Category Archives: History

Penthouse Of New York City’s Woolworth Building Asking Price: $110 Million

If I were going to invest $110 million in real estate it wouldn’t be for the Woolworth Building’s new penthouse. Not that it isn’t worth it, I’m just more of a wide open type who likes more land than is provided with Manhattan real estate. But then, for me, a $110 million investment for anything would necessarily involve some sort of fraud to begin with so it really doesn’t matter. For someone who actually has the financial resources to afford it, the upper nine floors of this historic New York building at 233 Broadway, will make a spectacular home.

The neo-Gothic style Woolworth Building went up in 1913 and at that time was the tallest building in the world at 792 feet. President Woodrow Wilson ceremoniously turned the building’s lights on by pressing a button in Washington D.C.. The ornate, cruciform lobby (tours are available) was granted Landmark status in 1983 but had been closed to the public for the past 12 years. There was also a pool in the basement, when the building opened in 1913, one of its selling points was a health club complete with indoor pool and Turkish bath, open “day and night.”

I won’t be buying because a lobby tour ticket is about all I can really afford but if you are the one with the cash burning a hole in your pocket, I would love to be invited for a visit.

Well that isn’t going to happen I’m sure but here are some spectacular photos.

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Freedom Is Not Free, Others Have Paid The Price For Our Freedom

Memorial Day 2014

First, Think. Then, Think Again. Today is a day for Thinking, for reflecting on our American freedoms, how we got them and how we still enjoy them thanks to the sacrifice others made to ensure them. This article by Msgr. Charles Pope helps to give meaning to this day of remembrance.

If you can, visit one of our 131 National Cemeteries, perfect places for contemplation. Try to imagine what it was and is like on the battlefield. For most of us we can only imagine, most of us have not been on front lines of battle. Most of us have not served in our Nation’s military in any capacity. But to those who have we owe much. Think about being out there facing the enemy, someone whose mission is to kill, and that means kill you. Every day you are in a life and death battle. While you live to fight another day, you have friends who fought beside you who became casualties in the fight.  You, somehow have to overcome the grief and pain and continue to do your job.

There must be moments when you wonder how you got in this position. In most wars in our Nation’s history you were there because your Uncle Sam said you were needed and you didn’t have a real choice. But whether you enlisted on your own or not you are here. On the battlefield. And doing your job and staying alive is your mission. When you are out there do you keep yourself going by hanging on the thought that you are doing something bigger than yourself? That you face death so your family, friends and fellow American’s can continue to live free? And in some wars at some moments in history are you bothered know some of your countrymen will not welcome you home from war as a hero but might actually treat you as a war criminal?

Today, of all days in the year, is a wonderful time to Think hard a long about what it is all about. About what others have gone through to preserve our way of life.

Honoring America’s Heroes On Memorial Day – Brennan Leininger Is One

Memorial Day 2014, the day when America pauses at the beginning of summer to honor American heroes who have fought to preserve the freedoms each American enjoys everyday. There are others who are heroes for their actions as private citizens. Brennan Leininger is an Anaheim police officer who during his off time has stepped up to do something about the way America’s fallen are honored on Memorial Day at Riverside National Cemetery in southern California.

Three years ago Mr. Leininger and his wife attended Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery in Riverside and saw what he thought was a shortcoming that needed to be fixed. He began by raising $10,000 in the first year and was able to purchase 21,000 flags to place on grave sites. This year volunteers have helped to place 140,000 flags throughout the cemetery. Continue reading Honoring America’s Heroes On Memorial Day – Brennan Leininger Is One

#LaMarseillaise, Is The French National Anthem Racist? Trending On Twitter

The national anthem of France, La Marseillaise, is many things. Nationalistic in spades. But then it is a national anthem. Militaristic. Well it was written in the 1700’s as a call to arms, so yes it is that as well. Beautifully stirring? Well even to this American I would agree. But racist? Not in the least. Although for the past few days the argument has raged as the subject has trended on Twitter, #lamarseillaise.

The latest dust-up began when Justice Minister Christiane Taubira was criticized by Geoffory Boulard for not singing along during the playing of the national anthem at a commemoration of the abolition of slavery.  Boulard’s Tweet called for resignation not believing she wasn’t singing because she didn’t know the words. Taubira enlarged the Twitterfude by responding, “some occasions are more suitable for contemplation… than stage karaoke.”

Lambert Wilson, a French actor of note weighed in calling the anthem, ..”terrible, bloody, racist and xenophobic”, calling for the lyrics to be changed. One stanza he would be referring to says,

“To arms citizens
Form you battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows”

Certainly understandable if a pacifist objected to killing, even if it is the enemy who is being targeted. But to come to the conclusion that calling for victory by killing the enemy (impure blood being the enemy from Prussia and Austria) is racist, seems to be going way out-of-the-way to be insulted. But so many of us today seem to be happiest when we can imagine being slighted in some way.

La Marseillaise is a European March style of anthem, which is characterized by speaking of war. It first became the national anthem in 1795, lost its title under Napoleon I and was banned by Louis XVIII and Charles X. In 1879 it was restored as the French national anthem. 

In finding the version of La Marseillaise that I have linked to at the top I also learned of the artist singing the anthem. Mireille Mathieu is a wonderful French singer and even if you prefer Freedom Fries to French Fries, I would highly encourage to take a look at her in concert on this YouTube video. Listening to this talented woman sing was worth the anguish of hearing of more petty squabbling over insults, real or imagined.

 

 

Los Angeles Crime Scene Photos, Should Make You Think

The Huffington Post ran a series of never before seen crime photos from the Los Angeles City Records Center. Most of the photos are from the 1940’s and 1950’s and were taken by Los Angeles Police Department crime scene investigators.

Take a look at any one of the photos of a person who has just lost their life.

Notice the caption under the 16th photo in the series. I didn’t feel good about viewing the body of a man whose life had come to an end on September 13, 1939 and my main thought was about the inaccurate caption. “Victim’s feet hanging off bed.” Well, not exactly.

Although Huffpost warns of graphic nature of the images, what you will see probably isn”t as gory as what you would see from a Hollywood “CSI” type show. The thing about these photos is, they are real. Take a look at any of the pictures of someones body and actually Think about the person. How did this soul wind up like this. Lying lifeless with a gun or knife still in his hand.

Don’t give me the knee-jerk reaction that first pops into your mind, if you are like me anyway, sure I know he probably had it coming, he got what he asked for, he must not have been a pillar of society. I get it.

 “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” Booker T. Washington

But again Think about this person’s day leading up to this bad ending. About the person’s life leading up to this bad day. The man in the seventh photo in the series, lying lifeless on the backseat of a car. Never again will he threaten anyone with that gun. Or never again will he do something nice for a fellow human being. Did he ever do anything nice? Did he behave well most of his life? I just have to wonder what he was all about. Looks very nicely dressed in any case. Really more interesting than CSI, but without a clear conclusion.

As one commenter points out, it is a shame the powers that be were going to destroy the lot of these photos. At least some of the best were saved. Maybe I just have a macabre streak but these photos did make me –

Think. Then Think Again.