Photographs I made for Doug Harper’s workshop, Seeing the City: Visual Tensions in the Urban Landscape, at this year’s IVSA conference in London.
Visual Urban Sociology from Jerome Krase and Timothy Shortell.
Everyone seems to agree that there is an excess of successful Italian American politicians in the New York Metropolitan Area. Since I’ve already spent too much time on Big Apple Mayor Bill De Blasio, I shall turn my attention to the personal qualities and ethnic ties of Westchester County Executive and Empire State Gubernatorial wannabe, Robert Astorino, Empire State Governor and Presidential wannabe, Andrew Cuomo, and Garden State Governor and Presidential wannabe, Chris Christie.
Astorino, Christie, and Cuomo have recently garnered much good and, even more, bad press. Their antics are best explained by comedian David Steinberg’s “Three Stooges Theory of Politics,” which he presented in 1976 on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Of the three (Moe, Larry, and Curly) the leader Moe and second-in-command Larry are most relevant because Moe is in charge and Larry wants his job. Christie and Cuomo want to be President and Astorino wants to be governor. To read more…
There have been so many complaints about Bill De Blasio’s inauguration in the right-wing (di destra) mass media and apologies in the left-wing (di sinistra) mass media that I thought I should take a look/listen at his speech.
In the first three days of the Bill De Blasio New York City Mayoral Dynasty it appears to me that he has received more negative press attention than Michael Bloomberg did during his three terms (12 years). Much of this chatter concerns Bill’s less than perfect New Year’s Day Inauguration extravaganza on the always slippery (sempre scivoloso) steps of City Hall. I kinda new something bad was going to happen when I wasn’t invited to attend the historic inauguration of the second half-Italian Mayor ever in history. In contrast, I had been invited to all three of Bloomberg’s and was even thanked three times by him, along with some A.I.P.s (Actually Important People) in his printed inauguration programs for the use of my photos of diverse city neighborhoods. I wondered whether Bill might recycle them like the Bloomberg staffers he is retaining, I think, because he hardly expected to win. Had Bill Thompson or Christine Quinn won, every open position would have been filled the day after the election by what’s left of the Democratic Party patronage machine. The toothless county Bosses would have lined up at least three (more or less qualified) candidates for each show and/or no show jobs. Being out of power for twenty years makes for hungry political club members.This is my analysis.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn began Ivan’s bitterly cold and dark day as a forced laborer in a Gulag camp; mine began a bit more leisurely on a brilliantly warm and sunny Tuesday morning in Super-gentrified Park Slope, and there the similarity almost ends. Spending even a little time to help my fellow half-Italian Park Slope neighbor become at least the fourth Mayor with Brooklyn roots was well worth the effort. This is the third in what will be a continuing series of more and less critical observations of how promised progressive policies will or will not remake The Big Apple. Read more:
While I, and other self-confessed “Progressives” celebrate the victory of Bill De Blasio in the recent New York City Democratic Mayoral Primary, there is need to pause and prepare for what could be another Democratic Party campaign debacle.
Dizzy’s “A Finer Diner” is in the heart of De Blasio country (Park Slope, Brooklyn). There, after his victory, I conducted my own hardly reliable survey asking somewhat puzzled and occasionally annoyed early morning patrons to name the last five Democratic Party mayoral candidates. None got even close. Despite Democratic Party registrants outnumbering Republicans by almost two to one, David Dinkins (1993) and Ruth Messinger (1997) lost to Rudy Giuliani. Then in embarrassing succession Mark Green (2001), Fernando Ferrer (2005), and Bill Thompson (2009) fell victim to Mike Bloomberg. The last election drew one of the lowest turnouts in NYC history (26% of registered voters). This does not bode well for Bill despite his recent endorsement by Centrists Bill and Hill Clinton, as well as Barack Obama. Read more
Bill De Blasio I believe has the best chance among real progressives to win the mayoralty and to take New York City in a different, more hopeful direction. It’s time for New Yorkers to take back THEIR city from those who have used it to enrich themselves at our expense. Bill de Blasio can help us put the Statue of Liberty back on its pedestal in New York politics. Read more about him and this crucial election.
Whereas Jesus Christ stopped at Eboli on his way elsewhere and has yet to make a confirmed appearance anywhere in the bailiwick of Cardinal Timothy Dolan (FYI: The Bronx is part of the Archdiocese of New York and Dolan is in deep stuff (profondo stoff), I am happy to report that the much more Christ-like radical Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci, has finally arrived, but only by way of Switzerland.
In a recent New York Times article, Randy Kennedy cryptically remarked “Last year a tall man in a dark suit with thick black-frame glasses — something like a combination of Morrissey and Samuel Beckett — began showing up at housing projects all over New York City. He attended residents’ meetings and spoke rapturously in a heavy Germanic accent about an improbable dream (un sogno improbabile): finding people to help him build a monument to the Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci, who died in Rome in 1937. “ No one knew who the Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, or Gramsci for that matter was. To read more.
New York City and Italy have a great deal in common, starting and ending with self-destructive electorates; voters who are intent on putting into office people who, in one way or another, hold them in contempt. In both electoral democracies, We The People are generally too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice that the pain we feel is self-inflicted. How does this happen? Again and again….This is the second of a two-part series at I-Italy.org. The first was on the last Italian parliamentary elections and this is about the incredibly embarrassing buildup to the the mayoral election in the fall.
This is my take on the Italian National Elections taking place as I type. It might be instructive for the forthcoming mayoral elections in New York City. Political Suicide in New York City and Italy: Part I - Italy
New York City and Italy have a great deal in common, starting and ending with self-destructive electorates; voters who are intent on putting into office people who, in one way or another, hold them in contempt. In both democracies, The People are generally too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice that the pain they feel is self-inflicted. How does this happen?
Since Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado in April 29, 1999, a seemingly endless stream of senseless mass murders have taken place across our nation with only one thing in common —- the use of the National Rifle Association’s Weapons of Mass Destruction.
A real Patriotic Act would end the deluge of target practice in which America kills its own people.
I’ve been trying my darndest to come up with a simple metaphor to explain why President Barack (Hussein) Obama should be re-elected and thereby save our country from being cut up into little pieces and sold off to the People’s Republic of China by one or another vulture-like hedge fund like Mitt’s Bain Capital…. The simple facts of the matter are that the Republicans started the fire and when Obama tried to put it out they not only tried to cut off the water supply, they also poured gasoline on the flames. Now that the fire is almost under control, but still smoldering, the arsonists are blaming him for not doing enough to put it out. For the whole essay click here.
"See Naples and Die" is a cryptically ominous, aphorism attributed to Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe he is said to have uttered about the magnificent opulence of Naples in the late 18th century. I can only guess that had Goethe lived long enough to visit Naples, Florida for the Republican National Convention he would have made a similarly cryptic comment about the political fortunes of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. If he had watched the first decidely unPresidential debate with Jim Lehrer at the helm in Denver, Colorado he might have thought Jim had taken his cryptic advice literally.
In any case, this piece is merely a nonpartisan (a)musing over my recent week-long trip to Naples. I went there with my wife Suzanne in order to participate in the Commission on Urban Anthropology’s International Conference on “Entrepreneurial Culture, Corporate Responsibility and Urban Development,” that took place at the Mostra d’Oltremare in Fuorigrotta. Click here for the link for the visually enhanced essay on I-Italy.org.