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"Islands -- I don't get them.
Surrounded by water, poor things."
Patrizia, in Antonioni's L'Adventura
Have been dutifully working through the manuscript worksheet for 'Fatigue' this morning.
Funny how one's perception about something changes with proximity. This subject for the ies was not developed by either Catherine Whitney or me, but rather by our editor, and I was always a bit leery about the concept, since it is not a proper disease per se, but rather a common component of a tremendous number of other, more specific, diseases.
Yet now that I work on it, I am beginning to believe that there is an important contribution here.
One thing I had forgotten about was the large body of work that I had done on the subject back in the late 1980's, most of which has never seen the printed page. Things like second-messenger (cAMP) enhancement, Schwartzman's endotoxin phenomenon,and the cortisol- 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase axis.
Now I just have to decipher all the cryptic doodlings in my notebooks, which could be a problem since I am one of those people who cannot read their own handwriting.
The quote above is from the delightful Waterfront by Phillip Lopate. The book is literary tour around Manhattan island, from the perspective of a social historian. I am a sucker for architectural history, especially of my beloved borough of Brooklyn ('Fourth Largest City in America'). About a year ago, I embarked on a project to determine the exact whereabouts of original Dutch settlement of New Utrecht, a neighborhood of Brooklyn close to where I grew up, and probably most famous for supplying the high school shots at the opening of 'Welcome Back Kotter.'
From old landholding maps I found on the internet, I could superimpose the old street drawings of New Utrecht as layers in Photoshop over the Mapquest diagrams of the modern area. To my surprise, the town center of New Utrecht lay within the parking lot of a ramshackle discount store where as a child I would get my school supplies, and whose owner in 1969 once tried to convince several very sceptical kids that a chunk of sidewalk in the display case under the checkout counter was actually a moon rock from Apollo 11.
To understand the apparent lack of purpose for that interaction, you must read some of Arthur Miller's remembrances of his childhood in Brooklyn .
I believe our 'Blood Relations' columnist Cocky Van Hesteren hails from 'Old Utrecht' --the real one in the Netherlands.
My brother recently gave me An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn by Francis Morrone and James Iska which is a tad on the boring side. However I am sure it will serve much better purposes with the buildings directly in front of me.
If you are interested in NYC architectural history, you'd probably enjoy surfing Kevin Walsh's Forgotten NY website.
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