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New York City 1992 [Feb. 24th, 2010|06:35 am]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |awakeawake]

Direct Link to YouTube video

Of all the videos I have posted to YouTube this video of New York City 1992 amazes me. I wasn't going to upload it at all as I didn't find it terribly interesting but in the two years since I uploaded it the video has received close to 3,000 views and 17 ratings of 5 five stars with comments such as:-

"it's funny how most of the cars back then were so boxey looking lol i never noticed it back then when i was little"

"Ah, 1992 was a good year. My wife and I had just gotten engaged and we used to drop into Manhattan every weekend. Better days back then--no blackberries, no annoying cell phones and, in the streets, no goddamn bulky-ass, repulsive-looking SUVs, either! Man, we miss those days..."

"lol, 1992, the year i was born"

Boy does this make me feel old (well I am - let's face it). This video was recorded in the good years when Reader's Digest was making huge amounts of money and as Systems Accountant I was sent on a first class trip to New York to learn about Commander FDC (a global consolidation package used by the company to quickly consolidate financial figures from around the globe). I flew first class (it was compulsory) and took a personal side trip to Mexico City on an invitation from Ivan (whom I met on a ship in 1976 just before I joined the Digest). Ivan migrated to Mexico to get married. I visited the HQ in "Pleasantville" and was driven from the airport to the five star hotel in a chauffeur driven limousine.

in the year 2010 Reader's Digest is emerging from bankruptcy hoping to survive with what some are calling "junk bonds", is vacating it's premises in "Pleasantville" and has seen the UK company placed into Adminstration.

I uploaded this video to YouTube in December 2007 having transcribed it from the tape seized by the New South Wales police 13 years earlier. I explained to them it was nothing more than video taken on a trip to the United States. I explained that it was completely inoffensive to which they commented "that's for us to judge - not for you".

Of over 100 videos I have uploaded to YouTube the most viewed is a ten minute condensed version of the "RC" (once "R" rated) film Salo - A film by Pier Pasolini (Condensed) with over 141,000 views and 89 ratings. It is "banned" in Australia. This doesn't mean you can't legally own it, purchase it or view it in New South Wales. This is the Chinese version and being ethnic wasn't rated by the Classification Board of the OFLC. It cost $15 and the guy who sold it to me explained it was in Italian and the only subtitles were in French.

[User Picture]From: acelightning
2010-02-24 09:52 am (UTC)
New York City simply has no equal anywhere else. when the aliens come to invite us to join the Galactic Confederation, they will immediately recognize that New York is the capital of the planet, in spite of conflicting political claims. and i have spent my entire life with NYC "just over the horizon", except for the times when i actually lived in the city. i'd forgotten, if i ever knew, that you had visited New York, but i'm glad to know that you did. everyone should see the city at least once in their lives!

i'm surprised how little has changed since 1992 - there are even still plenty of taxis that look like that. Rockefeller Center, where the skating rink is, is the same, except i think the big building that towers over the plaza - 30 Rockefeller Plaza - is now called the GE Building. i worked in that building from 1971 to 1973, at the now-vanished radio station WNBC, and occasionally at the NBC radio network.

you also took video of the Empire State Building, which is once again the tallest building in NYC. the Empire State Building has always been one of my favorite places in the entire world. they recently re-opened the upper "observatory" to the public (for an additional admission fee), and i have plans to go there sometime in the next few months. long ago, almost all the TV and FM-radio stations had their transmitters at the Empire State Building, in a little room above that topmost observation chamber. when the Twin Towers were built, they were a little taller and had more space available, so most of the transmitters were relocated there. after 9/11, though, the stations had to scramble to get back on the air, and many of them returned to the Empire State Building. they were using the observatory room for extra space. apparently, though, the need for that extra space is done with, so they re-opened it to the public. that makes me very, very happy!

of the scenes in your video, perhaps the area that has changed the most is Times Square. it got "cleaned up", decked out with neon, and turned into an attraction for tourists. the sleazier activities have all moved to other neighborhoods nearby.

always the same, always different, New York endures.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2010-02-24 11:29 am (UTC)
I know that I've been to New York at least three times Ace :-)

The first visit was in 1967 just a few weeks after I migrated to Toronto Canada and I went there for the jazz (and the major jazz clubs were still in operation in those days). I heard Archie Schepp at the Blue Note and one of my favourites - alto saxophonist Lee Konitz at a Sunday afternoon session at the Half Note cafe. I took in Sun Ra and his Arkestra on the lower East Side (I was the only white person in the club but they didn't seem to care. I was told that I shouldn't visit the lower east side but I did. I can recall that I stayed in a cheap hotel which claimed fame as being the or (a) home of American baseball (perhaps it was football). I also took a tour around the Hudson River and was staggered at the beauty of the river in the least polluted spots on "the other side" as I prefer to call it. The guy on the Canadian border looked at me with some suspicion noting that I'd only been in Canada as a migrant for a few weeks and already I was jaunting off to the United States. As a migrant to Canada with a "landed immigrant" visa I didn't need a visa to enter the United States and took advantage of the "right of passage" on numerous occassions while in lived in Canada e.g out to meet my uncle in Maine and his family (Saco), trips by VW down to Knoxville in Tennesee, and a couple of major trips including a Christmas period drive down through Detroit via Route 66 to San Francisco where I met up with a long time pen friend (who was nicer to write too than to actually meet). I tried to interest her in a trip down to the border of Mexico travelling through Central America but that was a long long time ago.... :-)

I believe the second trip was a year earlier than the 1992 video and I believe I may have explained to your sometime in the past that I took a train trip to Pleasantville station expecting to see the Reader's Digest building but it wasn't anywhere to be seen (not surprising as Reader's Digest hadn't had anything but a post office box in Pleasantville since about 1935 when they moved to the location they are currently vacating. I almost certainly went up the Empire State Building on that trip and climbed the stairway to the top of the Statue of Liberty and of course a 5 cent ferry ride to Statten Island (fare unchanged since 1967).

The 1992 trip was a luxury trip at the expense of Reader's Digest. I was taken to the actual Digest building and viewed their computer system and associated technology with awe. They had video screens of TV from almost everywhere in the United States and the computer was huge and didn't require computer operators to run. I was also shown the art work that hung on the walls and which the founders were proud of and met and had friendly conversations with my counterpart in Canada about the accounting systems we were using at the time.

The Digest arranged a gratis trip to watch Les Miserables off Broadway which was very nice of them (I thought).

And yes I ventured up the "twin towers" but not right to the top which was closed due to inclement weather and noted aircraft taking off and landing from the three airports which serve New York City (including Newark which had been upgraded since my trip the previous year - and much more luxurious).

There's some intersting video in that clip of Central Station which had recently been refurbished and I was present when the controversial mayor of New York opened it to the public. It appears they had cleaned the dirt and the grime from the windows and Central Station (in the video) was then allegedly the cleanest it had been in several years.

I had visions of aircraft crashing into skyscrapers for a few years after visiting the Twin Towers. My mind registered the fact that there was nothing but air space between the airports and the towers and I stood there thinking "what if..." but it was only a "what if..."

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2010-02-26 10:29 am (UTC)
the Circle Line sightseeing cruises are still very popular with visitors. while escorting out-of-towners in NYC, i have found that the Circle Line (the classic one that goes all the way around Manhattan Island) is a wonderful overview of the city, with the tour narrator supplying interesting bits of history and information about many world-famous landmarks. it's also good for people who may not have the stamina to trudge all over town; furthermore, you enjoy the entire experience while sitting down, in an enclosed space with heating or air conditioning as necessary, with rest rooms and a snack bar on the boat.

they've just recently re-opened the stairway to the top of the Statue of Liberty - after 9/11 they closed it to tourists, and you could only go inside the pedestal building, which contains a museum. i always felt that was not really worth the price of the ferryboat to the island. to climb up the statue, you have to order tickets in advance, and get there early. (i did the climb once, when i was 16.) i prefer the sight of our very own Goddess from any vantage point where i can see Her full height and magnificence. and, while many Americans know part of the poem on the plaque inside the pedestal - the part that begins, "Give me your tired, your poor...", which is the second half - i long ago memorized the entire poem, because i find the first half even more meaningful.

the Staten Island Ferry is also still going strong. for a long time, the fare for pedestrians kept pace with the subway fare (which was also 5 cents for quite a while); the ferry also carried cars, for a higher fare. i think they stopped carrying cars after the terminal building on the Manhattan side burned down, because that left them with no facility for moving the cars onto the boat. they rebuilt the terminal, but i guess there just wasn't very much need for a car ferry any more. but back during my mis-spent youth, a cheap date would be to ride back and forth on the ferry at night - in those days, you didn't have to pay each time you made the trip, if you just turned around inside the terminal building. in the summer, the topmost deck, exposed to the breeze and rather dimly lit, was a very pleasant place for young lovers.

i understand that most of the formerly open space inside Grand Central Terminal is now a "marketplace", with booths selling everything from bulk spices to designer neckties.

and, while the view of planes going in and out of all three major airports might have implied that planes could easily hit the buildings by mistake, in reality those airplanes are constrained to very precisely defined patterns. it was the deviation from the patterns, moments before impact, that finally made the air traffic controllers aware that something was very wrong.

(have you figured out by now just how fond of the city i am?)

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2010-02-27 08:11 am (UTC)
They still call it the "Circle Line" - Amazing. That's the mob that were running the cruises back in 1967.

I liked New York for it's jazz. Being a jazz fan the "Big Apple" was just that and nothing have prevented me from making a quick trip when I migrated to Canada.

It is also horribly cold in winter. In the video I posted I could hardly hold the camera even with thick gloves due to the cold and it wasn't even snowing.

I like Greenwich Village but was disappointed that they seem to have built some grotty modern apartments and a supermarket there which in my view destroyed (to some extent) the atmosphere of Greenwich Village. In a sense Katoomba here in New South Wales shares some of the same "feeling" as "The Village". They won't allow Maccers to build fast food outlets and Katoomba is a haven for artists.

New York is also known to me as being a town of a multitude of cultural activities (other than jazz) and of object wealth and poverty not seen here in Sydney.

I enjoyed my walk over the Brooklyn Bridge on one of the more recent trips.

I prefer it to San Francisco which is grossly over-rated and Los Angeles which is just "gross"

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2010-03-01 11:37 am (UTC)
as far as i know, it's been the "Circle Line" ever since it began. they also used to run the "Day Line", which was a leisurely ride up the Hudson River, making a couple of stops, up to West Point (where the US Army academy is), where the boat would turn around and go back downriver, making the same stops. the stop before West Point was Bear Mountain State Park, which is very scenic, and has picnic areas, a "lodge" with a restaurant and other facilities, and hiking trails for those who are so inclined. i don't know when the Day Line stopped running, but it was a long time ago.

though Greenwich Village is picturesque and "bohemian", even bohemians need to buy groceries. and New York is always changing... an old building gets torn down, a new and very different one gets built, or an existing place changes owners and instead of a hair salon, it's an Ethiopian restauraunt or a place that sells hand-made jewelry.

and that is also related to the incredible diversity of cultural experiences one can find in New York. there is, of course, Broadway, and the symphony and the Metropolitan Opera, and too many museums to mention, and jazz, folk, rock, and less easily categorized forms of music - and don't forget dance! and poetry readings. and street festivals of every imaginable ethnicity... and restaurants of every imaginable ethnicity. (there are at least two Tibetan restaurants that i know of.) this diversity is why i consider the city the capital of the planet.

New York is in the "temperate" climate zone, which means it's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter, but spring and fall can be wonderful ;-)

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2010-03-01 06:54 pm (UTC)
We have culture here in Sydney too !

We have the Sydney Opera House where one of my favourites jazz saxophonists is playing at 8pm on Sunday 7th. March (Wayne Shorter)

I booked yesterday morning via TicketMaster - %57.50 in the circle Row W which is just two rows in front of Row Z which is about as far back from the platform as it's possible to get :-)

Still I don't wish to see his wrinkles - just listen to his music.

Sydney is (very) hot in Summer and (quite) cold in Winter too. Here's some recent nude art which took place in front of the Opera House. I'll use the Twitter short URL spread around by Phil Argy (former president of the Australian Computer Society). It appears to be followed by the recent Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras which has become as much a symbol of Sydney as the Opera House or the Harbour Bridge.


Mr. Argy's tweet :-


Oh and he seems to agree with me about Kevin Rudd. I retweeted him and he retweeted back to the #nocleanfeed hashtag.


I realise bohemians have to aat but they shouldn't be frequenting grotty supermarkets. When my brother was "bohemian" it was frothy coffee and anarchy. BTW: Alan's cat Charlie died on Saturday and I rang Trevor on Sunday to get an update. Trevor had placed Charlies remains in ice and has decided to have Charlie cremated and the ashes returned to be with "Twinkle" - one of Alan's older cats who died some years ago. Trevor said he didn't have the strength to bury Charlie.

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[User Picture]From: bobbain
2010-02-25 09:52 pm (UTC)

I might add that the NSW police had some vague intention of reporting the contents of the New York and Mexico videotapes to Interpol (sigh).

Filming in at or around railway stations can be considered an offence !!

I am not now nor have ever been a terrorist.

A year ago I had to explain to a police office (Parramatta) that my attempted filming of the local court at the Parramatta legal complex (it's huge) didn't mean that I had criminal intent with regards to terrorism.

Fortunately he accepted my explanation and walked away giggling !

There's an entry in this journal regarding the Parramatta legal complex somewhere in this journal. It was at that court that cartoons of the Simpsons were judged to be criminally offensive under New South Wales law.

In any case it's possible to view the whole Parramatta legal complex via Google Earth these days (sigh).

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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2010-02-26 10:33 am (UTC)
yes, photographing almost any major landmark from close in is likely to garner unwanted attention from the police (and/or "Homeland Security" personnel). the idea is that if you take pictures of bridges, court buildings, important skyscrapers, and the like, you will be able to scrutinize the pictures to determine the best places to put your explosive devices. buy the picture postcards instead - they're usually much better photos anyway.

oh, and Google Maps/Google Earth blur out some especially "sensitive" spots, or deliberately show them at slightly incorrect locations.

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