Alright, my fellow Knickerbockers, listen up. This week is the 400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing into New York Harbor and going "ZOMG CAN I HAS A NORTHWEST PASSAGE???!" to which the estuary-turn-river that would one day bear his name said "NO YOU CAN NOT".

But while there may not have been a viable route to the riches of the Orient, the Dutch took a look a dear old Henry's log books, and seeing a veritable treasure trove of exploitable resources, hit that as only the Dutch East India Company could—half-assedly.

But it's been proposed that the founding population of a city or nation bestow upon it its' physic being, its' very mindset and soul. I mean, I think anyone who's ever tried to find a bar open past 12 am in Boston can agree. And New York is Very, Very Dutch. And by Dutch, I really mean hodgepodge. In an era where diversity was seen as a surefire way to weaken a state, this was a place that 18 different languages could be heard in a population of only 500. This is a place where Peter Stuyvesant was overruled when he tried to throw 24 Sephardic Jewish refugees from Brazil out of the New Amsterdam because of the Dutch Law of Conscience. It was a place of tolerance; and by "tolerance" I mean "I hate you but I'll tolerate your presence in MY city cause I'm just trying to make a buck here"—and that my friends is the truest of New York sentiments.

But I've gotten ahead of myself, because really the entire point of this post is that I intend on celebrating this city's fine history! And you're invited to join me! So, peruse the following events, and if you can come with, drop me a line!

400 year anniversary of Henry Hudson sailing into New York Harbor and thinking "HO BOY just WAIT til the Dutch East India Company hears about this!", and the city is BRIMMING with things to do! Including a Dutch Village set up in Bowling Green, and several resturants offering a $24 price fix, in honor of...wait for it...the "24 dollars" the Dutch paid for Manhattan.

Ha ha, he, ho ho, ha....oh, YOUSE GUYS.

BUT TONIGHT, there's this at the Tenament Museum!:

Island at the Center of the World
With Russell Shorto
Tuesday, September 8 at 6:30 PM

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s famous voyage, Shorto recounts the story of Dutch New Amsterdam and the forgotten colony that shaped America. The author "deconstructs" Manhattan, transforming it from the concrete-and-glass center of global power to a wooded island, home to wolves and bears, and a hunting ground for Indians. On this strategically located bit of land, a collection of smugglers, traders, prostitutes, pirates, and entrepreneurs formed America's original melting pot.

I can’t decide for the life of me how to whittle away my time between the end of work and the start of the Hip Obscurity fundraiser this evening. I COULD go back home to Queens, change my shoes, grab my fug hat, and run back to the Union Square area. But BLAH, the idea of that much subway back and forth kills my soul a bit. I COULD just say screw it and take a nice, long passegiata from 66th street and Park to 11th street and 3rd Ave, which has the added benefit of being able to tell my parents “dude, I walked from 66th to 11th today!” when I call them later and they give me their daily harangue of how I’m fat. I COULD just hop in the subway, meander around Union Square, get a coffee and knit some, read some more of this book I have about the Spanish influenza.

Decisions, decisions.
Dear MTA,

I’m your bitch. I know this. I’ve never denied it. In fact, there have been times I’ve quite willing bent over for you when I could have saved myself a lot of grief and misery by just hopping in my car and driving. For you see, I’m in love with you. Yes, I confess—I LOVE YOU. I love that, IN THEORY, I can get to point A to point B quickly and conveniently at a reasonable charge and in a mode of transportation that is the very backbone and soul of the city I love. I love your history. I love your quirks. I love that you get me off my fat ass and make me walk. I don’t know what I’d do without you. I think of other cities I could hypothetically live in and I shudder, SHUDDER at the thought of being away from you.

But the thing is…the THING is…

It’s not working anymore. You’re getting a little too rough for my tastes. It’s becoming less knowing my place and feeling secure there, and more abuse. I mean, between the hikes and the cuts and the (ok, ok, PROBABLE) money laundering and the lack of service, I’m starting to think I should have listened to my mother about you. And the trouble is, I can’t leave. I mean it, I can’t. I’m totally dependent on you. Well, not totally, I do have a car after all, but it FEELS that way. I’M EMOTIONALLY DEPENDENT ON YOU. How you are running completely determines how the rest of my mood and day are going to play out. I AM WRAPPED AROUND YOUR MULTICOLORED NUMBERED FINGER.

So, more cuddling, less whips and chains and ballbusting; y/y? I mean, I’m all for a good old fashioned public transportation clusterfuck or SNAFU—but let’s make them a little rarer so we can draw out the enjoyment more. Absence; it makes the heart so much fonder of pain and misery.

And let’s not have them on Monday mornings anymore.

Or Tuesdays.

I could never get the hang of Tuesdays.

Cordially yours,

Last night, my roommate and I went to a free Murder Mystery interactive performance at the Tenement Museum, located on Orchard St. in the Lower East Side. Even though the groups where HUGE and we were rushed through the investigation and in declaring who the murderer was (…mainly, by the murderer running in, brandishing a leather knife and screaming that yes, he’d done it), it was a great program, a ton of fun, and really did a great job in immersing you in the period and flavor of the Lower East Side of the 1870’s.

Some more details of the ‘case’ below… )

However, last night I also realized how long it’s been since I’ve walking around lower Manhattan. It used to be that getting me to go above Union Square was a rare event indeed, but since my move to Queens that has definitely flipped, and much to my chagrin.

And unexpected pleasure was taking the M train, of all things. Took the M train into Manhattan rather than the usual F, and enjoyed ever moment of it. Why? Because in Queens, the M is elevated, giving a body with two eyes and a less jaded soul the opportunity to gaze upon the New York that happens above street level; the fire escape hideaways, the tree tops and the rooftop gardens. Also, there’s the view of Manhattan in all its glory as you cross the Williamsburg Bridge. It may be a bit of a bother, but methinks I’ll have to take the M more often.

In other news and thanks to, I am now in the know about an AMAZING blog, Scouting NY. …Anyone else want to write and film a sketch for the last 4 phone booths in NYC?

Talking about phone booths, I’m growing spoiled by working in an historic building. I’m DYING to film something using the 3 wooden phone booths we have at my work place; old-fashioned, claustrophobic, and with a handy light that goes on when you close the door. I have an idea for them, now I just need the balls to ask those in the know if I AM allowed to do some filming in the building, or if they would make me pay as it would be for a sketch thingie.

I just had one of those quintessentially New York life experiences, where I spend 10 minutes in the break room discussing with two of our security guards which are the best pizza places in a 5 block radius of our work place.

...there are more pizza places in that radius then you'd think.

(.....and I've tried the goods of at least 5 of them)



Woman in alpine hat to another: I was not about to drag your half-conscious ass around a concentration camp!

--Zum Schneider German Restaurant/Bar

Overheard by: Nella

I'd totally forgotten all about having posted this too--which really speaks to how long ago I posted, because I had to post this using someone's I-phone while I was 3-LITRES OF GOOD GERMAN BEER IN.

Because sometimes, regardless of how much German beer you've consumed, you HAVE to go the extra mile. Needs of the many and all that jazz.
And the Light Bulb Debacle continues! Chesterton once said a man could write extensively about the objects he found within his pockets, but that alas, the age of great epics was passed. But I think I could get a good ballad out of this light bulb nonsense though; for instance today produced this verse!:

And in that gloom of deep despair
Those 60 watts were far too bright.
40 watt bulbs could not be found;
She cursed for want of little light.

Luckily, we may be able to swing it after all with the 60W over the 40W bulbs; luckily, these reproduction bulbs are low in lumens regardless so it might be that the Powers-That-Be won’t notice…but it couldn’t be EASY, could it?

Seriously, guys. I never want to have to purchase reproduction period pieces EVER. AGAIN.

IN OTHER NEWS: I nearly ENTIRELY forgot about a play reading I got a free ticket to go see (THANK YOU WORKPLACE WHAT BE ASSOCIATED WITH NYC ARTS!! *GLOMPS!*). It’s a series of scenes from Sochocles’ Ajax and Philoctetes And before you shudder for me!: let it be known that David Strathairn of Good Night and Good Luck fame is one of the actors in the reading. Yea. It may still be all Greek to me, but I HAD TO GO.

AND…because sometimes the heavens open up and smile upon me, a poor, sinful, shameful hedonist that loves her food and beer—the theater is right around the corner from Lederhosen, a German restaurant I quite enjoy. Even though I won’t have time to go back to Brooklyn before the show, I’ve two Pratchett novels in my bag as well as my writing notebook—add Beer, sausage, and David Strathairn to the evening?

There IS a God. And even though he likes having a good laugh at my expense (Often) I think he might actually be rather fond of me after all.

EDIT: Oh, and please to be someone telling me WHY I've been having so many dreams about children...AGAIN? Seriously, since Friday days it's been the same and/or very similar dream of me running an orphanage for abandoned/abused kids, and in another one I was an aunt raising someone's baby on my own (also, in the dream I knew something god awful was going to happen to the kid as she/he grew up, but that I'd be damned if I'd let it happen without a fight). I find it disconcerting that dreams about marriage make me wake up in a cold sweat, but dreams about child-rearing don't--until I wake up and actually contemplate the implications. What does it MEAN?? That I'm afraid of commitment (...which, ok fine, I cop to that) but I don't fear responsibility?

1) In the 7 Circles of Archaeological Hell, the seventh circle consists of having to lay line of shovel tests through Staten Island catbriar four feet taller than you. Imagine thorns so sharp and long they scratch you through your jeans and long johns, AND at one point go through your BOOT. Allow me to repeat: A THORN WENT THROUGH MY BOOT.

You have NO idea what my legs look like right now. It's pretty horrific, and they sting like a mo'fo' when I take a shower.

Though, it is a relief to no longer be digging along the Belt Parkway. I like the silence of working in the woods under the Outerbridge Crossing. If it just wasn't for those DAMNABLE CATBRIARS!!!!

Because I need my dose of blasphemy this evening, holy Christ, my everlasting sympathies.

Real Life-related:
1) I'm going to be Oscar Wilde for Halloween!...well, I will, once I modify a coat of mine, and make myself a fabulously foppish purple vest and green cravat. And then on November 1st at a little shindig [ profile] muneybags6 is hosting (themed "Saints and Demons: come as your best or worst!") I plan on going as Saint Lucy, with my eyes on a platter. I want to practice staring ahead with dark glasses on while I move my "eyes" to look at the people I'm talking too. I think it would be awesomely creepifying if I did it right.

2) I'm sitting on my grad school application for the March 31 deadline. Just didn't want to go to grad school this spring (assuming I would have gotten in in the first place).

3) My brother and I saw "Fuerza Bruta" on Saturday and it was AMAZING. It was like being in someone else's waking dream; one part nightmare, one part rave, one part "WTF that was AWESOME!". If you want to feel what's it's like to step into Wonderland, GO SEE THIS SHOW. You walk out of it and the rest of the humdrum world feels so much more magical. Just don't expect it to make any sense--just take it in and go for the ride. I mean, women swim in a clear pool as it's lowered within arm's reach of you. It's insane, but a good sort.

1) Everyone. Go to Watch the videos of my friend [ profile] theborderpatrol a.k.a. the Nostalgia Chick. Proceed to laugh yourself silly. The Anastasia review is a particular favorite of mine (though I LOVE the one for Pocahontas. Oh...Pocahontas)

2)I...have so many things for the internet to finish writing/to think about writing. The deadline for [ profile] thingsunwritten is nigh, and I need to finish my story about two gladiators. I have a slew of tables and prompts to start, much less finish ([ profile] thousandtables and [ profile] ink_twist being the big two)--

And NaNoWriMo Cometh.

I've an idea, but I've never down well with NaNo on even numbered years. I think I have a good idea for it this year, but...*sigh*

Other than that, my life is unexciting.
Well, the Bronx has been abandoned for the moment, as my fact finding for the Ebling brewery was rather successful, and we have more pressing projects to worry about. Just before Christmas, I started researching in the Richmond County clerk's office, just a quick (and free!) ferry ride from the southern tip of Manhattan to the St. George station in Staten Island. You see, there is a mall going up right under the Outerbridge Crossing, and before it can go up, the site's history must be accounted for!

So, first on the to-do list is looking up land deeds.

Of course, it's taking FOREVER, because why would anything be easy in this line of work, really?! The reasons? One, because I have to look up more than one block. Two, because after about the 1920's, there AREN'T any block listings in Staten Island, what with it all having been farmland (at least, in the area I'm searching). And Three, because after about the 1900's, pretty much the same 5 or 6 families are buying up/own ALL OF THE FRICKEN ISLAND. So, in a single ledger, Abraham Cole, for instance, may have bought 50-odd lots of land from all sorts of different people…and without any way of pinpointing those pieces of land, because they aren't assigned block numbers, just their coordinates and what other farms or roads they might adjoin. So, what's a girl archaeologist to do, except find some land coordinates, an old map or two, and read through all the deeds that MAY match up, to see if you're even in the right ballpark land-wise.

…There are a LOT of deeds that MAY match up.

Luckily, my boss dug up a colonial land grant map, so after I traced the deeds back to the 1900's and hit a wall known as the 19th century, I began to trace FORWARDS from the colonial land grants (circa 1685ish). I hope beyond hope that when all is said and done, the two sets of information I have will meet up in the middle.

The major problem I find beginning around the 1850's, however, is the matter of BOUNDARIES. Or more importantly, how they are described in the deeds.

Cut for musings on large apple trees. You should read it, I manage to mention Peter Stuyvesant! Everyone loves Peter Stuyvesant!…and by love, I mean hate. But cut him some slack, the man had a peg leg for Pete's sake! )
And so, that is how my days lately have been spent. Reporting to the office at 8 am, catching the Staten Island Ferry at 8:30, researching deeds from 9-3, and back to Manhattan, to Penn Station, to catch the 4:19 train.

But before I leave you all, an open letter:

A love letter, in fact. )
And I've been looking high and low for a German brewery.

This week I started working in the office again; the digging season is officially over, and I'm done with the nomadic lifestyle until the spring, thank GOD. I was sent on a quest to the Bronx Historical Society, round about where Fordham University lies. Paula send me forth with the instructions to comb the archives for any and all information about Ebling's Brewery, a brewery that was located between St. Ann's Ave and Eagle Ave. in the Bronx, which was established in 1868 by the Ebling brothers, and was closed in 1951. Now it's just an empty block, and we've been hired to poke around the property to see how historically significant/sensetive the site is.

Over all, a good day today! I got to sleep in, because my appointment to fondle their research library wasn't until 1:30. Considering that my mornings begin at 5 am, which--TRUST ME ON THIS--is well before the ass crack of Dawn shows up, it was a WELCOME change of pace.

HOWEVER--twenty minutes before I reached the Historical Society, my phone rings. It's their librarian, calling to tell me that, oh so sorry, but the microfilm machine is broken.

Businesses are a trick and a half to research, because businesses have the nasty habit of throwing ALL their paperwork away. This place was one of the biggest, wealthiest breweries in the New York boroughs, even got majorly busted in 1922 for hiding beer in the caves under Eagle Ave (OMG CAVES OH PLEASE LET ME GO SPELUNKING PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE) and smuggling the goods out to Long Island (oh, and the keyword was "Brooklyn")--

And YET, no one knows ANYTHING about it, aside from the oral histories that have been collected from people who worked there before it closed in 1951. The only leads I've got is to comb through the microfilms of the Bronx Daily News and the Bronx City directories...which I couldn't. On account of broken microfilm machines and all.

True, I did find some good photos of the building, as well as a few articles about events that happened there, so my day wasn't a total waste...but it looks like I'll be heading to the New York Public Library this week to get my hands on their microfilm collection. To browse through the Bronx Daily News. From 1915 to 1951. *HEAD DESK*

*growls in frustration* I want to know more about this place, damnit!! I WILL uncover the truth! *heroic pose!!*

...Oh, and the official historian of the Bronx has given me an open invitation to call him whenever I have questions/I find something new and exciting. He sounded so excited when I told him about what we were researching, it was adorable. ^_^
I have to get up at 4 am so that the family and I can leave for the happy, happy land that is Florida. Thanksgiving in Florida? In EPCOT, no less? Still not certain how I feel about this.

So I leave you with this! (yoinked from [ profile] swankyfunk

William Shakespeare

Beware the ink'n'imp of March.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:

Oh, fancy that, my birthday is in March...*whistles innocently*

When I return, I shall have to regale you all with tales of working in the Greenhouse office in the city, where archaeological drama reigns supreme, which is an accomplishment considering it's only me and Paula and two phone lines in the office. Wherein clients cut down trees in an attempt to force you into uncovering more graves (because the term "preservation" seems BEYOND their limited grasp of the POINT of archaeology!), fire you one evening and hire you again in the morning. Likewise, the joys of commuting and running errands through the Financial District (*glomps downtown Manhattan!*), the pains of having to get up at 5 am, and the general tribulations of not getting my hands on a stiff drink when I need one (though I've finally found a DAMN GOOD pizza place right off of Stone Street).

...and now, BED.
The archaeology consulting firm officed at Bowling Green replied to the inquiry I sent them over their website! Now they want me to send my resume...which means by tomorrow, I have to learn everything there ever was to learn about their firm and what they do, so that I might woo them with the cover letter I most definitely should include. ('Why, yes, these are all the reasons you should hire me, because I appear to have an intimate knowledge/understanding of what you crazy archaeologically consulting sorts do!')

*bites fist*

Ok, the firm in Williamsburg, VA was hiring crazy amounts, and is, after all, in Williamsburg, VA (sends coquettish looks towards the College of William and Mary). But...but...BOWLING GREEN!! Uberly-downtown Manhattan could be mine once more!! True, I'd probably move in with my spinster aunts Angela and Giovanna until apartment possibilities arose, or stay at home and--dare I?--commute.

*shakes head!* Gah, chickens before eggs! I need to write out this cover letter and send my damnable resume first! And then make the appropriate animal sacrifices, pray to the proper saints, preform other heretical acts in an attempt to smooth my way, etc etc etc....

...mustn't get hopes up, mustn't get hopes up, mustn't get hopes up...

Though, they should seriously hire me, if only for my mother's 50 birthday (this Wednesday). Honestly, when I asked what she wanted for her big 5-0, "You getting a better job" was her reply. There's something terrifying about immigrant parents who have succeeded through education and hard work...even though they aren't laying the pressure down (...often), the guilt to make them proud is panic inducing.


Happier note: kick ass dream last night, about becoming selkies/mermaids, and diving to the bottom of the ocean only to discover it turned into the night sky and I was no longer swimming, but flying. Some issues though, when I tried to convince my land companions to dive in and swim down with me, and random people on the beach were like "ZOMB, MERMAIDS!". (Interestingly enough, under the water felt like breathing on a really windy day, when the wind whips the breath right out of your lungs, and you have to fight to breath in) There was some sort of nameless power/evil down there though, but I woke up before that part of the dream could develop.
I need to hurry up and take a self-taught crash course in library science/archival preservation, because I MAY be working at the Northport Historical Society on organizing their archives, which are--and I quote the lady I spoke too regarding internships/volunteering/job possibilities--"a total MESS".

Thus begins Nella's do-or-die master plan to wean myself away from Retail, and get back on the equally shit-paying but at least I don't feel STOOPID doing it, academic/museum track.

That being said: F-list, I come to you for advice. I don't want to go back into the Ivory Tower of Academics. But I realize my interests really do--and honestly always HAVE--lie in museum work/public education etc etc. (Even though expect to keep hearing tales of shovelbumming as I continue to pursue archaeology)

I've been looking for museum jobs, and most listings seem to be for either archival/library science work (in organizing and preserving the museum's archive, collection, etc), or for education/general information pimping (i.e. organizing tours, collections, and outreach to schools, adults, students, anyone who might give a damn!). Which means this Nella would have to go to grad school for either library science, or for education, while she works on padding her resume and gaining XP for all those tricky jobs postings that ask for things like "2 years experience!" at places like the Northport Historical Society. Personally, I'd rather library science. I think I'm better at organizing things than organizing people.

I'm going to keep pondering this for now, but right now, I'm going to try and watch disc 2 of "New York: A Documentary Film" before I have to go to work. I need to see if PBS can top the first disc, which was about the rise and fall of New Amsterdam, how New York was uber tolerant only NOT, and how New York was passed over for becoming the capital of the US in favor of "a swamp that becomes malarial in April." (Yes, we ALL know your dirty secret, DC.)

Oh, the icon? Considering my feelings towards Target lately, it's wildly appropriate. I DON'T get paid enough for that shit...and if I work mornings at the Northport Historical Society, I probably won't get paid at all. But at least that job won't be shit.

I hope.
Whee! Got to spend the day with [ profile] adjectivegirl running around Liberty Island and Ellis Island. No, we literally ran around them--we only had about 4 hours to do both islands, which resulted in more of a "Greatest Hits" tour, or really more of a sample platter. But still, lots of fun, and it started SNOWING! Hand-to-God SNOW PEOPLE!! Another of New York's desperate attempts to struggle futile against global warming!! Don't it just make you wanna go "D'AWWW!!"

On another note, I drew a Adams and Jefferson comic last night, and because my good friend [ profile] eliblues is a fellow affectionato for "1776", I'm posting it here for him.

Anyway, the jist of the comic is that, as you may know, Jefferson and Adams died on the 50th anniversery of July 4th within hours of each other, and that Adams last words were "Thomas Jefferson survives."

Well, Mr. A couldn't have been THAT pleased to have arrived in Heaven only to find Mr. J waiting for him... )

December 2010

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