What Makes a Neighborhood? Who Creates a City?

Way back in 2001, I interviewed Tass Michos — Director of Photography for the “Death to Smoochy” movie starring Edward Norton and Robin Williams — for eyepiece magazine, the official publication of the Guild of British Camera Technicians; and while the interview didn’t start off well, we did meet at the fancied Union Square Cafe for our power lunch, and the best part of the meeting was that the Guild was picking up the tab for what turned out to be a discomforting meal in more ways than one.

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Chasing Cobblestones: Underfoot and Smothered in Asphalt in the Jersey City Heights

When I was on my recent Red Squares walking tour of Jersey City, I happened upon some street construction that gave me a chance for an aesthetic and professional mulligan: Exposed cobblestones on their way to disappearing again for three decades!

I whipped out my new iPhone 5S and awkwardly began taking photographs to make up for a previously lost opportunity articulated here in a comments stream from two months ago:

I did not take photos of the cobblestones! Gah! I was always mesmerized by them and felt such sadness that the beauty would soon be covered up. I’ll have to look for another street in the area to document! …

Our cobblestones were like square granite bricks and they were put in the street end down — creating a long-lasting, and deep stone that would never wear away. …

I only know the cobblestones here are so massive because I tried to dig one out to keep! I couldn’t do it. Too massive. Too heavy. Too deeply seated in 1600 soil! …

They just covered up the old cobblestones again. They’ll be hidden for the next 30 years until they re-pave it all again.

Here we go!  Caught, in situ, exposed cobblestones half-dead under hot, new, asphalt — and a burning morning sun — but now also half-alive for forever and a half-life, exposed, and memorialized here in this article!

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The Disabled Defense: Canes and Wheelchairs

I am a wide supporter of the disabled and devices that help them live better and easier lives. However, in the last few years, I’ve witnessed odd behavior on the streets, and in public gathering spaces, that sounds an alarm of concern. Some people in wheelchairs — actually, the person pushing the wheelchair, not the rider — and those who use canes, are beginning to use those facilitation devices as weapons!

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Fitness and Health Rankings by City

I love it when cities are shamed for the bad behavior and poor performance of their citizenry, and now we have empirical evidence of the fitness index of some of our major residential areas.  Out of the top 50 urban cores, the New York City metro area placed 30th.  Not so great.

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New Orleans Discrimination Against Disabled Children

Is New Orleans a cursed city?  The Katrina Report suggested there is still a deep and lingering discrimination against the ultimate revival of that important, Southern, American, core.  Now we have reports from the field that disabled children are being discriminated against within the urban seawall.

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Litter Bugging

I was walking home one afternoon recently and had a couple of big heavy bags loaded with groceries. I would stop every now and again to adjust the load because I probably overdid it — there’s a good reason the conventional wisdom is to never shop when you are hungry. While walking, I observed a man several feet ahead of me taking sips of coffee from a cup, who abruptly stopped walking. He took a final sip of his drink and put the cup upside down on a hedge in front of someone’s home before dashing off and going to his own apartment building.

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