Simcha "Bottom" Felder

Simcha "Bottom" Felder

Simcha Felder has a problem: In a year or so, he loses his plum job as a city councilperson. He is turfed out by term limits — and anyway, his patron, Dov Hikind, is finding Albany a bit too warm for him, so he needs to toots on down to town and find a different pulpit. (more…)

Language used by Academics is never casual. Language is a tool, pure and simple — commonly, a weapon.

Nowhere does this become more apparent than among the various classes of teachers employed in the Academy. In the City University of New York, two-thirds of the teaching is done by people who are labeled “adjunct” and “part-time”. They are compared — negatively — to “full-time” teachers.

Time for a reality check. (more…)

There are many people who have deeply focused interests and principles and values. They stick to them carefully, and are guided by this scheme of values. Each event in their lives is evaluated and fitted into this scheme of values, and from the degree to which such events and experiences is found to match with positive values, they determine what is good, and pursue it — and what is evil, and to be avoided.

That is to say, many — maybe most — people are dogmatic. They don’t actually think much about what they believe to be the case, or whether it is really the case; they just assume the filter of their value-hierarchy is correct. Tribeca newcomers who are objecting to pigeon-feeding in our neighborhood are a very good example. (more…)

Or, how to screw up a Really Nice Public Space
Or, the end of Washington Market Park as neighborhood park

[Damn. I wish I could have thought of a B-word equivalent to “park”.]

It’s Adrian Benepe’s watch; when things are wrong, it’s his fault. There is much of which to complain; here’s the background.

Washington Market Park

A long time ago (well, 25 years or so, anyway), before the real estate brokers arrived, Tribeca was still the entire upside-down triangle of Manhattan below Canal Street, and the area more or less contained within Canal Street, Church Street, Chambers Street and West Street was the Washington Market district. Starting in the very late ’60s, and for many reasons, the area began a redevelopment train that paralleled that of SoHo, about 10 years behind it. There were important differences: The Washington Market district has a three-tower, early-’70s middle-income housing development at its core — Independence Plaza (North — but South was never built).

Parks? In this part of town? Only a tiny triangle for folks having a sandwich at lunchtime. (more…)

Look at this picture:

girlwithpigeons
The whole stele

girlwithpigeons2
Detail

Grave stele of a little girl, ca. 450–440 B.C.; the Met would have you believe they can copyright the picture, but I doubt it, on the grounds that it is a copy of a work which is not under copyright. I learned of this wonderful image from Laurie Spiegel, who knows more about this all than I do.

This child died 2,500 years ago. Her parents memorialized her with her pets. Was this entirely the parents’ idea? Was it the sculptor’s idea? What was at work cannot be known. But: Clearly the idea that a child could love her pet pigeon, and that the pigeon could return that affection was something well understood. The sculptor made the image; the parents seem to have cherished it.

Somewhat to my surprise, I understand it. (more…)