Graffiti and ground zero

wtc-street-art-flowers-620

courtesy CBS

I had seen these murals in New York this past summer. CBS Sunday morning did a story on it. The murals are right outside the World Trade Center in NYC, right at the Oculus.

This CBS piece is a great story on history and art. Here is the link to the video: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/leaving-their-mark-graffiti-artists-decorate-the-wtc-site/

And here is the story with photos: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/decorating-hallowed-ground-with-street-art/ 

What’s interesting is right across the street is Trinity Church, where that land was purchased and deeded in 1696. The first church was built on that location in 1698 and the current church and graveyard are there from 1839 after being rebuilt three times since the 1600s. It’s amazing to take it all in, where you see the 1600s to today in one glance.

This graffiti story is cool because it was commissioned by the 87-year-old owner of the property Larry Silverstein, who purchased the Twin Towers six weeks before they were destroyed. Through is vision and the vision of the artists, the area is alive again.

So from the 1600s until today, the area is ever-evolving and alive.

Advertisements

Visiting the New York Herald again

heraldsquare

This image of Herald Square is from 1903.

I’m not sure why I am obsessed these days with the old New York Herald building. This past summer I spent a lot of time in front of the old site looking at it. It’s an ugly mid century (1960s) square block building now with a bank and drugstore in the space.

I was standing to the right of the trolley shown at the right of this photo; standing right in front of the site. Macy’s is the left today.

One day I was on my way to meet a friend to see Hello Dolly, 10 blocks away, and on the way I stopped here and just contemplated the location. So much history is still in New York, but so much is gone. I saw Hello Dolly in the Shubert Theater, which was opened in 1913. The Herald building was standing at the same time a few blocks away.

The Herald building opened in 1894 and they left around 1924 after a 30 year lease. A clothing store took over the location and retrofitted the newspaper offices and press room but around 1940, the building was demolished for the ugly new structure that is there today, which is almost 80 years old. The actual newspapers only lasted in that location for 30 years.

You would think Herald Square would have kept the Herald building. Times Square still has the Times building. It’s behind all those neon signs, you have to look hard to see it.

heraldsquare

The ugly building that replaced the NY Herald at Herald Square.

Thinking of newspapers

Newspapers are not where comics are most popular these days. Millennials, as we know, don’t read the newspaper, at least not the printed version.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that regarding my own work. It’s like making a movie and having it go straight to video. That is how I felt not having my comics in the newspapers. Comics were created for newspapers. But it’s a new era.

I think of the kids born today or in the last few years. Will they ever know the feeling of going outside and picking up the newspaper off the front porch, taking it in, smelling the ink and the paper, getting the feel of it all and reading the news from cover to cover, in black and white? There was a time when the ink came off on your fingers. Now they just flip through it all on their phones.

517AbN9Y1+L._SL250_I think of the days of George Herriman, George McManus, Rudolf Dirks, Bud Fisher and the others, when cartoonists were the celebrities of the day. What was it like in 1905 or 1915? I’m glad I’m here today, but I like to think back sometimes and wonder about those times were like. I think of the excitement of the newspapers, the deadlines, the camaraderie.

If you haven’t read the book on George Herriman and Krazy Kat by Michael Tisserand called, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White“, do yourself a favor and read it. It will transport you back to that time, you literally are immersed in that period. You feel as if you are in those old newspaper newsrooms and walking the streets of New York and Los Angeles. I am about to read it again. It’s sort of like “Breaking Bad” to me, I can just envelope myself in the story and get lost at any time of day.

NY Daily News; sign of the times

 

The New York Daily News has an editorial about itself called, “Local journalism is sick; don’t misdiagnose the disease.” They explain their current situation where they have been gutted by Tronc, their current owner. They say it’s more than Tronc cutting the staff by more than half, it’s the times, it’s the internet, it’s so much more.

To be honest, I didn’t buy one newspaper the whole time I was in New York this summer and that is saying a lot.  I usually buy The Daily News every single day when I’m in the city, I pick it up with my breakfast, and most days I would buy the Daily News, the NY Post, The NY Times and Newsday, all four daily newspapers, but even if I didn’t buy all four, I would always buy the Daily News. I’m not sure why I did not purchase the papers. I think it all started with my Miami Herald fiasco this past winter and I just got out of the habit. Reading the newspapers is a habit, sort of like having breakfast every morning.

The NY Daily News itself is now down in an office building down near the Staten Island Ferry, they aren’t even in the actual Daily News building on 42nd Street, which has been the case for years.

I took a short video of the Daily News building in November, here it is.

The Daily News Building is a beautiful Art Deco building and the Daily News should be in that building. I wrote about the strike in 1945 and showed an incredible video where it shows millions of newspapers being sold per day as people waited in long lines to plop down a nickle for the Daily News and all of the other New York newspapers at the time – the Mirror, the Journal-American, the Sun, etc. Newspapers were the world back then.

Today the sports department has been gutted. That’s the one thing my father would always mention when I would give him copies of the newspapers that I would bring home with me – the New York Daily News and the New York Post – he would admire the size of their sports section, putting down the puny Miami Herald’s sports section, asking, “Why can’t the Herald be like the New York papers?”

new_york_daily_news_logo

The ubiquitous camera in the masthead

And the photography department at the Daily News has been gutted, too. No photographers at New York’s Picture Newspaper!!! No photographers! Should they remove that iconic camera logo that has been part of their masthead since day one in 1919?

Two newsgirls

This is sad. I’m in Hoboken often and now every time I pass these locations I’ll think of these girls. Here are two young girls selling newspapers in Hoboken in 1912; the actual locations were visited a century later and superimposed with public domain and CC-licensed resources.

Library of Congress photography by Lewis Hine from the National Child Labor Committee Collection (loc.gov) is remixed here with Creative Commons-licensed music by Kevin MacLeod.

Video copyright Lyndon F. Lorenz, all rights reserved

 

They slashed the newsroom staff at the New York Daily News today

Ford_to_CityThe New York Daily News cut its newsroom staff by half on Monday. Tronc, Inc, the owner in Chicago decided that The News was bleeding too much red ink. They want to focus on digital news now.

Tronc, it sounds like the sound an elephant would make when he tries to stifle a sneeze.

To me The Daily News is New York, but I have to admit, I spent almost three weeks in NYC this summer and for the first time since I’ve been adult, I didn’t buy a newspaper once. There is nothing there. You spend $2 for a newspaper that is eight pages long now and all the news that’s printed I already read online on Facebook and Twitter. I read it in the newspapers, but on their websites through their links that they put on social media. But I feel very guilty about not purchasing the newspapers. I used to purchase all four every day when in the city – The Daily News, the Post, the NY Times and Newsday. I would also buy the newspapers in New Jersey when I went to Hoboken – The Record, The Star-Ledger and the Jersey Journal. I would literally sit in the old train station and read the newspapers.

The comics are few and far between and I read them online too, I can read the ones I like and not be subjected to one editor’s favorites. I stopped buying the New York Post when they dropped the few comics they did have a few years ago.

I was being wooed by The Daily News a few years ago. They were interested in running my Tomversation comic panel and they put me off for years, litearally, because they kept changing staff! I would deal with a top guy, for instance one of the main editors and after our meetings and back and forth dialogue, he would be gone and someone new would start the conversation. Then that person would be gone and so on.

I can’t imagine NYC without The Daily News. I remember back in the 1980s when there was a newspaper war between the News and the Post, they both had about 1 million readers a day and they each put out about eight editions a day. You would walk around the city and it seemed that each time you passed a newsstand, the front page of both tabloids was different from block to block – they were printing issues all day long!

I stop by the old Daily News building on 42nd Street when I’m in New York. It’s special. I did a video of that not long ago. You can see it here.

And if you haven’t seen the video about the New York City newspaper strike of 1945 it’s something to see (I have it here). Millions of newspapers were being sold per day by people standing in line at the newspaper plants buying one copy at a time. That was a special time.

nydailynews

========
Receive Tomversation via email each time I publish Click here.
=======

Revisiting a ‘haunted castle’ 30 years later

domino4

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.

domino1domino2domino3