WPACourtesy of the New York Public Library.In 19th century New York City, it was not uncommon for the poor and working-class to buy baked goods, produce, and even meat, downstairs in the open air from sidewalk peddlers in front of their tenement buildings. By 1930, 47,000 families made their living as pushcart peddlers, most of them heavily concentrated in the Lower East Side.Courtesy of nyc-architecture.comThe legal and economic battles between today’s food trucks and their competing storefronts emulate the yesteryear rivalries between pushcarts and merchants. Merchants complained about the garbage and unsanitary conditions of pushcarts; they also felt threatened by vendors aggressively “pulling in” customers and offering the opportunity to haggle over prices. City officials claimed the pushcarts prevented police and fire vehicles from passing through.By the 1930s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia made it a mission to eradicate “pushcart evil”, calling it “a blemish on the face of the city” that must be removed. He envisioned a brighter, cleaner Lower East Side that erased any vestiges left from its ethnic immigrant past. Under LaGuardia’s leadership, new laws forbade any goods from being sold on the street.Fiorello LaGuardia, 1940. Courtesy of Library of Congress.Financed by federal WPA funds, Essex Street Market was opened in 1940, eventually growing to 475 vendors spread out over four buildings. 70% of its vendors were Jewish, the remainder was predominantly Italian. Peddlers who were forced off the streets and could not afford indoor spaces became unemployed.Essex Street Market, 1940. Courtesy of Shopsins.WPA Photo of Essex Street Market and 122 Delancey Street. Courtesy of New York City Municipal Archives.The Essex Street Market along Delancey Street today.Jeffrey’s Meat Market, the last original business from Essex Street Market, closed in 2011 due to financial difficulties. Kidneys, neck bones,and lungs were among the most-requested cuts by customers when Jeffrey’s great-grandfather and grandfather operated business in the Market. In the business’ latter years, Ruhalter began to offer venison and wild boar as the demographics of his customers changed.
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"John beat Mary."
"Violence & Silence" is TED Talk that I recently stumbled upon, and it has quickly become one of my favorite. Dr. Jackson Katz advocates for the intellectual and professional uprising of women in the world, while simultaneously educating people on violence towards women. Katz is a prime example of male feminism. As a feminist, I have been confronted with people who believe that feminists are bra-burning, baby-killing, man-hating lesbians.
The Queen of the Lady Bugs…
What does “The Froth of Days” “Mood Indigo” and “A Streetcar named desire” have in common? The tinge of hope. The splendor of dreaming violets, with a racing scent speeding into the periwinkle skies. The welcoming pleasure within a garden of silken fleurs du sucre vanille.
When I saw an enchanting yet slightly perturbed wisp of melancholy in a photo called Ecume des jours? I began to discover the book by Boris Vian called “The Froth of Daydreams” In this photo titled “Ecume des jours” I was wont to ponder this photo collage of an Asian woman as the main feature in a collage dream like state, where flora and fauna was superimposed as her mind-cranial sacral area of her head.
I shall try to describe it? Inside of this almost park which was cropped into her hair was the man whom wandered within a garden mirrored all betwixt the parts which made up her silhouette. (If I could I would post it here, but I do not have permission from the artist.) As if women were trying to discover and recover her true nature. Don’t we all feel a bit Frankenstein?
It got my mind to wander into this novel called “The Froth of Days” The title of the photo I meandered onto, on FB by a person named Astral Vibes. I really love the poetic sensuality all encompassed in the title. Alas? What is the thread like Hawaiian leis of orchids which link these 3 themes above. “The Froth of Days” “Mood Indigo” and “A Streetcar named desire” ?
Does anyone ever reminisce about Vivian Leigh in A Streetcar named desire, when she says things like ” I depend upon the kindness of strangers” in her genteel fragile imaginary paradigm. How she may be busted flat in Baton Rouge but she can muster up a dull copper penny for a Chinese lantern made of paper to shield herself from the brutal bright, raw piercing light of a mere barbaric bulb.
As if Stanley himself were that animal like villain, brutish bare and incongruous bulb, which she must curry favor with to no avail. She feels more comfortable in the secrets of the shadows. Of course we adore Marlon Brando strangely in his obscene yet clothed masculinity. There shall never be another king whom became a man as he. Alas, he is the sun itself in all it’s unabashed inferno.
It’s uncharted and inflamed pure madness itself which drew Icarus to burn its winged dream. Be wary of too much light impure. Perhaps the perfect women is 1/2 Blanche and 1/2 Stella? Stella which means stars. The sun is the brightest star and if not for the pink moon of night? All teal tinged froth azure, would become singed, and all flowers burned.
Stanley: That’s pearls, Stella, ropes of ‘em. What is your sister – a deep sea diver?
The indirect shade, so forgiving. So lush. The underlying mood and sincerity of those whom are ill is what Blanche speaks of, evokes a sapphire mood indigo. Mood Indigo, the languid and bittersweet blue with its absence of light. The absence of glaring and burning golden fire. Flowers seem to burst either in the magic of dawn after a the earth has its mystical sleep? Or, at twilight when in a grand flourish gust of music buds begin to blossom. The sweetness of the earths imagination. Perhaps flowers are the kindest strangers whom always invite one to ponder beauty.
When I think of Mood Indigo, it is one mood where we begin in a doldrums of doubt. Perhaps a hope dashed? A love unrequited. Then for a moment, the heart takes a vacation from its heartache and begins to daydream? Here perhaps begins the recipe for escape. Dreams chase the tail of the Cheshire cat, yet we need the sparkling glimmer of inspiration to spark us onto new passions? If we have enough faith we might pounce upon one of our daydreams to make them real. This brings me to this novel called “The Froth of Days” described here:
Some how? There is no space, but only love betwixt the ocean and the sky.
The flood of clouds as effervescent as seltzery music. The horizon makes an algebraic impossible equation. The two azure atmospheric phenomenons of oceans and skies are one. There is no space in between the cerulean bodies except an eclipse of froth like frosting. Such spinning is the levity of love. It’s as if the angels have been baking and the mixologists potions stirring.