Digital Urban Commercial Archaeology

I was walking through the 34th Street / Herald Square subway station yesterday and walked by an area being renovated.  The renovations had exposed a sign for Korvette’s embedded in the tile.  It brought back fond memories of the Korvette’s my mother used to take us to in Paramus, NJ.

korvettes

Korvette’s was the place I bought my 45’s (also known as 45 rpm records, or singles), most of which I still have.  I remember my Uncle Jack telling me that E.J. Korvette, which was the full name of the retail chain, was short for “Eight Jewish Korean Veterans” who founded the store.

jack-in-the-army

Uncle Jack just happened to be a Jewish veteran, but of World War II [Uncle Gasper, on the other hand, was a Korean vet, but not Jewish].  Unfortunately, the story about the eight Jewish vets was not true. I did however find an interesting tidbit about WHY this sign was where it was, which you can read here.

This post, however, was not intended to be about Korvette’s (although a future one likely will be).  This post is about “Digital Urban Commercial Archaeology”.  I am going on the record as the FOUNDER of this discipline!  Also as the founder of the Society for Digital Urban Commercial Archaeology.  Watch for our website soon (www.sduca.org) and if you want membership information, contact admin@sduca.org.

So what is it? It is the piecing together of the history of the findings of remnants of old businesses in an urban setting by searching for information online.  Yes I made it up… but I realized it is what I do, so might as well call it something.

Below are other findings from my photo collection that I will be researching and sharing in future posts.  See you then!

Great video of my beloved #NYC

Second hand noise

So this guy is sitting next to me on the train… he starts doing his email on his iPhone so every time he sends one it goes “Swoosh!”. I’m thinking “OK, a couple of emails and he’s done.” Nope. Now it’s time for solitaire. Dink. Dink. Doink. Dink. “Hey dude, you can put that Jack on the Queen…and either turn your effing volume off or put in some earphones!” No, I didn’t verbalize it.

Why is it that people think it’s fine to engage in their own form of entertainment and share the sound with the rest of us?  For decades, the Surgeon General told people smoking could kill them. It wasn’t until the scientists showed that second-hand smoke could kill the other guy that smoking bans popped up all over the country! [Which of course pushed those smokers out to the street where sidewalk pedestrians like me get to partake in their smoke…but we saved the other bar patrons from it!]

I’m going to start a movement. Going to find some scientists who will prove his stupid game sounds will cause me cancer or deafness or a mental breakdown. That’ll do it!

By the way, I think while I was tapping this out, he glanced over here, saw the title, and turned off his sound. What’s the word for visual eavesdropping?

Here’s to the Ladies who Lunch!

Let’s say you’re a well-off New York woman in the late 19th century, and you’re on an excursion to Ladies Mile—the area roughly between Broadway and Sixth Avenue and 10th and 23rd Streets where the city’s chicest emporiums and boutiques were located. Shopping is time-consuming, and your stomach starts growling. Where could you grab a […]

via Where fashionable Gilded Age ladies lunched — Ephemeral New York

Happy Birthday to all of you

I realized that I knew several people with today, September 16th, as their birthday [Maria, Donna, Breyon, and Emily… at least].  That led me to wonder what the most common birthday was – well it turns out there are several answers.  I have checked a number of studies and there seems to be three common answers: September 16th, September 30th and October 5th.  That of course leads to the question of what is the average human gestation period?  Answer: 280 days. Now, doing the math backwards from those three dates you get December 11th, December 25th, and December 31st.  I guess two of those are no surprise.

By the way, besides February 29th, the least common birthday is December 25th.

Heard on the Street I

“Let’s get over this idea of snapping turtles. You’re not getting them.”

Taxi

Checker Cab
A Checker Cab

I was walking along West 81st Street yesterday and saw this wonderful specimen of a Checker Cab parked on the street.  It appeared to be a working cab, but the last one checked out in 1999 [See New York Times article here].  I do recall riding in one or two when I was young.

It made me think about Latka Gravas working on them in the garage while Alex, Elaine and Tony schmoozed.  I loved that show.  The best scene, bar none, was when Jim had to get his drivers license – “What do you do at a yellow light?”

Now, apparently, the only Checker Cab you can get in New York City is Checker Cab Blonde Ale brewed by NYC’s own Chelsea Craft Brewing Company.  I think I might go get one.

Noise pollution

I enjoy peace and quiet. Remember when the biggest noise annoyances we had were airplanes overhead and people talking during the movie? Now we are bombarded everywhere we go with people’s phone conversations, phone notification tones, game app “music”, and the tinny sound of loud music leaking from earphones of people who can’t afford good ones.

What is it that makes people think this is okay? What happened to thinking about others? Something has changed, caused by this omnipresent digital tether we now all have in front of our face more often than not.  Ironic, I know, that my recent living has been highly impacted by the existence of these devices. And many of you who know me know I am as addicted to the device as the rest of them. But can’t we just keep it a little more quiet please? Where’s the crying baby when you need one?

And is the Procrastinator’s Club meeting a week early?

As reported in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Train songs

My family and I have been spending a lot of time on the New Jersey Transit trains this last year. Not complaining. Most of us enjoy taking the train. My go to train song is City of New Orleans as sung by Arlo Guthrie, although Willie Nelson did a good job with it also.  So then I wondered if there are more train songs than car songs? Tried Googling it. Couldn’t find the answer.

Here is a list of train songs, in case you were wondering.