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.

Photo of the day: CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAWN = MAYOR BILL (74%) DeBLASIO

DeBLASSIO WIN celebration

Photo of the day: CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAWN = MAYOR BILL (74%) DeBLASIO  – Last night in Chelsea’s Mustang Sally’s bar, dedicated animal rights activists, anti-Quinn and staunch pro DeBlasio supporters were uncharacteristically quiet as we listened to the uplifting speech given by our new mayor. Tears on the faces of the supporters glistened from the light of the 5 giant TV screens surrounding us, Bill’s voice filling the room. The 12 year reign of oppression, dictatorial rule and genocide of the middle class and our buildings and old establishments has finally ended. It may have been 10:30pm at night, but it was as if there was bright sunshine in the room, we were all beaming so much. We had done it!! We have all worked so passionately and hard, no one more hard than Donny Moss and Allie Feldman who started the ball rolling by getting rid of Christine Quinn with the help of animal rights groups. Our little rag tag group conquered with spirit and heart the billionaire dollars spent by the Koch brothers (sound Romney-like familiar??), the power of Bloomberg and the republican cash heavy war chests. Instead these grass roots groups and many more fought Goliath and won: NYCLASS, ABQ, Outer Boroughs Against Christine Quinn, Queers Against Quinn, Kittens Against Joe Lhota, Stopping NYC Horse Abuse, GoosewatchNYC, Bill DeBlasio for Mayor, and of course Donny Moss’s Defeat Christine Quinn. A landslide 74% victory, HA !
The dark, racist,  oppressive cloud over our lives and this city is being lifted. A ‘mensch’, a caring human being is taking over, with a heart and not ice in his monied veins.
I am so DAMN proud of each and every one of them, and my mom who even at age 87 went out and campaigned and handed out Anti Quinn, then pro DeBlasio flyers every day she left the house to go grocery shopping or walk the dog. She was known as the “you have to vote for Bill DeBlasio!” lady here in Queens. Well mom, Donny, Allie, Daniela Knoppik, Natasha, Brian and Jeanne Gari, Andy Sydor and ALL you wonderful friends and supporters = WE DID IT!
Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.

Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.


Hans and mom are proud and thrilled to have voted! Goodbye Bloomberg! Hello Bill de Blasio ! !

Ursula and Hans Von Rittern VOTED !

Ursula and Hans Von Rittern VOTED !


Photo of the future: HELP SAVE NEW YORK, VOTE BILL DeBLASIO !

DEbLASSIO AD

Photo of the future: VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE DeBLASIO! – GO out there and vote! I want a real human being in City Hall. A man whose family looks like the rest of us. A man with feelings and a heart. Not ice in his veins. I don’t care if all his promises can’t be reached, or if he will screw up and falter – I want a mensch, a human being I can approach and relate to. I want my city back! I got rid of Christine Quinn, one of the most cold calculating, selfish, power mad, destructive politicians of modern times, lets make sure MTA-thief Joe Lohta losses by a huge margin!
YOU can make history and get rid of the elite detached nanny-rule of this Bloomberg tyranny. In my born and raised 57 years as a New Yorker I have never seen a mayor do as much to destroy and harm my beloved city as bastard Bloomberg. We have NEVER lost as many long time established stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, historical neighborhoods and places and business places as with his greedy rule of allowing quadruple rent increases to squeeze (in some cases) 100 year old businesses out of business so he could build yet another mirror glass ivory tower for his billionaire friends. He has done more damage than 9/11 and hurricane Sandy combined, both of which we are rebuilding from. You cannot rebuild from the onslaught over priced glass ivory towers, the destruction of historic neighborhoods, the squeezing out of the middle class, the invasion of chain stores in even the most historical of neighborhoods, the racial and socioeconomic division of this city, the genocide of the middle class as what has occurred in the last 12 years of Bloombergistan.
Bloomberg is a thief. Oddly enough he went from being the 18th richest man in the country to 10th richest man as the zoning laws, historic district laws and street patterns changed and Citi-bikes have invaded and devoured our city. All those deals went into his back pocket. The zoning commission is working around the clock to cram through all of Bloomberg’s excessive destructive plans such as encircling Grand Central Terminal and the iconic Chrysler building with glass super towers!
I am tired of the little dwarf who is about as much a part of the rest of us as a cold rock from outer space. His Napoleonic syndrome of dominant power over every little aspect of New York went too far.
DON’T “ASS-U-ME” DeBlassio will win or win big: May I remind you , that is how bastard Bloomberg got this third term because of the anger and apathy that let everyone assume he would win his bought third term. Apathy and laziness looses you your city. VOTE! – Take 15 extra minutes before or after work, take the dog on a voting walk, turn off the TV, grab a warm coat, take your children with you and let them know they are a part of something great, take someone you love and share this exhilarating chance, but most of all, know that this vote is one of the most crucial votes you will cast in the last 100 years of this city’s glorious history and certainly determine our next 100 years.
HELP SAVE NEW YORK – VOTE BILL DeBLASIO ! ! !  

Photo of the day: THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE, FAMED ROSELAND TO CLOSE

ROSELAND MARQUIS

Photo of the day: THE BLOOM IS OFF THE ROSE, FAMED ROSELAND TO CLOSE – Another knife in the heart of New York’s theater district is the recently announced April 2014 closing of the iconic once dance hall, now concert and party venue Roseland. It is with head spinning disbelief that yet another historic piece of New York will be replaced with a tall mirror glass building according to insiders who currently work at Roseland and are being handed their pink slips. 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 Brammer) 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 “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, Beonce 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, 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 mayor, 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.

The Roseland Ballroom

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseland_Ballroom

Roseland the 1977 film

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseland_(film)


Photo of the day: GIVE ME THE LIBERTY TO GIVE A TOUR !

GIVE ME THE LIBERTY collage

Photo of the day: GIVE ME THE LIBERTY TO TOUR ! – French muralist Veronique Barrilot painted this great mural as a (hopefully not) final statement at the 5 Pointz Graffiti & Mural Museum on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, which is in danger of being torn down in favor of twin glass high rise towers. (See my earlier post). Her bold Liberty statue proclaims in French “Give Me The Liberty to Paint!”.
For the past week I have been faced with the frustration of leading my European tourists who have come so far to see (shall we say) their Eiffel Tower, our Statue of Liberty – only to find signs posted that the despicable government has shut the symbol of freedom down and their tickets have been canceled. There we are left standing in Battery Park which is still mostly destroyed from hurricane Sandy. No park. No island. No Liberty.
I too join my friend Veronique in proclaiming “Give Me The Freedom – to Tour!”

Photo of the day: IN DEFENSE OF “ART” – SAVING 5 POINTZ GRAFFITI MUSEUM

5 POINTZ HEARING COLLAGE

Photo of the day: MY SPEECH TO SAVE 5 POINTZ DIRECTED AT COUNCILMEMBER JIMMY VAN BRAMMER AND DEVELOPERS – On Wednesday October 2, 2013 both sides in favor and against tearing down Graffiti & Mural museum 5 Pointz, gathered inside City Hall for a hearing by the NYCHA – The New York City Housing Authority. It’s basically a side show/dog and pony show with the real estate developers always claiming tearing something down is “for the good of the community.” The owner, Jerry Wolcoff wants to build twin mirror glass apartment towers for which he will receive $7 million. Now you know me – I do not go quietly! Here is my passionate speech directed in part at my Queens councilmember, who is Christine Quinn’s lap dog and Mayor Bloomberg’s pet – Jimmy Van Brammer – who has stated he does not believe the magnificent powerful graffiti and mural works at 5 Pointz is “art” – and therefore in favor of tearing the building down. (When embarrassingly trapped by the truth of his statement at the hearing he said: “Well….I said I don’t quite understand it.” After also admitting he has rarely ever visited the site in his district.

rendering-5 POINTZ WOLCOFF TOWERS

rendering-5 POINTZ WOLCOFF TOWERS

SPEECH:

My name is Hans Von Rittern, born raised in Queens, licensed tour guide of 8 years. I have been hired by Harlem Spirituals Tour company to take European tourists on a 5 hour tour of Brooklyn. They marvel at the view from Fulton Ferry and thank me, they love Park Slope bagels and Coney island puts a smile on their faces. The endpoint of the tour is supposed to be hipster Williamsburg. I chose not to do that and end my tour at 5 Pointz as a surprise. When I get back onto the bus, each and EVERY single time they burst out into spontaneous cheers and applause saying  “THIS is highlight of the New York tour”! “THIS is New York!”

I take tourists on “art tours” of galleries and or museums. When they reach MOMA’s PS1 they are bored and unmoved by the art. I say “come with me”  and lead them to 5 Pointz and I always have trouble getting them back into our vehicle. This is an untapped   rich   resource that needs imagination of design and investment, NOT a quick buck, another mirror glass box and then get the hell out of there as fast a possible.

There are 2 ways to make money: The quick bang fix and run – or, the wise investment – for perpetual monetary return on your investment of restoring the building and let the artists go hog wild on the interior. Hipsters will kill for a graffiti-ed loft, stores would love the unmatched  ambience and above all, CHARGE FOR THE ADMISSION INTO THE BUILDING AS A FULLY FLEDGED MUSEUM.

Muralist VERONIQUE BARRILOT makes her (final?) statement

Muralist VERONIQUE BARRILOT makes her (final?) statement

‘Not a museum because it’s not “art”’,  as some politicians like my councilmember Jimmy Van Brammer will say?

May I remind you:

Toulouse L’autrec – was considered street art and torn off the walls, today  his street posters are considered the finest examples of classic art.

Matisse – was dismissed as “scribble,”

Picasso – was considered a crackpot for putting a woman’s nose where her ear ought to be

Warhol– not taken seriously at all, soup cans as art?! Own one today and it’s worth millions.

Keith Haring – used to graffiti at my subway station, I watched him get arrested. Today he hangs in MOMA and the cathedral of St. John The Divine.

Basquiat – was looked down upon as wanna be street artist. His work is now in the major museums around the world.

Yes, I fully realize this is not what the building was intended to become, but it has, it has become bigger than what you realize.

So who are YOU – to say this is not “art” and therefore not worth saving and investing in?

I should think greed alone would take over and try to save it.

Don’t have your names forever associated with the destruction of this building so all of you can make a “fast buck” rather than a wise “invested buck.”

Look back, which one of you doesn’t wish they owned a Warhol soup can now?

Well –  you have dozens of them, right here in front of you.

Just because it is relatively new art does not make it less relevant art.

Remember all the fools that said the same of Lautrec, Warhol, Haring and Basquiat.

Will you be the same short sighted fools?

Fellow tour guide Andy Sydor testifying in favor of 5 Pointz

Fellow tour guide Andy Sydor testifying in favor of 5 Pointz

Reporter Greg Mocker of WPIX11 Covered the hearing, I can be seen testifying saying : “Yes, I fully realize this is not what the building was intended to become, but it has, it has become bigger than what you realize.” Here is the video link http://pix11.com/2013/10/02/nyc-council-hears-plans-for-iconic-queens-grafitti-building/#axzz2gfgASpxA

5 POINTZ WEB SITE: http://5ptz.com/


Photo of the day: DESPITE THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN, THE FIGHT FOR LIBERTY CONTINUES BY MURALIST VERONIQUE BARRILLOT

ARM

Photo of the day: DESPITE THE GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN, THE FIGHT FOR LIBERTY CONTINUES BY MURALIST VERONIQUE BARRILLOT – Today the despicable Republicans have shut down the government. Tourists here in New York that have traveled half way around the world to go to Liberty Island are literally left out in the cold. The most upset are those who have crown visit tickets, those tickets have been ordered two to three months in advance and you arrive in New York = closed.
 LIBERTY SHUT DOWN
One of the places you can see Miss Liberty still fighting for her freedom is at the Graffiti Museum 5 Pointz on Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, right next to the 7 train Court Street Station. World famous 5 Pointz, as so many other treasures in New York, thanks to the greedy cancer that is the Bloomberg administration, is in great danger of being torn down in favor of twin mirror glass apartments.
5 Pointz, Jackson Avenue at Crane Street and Davis Street, the whole block, Long Island City, NY 11101, #7 train Court Street stop.

5 Pointz, Jackson Avenue at Crane Street and Davis Street, the whole block, Long Island City, NY 11101, #7 train Court Street stop.

To make her (perhaps final) statement, French muralist Veronique Barrillot has been given permission to paint a giant mural directly on the Jackson Avenue side for all to see. It is the Statue of Liberty, grimacing as she holds a paint pallet and paint brushes. Veronique is finishing the mural today, so I will not reveal  the full image of it yet.  Veronique states: “The homage I would like to pay to 5 Pointz is that of our common heritage and of our faith in the future and in liberty.” As of this moment’s government shut down, that immediate ‘future’ looks grim. The longest government shut down was also the most recent, from Dec. 16, 1995, through Jan. 5, 1996. That’s 21 days. No Grand Canyon, no Yellowstone, no national zoos, no landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument – no Statue of Liberty.
Paint on Veronique, paint on ! Vive l’art!
VERONIQUE’S AWESOME VIDEO ‘PORTFOLIO’! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPFiydrnAYg
VERONIQUE BARRILOT’S WEB SITE: http://www.fresquesmurales.fr/
5 POINTZ WEB SITE: http://5ptz.com/

Photo of the day: 9/11/2013 SO MANY LOSES / SO MANY GAINS

THE MOMENT & WTC
Photo of the day: 9/11/2013 SO MANY LOSES / SO MANY GAINS (and…karma is a bitch!) – On this day in New York when we remember the over 3,000 loses of loved ones at The World Trade, a work place I once called home on the 102nd floor, we also last night gained so very much back! A dedicated group of individuals who sought to stop the hemorrhaging of this city, banded together and defeated one of the most corrupt, cold hearted, and scheming politicians since Boss Tweed in 1853, councilwoman Christine Quinn last night.
Weiner's goodbye

Weiner’s goodbye

Donny Moss and 91 year old Natasha

Donny Moss and 91 year old Natasha

The mighty Quinn: For the past twelve years, Quinn and Bloomberg have systematically destroyed New York City as the city has become a city of the über rich and the very poor, 45+% now live near or at the poverty level. We have lost over 12 hospitals during their term in office, glass luxury apartments replace them. Quinn ruled the city and controlled the zoning laws with her slush funds making the city open season for the greedy real estate developers as zoning law changes have become the norm. South Street Seaport’s Pier 17 is being torn down, neighborhoods like Harlem, Greenwich Village and Soho are loosing their soul. Her tearing down of St. Vincent’s Hospital, it’s church and the 9/11 memorial is the most egregious. As the years passed, she became the most powerful politician only second to Bloomberg, a power that was had by vitriolic temper outbursts and control of the city funds.

 Arrogance
How much is that doggie in the window? To show her lack of character, she was against all animal rights activists to the point of refusing to pass a bill that would now make it mandatory to require sprinkler systems in pet shops. Let the puppies and kittens burn, along with the workers.
Daniela and ABQ friends

Daniela and ABQ friends

Karma is a bitch! In 2011, I lost my Gray Line tour guide job of seven years thanks to Quinn. She single handedly destroyed the double decker tour guide industry by pushing through a ‘headset bill’ in order to please a few well heeled residents of Greenwich Village who had complained that tour guides on the open mics were “too loud”. The original bill did not provide for the headsets to be connected to a live tour guide, me. Councilwoman Gail Brewer added the proviso in the bill that a live guide must be giving the tour. Since Twin America the monopoly that owns the double decker tour bus companies City Sights and Gray Line are heavy contributors to her Christine Quinn’s campaign, miraculously the ‘live guide’ proviso was taken out of the bill in the middle of the night. No sound tests were ever done as required. I headed a group called “Keep New York Live” and protested at every TV station and at city hall with the help of my fellow tour guides. On the final day of our fight we had a twelve noon rally planned on the steps of city hall. No press showed up. At 12:15 I called friend and transit reporter Greg Mocker of WPIX11 and asked ‘where you all?’ Greg’s response “well it’s canceled isn’t it? Quinn said it was canceled.” The bill passed with Quinn’s single authority. Over 200 tour guides were no longer ‘allowed’ to come to work or were given insulting low buy out packages. No work, no health care, nothing.
Well Ms. Christine Quinn – karma is a fierce bitch. YOU took MY job away in 2011 and now I  have taken YOUR job away in 2013 ! ! !
2011 TOUR GUIDE PROTEST at NBC STUDIOS

2011 TOUR GUIDE PROTEST at NBC STUDIOS

The heir to the throne: With an arrogant sense of entitlement as covered in the New York Times, she also had the ’empty chair syndrome.’ At many of the local mayoral forums chairs were set up on stage for all the mayoral candidates, hers – was usually empty. If she did deem to show up, her head never looked up from her blacberry.
NEW YORK TIMES AND PRESS COVERAGE

NEW YORK TIMES AND PRESS COVERAGE

The cowardly lioness: Donny Moss became the monkey on Christine Quinn’s back, she could not leave her house without Donny trailing her as he held up his signs and calling out the truth about her record. No matter what camera angle she tried, there were either Donny or the ‘ABQ’ people behind her. It came to the point that Quinn would not enter any venue through the front door, she had security sneak in her the back door for fear of bad publicity photos and press. What sort of beginning is it to your term as office when you run and hide from your public? Too yellow, spineless and cowardly to face your constituents.
The awesome DONNY MOSS & DANIELA watching DeBLASSIO'S victory

The awesome DONNY MOSS & DANIELA watching DeBLASSIO’S victory

Rag tag group takes down Quinn – Crazy cat ladies, people who dress up their dogs, horse lovers, gay activists, passionate New Yorkers like the incredible Donny Moss, Arthur Cheliotes, Allie Feldman & Wendy Kelman Neu formed groups “Defeat Christine Quinn” and “NYC Is Not For Sale” respectively which then morphed into the “ABQ – Anybody But Quinn” campaign, unprecedented in New York’s political history. We canvassed subway stations every night, manned phone banks and hounded Quinn wherever she made and appearance, Donny Moss being the most wonderfully persistent of all of us! In that time Quinn went from leading in the polls by wide margins to plummeting weekly. No greater plummet than election night when, as other candidates percentages went up….hers went down from 26% to 18% to an embarrassing 15%.
Brian Gari "cat calls" republican mayoral candidate Catsimatidis

Brian Gari “cat calls” republican mayoral candidate Catsimatidis

Picture election night: Each candidate had their large expensive venues filled with their high paying donors and political strategists in their expensive suits with the media tripping over them. Yet here we were, in a little bar called Mustang Sally’s on the west side, fifty of us in the back room, in our sweaty t-shirts and jeans, none of us rich, only rich in passion and conviction. It wasn’t the Bloomberg/Romney-like dollars that Quinn had, it wasn’t all the New York newspaper’s endorsements, it wasn’t the political pundits who said she would win, no, it was the people with pet hair on their now iconic red ABQ (Anyone But Quinn) t-shirts that had all the might. It was volunteers like 91 year old Natasha and my 87 year old mother Ursula. We have changed the course of New York’s history. Never underestimate the passion and the anger of the crazy old cat lady!
AUNT MIA AND HANS

AUNT MIA AND HANS

DONNY MOSS AND HANS VON RITTERN

DONNY MOSS AND HANS VON RITTERN


Photo of the day: 87 YEAR OLD MOM DARES TO STRIP AND VOTE IN HER BRA!

87 year old Ursula Von Rittern, defiant voter!

87 year old Ursula Von Rittern, defiant voter!

Photo of the day: 87 YEAR OLD MOM DARES TO STRIP AND VOTE IN HER BRA! – Today in election district 29, Sunnyside, Queens my mother walked into the voting station Queen of Angels Center and was stopped at the door for wearing an “ANYBODY BUT QUINN” T-shirt. We were met by a barrage of volunteers and police who said there is to be no “electioneering” inside the voting area. Mom argued she wasn’t saying anything, or handing out any literature, simply expressing her freedom of speech in the shirt she chose to wear.
The angry old white woman who seemed to be the woman in charge said “You’ll have to take it off or leave.” “I thought this was a free country?!” mom angrily argued. “I came here from Nazi Germany where I could not say or do as I pleased, nor vote. Now YOU are going to tell me what to do?! Well, I am not walking all that way home again, then I’ll take it off!” (I had a t-shirt under mine, mom didn’t. The photo here is not from today.) Mom asked me to hold her cane and then to hold her steady. Her hat came off first, then her shoulder bag. She fumbled to look for a place to place her hat and bag.
Uncomfortable curious stares went around the room. Was this woman about to flash the room?! It looked like she would as she asked me to help her lift her shirt over head. As the first signs of an 87 year old woman’s midriff made an appearance, one of the other volunteers ran over and yelled, “Ok, ok, don’t take off your shirt, just lift the bottom part so you can’t see the name Quinn.” (As IF that would sway anyone’s vote at that moment!) So . . . in a very ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ fashion, mom flashed her midsection as she walked slowly across the floor to her voting station to the high five signs from the black volunteers in the rooms, some giving her a hug before she entered the booth. Mom pulled the levers, DeBlassio all the way, turned, pulled the t-shirt down to reveal the name Quinn, exited the booth and defiantly said, “what are you going to do, throw me out?!” and slowly with her cane walked across the room to the cheers and applause of the people inside! (Unfortunately the police made sure I took no pictures.) That’s MY mom! GO MOM !
MOM QUINN collage

Photo of the day: VOTE VOTE VOTE! ANYBODY BUT QUINN!

VOTE!
IN THE 2009 PRIMARY ELECTION – 11% OF NYers VOTED !
IN THE 2009 MAYORAL ELECTION ONLY 26% OF NYers VOTED!
YO HAVE NO RIGHT TO UTTER EVEN A WORD ABOUT POLITICS IF YOU DO NOT VOTE TODAY!
VOTE – OR PUT UP!
V O T E ! V O T E ! V O T E !
ANYBODY BUT QUINN !
(deBlasio happens to be my choice)

Mondays on Memory Lane: SOUTH STREET SEAPORT, A PROUD VON RITTERN HERITAGE

Premier issue July 28, 1983

Premier issue July 28, 1983

SOUTH STREET MAGAZINE (2)

Mondays on Memory Lane: SOUTH STREET SEAPORT, A PROUD VON RITTERN HERITAGE – In 1983 my mother was the private assistant to Clifford Day Mallory of the Mallory’s of Mystic. It is the Mallory family that established Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and has 3 museums named after them there. As a proud New Yorker Mr. Mallory greatly believed in preserving the sea faring heritage in New York’s harbor and helped establish South Street Seaport. Mr. Mallory and my mother Ursula worked with Frank O. Braynard one of the founders of South Street in arranging the design, funding and publicity. They even elicited the help of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. For my mother, working on this project was a matter of great pride in her heritage – my great, great and great grandfathers were sea mrchants, traveling to the far east and Africa to bring back riches to Germany. (My grandmother had the only pineapple anyone had ever seen in 1905 Hamburg, Germany!) Therefore opening day on July 28, 1983 was a proud day for our family and for New York.
It is today, thirty years later, that is a horrible unthinkable day as Pier 17, the steel pavilion that has greeted millions of visitors since opening day, will be torn down thanks to developer greed aided and assisted by our destructive Mayor Bloomberg. A modern sleek glass box soul-less shopping mall will replace it.
He has destroyed more historical districts through zoning variances and under the table deals during Bloomberg’s term in office than with any other mayor in this city’s history. He has done more damage than 911. His crony and  ambitious puppet councilwoman Christine Quinn wants to be voted in as Mayoral candidate in our local primary tomorrow.
ANYBODY BUT QUINN – HELP SAVE NEW YORK !

Photo of the day: ENJOYING THE LAST DAY OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT’S PIER 17

September 9, 2013: The last day of South Street Seaport's Pier 17

September 9, 2013: The last day of South Street Seaport’s Pier 17

Photo of the day: ENJOYING THE LAST DAY OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT’S PIER 17 – Due to the destructive re-zoning laws that have blanketed New York, today is the last day to enjoy the rustic building that was built to blend in with the charm of what once was South Street Seaport. The gabled roofs, the cast iron railings designed with industrial wire, the rustic red paint on the wavy (mirroring the ocean) sheet metal walls, the wooden decks from which you can promenade along, the weathered gray wooden deck chairs that silently sit awaiting for you to put your feet up and relax and watch the world go by.
Perhaps you’ll eat your Nathan’s fries and hot dog while strolling around the three decks, or go the Beekman Bear Garden Beach Club to watch the sunset on the North Side of the pier. Today will be the last sunset from Pier 17. The last hot dog from the food court, the last souvenir bought by the myriad of shops and the last beer at sunset.
You can thank our despicable greedy Mayor Bloomberg and his councilwoman Christine Quinn who re-zoned the South Street Seaport area and have given the greedy callous go-ahead to have it all torn down in favor of a glass box mall.
R.I.P S.S.S.
ANYBODY BUT QUINN FOR MAYOR !
SOUTH STREET POST CARD

Photo of the day: THE DESTRUCTION OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT, SEPT. 9 FINAL DAY

South Street Seaport 2013

South Street Seaport 2013

Photo of the day: THE DESTRUCTION OF SOUTH STREET SEAPORT – The ever changing skyline of Manhattan is about to change again, the beloved South Street Seaport also known as Pier 17, thanks to the ever greedy Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is about to be torn down at the end of September. FINAL DAY OPEN IS THIS MONDAY SEPT. 9th.
What will replace it? A big soulless glass box (mall) with a red letter sign atop of it “South Street Seaport”. You wouldn’t need big lit red letters screaming “Seaport” to remind people of where you are if you have removed any vestige of our once great seaport’s history.  One of our old sailing ships the Peking will soon cease to exist for lack of funds to repair it, that will leave us with on single solitary ship in what once was the greatest and busiest harbor in the world. Our Mayor Bloomberg and his cohort councilwoman Christine Quinn should be tarred and feathered and drummed out of New York for destroying our seaport’s heritage.
Anyone But Quinn for mayor!

Photo of the day: ACTIVISM IS BEAUTIFUL !

CYNTHIA NIXON, HARRY BELAFONTE, SUSAN SARANDON

CYNTHIA NIXON, HARRY BELAFONTE, SUSAN SARANDON

Photo of the day: ACTIVISM IS BEAUTIFUL FOR CYNTHIA NIXON, HARRY BELAFONTE AND SUSAN SARANDON – Since we have lived under the greedy dictatorship of Mayor Bloomberg and councilwoman Christine Quinn – we have lost TWELVE, possibly 14 hospital since they have been in office for the last 12 years!! St. John’s hospital on Queens Blvd, where I was born – closed. St. Vincent’s Hospital, founded in 1849, took in the only survivors of the Titanic in 1912. It was at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in Greenwich Village, was first in line to take in the 9/11 victims and lastly took in the passengers from ‘the miracle on the Hudson’ in 2009.

With the voracious greedy appetite and financial payoffs from the real estate Goliaths, the Rudin family, Quinn eased the hospital into becoming luxury condos. She tore down the hospital, the church and the 911 memorial with it so that all memory is gone!
Mayor Bloomberg who acts as the über nanny in not allowing 16 oz sodas to be consumed by New Yorkers, controls what New Yorkers eat under the guise of being concerned for our health, has looked the other way as 12-14 hospital have been shut, turned into condos or are not admitting new patients. This is the reality of our mayor – the city of Bloombergistan.
Councilwoman Christine Quinn wields single handed power to control our laws and see to it that Bloomberg gets his way, if, as a fellow councilmember you vote against her, the funding for your district is cut off or reduced. I could go on.
There is one mayoral candidate who has been at all the protests, getting arrested and is speaking up for the inequality of the Bloomberg greedy years – Bill DeBlasio. In the last few months we have literally been in danger of loosing one hospital a week! This genocide of the middle class is alarming. If New York City were to have another hurricane Sandy or another terror attack – where are the ambulances and hospitals for us to go to?! This is a ticking time bomb. There are some who have the passion to speak out and say ‘enough is enough.’ These are the wonderful New Yorkers such as Cynthia Nixon, Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and mayoral candidate Bill DeBlassio.
On Monday August 19, we all rallied outside the remains of St. Vincent’s hospital in hopes that under a new leadership, the rape of our citizens and it’s hospitals will stop.
ANYBODY BUT QUINN!
BILL DeBLASSIO FOR MAYOR!
SUSAN SARANDON

SUSAN SARANDON

When Cynthia Nixon speaks - Susan Sarandon listens!

When Cynthia Nixon speaks – Susan Sarandon listens!

TWO PROUD MEN

TWO PROUD MEN

WHAT THE FUCK?!

WHAT THE FUCK?!

 

 THE RUINS OF ST VINCENT'S

SARANDON THUMBS UP

SARANDON THUMBS UP

SAVE OUR HOSPITALS

SAVE OUR HOSPITALS

PROUD CYNTHIA NIXON

PROUD CYNTHIA NIXON

NURSES AID

NURSES AID

LOOKING AT ST. VINCENT'S

LOOKING AT ST. VINCENT’S

CYNTHIA NIXON PROTESTS

CYNTHIA NIXON PROTESTS

DEBLASIO AND BELAFONTE

DEBLASIO AND BELAFONTE