Translation from English

Friday, November 25, 2011

First Avenue's "medical row"

First Avenue from 23rd to 34th Streets is almost all medical related institutions.....such as NYU hospital, Bellevue Hospital, the Coroner's Office, NYU dental school, etc.

Things change so fast in New York...since the last time I walked past Bellevue ( doesn't seem that far back) they have added a big new modern wing in front.

Bellevue emergency room used to be the place where you might catch a glance of shackled prisoners from the city's jails being led in...probably still can.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tunnel Exit Street

Remember first time I noticed this kind of street sign around Midtown tunnel...I was with a woman who was indignant about the name." Tunnel exit street? That's not a real street name!" she cried. It really bothered her.

Holdhout building?

Is this a "holdout building" where they would not sell for some reason to new places going up on either side? Maybe owner simply did not want to sell because he was happy with tax/rent situation as it was --or maybe he wanted too much? Have seen huge buildings wrapped around a single little old one where the small building's owner wouldn't sell....

Main Library

Girls climb lion in front of library to watch rather boring street musicians...meanwhile I see the Gutenberg Bible will be on display soon, among other really interesting events.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Richard Morris Hunt Memorial at edge of Central Park

This memorial to hunt was put up by an artist's association... Name is so familiar, I should remember who he is but will have to google it up--

Richard Morris Hunt (October 31, 1827 – July 31, 1895) was an American architect of the nineteenth century and a preeminent figure in the history of American architecture. Hunt was, according to design critic Paul Goldberger writing in The New York Times, "American architecture's first, and in many ways its greatest, statesman."[1] Aside from Hunt's sculpting of the face of New York City, including designs for the facade and Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty and many Fifth Avenue mansions lost to the wrecking ball,[2] Hunt founded both the American Institute of Architects and the Municipal Art Society.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Morse statue

As I have noted, the middle of Central Park is full of commemorative statues. This one is for the inventor of the telegraph...from the internet-- no, forget it, article from Wikipedia is endless! Let's just say he started as a painter and had a big struggle getting his invention up and running....

Frick Museum

Like a lot of the robber barons, Frick turned to philanthropy later. This museum has, as I remember, a lot of psot-Renaissance Italian paintings and also some from painters like Watteau. Very staid environment.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Conservatory Pond

Beautiful man made pond in the middle of Central Park....whole park is completely "artificial", meaning Frederick Law Olmstead employed thousands of immigrant workers with picks and shovels to carve it out....shaping every little hill and dale and exposing rock at various places.

Idea was to try and bring the countryside into Manhattan, of course...Once perilous, the park is very safe during daytime hours, except maybe for remote patches at its Northern end.

Historic Central Synagogue

The Central Synagogue in East Midtown has a kind of Byzantine look to it....used to be dingy. I think there was a fire there and then they totally renovated the whole place.

Friday, November 18, 2011

St. George and the Dragon

I am not sure why this statue is up at the United Nations...

Let me see if I can google anything--oh, here it is, "Good Defeats Evil"...

NYC - United Nations: "Good Defeats Evil", a statue of St. George fighting the dragon of Nuclear War

"Good Defeats Evil", a statue of St. George fighting the dragon of Nuclear War. It was sculpted using sections of decommissioned Soviet SS-20 and US Pershing II missiles. It was a gift of the Soviet Union to the United Nations in 1990.
Good Defeats Evil, 1990
Zurab Tsereteli
Grounds of the United Nations. The visitors entrance to the UN is on the east side of First Ave., between 45th and 46th streets. Immediately upon entering the UN, turn left and walk down the path that is parallel to First Ave. The sculpture will be on your right.
The grounds of the United Nations are decorated with numerous sculptures that have been given to the organization by the governments of member countries as well as by individuals and other organizations [1].
Good Defeats Evil is a sculpture that combines traditional-style bronze work with a more contemporary material--American and Soviet missals. "Good" is represented by a depiction of St. George, who is astride a rearing horse. In his right hand he holds an enormous spear, with which he is slaying a writhing dragon, representing "Evil." The dragon lifts his head with one last attempt at resurgence, but it is clear that this is the dragon's last breath: the dragon's body, which is made of an American Pershing II missile and a Soviet SS20 missile, has been torn apart by St. George's spear.

Believe St. George is also the patron saint of England and maybe some other places.

Also find it ironic that the official color of England is actually green ( the same as Ireland--no, wait a second, the Irish flag is orange, white and green)-- ( English soccer fans use red and white though, referring I think to St. George).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Norwegian Seamen's Church

I believe the population of New Yorkers of Norwegian ancestry is nowadays just a ghost of its past...except maybe for a remnant out in Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. Churches there and this one in Manhattan survive, however.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NYPD in action

New York's "Finest": After an insane man had punched me hard in the arm and started cursing at me (for no reason) outside of Grand Central....he backed away into the building. Saw a cop about 50 feet away who of course had seen nothing. I described the guy and he said in a bored tone " oh, we'll look out for him." Then this "finest" guy added" He might have gone into the subway. Then it's the Traffic Authority Police's jurisdiction." Just have no police protection in the middle of Midtown Manhattan and all these cops standing around and probably collecting overtime.
 Guess cops are too busy attacking protestors down at Occupy Wall Street...and collecting overtime/
(Note: this is my blog posting. Already posted this on Facebook).

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Time to get a cell phone?

Believe it or not,  I get by pretty well without a cell phone but the time is coming when I think I am finally going to have to give up my Luddite ways and get one...
A little background about cell phones (from Wikipedia)-- a lot of interesting information here that I have never heard before.

Pioneers of radio telephony

By 1930, telephone customers in the United States could place a call to a passenger on a liner in the Atlantic Ocean. Air time charges were quite high, at $7(1930)/minute (about $92.50/minute in 2011 dollars). [1] In areas with Marine VHF radio and a shore station, it is still possible to arrange a call from the public telephone network to a ship, still using manual call set-up and the services of a human marine radio operator.
However it was the 1940s onwards that saw the seeds of technological development which would eventually produce the mobile phone that we know today. Motorola developed a backpacked two-way radio, the Walkie-Talkie and a large hand-held two-way radio for the US military. This battery powered "Handie-Talkie" (HT) was about the size of a man's forearm.
In 1946 in St. Louis, the Mobile Telephone Service was introduced. Only three radio channels were available, and call set-up required manual operation by a mobile operator. [2] Although very popular and commercially successful, the service was limited by having only a few voice channels per district.
In 1964 Improved Mobile Telephone Service was introduced with additional channels and more automatic handling of calls to the public switched telephone network. Even the addition of radio channels in three bands was insufficient to meet demand for vehicle-mounted mobile radio systems.
In 1969, a patent for a wireless phone using an acoustic coupler for incoming calls was issued in US Patent Number 3,449,750 to George Sweigert of Euclid, Ohio on June 10, 1969, but did not include dialing a number for outgoing calls.
Top of cellular telephone tower

Cellular concepts

In December 1947, Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young, Bell Labs engineers, proposed hexagonal cells for mobile phones in vehicles.[3] Philip T. Porter, also of Bell Labs, proposed that the cell towers be at the corners of the hexagons rather than the centers and have directional antennas that would transmit/receive in three directions (see picture at right) into three adjacent hexagon cells.[4] At this stage, the technology to implement these ideas did not exist, nor had the frequencies been allocated. Several years would pass before Richard H. Frenkiel and Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs developed the electronics to achieve this in the 1960s.
In all these early examples, a mobile phone had to stay within the coverage area serviced by one base station throughout the phone call, i.e. there was no continuity of service as the phones moved through several cell areas. The concepts of frequency reuse and handoff, as well as a number of other concepts that formed the basis of modern cell phone technology, were described in the 1970s. In 1970 Amos E. Joel, Jr., a Bell Labs engineer,[5] invented an automatic "call handoff" system to allow mobile phones to move through several cell areas during a single conversation without interruption.
In 1969 Amtrak equipped commuter trains along the 225-mile New York-Washington route with special pay phones that allowed passengers to place telephone calls while the train was moving. The system re-used six frequencies in the 450 MHZ band in nine sites, a precursor of the concept later applied in cellular telephones. [2]
In December 1971, AT&T submitted a proposal for cellular service to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). After years of hearings, the FCC approved the proposal in 1982 for Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) and allocated frequencies in the 824–894 MHz band.[6] Analog AMPS was eventually superseded by Digital AMPS in 1990.
A cellular telephone switching plan was described by Fluhr and Nussbaum in 1973,[7] and a cellular telephone data signaling system was described in 1977 by Hachenburg et al.[8] In 1979 a U.S. Patent 4,152,647 was issued to Charles A. Gladden and Martin H. Parelman, of Las Vegas for an emergency cellular system for rapid deployment in areas where there was no cellular service.

Before cellular networks

A mobile radio telephone.
Mobile radio telephone systems preceded modern cellular mobile telephony technology. Since they were the predecessors of the first generation of cellular telephones, these systems are sometimes retroactively referred to as pre cellular (or sometimes zero generation) systems. Technologies used in pre cellular systems included the Push to Talk (PTT or manual), Mobile Telephone System (MTS), Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS), and Advanced Mobile Telephone System (AMTS) systems. These early mobile telephone systems can be distinguished from earlier closed radiotelephone systems in that they were available as a commercial service that was part of the public switched telephone network, with their own telephone numbers, rather than part of a closed network such as a police radio or taxi dispatch system.
These mobile telephones were usually mounted in cars or trucks, though briefcase models were also made. Typically, the transceiver (transmitter-receiver) was mounted in the vehicle trunk and attached to the "head" (dial, display, and handset) mounted near the driver seat.
They were sold through WCCs (Wireline Common Carriers, AKA telephone companies), RCCs (Radio Common Carriers), and two-way radio dealers.


Early examples for this technology:
  • Motorola in conjunction with the Bell System operated the first commercial mobile telephone service Mobile Telephone System (MTS) in the US in 1946, as a service of the wireline telephone company.
  • The A-Netz launched 1952 in West Germany as the country's first public commercial mobile phone network.
  • First automatic system was the Bell System's IMTS which became available in 1962, offering automatic dialing to and from the mobile.
  • The Televerket opened its first manual mobile telephone system in Norway in 1966. Norway was later the first country in Europe to get an automatic mobile telephone system.
  • The Autoradiopuhelin (ARP) launched in 1971 in Finland as the country's first public commercial mobile phone network.
  • The B-Netz launched 1972 in West Germany as the country's second public commercial mobile phone network (but the first one that did not require human operators to connect calls).

 Radio Common Carrier

Parallel to Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) in the US until the rollout of cellular AMPS systems, a competing mobile telephone technology was called Radio Common Carrier or RCC. The service was provided from the 1960s until the 1980s when cellular AMPS systems made RCC equipment obsolete. These systems operated in a regulated environment in competition with the Bell System's MTS and IMTS. RCCs handled telephone calls and were operated by private companies and individuals. Some systems were designed to allow customers of adjacent RCCs to use their facilities but the universe of RCCs did not comply with any single interoperable technical standard (a capability called roaming in modern systems). For example, the phone of an Omaha, Nebraska–based RCC service would not be likely to work in Phoenix, Arizona. At the end of RCC's existence, industry associations were working on a technical standard that would potentially have allowed roaming, and some mobile users had multiple decoders to enable operation with more than one of the common signaling formats (600/1500, 2805, and Reach). Manual operation was often a fallback for RCC roamers.
Roaming was not encouraged, in part, because there was no centralized industry billing database for RCCs. Signaling formats were not standardized. For example, some systems used two-tone sequential paging to alert a mobile or hand-held that a wired phone was trying to call them. Other systems used DTMF. Some used a system called Secode 2805 which transmitted an interrupted 2805 Hz tone (in a manner similar to IMTS signaling) to alert mobiles of an offered call. Some radio equipment used with RCC systems was half-duplex, push-to-talk equipment such as Motorola hand-helds or RCA 700-series conventional two-way radios. Other vehicular equipment had telephone handsets, rotary or pushbutton dials, and operated full duplex like a conventional wired telephone. A few users had full-duplex briefcase telephones (radically advanced for their day).
RCCs used paired UHF 454/459 MHz and VHF 152/158 MHz frequencies near those used by IMTS.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Pix from NYC Veterans Day Parade...we honor them today!

What are the Tin Can Sailors, anyway? Let me see if I can google something--

What I tried to paste and copy won't come up....Basically, it is an organization of destroyer ship veterans who raise funds to preserve old destroyers and other worthy projects.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leather repair shop

I don't go for leather jackets myself that much... I used to have a really nice suede one, which, as everyone had warned me would happen, got ruined when I got caught in a rainstorm.

Guess it is worth repairing the zipper ( costs a lot in NYC) if it is a leather jacket you treasure.

Clover Deli's Reuben Sandwich

How tempting! If you can handle the cholesterol, the Reuben sandwich on homemade rye sounds fantastic...

Let me find something on the history of the Reuben sandwich:

1914 - It is said that late one evening an actress came into the restaurant and said, Reuben took a loaf of rye bread created this Reuben sandwich. Arnold Reuben, Jr., the son of the restaurant’s founder, believes that the sandwich was first made in 1927 or 1928 by one of the chefs who though that he ate too many hamburgers, made him a “really good sandwich.”
Patricia B. Taylor, daughter of Arnold Reuben (1883-1970), the founder of Reuben’s Restaurant and Delicatessen, remembers that her father made the first Reuben Sandwich in 1914. She described the incident to Crag Claiborne of the New York Times in his book called Craig Claibornes  - The New York Times Food Encyclopedia:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


This from Lord & Taylor, which is really pushing the Chanel products.

 About Coco Chanel (from Wikipedia)

Gabrielle Bonheur "Coco" Chanel (19 August 1883 – 10 January 1971)[1] was a pioneering French fashion designer whose modernist thought, menswear-inspired fashions, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important figure in 20th-century fashion. She was the founder of one of the most famous fashion brands, Chanel. Her extraordinary influence on fashion was such that she was the only person in the couturier field to be named on Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century.[2]
Early life Chanel was born in Saumur, France. She was the second daughter of Albert Chanel and Jeanne Devolle, a market stallholder and laundrywoman who loved to respectively at the time of her birth. Her birth was declared by employees of the hospital in which she was born. They, being illiterate, could not provide or confirm the correct spelling of the surname and it was recorded by the mayor François Poitou as "Chasnel".[3] This misspelling made the tracing of her roots almost impossible for biographers when Chanel later rose to prominence.
Her parents married in 1883. She had five siblings: two sisters, Julie (1882–1913) and Antoinette (born 1887) and three brothers, Alphonse (born 1885), Lucien (born 1889) and Augustin (born and died 1891). In 1895, when she was 12 years old, Chanel's mother died of tuberculosis and her father left the family. Because of this, the young Chanel spent six years in the orphanage of the Roman Catholic monastery of Aubazine, where she learned the trade of a seamstress. School vacations were spent with relatives in the provincial capital, where female relatives taught her to sew with more flourish than the nuns at the monastery were able to demonstrate.
When Coco turned eighteen, she was obliged to leave the orphanage, and affiliated with the circus of Moulins as a cabaret singer. During this time, Chanel performed in bars in Vichy and Moulins where she was called "Coco." Some say that the name comes from one of the songs she used to sing, and Chanel herself said that it was a "shortened version of cocotte, the French word for 'kept woman'," according to an article in The Atlantic.
Gabrielle Dorziat modelling a Chanel hat, May 1912. Published in Les Modes.
Personal life and entry into fashion While she failed to get steady work as a singer, it was at Moulins that she met rich, young French textile heir Étienne Balsan, to whom she soon became an acknowledged mistress, keeping her day job in a tailoring shop. Balsan lavished on her the beauties of "the rich life": diamonds, dresses, and pearls. While living with Balsan, Chanel began designing hats as a hobby, which soon became a deeper interest of hers. "After opening her eyes," as she would say, Coco left Balsan and took over his apartment in Paris. Biographer Justine Picardie, in her 2010 study Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (Harper Collins), suggests that the fashion designer's nephew André Palasse—supposedly the only child of her sister Julie—may actually have been Chanel's child by Balsan.
In 1909 Chanel met and began an affair with one of Balsan's friends, Captain Arthur Edward 'Boy' Capel.[4] Capel financed Chanel's first shops and his own clothing style, notably his jersey blazers, and inspired her creation of the Chanel look. The couple spent time together at fashionable resorts such as Deauville, but he was never faithful to Chanel.[5] The affair lasted nine years, but even after Capel married an aristocratic English beauty in 1918, he did not completely break off with Chanel. His death in a car accident, in late 1919, was the single most devastating event in Chanel's life.[6] A roadside memorial at the site of the accident was placed there by Chanel, who visited it in later years to place flowers there.[7]
Chanel became a licensed modiste (hat maker) in 1910 and opened a boutique at 21 rue Cambon, Paris named Chanel Modes.[8] Chanel's modiste career bloomed once theatre actress Gabrielle Dorziat modelled her hats in the F Noziere's play Bel Ami in 1912 (Subsequently, Dorizat modelled her hats again in Les Modes).[8] In 1913, she established a boutique in Deauville, where she introduced luxe casual clothes that were suitable for leisure and sport.[8] Chanel launched her career as fashion designer when she opened her next boutique, titled Chanel-Biarritz, in 1915,[8] catering to the wealthy Spanish clientele who holidayed in Biarritz and were less affected by the war.[9] Fashionable like Deauville, Chanel created loose casual clothes made out of jersey, a material typically used for men's underwear.[8] By 1919, Chanel was registered as a couturiere and established her maison de couture at 31 rue Cambon.[8]
Later in life, she concocted an elaborate false history for her humble beginnings. Of the various stories told about Coco Chanel – born Gabrielle, misidentified as Chasnel, the illegitimate daughter of an itinerant market trader, in a provincial French poorhouse in 1883 – a great number were invented by herself. These legends were to be the undoing of the earliest of her biographies (ghosted memoirs commissioned by Mademoiselle Chanel, but never completed or published, always smothered by her at birth when she realised that the truth was less compelling, at least to her, than the self-invented creation myth). Chanel would steadfastly claim that when her mother died, her father sailed for America to get rich and she was sent to live with two cold-hearted spinster aunts. She even claimed to have been born in 1893 as opposed to 1883, and that her mother had died when Coco was six instead of twelve. [10]
In 1920, she was introduced by ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev to Igor Stravinsky, composer of The Rite of Spring, to whom she extended an offer for him and his family to reside with her.
Perfume Chanel No.5
In 1924, Chanel made an agreement with the Wertheimer brothers, Pierre and Paul, directors of the eminent perfume house Bourgeois since 1917, creating a corporate entity, "Parfums Chanel." The Wertheimers agreed to provide full financing for production, marketing and distribution of Chanel No. 5. For ten percent of the stock, Chanel licensed her name to "Parfums Chanel" and removed herself from involvement in all business operations.[11] Displeased with the arrangement, Chanel worked for more than twenty years to gain full control of "Parfums Chanel."[11] She proclaimed that Pierre Wertheimer was “the bandit who screwed me.”[12]
Coco dated some of the most influential men of her time, but she never married. The reason may be found in her answer, when asked why she did not marry the Duke of Westminster: "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster. There is only one Chanel."[13]
In 1925, Vera Bate Lombardi, née Sarah Gertrude Arkwright,[14] reputedly the illegitimate daughter of the Marquess of Cambridge,[14] became Chanel's muse, and also her liaison to a number of European royal families. Chanel established the English look based upon Lombardi's personal style. Lombardi also had the highest possible social connections. She introduced Chanel to her uncle, the Duke of Westminster, her cousin, the Duke of Windsor, and many other aristocratic families.[15] In 1927 she built Villa La Pausa in Roquebrune on the French Riviera hiring the architect Robert Streitz. The villa has a staircase and a patio inspired by her orphanage, Aubazine. La Pausa has been partially replicated at the Dallas Museum of Art to welcome the Reves collection and part of Chanel's original furniture for the house.[16]
It was in 1931 while in Monte Carlo that Chanel made the acquaintance of Samuel Goldwyn. The introduction was made through a mutual friend, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, cousin to the last czar of Russia, Nicolas II. Goldwyn offered Chanel a tantalizing proposition. For the sum of a million dollars (approximately seventy-five million today), he would bring her to Hollywood twice a year to design costumes for MGM stars. Chanel accepted the offer. En route to California from New York traveling in a white train car, which had been luxuriously outfitted specifically for her use, she was interviewed by Colliers magazine in 1932. Chanel said she had agreed to the arrangement to "see what the pictures have to offer me and what I have to offer the pictures."[17]


Teuscher Chocolatier

This place at the Rockefeller Center Mall sure looks good. Let me see if I can find out about the origins of Teuscher chocolate on the internet--

Try this

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halal Food

Because of the burgeoning Muslim population in NYC, there a lot of these Halal food stands around now....From the internet about Halal food:

Halal (Arabic: حلالḥalāl, "lawful") is a term designating any object or an action which is permissible to use or engage in, according to Islamic law. The term is used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic law (Sharia, الشريعة الإسلامية). The opposite of this word is haraam.


The terms halal and haraam are applied to many facets of life; and one of the most common uses of these terms is in reference to meat products, food contact materials, and pharmaceuticals. In Islam there are many things that are clearly halal or haraam. There are also items which are not as clear, and for which further information is needed. Items that are not clear are called mashbooh, which means "questionable". 'Halal' means permissible. 'Haraam' means forbidden.
In Islam, other forbidden items include pork and all its products; animals improperly slaughtered; alcoholic drinks, including all forms of intoxicants; carnivorous animals; birds of prey; and any food contaminated with any of these products.[1]

 Dhabiha: method of slaughter

Ḏabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة) is the prescribed method of slaughtering all animals excluding fish and most sea-life per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of using a well sharpened knife to make a swift, deep incision that cuts the front of the throat, the carotid artery, wind pipe and jugular veins but leaves the spinal cord intact.[2] The head of an animal that is slaughtered using halal methods is aligned with the Qiblah.

Western Union....

This Western Union outlet is closed now...sign of the times!

I don't know the history of Western Union...let me check the internet:(Whoa, there is a LOT on Wikipedia):


 19th century

In 1851, the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company was organized in Rochester, New York by Hiram Sibley and others, with the goal of creating one great telegraph system with unified and efficient operations. Meanwhile, Ezra Cornell had bought back one of his bankrupt companies and renamed it the New York & Western Union Telegraph Company. Originally fierce competitors, by 1855 both groups were finally convinced that consolidation was their only alternative for progress. The merged company was named The Western Union Telegraph Company at Cornell's insistence, and Western Union was born.[2]
Western Union bought out smaller companies rapidly, and by 1860 its lines reached from the East Coast to the Mississippi River, and from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River. In 1861 it opened the first transcontinental telegraph. In 1865 it formed the Russian American Telegraph in an attempt to link America to Europe, via Alaska, into Siberia, to Moscow. (This project was abandoned in 1867.) The company enjoyed phenomenal growth during the next few years. Its capitalization rose from $385,700 in 1858 to $41 million in 1876. However it was top-heavy with stock issues, and faced growing competition from several firms, especially the Atlantic and Pacific Telegraph Company--itself taken over by financier Jay Gould in 1875.[3]:196-201 In 1881 Gould took control of Western Union.[4][5]
Wilbur Bold, a 12-year old Western Union messenger boy, Tampa Bay, Florida, 1911.
It introduced the first stock ticker in 1866, and a standardized time service in 1870. The next year, 1871, the company introduced its money transfer service, based on its extensive telegraph network. In 1879, Western Union left the telephone business, having lost a patent lawsuit with Bell Telephone Company.[6] As the telephone replaced the telegraph, money transfer would become its primary business.
When the Dow Jones Transportation Average stock market index for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) was created in 1884, Western Union was one of the original eleven all-American companies tracked.
By 1900 Western Union operated a million miles of telegraph lines and two international cables.

20th century

The company continued to grow, acquiring more than 500 smaller competitors. Its monopoly power was almost complete in 1943 when it bought Postal Telegraph, Inc., its chief rival.
Former headquarters of WU, located at 60 Hudson, New York, NY, USA, in the early and middle 20th century
In 1914 Western Union offered the first charge card for consumers; in 1923 it introduced teletypewriters to join its branches. Singing telegrams followed in 1933, intercity fax in 1935, and commercial intercity microwave communications in 1943. In 1958, it began offering Telex service to customers in New York City.[7] Western Union introduced the 'Candygram' in the 1960s, a box of chocolates accompanying a telegram featured in a commercial with the rotund Don Wilson. In 1964, Western Union initiated a transcontinental microwave system to replace land lines.
During World War II, families of sons in the military service dreaded the Western Union "boy on his bicycle" to arrive at their home with a telegram from the War Department or the Navy Department. The message began: The Secretary of War (soldiers and airmen) or Secretary of Navy (sailors and marines), regrets to inform you that, (name, rank and serial number of the man in the military service) was killed in action or missing in action.
Western Union became the first American telecommunications corporation to maintain its own fleet of geosynchronous communication satellites, starting in 1974. The fleet of satellites, called Westar, carried communications within the Western Union company for telegram and mailgram message data to Western Union bureaus nationwide. It also handled traffic for its Telex and TWX (Telex II) services. The Westar satellites' transponders were also leased by other companies for relaying video, voice, data, and facsimile (fax) transmissions.
In 1963 Western Union organized its international cable system properties and its right-of-way for connecting international telegraph lines into a separate company called Western Union International (WUI) which it divested that year to American Securities . In 1983 American Securities sold WUI to MCI Communications which renamed it to MCI International and moved its headquarters from New York City to Rye Brook, New York.
In the 1970s WUI installed and leased to the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) dedicated 50 Kbps high speed telecommunications facilities between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, Germany and the United Kingdom to provide a test bed for the DOD's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This test bed provided ARPA with a proof of concept for the technology of packet switching which later became the Internet.
In 1981 Western Union purchased a fifty percent interest in Airfone. It sold Airfone to GTE for $39 million in cash.[8]
Due to declining profits and mounting debts, Western Union slowly began to divest itself of telecommunications-based assets starting in the early 1980s. Due to deregulation at the time, Western Union began sending money outside the country, re-inventing itself as "The fastest way to send money worldwide" and expanding its agent locations internationally.
In 1987, Investor Bennett S. LeBow acquired control of Western Union through an outside of chapter 11 process that was a complex leveraged recapitalization. The transaction was backed by a total of $900 million in high yield bonds and preferred stock underwritten by Michael Milken's group at Drexel Burnham Lambert as part of an exchange offer. LeBow installed Robert J. Amman as President and CEO who led a complete strategic, operational and balance sheet restructuring of the company over the subsequent 6 years.
Mr. Amman executed a strategy of redirecting Western Union from being an asset-based provider of communications services, with a money transfer business as a large but less important part of the business, into being a provider of consumer-based money transfer financial services. In so doing, Mr. Amman ran the company as 2 separate companies. One business consisted of the money transfer business, which was funded and operated to take advantage of the significant growth opportunity. The second unit consisted of all the non-strategic communications assets such as the long distance analog voice network, satellite business and undersea cable assets. In the 3 year period through 1990 Mr. Amman was supported by Robert A. Schriesheim, also installed by Mr. LeBow, as a special advisor who oversaw the divestiture of the 4 non-strategic telecommunications assets for about $280 million.
The official name of the corporation was changed to New Valley Corporation in 1991, just in time for that entity to seek bankruptcy protection as part of Mr. Amman's strategy to eliminate the overleveraged balance sheet while continuing to grow the money transfer business . The name change was taken to shield the Western Union name from being dragged through the proceedings (and the bad PR that would cause).[9] Under the day to day leadership of Robert J. Amman and the backing of LeBow, the company's value increased dramatically through its years operating under chapter 11.
Following various restructurings that included negotiations with Carl Icahn who became a large bond holder, Mr. Amman engineered the sale of New Valley in a bankruptcy auction to First Financial Management Corporation in 1994 for $1.2 billion where he became vice chairman, and a year later merged with First Data Corporation in a $6 billion transaction. On January 26, 2006, First Data Corporation announced plans to spin Western Union off as an independent, publicly traded company. Western Union's focus will remain money transfers. The next day, Western Union announced that it would cease offering telegram transmission and delivery,[10] the product most associated with the company throughout its history. This was, however, not the original Western Union telegram service, but a new service of First Data under the Western Union banner; the original telegram service was sold off after New Valley Corporation's bankruptcy and now operates as iTelegram.
The spin off was completed in September and Western Union is now an independent, publicly traded company.
Involvement in early computer networking Western Union telegrams were transmitted through a store and forward message switching system. Early versions were manual telegraph systems. Later systems using teleprinters were semi-automatic, using punched paper tape to receive, store, and retransmit messages. Plan 55-A, Western Union's last paper tape based switching system (1948–1976), was fully automatic, with automatic routing.
Western Union was a prime contractor in the Automatic Digital Network (AUTODIN) program. AUTODIN, a military application for communication, was first developed in the 1960s and became the precursor to the modern Internet in the 1990s. The Defense Message System (DMS) replaced AUTODIN in 2000.
AUTODIN, originally named "ComLogNet", was a highly reliable service that operated at 99.99% availability, using mechanical punched card readers and tab machines to send and receive data over leased lines. During the peak operation of AUTODIN, the United States portion of the network handled twenty million messages a month. Western Union failed in its attempts to engineer a replacement (AUTODIN II), leading to the development of an acceptable packet-switched network by BBN (the developer of the ARPANET) which became the foundation of today's Internet. AUTODIN service ceased in 2000, years after it had become obsolete.
A related innovation that came from AUTODIN was Western Union's computer based EasyLink service. This system allowed for one of the first marketable email systems for non-government users. In addition, the system allowed the same message to be sent simultaneously to multiple recipients via email, fax, mailgram, or telex services; as well as receive messages from the integrated formats. With the service, users could also perform research utilizing its InfoLink application. EasyLink Services is now its own company.

 End of telegrams

As of February 2006, the Western Union website showed this notice:
"Effective 2006-01-27, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we thank you for your loyal patronage. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a customer service representative."[11]
This ended the era of telegrams which began in 1851 with the founding of the New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company, and which spanned 155 years of continuous service. Western Union reported that telegrams sent had fallen to a total of 20,000 a year, due to competition from other communication services such as email. Employees had been informed of the decision in mid-January.
Telegram service in the United States continues to be available through iTelegram and other companies.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Turtle Bay Music School

Tucked away in one of Midtown's busiest districts is the Turtle Bay Music School...have known someone who went there for flute lessons as a kid. I know sign outside used to say "Alma Gluck Auditorium"--Alma Gluck was a famous Metropolitan Opera soprano at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Let me see if there is something on the internet:


Who attends TBMS?

Everyone! TBMS is a community music school open to all children, teens and adults. All levels of ability are welcome. We have an instrument, class and teacher that are right for you!

When can I register?

Registration is ongoing and tuition will be prorated when applicable. If you're interested in registering for classes, please click here to fill out an online registration inquiry and someone will contact you shortly.

Can I register on-line?

On-line shopping is fun, but we aren't able to register people without speaking with them first. It's our aim to provide each student with a teacher and setting that is most suitable. If you're interested in registering for classes, please click here to fill out an online registration inquiry and someone will contact you shortly. You can also call (212) 753-8811 to speak with someone right away.

Can I practice at Turtle Bay Music School?

Yes, Turtle Bay Music School is pleased to make the majority of its facilities available for rent to TBMS students and other musicians, performers and non-profit organizations. Turtle Bay Students receive a 50% discount. Click here for rental rates.

Are there performance opportunities for students?

Yes! Each month, students of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to perform in our beautiful Em Lee Concert Hall in a supportive, friendly environment. Our Performance Hours for TBMS Adults meets the first Thursday of each month (and are followed by a wine reception!). Our Young Artist's Recitals take place the third Thursday of each month. Click here for a full schedule of performance opportunities and events.

How do I pay for my classes?

Payments can be made by cash, check, or MasterCard/Visa. All MasterCard/Visa payments must be made in person at Turtle Bay Music School.

What other fees must I pay?

Full-year registrants pay a one time registration fee of $70. Half-year and prorated registrants pay a $45 registration fee due at the beginning of each half. Summer session students pay a $10 registration fee. Your tuition may be paid in full or in quarterly installment payments. Quarterly payment plans are available with a service charge of $25.

What happens if I can't make it to my class or lesson?

Please call the School as soon as possible to notify us of your absence. Teachers are not obligated to make up lessons which have been cancelled by the student, but will often do their best to do so.

What happens if my teacher cancels a class or lesson?

If a teacher cancels a lesson or class, an alternative, mutually compatible date will be offered.

How do I apply for financial aid?

To the extent that funds permit, Turtle Bay Music School offers financial aid to qualifying students at the beginning of each school year. Financial aid, based on need, is determined using a sliding scale that considers family financial resources and number of dependents. Re-application is required each year. Financial aid recipients are required to register for a full year. Applications may be requested in person at the registration desk or by phone at 212-753-8811.

Can I provide scholarships and financial aid for those in need?

Yes! If you would like to help a deserving Turtle Bay Music School student by creating a scholarship or endowing an existing scholarship fund, please contact Julie Rulyak at 212-753-8811 x17 or at Scholarships can be set up in any financial amount and can be named for you or a loved one. You can also make a donation! Click here!

How can I get more involved at Turtle Bay Music School?

There are lots of ways to help out at TBMS! We are always in need of volunteers to help out with in-house projects and our numerous free events. Additionally, TBMS actively seeks new leadership candidates for our Board of Trustees. Click here to inquire about current opportunities.

How can I find out about recitals, events and other happening at TBMS?

Running Notes is a great way to stay in touch with Turtle Bay Music School. Each month, our newsletter will tell you about all of the great things going on, including student recitals, free concerts and events, registration deadlines and other important information for students.

NYC adjustments for the disabled

New York City is a pioneer when it comes to introducing adjustments to accomodate disabled people...
Under Mayor Koch as I remember, the work started to make all curbs grade down to street level so that wheelchairs would have an easier time of it ( also easier for bike riders, dammit).

When the city's finances were better, there was a plan to introduce elevators all over the subway system to make it really useful for disabled people. Not too much was done with this, but as I have shown before, there still are some working elevators at major stops in Manhattan. Best used during daytime hours.

As to the City and disable people generally, this is from the internet:

Today a growing number of people rely on electric scooters and related equipment to get around in everyday life. For these travelers, you will find New York is for the most part well-equipped to meet your needs. All of New York City's public buses are equipped with lifts so that wheelchair users can travel anywhere in the city. Individual door-to-door paratransit service is available for people unable to use public bus or subway service. Many subway stations contain elevators, ramps, visual display signs, accessible public telephones, and tactile and audio features on vending machines; passengers with disabilities pay reduced fares on most trips. That said, please note that not every subway station is accessible. Please visit the MTA website or call for more information.

MTA New York City Transit Travel information for people with disabilities:
Tel: (718) 596-8585
TTY: (718) 596-8273

The Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) works hand-in-hand with other city agencies to assure that the voice of the disabled community is represented and that city programs and policies address the needs of people with disabilities. They have developed a number of informative brochures and directories that detail programs, services, activities, and other resources that are accessible to people with disabilities. They will send the book Access New York free of charge to people who inquire via telephone at the number listed above. The 100-page large-type book provides resources and specific accessibility reviews for cultural institutions, theaters, nightlife and sports venues, and tours. It is also avaialable for download in PDF format from their website. The Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH) at (212) 447-7284, provides extensive educational and resource material to expand travel opportunities not only in New York but also worldwide. 


I wonder if high end Ferragamo goods are made in China...let's see what is on the's from Wikpedia

Salvatore Ferragamo Italia S.p.A. is an Italian luxury goods company, with headquarters in Florence, specializing in shoes, leather goods, and ready-to-wear for men and women. It is the parent company of the Ferragamo Group. The company also produces eyewear and watches through licensees.
With about 2.600 employees and a network of over 550 mono-brand stores, the Ferragamo Group runs operations in Italy and worldwide, which provide the brand with a broad footprint in Europe, America and Asia.


Palazzo Spini Feroni: headquarters of the Salvatore Ferragamo Spa, Florence.
Salvatore Ferragamo emigrated from southern Italy to Boston and then California in 1914. He opened the Hollywood Boot Shop in 1923, and made shoes for movie stars such as Joan Crawford and Gloria Swanson, as well as for films such as Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments.[1] He returned to Italy and set up a shoe shop in Florence in 1927.[2] However the modern shoemaking company regards 1928 as the date of its foundation and so celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2008.[1] Salvatore filed for bankruptcy in 1933,[citation needed] during the Great Depression, but by 1938 he was in a position to buy the Palazzo Spini Feroni, one of the great palaces of Florence,[1] which now houses the company's flagship store and museum.
The company flourished after World War II, expanding the workforce to 700 craftsmen producing 350 pairs of hand-made shoes a day.[citation needed] After Salvatore's death in 1960, his widow Wanda took over the running of the business and expanded its operations to include eyewear, perfume, belts, scarves,[2] bags, watches, and a ready to wear clothing line.
The company is currently owned by the Ferragamo family, which in November 2006 included Salvatore's widow Wanda, five children, 23 grandchildren and other relatives.[3] There is a rule that only 3 members of the family can work at the company, prompting fierce competition.[3] To ease these tensions, in September 2006 the family announced a plan to float 48% of the company on the stock market, and since October 2006 Michele Norsa has served as managing and general director.[2] However, as of January 2008, this plan may be on put on hold in the midst of the downturn in the financial market.[4] If the listing on the stock market proceeds, the fund will be directed primarily towards building its positions in China.[5] The company is holding its 80th birthday exhibition in Shanghai.[1]


Throughout its history, the company has been known for innovative designs and use of materials. Such ingenuity goes back to Salvatore's time in California, when he studied anatomy to make shoes which were more comfortable. Notable innovations include the wedge heel, the shell-shaped sole, the ‘invisible’ sandal, metal heels and soles, the 18-carat gold sandal, the sock-shoe, sculpture heels, and the gloved arch shoe created for the Maharani of Cooch Behar in 1938.[1] Metal-reinforced stiletto heels were made famous by Marilyn Monroe. [2] The company is also known for the ‘Gancino’ decoration, the ‘Vara’ patent ballet pump, the Salvatore bag and the use of patchwork.[1] Recently, the company launched "My Ferragamo", which is a new addition to the brand, and is being seen by the company as a push for the younger genreration.


Salvatore worked with film stars and celebrities from his earliest days in Hollywood. Clients over the years included Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and Greta Garbo[2], as well as Andy Warhol, Grace Mugabe and Diana, Princess of Wales.[1] The company made Margaret Thatcher's famous handbags.[5] and for King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck during the coronation on November 6, 2008 in Thimpu, Bhutan.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fashion Avenue Plaques

Another one of those busy sidewalks lined with memorial plaques...this one "Fashion Avenue" (7th Avenue) in Garment District.