Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Photo of the day: LOOSING NEW YORK

LOOSING OUR NYC

We have been loosing our city at a rapid speed since the 12 year Bloomberg administration. Our new mayor Bill DeBlasio didn’t make things any better. A shill and phoney sell-out as our city’s history continues to be torn down left and right while being raped by an overbuilding of glass towers where they ought not to be.
As a tour guide I am supposed to tell people how wonderful New York City is...I do. But they don’t see that Harlem is now only 40% black, overrun by self-righteous white yuppies renovating Harlem’s brownstones pushing the original residents out. Greenwich Village once an epicenter of gay culture, dance clubs, cool quirky shops, cutting edge boutiques is now devoid of anything gay, buried in GAP, Polo, Starbucks, Sephora, Michael Kors, more GAP, more Polo, more Michael Kors. (Btw, Michael Kors being a screaming queen doesn’t count.)
The mushroom rate of the ‘space needle’ über high, über rich residential high rises on 57th and 58th Streets will put parts of Central Park’s south end into permanent shadow at certain times of the year. Jackie Onassis is turning in her grave.
Jackie O. would also be horrified to discover that grand Central Terminal is to be encased in super tall, super glassy high rises, therefore dwarfing the spectacular station, reducing it to a needle in a haystack.
Tribeca and Soho once filled with artists and art spaces are now filled with tourists artfully shopping. Times Square has become a 2nd rate shopping mall filled with Elmos badgering your for $5 photos. The lower east side aka ‘the Bowery’ is rapidly loosing any trace of our large immigrant history. It IS filled with our ‘new immigrants’ the young rich, spacey Millennials, trust fund babies and tech company millionaires. Apartments costing $1 million in the Bowery are cheap.
Little Italy is nothing but 6 or so blocks of Italian restaurants trying to hang on while the Chinese and the stores of Soho eat up their once large thriving Italian neighborhood. Fuggedaboudit.
New York’s harbor was once the busiest harbor in the world. Today, with a combination of damage from hurricane Sandy and the sheer greed of the Bloomberg/DeBlasio real estate ‘developers’, in South Street Seaport nothing will be left but a few gratuitous red brick buildings and only one old sailing ship to be now surrounded by a mirror glass ersatz ‘Pier 17’ and two gigantically tall mirror glass ‘luxury towers’ encroaching on America’s historical land mark the Brooklyn Bridge.
Go to Brooklyn then you say? Oh no, that is being gentrified at a hyper speed such has been never witnessed before in America. The foot of the Brooklyn Bridge is now being encased in a towering glass apartment building in DUMBO and the once spectacular view of the bridge from the Brooklyn Heights promenade is now obliterated by a gigantic apartment complex. If anyone would have told me that one day the views of the Brooklyn Bridge will be gone, I’da said you’re nuts.
Further in Brooklyn, whites buying $1+ million town homes in Bedford–Stuyvesant is now the norm. What was once our largest African American neighborhood, now has it’s residents being forced to go back to their Southern roots where they might be able to afford the rent. Meanwhile ultra hipster Williamsburg battles it out with ultra orthodox Satmar Jewish Williamsburg for real estate, who will win is anybody’s guess.
Hey, but Hans you’re safe in Queens. Not so, as my neighborhood fights off the flood of ‘poor upper middle class’ who can’t quite afford the $500,000 to $1 million dollar glass towers of the East River’s Long Island City. One by one we are seeing the affordable shops disappear, street vendors forbidden and a slimey corrupt councilman like Jimmy Van Bramer sign off on real estate deals wiping places like the spectacular 5 Pointz Graffiti Museum and the immigrant’s car-repair shops of Willet’s Point off the map while he brown noses his way up in the mayor’s administration.
If anyone has noticed, I haven’t posted daily “Photos of the Day” since mid June, I needed time to reflect. I will continue to tell people how ‘wonderful’ New York is, but I will also tell them that the city is an illusion, a big grand, sparkling, smoke & mirrors illusion. With my camera I will try to find something worth capturing that someone’s cell phone camera has not. My main concentration will be on researching and writing a book about my Von Rittern land baron roots in Bremen, Germany, and a second book on my Broadway stage door memories.
In the meanwhile, my German guests, while taking my tours say to me, “Sadly, it’s happening in Germany too, capture it while you can.”
I’ll try.

The destruction of New York’s Pier 17 & our seafaring history

south street header

South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 as you see it has been torn down, one of the 100 year old German ships The Peking will be scapped – along with it…any atmosphere that bespeaks the sea. The old buildings are boarded up and ruined from hurricane Sandy and no one has the money to repair them. What will replace it? A shiney big glass box and super high rise. It is an utter destruction and wipe out of New York City’s grand seafaring history.


Photo of the day: THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE, FAMED ROSELAND CLOSES WITH LADY GAGA AS FINAL ACT

Roseland: 1919 - 2014, r.i.p.

Roseland: 1919 – 2014, r.i.p.

Photo of the day: THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE, FAMED ROSELAND CLOSES – Another knife in the heart of New York’s theater district was last night’s closing of the iconic once dance hall, now concert and party venue Roseland. It went out with a bang as Lady Gaga rocked the house – now it falls silent…the next sound you hear will be that of the wrecking ball. It is with head spinning disbelief that yet another historic piece of New York will be replaced with a tall mirror glass building fur the über rich. The year 2013 saw more (almost daily) closings and tear downs of long time establishments than in recent memory – all part of the mayor Bloomberg’s greedy search and destroy tactic of anything that is (not so) old, is just out of the reaches of being declared a landmark and therefore won’t face the trials of court injunctions against it’s demolition. Zoning law variances have become the norm and for a price – history, building restrictions and the heart of the city mean absolutely nothing. The average price of buying a New York City council member (like mine, Jimmy Van Bramer) is $10,200 – buy a few council members and you can build what you wish, they will magically ‘vote’ your way.
Roseland started on 51st Street as a 1919 dance hall for ‘refined dancing’, slowly that evolved to ‘dance hostesses’ who offered dances for 11¢ a dance (think film “Sweet Charity”). From white ‘refined’ music it evolved into a swinging big band and jazz club featuring the likes of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie with his “Roseland Suffle”, Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra to Madonna, Beoncé and Donna Summer and all the other major music acts of our time. The original club closed and reopened in 1956 one block over on 52nd Street in a former ice rink. Slow dancing turned into disco nights and rock concerts. Infamous underground parties (Black Party), fan shows, conventions, new and old music groups appeared here or made their reappearance here, for example disco diva Grace Jones in 1978 broke through a brick wall on her motorcycle and then did her act surrounded by tigers. She made her grande reappearance in 2012 and hadn’t changed a bit (see my old post).
And now along with the Lenox Lounge in Harlem, Colony Records in Times Square, South Street Seaport’s Pier 17, and endless other victims of this genocide of history – you can add The Roseland Ballroom. Is this what it is like to grow old? You loose everything around you? Or is it the voracious greed of our destructive former mayor Bloomberg, who in his twelve years of being mayor has gone from being the 18th richest man in America worth $18 billion, to becoming the 10th richest man in America now worth $31 billion . . . coincidence, it think not. Mayor DeBlassio – are you doing ANYTHING to stop this genocide of a city’s history? DeBlassio? DeBlassio?
My GAGA review:

GAGA said goodbye to Roseland in style! For those of you who don’t know better/are too young, THIS is what the awesome club scene used to be like. This was a rare treat for the lucky privileged thousands chosen that experienced one of the most iconic goodbyes to a club ever. If you are die-hard fan you get there early, stand for hours, run to the front and Lady G let’s you touch her boobs! Sweating (excuse me – glistening) on the dance floor, sharing that mass experience is a dying experience. The audience becomes a pulsating “one” with each other and the artist. No stadium shit like Barclay for me! Music hard core! Roseland has been around since 1919! It has hosted the likes of Louis Armstrong, Count Basie with his “Roseland Suffle”, Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra to Madonna, Beonce and Donna Summer and all the other major music acts of our time. To be able to experience Gaga in such an intimate setting and touching farewell makes those who attended extremely lucky. R.I.P. ROSELAND

Photo of the day: THE COLD IS SO HARD ON THE KNEES

1am, Macy's and 34th Street

1am, Macy’s and 34th Street

Photo of the day: THE COLD IS SO HARD ON THE KNEES – It was 11°F (-11.67°C) last night in New York City, with wind chills 10-15° degrees colder. To most of us that didn’t matter in our warm beds. Last year the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system surpassed 50,000+ people for the first time since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago. That grim milestone includes more than 21,000 homeless children. More children and adults are homeless now in New York City than at any time since the Great Depression.

 

Thanks to despicable billionaire mayor Bloomberg New York City’s record homeless shelter population continues to grow at an alarming rate – up 19% percent in the past year alone. And this does not even include the thousands of New Yorkers still displaced by Hurricane Sandy, many of whom comprise extremely low-income households.

In total the homeless shelter population under billionaire mayor Bloomberg rose by a staggering 61% percent and the number of homeless families has increased 73% percent. During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, New York City homelessness has increased both in absolute numbers and at a higher rate than under previous mayors Koch, Dinkins, or Giuliani. One can only hope our new Mayor DeBlassio and our new administration can rectify these horrific numbers.

Please donate to your local charities.

 


Photo of the day: MEET MAYOR BILL DeBLASIO !

HANS AND BILL DEBLASIO-EDT

Photo of the day: MEET THE MAYOR! – The mayor’s office finally released the official photos the lucky few of us had taken with him inside Gracie Mansion on January 5th this year. This Federal Style mansion was built in 1799 as a private home and since 1942 was used as the official residence of all of New York’s mayors. The symbolism being allowed back inside was huge since the mayor’s residence had been closed off to the public for the past 20 years. Mayor Giuliani wasn’t allowed to live there since he wasn’t married (yes you read that right.) Elitist Bloomberg refused to lower himself to live in the ‘people’s house’ choosing his luxe double town home instead. Finally on  this day, Gracie Mansion belonged to the people of New York again. I was one of the few 5,000 lucky ticket holders who gladly waited in line for the rare opportunity – see my post of January 6, 2014. Whether you like Bill DeBlasio or not (he’s already in some hot messes), it was still pretty damn cool to be inside this restored historic house and to be able to put my arms around New York’s mayor and say “thank you”.

Photo of the day: THE ‘BITTER’ COLD

February 11, 2011 homeless man left to freeze to death under mayor Bloomberg's watch

February 11, 2011 homeless man left to freeze to death under mayor Bloomberg’s watch

Photo of the day: THE ‘BITTER’ COLD – This is a re-post of a story I wrote on February 11, 2011 and again on November 30, 2012. Today when it was 3°F (-16°C) this morning with windchills at -15°F (-26°C!), let’s hope this story does not repeat itself yet again. Previous mayor Bloomberg said we have no homeless problem in NYC, meanwhile emperor Bloomberg failed to acknowledge homelessness increased by 65% under his heartless watch! Let’s hope with our new mayor Bill DeBlasio, there will be a more humane approach to the fragile lives of this city, he is already proving to be more humane during this frigid ‘artic vortex’ and creating easier access/entry to all who seek shelter, god bless.
Nov. 30, 2012: “On today’s front page of many papers is a picture of police officer, Larry DePrimo in the bitter cold,  buying a homeless man a pair of shoes. The photo was taken on cell phone by a passing Arizona tourist and has gone viral world wide. While it is  a beautiful and touching story – I have a contrasting one I posted over a year ago here on Facebook.
On Tuesday February 11, 2011 that night it was 22 degrees freezing with wind chills below zero, this man seemed frozen over his cart. He did not have gloves and his hands had turned brown from frostbite. He did not move. No one helped him. Notice his left hand, his fingers are straight together, it is an unnatural way for your hand to be if you are ‘sleeping’. His hand was frozen. I stepped near the grate, the so called ‘warm air’ was at best minimal. I have been told to freeze to death is somewhat merciful, you numb and fall asleep. Whether he survived the night I don’t know. I am conflicted to hope he survived or if the merciful wish was for him to ‘fall asleep.’ It took me a long time to  flag a police car, they said he is on top of a grate and therefor “warm and fine”. I called 911 & 311 repeatedly, because supposedly the NYC law is that if it goes below freezing it is manadatory for the homeless to be brought to a shelter –  but  no one came. The traffic cop on the corner said there is nothing he could do. I went home with tears in my eyes and could not sleep that night.
It truly is a ‘bitter’ cold.”

No one ever did ‘the wave’ waiting to see Grinch Bloomberg !

Waiting on line at mayor Bill DeBlasio's open house at Gracie Mansion 1-5-2014

Waiting on line at mayor Bill DeBlasio’s open house at Gracie Mansion 1-5-2014

No one ever did ‘the wave’ waiting to see Grinch Bloomberg !

Photo of the day: “WELCOME TO GRACIE MANSION – THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE”

A joyous victory!

A joyous victory!

Photo of the day: “WELCOME TO GRACIE MANSION – THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE” – I was one of the lucky 7,000 people who nabbed tickets to the open house at Gracie Mansion in Manhattan today! This is my shit-eating grin as I, the Bloomberg loathing Democrat, sets his foot into mayor DeBlasio’s new digs!
WELCOME !

Song of the day: “BYE BYE BLOOMIE!” Good riddance to mayor Bloomberg

BYE BYE BLOOMIE! collage

Bye Bye Bloomie
Kiss your rich ass goodbye;
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you go and die?
Finally sunshine,
All the gloom is gone away;
I won’t cry Bloomie,
DeBlassio is here to save the day.
I’ll miss your mean Grinch grins,
As tho’ it’s kicking me in the shins;
And each and ev’ry night,
I’ll thank God faithfully!
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you take Quinn with you too;
Bye Bye Bloomie
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared!
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Bye Bye Bloomie
Hope the Bermuda triangle’s got you now!
I’ll try Bloomie
To forget some how
No more destroying
Neighborhoods we’ve grown to love
No more lying
When you twist those zoning laws
Your graft and your payola ways
Your super-duper rich class
There’s nothing left to say
You can all kiss my ASS!
Bye Bye Bloomie
Ta ta oh sweetie-pie
Bye Bye Bloomie
Time for you to die
Time for you to die
Time to say goodbye
Bye now!
The true Bloomie at DeBlassio's inauguration

The true Bloomie at DeBlassio’s inauguration

 

Photo of the day: THANKSGIVING WINTER STORM IS COMING, HAVE YOU DONATED TO YOUR LOCAL HOMELESS SHELTER OR FOOD BANK?

HOMLESS HUNGRY collage

Photo of the day: THANKSGIVING WINTER STORM IS COMING, HAVE YOU DONATED TO YOUR LOCAL HOMELESS SHELTER OR FOOD BANK? – A nasty nor-easter storm is barreling up the coast. High winds, rains and snow expected. While we rush to get our last minute Thanksgiving trimmings and desserts for the table – New York City’s homeless population is at it’s highest since the great depression! Under the greedy dictatorship of emperor mayor Bloomberg the “let them eat cake/go to the theatah” era is at it’s worst.
As you are rushing to run your errands before the storm arrives, deciding pumpkin or apple pie, others decide which is the least moldy. As you see that homeless person in the subway station, can you look in their hollow eye and do nothing? Give them your coffee, a muffin, an apple, a dollar, a pair of gloves or a scarf. If not, take a few extra minutes at home to donate on line to The Red Cross, your local food bank or homeless shelter. The time it took to read this post, is the same time it takes to donate to those who have fallen on hard times. Remember: There but for the grace of God go I . . . it could be you one day. Stay warm.