American Hero’s Last Words and Execution on The U.E.S.

Rebecca Schiffman with Nathan Hale plaque

I’ve been watching the John Adams HBO series starring Paul Giamatti and feeling a little patriotic so today my friend Mike and I walked around looking for a plaque commemorating the execution site of an American Revolutionary War Hero, Nathan Hale, and eventually we found it on the side of a Banana Republic.

Nathan Hale Plaque with pants sign

According to a NY Historical Society plaque on the West side of Third Avenue between 65th and 66th Streets, Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary war hero, was hanged by the British, “probably within a hundred yards of here.”

The hanging site of Nathan Hale is significant because it is where he uttered his famous last words (there are many conflicting accounts of these words, but all accounts give the same general sentiment which boil down to what follows),

“I only regret that I have but one life to give my country.” Continue reading “American Hero’s Last Words and Execution on The U.E.S.”


by Theodore Ward Barrow

Allow me, if you please, to paint a picture for you.  This picture will be painted in the pinkest of hues, and the mintiest of greens.  These colors will burn brightly and they will burn shortly, and their breath-taking incandescence will be a momentary flicker of exalted heavenly light, before it passes into the drab nothingness of urban spleen.

A colleague of mine, who for the moment shall go un-named, and I were leaving the Metropolitan Museum of Art, that veritable and glorious hallowed Upper West Side institution.  It was about 4:30, and the sun was cozying itself down into the furrowed covers and verdant hills of our great land.  This associate and I looked across the drab and bustling traffic of 5th Avenue (one of the most unpleasant avenues out there, if you ask me: 4 lanes of screaming homicidal cab drivers and loud buses packed with gaggling tourists like a sardine can.  Nothing like my beloved CPW on the fairer side of my park) and we saw the pink-marshmallow glow rising of the setting sun rising above the green copper cornices of a taste-less mansion which looked not unlike the frosting on a superfluously saccharine birthday cake for some spoiled-rotten Upper East Side Continue reading “Sunset-Off”

Sunset War

I was just walking up Fifth Avenue from The Met with notorious Upper West Sider, Theodore Ward Barrow, when Mr. Barrow exclaimed, “Look at that pink!”  There was a beautifully intense pink glow on the pail stone buildings extending up the East Side of the Avenue.

We stopped for a moment of appreciation and I took out my camera to take a photo of the pink contrasting with a light green roof.  Mr. Barrow said, “If you post this on your blog you have to note that the Upper West Side has equally beautiful sunsets.”
Granted the sun sets in the West, and sometimes I have a view from my roof of The Upper West Side backlit by a brilliant glow but I can’t say I’ve ever really been struck by the sun setting while actually on The Upper West Side.  I’m sure there’s a decent view on the Hudson, but anyway, I’ll have to see it to believe it.  Therefore I challenge Theodore Ward Barrow to a sunset-off!

A Survey of U.E.S. Vanity Plates

CLICK HERE TO GO TO MY NEW BLOG JUST ABOUT VANITY PLATES!  I can’t walk by one with out taking a picture so I figured I might as well do something with all of them – not just from The U.E.S.

A few months ago I was walking down Park Avenue with Jay Israelson and he pointed out a very funny vanity plate. It read “I Broker.” We assumed it was referencing “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov, but even if it wasn’t, it was still classic U.E.S. (Upper East Side). Continue reading “A Survey of U.E.S. Vanity Plates”

C.K. writes about the huge flag on 1088 Park Ave.

Whenever I mention the building I grew up in, I invariably get, “Oooh, that’s the building with the flag” or “that’s a fucking big flag on that building.” It is. After September 11 and the proliferation of stars and stripes running up Park Avenue, any building without a flag was suspect in its lack of, shall we say, support. On an average, there were ten flags per city block. I grew up in 1088 Park off Eighty-Eighth Street. It hung up a flag the size of, lets say, all the other flags on the block put together. Upon my estimation, the flag measures seven by eleven feet. In fact, it may be size of my bedroom. Exact measurements are not subject to release by the superintendent at this time. It hangs above the green awning in a large circular window. When the other flags slowly came down after a sufficient mourning time, 1088’s flag remained prominently. A flag that size on an apartment building is always garish. The German flag is not even that large atop the Reichstag. However, with the onset of the Iraq war and the political climate in America become more of a farce, the flag has become, to put it as some inhabitants of the building might say, “in poor taste”. I write this to say there are some stirring of moans and groans behind the flag. Not everyone is pleased.

How did our building get the biggest damn flag on the block? Insider
information tries to explain it like this . . . Mostly to blame is the chairman of the building’s board, who makes decisions of this sort. “The chairman is a man from Texas.” Ohhh. “He served in the army intelligence in Vietnam.” There you go. I can imagine the sentiment of some board members. “He feels so strongly, why argue?” Or, “I’ve had a long day, I need a drink.” Or, “Enough is enough, let him have his flag.” Maybe the inhabitants just don’t realize that other people really notice. Although with a message that size hanging on the front door, that may be too lenient. To be fair, recently the flag is not raised all the time, but on specific American holidays, such as July Fourth. Maybe as Operation Iraqi Liberation or Freedom or whatever becomes a bigger mess and flagrant violations of law by the government are reported in the newspaper daily, the flag was a little too embarrassed to be paraded all the time.

So, at least there is some comfort in knowing that controversy exists. That not everyone in the building, probably very few, in fact, are American patriots who love the flying of this flag. The majority probably disapproves. But, I suppose the thesis of this is that flag is a metaphor for how people are acting in this country right now. They may not like the flag, and there are some that whine about it, but people are too “fill in the blank” to get together and take it down.