Open Thread Wednesday

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  • mlcraryville

    Thanks for the info. Now, shouldn’t the BHA designate a committee to review this post haste and have a community town hall to consider its implications for the Heights?? How much time is there??

  • RJG

    Here’s a link to the city-wide presentation; the time line and contact info is at the end. I imagine CB2 leaders will have specifics about meeting times.

  • Weegee

    At 12:25 a.m., New York Press Photographers Association Secretary/Historian Marc Hermann, member Joe Marino and Daily News stringer Vic Nicastro met at the edge of the East River to memorialize William V. Finn, who died 57 years earlier while covering a boat collision. The freighter Nebraska was heading downriver from Connecticut while the tanker Empress Bay, her tanks fully loaded with Esso gasoline bound for Mt. Vernon, was heading upriver. Through a series of miscommunications with navigational whistle signals, both vessels began veering toward the Brooklyn shore—and each other—until it was too late. The bow of the Nebraska pierced the port side of the Empress Bay, touching off a huge explosion. The fireboat William J. Gaynor was nearby and responded, dousing the flames and rescuing crew members. Other tugboats in the area also assisted. The Nebraska’s skipper managed to keep the unfortunate vessels, now wedged together, in the middle of the river so as not to ignite fires on piers. Matters were complicated, however, as the starboard propellor of the Nebraska pierced the hull of the Gaynor, causing it to take on water and forcing its withdrawal. The vessels drifted upriver until they were beneath the Manhattan Bridge, where the enormous ball of fire ignited the wooden ties of the elevated subway line on the bridge. All but two crew members—Otto Ahrens and Tommy Ericksen, both of the Empress Bay—were rescued. Meanwhile, William Finn, a past-President of the New York Press Photographers Association, editor of its newsletter and recipient of the 1950 Merit Award, was working his usual late shift for the Journal-American. Finn preferred this beat, believing that the best news happened after dark. He fancied himself an amateur farmer, moving his wife and children to some land in Connecticut, where he spent the weekends with them. Around town, however, one colleague candidly remembered Finn as a “lovable redheaded Irish-American with a drinking problem.” Once, he notoriously wrecked a company radio car, for which his boss constantly reminded him of the $80 worth of damage—a reminder that generally insured his future sobriety. Finn was standing on a pier along South Street, where he made at least one photograph of the conflagration before he collapsed with a fatal heart attack. “A marvelous photographer, Bill Finn died a hero cameraman’s death,” his colleague also recalled. His film was processed and transmitted via the AP wire, and his final shot of a tugboat steaming toward the crash scene appeared on the front page of newspapers across the country. In 2015, the board of the New York Press Photographers Association unanimously voted to carry Finn on its rolls as a Life Member, to be retroactive to the date of his death. This morning, 57 years to the minute after the incident that would prove to be Finn’s last occurred, with a Life Member pin as well as membership cards with Finn’s actual signature in hand, we lit a candle in his memory and placed flowers. Finally, as the press photographer’s equivalent of the 21-gun salute, we fired off a series of flashbulbs toward the river, once again illuminating it as the flames and camera flashes did that night.

  • Bornhere

    And I reminder of what the hotel replaced:

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Nice photo of Columbia Heights there on the left during a Boardwalk Empire shoot in February of 2008, it looks like. Those TV crews work in rain or shine, don’t they?

  • Eddyde

    I wouldn’t waste the time…

  • Willow Street Watch

    That era of speed graphic and other large negative photo journalism was a technical quality AND esthetic judgement that we’ll never see again. Tough, smart and in touch with the hearty of the city, every day and night they produced many of the greatest images ever taken. Several of the greatest either lived in or had strong connection with the Heights older newsmen have always told me. Today’s media has far advanced technology, but they will never rise in many ways to the levels of the average news photograph er of the 20’s to the very early 50’s

    Remember the front plane of the camera could tilt to correct the height effect of buildings?

  • Eddyde

    It’s not entirely gone, digital backs are available for view cameras. Also, parallax errors can be adjusted with software. What’s gone is the need to make the shot right, at the time its taken.

  • memeadjuster

    You had me going there for a second.. The photo is 2/22/1908, not 2/22/2008.

  • Willow Street Watch

    What is gone is the level of professionalism and the ability to pro-duce the level of image without later technology. Also gone is the viewer trust that the imagage viewed has some real connection to what the original lens viewed.

    Anyway, enough of this avenue. The building is on fire and we should in all sanity be paying attention to that;

    Yesterday’s meeting of the NYDC once the pre meeting off the record
    “contacts” were over had it’s own real fireworks! First, of course, there was the smug entrenched we-dont-have-to-answer-to-anybody Albany attitude. There was no effort to identify anyone on the board.
    The two standout Heights advocates, in my view were Judy Francis and Anthony Manheim. Both offered really shattering testimony on the present conditions, lack of any real reliable figures and the likely really bad future effects before us if the park goes forward with pier 6 plans. The new head of the BHA came across as a break from the old stuffy we’re-the-casino-and-we-say-what-goes past. We’ll see…

  • StudioBrooklyn


  • Willow Street Watch

    One of the more interesting opponents instead of arguing more dueling factoids, apparently tried to give the board members a sense of what the BBP has in the short term
    and Albany’s behaviors in the longer term have caused.
    Aside from the resentment, anger and most of all the sense that the Heights is no longer a safe place, his written remarks stated. The speaker said that the reason the
    amount of people and the BILLIONS of dollars have left the state is not the tax levels or the rotting inferstructure, it was
    More than anything else that no matter what valid facts or
    concerns anyone has, it’s all a closed shop and no one will lister. This had advisable impact on the board members.
    But then he said that such governmental behavior drives out
    our valuable citizens, rankling the egalitarian formation of
    many on the panel.

  • Willow Street Watch

    Sorry, trying to post between client calls;

    But the speaker’s basic point and it’s effect survived with some of the board, to the clear consternation of the BBP staff. But to really give all of you an idea of the “atmosphere” of the meeting:

    Tony Manheim pointed out that the replacement chairman of the board never bothered to identity himself. This was met with a smerk by the chairman who remained silent. One speaker echoed an earlier call that the two or three board members who OWN PROPERTY CONNECTED WITH THE BBP recuse themselves. No one on the board, in the great tradition of arrogant Albany, felt they had to offer a response, let alone take any action.

  • Jorale-man

    I don’t know if this has been addressed elsewhere but today there was a tree removal service on Henry near Joralemon that appeared to have cut down at least 4 large trees on that once nicely shaded block. Does anyone know what happened? I assume it was some kind of disease.

  • gc

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  • Willow Street Watch

    If its some kind of infectiously spread disease, they certainly aren’t trying to explore alternatives before they cut down. There are several modalities
    which should be tried prior to removal. But that’s so far, far beyond any NY City or State civil “servant” type…it also makes you wonder what the really brain dead preservation groups are doing while this is going on…..

  • Roberto Gautier

    I recommend that someone contact Trees New York and/or the Parks Department re the trees.

  • ShinyNewHandle

    Judging from the stump, the corner tree was rotting. The other stumps looked healthy to me (IANAA), but there could have been an infestation higher up. Were they all London Planes?