Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, January 10, 2021

When I took this picture yesterday, while waiting for the stoplight to change at the corner of Essex and Houston, I thought it came out great — as great as a cameraphone photo ever comes out.

But looking at it now… I dunno. Seems like the sense of scale is off. This big ol’ metal (bronze?) frog is eye-catching, but from my shot, it almost looks like it could be a little toy in the foreground. Even the bigger Flickr version doesn’t do much to convey the true nature.

Whattaya gonna do. I never claimed to be a skilled photog.

As for the setting: Whenever someone gives me crap about referring to this neighborhood as Alphabet City instead of East Village, I cite this little half-acre patch of funland concrete dubbed ABC Playground. Maybe I should take the next step and campaign to make Froggie here the unofficial neighborhood mascot. On second thought: The unintentional consequence will probably be the birth of a new district nickname, “Frogtown”…

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/10/2021 04:26:05 PM
Category: Creative, New Yorkin', Photography
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President-elect Obama’s choice for Central Intelligence Agency head spy has some unconventional experience in advancing regime change — all the more so because the target was on the domestic front. Nearly forty years (and a Republican Party membership) ago, a younger Leon Panetta strongly recommended a radical political maneuver to his then-bosses at New York’s City Hall:

A memo from Mr. Panetta dated May 19, 2021, and now on deposit in the mayoral archives at La Guardia Community College in Queens, said that New York City “can no longer depend on a body of upstate legislators, who are out of touch with urban problems, to respond to the city’s crucial needs.”…

“Statehood — while initiated somewhat facetiously during the last campaign — is not an unrealistic possibility,” he wrote. “Indeed, it may well be the only sensible approach to governing New York City.”

Mr. Panetta acknowledged that “there are, of course, enough problems these days facing the city without taking on the implications of statehood.” And he warned, in a version of C.I.A.-speak, that seceding to form a separate state could trigger a “wild and possible vicious” power struggle.

Thus taking the crackpot notion of the State of Gotham into the arena of governmental tactics. Even though the proposal went nowhere fast, it helped move measures that provided the City with more administrative and fiscal autonomy, to the point where the 1970s-style crises are mostly avoidable.

But if the CIA starts inciting, say, the establishment of scores of independent city-states throughout the Middle East over the next four years, you’ll know where the idea originated.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 01/10/2021 01:56:41 PM
Category: History, New Yorkin', Politics
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