Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Early Tuesday Morning in Bay Ridge: After Hurricane Sandy at the Narrows and the Verrazano Bridge

We survived the brunt of Hurricane Sandy in Bay Ridge without a loss of power. Going out at 8 a.m. to the walkway across the empty Belt Parkway by Gravesend Bay, the Narrows and the Brooklyn side of the closed Verrazano Bridge, the waters were angry and choppy.
When we got there it was close to high tide and the waters started going over the rail but it was raining lightly. It started to rain hard.
Here are some pics we took of the parkway entrance and Shore Road on our way back home.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Early Monday Morning in Bay Ridge: Watching Hurricane Sandy at Shore Road Park

At 7:30 a.m., With New York City shut down, we walked a few blocks from our new Bay Ridge sublet to Shore Road Park
to see what Hurricane Sandy looked like so far.
Since New Yorkers were warned to stay out of parks, this was either daring or foolish, as attested to by branches that had fallen.
Luckily none fell on our head.
Back on the safety of Fourth Avenue, we saw this poster for the young challenger to the incumbent Republican congressman. Democrat Mark Murphy is the son of John M. (Jack) Murphy, our old congressman from the 1960s, whom we used to write frequently during our years as an annoying teenager.
Back on Third and Fourth Avenues, the 24-hour Walgreens was still open, as were most of the mom-and-pop (mostly Bangladeshi) newsstands/delis (which have replaced the candy stores/ luncheonettes of our Brooklyn youth in the 50s and 60s) and the (very Greek) Athens Market.
Yesterday afternoon, after we braved the lines for food, water and supplies at Foodtown,
it seemed like everything was shutting down: the Starbucks on Third Avenue at 92nd Street;
Century 21 on the 86th Street shopping district, where the Christmas decorations already are up;
and of course the subway system, shown by this sign that went up in mid-afternoon yesterday at the R train terminus at 95th Street station entrance.
This morning we stopped in every place that was open except the laundromat and a tailor shop because we felt we needed to buy something.
Our umbrella never got opened because of the wind, but we had on a down parka with a hood (over just a Brooklyn College T-shirt). By the end of our hour's walk, the winds had picked up a lot from when we started out; it was definitely noticeable. At some crossings, the water was already making puddles. These sandbags were trying to stop a store's basement from being flooded.
It's a pretty anxious day in New York, but at the early hour, looking out over the Narrows to Staten Island, with light traffic still moving on the Belt Parkway and the Verrazano Bridge, it seemed quite peaceful and beautiful.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Saturday Morning in Crown Heights: Awaiting Hurricane Sandy at the President Street Subway Station

At 7 a.m., on our way to teach at the fabulous Fashion Institute of Technology, we saw that the New York City subway system is already awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Sandy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Morning in Apache Junction: 2012 Ballot for Arizona's Fourth Congressional District includes Americans Elect Party Candidate Richard Grayson

Our early ballot arrived in the mail today.

Twenty-Five Years Ago in Fort Lauderdale: Watching the 1987 Black Monday Stock Market Crash

Twenty-five years ago today, on Monday, October 19, 1987, we were in Fort Lauderdale, having arrived two weeks before after spending the previous two months at The MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and our friend's apartment on the Upper West Side two weeks before, for the day of the 1987 stock market crash. That day we started teaching a computer education workshop for public schools in the Miami-Dade school district for Florida International University and we took over an evening first-year composition class from an instructor at Broward Community College who had been diagnosed with dementia and taken back to Ohio by her daughter. Here is our diary entry for that day, found in our book Eighties End: Autumn:

Monday, October 19, 1987
9 PM. The stock market crashed today. I’ve been expecting this for months, but I still thought it wouldn’t happen for another couple of years. The Dow Jones average fell over 500 pints, landing finally at around 1700. It lost 23% of its value, compared to the 12% one-day loss on October 28, 1929.
Nobody’s using the word "crash," but it has to be considered one. Having last week read two books that dealt with the 1929 crash, I can compare and contrast (the rhetorical mode I taught at Broward Community College this evening) today to that crash. Both days were unpredictably frantic, with panic selling and no buying. But the average person speculated in 1929, and that didn’t happen today.
I had expected that stocks would rally today, but as in the weekend in ’29, a couple of days’ rest caused a total change in market psychology. Obviously program trading – a subject I discussed in my computer literacy workshop this afternoon – had a lot to do with exaggerating the Dow’s plunge, but no two events can have exact parallels.
The big question is whether the market drop represents the start of another Great Depression. At the very least, it portends a recession. The mass psychology part of it is important; I suspect the number of article and books laying out our economic problems have finally reached enough people to form a critical mass.
Is this the start of the big change I’ve been hoping for? Time will tell, but even I – a friend of the law of gravity, probably one of the few Americans who rooted for the Dow to fall – and am shocked by the swiftness of the crash.
The other big news today was a U.S. naval attack on an Iranian oil platform in the Persian Gulf. Everyone knew we were going to retaliate for the Iranian attack on Friday, but now no one’s sure if this is the end of it or if the Iranians will try to get back at us. Reagan’s reflagging of the Persian Gulf oil tankers always seemed as if it would get us into armed conflict.
It’s very weird. I get the feeling we’re turning the corner on history, and things are going to change drastically. It might be very premature to say it, but perhaps the 1980s ended today. If they have, I feel little sadder than I thought I’d be. After all, I wanted a stock market crash, I want to see a depression, I want the mood of the country to change. Still, it’s sad to see people robbed of their illusions, even if they were living in a fool’s paradise.
About my own little life, I feel good tonight. I taught two new classes today, and I feel productive and capable. I enjoy teaching, and I’m good at communicating ideas to people.
Last night Josh called. Not much was going on at his end, but during our conversation, I realized once again how faint-hearted and security-conscious Josh is. He was shocked that I rented such an “expensive” apartment (Josh’s horror exceeded even Grandma Ethel’s), shocked that Lisa would consider joining the Peace Corps and going to Africa – especially after her illness.  
And Josh said Joyce could probably get me a secure job at the DOT; Josh plans to go there December 9; he’s been waiting to see if Blue Cross will lay him off. I don’t know why Josh has become so timid about taking risks, especially after he blew all that money on Carter-Wallace stock; he lost half his investment thinking that it would rise because AIDS would lead to more condom sales. I just know I’m glad I’ve taken risks and I wish had taken more in past years.
Up early, I read the Herald, Times and Wall Street Journal and followed the markets on CNN all day. Marc was over with China – that dog is as affectionate with me as she is with everyone else – and Dad was home all day.
I left at 1 PM, grabbing my mail (mostly junk and two bills) and went to Little Havana, to the Coral Way Elementary School, where I taught my computer literacy workshop. They’ve broken it up into four two-hour classes, so I didn’t do much today except try to explain the parts of a computer and to demonstrate its use. Most of the teachers are, of course, Cubans, and I’m still not used to hearing Spanish everywhere, including the office of a public school. But I must have done something right because I got applause at the end of the workshop.
The English 1101 class at BCC seems like a good group. Naturally, they were upset that Ms. Evans is gone, but by the end of class I felt I had won them over. I feel totally confident in front of a class. Remember how nervous I used to get? Even last year I’d be nervous before a computer workshop. Not now.
Actually, working is enjoyable because I haven’t done it in so long. If only I didn’t have to grade papers, I’d be very happy to be an English teacher again. Of course, I’m sure I’ll have bad days and evenings in the next two months, but that’s part of the game.
Well, I want to watch the news tonight and see what the world is making of today’s events on Wall Street and in the Persian Gulf. The London, Hong Kong and Tokyo stock markets also fell sharply today. I’d like to know what average people think of today’s crash.

Monday, October 15, 2012

That's My Congress: "Absurdist Candidate Rises in Absurd Climate: Richard Grayson for Congress in Arizona"

That's My Congress, a politically independent journal of the campaigns and legislation of the United States Congress, covers our candidacy for Congress in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District:
Running against conservative Republican incumbent Paul Gosar in Arizona’s 4th Congressional District, Americans Elect party candidate Richard Grayson reacts to the absurdity of modern politics with absurdist rhetoric:
Q: What effects have the Citizens United ruling had on this year’s election process so far? Do you see them as positive or negative, and why?
Grayson: It’s hard to say; I need to watch more campaign ads. I favor a Constitutional amendment to reverse the ruling so we don’t have unlimited anonymous donors. I never spent a dime on my campaigns. They should be publicly financed. I want votes only from the one percent – not the richest, the elite. I also demand that if people want to vote for me, they must read five books. See the list on my website at

Monday Morning in Crown Heights: Crown Street between Bedford and Rogers Avenues

This morning, walking from one of Bedford Avenue buildings of Medgar Evers College to our apartment on Crown Street at Nostrand Avenue, we once again enjoyed the early fall beauty of the block just before ours -- between Bedford and Rogers -- which got Honorable Mention earlier this year for the Greenest Block in Brooklyn. (The winner was just five blocks north on Lincoln Road.)
Walking down Crown Street is always such a pleasure.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Afternoon at Grand Army Plaza: Richard Grayson's "I Survived Caracas Traffic" at the Brooklyn Public Library's Central Library

Spending our Sunday off in Crown Heights, a neighborhood we love spending October in, we went to the Central Library at Grand Army Plaza on a sunny, mild afternoon to return a copy of Lysistrata and pick up a copy of John Ciardi's translation of Dante's Inferno -- both cheap Signet paperbacks we use in our class at the fabulous School of Visual Arts -- and to our surprise, we found one of our books, the hardover 1996 edition of I Survived Caracas Traffic in the stacks, so we decided to take the poor short story collection out for a much-needed airing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Prescott (Arizona) Daily Courier features Q & A with Richard Grayson and other candidates in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District

Today the Prescott (Arizona) Daily Courier features a Q & A session that staff writer Joanna Dodder Nellens had with the four candidates for Congress in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District, including Americans Elect Party candidate Richard Grayson.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Prescott (Arizona) Daily Courier profiles Richard Grayson and other candidates in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District

In the Prescott (Arizona) Daily Courier today, staff writer Joanna Dodder Nellans profiles the four candidates for Congress in Arizona's Fourth Congressional District, including Americans Elect Party candidate Richard Grayson.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Saturday Night in Prospect Heights: Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Musuem

We spent over three hours tonight at October's Target First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum, our favorite museum in the world. And we are for this month living just two subway stops away in beautiful Crown Heights. We got to enjoy some great performances and terrific exhibitions, most notably Mickalene Thomas's Origin of the Universe.
We're really grateful for Target First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum. We had the best time tonight.