The Year in Blog Posts Gone By
Well, neighbors, we’re coming quickly to the end of 2018. And I don’t know about you, but it sure flew by for me. I remember last year’s polar vortex like it was yesterday.
Taking stock, I can measure the year in the number of blog posts I've gotten up, despite that I have such a backlog of potential posts. It puts me in a perpetual state of disappointment that I don’t have more time. Still, I looked at the log and see a grand total of 85 posts in 2018. That’s the most in one year since I started maintaining the site in April 2014. But the guilt persists, and I will try to roll out some of the treasures sitting in my desktop folder ominously marked "Blog To Do."
As I often write, our neighborhood is a very inspiring muse. Like Bob L. or John K. and so many others of you who love to “noodle” in different neighborhoods, I always enjoy a good city walk — looking for a bit of old New York. Or at least authentic New York. It’s getting harder to find, but it’s there in pockets. And those walks, no matter where, always remind me how much I love my home turf: bookended by two great parks, sleepier than the now mall-like UWS, relatively low-lying in terms of the architecture, and so luminous. Bloomingdale has it all.
Add to that the great history, and that’s what makes it so satisfying to chronicle.
Bloomingdale also has a tradition of community -- from the "Old Community" supplanted by Park West Village whose spirit truly lives on (and gave rise to the Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group), to the community fostered by this Block Association with half a dozen events and four newsletters each year, to the communities that our neighboring block association and the one Bloomingdale Aging in Place has built over the last 10 years. That's just four quick examples, and there are many micro-communities in between, too.
When I reflect on what at times seems to be the electronic and political dystopia taking hold, I have to say all this community-building that has come naturally in Bloomingdale gives me quite a bit of hope going forward -- especially if new neighbors will join in, roll up sleeves and take up the tradition.
As part of my ongoing love letter to our piece of the Manhattan pie, I wanted to offer back up some of the slices from the year gone by — posts that have received great traffic from readers together with the ones I most enjoyed writing. It's far from an exhaustive list of the 2018 posts. But it's perhaps the cream.
Have a look at the links below and then perhaps you’ll write with your favorites to email@example.com or in the comments section of this post.
In any case, I appreciate that you read along throughout the year, and I send best wishes for an excellent 2019. If you know nearby neighbors who would enjoy the blog, send them this link where they can subscribe.
And now to the Year in Blog Favorites....
To read each post, click on the corresponding image at left or the hyperlinked text. If you are reading this post in an email subscription, it may be easier to view directly on the website.
Then if you want, gild the lily with a post to honor his 77th birthday here.
Yes, a bit of a stretch for the Bloomingdale catchment, but I'm counting on you to humor me. It took all I had to refrain from writing about The Public's Girl from the North Country and its superb cast including the luscious drummer in red, the boxer, and Mare Winningham -- three actors who stole the show. Look for Girl on Broadway soon.
• Beautiful Block of Riverside Drive: Seven Beauties in Our Midst
Author Dan Wakin digs into the history of 330-337 Riverside Drive.
Pictured at left: Bennie the Bum with the sawed-off leg, not pictured!
• Women's Suffrage & Bloomingdaler Harriot Stanton Blatch
Elizabeth Cady Stanton's remarkable daughter Harriot (a babe in arms at left) lived right here. Read more about the fight in NYC to get women the vote, including the effort to get Columbia's men to the polls.
• Nightmare on 102nd Street
Always a blog favorite, the annual Block Association Halloween Party "Ghouls' Gallery", replete with a visitation from King George the Wee. The party is just one offering of the Block Association; for other B.A. event coverage in 2018, see this link.
What do I love about Miss Parsons? Everything!
Her intensity and her energy are her superpowers that allow her to thieve every scene she's in. Catch her in this Bloomingdale walkabout. Probably the year's most-viewed blog post! The lady has a legion of fans.
• Manfred Kirchheimer's Time Encapsulated
What do I love about filmmaker Manny Kirchheimer? Also everything!
A Bloomingdaler for five and a half decades, he's chronicled the city in his contemplative documentaries along with the odd fiction such as the film "Short Circuit" at left, shot entirely in our neighborhood.
Throwback Thursday: Bloomingdale Edition is the section of the blog where I feature historical pictures and tidbits. A trove of these await publication, time permitting in 2019. Emanuel Blout's Victrola store, circa 1920, was my favorite this year. Have a TBT favorite? Let me know in the comments.
You can view all TBT: BE posts here.
• Throwback Thursday: The Divine Tight Line & Philippe Petit
This TBT: BE post comes in a close second place.
Discover the neighborhood feat of the great tightrope walker Petit, high on Amsterdam Avenue. And divine as ever.
• JFK Impersonator Vaughn Meader on the UWS
JFK would have turned 101 in 2018 and in his honor this post unearths the wonderful two albums that comedian Vaughn Meader turned out before the stars fell down and the curtain closed on Camelot.
• Catching Up with Hedy Campbell
Four years and 330 posts ago, Hedy asked me to write for the blog. The idea was to pick up where the creators had left off and fill in the gaps between quarterly Block Association newsletter issues. Without breaking a sweat, Hedy has turned out the publication since 1987 -- a massive feat if ever there was one. The blog is child's play by comparison. I end the highlights of 2018 with Hedy because she is a neighborhood jewel whose efforts have helped build and sustain a community feeling now for over 30 years. It's a team effort to be sure, so this hat tip goes to all folks who value this organization.
Join us by becoming a member here.
Catch you in 2019 for more Throwbacks,
more Hyper Local Eats, more Bloomingdale,
and, yes, probably more Bob Dylan.
Thanks for reading.