They were born in the early 1800s; listen to them

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos lately – on my 55 inch tv, which makes it so much more pleasant.

I’m finding all sort of things. Yesterday, I came upon this video “Interviews With Elderly People Throughout the US,” filmed in 1929. Some of these folks were over 100 years old! Most were in their 80s and 90s. But listen to them – so full of life at 100!

Imagine, one guy says, “I was born in 1827, I graduated school in 1845 . . . ” 1827! 1845!

One man is 70 years old or so and he’s retiring from his job as a train conductor. You can see him jump off the train and speak to the camera. He tells about starting his career in the 1850s, now it’s 1929 and he is retiring. Another old lady is 103, I belive, she dances the waltz with a guy!

This is great, it’s worth a watch. There are other videos in this series too.

Here is more interviews with elderly people.
And here is Recollections of the Civil War

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Dominoes are part of a large new concrete landscape

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Photo courtesy Droga

Artist Bo Droga and his volunteer crew have been creating a large row of dominoes along US1, under the Metrorail tracks in Coral Gables, FL. The large columns in the area at the University of Miami along Ponce de Leon Boulevard have been turned from drab cement to black and white domino pieces. Droga’s work is inspired by many things, usually by his immediate surrounding and the local material at hand. “The common thread within my artwork is the simplicity in form, and use of everyday material,” he says.

The volunteers helping him on the dominoes project are all moms, all volunteers and all French.

The “Miami Dominoes” installation will eventually include 46 of the columns when completed, as of now, there are still a few more being worked on. They are up to 18 feet high.

Droga is Australian, who came to Miami by way of Paris. After all these years, he is the one who had the eye to see something that was staring us all in the face all these years.

I must admit when they were building Metrorail in the early 1980s, I would see the pylons/columns which we called “Stonehenge South” at the time and thought they would make great surfaces for advertising. Thank God that never became the case.

The crew uses large metal forms to create the round domino dots. The area will eventually be part of the long Underline project and Droga envisions outdoor tables and people sitting around in the area playing dominoes – a sort of sister to Domino Park that is in Little Havana.

Dorga originally had the domino idea for a project in Australia, but it never got off the ground due to permitting issues and when he moved here and saw the Metrorail pylons, he knew exactly what to do.The Miami-Dade County transportation and public works department helped him get permitted and he was off.

One thing that the local community has noticed – the dominoes are a “double six” set, where in Miami, “double nines” is popular. Droga knows that, but feels that the sixes make for a better look and art installation.

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My dirty car

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I’ve gotta start washing my car. As I left my condo building the other day, our maintenance man who was watering the plants with the hose asked me if I wanted him to wash down the car because it was dirty. Then later in the day I was at the mechanic and he said that I don’t take very much care of the car. The car runs perfectly and I always have it serviced and have things repaired, I just don’t wash it. Then he offered to buy it, this is the second time in my life that a mechanic offered to buy my car. I sold one to my mechanic years ago, this one I’m not ready to part with yet.

I’m too lazy to wash the car myself, for a few bucks, someone else will do it, so why not? This guy Jerry comes to our building and washes the cars. I usually wait for him to come to the building to do someone else’s car, so when I see him, I ask him to get to my car next and it’s done right away. If I call him to come over, he takes hours to get here and I end up sitting around all day waiting for him to arrive.

The car wash I loved to go to in the past is now a condo, so that’s out.

Funny thing, when I first moved into the condo here about 16 years ago, the day I moved in, the neighbor who parks right next to me was washing his car and I noticed he was always washing his car. I guess it was therapeutic for him, he loved to wash the car.

A few months later, he said to me, “Don’t you notice how clean your car is?” I said, “Yes, why?” He said, “Because “I’ve been washing it every time I wash my own! I couldn’t stand how dirty it was!” I was shocked. I told him I thought it got clean from the rain. We don’t get much rain and I park underground, but I thought the times I was out and about driving in the rain, it washed the car.

He got insulted. I don’t think he ever washed my car again after that.

Revisiting a ‘haunted castle’ 30 years later

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When I hear “Domino Park,” I think of the small park on SW 8th Street in Miami, where the old Cuban men play dominoes, but there’s a new Domino Park in Brooklyn. It’s the site of the old Domino Sugar refinery.  They created a new park and ultra modern condos are going up along the park, you can see it in the rendering above.

What I love about Domino Park is the old, haunted? Domino plant itself. You can see it in the photo below and you can see it sort of renovated above. Apparently they are going to leave most of it alone. It was built in 1856. Domino Park will redefine the neighborhood just as Gantry Plaza Park redefined the Long Island City waterfront a hop skip and a canoe ride up the river. I visited Domino Park this week with my cousin Roni we checked out the neighborhood and had lunch. This is near where I was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, a quite different place than the Brooklyn of years ago.

I love this old building in all its decreptness and always have since the day I came upon it in the mid 1980s. I was lost in Brooklyn and ended up right in front of the plant. It was blacker then, full of soot and scarier and bigger. I turned the block and there it was, all Harry Potter-like. I didn’t know what it was but I was intrigued. I couldn’t get in, but the front gates were open and I stared at it for awhile. I’ve thought of it so many times over the years and each time we passed it when on the Circle Line boat ride or on a Ferry, I would stare at it, imagining the inside.

Now thirty years later, I’ll be able to go into the old building, in what looks like an glass-enclosed bar/restaurant on the roof. That part is not complete yet, but I’m looking forward to it. I feel the old plant is haunted. It sits right next to the Williamsburg Bridge and is so easy to get to, it’s right on the waterfront, a few blocks from the center of Williamsburg hipsterhood.

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A moment in time

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Look at this photo. It’s Broadway in NYC, in 1902. I can stare at this photo for a long time and just sort of fall right into it.

I have to find another template for this blog so that the photos appear larger (if you click on the right mouse button and hit “open image in a new tag” it will open much larger), but anyway, look at the one guy closest to Santa. He looks to be about 25 or 30 years old, perhaps born in 1872 or 1875 and at the prime of life – dapper, cool, looks like he has money. I like how his pants cuff falls onto the shoe. And now he is gone. Dead.

This period in time captured here and “alive” forever, yet everyone in the photo is gone.

This looks to be near Macy’s. Isn’t that the New York Herald in the back left?