A Nieuw Yorke Sojourn {in Six Parts} Part, The Fourth: 'THE GILDED CAGE'

A Nieuw Yorke Sojourn {in Six Parts} Part, The Fourth: 'THE GILDED CAGE'

"Mine is no callous shell, I have instant conductors all over me whether I pass or stop, They seize every object and lead it harmlessly through me.

I merely stir, press, feel with my fingers, and am happy, To touch my person to some one else's is about as much as I can stand."                                       ~Walt Whitman From "Song Of Myself", published 1855.


Have you ever in your mortal life experienced a building that was no longer in existence?- 

{Halfway through the preceding question, we realize The Author's voice is coming from BELOW OUR VERY FEET. As we look down we immediately leap off of a MANHOLE COVER with such instantaneous speed and resolve that we may not quite pay attention to his next few words- proudly recounting our nieuwly discovered AGILITY! O The things our feet can DO! Alas, there were no witnesses at this ungodly time...*sigh*. Once The Author has finished climbing out of the sewer, dusting himself off, and closing the cover over a FLEETING GREENISH GLOW ~which is all but lost once the manhole is closed~ he beckons for the shaft to point the direction in which he now stalks through the alley ways. His tone is closer to a whisper as though he were avoiding the ears of someone in particular. He continues...}

In this overwhelming N'Yorke citadel experiment- there is ONE TOWERING DEATH in ARCHITECTURAL BEAUTY from which we have NEVER recovered. It was so MONSTROUS that it practically invented the consciousness as we know it of the "LANDMARKING" or saving of historical buildings. For after this magnificent place was destroyed, N'Yorke vowed never to let it happen again so easily--

and indirectly... So did the rest of the nation.

This building must have been quite beautiful to have single handely caused all that no?

Of course I am talking about the Olde Pennsylvania Station.

ERECTED IN THE YEAR OF THEIR LORDE NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TEN, IT STRETCHED A VAST TWO CITY BLOCKS ABOVE GROUND FROM 31st TO 33rd STREET AND SEVENTH TO EIGHTH AVENUE. IT'S GLORIOUS BEAUX-ARTS EDIFACE WAS LINED WITH HUGE GREEK COLUMNS AND CROWNED WITH ROMANTIC SCULPTURAL FIGURES. It was built to be a 'WORLD CLASS RAIL STATION', evoking the Olden Days' Stations of Europe. The celebration of the grand romance between the worlds nieuw and olde. The symbolic entrance of the 'tempest tossed' immigrant to N'Yorke, THE HOME OF EXHILES. Inside there were more sunbeams emanating from the windowed ceiling then her glorious little sister Grand Central could imagine. TO ARRIVE IN NIEUW YORKE VIA THE OLDE PENNSYLVANIA WAS MAYBE EQUALLED BY ARRIVAL VIA GRAND CENTRAL AND AKIN TO ARRIVING TO ONE'S OWN DREAMS. IT WAS N'YORKE CELEBRATING THE FREEDOM THAT IS YE DWELLING WITHIN THE CITY. Why one might have walked in and experienced Shakespeare,

"This most excellent canopy the air look you, this brave o'er hanging firmament, this majestical roof, fretted with golden fire."

...And in 1963 the city completely demolished it.


And BURIED all it's storied churubic statues and pillars into a SWAMPY BOG somewhere in 'Jersey. All in favor of submerging Olde Pennsylvania into an inferior version of her past glory with a structure that would make her utterly functional and nothing more. Where she once greeted us with proud allure, RISING ABOVE GROUND LIKE A GATEWAY TO MOUNT OLYMPUS- she now disassociates lifeless and small, a windowless catacomb that beams into your skull with countless fluorescent track lights. Her capacity gives over to overwhelm as she cannot handle the immense crowds churning in and out of the city. And those who churn in only want to join those going out as soon as is humanly possible. And Vincent Scully, Professor Extraordinaire of Architectural Zeitgeist that he was- was certainly among the LEAVING THRONGS as he lamented...

"We used to enter the city like Gods- now we scurry in like rats."

Indeed when I would come or go it was awful to do it via Nieuw Pennsylvania Station. By the time I made it to the streets- my eyes were shot. SHE HAS WILTED TO A FRACTION OF THE SIZE OF THE FULL-FIGURED GODDESS SHE ONCE WAS. What she has now become is a sobering reminder of a DARK TIME.


{The GREEN LIGHT we glimpsed from the Prior Manhole Cover has returned behind us. The Author continues faster.}

...A Time when the city razed anything at all that wasn't NIEUW OR ULTRA- MODERN. Perhaps in essence, she blamed anyone but herself for the Crash of '29 but Nay! Not even our addiction to running head long into the shining future of a young stock market was to blame for the ensuing Depression of the Thirties. Where do we begin? Maybe 'twas the fact that we only thought about keeping up with demand.

The BULL of Wall Street BLOODLUSTED in a CAPITOLISTIC ORGY for ALL THINGS COW. And we filled the pasturesWith more and more meat machines, Who in turn ate the grass Faster than it could grow And then they ate the roots of the grassAnd there was nothing to hold the soil fast And Thus... It turned dry and blew off into the wind. Off into another time. Off into a Bob Dylan song from another time. And as the GREAT SPIRIT OF THE NOBLE SAVAGE once gaveth, he now tooketh awayeth and our Great Dust Bowl ranneth overeth, choking crops and COWING industries faster than you can say, "At least we still have the BEES."

And though N'Yorke eventually rescued herself with the help of the greatest Mayor in Herstory, Fiorella LaGuardia... She didn't survive completely intact. There was a rot in this lady's soul. She had become insecure in her Great Depression. She held out her boney hand to a nieuw beau- The Master Builder, Robert Moses, -"The Power Broker" {as the great Robert Caro christened him}.

{The Green Light appears again from behind!}

Yes I hath said the name. Thrice invoked from my Friendly Ghosties in the prior chapter it  were HE from which we now retreat! Yes my fair N'Yorke thought she had a "Sir in Gleaming Armor". Poor Fiorella had worked harder than anyone to woo her from him. 'The Little Flower' loved her. He threw himself into fighting for her. Alas he was but an ELECTED OFFICIAL with a limited time in office. And though he wielded the might of the Mayoral Office for an impressive twelve years it was not nearly as long as The Master Builder. Indeed she had found a tall hard man in him. Damn her. And damn the leash and collar now clamped about her neck. And boy did Moses and company let N'Yorke know what was 'wrong' with her. First she grew ashamed of her wrinkles.  And she discovered that she loved incessantly updating herself. She lived for a touch of the Modern. Well more than a touch as it were. Or maybe she believed this because her leash was being jerked by his power-hungry belligerence. She staged stoop sale after stoop sale. Get rid of all those olde things. SHE WAS DONE WITH MOTH BALLS! "I must buy nieuw things! 'Tis the only way I will be LOVED!" All her children were utterly at a loss... and the things that were lost...

{The Author is clearly becoming incensed. And the Green Light continues to grow brighter.}

O, The DESIGN of OLDE PENNSYLVANIA STATION, was an HOMAGE to OLDE and CLASSICAL EUROPE. It was a familiar place to the weary immigrant. A place to breathe whilst in this often exacerbating city. IT WAS AN OLDE WORLD WHISPER THAT CALMED THE ANXIETIES OF THE NIEUWEST OF N'YORKERS. It was the beacon that linked America to her Lineage. She greeted passengers of the Pennsylvania Railroad just as Grand Central does for the N'Yorke RailRoad. By the way- it was the very same arrogant prevailing winds who took out Olde Pennsylvania that tried to dispense with Grand Central as well but N'Yorke learned from the death of Olde Pennsylvania Station and swiftly found her voice with a robust nieuw Preservation Society working with Jackie Kennedy and Grand Central was saved yada yada... What is sad is Grand Central now stands alone in her glory next to the rotting corpse of her now subterranean and diminished Sister. The current and very submerged Pennsylvania Station is so small it is over crowded and claustrophobic. And if ye stand and look upon her and listen ye will hear her howl of lament:

"Sister, Sister, Long Long LOST. Now Just a basement Blister."


I passed by Pennsylvania Station many times. Always too heartbroken to get off.

{The Author about to weep-Suddenly BELLOWS FORTH...}


{The Green Light shrinks back. The Author chuckles with sentiment...}

She was a casualty of WAR. A war that said, "TRAIN TRAVEL IS OBSOLETE- A DINOSAUR- FOR tHE OLDE WORLD". But this brings us to the channel threading through this piece. The 'War of the WAYS'. FOR IT IS IN THE WAY OF GETTING AROUND TOWNE THAT ANSWERS THE AGE OLDE RURAL DWELLERS' QUESTION: Why would anyone LIVE in this CAGE ye call a CITY?!! Well to the Rural Dweller I would ask when was the last time they travelled the distance from Midtown to JFK Airport about 15 miles or so WITHOUT AN AUTO? HMMM?! Now how is THAT a cage? IMAGINE O rural one. Just you and your feet. The THINGS that our FEET can DO! No car and even better- No car insurance. And These so called 'cage birds' take the stairs up and down EVERYWHERE! The N'Yorker was meant to CLIMB and CLIMB when he/she is not riding the train! ...and there is driving too.

This is a N'YORKE sojourn by George! WE HAVE TWO IDEAL FORMS OF TRAVEL IN THIS TOWNE with which to most properly spirit you to your destinations: The Rail and the Road.

The Great N'YORKE SUB RAIL. You know this one well! Ye haven't arrived until ye step onto our underground/ elevated train.IT IS THE REALIZED DREAM OF CONSOLIDATION! For almost as soon as the great citidel invented her identity as the home of immigrants way the hell back when the Nieuw Amstredamm Consolate of some eighty-odd merchants voted {against Pietrus Stuyvesant's wishes} to allow the the first twenty-four Sephardic Jewish immigrants to live among the Gentiles- word spread around the land and across the sea that there was a tolerant place in the Nieuw World. Mozeltov!

And the great EXODUS began in N'Yorke's general direction {or the great IMPORTUS depending if you were here on the receiving end}. So how do you hold all the people's of the world in one place? Make it BIGGER! And so they ANNEXED Staten Island, The Bronx, Queens and grudgingly- Breuklyn all in one fell swoop in 1898 {and the senior residents of Breuklyn have eschewed voting the Republican ticket ever since}. A 'Greater N'Yorke' was born and they hoped to God that would be that. But the people of Manahatta still didn't MOVE OUT. Because why would THEY if YOU weren't going to walk over to Breuklyn YOURSELF.

But then...

{The Author checks behind his shoulder. Only the lights of lonely apartments and street lamps. He continues...}

Almost two decades later the FIRST UNDERGROUND TRAIN was built. ONCE, MERELY A LONG TOILING IDEA, IT WAS NOW FINALLY UNSHACKLED AND BOLSTERED PAST NAYSAYERS by the SNOWSTORM OF 1888 which had proven CATASTROPHIC to ALL ABOVE GROUND TRAVEL. And soon there was a tube rail BLASTING OFF to BREUKLYN! And now Breuklyn was as close to the South Street Harbor and the Five Points as MIDTOWN. And the great N'Yorke CIRCULATORY SYSTEM was born. Hallelujah! it was the life blood of a beautiful NIEUW bustling experiment. N'Yorke's muscles toned with a pulsing railway system filled with gleeful strap hangers cavorting in Yiddish and English and Spanish and German and...even Irish! And we were all affecting one another... AND... Whether ye went to Central Park or Breuklyn or wherever the Train took thee- it cost a NICKEL. This was a resounding message to the poor and the barely middle-class: "YOU ARE MASTERS OF THE CITY". The city had achieved democratic travel. You could buy a home in Rockaway and still work in Manahatta! What a beautiful thing the Subrail was. A cage? A CAGE?! PSHAW! N'Yorke was indeed the CITY OF TOMORROW for just as she would soon conquer the skies in the so-called Skyscraper wars of the 'Teens and the 'Twenties, so now was she going right through the bedrock below the city- unafraid to go toe to toe with the sewer rats.

Indeed this was the way to travel! Even the Irish were quieting down a bit. Ah but don't put away the shillelagh just yet my compatriots- the upward trajectory of the ideal city transit system was about to get a disastrous challenger...

This Sub Rail might have been the only way were it not challenged historically by...

{a man approaches with a piece of paper! hands it to The Author.}

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been informed that our challenger is delayed due to traffic on the Great Expressway a la Breuklyn- Queens.

Let me fill in with a story...

When I first came to N'Yorke, My mind was a wash with realizing a dream. I saw people living right on top of one another. These were such intricate arrangements of apartments and the different lifestyles of the residents that it finally did justice to the term 'apartment' comPLEX. For indeed it was COMPLEX! I saw smokin' mothers as in mothers who smoke while carrying laundry. Men and women of a Babel-like array of different cultures selling side by side at street markets just as you might find a street market in India or Europe or Jerusalem or wherever. And the streets were narrow and made of cobblestone. It is quite rare to find these areas now but they are there- this is Chapter Two's afore- mentioned City Of Ghosts. I speak of the Slums Ladies and Gentlemen. Though the 'slums' are now a rotten name, there is something so vitally human there that one inevitably thinks of the bleak alternative which destroyed them: HOUSING PROJECTS and OPEN HIGHWAYS.

In 1922, I stepped out of the Kosher Meat shop, winding through the vendor alleys and then I came to a... traffic light and a four way intersection of two six-lane highways. It is a massive force of numbing pavement. Every so often the black-top cracks and the road crews come in and stamp out the plants and restless earth underneath. And I think aloud, "I AM GOING TO CROSS THIS ENTIRE INTERSECTION TO GET TO THAT MALL IF IT TAKES ME TWENTY WHOLE MINUTES". And my Cell phone informs me of a text message. Confounditall. First the highway, then the traffic light, THEN THE CELLULAR. Another glorious N'Yorke day-dream of decades gone prior...interrupted. But I see the cars and the people are all from out of town. And over the years I wonder what it would be like to

leave TOWNE for HOME...EVERYDAY. *sigh*

And I start to see it is a HIGHER status to live in the GILDED 'WITHOUTSIDE' of TOWNE. The ability to say "TO HELL WITH YE O, EXACERBATING CITY!" at the end of every day seems to be a luxury as I take the overcrowded subway home WITHIN TOWNE. But if I live IN this Towne why do I more and more want to tell it such unkind things and WHY, when I go underground and am with the people again... Is it both a relief AND a dread? And I begin to see this back and forth state of mind as itself A GILDED ADDICTION. It becomes utterly Glamorous. The proud inward civil war. To be a soldier fighting and complaining in this war- AYE there is the N'Yorke State of Mind. No other place has that...

And the golden prison bars begin to creep up all around my vision.

O! Here's our challenger. Though the weight class is not a match for the train there are numbers to contend with.



At first it was the richman's toy. Unrealistic to the populous. A horseless Carriage? Priced higher than a farm?! PSHAW! Then Henry Ford took his belt off... and stretched it across a wondrous system of conveyors. And he made the ASSEMBLY LINE and forged a Nieuw belt buckle and he called it the "Model T". And 'twas now the everyman's toy. Indeed nothing could stop THAT train. And the Automobile bred like Fibonacci rabbits. And then the little streets couldn't be shared. And the modern society grew. And the old society bled into the alley ways. And the streets became the size of parking lots and indeed the congestion grew to the point where the cars appeared to be parked more than moving. And the streets needed to widen even more. And after the hiatus from all rational city development that was World War II, MOSES RETURNED TO AGAIN PART THE RED SEA AND LEAD HIS PEOPLE OUT OF EGYPT AND FORTH TO THE PROMISED LAND OF GREATER LONG ISLAND and then AGAIN! TO THE SUBURBS OF WEST CHESTER COUNTY.

{The Green Light begins to creep back into view}

Wait I'll back up. Half of that last sentence is true. Yes we have arrived my friends to the field General of the Automobile market: ROBERT "The Wrecking Ball" MOSES. Did he sell cars? Nope. He was a parks commissioner. Well that was the brilliant title he came in with at least. He sold HIGHWAYS. He was the ANNOINTED KING of that most powerful kind of DESTRUCTIVE N'Yorke Citizens:

Lives in the City to Work and make money yet HATES the City with every fiber of his being.

Ah this is where the N'Yorke Real Estate Development and City Design reaches the zenith of idealism before toppling into wanton greed and shame of its own Herstory.

Of all the N'Yorke lamb-clothedWOLVES- it was The Wrecking Ball who most effectively exacted his resentment upon the city of peoples. He gutted her cultured Railways and Alleys and he beat her bloody with bulldozers, jackhammers and wreckers balls. His gift of course in the beginning was to modernize the city during the Great Depression and that he did. He built bridges and highways of such dizzying industrial and architectural marvel that he attracted road-building prodigies from all over the globe. Besides his massive bridges like "Queensboro", "Verazano" and the MIGHTY "Triborough" among many others in his fifty year reign, he updated the roads for mass traffic. He also added to the traffic. What he never understood {or refused to admit} was that widening a road solved traffic congestion TEMPORARILY before it increased cars to bigger congestion. A road is a TRAFFIC FACTORY by its nature.

There is something worse though. The AUTOMOBILE has the ability to transfer a human as far in distance as is proportionate to the amount of time which she or he is willing to SIT and drive and {unlike a train which runs regulated to a track} in comparatively more directions of his or her choosing. Does this SCOPE of travel possibility begin to effect the way in which entire cities are built? Look at Houston where buildings sprout up anywhere- spread far and wide and isolated from one another... Simply because THEY CAN. Or Los Anxeles- a city population twenty million strong yet it has no clear nerve center from which to build a communal culture and so the cultures concentrate into isolated pockets. Whatever your experience is of cities as these- they were built for Automobiles...not people.

And then there are places like N'Yorke and San Francisco

And then WITHIN N'Yorke- there is Robert Moses' N'Yorke.

{The Green light returns, stronger and brighter.}

He destroyed happy neighborhoods in the name of bullying and ramming through mind-blowingly- wide-highways because all that mattered to the populous in Moses' scared mind was getting OUT of towne. He wanted to get out of this Towne because he hated people yet HE, HIMSELF WOULDN'T LEAVE. He hated this Towne. He didn't understand this Lady's mind and like a good chauvinist, felt the need to protect her from it. And he subscribed to an unsettling doctorine: worshipping all that is Nieuw over anything with a herstory.

{The Green light is close enough for us to see the shape changing. It is humanoid}

Ah the tears of Amstredamm's Ghost fell like rain as proud birthright buildings were destroyed in favor of ghastly blank concrete monoliths. The city traded in her steeples and Greek columns and Gargoyles for beige cement towers and GIANT RED BRICK SUPER BLOCKS. Soon N'Yorke was eschewing her famous WALKABILITY to accommodate cars to get people OUT of the city ASAP and into the country...which was fast becoming a giant lawn with...More HIGHWAYS.

{The Author has resigned himself to an encounter with this noxious Green light. There is no further fighting it. But He feels the need to give an incendiary introduction to this bastich of a vaporous apparition.}

And Moses SAWETH he was onto something. He was facilitating the bright future Of the AUTOMOBILE. The more he literally DESTROYETH the city, The less people WANTETH to live there... And the more likely they would be To BUYETH CARS To GETTETH out of there And RELOCATETH to the Suburbs To BUYETH more things.

{The Ghosty of ROBERT MOSES, perhaps in denial as to the venomous nature of the last speech beams with pride-Bows.}

Zounds. I must apologize to ye, me audience. I had hoped to finish this- Part, The FOURTH at the Auto's arrival and outsmart HIM with my harrowing escape through a hundred alley-ways but he has somehow caught up to us. I'm afraid there is no other course but to give him the floor. The only trick of his delay I have left is to grant ye the powers of...


...kindly go and fix yourself something...


Our SOJOURN continues. The stage is just as we left it- apart from the noticeable nieuw detail that EVERYTHING seems to be lit with green light. THE GHOSTY OF ROBERT MOSES seems to have supplanted the Author at the center of the stage. The Author seems somewhat resigned to his fate in the shadowy upstage. Robert Moses addresses the audience with a reptilian enthusiasm...

MOSES: Ah the Suburbs. 

A Nieuw concept in status. Folks with MONEY want to get away from here. I worked a federal incentive out with the government which sold the possibility of starting over in your OWN HOUSE, subsidized by the government... but you know- only if you were WHITE. All you had to do was MOVE THERE- OUT of Towne. And once there- you had only one thing to do: buy things. Like say, that most heralded of problem solvers: a Refrigerator! After all when in a Great Depression where do YOU go? Why, for a midnight snack o'course. But in order to get one o'those, one first needs a REFRIGERATOR. And we were fast approachin' the FIFTIES- where a nation's problems were solved by buying a shiny CAR or even better... an APPLIANCE.

So Moses lead his people out of the desert and into a materialistic play land--A PLEASURE ISLAND. Fascinating! Diabolical.


MOSES: ...Increasingly leveled were the neighborhoods under the cunning "TITLE ONE" which involved necessary imminent domain razings BOY OH BOY! WERE WE ON A ROLL! And THEN there was "TITLE TWO"which privatized nieuw affordable housing structures in their stead. And the nieuw corporate owners held our lady N'Yorke close to us. Seriously she was OURS! WE decided which racial groups could live WHERE through some brilliant uh...wonderful schemes reimagining a city as segregated as ever. The Critics can burn in HELL! I Did more for this blasted Lady than any single citizen in it's history. After the Depression she was full of half-assed projects, unfinished because of bureaucratic corruption, remnants of my olde stompin' grounds at Tammany I guess you could say. But we needed results and we needed 'em YESTERDAY. I came up with my OWN corruption you could say and over the years I used it to ram through no less than TOTAL COMPLETION of nieuw bridges and additional parks. Hey! Who doesn't love parks! And who doesn't love goin' places? In their CARS!

{The Author has had enough of this Spectre's gloating. The Author produces from his frock, a small silver canister whilst muttering to himself.}

Yes And The City would go FORTY YEARS without adding to its storied SUB RAIL because in GE's infinite wisdom- 'Who wants to ride the train these days anyway'.

{He opens the canister and throws the contents of it upon Moses incorporeal green vapor! We hear a  SHRIEK. The Green Light fades back. The Author flees the scene!}

Zounds! I cannot believe him! Goodness! SO OFCOURSE MR.CAR COULD DO NO WRONG OH NO! The neighborhoods that were kept were at the mercy of the city board members who quietly REDLINED which districts the classes {code for races} should live in. And Harlem emerged from the Great Depression, as a submerged MICROCOSMIC Great Depression frozen in perpetual stasis. Harlem once the Jewel of the world music scene of the 'Twenties- now a prison rivaled only by her outcast sister, Bedford- Stuyvescent in Breuklyn which- suddenly in the nineteen-forties- was the largest Black ghetto in the WORLD. AND it was WALLED IN BY HIGHWAYS.Those poor poor souls. They knew more then all the rest... A hard truth about this Towne. It wasn't a Towne. It was now indeed a CAGE thanks to this city-hating Parks commissioner. The only thing to do was... Sing. Just as they sung in the 'Twenties. And decades later in the Seventies... The Black Ghettos invented Rap and Hip-Hop: the sound of a caged bird singin'. It is the ruthless take no prisoners sound of this Towne's PRISONERS--Always trying to forget its own herstory- yet as olde as the drums of mother Africa.

Aye- there are two words I hate to hear more than anything. "Show" and "Time".  As in The memory of the wonderful rhythm of the subway train shattered by the kids from the ghetto as they blast their utter noise and startle us with there infamous words, "Show Time" and forcibly move their N'Yorke brethren to make way for an obnoxious impromptu dance {which only a naive foreign tourist would want to see let alone donate to} is a shuddering thought as we approach Wall Street. But what other choice do these children have and THAT question correlates to everyone of us who share the train- what other choice do WE have but to LISTEN to their lack of a choice?

{The Ghosty of Robert Moses catches up to us at last. He is dripping with a liquid that appears to boil his green flesh. His suit is ruined. Victory! Yet it is HE who is laughing!}

MOSES: Ha! Ha! SEE?! NO CHOICE but to LEAVE! Don't you just want to LEAVE? I told you!Life is better if ye have a CAR!

Stand fast, Braggart! For I cannot recount my herstory properly with your ceaseless grabs at attention. Ah yes Wall Street... Centuries earlier when the Britains took Manahatta and eventually removed the Dutch Wall and put a path in its wake and called it WALL STREET. That same Wall was built by the Black Slaves under Dutch orders to protect Nieuw Amstredamm and to keep out the Britains. Now the 1940's Blacks had been forced to move into concentrated areas- WALLED IN by that invisible white excuse of classism. Though her first trade was in Beaver Pelts, N'Yorke became a trading empire first as a geographical mid point for the Slave Trade which was thanks in part to Pietrus Stuyvescent. How painfully ironic thatWALL STREET- amongst the greatest of Offenders to the Blacks, was built in every way on the backs of SLAVES.

MOSES: Not so fast! Anon we say it was built with 'CLASS'. Heh, heh.

Good one.

MOSES: Thankye!

Every N'Yorker must ask themselves if they be MASTER of this TOWNE or a SLAVE to this CITY. If it is the latter... then FLY ye FOOLS! Let us away from Wall Street. I spoke to a lass in a bar once and she said I was being hard on gentrification.


It's true. I AM. Though I am happy she can ride a 'citibike' anywhere-gentrification affords all kinds of questionable permission. But that's what happens when ye have a soul and ye learn a thing or two about your herstory...it's hard to look the other way from the times. Every time I hurdle across an eight-lane highway in a cab- I hear screams. For when ye behold any expressway cutting through the five boroughs or you walk past a towering SUPER BLOCK of infinitely bricked housing projects that go so high, they take all manner of fight out of you- just know that ten or twenty thousand people lost their livelyhood and precious collective mixing culture there or over there or over there. In all it were a quarter of a million N'Yorke citizens who had been forcibly evicted and relocated by this one multi-tentacled Moses, INSULATED FROM ANY KIND OF ELECTED OFFICE and who controlled eight or nine or ten different public building offices SIMULTANEOUSLY. And he and all those tentacles can still be seen scaling the golden jail bars enveloping the vision of N'Yorkers who DIDN'T leave. And don't those jail bars look remarkably like the Infinite network of highways filled with people boxed in to small travel machines with wheels. Do they know where these wheeled machines are really taking them?

{The Ghosty of ROBERT MOSES roars back to the fore!}

MOSES: AAAAAAARGH! When I found this woman of a towne! She was a pathetic bitch! This... this 'Lady N'Yorke'- she was a buncha' SEPARATE pieces of LAND! If ye doubt my greatness- look at the disjointed pieces of geography now GRAFTED together with my roads and Mighty Mighty Triborough BRIDGE!  Just look at the miracle in MODERN transit THAT became. That's cuzza ME! ME! Yes it is the ominous mercy of I, ROBERT MOSES you feel as you scurry along an intersection of impatient vehicles who let you know through scowling headlights that 'When that light turns green... YOU'RE ASS IS OURS.' AND it is the unshakable ghostly drone of I, ROBERT MOSES you hear rising over the sad wale of the displaced whenever ye look upon a massive red-bricked housing project. They are humongous and menacing and make you feel ALONE! And you know what? I DON'T CARE! There is no room for a store near my awesome projects. They are inhuman buildings sure but so WHAT! ... Concentrating the humans ability to dream within a space of angles, and trapping them within a city where once people came to get a fresh start. Who cares about them? They are crazy to live here anyway! WHY they would wanna live HERE... I HAVE NO CLUE. I live here and I hate it! 


{During this last MOSES' speech, the Author has left the stage and returned with something in his hat which he seems to be 'swishing around' much to the befuddlement of MOSES' Ghosty.}

I have here a hallowed mixture of Sauerkraut, Warfres, Falafel, Pizza, Plantains, Fried Chicken and Motzo Ball Soup. I declare to ye O foul "COMMISSIONER OF THE PARKS" that your precious 'CROSS-BRONX-EXPRESSWAE' And it's likewise obnoxious, ill-spawned road systems Of the community-hating ilk to utter... MISBEGOTS. I CAST THEE OUT!!!!

{The Author once again disperses the contents to ROBERT MOSES' GHOSTY. The green light and ALL light VANISHES with a blood curdling scream and lots of wondrous gurgling noises. All is black.}

Relief. Quiescence. Ladies and Gentleman- That Ghosty there would have ye believe that outside the Citadel lies your 'freeeeedom'. But... I have found that freedom resides WITHIN it as well! It is a precious experiment and proving ground for the world to come together here at the beginning of all things commercial. For just as one might breathe in the stillness and the country air on a weekend trip to the grassy lands away from all things metropolitan, feeling at home with the animals and the wilder side, and the EARTH... REMEMBERING who they are... is it not a balancing and just  conclusion that so too does the outsider, the figurative ne'er-do-well, the restless dreamer find solace and belonging upon the ambitious bosom awaiting within THE COSMOPOLIS, and the ETHERS... DISCOVERING who they are! Why would we want to turn that into nothing more than a...a 'REST STOP' off the BQE? In my centuries within the Cosmopolis,'twas the REST OF THE CONTINENT that was the CAGE. But THIS thriving breeding ground of Three Hundred and Five Square Miles with its combined dreams of out cast BROTHERS and SISTERS was incomprehensibly greater than the sum of it's visibly squabbling parts.

O but you can see the proof in the architectural pudding as ye walk through The Village. Or in Soho. Vs. say Queensboro where ye would see the monolithic evidence of that very same 'arrogant time' which claimed Olde Pennsylvania, when the city rebuilt itself with a Modernity to rocket it out of the Depression. If you talked to any head honcho at any major American Company be they Big Oil, Manufacturers of Automobiles and Appliances or just STUFF- BEFORE THE OMINOUS GERMANIC WINDS INVADED RHINELAND AND THEN POLAND IN 1938- these honchos and power brokers would have had you believe that the future of this city- nay THE ENTIRE COUNTRY was going to be...

HIGHWAYS. Because people- it was believed- just wanted to travel. No one wanted to be in one place. No one wanted to celebrate anything or reflect on the past. Buildings?! BUILDINGS?!! Who cares about those things or what they look like or how they are designed when ye can have a CAR.

Robert "The Wrecking Ball" Moses-our most powerful prisoner. Made a city which structurally proclaimed


For over fifty years, he preached the word before the Great JANE JACOBS marshaled her rag tag band of informed activists and housewives in The Village to proclaim:



The Village LOVES its buildings and the entire country watched this epic drama of David and Goliath...and once again the nation followed N'Yorke's suit. It took a Village. A Greenwich Village. It was Jacobs who called 'NUDE!' At EMPEROR MOSES, proclaiming that cities are comprised of individuals living together not just in the geographical sense but in time as well and it is in the acts such as PRESERVING buildings that we celebrate and coexist with the peoples of herstory. What a pother of a fight Moses was in for...

It is also in this spirit of preservation that the city has miraculously dispensed with allowing automobiles any lanes whatsoever within Times Square, giving it back to OUR FEET and providing benches and tables and events for the populous. It is to me a wondrous statement to reclaim the city from the ravages of Robert Moses and the Automobile. When I first went to Times Square I wanted to leave and never return. It was claustrophobic. To walk on those overcrowded sidewalks was a chilling notion. Now I have a feeling of being there with the people of the world as they walk every which way across the massive intersection which just a few years ago was reserved for wheels. The pavement is now painted green and holds countless lounging tables and potted plants. To see Time Square now is to feel hope for the city's potential for reclamation. This my friends is how ye invite Lady Amstredamm back into the fold- reminiscent of the time that the natural landscape of the Mountainous Island was leveled and covered with the cement GRID and over the centuries the people howled in despair and in 1858 Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed and opened one of the great marvels of the century: CENTRAL PARK. And after that in cities all over the rest of the Union HAD to have a Park.


My prayers are with Lady Nieuw Amstredamm's return to her Sister N'Yorke when we may see one day the oft whispered RETURN OF OLDE PENNSYLVANIA STATION. May they raze the monstrosity currently there along with the ghastly Madison Square Garden and give N'Yorke a crucial piece of her immigrant-loving heritage back. It would be the hallowed reminder that N'Yorke is itself symbolic of our upward trajectory not human tragedy. We almost got her back in Two Thousand and Eight if not for the Great Recession. Sigh. Sometimes Wall Street just can't resist trapping our dreams some more. I put it to ye my dear dear caged birds! It is as important as ever to keep singing.

In time, It is your songs To which the Lady LISTENS...Uh. And ye don't stop. Keep On.


O! But look how FAR we've come together! And still in just a few Weeks...~Part, The Fifth: 'THE BONFIRE OF THE SANITIES'~