It was a year ago this weekend that I crashed my bike and broke my hand. A couple of weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to return to the scene. As you can see it was an incredibly steep hill I was going down when I decided to brake at Allerton Ave and Tenbroeck St. After the crash I propped the bike and myself against that brick wall, which was the only shady spot around, checked for broken parts, took a few minutes to catch my breath, and called for an ambulance. The ambulance took me to Jacobi Medical Center, which wasn't too far away. Eight hours of waiting around later I was sent on my way home.
I was reminded earlier today that the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire wasn't the only tragic fire that happened on March 25th in New York City. On this day in 1979 a jealous ex-boyfriend set fire the the Happy Land Social Club on Southern Blvd. in the Bronx. Eighty-seven people, mostly Honduran immigrants, died in the blaze. There is a small memorial in the median of Southern Blvd. This photo is a couple of years old, so I'm not sure if this mural is still there.
My pinkie finger isn't naturally that short! It only became so after a brief attempt at flight off my bicycle came to a sudden end yesterday morning. After a very long day at the Jacobi Medical Center, most of which was spent sitting in the waiting area, x-rays were taken, the bone was set, more x-rays were taken and I was sent home. With luck the bone will heal properly, but I was told this type of fracture more often than not requires surgery. For now, though, I'm quickly gaining speed on the one-handed typing.
Having an open Saturday and a hankering for barbecue, Greg and I headed to Hunts Point in the Bronx to take a few pictures. It was a beautiful day. We each had the beef brisket at Mo Gridder's BBQ, whose seating area is in between the two repair bays of the Hunts Point Auto Repair. There was lots of warehouses and graffiti and we were only yelled at once (by a bored MTA security guard who didn't want us taking pictures).
Cass Gilbert, architect of the Woolworth Building, the Alexander Hamilton Custom House, The Brooklyn Army Terminal, the St. Louis and Detroit Public Library buildings, the state capitols of Arkansas, Minnesota and West Virginia, the U.S. Supreme Court Building, several buildings on the campuses of Oberlin and the University of Texas and many other buildings, also designed several train stations for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad.
The NYNH&H was designed to be the main line between New York and Boston. The company didn't like the high fees that Grand Central Terminal charged for access. They took a gamble that New York would keep expanding northward and decided to build a new terminal on the Harlem River. Soon after, a zoning change limited commercial development uptown and the railroad never saw the passenger traffic they were counting on. By 1932 the NYNH&H was history. Since then Gilbert's stations have either disappeared, been reused like the Hunts Point building in the lower photo, or sit in a purgatorial state like the Westchester Ave. building.
Riding up the Grand Concourse gets kind of boring after many blocks of apartment buildings. The boredom is broken in a big way when you come upon the Loews Paradise Theatre a couple of blocks south of Fordham Rd.
The Loews Paradise opened in September 1929. It was the 23rd largest movie theater ever built in the U.S., seating 3885 people. The Paradise was one of five Loews "Wonder" theaters, named after the Wonder Organ installed within, in the New York area. The others were in Queens, Brooklyn, Jersey City and nearby in Washington Heights (which is now Reverend Ike's United Palace).
The Wonder Organ that was in the Loews Paradise was removed in the 1960s. It was renovated and installed in the Loew's Jersey Theatre (follow the link above to see and hear the mighty organ).
Like a lot of these giant theaters the Paradise was subdivided into multiple screens and eventually closed. The theater was renovated and reopened a couple of years ago but it may be closed once again.
Also note the Jumbo Hamburgers on the right side of the movie house.
There's a note on my phone reminding me to write about the Grand Concourse. It, the note, has been on the phone for a month so I figured it was time to do that post.
The Grand Concourse in the Bronx was designed in the late 19th century to be New York's version of the Champs-Élysées in Paris. The street boomed after a subway line opened a couple of blocks west in 1917 and another line along the street in 1933, serving as a new neighborhood for people escaping the crowded tenements of lower Manhattan.
There lots of mid-sized Art Moderne apartment buildings, like those above, lining the Grand Concourse. There are also a few Art Deco buildings. The overall effect, though, is more dowdy and dull than grand. Dowdy and dull, that is, until you arrive upon...
On Sunday I rode out to Clason Point in the Bronx to take a picture of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge. On the official city bike map there is a park, Clason Point Park, at the end of Clason Point. As I rode toward the end of Soundview Ave it was clear that there was no park, or at least no access to a park. At the end of the street was a crappily built chain link fence with a piece of plywood that had "park closes" written in a sharpie on it. Not an official Parks Department sign. I should have taken a photo but forgot as the sun was going down and I was in a hurry. I was able to get a view of the bridge from a couple of blocks away.