Saturday, December 24, 2016

Noticing New York's Annual Seasonal Reflection

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From our Thursday, December 24, 2009, A Christmas Eve Story of Alternative Realities: The Fight Not To Go To Pottersville (Or Ratnerville),
On this cusp of a new year, as Noticing New York returns here today to its annual tradition of offering a seasonal reflection on the world around us, this year seems a little different.

Our practice of, year to year, of presenting something clever involving traditional tales of seasonal spirit and aspiration to make the point how out-of whack what actually surrounds is, strikes us as weakly redundant of what is obvious, especially with what we now see going on nationally.

What seems more important right now is to offer: "We will all get through this."  . .
Union Square Subway Station: The messages of protest wall that sprang up after the November election.

 . . .   Maybe we say that partly as a prayer or expression of hope, but also because, if we don't, there is no first step to getting through this. . . . The winter solstice has arrived and it marks the return of the sun, which with Yuletide, and in a few days, New Year's, we will lead us to proclaim the start of the new year that leads into spring Even today, the sun is already setting about five minutes later in the evening, extending the day, than just days ago.

The truth is we can do what we need to do with a sense fun at the same time we pursue purpose.  Our Citizens Defending Libraries (I am a co-founder of CDL) meeting/holiday celebration this year (video shared on Facebook) was such an event.
CLICK TO ENLARGE (something you can't do with a library)- A gift to developer David Kramer (in suit) under the Brooklyn Heights Promenade XMass tree this year, the Brooklyn Heights Library, sold for less than the price of a vacant lot, courtesy of Mayor Bill de Blasio, The Brooklyn Heights Association, and Councilman Steve Levin.  Others were involved pushing for this sale, like Saint Ann's.  Kramer here was getting some elf-help from the construction union whom he has never treated well.  The union reversed positions of the public good of the sale when Kramer made some feeble work place safety concessions, sad for them and unwise in that unions wanting to reverse waning support from the public should seek to do so by supporting the public. 
Last, year at this time Mayor de Blasio gave a Christmas present to developer David Kramer handing off to him the shrink-and-sale of the Brooklyn Heights central destination library, the second biggest most important library in Brooklyn, for a minuscule fraction of its value to the public.  Now, that deal is the subject of a criminal pay-to-play investigation by Preet Bharara.  If luck wends in the direction of protecting the public, the matters going to the grand jury respecting de Blasio will halt this sale. . .

. . .  Notwithstanding, this year de Blasio is giving permission to the developers to wreck and demolish the library while it is still city owned.
The shrink-and-sink sale of the library means goes along with a huge reduction in available books
The work has been done so carelessly, with so little regard for the public, that shards of loose construction debris have been allowed to fly dangerously off the roof and around the neighborhood.
Flying shards: Story about dangerous construction debris here.
Citizens Defending Libraries outside: Municipal Art Society's Summit on "Public Assets": Who Gets to Decide What They Are & Whether They Matter, Featuring Goldman Sachs and A Library-Shrinking Developer David Kramer
Meanwhile, and this again pertains importantly to what is happening on the national scene, we are focusing more on the subject of surveillance in our New York City libraries, why spy-firm Booz Allen Hamilton was hired in connection with the shrinking sale of our libraries, the elimination of books and the introduction of  more electronics into our reading.  That's something I have testified about this December season before City Council as co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer saying that he is quite familiar with the PATRIOT Act, understands the concern we raised, but disagrees with us.
 As mentioned by Van Bramer, if he agreed with us, the concerns we raise would, among other things, affect "hundreds of thousands, if not millions of undocumented folks."  Yes, with national changes there is a lot of thought being given to things like this and related issues, like whether "sanctuary cities" are viable protections.

One thing to realize is that what is going on nationally that now seams so threatening is all related to the kinds of things we have been fighting locally.  In that regard it is ironic that the president-elect that has so many of us legitimately concerned is nominally a New York real estate developer.   . . (BTW: One good turn of events to note this year is that Bruce Ratner has been kicked off the board of his own company, even if his spirit lives on.)

. . .  The other thing to realize about national events is how little we may actually know or understand what really happened, or, in that regard, that we are probably not a nation as "divided" as some some people are telling us right now.

Here are links to the prior Noticing New York ventures into seasonal reflection where you can read (and find some pleasurable visuals- including the de Blasio Grincy-morph-face) about Mayor de Balsio as a Grinch, Bruce Ratner as the grasping Henry Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life" or similar fun comparisons respecting Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol":
•    Thursday, December 24, 2009, A Christmas Eve Story of Alternative Realities: The Fight Not To Go To Pottersville (Or Ratnerville),

•    Friday, December 24, 2010, Revisiting a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville,

•    Saturday, December 24, 2011, Traditional Christmas Eve Revisit of a Classic Seasonal Tale: Ratnerville, the Real Life Incarnation of the Abhorred Pottersville,

•    Monday, December 24, 2012, While I Tell of Yuletide Treasure,

•    Tuesday, December 24, 2013, A Seasonal Reflection: Assessing Aspirations Toward Alternate Realities- 'Tis A Tale of Two Alternate Cities?.,

Wednesday, December 24, 2014, Seasonal Reflections: No Matter How Fortunate or Not, We Are All Equal, Sharing a Common Journey

•    Thursday, December 24, 2015, Seasonal Reflection: Mayor de Blasio, His Heart Squeezed Grinch-Small, Starts Gifting Stolen Libraries To Developers For The Holidays

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