Hello again, welcome back to Where & When. Yesterday’s game was a bit too easy for my tastes (though it was a very nice pic I couldn’t pass up), so I thought I’d track down another tough one and throw it at you. This one is tough not so much for the location, but for the time. Here, you take a look:
As you can see, there are a lot of clues about the location, but not too many about the time. I suppose if you’re a history buff you can pinpoint the year by certain visual evidence and deduction… the resource I have doesn’t have a conclusion, so it’s up to us to gather where and when this was taken.
A cold barrel of root beer of choice for the one who can actually get the answers with specific references supporting both answers, a cream soda for everyone who plays. I’ll throw in a scoop of french vanilla for anyone who might get my inside reasoning for possibly choosing this photo (and I know, it’s not fair but keep it to yourself and use any specific term or phrase I’ve often used if you get it).
Have fun, folks and I’ll be back again soon. Show your path to enlightenment and don’t peek at the credits!
Photo credit: New York City Black & White
This is a few weeks old but check out Nick Paumgarten’s long New Yorker profile of the piano man:
Billy Joel sat smoking a cigarillo on a patio overlooking Oyster Bay. He had chosen the seating area under a trellis in front of the house, his house, a brick Tudor colossus set on a rise on the southeastern tip of a peninsula called Centre Island, on Long Island’s North Shore. It was a brilliant cloudless September afternoon. Beethoven on Sonos, cicadas in the trees, pugs at his feet. Out on the water, an oyster dredge circled the seeding beds while baymen raked clams in the flats. Joel surveyed the rising tide. Sixty-five. Semi-retirement. Weeks of idleness, of puttering around his motorcycle shop and futzing with lobster boats, of books and dogs and meals, were about to give way to a microburst of work. His next concert, his first in more than a month, was scheduled to begin in five hours, at Madison Square Garden, and he appeared to be composing himself.
“Actually, I composed myself a long time ago,” he said. He told a joke that involved Mozart erasing something in a mausoleum; the punch line was “I’m decomposing.” He knocked off an ash. Whenever anyone asks him about his pre-show routine, he says, “I walk from the dressing room to the stage. That’s my routine.” Joel has a knack for delivering his own recycled quips and explanations as though they were fresh, a talent related, one would think, to that of singing well-worn hits with sincere-seeming gusto. He often says that the hardest part isn’t turning it on but turning it off: “One minute, I’m Mussolini, up onstage in front of twenty thousand screaming people. And then, a few minutes later, I’m just another schmuck stuck in traffic on the highway.” It’s true: the transition is abrupt, and it has bedevilled rock stars since the advent of the backbeat. But this schmuck is usually looking down on the highway from an altitude of a thousand feet. He commutes to and from his shows by helicopter.
Joel was wearing a black T-shirt tucked into black jeans, black Vans, and an Indian Motorcycle ball cap. The back of his head, where hair might be, was freshly shorn, and his features, which in dark or obscure moods can appear mottled and knotted, were at rest, projecting benevolent bemusement. To prepare for the flight, he’d put on a necklace of good-luck medallions—pendants of various saints. The atavism of Long Island is peculiar. Though Jewish, and an atheist, he had, as a boy in a predominantly Catholic part of Hicksville, attended Mass, and even tried confession. His mother took him and his sister to Protestant services at a local church; he was baptized there. Still, a girl across the street said he’d grow horns, and a neighborhood kid named Vinny told him, “Yo, Joel, you killed Jesus. I’m gonna beat your ass.” Vinny did, repeatedly. Joel took up boxing to defend himself. The nose still shows it.
There was a rumble in the distance. “That’s my guy,” Joel said. “He’s early.” A helicopter zipped in over the oystermen and landed down by the water, at the hem of a great sloping lawn, where Joel had converted the property’s tennis court to a helipad. He’d recently had to resurface it, after Hurricane Sandy. Joel often attempts to inoculate himself with self-mockery. “Oh, my helipad got flooded,” he says, with the lockjaw of Thurston Howell III.
Welcome back to Where & When; our third episode of the new season. Let’s keep the ball rolling along with a new stumper; I loved how you guys all teamed up with your clues on the last game, so lets put our noggins together on this little brainteaser:
This shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, since it’s fairly distinctive and there are very strong clues all over. Figure out the location and time period of this photo and you’ll get the usual first prize of a thought of cold root beer swishing around in a frosty mug approaching your mouth. All of our contestants will get to pacify themselves with cool thoughts of a sweet cream soda doing the same thing. As usual, I’ll check in when I have time throughout the day to cajole you if necessary and maybe even declare a winner. So as always, have fun, feel free to share your stories and don’t peek at the phot credit!
Photo credit: NYC Past
Check out this story at Slate by Jordan Weissmann on how Katz’s stays in business:
The newer generation of artisanal delicatessens that have risen up in recent years—restaurants like Brooklyn’s Mile End Deli and Washington, D.C.’s DGS Delicatessen—are fundamentally different. They serve their own excellent, obsessively sourced variations of house-cured and smoked pastrami (or Montreal-style “smoked meat,” in Mile End’s case). But volume isn’t really part of their equation. Instead, they emphasize profitable alcohol sales and have more varied menus with higher margin main dishes. And crucially, they can pack less meat onto the plate, which would be anathema at an old-school deli like Katz’s.
“Katz’s is super-special. It’s the only thing of its kind in the entire world,” Mile End’s founder, Noah Bernamoff, tells me.
The reason Katz’s was able to live on while its competitors disappeared largely boils down to real estate. As Sax writes in Save the Deli, New York’s delicatessens can basically be divided into two groups: those that rent their buildings and those that own. Famous renters, like the Stage Deli and 2nd Avenue Deli, have closed in the face of rent hikes. Famous owners, like Carnegie and Katz’s, have lived on. (And when 2nd Avenue Deli reopened, it bought a building … on New York’s 3rd Avenue). If Katz’s had to deal with a landlord, it would likely have disappeared or moved long ago.
[Photo Credit: Antonio Bonanno]
Greetings, kids and kittens, welcome back to another edition of Where & When. Our season premiere was very solid and we had a pretty good turnout (though I was remiss in declaring a winner since it seemed to be a group effort, so everyone gets a root beer), how about we follow up with some more excitement and discovery?
I’ve somehow stumbled upon some pretty interesting locales and buildings, so I’m rather amped to share them with you this week; provided of course that I have time to set them up like this. So c’mon, let’s get to the game, shall we?
This looks like a rather unique structure for New York, doesn’t it? It sort of reminds me of a beach resort hotel… well, at least one of those thoughts is relative to the location, or close to it. The region was likely not as developed as it is now, but a place like this would certainly stand out in any era. As usual, your job is to determine where this picture was taken and when. There are enough clues in the picture to get a good idea when, but where is going to take some thinking.
There’s a frothing decanter of root beer waiting for the first person to answer both questions correctly, and a bonus scoop of ice cream for the one who can answer the bonus question of what this region looks like now; i.e. what has become of what you see in the photo.
All participants with good guesses or good stories will get a equally frosty glass of cream soda. Cheers to all involved and I’ll try to get back sometime during the day (but as you can tell, I make no promises). Enjoy!
photo credit: Library of Congress
Greetings ladies and gents and welcome to a new season of Where and When! No, it wasn’t a dream or a passing fancy of some lunatic minds, it was and is a rather fun puzzle game for our readers to utilize their deductive skills in tracking down the answers to life’s important questions… well, trivial maybe, but all games involve a certain amount of seemingly useless knowledge. Back by popular demand (and a moment to spare in a busy work schedule), I’ve brought to you something new to disseminate and ponder. But before we get down to the nitty-gritty, a little background for the newcomers to Bronx Banter and/or this game we play…
Earlier in the year, Alex posted an interesting picture here from another site of a New York City landscape from the early part of the 20th century (so near, and yet so far) in which the writer asked help in identifying the location depicted in the picture. After some pondering and sharing of our observations within the picture, several of our loyal readers (myself included) concluded that the picture was an early photo of Manhattan’s West Side along the Hudson River; facing north from the busy piers near Midtown and peering far into the distance where the George Washington Bridge was just under construction. By this we were also able to determine the probable date the photo was taken. Riverside Drive was the dominant roadway, but the Henry Hudson Parkway was also under construction at the moment the picture was taken.
It was a fun undertaking, as I later wrote to Alex, and I suggested making a game out of it. “You’re hired” he responded, and I’ve been the administrator of this effort ever since. I’ve experimented with rules and formats throughout, trying to make it fair and more involving for everyone as our readers are so widely dispersed that some miss out on the game due to the difference in time from here to there part of the globe, but I’ve compensated in creative ways to involve them as well. In the end, I settled for a free exchange of ideas and suggestions with the stipulation that whoever answers he questions fully explain the process they used to find the answers (the journey can be equally as, if not more entertaining than the destination itself). The winners (the first person to answer the questions correctly) would receive a theoretical root beer; a Banter tradition that began with the jinxing of anyone who posted an identical comment to the comment prior to his or her own. The rest of the players were given cream sodas as a consolation prize for playing. I had something special in mind for the person who tabulated the most wins in a year, but because my work schedule began to interfere with regularly scheduled postings, I tabled that idea for the time being (but it’s still under consideration).
About the scheduling; I tried to adhere to a two or three-a-week schedule of games, but I ran into two big problems: life (big problem, supersedes everything fun) and supply. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I try to find interesting challenges for these games and generally avoid stock footage of standard New York City easy-to-identify landmarks. There are many sites with different photos of many places around the city, but even some of those are nondescript and would not provide a fair amount of clues to present as a challenge. So with those limitations, I’ve often found myself painted into a corner concerning what to present. Alex and I have discussed this at length and he has encouraged me to open my definition of what I consider interesting challenges as it were, bearing in mind that some people may be seeing these locales for the first time. With that in mind, I am being more open minded about what to present so that I don’t run out of material and also to allow one of my main goals to come into fruition: to educate and enlighten our readers and players about the history and appreciation of our great city and its region of influence. The most important thing to remember is that it is a game and was born from and meant for fun.
So let’s have some fun, shall we?
Here we have an aerial photo of a region within the city that you may or may not recognize from certain features within the picture. I think this is an easy one, but I’m sure that those of you not native to the region will want to look up some of the details in whatever manner you use to research. I can say this much, the features in this picture give a good indication of the time period of this photo, so I don’t have to drop many hints. If you get it within the correct decade, you’ll get credit for the when answer. So, if you answer Where this picture dipicts and When it was likely taken, you will win our traditional first prize, a frosty mug of high-quality root beer (which is always up for discussion). As a bonus, if you can identify at least two major features within this photo with proper names from the time it was taken, you will get a scoop of ice cream to add to your root beer, making it a root beer float of course. All players who participate in the discussion will receive a cold mug of cream soda for your efforts. I will try to return during the latter part of the day to reveal the answers and discuss any trivia or history that’s associated. You are all free to discuss whatever you like about it, but please avoid using the direct link in the photo credit (unless you find it during your research) and also as discussed before, show your math.
So ladies and gents, welcome back and have fun!
photo credit: Wired New York
If only I liked Oysters. There are a few places that held a certain mystery for me as a kid and the Oyster Bar is one of them. My parents talked about it with reverence. I’ve actually been once as an adult–I had a drink there with a friend a few years ago–but still haven’t had the Oysters.
[Photo via NYC Nostalgia]
Mr. Cab Driver…from Pete Hamill:
Taxi drivers are the most enduring oppressed minority in New York City history. Race, ethnicity and religion are not sources of the oppression. It lies entirely in the nature of the work. Trapped for about 12 hours each day in the worst traffic in the United States, taxi drivers must suffer the savage frustrations of jammed streets, double-parked cars, immense trucks, drivers from New Jersey — and they can’t succumb to the explosive therapy of road rage. Their living depends on self-control.
At the same time, they face many other hazards: drunks behind them in the cab, fare beaters, stickup men, Knicks fans filled with biblical despair, out-of-town conventioneers who think the drivers are mobile pimps. Some seal themselves off from the back seat with the radio, an iPod or a cellphone. All pray that the next passenger doesn’t want to go from Midtown to the far reaches of Brooklyn or Queens. They hope for a decent tip. They hope to stay alive until the next fare waves from under a midnight streetlamp.
[Photo Credit: Matt Draper]