Seventh Ave & 53rd St Subway Station: Unconscionable

Surely the IND subway station at West 53rd Street and Seventh Avenue must be the most gawd-awfully arranged hole in the city. Its three levels, with a near-complete dearth of escalators (okay, there’s one, if you can find it, and it’s working) must defeat even the most intrepid first-time visitor.

Descending to the lowermost, or Downtown, ramp, you find that one side takes you down 8th Avenue (E train) whilst the other takes you down Sixth (D or B). Make your decision carefully, as it’s not a question of Express versus Local. If you’re just going to 34th St. and pick the wrong one, you’ll find yourself 3/8ths of a mile from where you wish to be. If you think you’re going Uptown (or Crosstown), a mistake may be much bleaker, and you’ll end up in Queens when you really wish to change for the A train at Columbus Circle. Then of course there’s the problem of rerouting, with F and M and Q trains coming through the station as their fancy strikes them.

No doubt there are fascinating historical reasons for this confusion, but your best bet is just to avoid the station altogether. Sometimes there are fires and it all shuts down.

NYT Gets the ‘Inner City’ All Wrong

In a curious memory lapse, the New York Times spins the phrase ‘inner city’ as an odd coinage of Donald Trump. Writing in The Upshot column yesterday, Emily Badger strains to argue that the expression is inappropriate, as many ‘inner cities’ are doing well.

There’s a lot to unpack here. In the first place, the phrase was popularized in the 1960s by the NYT and other New York-based entities (New York Urban Coalition, the Urban League). It was expressly intended as a euphemism for negro slum. If the phrase ‘inner city’ still connotes ‘black ghetto,’ that would seem to be the fault of the New York Times, not Donald Trump. The Times even admits this origin:

The phrase “inner city” is often used to suggest that the historical image and the modern place are one and the same — or even that the “inner city” is still a meaningfully identifiable place at all, with clearly implied demographics (black, poor) and connotations (violence, decay). It still evokes the particular context when the phrase became popular in the 1960s and ’70s.


Weirdly, the columnist goes on to argue that ‘inner city’ is now inappropriate because some inner cities today do not suffer from too much violence and decay. That is, they’re not as slummy and dangerous as you might think. So you shouldn’t say ‘inner city.’

This is frivolous sophistry. If Trump seems to be conjuring up images of colored slums of the 1960s, it’s because the basic political reality has not changed since then. Across the political spectrum, blacks are still generalized as a poor and needy population dependent on Federal largesse and affirmative-action quotas.

Sesame Street may have cleaned itself up, and forgotten that it was supposed to be set in Harlem, but politically we are still in the late 60s, when Eve Merriam, alias Moskovitz, wrote her dreadful Inner City Mother Goose.

Nat Turner Movie Sparks Anti-Rape Protests Here and There

A motion picture about Nat Turner, in which the murderous negro slave is depicted as a forerunner of Black Lives Matter, has sparked “candlelight vigils” this week in Hollywood, according to Variety. The filmmaker was once accused of rape, after which the accuser killed herself.

The film has opened at several cinemas in Manhattan. At the New York Times, reviewer A.O. Scott strained to give it a socially aware but mixed review, suggesting that the movie is really pretty awful.



HeatStreet’s Louise and Her Russia Troll-Bot Map

By all accounts, the Trump-Clinton debate on Tuesday night was a dreary draw, although Trump fans were quick on the trigger to vote in online polls at DrudgeReport, Time, and elsewhere. Verdict: an overwhelming win for Mr. Trump.

Few people take such polls seriously, least of all the Trump or Clinton campaigns, and the online fluff would ordinarily have been forgotten the next day. This time however some wag conjured up a “map” putting forth the theory that all those online votes for Trump really came from the region of St. Petersburg, Russia!

fake-russia-poll-tweetThe widely circulated geolocation map appears to be a Photoshopped hoax, as it doesn’t resemble available images from TrendsMap or Google. The fakery was quickly exposed by Philip Bump at the Washington Post, with a follow-up in BuzzFeed. It may or may not have been created by a tweeter calling himself “Dusty,” who posted the ur-image on Wednesday morning (right).

Hoax exposed, most of the media soon lost interest.

One online personality refused to take the memo, however, insisting for days that Trump’s post-debate triumph in online polls was largely the work of Russian tweet-bots.

That would be Louise (“Tweet-a-minute”) Mensch of HeatStreet, the Rupert Murdoch clickbait site invented in imitation of Takimag and The Daily Beast.  She quickly retweeted the “Dusty” image on Wednesday morning, and continued to retweet it and defend its veracity for the next two days.

screenshot-2016-10-02-11-35-41Then embarrassment took over and she covered up with a flurry of tweets about British Parliamentary things (left).

Louise Mensch, alias Bagshawe, is a Sacred Heart girl and chick-lit novelist who was briefly a British MP.  She did not use the name Mensch (her second husband’s) till she came to New York to work for NewsCorp. It is a folk belief among London journos that you get on better in America if you pretend to be Jewish.

Louise is a friend of Milo Yiannopoulos.

Another Indecipherable, Messy, Barry Blitt Drawing

In recent years The New Yorker has favored cover illustrations by Barry Blitt, a Canadian-born illustrator of uncertain origins. When his stuff was new and fresh (this is going back a couple of decades), it had novelty, as though he were passing off notebook scribbles and watercolor-board tests as finished product. Many years later he still hasn’t learned to draw, or he’s convinced himself and his art editors that his awkward, unfinished, unrealized renderings are his “style.”

His covers for TNY are always murky or ambiguous in intent. Apparently this is supposed to beDonald Trump as a beauty pageant contestant (October 10, 2016 cover).

But if Trump were a 20-year-old female in a pageant, would he (she) not look more like Tiffany Trump, or Ivanka? What exactly is the point here, other than a glancing allusion to an ephemeral news item that will be long forgotten by the time the nominal cover date arrives?

What indeed? Murkier than ever!

Senile Roger Angell Likes Soldiers and Hillary

Ninety-six-year-old Roger Angell, who never saw combat, nevertheless shares the military fetish that afflicted so many members of the Grifter Generation.

In a recent blog-post on the New Yorker site, he tells us why he’s voting for Hillary Clinton: with a photo of D-Day in 1944 (same year Katharine Angell’s young son Roger first wrote for the family magazine), the mawkish screed begins:

I’m late weighing in on this election—late in more ways than one. Monday brought my ninety-sixth birthday, and, come November, I will be casting my nineteenth ballot in a Presidential election. My first came in 1944, when I voted for a fourth term for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, my Commander-in-Chief, with a mail-in ballot from the Central Pacific, where I was a sergeant in the Army Air Force. It was a thrilling moment for me, but not as significant as my vote on November 8th this year, the most important one of my lifetime…

Blah. Blah. Blah. As there is no sense or logic in the old man’s scribbles, we won’t bother to parse out his commentary here. His nursies told him Mr. Trump is bad, and that is all ye need to know.

Angell was never much of an idea man. That’s why he mostly wrote about baseball: last refuge of a hack.