Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Things you didn't think you needed to know about cities

New York City residents spend six times the national average on wristwatch purchases, but 63% less on bicycles. Bostonians spend 330% more than the average on alimony, 17% less on men's underwear, and 79% less on dating services. San Diegans spends 3.6 times the national average on infants' equipment; Dallas-Fort Worth residents spend 44% less than average on charity, and San Francisco-San Jose residents spend 1.7 times the average on women's costumes. Nifty feature in the New York Times.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Neighborhood That Disappeared

If you missed Mary Paley and John Romeo's documentary, The Neighborhood That Disappeared, which aired last week on WMHT, you have a couple more opportunities to watch it, including tonight—I hope.* The film traces the history of an Italian neighborhood in Albany from its settlement through its demise when the Empire State Plaza was built in the 1960s. According to the filmmakers, the project displaced 9,000 people, 3,600 households, and more than 1,500 buildings, including 350 businesses, four churches and 29 taverns. You can watch a 30 second trailer here, or a longer, more informative pre-release trailer above.

*The notices I've come across the web haven't inspired my confidence in their accuracy, but below are the places and times I have found.

The Neighborhood That Disappeared
Television
   Monday Dec 15, 7:30PM on WMHT World (channel 115 on Mid-Hudson cable)
   Monday, Dec 29, 8:00PM on WMHT-TV (channel 2 on MHC)
   Thursday, Jan 1, 2015, 10:00AM, 3:30PM, and 9:30PM on WMHT-TV (channel 2 on MHC)
Cinema
   December 13-18 7:30PM, Madison Theater, Albany

If your television provider is other than Mid-Hudson Cable, this link will tell you where to find WMHT: Find WMHT

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Business climate survey

The good folks at the Hudson Development Corporation need business owners and creative economy participants in the City of Hudson to complete their online Business Climate Survey. The survey results will be used by HDC in its ongoing efforts to improve economic opportunities and enhance the quality of life in Hudson. Your participation may help the HDC identify and act on such needs as funding, training, insurance, networking, advertising, housing, and much more.

The survey takes less than five minutes to complete, and will be available until at least January 9, 2015. Access it here.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Shameless Commerce Division

Need a holiday gift idea? My 101 Things I Learned® books are great for college students, experienced professionals, and general readers. Each book is handsomely packaged and has 101 illustrated lessons that will orient newcomers, provoke contemplation by old hands, and give all some unexpected insights into one of seven fields—architecture, business, culinary arts, engineering, fashion, film, and law.

You can get a look inside the 101 Things I Learned® books at the series website. They're available for purchase at B&N (all brick and mortar stores as well as online), Amazon, and most indie bookstores (including Market Block Books in Troy and Spotty Dog in Hudson for those located in the Hudson Valley).

Friday, December 5, 2014

Found in Hudson

Part of the enjoyment of a used book comes from discovering the history of the book itself. Recently I scooped up some good ones at the Hudson Library book sale. Right now I'm immersed in Tobias Wolff's memoir This Boy's Life. The inscriptions on the inside cover reveal that it was twice given as a Christmas gift: to Carl from Kate (who had read and enjoyed it), and to Jonathan from Mom (who also claims to have read it). Mom not only has great penmanship, but a sense of economy (and/or humor), as she recycled Kate's inscription as well the book. A third owner is implied, unless Mom's given name is Carl.

Also in the pile was Deborah Tannen's 1990 classic, You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation. Time has rendered some of Tannen's examples of inter-gender dialogue quaint, but the book nonetheless serves as an effective reminder of gender issues we still need to work on.

$7.00 netted this haul at the Hudson Library used book sale.
Inside the Tannen book I found a 1991 airline itinerary for travel between and among Minnesota, Arkansas, and Texas. According to a web search, the traveler, a member of the Dallas Brass Band, now lives in New York State. This somewhat explains how the book ended up in Hudson. On the reverse side of the itinerary were some scrawled notes. I presumed them to be the reader's thoughts on the book's content, but it's a list of words found in the text, which the reader perhaps intended to look up after his flight.

The used book store, located in the library building at 400 State Street in Hudson, will be open tomorrow and next Saturday from 10am-1pm for holiday shopping. Entrance is on the left side of the building near the parking lot.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

We have Miranda rights...why not a Garner warning?

Eric Garner

"Sir, you are being placed under arrest. You do not have the right to resist. Please immediately turn and face the wall with your arms behind your back, or lie face down on the ground. If you do not do so, I will use physical force to ensure your compliance. I do not wish to injure you, but if you do not comply, it will be at your own risk. You are commanded to comply with my order NOW."

Not that anyone asked me. But if the police were required to give such a warning to any unarmed person who appears prepared to resist arrest, Eric Garner might be alive today.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Lighting the way

St. Michael's Chapel, Northeast Philadelphia.

My calling to architecture may be rooted in this portico, which belongs to a lovely church located almost literally in my childhood backyard in Philly. Our yard abutted the church grounds, and the Catholics in our neighborhood had to cut through our yard to get to Sunday mass for several years, until a permanent church was built a mile away. It was nowhere near as nice, built as it was in the 1960s Stingy Revival Style. The church and mansion pictured were built by Katharine Drexel, now recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.