“If you name it (and spruce up a little), they will come.”
Little Italy, Schenectady, NY [original image here]
I‘m sure there are some Schenectadians who think my musings about the local Metroplex Development Authority (as in the post local schmocal) manifest a certain lack of civic trust and hope. So, I thought I’d show my ethnic pride and tell you a little bit about our Little Italy — “La Piccola Italia” — which is one long block called North Jay Street, about half a mile from my home. (Click for Metroplex’s Little Italy General Project Plan.)
- North Jay Street was once the home of a thriving Italian immigrant population. The children of those immigrants long ago joined the Brain Drain out of Schenectady County, or have moved to the City’s suburbs. A handful of the original immigrants may, along with their devoted offspring, survive on the block. However, I have never seen any signs of life at the remaining half dozen residences.
- Two years ago, the first prong in the Metroplex plan to “support an Italian heritage neighborhood” came to fruition, when Cornell’s Restaurant moved its venerable and successful operation from another section of Schenectady to North Jay Street, thanks to almost $500,000 in Metroplex aid.
- One beloved Jay Street bakery went out of business a few years ago.
- The image shown above is the newly completed Little Italy streetscape, crowned by imposing entryway columns, and financed with a $750,000 Metroplex grant.
- You can find a number of articles about our Little Italy here.
There are no other projects planned yet for Little Italy. Having told you about all there is to know about Metroplex’s Little Italy Project to date, I have two True or False questions for you:
- After moving one restaurant to North Jay Street, Little Italy now boasts the following “Italian heritage” enterprises: One restaurant; one bakery; one spumoni shop.
- The other business addresses on North Jay Street include: two auto body shops, one boarded-up former strip club (previously a boarded-up Fire Station); one funeral home; one empty, former gay bar; and, at the far corner, a biker bar (called the Saw Mill; no Vespas in sight).
Bonus question: True or False: The owners of the spumoni shop are trying to sell their business and building but may be asking too much money (hey, this is Little Italy!).
p.s. You, too, should feel proud, as your federal tax dollars are also helping to develop our Italian-heritage neighborhood. (Which reminds me of that great “walk-a proud!” joke about Joe DiMaggio.) Think hard and find the answers below.
Answers (you peeked!!). 1) True; 2) True; Bonus: True
Inspired yet? Our local newspaper had some suggestions for Metroplex in a recent editorial (Daily Gazette, “City needs to be aggressive in creating Little Italy,” Feb. 12, 2005, reprinted here at #4)
- If you happen to be in the region — checking out, for instance, the lovely Little Italy 20 miles away in Troy, NY, come on over to Schenectady’s La Piccola Italia.
- update (May 29, 2005): scroll down the page to read about Chutzpah in Little Italy.
grandma’s recipes –
Christmas Eve calamari
……………………………. [Dec. 24, 2004]
under nana’s afghan -
bread and meatballs
…………………………………. [Nov 30, 2004]
tug of the current: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku 2004 (Red Moon Press, 2005), contains 151 poems (haiku & senryu), plus 19 linked forms (haibun, renku, rengay and septenga), and 6 essays on the reading, writing and study of the genre. [ISBN: 1-893959-48-1] Like the eight prior volumes in this annual series, it contains “the finest haiku and related forms published from around the world in English” over the last year.
You can order a copy of tug of the current directly from Red Moon Press by writing to:
The Red Moon Press
P.O. Box 2461
Winchester, VA 22604-1661
Include a check for $16.95 per copy, plus $4.00 for shipping. As shipping is $4, regardless of the number of volumes purchased, you might want to check out the additional haiku publications from Red Moon Press described on this page, and the pages linked to it. If you have further questions, send an email to Jim Kacian: redmoon-AT-shentel.net .
the tug of the current
on willow fronds
- neither f/k/a nor its editor benefits financially from the sale of this book
in my soup
the old woman’s mouth
breaking though ice
in the outhouse
“tinyredcheck” In an editorial today that summarizes the proposal, the NYT has it right: “The
Democratic Senate bill, introduced last week by Senators Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer,
John Kerry and Frank Lautenberg, is now the gold standard for election reform.” Rick Hasen
covers the Democratic proposal here, and a Republican alternative here.
A lot of people are getting worried about the dangers of too-much personal information
Many Baby Boomers seem to consider audiobooks to be tacky, or a less significant way to enjoy
though it’s in the context of helping her fall to sleep). Humans sure do get into ruts. When my friends
are reluctant to try an audiobook, I’ve been known to say something like: You know, when the first story
was written down, and later when the printing press came along, some old-fogey surely complained, “Phooey,
stories were meant to be spoken and heard!”
I discovered audiobooks at a time when eye problems and overall fatigue made it almost
impossible for me to read more than a few pages a day. Books on tape are now a very
important part of my daily life, and I certainly “read” [consume, enjoy, become acquainted
with] at least fives times more books by listening than I ever could by eyeballing them.
A tip: Get the unabridged version, whenever possible. The abridged versions are often less
than 20% of the original text.
instead of his chores
a snow Buddha
just enough snow
for a Buddha –
too much snow
I heard a few years ago that the two main characters were identical twin brothers, but I picked up
the cassette case at the Library and I discovered that the fictional brothers were born three weeks
after my twin brother and I (in the week we were expected to arrive), and that their mother’s name is
Concettina — ours was christened “Concetta”). One of the novel’s brothers is paranoid schizophrenic.
When my brother Arthur visited me for a day this weekend, we were wondering which of the twins
was our own counterpart. Neither of the novel twins is a lawyer. Guess they lucked out.
Did you say Visiting Twin?: My mid-50ish friends find it somewhat amusing
that we sound like old-timers comparing maladies whenever we run into eachother. Well,
it’s ten times worse when your former wombmate shows up and you discover that you’re each experiencing the same bodily breakdowns and annoyances a few hundred
miles apart. (I shall spare you the details) Proof of our aging is here.
update: Old guys breaking down, is a good lead into today’s NYT article “Companies
ago, deciding whether (or when) to cover “lifestyle” drugs is sure to cause big headaches.
E.g., One challenge: trying to decide when a reduction in the ability to perform a bodily
function well is merely a sign of old-age, that we should just learn to live with, and when
it is a medical problem worthy of insurance coverage. Both the Grabbiest Generation and
their Boomer children seem to want every malady covered. Who shall pay? This would be
a wonderful challenge for a mediator. Too bad my health has left me retired.
Which Member of Congress will be deciding how many ED pills a
month is reasonable? DeLay? Kennedy? Clinton? Hatch?
Isn’t sexual intimacy often very important to the Family Value of
keeping a couple together?
before the show –
senior organ recital
If the study cited by south(west)paw
is correct about household dust leading to
learning disabilities, those dust dinosaurs that have been under my beds, ever since
leaving Mama G.’s place four decades ago, may explain a whole lot about my foggy brain.
Lately, I’ve spent too much time responding to negative comments and misconstrued positions — and, I’ve spent far too much energy trying to communicate with minds that seem closed (usually, by financial self-interest or ideology).
If only I had the wisdom of Abe Lincoln, whose better approach is set forth in “Lincoln takes the heat,” (The History Net.com, by Harold Holzer, orig. in Civil War Times, Feb. 2001). Holzer tells us that, although “Lincoln never escaped the bombardment of topical humor,” the President was wise enough to know not to respond — even to lies. When actor James Hackett apologized to Lincoln in 1863, for making public a private letter that “provoked howls of laughter from the press”at the President’s expense:
Lincoln replied to reassure Hackett that the affair had not upset him. “Give yourself no uneasiness,” he counseled the actor, adding that he was not “much shocked by the newspaper comments.” His skin had long ago grown thick enough to withstand the satirical abuse fired at him during his 30 years in the political trenches. As Lincoln touchingly expressed it, the endless taunts were but “a fair specimen of what has occurred to me through life…. I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it.” (emphasis added)
The same ridicule/kindness quotation appears in an Associated Press article in many newspapers today, which is captioned “Lincoln is used to sell fries, bobblehead dolls,” in my hometown Schenectady Gazette, and “No rest for the man who saved the union,” in a Cleveland Plain Dealer article, and “Act 2: Lincoln’s image lives on” in the Washington Times (Feb. 20, 2005). The A/P story quotes Lincoln impersonator Jim Getty:
“Today, Lincoln is an empty vessel for dreamers and schemers, for humorists and educators, trinket salesmen and appliance dealers looking to add a bit of cachet to Presidents Day sales.”
I wonder if even Honest Abe would accept being made the Patron Saint of ATLA this year, as the trial lawyers have done in their fight against the President’s slurs and tort reform. (see our ATLA, Lincoln and Tort Reform.)
The Holzer article wraps up with some important insights:
America’s first humorist-president became one of its most often parodied presidents as well. But Lincoln apparently had less trouble accepting such taunts than do modern Americans scandalized by the likes of Desmond Pfeiffer; just as he could tell a joke, he could also take one. . .
Perhaps Lincoln’s optimism stemmed in part from a realization that humorists make a difference. That was true then as well as now. Purveyors of wit can provide a troubled people an occasional laugh in the midst of great tragedy. Besides, Americans who laughed at Lincoln could always be comforted by the fact that the president laughed at himself.
- A.J. Jacobs has apparently been listening to Lincoln — deciding not to sue Joe Queenan over his bad book review. As Lincoln advised: “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses, and waste of time.” If only James McNeill Whistler had been so restrained back in 1878. (Via Ted at Overlawyered)
I plan to try a lot harder to stifle the need to respond to antagonistic reviews and comments. The nature of the weblog universe is that our ideas are out there and are magnets for those who disagree. I respect the right for others to disagree — although I hope they do so in good faith and with an open mind (and I will try to listen to those folks in the same spirit) — but I am also going to start respecting my own right to let what I say stand on its own. (related post:The Hardest Part of the Watchdog Role)
a great lord
drenching wet, passes
my cozy brazier
enjoying the great lord’s
the great lord
forced off his horse…
. . . by Kobyashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue
starts with a compliment –
he raises his knife