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  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:02 am on March 13, 2007 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: B-25, Brooklyn College, , Brown Building of Science, , , Edward Luciano, , Golden Venture, Isaak Asimov, Luisa Rey, Malbone Street Wreck, , , PBS announcer, , , , Staples store, subway preacher, , unwelcome subway tour guide   

    Unlucky Luciano 

    ” ‘I feel you’re being a little harsh on your more eccentric callers.’

    ‘Of the Howardly persuasion?’

    ‘Precisely. You undervalue them. Viruses in cashew nuts, visual organs in trees, subversive bus drivers waving secret messages to one another as they pass, impending collisions with celestial bodies. Citizens like Howard are the dreams and shadows that a city forges when it awakes. They are purer than I.'”

    Luisa Rey on the Bat Segundo’s show in David Mitchell’s “Ghostwritten

    One of the skills that you learn as a New Yorker is tuning out the mentally ill or simply obnoxious people, with cell phone headsets or without, who constantly assault your hearing. As tuning out a subway preacher who constantly modulates her voice is next to impossible, I usually carry a pair of earplugs in my bag.

    Yesterday, as I was riding the Brighton line while reading an interesting book, a man sitting a couple of seats from me began ranting. Looking like Isaak Asimov in his later years, but more disheveled, the dude had a voice of a PBS announcer. A couple of minutes into the rant, I suddenly realized that he was talking about something rather familiar to me — the history of the BMT and BRT, and the Malbone Street Wreck in particular.

    The Malbone Street Wreck was the worst subway disaster in New York’s history. 93 people perished in a horrible crash caused by Edward Luciano, a crew dispatcher pressed into service as a motorman during a subway strike. He hit an S-curve designed for 6mph at 30mph. I happened in 1918, when the trains were still made out of wood and there were only 4 cars in a train. The first and fourth cars survived the crash mostly intact, but the middle two cars derailed and slammed into a tunnel wall under Malbone street.

    As the unwelcome subway tour guide was pointing out, we were passing by what used to be Malbone Street, but is now called Empire Boulevard. The street was renamed because of the accident, kind of to dim the memory of the crash. What is even more disturbing, there is no memorial at the station where this happened. Well, at least I don’t remember seeing one.

    All these years I mistakenly thought that the crash happened somewhere on the 2 line, nearer to Brooklyn College. I guess it took a disturbed man’s rant to set me straight on the matter.

    In New York City we pass through places where horrible tragedies happened. My wife had classes at what is now known as the Brown Building of Science. I spend a lot of time fishing at a place where 10 illegal immigrants drowned trying to reach the shore in the Golden Venture incident. There’s a place in the Empire State Building where a B-25 bomber crashed into it, killing 11 people. I still shop at the Staples store that was built in place of a Waldbaums supermarket where 6 firemen perished. And everybody knows what the horrible emptiness in New York’s skyline means.

    The fabric of the city closes around disasters, some sooner than others. But the ghosts will not let you forget them. They still lurk in the shadows, whisper their stories to you as you pass by. As the subway ranter finished his rant, a young man wearing a hoodie with a Donny Darko-like skeleton on it sat down next to him. I took a picture of the two of them with my Treo, but all of my Treo photos got destroyed during the software update that I did today.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 2:21 am on March 4, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brooklyn College, but I really like this photo, , , , , , , Magician, Minchiate, , , , Rider-Waite tarot deck, Sherry Netherland Hotel, , , Tarot of Marseilles, The Magician,   

    The Deadprogrammer Tarot Project 

    For a very long time I wanted to create my own Tarot deck. Complex symbolism of classic Tarot decks such as the Rider-Waite-Smith makes it next to impossible to recreate them faithfully in photographic format without posing people and items (which would look lame of course). I do want to stay relatively close to RWS canon though, so I am thinking about digitally altering my images to add swords and other things not commonly found in XXI century New York.

    Please treat these as sketches, because final versions will probably be way different.

    The Tower: Brooklyn College heating plant’s smokestack is as good a Tower as any. Maybe I’ll shoot it some day in a lightning storm.

    The Moon: I need to reshoot this with the Moon between the towers and with the pond visible in the picture, but I think this is the right location for the card. The towers are Pierre Hotel on the left and Sherry Netherland Hotel on the right.

    The Magician: I saw what is probably a bicycle inner tube rolled up in an infinity symbol along the glistening subway rails one morning, and the first thing that came to my mind was the Tarot card. Theoretically this should be a man with an infinity symbol over his head, but I really like this photo.

     
  • Michael Krakovskiy 10:52 pm on July 12, 2004 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Brooklyn College, campus My Alma Mater, Crimes, Criminal law, , , Homicide, , Murder, ,   

    I Have A Degree In Danger 

    There’s an article called “Degrees Of Danger” in today’s copy of the paper that was founded by a proponent of a strong central government and the author of the Federalist Papers. The article is about crime in and around colleges and universities. There’s a punch list of crimes that happened between 2000 and 2002, from which I selected three bullets.

    • NYU : 5,707 pot and drug busts near the campus
    • Princeton : 26 sex offenses
    • Brooklyn College : two homicides near campus

    My Alma Mater scores low on the drugs and sex, but high on murders. says that this is typical of America vs Europe. He might have a point there.

     
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