Visiting the past in old photos

I love this photo because most of these buildings are there today. This image is Union Square, NYC, 1904. It’s such a great shot. Notice the horses and at the other side of the picture is a trolley.

This other image is a couple of summers ago. If you notice the buildings to the right of the top photo, you’ll see they are the same ones that are there today.

A lot of times I’ll have an old photo, like the one above, in my phone and when I’m at a place in the city, I’ll try to compare the image to see what is still there.

I may have told you this story – One time I was at Union Square and I was holding up a photo, not too far from the are where the top photo is taken. I held the camera up and was trying to line up the shot to the similar buildings on my phone. But as I held the camera up, I was holding it right at a guy’s head. It looked as if I was taking a close-up of his face!

He looked at me and I got embarrassed and said, “Oh, I’m sorry,” and I explained to him what I was doing and I showed him the image on my phone. We both got a good laugh out of that.

Monopoly pieces

I saw this image on Facebook.

I didn’t know there were new pieces. I don’t remember when I played Monopoly last, but when I did play, these were still the pieces. Are there new pieces now?

Whenever I played in the past, I was the thimble. Why? I don’t know. There must be some psychology of why people choose certain pieces. I suppose the car is the most common, if I had to guess.

I don’t sew. I am not domestic, so I don’t know why I always choose the thimble.

My first memories of Monopoly was when I was quite young. My friends used to play with their father outside in the summer. They never invited me to play, I just watched. I do remember a D-cell battery that they used as one of the pieces. I guess they lost pieces and they used that. So in my mind, the regular size D-cell battery is a game piece.

But as I look at the image here, I can sort of feel each piece in my hand. I guess I touched all of them, so it’s so clear in my mind what they feel like.

What piece is your favorite?

Today is ‘Tom Falco Day’

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Last year – February 14, 2020, was declared “Tom Falco Day” in the City of Miami. It’s hard to believe it has only been a year. While this past year seemed to fly by, in some instances it felt like 10 years in one! It is hard to believe this was only 12 months ago.

Last Feb. 14, I received a proclamation that says this date is mine! It may be Valentine’s Day to you, but to me it’s this. It may be just that one day last year, but I am claiming it in perpetuity so every February 14 is Tom Falco Day! That’s me at left with one of our City Commissioners, Ken Russell.

For 15 years I published the news and was an activist in our little village and I decided to end the publication that month. And it was so great of Ken and the local government, including the BID, to do this for me. So many of my friends and townspeople came out, such memories. It was bittersweet. It was so nice to see so many faces.

It was sort of a surprise, so I didn’t invite family or anyone. I was just told to show up Friday afternoon at 4 pm. I knew something was up, but not what, I knew enough to throw a jacket in the back of my car, just in case.

Not publishing the news every day is a lot off my shoulders, it was a big responsibility. Ending that responsibility felt like it was the last day of school. Forever! I remember that feeling.

I’m still around, I see the same people every day, but I’m part of the community now, I blend in, I’m not in everyone’s business. I like it this way.

Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day Tom Falco Day!

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Violence and mayhem

I’m sickened by what happened in our country yesterday. I didn’t post a cartoon today because I think it’s disrespectful to post something funny which has nothing to do with the sorrow we are all feeling.

But here are some political cartoons today, which reflect the treason from yesterday.

The old newspaper biz

I was watching the news and a lady was on from the Detroit Free Press and it made me think of all those great old newspapers. Not to say the Detroit Free Press is an old newspaper, but it actually is, founded in 1831. They are sometimes known as Freep – which is their website name: freep.com.

It makes me sometimes wish I was around when newspapers were important, but then I would be old now, so maybe not.

When my parents were kids, NYC had 14 daily newspapers! Remember there was no tv then, there was radio, but the news came from the newspapers, which were published all day, every day.


NY had the Mirror, and The Daily News and the Journal American, The Sun, the Herald-Tribune, The Times, the Post and so many. Millions of papers were sold daily – literally millions. The Daily news sold 2 million alone daily and 4 million on Sunday!

There is something about the deadlines, and the roll of the presses and then getting them out on the streets. Every single day.

Such great old names, too – The Brooklyn Eagle, The Miami News, The Tampa Tribune, The Boca Raton News, The Hollywood Sun-Tattler, Los Angeles Examiner, Oakland Tribune, Philadelphia Bulletin, Chicago Evening Post, New Orleans States-Item, Boston Phoenix and so on. There is a long list here.

I visit some of the old sites when I am in certain areas, like NY, you know, visiting the original Daily News building or the location of the New York Herald, the New York Sun and of course Park Row and all the history there.

One fifth of daily newspapers in the U.S. closed in the past 15 years.

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Pretty in Pink

I watched Pretty In Pink yesterday. Yup – Andie and Duckie. 1986. How I wish I could go back to that era – my favorite time. I was flipping through channels and there it was in all it’s 1980s glory.

Watching it was like a time capsule – the sayings, the places, the fashions. I don’t think I saw the movie since the ’80s, so it was nice to see.

All of those John Hughes movies ARE the 1980s. I think the Simple Minds song, “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club, is one of the THE ’80s songs. It always brings me back there when I hear it. Always.

The Brat Pack, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Culture Club, George Michael, Prince, Guns ‘n Roses, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, The Police, Def Leppard, Metallica, Talking Heads, REM, etc. So great.

Cheers, Alf, The Golden Girls, Night Court, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Remington Steel, thirtysomething, Dynasty, Unsolved Mysteries, Dallas, etc. Such great tv, too. And movies – Ferris Bueller, The Outsiders, Moonstruck, Field of Dreams, Heathers, Top Gun, Weekend at Bernie’s, St. Elmo’s Fire, and of course all the John Hughes movies.

I sometimes think that when we die, we can then travel through time. Like if we want to visit a time and place, we can go there. I would visit the 1980s, I would start on January 1, 1980 and live it through to December 31, 1989 and do it all over again.



Visiting the past

I was talking about visiting places back in time in a previous post. It reminds me of a couple of NY stories. This image of Union Square fascinates me since I am always in that location. There are literally hundreds of pictures in that area from the past century and beyond.

Back when I read The Alienist for the first time, I started noticing something – the places written about in the book were written in such vivid detail, even directions on how to get to and from places. So I started writing them down. This was probably 1994, when the book was first published.

It takes place in 1881-82 NYC. There are tv shows now based on The Alienist, but I highly recommend the book.

The next time I was in NYC I started a little tour of all those locations and lo and behold – they were all still standing! Author Caleb Carr used current locations that were there in the 1800s. I remember 19 Washington Square South, where the grandmother lived – still there – part of those high end row houses across from the park. And Wanamaker’s store and Grace Church and all those wonderful places!

Anyway, just recently I saved an old photo of Union Square on my phone, from the late 1800s. I took the photo to Union Square and I held it up to the buildings, trying to match the image exactly. The funny part is that I had the phone basically up to guy’s face as I was searching.

He looked at me, wondering, why are you taking my picture? I showed him the image on the phone and told him what I was doing and we both got a good laugh.

I have seen so many photos of Union Square and so many of those buildings are still there and so are the statues. I also like to visit the two Andy Warhol Factory locations that are still standing at different areas of Union Square – just wondering what life was like back then.

Women voters

There were two beautiful stories on women voters on CBS Sunday Morning yesterday. Here they are . . .

The first is on Susan B. Anthony and how women pay tribute to her every voting day, by visiting her grave and leaving “I voted” stickers.

And this one is called “104-year-old Ruth Rosner on casting her vote.” It follows Ms. Rosner as she votes for president for the 22nd time in her life! She’s so great, so there!



A trip through time

I always want to live in the past. Why? I don’t know, you’ll have to ask a psychiatrist. But I don’t only mean 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, I also mean last week or last month or last year. For some reason, I never want time to pass. Strange, huh?

I follow a lot of sites on Facebook that show vintage photos, some go way back to the 1840s – yes, actual photos. I can stare at them forever and look at the people and wonder what they were thinking in that moment in time. Here are a few I saw recently, but over the years I have seen such great ones – action shots from the 1840s and 1850s and 1900s. Places I would like to possibly visit, if not live.

It would be interesting to visit these places even for a day, or maybe just an hour. I sometimes think that after we die, that we can visit or live at various places and times. Could we possibly choose an era and live it or watch it?

1840 NYC
1840s NYC. Would be nice to visit, not sure to live.
This is 1867 on Greenwich Street in NYC. This new fangled elevated railway is on a test run. Now imagine being there, how exciting, this new invention taking shape!
1892 Union Square – a place I visit often.
Chicago 1893 – how the kids lived back then. Hanging out near a dead horse, just another day. No, I don’t think I’d like to visit this location. Probably doesn’t smell that great.
Bathers at the beach, 1897. Yes, I would like to be there for the day.
circa 1900 Madison Square – future home of the Flatiron Building. Yup, right where that Heinz sign is. That building across the way with the cupola on the roof is still standing today,  the Sohmer Building, called that because it originally housed the showroom and offices of Sohmer & Co., inventors of the modern baby grand piano, built in 1897-98, a few years before the Flatiron Building was completed in 1902.
1949 NYC. I would love to have experienced that era.
1950s. South Beach. This interest me because before South Beach was South Beach and was plain old Miami Beach, I hung out on these streets with friends – in the 1980s. We had the run of the place. The streets in the 1980s looked exactly the same, and to be honest, most of these streets appear the same today. A trip back in time.
New Orleans 1957. Also a place that looks the same today. One thing I love about NOLA is the history and the way they preserve it.

Emojis are my spell checker

Ever use emojis as spell checkers? What I mean is that a lot of the time if I’m not sure of the spelling of a word while texting, I spell it until the emoji pops up, then I know that is the correct spelling.

Recently I did it with avocado, not sure if it spelled “avocado” or “avacado.”

When the emoji popped up, I knew the correct spelling, which of course, I could have used the emoji instead of the word.

I have a neighbor who has avocado groves. Every time he texts, he puts three avocado emojis at the end of the text. I guess he feels it is subliminal advertising.

Emojis are the hieroglyphs of today. Will we end up using them as our language one day? I know so many teens do. What’s old ancient is new again. They don’t even teach cursive writing in schools anymore!

European Woman Examines Egyptian Hieroglyphics – Sean Sexton, 1900