this week i

feature request white whale emoji after completing national crime victimization survey like a gonzo statistician.  + hitchhiker's gttg alternate scene


x-man ran kyrenia mtns.  cinnamon homer lovingly listens as message in a bottle odysseus first tells of his battle with the one-nostriled monster


lunched in front of fortalezawhose angels?  hüsangels.  his mom read shirt as french-language: i am football.  next day pide enough to bury a viking


read the power broker: robert moses and the fall of new york by robert a. caro.  wait until the evening's napoleon crowns self, thru elba or st. helena

"apart from the book's being so good as a biography, as city history, as sheer good reading,
the power broker is an immense public service" -jane jacobs

september 1975
copyright © 1974 by robert a. caro

moses, robert, 1888-

they were luckier than the greeks, whose journey to their oracle was over narrow mountain paths..bertram d. tallamy, chief administrative officer of the interstate highway system during the 1950's and '60's, says that the principles on which the system was built were principles that robert moses taught him in a series of such private lectures in 1926

a highlight of meets was still an event called the "plunge for distance," in which the winner was the competitor who, after diving into the pool, could travel the farthest without moving his arms or legs

galloping anglophilia

the proposal of a fanatic.  john calvin specifying permissable arrangements for women's hair in sixteenth-century geneva was not more thorough than was bob moses enumerating the "functions" and "responsibilities" of new york's civil servants

talking 'efficiency' to them was waving the red flag before the bull

moses would always go for a swim

the organization chart of the sovereign state of new york still looked like a web spun by a drunken spider, and the man elected to represent all the people of the state was still trapped in the web, unable to exercise power or leadership

"even in defeat, you came closer to swimming up niagara falls than any man i have ever seen"

"ernie," he said, "al smith
listens to me"

arrogance is, after all, one of the coefficients of money

whatever quartet was hastily arranged for the evening's barbershopping, and when moses tried to beg off, smith would drag him out of his seat and make him stand beside him and harmonize


j. p. morgan's "i owe the public nothing" ..his son - morgan the younger, reporters called him

from one end of nassau county to the other..cigarettes wrapped, and designed to be smoked, in hundred-dollar bills

mark antony..the reading of caesar's will.  "let but the commons hear this testament," he cried, "and they would go and kiss dead caesar's wounds" .. 
. . . he hath left you all his walks,
his private arbors and new-planted orchards

"as long as you're on the side of parks, you're on the side of the angels"

"once you sink that first stake," he would often say, "they'll never make you pull it up"

ohio sandstone and barbizon brick

"i know you can do drawbridges.  can you do beautiful drawbridges?"

on august 3, wilcox, in bed, unable to determine what the report about him said or if it had been sent to the rest of the parks council, wrote lutz.  his letter was, considering the provocation, one of remarkable courtesy.  the harshest line in it was its last: "if there is a copy of that report in existence or available, i should be glad to have it as soon as convenient."
lutz did not reply.  but moses did.  the first sentence of his letter to wilcox was: "i will pass over without extended comment the unpleasant tone of your letter.  i presume that you have become so accustomed to addressing people in this way that you are hardly aware of its effect on others."  he was writing, moses said, to defend lutz from wilcox's attacks.  downer's report, moses said, was not ready, although the parks council had adopted its "conclusions" and "the action taken by the council has been outlined to the governor."  an astounded wilcox realized that moses had sent a copy of his, moses', letter to the seventy-two other regional commissioners without sending them a copy of wilcox's letter - and therefore the commissioners could have no way of knowing that wilcox's letter had not in fact been unpleasant, and they could not know the events that had led up to it

for robert moses, there would always be only one governor

william f. kenny's tiger room

miss perkins recalled..he just gave me the devil

at the 1884 democratic national convention, general edward s. bragg seconded (not nominated) grover cleveland for president in a speech that was so eloquent - it included the memorable phrase "they love him for the enemies he has made" - that the galleries stood and urged him on with shouts of: "a little more grape, general!  a little more grape!"

occasionally, when troopers came across a whole bag of garbage that had been tossed from an automobile window, they would try to identify the driver from the contents.  if they could, they would call on him at his home to issue a summons - and moses would see that there was a troop of newspaper photographers along to record the culprit's expression when he opened his door

the number of visits to the long island state parks approximated 3,000,000 in 1930; the total number of visits to all national parks in the united states in that year was 3,400,000

samuel adoring disciple of single-tax philosopher henry george, he was elected at the age of twenty-one president of the manhattan single-tax club.  at twenty-four, he gave up his own nomination as citizens union party candidate for the state assembly to play sancho panza in the most gallant of all the don quixote rides of new york politics, george's mayoralty campaign of 1897..that impossible dream was ended by george's death less than a week before election day, seabury followed on horseback behind the casket - adorned with roses and the inscription "progress and poverty"

frances perkins' words of two decades before, "everything he saw made him think of some way it could be better"

"just another of those triumphs whereby mr. moses has almost convinced the public that it really owns the parks.  after the long night of tammany it is an idea difficult to grasp"

a large lioness proudly holding up for inspection a peacock she had killed, while her two cubs sniffed at the beautiful tail dangling limply to the ground

the year in which robert moses headed the republican ticket was..the only election in a fifty-year span in which the gop lost both houses

the independent
new york times.."if he [la guardia] has the backbone of a lamprey, he will stand by bob moses, right through to that judgment day which he himself is so fond of invoking"

roosevelt had asked him plaintively, "isn't the president of the united states entitled to one personal grudge?"

franklin roosevelt had allowed him to screw his halo back on

"is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground, encumbers him with help?"

just as audiences reacted with pavlovian predictability to every mention of brooklyn - with laughs - so they reacted with pavlovian predictability to every mention of robert moses - with cheers

william randolph hearst was hoarsely alerting america to the infiltration of the white house by liberal professors who had made the new deal "more communistic than the communists," operatives of the demagogue publisher's
journal-american were posing as columbia university students to entrap professors into radical remarks

by banning public transportation, he had barred the poor from the state parks

there would, by moses' edict, be no bus service

a concrete-lined lagoon

robert moses built 255 playgrounds in new york city during the 1930's.  he built one playground in harlem

the cars would be so close to the buildings that on wet days the spray they kicked up would splatter the apartment windows


soupçon of bitterness

"turnpikes" because they were blocked with horizontal bars (or "pikes") set into revolving pillars that would be turned aside to let a carriage pass only after the toll was paid

"it never ceases to amaze me how you can talk and talk and talk to some guy about something you've got in mind, and he isn't very impressed, and then you bring in a beautiful picture of it or, better yet, a scale model with the bridge in all white and the water nice and blue, see, and you can see his eyes light up"

"an institution," said ralph waldo emerson, "is the lengthened shadow of one man"

the cartoons of a generation ago

the best bill drafter in albany, at the end of a long sentence whose other clauses all purportedly limited his powers - allowing the coordinator to "represent the city in its relations with cooperating state and federal agencies."  moses used this phrase, so innocent in appearance

"a construction worker would pave over his grandmother if the job paid $3.50 an hour"

spending the money from the subway fare on highways

the general assembly directed its headquarters committee to concentrate on sites in other cities..with philadelphia so confident that it was already condemning land for the headquarters

"under present redevelopment laws, macy's could condemn gimbels - if robert moses gave the word . . ."

"moses increased the dimensions of his victory by relating the story of the hand-typed oath to only fifty or so of his most intimate friends, all in city government"

if there was a sudden crash of shattering glass from behind his door, the secretaries knew what it was; he had snatched up his old-fashioned glass inkwell and hurled it at an underling whose report had displeased him

moses' court completed the aura.  no emperor's was more simpering

last night's schleiffer version of balshazzar's feast was contrary to all instructions..tray after tray of indigestible insides, cow eyes on mushrooms, squid in its own ink, pastry costume jewelry, mounted dog food, mayonnaise rococo..hit schleiffer over the head for me.  we are not celebrating a gangster wedding

it is more difficult to challenge a man's facts over cocktails than over a conference table

moses' deafness was symbolic

the verrazano-narrows bridge..its towers so far apart that in designing them allowance had to be made for the curvature of the earth; their tops are one and five eighths inches further apart than their bases



"this route will be the backbone of traffic for centuries after a few objecting tenants have disappeared from the scene. . . . you have from time to time remarked that i do not have to be elected to office.  perhaps that is why i am in a position to protect the really long-range public interest"

and there was nothing you could do about it

the susquehanna railroad had lost over two-thirds of its passengers in ten years following the opening of the george washington bridge

big bob the builder

. . . the private motorcar [is] a method that happens to be, on the basis of the number of people it transports, by far the most wasteful of urban space.  because we have apparently decided that private motorcar has a sacred right to go anywhere, halt anywhere, and remain anywhere as long as its owner chooses, we have neglected other means of transportation . . . the major corrective for this crippling overspecialization is to redevelop now despised modes of circulation - public vehicles and private feet. . . . an effective modern city plan would use each kind in its proper place and to its proper extent

it's all superlatives when you talk about this bridge

when robert moses came to power in new york in 1934, the city's mass transportation system was probably the best in the world.  when he left power in 1968, it was quite possibly the worst

"and i realized that the old son of a gun had made sure that buses would
never be able to use his goddamned parkways..i remember - buses from a foreign state, i suppose, and the first bridge stopped them dead.  one had its roof rolled up like the top of a sardine can"

evicted for public works

"baby screamed.  rat in crib"

"the first major relocation exposé"

only a half acre - but

investigative reporters quickly become aware of a phenomenon of their profession: information so hard to come by when they are preparing to write their first story in a new field suddenly becomes plentiful as soon as that first story has appeared in print.  every city agency has its malcontents and its idealists and its malcontent-idealists - officials and aides and clerks and secretaries unhappy with the philosophy by which it is being run or the pay-offs that are being made within it - who have been just waiting, for years, for the appearance of some forum in which their feelings can be expressed

the man who the
long island press reiterated in 48-point bodoni was still "public friend no. 1"

nowhere to go and 30 days to get there

my name is robert moses, i'm commissioner of the parks;
on the subject of free shakespeare i have a few remarks:
if the people of this city want this theater on my grass,
they'll have to pay two bucks a head to get a moses pass

he would be wise to pack in his rusty lance

"his achievements are beyond the reach of the peashooters now attacking him . . . he will be honored by anyone who reads or writes the twentieth century history of the state of new york"

what was necessary to remove moses from power was a unique, singular concatenation of circumstances: that the governor of new york be the one man uniquely beyond the reach of normal political influences, and that the trustee for triborough's bonds be a bank run by the governor's brother

the age of moses..april 23, 1924..march 1, 1968

these men who had known him when

moses, robert (may 26, june 11, 16, july 25, sept. 21, 1967; apr. 20, 27, 1968)