Monday, April 24, 2017

In Remembrance

In Remembrance: My Grandmother was born in a tiny town in Poland named Frompel. Her maiden name was Huff. She married my Grandfather and, as family legend has it, they lived together long enough for her to get pregnant, whereupon Grandfather took off for America to work, save and send back enough for her boat ticket. A year later, carrying my infant mother (and probably not much else), she joined him in New York. That was around 1910. The rest of her family was not as fortunate.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to find a copy of a book published in Israel in 1966 by the survivors of Frompol.  The book was in the library of the Yivo Institute; it's purpose was simply to document stories and bits of history of the Jewish community there, along with the names of those murdered by the Nazis.

With the help of a kind staff member I found the page with the list 28 people named Huff. They are all relatives of mine from that village.  None of them survived. Although I had heard stories of family members 'left behind,' this is the first time I actually read their names. My Yiddish is not very good, but I was able to make out the name of my Great Grandfather, Avram (Abraham) among them.

In Remembrance on this day, Yom HaShoah:

A Footnote: When I was a kid – really young, like around 5 – I remember noticing really old people – and when you are 5, damn near everybody over 20 is old – old people with numbers tattooed on their arms.  I guess at the time didn't know they were tattoos, and just thought they were another strange thing old people did, like smoking cigars.  I also remember that occasionally some of these folks acted odd, like yelling or crying for no reason.  When that happened, I would hear someone say “He was in the camps.”  Everyone would nod and not say anything more.  After all, what could anyone say?

It was only much later that I got some understanding of the real horror of what these people had been through.  Seems like the older I get, the greater my sense of the magnitude of the Holocaust becomes.  I had forgotten about the book of my grandmother's village that I cited on my last post.  Yesterday remembered the folder and found it stuck away in a file draw.  I looked at it for the first time in years and read off the names of my relatives.  and this time I had to fight back tears.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Scientists Occupy Broadway: Conway Denies Gravity!

A demonstration by scientists in support of science;  who would of thought?

...... or (to sum it all up):


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

"Behold and Go Forth!"

In a century old tradition, on this, the holiest day of the Christian calender the faithful from around the world come to New York City to gather in worship at the Cathedral of St. Patrick. This year I was deeply honored by being the first photographer permitted to photograph the Grand Procession of Communicants. I have selected a few images that I feel capture a small part of this year's recounting of this solemn event. 

In the words of St.Galapagos Letter To The Revisionists: “Behold and go forth in rudiments of randiment and be ye by this known and therefore unto all and one for on this day you shall indeed!”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

April 15, 1967 - April 15, 2017

April 15, 2017: Fifty years ago today, around 8 in the morning, I was standing in the middle of Central Park's Sheep Meadow.  It was an overcast day and the forecast was for rain. I was carrying a bunch of camera equipment; I remember being mildly concerned about keeping it all dry if it started raining.  As it happened the rain held off until mid-afternoon; by then more than a quarter of a million people would have assembled in the park and marched the several miles to the United Nations to protest the war in Vietnam.

 I had volunteered to 'coordinate' a group of photographers to photograph the march.  We scheduled a meeting and expected a dozen or so; over a hundred photographers showed up that evening.  On the morning of April 15th, we had everybody assigned to cover different parts of the march.  Many professionals who could not be there had responded with contributions of cash, film and use of their darkrooms to develop the shots.  Richard Avedon was teaching a master class and assigned his students to photograph the event. 

One strong memory of that morning was watching the Sheep Meadow fill and realizing that this was going to be lots bigger than we expected. And things started happening early.  One young man burned his draft card; more joined.  Suddenly a hundred more were setting the small white cards on fire. 

 When the march began, Dr. Martin Luther King and Dr. Benjamin Spock lead the way.  Pete Seegar sang.  It would take more than 7 hours for the last marcher to reach the UN Plaza. 

I had forgotten that today was the anniversary of that march. As I recall,  I am pretty sure I managed to keep my cameras dry. Fifty years later and a few snapshots to share:

One Personal Footnote: The following day, Sunday, April 17th, the New York Times
 had a short article and a single photo of the event. 
 Somehow I managed to save that clipping all these years. 
The newsprint is yellow and faded, but see, that really is me 
getting a hell of a better shot of the draft card burning!

Just saying.


Later The Same Day: Trumpie Tax Day Demo
 Bryant Park
 "Show Us Your Tax Returns"  

and him:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Return of Brother Fartman!

After a 2 year absence, 
Brother Fartman has returned to Union Square.
Some say his return signals that it is now officially Spring.
  Some say he is a shape-shifting reptilian space alien 
and his return signals the End of Days..
We not sure about either, but
 he defines his own special place in the cosmos,
he makes people smile
and we are happy to have him back.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

France? France!

For some time now, this blog has been getting a lot of hits from France. I mean, really a lot of hits: on some days, way more hits from France than from here in the U.S. of A. and overall more hits from France than from any other country. Really.
Now, the way the blog is set up lets me see what country the hits are coming from, but I have no way of identifying anybody individually. I am happy to have an international following – very happy about it! - but I am also curious about who you are.
I mean, I don't think I know anyone currently living in France. I know people traveling there from time to time, but I don't think that explains the continued interest. So I figured it was time to ask.
So, my anonymous French follower – Or maybe followers:
Who Are You?
May I know a name? Or at least a hint? A subtle suggestion? A shared intimacy? Whatever........

Ps: There was a French Lady in my life a long, long (really long!) time ago, but it couldn't be you (A.H.)....... could it?

Depuis quelque temps, ce blog reçoit beaucoup de hits de la France. Je veux dire, vraiment beaucoup de hits: certains jours, beaucoup plus de succès en provenance de France que d'ici aux Etats-Unis d'Amérique. En général, il y a plus de succès de France que de n'importe quel autre pays. Vraiment.

Maintenant, la façon dont le blog est mis en place me permet de voir de quel pays les résultats proviennent, mais je n'ai aucun moyen d'identifier individuellement. Je suis heureux d'avoir un suivi international - très heureux à ce sujet! - mais je suis également curieux de savoir qui vous êtes.

Je veux dire, je ne pense pas que je connais quelqu'un qui vit actuellement en France. Je connais des gens qui voyagent de temps en temps, mais je ne pense pas que cela explique l'intérêt continu. J'ai donc pensé qu'il était temps de demander.

Donc, mon adepte français anonyme - Ou peut-être des adeptes:
Qui es-tu?

Puis-je connaître un nom? Ou au moins un indice? Une suggestion subtile? Une intimité partagée? Peu importe........

Ps: Il y avait une Dame Française dans ma vie longue, longue (vraiment longue!) Il y a quelque temps, mais ce ne pouvait pas être toi (A.H.) ....... pourrait-il?

* -Translacé par un site de traduction en ligne. Excusez toutes les erreurs

Friday, March 24, 2017

nobody's home..........

And if you are a tax-paying American, 
you might consider that during the few
 minutes it took me to shoot this photo,
 approximately $23,000 of your money 
was spent to safe guard this building, 
so a 10 year old boy could attend 
a private school.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

In 1968 We Ran A Pig For President

1968 was the year we ran a pig for president.  Actually, I shouldn't say 'we' since I was only there to take snapshots.  Officially, Pigasus was the candidate of the Youth International Party, aka: Yippie!  Well, 'officially' might be a stretch since Yippie! folks were at best kind of disorganized. At best.  And given the times and the place, chances are that a good deal of consciousness altering substances were involved in any decision making. It was the 60's: all of the people was stoned some of the time and some of the people were stoned all of the time, there was a war on, sex was free and well, there we were.  And there was the Candidate. We held a benefit at the Village Theater.  Everyone joined in a rousing rendition of "You're A Grand Old Pig."

The campaign did not fare well: the candidate was arrested.  Actually, as I remember it, he was arrested several times.  Well, the pig was not actually arrested, it was the people with him.  They were charged with having an 'Unlicensed Swine.'  Nobody knew there was a license required for a presidential candidate, but again, there we were.  Pigasus was 'confiscate' by the authorities.  Each time, a replacement pig was promptly purchased.  As one Yippie! commented: “One pig is pretty much like another.”

The high point in the campaign came when the Candidate arrived at a Times Square hotel.  By an amazing coincidence, there was also a rally for Democratic Party candidate Hubert Humphrey at that very same hotel that evening.  There was a large police presence.  There was an anti-war  demonstration in the streets in front of the hotel. And there we were.

The NYPD's  Bureau of Special Services, affectionately known as the  “Red Squad,” was there too, headed up by our all-time favorite, Detective Finnegan.  Everybody knew Finnegan and his partner, Det. Brennan.  They knew us too.  They also thought we were dangerous. Very dangerous. So dangerous that they assigned at least two undercover cops ‘infiltrate’ the ‘organization.'  You can spot them in some of the snapshots ‘guarding’ the candidate. One of them went on to write a book about his experience and then to become Chief of Police in some jerkwater town, but that's another story.

Anyway, on that evening Pigasus arrived in the back seat of a convertible, surrounded by his Not-So-Secret Service guards. And the undercover cops. The circus had come to town.  The police, the ones in uniform, seeing the convertible and the escorts (in Dark Suits and wraparound shades) coming down Broadway, held up traffic and let it pass.  They made it to the front of the hotel before someone noticed that it was not Democratic Party Candidate Humphrey in the back seat.

In our final snapshot, you can see an embarrassed  Det. Finnegan holding a police radio and looking at me.  As I recall, he was also yelling “Get that  #@$! photographer out of here!”  

Times were simpler - and lots more fun. The rest is history.

Arthur and Pigasus had a special relationship.
Note original Ratner's in the background.  Ahh, the onion rolls!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Remembering Fallen Brothers

On the evening of March 14, 2007, NYPD Auxiliary Police Officers Nick Pekearo and Gene Marshalik were shot and killed on Sullivan Street, right near Bleecker Street. Today the intersection is marked with street signs in their memory. Every year we held a walk with family members, friends and members of the service from the 6th Precinct to that intersection. This year that walk was canceled due to a snowstorm, so I am posting this in their memory and to share something that did not show up in any of the news reports.

That night, unlike this, was unseasonably warm. Restaurants had tables set up outside, sidewalks were crowded: lots of people were out enjoying the evening. We will never know exactly what motivated the killer, but some facts are clear enough: he walked into a restaurant on MacDougal Street, sat down and shot a busboy 15 times. He then calmly walked out along Bleecker Street, turned up Sullivan and shot the 2 officers. Moments later, officers responding to the reports of 'shots fired,' shot and killed the killer.

Later we learned the killer was carrying 2 high powered handguns and 130 rounds of ammunition.

In the weeks that followed, investigators could not come up with any connection between the killer and the busboy in the restaurant. There was nothing in his background to indicate any problems with police officers. Only one thing is clear: with those two guns and all that firepower, he came into our community that night to kill. On that balmy evening, he had a choice of many targets. Had it not been for the actions of Nick and Gene, he would have gone on killing. And on that night instead of two families grieving for their loss, there would have been many, many more.

So there will not be a memorial tonight for anyone else who was out in the Village that evening, or for anyone who had friends or family at NYU. Or who lived in the neighborhood. Everyone got home safely that evening except Nick and Gene.


I got a call that evening around 9 from my patrol partner. He told me there had been a shooting and one of our guys was involved. He was at St. Vincent's Hospital. My apartment was only a couple of blocks away and I was there a few minutes later. There were hundreds of cops, Department brass and lots of press. The first person I recognized was a detective from my precinct. His first words: “They are both dead.”

The Mayor and Police Commissioner showed up along with the two families. Hours later we formed up an escort to take them to the Medical Examiner's Office. 2 Ambulances and many cars with flashing lights, driving slowly through the Village. I remember empty streets and Officers standing at attention at every corner.  More filled the sidewalks in front of the  6th Precinct and saluted as we passed. Later there would be tears and exhaustion. It was a very long night.

Here is a link to a video clip of a part of that evening: 

There is another from a security camera on Sullivan Street that recorded the shooting and, moments later, the arrival of other Police Officers.  That is a difficult one to watch.

I served as an Auxiliary Officer in the 6th  for 35 years; I knew and worked with both Nick and Gene. Nick was 28. Gene was 19. They were good guys.

Bringing Our Brothers Home