The Night of Hurricane Sandy

Ditmas Park Corner

I’m going to begin this post with the greatest loss of all — Jessie Streich-Kest and Jacob Vogelman, both in their early 20’s, were killed sometime on Monday night while they were walking their dog, when a tree fell on all three of them.  Their bodies were discovered Tuesday morning, and Max, their pit-bull mix, is in veterinary intensive care.

From the Ditmas Park Corner:

Jessie’s family released the following statement:

“Just 24 years old, Jessie Streich-Kest left a lasting impression on all who met her, and especially on her students at Bushwick HS for Social Justice, to whom she was deeply committed. Jessie loved life and was deeply devoted to social justice.”

Jacob Vogelman was “a nice guy, very kind and always smiling” remembered Dominique Manzione, a friend of his from high school. Jacob grew up nearby and had attended Goldstein High School near Manhattan Beach. For college, he attended SUNY Buffalo.

Donations can be made in their memory here.


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Will Smith Ain’t Got Nothing on Sandy



This is a whole lot scarier than I Am Legend.  The MTA sent workers down to the Whitehall/South Ferry subway station to evaluate the damage, and the result is worse than most dystopian nightmares.



Now They’re Just Taunting Us

Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Aaron Donovan


As Hurricane Sandy bears down on us, the MTA, in all of their glory, has decided that this is a time to mock. Starting at 7 p.m. this evening, the MTA began to shut down the entire public transportation system of the city of New York and its surrounding areas (North America’s largest).  On their official photostream, they’ve posted a number of photos of empty train and subway stations.


Photo: Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Aaron Donovan


I preferred when they were merely inconvenient.  Now they’re just cruel.


Photo: MTA New York City Transit


See more at the MTA’s Flickr photostream.

The Execution of St. Pierre

St. Pierre, 1887
Courtesy Wikimedia

Two islands off the coast of Canada, St. Pierre and Miquelon, are all that remains of the once-vast “New France” colony in North America.  Both are still very much “French” in ways that the rest of French Canada are not — not only do they use the Euro as their currency (though the Canadian dollar is accepted), they speak a form of the language that itself is closer to that spoken in Paris than it is to Montreal.  St. Pierre, the “capital city,” if you want to call it that, only has a population of 5,000 to this day and remains on the cod fishing industry and is its main economic engine.  All in all, a fairly small and sleepy seaside town.

Back in 1888, however the town was reeling from its first murder.  “Murder?!” you exclaim.  Yes, murder.

Sacre Bleu.

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Another “Mysterious” Explosion in the Middle East


It seems some countries just can’t stop having mysterious explosions in the middle of the night.  From the Christian Science Monitor:


The Sudanese government is blaming Israel for an explosion at a munitions plant in Khartoum early yesterday morning that Israeli media say was owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and made arms for Hamas.

The Sudanese minister said that their accusation against the Jewish state did not come out of thin air but was based on evidences and accounts of eye witnesses confirming that four planes that entered the country from the east had destroyed factory using high technology that jammed radars at Khartoum airport.

This actually sounds like a hallmark of Israeli security- extreme precision, with extreme discretion.  In 2009 two arms convoys travelling through Sudan also mysteriously exploded — which would require not only aerial surveillance but also human intelligence on the ground to accomplish.  This sort of thing also sounds extremely similar to the Israeli airstrike deep in Syria in 2007.


Read more at the Christian Science Monitor

70th and Amsterdam, 1888


This is a picture from the New York Historical Society of Jacob Harsen’s house, taken in 1888.  This is also a picture of the corner of 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, back when the area was not really known as the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as we know it, but rather the sleepy village of Harsenville, New York.

Harsenville, along with Bloomingdale, Carmanville, and many others, was one of the many small communities that dotted the island of Manhattan before the voraciously growing New York City swallowed them up by the end of the 19th century.  Just to the left of the house it looks like you can see some of those buildings starting to encroach up onto the property.

For a little perspective, here is the same area today:



Harsenville is the subject of a fascinating retrospective over at Ephemeral New York, along with the Manhattan towns of Strycker’s Bay and Carmanville.


See more at Ephemeral New York