I am in the midst of making plans to visit New York City this spring after having stumbled across The High Line Park website earlier today. Few things catch my interest as much as this incredible idea for a park built on an abandoned rail line elevated to pass over city streets full of traffic below. What a brilliant solution to a tough problem.
As the city takes the shape of the needs of the current residents, there are bound to be problems that arise. Instead of investing good money into tearing down the elevated rail, it was thought that this could be the site of a public park in a locale where real estate is a commodity few can afford, and where green space is scarce.
Here is a history of the High Line as it is posted on their website:
1847 The City of New York authorizes street-level railroad tracks down Manhattan’s West Side.
1851 – 1929 So many accidents occur between freight trains and street-level traffic that 10th Avenue becomes known as Death Avenue. For safety, men on horses, called the West Side Cowboys, ride in front of trains waving red flags.
1929 After years of public debate about the hazard, the City and State of New York and the New York Central Railroad agree on the West Side Improvement Project, which includes the High Line. The entire project is 13 miles long, eliminates 105 street-level railroad crossings, and adds 32 acres to Riverside Park. It costs over $150 million in 1930 dollars—more than $2 billion today.
1934 The High Line opens to trains. It runs from 34th Street to St. John’s Park Terminal, at Spring Street. It is designed to go through the center of blocks, rather than over the avenue, to avoid creating the negative conditions associated with elevated subways. It connects directly to factories and warehouses, allowing trains to roll right inside buildings. Milk, meat, produce, and raw and manufactured goods come and go without causing street-level traffic.
1950s Growth of interstate trucking leads to a drop in rail traffic, nationally and on the High Line.
1960s The southernmost section of the High Line is demolished.
1980 The last train runs on the High Line pulling three carloads of frozen turkeys.
Mid-1980s A group of property owners lobbies for demolition of the entire structure. Members of this group own land under the High Line that was purchased at prices reflecting the High Line's easement. Peter Obletz, a Chelsea resident, activist, and railroad enthusiast, challenges demolition efforts in court and tries to re-establish rail service on the Line.
1999 Friends of the High Line is founded by Joshua David and Robert Hammond, residents of the High Line neighborhood, to advocate for the High Line's preservation and reuse as public open space.
2001 - 2002 The Design Trust for Public Space provides a fellowship for architect Casey Jones to conduct research and outreach for "Reclaiming the High Line," a planning study jointly produced by the Design Trust and Friends of the High Line, which lays out planning framework for the High Line's preservation and reuse.
March 2002 Friends of the High Line gains first City support—a City Council resolution advocating for the High Line's reuse.
October 2002 A study done by Friends of the High Line finds that the High Line project is economically rational: New tax revenues created by the public space will be greater than the costs of construction.
December 2002 The City files with the federal Surface Transportation Board for railbanking, making it City policy to preserve and reuse the High Line.
January – July 2003 An open ideas competition, "Designing the High Line," solicits proposals for the High Line's reuse. 720 teams from 36 countries enter. Hundreds of design entries are displayed at Grand Central Terminal. (View Competition Entries)
July 2003 Friends of the High Line and the City jointly testify before the Surface Transportation Board in support of High Line reuse.
March – September 2004 Mayor Bloomberg announces City funding for the High Line. Friends of the High Line and the City of New York conduct a process to select a design team for the High Line. The selected team is James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an architecture firm, and experts in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, public art, and other disciplines. (View the High Line Design)
September 2004 The State of New York, CSX Transportation, Inc. (the railroad company), and the City of New York jointly file with the Surface Transportation Board to railbank the High Line.
April 2005 An exhibition showcasing the preliminary design by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro opens at the Museum of Modern Art.
June 2005 The Surface Transportation Board issues a Certificate of Interim Trail Use for the High Line, authorizing the City and railroad to conclude railbanking negotiations.
November 2005 The City takes ownership of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc., (which donates the structure), and the City and CSX sign a Trail Use Agreement. Taken together, these two actions effectively preserve the High Line south of 30th Street.
April 2006 Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line with the lifting of a rail track. The first phase of construction on Section 1 of the High Line begins. Construction begins on Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to 20th Street). Tracks, ballast, and debris are removed, and the tracks are mapped, tagged, and stored (some will be reinstalled in the park landscape). This is followed sandblasting of steel, repairs to concrete and drainage systems, and installation of pigeon deterrents underneath the Line. (View Construction Photos)
2008 Landscape Construction begins on Section 1, with construction and installation of pathways, access points, seating, lighting, and planting.
June 2008 Final designs are released for the High Line's transformation to a public park. (View the Final Designs)
June 9, 2009 Section 1 (Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street) opens to the public.
June 8, 2011 Section 2 (West 20th Street to West 30th Street) opens to the public.
April 25, 2012 The New York City Planning Commission votes unanimously to approve a zoning text amendment that secures the eastern portion of the High Line at the Rail Yards, including the 10th Avenue Spur, as public open space.
July 25, 2012 The High Line at the Rail Yards is saved. The City of New York acquires the title to the third and final section of the High Line from CSX Transportation, Inc., which donated the final portion of the structure to the City.
September 20, 2012 Groundbreaking is celebrated on the High Line at the Rail Yards. Construction proceeds in three phases, with the first phase projected to open in 2014.
Spring 2014 Nick's first visit to The High Line. (Hopefully Mike will join me--I haven't asked him yet!)
I really can't wait to visit. Spring can't come soon enough! The main images above and below this entry link to The High Line Organization website. All the information you need can be found there.
I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
Mark Twain said it beautifully, "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ” Oh, so true!
I went to WalMart tonight to pick up some tea and ice cream (wonderful combo, I know), and was astonished at the level of happiness I saw in individuals who are very clearly and hopelessly ignorant. Now, I don't mean rude or stupid, although some of them could be, but I mean that they have no connection to the realities of humanity and the way it works.
They seem to go along, very happily, as large, lazy, junk eaters who only gain amusement out of being confronted by the ways of the world and other people. I marveled at the lack of concern about what others must think of them, and stood in wonderment at the self checkout as a woman devoured a melted carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream as she paid for her diabetic-coma-waiting-to-happen grocery bill with a food stamp card. She looked stress-free without a care in the world.
Meanwhile, I can't leave the house if I haven't showered and made myself presentable, even if it's just a trip to WalMart. I need to see a therapist twice a week to work on issues that stem as far back as my single digit childhood years. I am always stressed, and even have panic attacks. This leaves me thinking I've been living this life devastatingly wrong, and I am surely missing out on some secret. The secret of not giving a shit. If someone could clue me in to this awesome way of living, please do so in the comments. Thank you in advance!
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
I have been living in constant worry about what might happen if our economy collapses, which almost happened yesterday. Luckily, the government came to an agreement to put a stop to the shutdown, averting an economic crisis. The citizens of Venezuela, whose economy collapsed in the early 90's, were not so lucky, and were forced to find means to live where there were no means. In this TED Talk video, we find incredible ingenuity in the Venezuelan people, who took to an abandoned tower to build their homes. The "Tower of David" is a small city within a city, becoming home to hundreds of people, stores, taxis, and services like barber shops and electronics repair. It's rough around the edges, but it is so inspiring to see how these people adapted to the changing times, and utilized everything around them to make a "new normal." Here's one of my favorite TED Talks, "Ingenious Homes in Unexpected Places," given by Iwan Baan:
Xerox system failures essentially gave a green light to unlimited spending on food stamp cards at Walmart on Saturday. Store managers at Walmarts in Louisiana called Walmart corporate headquarters on Saturday to report huge throngs of shoppers clearing the shelves as the result of a system outage at Xerox, the company who is contracted to process EBT (electronic benefit transfer of food stamps) transactions for the store, which granted unlimited credit to EBT recipients. It is unclear, even after the chaos died down, who will be responsible for the outrageous overspending. Xerox is arguing that they have documented policies and procedures for benefits processing during the event of a system outage. Walmart executives chose to override those policies to accept the EBT cards for the full value of all purchases. That, to me, leaves Walmart holding the bag. Walmart says the responsibility lies with Xerox, whose fault it was that the system went down in the first place. The outage was a result of a routine test gone wrong. Another bearer of responsibility should be the consumers, whose greedy motives led them to overindulge and live beyond their means for a moment. These customers represent the dictionary definition of dishonesty. Who do you think should be responsible for the overspending? Here's the full article from MSN:
Wal-Mart, Xerox blame each other for food stamps spree
Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
By Kathy Finn of Reuters
Throngs of shoppers flooded Wal-Mart stores in Louisiana on Saturday, buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
NEW ORLEANS — Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Xerox Corp blamed each other on Monday after Louisiana food stamp recipients stripped bare the shelves of some Walmart stores when a computer glitch left their debit cards with no limits.
Managers of Wal-Mart stores in the small, north Louisiana towns of Springhill and Mansfield alerted police on Saturday night that throngs of shoppers had flooded into the stores and were buying groceries using electronic benefit cards that contained no credit limits.
Food stamps glitch causes run at Wal-Mart 1 day ago 1:34 Views: 61k EBT cards are debit-type cards issued under the state's food stamp program and coded to show the amount of money available for individuals to spend. Food stamps are a federal government subsidy program for low-income people that is administered by the states.
When word got out Saturday that the EBT cards were showing no limits, card holders rushed to area Wal-Marts to take advantage.
"Some people had eight or 10 shopping carts full of groceries," Springhill Police Chief Will Lynd said on Monday.
Xerox said on Saturday that its systems that process EBT transactions suffered an outage stemming from routine testing of backup generators that malfunctioned. Louisiana was one of 17 states affected by the outage.
Kayla Whiting, a spokeswoman at Wal-Mart's Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters, pointed to Xerox as the source of the problem and referred further questions to Xerox.
Xerox corporate spokesman Bill McKee provided a written company statement saying that Xerox has a "documented process for retailers like Wal-Mart to follow in response to EBT outages."
But the statement left unclear who would cover the unauthorized spending, and it referred further questions to Wal-Mart.
Louisiana officials said they had no intention of being left holding the bag. "The outage was the result of failures by our contractor, Xerox," said Trey Williams, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services.
He said emergency procedures in place with Xerox allow retailers to call a phone number and receive authorization for purchases any time the EBT system is down. "Some retailers chose not to follow the process," he said. "Those businesses are only being reimbursed for the (maximum) amounts on individual cards," he said.
Williams said that amounts transacted above the cards' available balances were returned to Wal-Mart marked "as insufficient funds."
He could not provide an estimate of the total amount of overspending or say who will cover it in the end. "That's a conversation between Xerox and the retailer," he said.
CARTS FULL OF GROCERIES
Springhill's Lynd arrived at his town's Wal-Mart store at about 7 p.m. local time and found a few hundred shoppers jamming checkout lines with carts filled to overflowing.
Lynd said he told the manager that the store had a right to refuse service, but the manager said she had contacted Wal-Mart headquarters and was told to accept the cards.
The shoppers "decimated the grocery section of Wal-Mart," Lynd said.
The shoppers broke no laws, Lynd said, adding that police intervention was not required to disperse the crowd. At about 9 p.m., Wal-Mart said that the glitch had been fixed and the EBT cards were again showing appropriate spending limits.
"When they heard the announcement, people just left their carts in place and walked out of the store," Lynd said.
Mansfield Assistant Police Chief Gary Hobbs reported a similar scene in his community. He said that several other grocery stores in the area temporarily stopped accepting EBT cards when they became aware of the glitch, but Wal-Mart continued.
Related: Wal-Mart turns to 'made in USA'
A poll released by Public Policy Polling reveals a hilarious list of all the unpleasant things that people like more than the current Congress. People were directly asked: “What do you have a higher opinion of: Congress or cockroaches?” And so it went, for 25 questions.
A total of 830 people were surveyed, and said they liked a number of detested creatures and institutions more than the U.S. Congress. In the end, the Washington Times writes, “Congress is less popular than carnies, root canals and colonoscopies, but more popular than the ebola virus, meth labs and gonorrhea.”
According to Public Policy Polling, here is a list of things people now like more than Congress:
I, personally, like a lot of detestable things more than congress, but, being a gentleman, I won't say what they are. ;) Pass this along to your friends, family, and coworkers. It's all fun and games when polling like this takes place, but there is a definite impending doom if the government can't agree on a budget. Please search the net for local petitions, write to your state reps, mayors, and local officials and tell them that you want this to end. Let your voice be heard!
Something To Take Your Mind Off Of The Government: This Crazy Website Shows You How to Find, Buy, and Sell Drugs
I don't know how it exists, but I think a stop should be put to "Silk Road Drugs," a website that tells you in detail--with the use of blogs, programs, and comments from users--how to find, buy, and sell drugs. It has features on the grades of drugs for connoisseurs, search functions, and a detailed method of installation to avoid evidence ever being tied to the pc of origin. I think it's totally cray that this exists. I'm scared to download it to tell you any more about it, so if anyone does, let me know what it's all about. I'm curious, but not enough to get arrested. This is a great article from the New York Times about the creator getting busted, so maybe it's not functioning. Let me know in the comments if you know.
Come on. I know every business has the right to collect a fee for use of its intellectual property, but doesn't the New York Times make enough money on advertising to make the site free? Or at least a little more viewing than 10 articles a day. I get at least 4 e-mail updates from them each day, each e-mail outlining 10-15 news stories and articles, also full of advertisements. If I can't read all of the articles in a daily digest for free, what's the point in sending it to me? I think I see enough advertising to warrant a free membership. That could be an option. A free membership granting me, or anyone for that matter, access to all the articles linked to in the e-mail digests and the option to pay to see anything more beyond that. The membership isn't that expensive, though...Should I just pay for it and quit bitching? Argh.
This list of the 12 Worst Supermarkets in America is fairly accurate, based on the ones I know. Acme used to be very popular with the parents of the baby boomers, but since that's a dying generation, Acme is in a steady decline as a result. Its customer base is basically dying or can't afford expensive Acme prices on their limited budget. Pathmark has also seen its day.
I don't agree that WalMart is the second worst, though. They're just super busy and cheap, so they have to sell lots of products and be really busy to be profitable, and that might result in some inconvenience. I expect a crowded store that might be out of one or two things to come along with that, and I set out knowing that's going to happen. That's the business, and everyone will have to get used to it.
This amazing new Chipotle Mexican Grill ad on YouTube depicts a scarecrow as a farmer who gets a glimpse into the world of corporate farming, genetically engineered foods, and inhumane treatment of farm animals for the purpose of maximizing profits in restaurant chains across the globe.
The short film is accompanied by a track of Fiona Apple singing "Pure Imagination", a cover of a song from the Willy Wonka movie soundtrack. Stunning. Visit their website for more information.
> New York Times: Debating the Case for Force
>Huffington Post: Kerry fumbles over "Boots on the Ground"
Boy, John Kerry is looking old these days. Maybe it's due, in part, to all the work he's doing to get us into the Syrian civil war. Everywhere I turn, John Kerry is talking about reasons to strike. If that isn't enough, he's become the president's mouthpiece saying, "He believes we need to move. He’s made his decision. Now it’s up to the Congress of the United States to join him in affirming the international norm with respect to enforcement against the use of chemical weapons.”
Good for him, and good for you, John Kerry. This pisses me off. When I'm angry about something, I find it hard to write about, but in this case, I don't believe we need to use force against Syria. It's not going to stop Assad from gassing his own people yet again, and I believe it'll provoke the man into unleashing greater force upon his people and maybe the people who are attacking him--which would be us. America. I don't want bombs falling on Philadelphia, or any other city for that matter. 9/11 was bad enough.
Assad's ties with Russia worry me. If we do go ahead with a strike, that is if the houses approve it, are we risking Russian retaliation? Russia is much bigger than Syria, and far more powerful. Is anyone thinking of the consequences here? Or does Kerry just like to see himself on TV acting all important?
I am against a war. Are you?
Update: 09/07/13 - This New York Times article calls John Kerry "the Obama administration's chief salesman for a punitive strike", which is totally accurate. It describes what Kerry is doing to sway the opinions of European nations.
> Huffington Post Article from 9/1/13
> Video - Kerry's Speech and Commentary 8/30/13
> What is Sarin?
We learned today, in a speech from Secretary of State John Kerry, that Sarin, a nerve agent, was used on the Syrian people within the last 24 hours. Proof comes from hair and blood test results done on first responders. Kerry says that this is the case they are building to justify military action against Syrian President Assad.
There is proof that some citizens were told to don gas masks that are used in the event of a chemical attack. Kerry also says there is proof of when, where, and by whom this chemical attack was launched, it is clear that the intent was to seriously harm or kill innocent Syrians, and there is high confidence that it was launched by the Syrian government.
It was made very clear today that although Obama called for Congressional approval to launch an air attack, he has the ultimate approval with or without congress. It seems, if you read between the lines, that Kerry is basically saying that Obama plans to go forward with this even if Congress comes back with the decision not to strike, and this new attack is just fuel for the fire. It's almost certain that another chemical attack will occur, and if so, we may be fighting in the Syrian civil war before Congress even has a chance to decide when they return from recess.
Tiny Life & Tiny House Movement
Have you ever looked around and thought, "I don't need all of this stuff", or that you could manage to live, even thrive, without all of the excess baggage weighing you down? When you whittle down what you really need, you'll see that all the crap you really wanted and had to have looks a little meaningless.
When you've finished whittling and you have a pile of wood shavings all around you, look at what you're left with. A bed, a laptop, a few clothes, something to make food with, something to clean yourself in, etc. I've lived pretty minimally all my life. One of my favorite activities growing up was going through all my stuff and getting rid of or donating what I didn't want. I know, I was a boring little kid.
Too much stuff makes me antsy, and to me, there's no excuse for clutter. I don't understand people who want to keep stuff like thousands of old newspapers in piles around their house. What good are they doing? What do you realistically intend to do with them? If they've been sitting there for years, and you haven't had the inclination to read, sell, or donate them, why are they there? People feel comforted by stuff for some reason, and it baffles me.
The reason I brought this up is because one of my favorite blogs, Twisted Sifter, posted a link to a project where an architecture student converted an old school bus into a mobile home. As I got to thinking, I realized I could totally do that. I could live in a bus. If you're someone who turns their nose up at the notion, really ask yourself why. What are you afraid to part with? Would you die without it? Probably not. Entertain the thought for awhile and imagine what you'd get rid of and how much lighter your life would be. Not to mention how much money you'd be saving in the future. Make a list: start out with the things you've been meaning to donate or throw away. Life doesn't have to be complicated, we just make it complicated.
"Now It's Happening"
I just finished watching "Ayn Rand & The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged", and am truly frightened, and truly angry. Have you read "Atlas Shrugged"? If not, you should. Every thinking man or woman should read the book. After you have, watch this documentary. There's not much to review here, it's just a handful of Ayn Rand proponents essentially outlining her philosophy, and the how the predictions of "Atlas Shrugged" have come true in the present day economy and society as a whole. If you know what's going on in the world, you'll know that it's alarmingly similar to the plot of "Atlas Shrugged", and that's the crux of the film.
Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism states: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." How could you disagree with that? Everywhere I hear that capitalism is failing, or capitalism has failed, but it's not the fault of capitalism that we're hovering on the edge of economic disaster. It's the fault of every politician who makes a new policy to augment or repair the damage done by the policy set in place before it. It's like a snowball rolling down a mountain, collecting size and speed as it rolls. Government better quit while it's ahead, because the next policy it creates may do us all in.
You can call me paranoid, but it's so odd that everything Ayn Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged is coming true today with astonishing similarity and speed. The first book of Ayn Rand's that I read was "Anthem" in my freshman year of high school. I'll never forget the impact that book had on me. The importance of the individual, the power of the word ego, and the proud use of the tiny word "I". Individualism is the code by which I've lived since then, and I have Ayn Rand to thank for it. Our government needs to take the same cue I did 16 years ago and loosen the hold it has on the productive individual. I pray they do, because I don't want to be around to see the mess politicians will make of America if they don't heed the warning in "Atlas Shrugged". A strike like that will be the end of a nation that was once the greatest in the world.
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.