Monday, March 20, 2017

Jimmy Breslin RIP

Jimmy Breslin, the famous newspaper columnist and quintessential New Yorker, died this past weekend. His regular Daily News column reigned like a lion in the second half of 20th century NYC. 

Breslin wrote about everything and everyone, and he did what all great journalists should do: he afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. He tortured corrupt politicians and businessmen with withering words and he reported on the humanity of the common man, the regular Joe. He was a gumshoe reporter, a deadline hack, a chaser of headlines, a man of the newsprint that dirtied your hands while opening your mind and touching your heart. Sure, he won a Pulitzer Prize, hosted Saturday Night Live, and published books as well but that never changed him or the focus of his writing. He was a New Yorker and a writer through-and-through and that was probably enough for him.

Needless to say, for a reporter and a New Yorker who was so influential and popular, the tributes are pouring in. You can read some of them here and here and here. And in this age of social media and screaming heads on cable news, this city may never see the likes of reporters like Jimmy Breslin again.  



Thursday, March 9, 2017

A Day Without Women NYC


Et in Bohemia Ergo

NYC is the epicenter of wealth, glamour, culture, and power but it has also long been something else -- the capital of Bohemian American.
This city has always attracted the freaks and the funky, the artists and the thinkers, the dreamers and the strivers, and the weirdos who just want to "hang." Long before any place -- New Orleans, San Francisco, Austin or Portland, Oregon -- challenged us for the place where la vie Boheme thrived, this city, more than any other, was where Bohemians flocked.

Not all Bohemians are created equal, of course. Roughly categorized, Bohemians broke down into the following:
  • Nouveau: bohemians with money who attempt to join traditional bohemianism with contemporary culture
  • Gypsy: the expatriate types, they create their own Gypsy ideal of nirvana wherever they go
  • Beat: also drifters, but non-materialist and art-focused
  • Zen: "post-beat," focus on spirituality rather than art
  • Dandy: no money, but try to appear as if they have it by buying and displaying expensive or rare items – such as brands of alcohol
Today, NYC is less friendly to traditional Bohemians (except for the Nouveau). But these two articles, one about the late Andy Warhol, another about the Chelsea Hotel, seek to put the Bohemian experience in NYC into some context and how this city might, just might, be able to retain its spirit in the era of the gentrification onslaught.



Keep NYC weird!