Though it’s not Times Square or the Statue of Liberty or any other tourist-friendly destinations of that ilk, Brooklyn is a whirlwind of different ethnicities, rich culture and extensive historical background. It’s difficult to find many surviving remnants of bygone eras in Manhattan, a city that is always changing, renovating and rebuilding. However, Brooklyn wears it’s history on its sleeves—or rather, its streets. At every turn there is a building or a plaque or a monument stands tribute to the borough history.
One particular area is brimming with liveliness, and it also happens to be the area in which I spent my childhood in. East Flatbush stretches from East 98th street to New York Avenue, to the LIRR Bay Ridge and is home to 84,498 working class immigrants that come from a variety of different backgrounds.
Abandoned Theater on Flatbush Avenue [outside view]
If you happen to be in the area and have finished eating at one of the many delicious Caribbean restaurants that litter the area, take the B41 towards Kings Plaza, sit on the left and you’ll catch an old and rusty yet undeniable architectural beauty. Still standing despite the fact that it was built during the late 1920s, this theater pictured above was abandoned during the 70s and it is one of New York’s first out of five “Wonder Theaters”.
The theater is not in business anymore (though it’s due for renovations in 2014) and yet it still stands, perhaps a bit awkwardly in the midst of car dealerships and tiny bodegas. Yet it’s still an integral part of the community and an everyday sight for those who live on the avenue.
Abandoned theater [inside view]
But the history of Flatbush goes even further back than the twenties: the very neighborhood I grew up in, now a paved criss-cross of roads and residential houses, used to be farmland. This plaque, which sits on the front lawn of a local church, commemorates figures who had passed through the area, such as General Cornwallis, George Washington, and Native Americans. Despite being a quiet neighborhood in our era, if you stand very still in front the white washed wooden church, you can still hear the clip clops of Washington’s horse as he marches down the street.
Written by: Marwah
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue"
—Admiral Chester W. Nimitz
In the final months of World War II, as the war in Europe drew to a close Allied military forces shifted their focus on forcing Japan to surrender. The Imperial Navy and Army were suffering major defeats across the Pacific and the main island of Japan, Kyushu, was being bombed weekly by the long range B-29 American bombers known as, “Superfortresses”. However, Japan did “not surrender; bound by a rigid moral code they fought and died by the thousands, seeking an honorable death over a dishonorable life. The American Marines that had already assaulted islands such as Saipan, Tinian, and Guam were familiar with the die-hard fighting style of the Japanese. The United States Admiral, Chester W. Nimitz, launched an offensive in which he captured only islands of large strategic value and avoided islands that would be costly in Allied lives and resources. This strategy of “Island Hopping”, as it was called by Nimitz, led U.S. forces to the Bonin Islands where Iwo Jima is located.
Iwo Jima is an ugly, eight mile square speck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. While its only major feature is a 565-foot peak, known as Mount Surabachi, the island does have two airfields. As the U.S. conquest in the Pacific continued, Admiral Nimitz saw the importance of capturing the airfields for two reasons. One reason was to stop Japanese fighters from attacking the U.S. Mariana airfields and harassing B-29 bombers making runs on the Japanese Home Islands. The second reason was that if the U.S. controlled the airfields they could serve as an emergency landing strip for B-29s returning from sorties over Japan that were damaged or had mechanical problems. Like their American counterparts the Japanese also saw the importance of the island and its airfields and prepared their defenses accordingly. Within Mount Surabachi and underneath the rest of the island the Japanese garrison of more than 23,000 men dug out into the volcanic rock a series of elaborate fortifications. They created miles of tunnels and hundreds of bunkers, machine-gun nests, pillboxes, heavy artillery positions, batteries, and sniper posts. Thus, the months of preliminary bombardment by the U.S. Air Force and the three day bombardment by the Navy did little damage to the protected Japanese positions, and when the Marines assaulted the island the Japanese were ready and waiting.
Japanese fortifications on Iwo Jima
The invasion occurred on February 19, 1945 and as the Marines from the 5th Amphibious Corps, which was composed of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions. When they landed they met no resistance. The first wave piled up on the beach and eventually orders were given to move up to make way for incoming waves of Marines. As Marine Units proceeded slowly inland armed with a false sense of security, the Japanese were watching them through the sights of their guns, waiting for the order to fire. The order was eventually given by the commanding officer of the Japanese Garrison, Lieutenant General Tadamishi Kuribayashi, allowing Marines to land on the beaches for one hour. The uneasy quiet that pervaded the island was suddenly broken and the previously routine landings on the beach quickly dissolved into chaos. In a matter of seconds landing craft were destroyed, tanks were consumed by the explosions of direct hits, and men were obliterated in front of their friends, as a result of enemy mortars, gunfire, and shells. More and more Marine units piled up onto the beach, pinned by a deadly crossfire of Japanese guns. They were quickly becoming sitting ducks and were mowed down at the leisure of the defenders. Despite all confusion and horror in the landing zones, small pockets of Marines started to push onwards, attacking Japanese positions with a combination of grenades, flamethrowers, and unrelenting fire. To move was tolive and it soon became apparent that those who stayed on the beaches would not be alive for very long. With this mentality the invasion force made slow progress inland, fighting at night under the waning light of flares and bursts of star shells which illuminated the dead and dying. In 36 days the island would be declared secure at the cost of almost 7,000 American lives and 28,000 casualties. The Japanese forces were decimated and of the original 23,000 defenders only around 1,000 were taken alive, the rest were killed in action.
Photograph of the American landings on February 19, 1945
Wounded Marines being tended to by Corpsmen
Once under U.S. control, the island’s airfields proved their worth, seeing more than 2,400 B-29s perform emergency landings and saving the lives of 24,000 U.S. airmen. In addition, the island would serve as a base of operations for the last invasion in the Pacific Theatre of War, the invasion of Okinawa. With the incalculable importance of Iwo Jima in helping to end the War and the legacy of bravery, courage, and uncommon valorleft by the Marines who fought there it is no surprise that one of the world’s most famous icons was created on the island. The icon is a world famous picture taken by an Associated Press Photographer, Joe Rosenthal. The picture is of five Marines and one Navy Corpsman raising an American flag on the summit Mount Surabachi. The soldiers’ names are Cpl. Harlon Block, Navy Pharmacist’s Mate John Bradley, Cpl. Rene Gagnon, PFC Franklin Sousley, Sgt. Michael Strank, and Cpl. Ira Hayes. Tragically before the fight to take Iwo Jima ended three of the men in the picture, Block, Strank, and Sousley would die, but their names and actions would go down in history along with every other man who fought on that island. Around one quarter of the Medals of Honor (the highest military award for bravery in the U.S.) earned by Marines in World War II were given to men who saw action on Iwo Jima. Also, the Marine Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery is a sculpture depicting the scene in which the six men raised the American flag over Mount Surabachi honoring their timeless struggle once again.
B-29 after an emergency landing on Iwo Jima
U.S. Landing Plans, Invasion of Iwo Jima
Dedicated to all the Marines who fought and to those who died on Iwo Jima; your bravery will never be forgotten.
Flag Raising atop Mount Surabachi, February 23 1945. (Photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press)
The flappers are known to be the “wild child” during the roaring twenties. These ladies were the epitome of “footloose and fancy free”. Flappers had lived the life of the now famous motto, “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) which means that you are here on earth for a limited amount of time so we should make the best of it. The flappers have a history for being spontaneous, wearing excessive makeup, and basically living their lives to the fullest. Here are five steps you can take to becoming a modern day flapper!
1. Research Flappers: Actually understand what it means to be a flapper. You should research more about the roaring twenties and how the flappers played a part into the Jazz culture. The official definition of the word flapper on dictionary.com states, “a young woman, especially one who, during the 1920s, behaved and dressed in a boldly unconventional manner.” The idea of the flapper originated after WWI when women decided to stop following the social norm and believed they deserved more freedom. You should also research famous flappers for inspiration. Some famous flappers are Anita Loos, Helen Kane, and Josephine Baker. Image: Helen Kane.
2. Flapper’s Appearance: Other than their carefree philosophy on life, Flappers were also known for their distinctive appearance. Their fashion consisted of dropped waistline dresses, sequined material clothes, sleeveless dresses, extravagant jewelry, headbands, silk stockings, and satin gloves that hit above your elbow. Although it is very rare of clothing stores of this decade to sell clothing items such as mentioned earlier, you can always look up vintage items on ebay, thrift shops, and specialist vintage retailers. Flapper’s makeup were usually very thick with a full powdered face. They were known for having tiny eyebrows, doll-eyed makeup, and cupid-bow lips. The hairstyle for almost all flappers consisted of a sleek and smooth bob or a wild and curly bob.
3. Talk That Flapper Talk: Slang then from the roaring twenties and slang now, in 21st century are vastly different. Here are a few slang that were popular amongst the flappers:
Good = Bee’s knees
Bank’s Closed= No kisses, no cuddling
Brooksy= Classy dresser
Noodle Juice= Tea
4. Live The Flapper Life: Flappers are known for their quirky yet spontaneous way of living. Here are a few things that Flappers enjoyed doing:
going to jazz clubs
going to the movies
driving around in nice cars.
You should never just sit at home bored because that is rare to see a flapper restless and stuck at home. Yet you shouldn’t feel the need to drink or smoke if you’re not comfortable with it. Enjoy your life, party and have loads of fun!
5. Ready, Set, Go!: Now, the most important thing to become a true flapper is your mindset. Flappers are constantly enjoying life and not worrying too much about the bad things in life. Just have a positive outlook on life and you’re all set! Now that you know all the steps to becoming a modern flapper, you can finally go out and have fun with it! Stay true to who you are and enjoy being a true flapper!
- Sherap Tsomo
In 1886, Dr. H. H. Holmes, born Herman Mudgett, purchased a drugstore building in the Chicago suburb Englewood from a man who was dying from cancer. When the previous owner died, Holmes bought all of the property surrounding the drugstore and soon owned the whole block, which he would renovate into a hotel, just in time for the World Fair of 1893, which took place in Chicago. In that year, Holmes confessed to killing 27 people, mainly women, although the actual number could be much higher. From that point on he became one of America’s first documented serial killers.
He was born on May 16th, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. He attended Gilmanton Academy, where he quickly became prey for his peers. His parents were devoutly Methodist and they forced their beliefs upon him and never let misbehavior go unpunished. Small, odd, and terrified of the doctor, Mudgett was dragged by older boys to the doctor’s office on one day that would stand out in memories of his childhood. On that day he realized how fascinating cadavers and skeletons could be. This interest followed him throughout his childhood and to medical school. As a young boy he kept a small box of treasures, in which were items such as his first tooth and items such as small animals skulls. Mudgett also worked for a photographer who had an artificial limb, which Mudgett was extremely fascinated in. Mudgett finished school at 16 and he took a job as a teacher in New Hampshire where he met Clara A. Lovering, his first wife. Eventually Mudgett disappeared from New Hampshire, never to return.
At 19 he went to college in Vermont and then Michigan, where he studied medicine. When he graduated he realized that he needed more money, and, along with his former classmate in the University of Michigan, devised a plan to con life insurance companies to give him money. Mudgett and his friend faked the death of a family of 3 and substituted the bodies with cadavers; because the “family” had life insurance, Mudgett was paid $40,000 as a death benefit, which he would split with his friend. The cadavers were stolen from graveyards, an act that became common for teachers and profesors who needed skeletons in the classrooms but could not afford to pay for them. Soon after, Mudgett caught a train to Chicago, where he registered his name as Holmes, and the serial killer was born.
In Chicago, Holmes moved to Englewood where, using his charm and manners, persuaded an old woman to sell him her dying husband’s drugstore. She reluctantly agreed and Holmes renamed the drugstore to H.H.Holmes Pharmacy. He attracted many customers and made a large profit. Even when her husband died, the widow continued to live in the building above the drugstore, which Holmes also owned. She was known to ask many questions. One day, she disappeared, and, when asked by the police what had happened to her, Holmes replied that she spontaneously moved to California; however, the widow was never seen in California. Holmes continued to expand his property, buying all the territory on the block of his pharmacy.
With the opening of the World Fair of 1893 looming overhead, Holmes quickly transformed his property into the World’s Fair Hotel, a quick train ride to the Fair. The Hotel would later be dubbed “The Murder Castle” by a Chicagoan police officer. Holmes mainly hired young female workers to work in the pharmacy; many of them disappeared. Holmes had many relationships with women,all of which also disappeared. When the World Fair opened in May 1893, many young people stayed at Holmes’s hotel. They described it as “gloomy” and “dreary at night”, but the charm of the handsome owner kept them at the hotel. What the travelers did not know about the hotel was that it had a gas chamber and an almost sound-proof vault, some of ways that Holmes killed his victims.
Holmes was finally arrested in Boston on November 17th, 1894 for his fraud. He was imprisoned in Philadelphia and then tried. Holmes initially claimed that he was innocent, but then told the judge that he was possessed by Satan. Holmes finally confessed to killing 27 people on May 17th 1894 in exchange for money, but the number could have been as high as 200.
I was inspired to write about Dr. Holmes after starting my summer reading book, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. It tells the story of both H. H. Holmes and Robert Burnham (architect in charge of building the World Fair) in a fictional manner, with non-fictional information. Check it out!
- Maria Tokarska
Ronald Reagan’s first term as president consisted of severe economic changes that left America questioning the president’s concern for America and its people. While his “Cold War Rhetoric” and seemingly conservative persona solidified his stance on foreign policy, there was much controversy over his domestic plans. What would he do to solve the economic predicament? Who would benefit from his strategies? Ultimately, by analyzing Reagan’s economic, political, and social preferences, it is apparent that, because his presidency was characterized by its prioritization of wealthy Americans, he saw no need for the social programs that benefitted the poor, thus ending the era of New Deal Liberalism.
Ronald Reagan, believing the social programs set up by the New Deal were useless, set to dismantle them from their core. First, Reagan set up tax cuts and less federal regulation because he believed it would “jump-start the economy by encouraging consumer spending and business investment.” Just like Mitt Romney’s justification for his economic plans in the presidential election, Reagan thought the wealthy were entitled to the most income because they were the ones who most stimulated the economy and drove national revenue. Thus, Reagan, privileging the wealthy, redistributed income from the poor to higher income brackets by enacting both tax and spending cuts.
The income decline, further exacerbated by the loss of factory jobs and rising immigration, caused Reagan to come under fire, not only by the impoverished, but also by the Americans who loathed the rising inflation. Had Reagan not been able to justify his actions, New Deal Liberalism would have remained intact — Americans animosity would have certainly silenced Reagan and his administration. But Reagan, an adroit speaker, subdued the anger and continued to “induce budget deficits to starve spending on social programs.”
Again, we see Reagan’s deft “Cold War Rhetoric” convincing Americans he was their salvation. He saw the various public programs that were imposed to benefit the poor as extraneous — just another burden to the economy and the wealthy. By prioritizing the wealthy in America, Ronald Reagan effectively ended all social programs benefitting the poor, and sought an end to New Deal Liberalism.
1) Boyer, Paul S.. Promises to keep: the United States since World War II. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1995.
Whenever there is a formal event presumably weddings, proms, and funerals, the necessity for the males attending is to rent or buy a suit-preferably the suede tuxedo. The tuxedo has been defined by both the Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionary as “a semi-formal evening suit for men” or “a man’s dinner jacket” respectively. In modern times, these entries are definitely not the only accepted terms of a tuxedo as both dinners in the evening is not necessarily a formal event and tuxedos have been upgraded to the status of serving in formal yet fun gatherings. The true origin of the tuxedo dates back to the 1860s across the Atlantic Ocean to England where elite noblemen grew tiresome of the formal evening dress coat. The only replacement suit at the time was the looser “lounge jacket” used during the day, otherwise known as the “smoking jacket” aptly named for what men smoked in proceeding after dinner. Eventually, country proprietors adopted the material and finishes of the dress coat and the short length of the lounge jacket to wear during formal occasions.
The global popularity of the tuxedo jacket did not begin until the summer of 1886 for which the Prince of Norfolk recognized the suit from the American coffee tycoon James Brown Potter who was unsure what dress code was appropriate for intending his meeting with him at Sandringham House; nonetheless, he dressed in believably semi-formal attire. The Prince admired the tuxedo jacket and even suggested to his tailor to create an identical jacket. This inspired Potter to spread to embrace the tuxedo as a new trend in the urban atmosphere of New York City especially in the clubs, one of which is now known as Tuxedo Park Club, beginning the first popular widespread of the tuxedo. And to further support his account of bringing the Tuxedo to acknowledgement in New York City, an interview of Grenville Kane, the owner of the Tuxedo Park Club, acclaimed that the trend immediately began as even club regulars would adorn the tuxedo jacket.
With its 125th anniversary having been in 2011, it is just spectacular to understand how far the tuxedo has really evolved from its black tie event status from 1920s to 1940s to its middle class status of the 1950s with its mainly navy blue and black colors. Then the 1960s escalated the tuxedo to legendary status with the tuxedo being a signature mark of cinema star James Bond with his movie franchise debuting with Dr.No in 1962.
Of course tuxedos would stay in the media’s gaze with red carpet events commemorating the Oscars, the Emmys, and even Grammy award shows. Verging towards the 21st century, tuxedos became available for usage of other ages and genders stating that the tuxedo jacket is a worthwhile item to own as a momentum for any family. Tuxedos are a tremendous part of the American lifestyle with a track record that may allow it to last a millennium as New York historians of future centuries can understand how a trend can transform into a necessity of life. So, visit your local Men’s Warehouse and rent or own a tux because you’re going to like the way you look, I guarantee it.
For the past few weeks, the focus of my research has been on the letter “To the People of Louisiana, their Executive and Representative Greeting” by Fernando Wood.
As mayor of New York City in 1861, Fernando Wood published the letter during the secession crisis to defend the legitimacy of the Confederate States of America and to propose the secession of New York City itself. The letter sparked intense debate throughout the city as it polarized the citizens into two camps: those who believed that Fernando Wood was a lawful dissident, and those who felt that he was traitor to the country. Even now, it is hard to classify Fernando Wood’s letter as protest, treason, or sedition. While Wood felt that he was exercising his freedom of speech, Lincoln and the Republican Party remained unconvinced that Wood’s actions amounted to legitimate disagreement with the government; they feared that Fernando Wood’s letter would appeal to a large audience in New York City and deprive the Union of a major industrial center. However, it can be equally difficult to classify the letter as treason; while Wood included sympathetic statements to the South, he did not call for any direct support for the Confederate States, such as sending supplies to the rebelling states. As for sedition, the incitement of rebellion against the government, Wood might have been in trouble for criticizing the Union government and encouraging people to disobey its commands, but his words never directly called for an overthrow of Union authority. Given the broad range of evidence for protest, treason, and sedition, it seems incredibly difficult to define Fernando Wood as a dissident or as a traitor.
Fernando Wood’s letter opens up discussion of the freedom of speech and the need for public order. Should a citizen be banned from expressing his or her viewpoints if they cause unrest among the population, or does the First Amendment guarantee an unconditional right to the freedom of expression? Throughout our nation’s collective history of activism and political struggle, the consensus has been that if dissent has the potential to cause unrest, then it is too much of a risk to public order and the state must intervene. The American government, in many situations, has cracked down on the freedom of expression and the right to assembly in order to maintain the tranquility of the population. If dissent causes massive protests and riots, then it is illegal.
However, not all speech that the government deems as “illegal” is morally unjustifiable; as stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws…We should never forget that everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was ‘legal’ and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did [against Soviet authority] in Hungary was ‘illegal”. As we look at examples of dissent, disagreement, and the possible violence that results, it is of utmost importance to remember that our country was born from all three. Nowadays, the Declaration of Independence is hailed as one of the greatest expressions of human freedom and democracy. In 1776, it was one of the greatest acts of treason against the British Empire and incited violence against the Crown for eight bloody years.
So when we consider dissent and the disruption of public order that often accompanies it, we need to understand that government criticism is crucial to a healthy democracy. Whether it comes in the form of Fernando Wood’s letter or Thomas Jefferson’s declaration, extreme disagreement has always been a part of American politics and has played an essential role in developing the national dialogue. As other dissenting movements both at home and abroad attempt to challenge the status quo, it seems that a temporary disruption of public order is a small price to pay to overturn a system of abuses.
By: George Li
Image 1: Amarit’s hand-dyed wool
Fluffy piles of hand-dyed wool rested on a display table, an iPad linked to a screen projected the virtual game, Voyager, and visual artist Ken Amarit looked on happily as visitors tested out his project at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD).
Using homegrown dyes (think beet, turmeric, blueberry and carrot, to name a few), Amarit transforms drab, matted wool into thick, springy coils. After the yarn has been prepared, Amarit molds clay into cute characters for his video game, and he then covers the characters with the wool to give them a furry texture.
Image 2: Amarit holding two of his clay video-game creatures
When his characters are all assembled and draped in fur, Amarit uses stop-animation to create the mini world in which The Voyager game takes place. He photographs each character in one position, then manipulates the clay so the figure looks slightly altered and then takes another photograph. Amarit produces a moving, interactive game by digitally linking several of these photographs together.
Image 3: The final product (courtesy of MAD)
Now that his work on The Voyager is complete, Amarit said he plans to focus his efforts on growing his own dyes instead of purchasing them from a supplier. Currently he is growing indigo and is looking forward to testing it out on the wool.
From long-necked bottles to amorphous bowls to geometric shapes, the pieces that comprise MAD’s Playing with Fire: 50 Years of Contemporary Glass exhibition are both dramatic and breathtaking.
Image 4: Rainbow-flecked glassware
I appreciated how this exhibition not only featured aesthetically inspiring works of art but also explained the process of glassblowing (via video footage of several artists at work) because I have dabbled in this art form on two separate occasions and because the technique is quite fascinating.
I first experienced glassblowing as an elementary school student when a friend’s sister hosted a birthday party at an artist’s studio. After putting on a pair of mad scientist goggles and industrial-strength gloves, I felt prepared to enter a biology lab—not ready to tackle an artistic project.
Standing next to a table covered with colorful glass fragments and sharp crystals, the artist explained how we were going to transform the scrap material into something beautiful. We were each going to make two paperweights—one “molded” paperweight and one “floral” paperweight.
The “molded” paperweight served as my introduction to the craft of glassblowing. I chose a variety of blue shards to melt in the oven, and, after the shards liquefied, I used a metal bar essentially to scoop up the molten glass (a process called gathering). I then pulled the metal bar out of the oven and, as the glass solidified (though it was still malleable), I used a sleek, square-shaped mold to form the glass into the paperweight.
Image 5: My final paperweight
I prepared the glass for the “floral” paper weight in the same way; however, the final shaping process required a different technique. Using an oversized pair of pliers, I pulled the molten glass to create flower petals. Although the process looked like stretching salt water taffy, the glass was extremely difficult to pull (especially since it was cooling quickly).
Image 6: My glass flower paperweight
After this experience I was excited to return to a different glassblowing studio a few years later. The agenda this time: making glass beads. Since beads are a fraction of the size of paperweights, the bead making set up was much smaller. The steel rods used resembled pencils, and the heating device was like an elaborate Bunsen burner.
In my mind the beads that I layered with several colors of glass were most successful, but you can be the judge.
Image 7: My glass beads
I’ll leave you with some other photographs I took during our visit to MAD. The exhibition runs through August 25, 2013.
Image 8: Glass clothing?
Image 9: Glass as mirrors
Image 10: Colorful glass tools
— Melissa Rodman
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Navy of Japan launched a series of attacks on Pearl Harbor, the headquarters of the Pacific fleet of the U.S. navy. President Roosevelt formally asked Congress for a Declaration of War as a result of these ruthless attacks on that ‘Day of Infamy’
In the ensuing months, the United States war machine kicked into overdrive and enlistment into the military soared. Of the many branches of the military, one of the very first to see significant action was the Marine Corps. These marines were trained to be the fiercest and most elite soldiers the U.S. had and they trained tirelessly over the course of 1942 preparing for their entry into World War II.
As the U.S. won major battles like Midway, the tide of the war changed and the U.S. started going on the offensive by using a strategy known as “Island Hopping”. This strategy, coined by Admiral Nimitz, involved taking strategic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in order to bomb and reach the main land islands of Japan. As the US prepared for this campaign, surveillance photos showed that Japan was constructing an airfield on the small island located in modern day Solomon Islands known as Guadalcanal. The goal of this air base was to give a launch pad for the invasion of Australia that was suspected to be in the works.
In August of 1942, the First Marine Division commenced the invasion of Guadalcanal. While there was no resistance from the Japanese military at first, the Imperial navy and army quickly retaliated. Over the course of the next month, the navy supplying troops on the island was forced to retreat and more Japanese reinforcements swarmed the island in a desperate attempt to retake the airfield. During this campaign, a ragtag group of pilots known as the “Cactus Air Force” fought desperately to stop bombers from destroying the runway. The heroic efforts of this small battalion became one of the lasting legacies of the battle. As 1942 came to a close, it became increasingly clear that the U.S. had all but secured complete control of the island. The army started to withdraw and the U.S. had won what became one of the major turning points in the war. Over the course of the ensuing years, the armed forces of the US overran every island in the Pacific and secured victory.
While these brave men have never been forgotten, in 2010, HBO released a mini series known as The Pacific, which celebrated the achievements to the First Marine Division from Guadalcanal to Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Wall Street is one of the world’s most famous streets.Its heart is the narrow thoroughfare of the same name in Lower Manhattan that is home to the New York Stock Exchange.Historically known as the center of New York’s financial district,Wall Street is often associated with wealth and ambition in the United States.According to history,after the Dutch “purchased” New Amsterdam from the Native Americans,a wall was erected that formed the northern boundary of the new colony.The first “walls” along the street were plank fences,but as time passed and tensions grew, a stronger and taller wall was built in order to defend the colony against both the British and the American Indians tribes that still dominated the area.The British removed the wall around the turn of the 18th century.A new street was created at the site of the former wall,aptly named Wall Street.Records show that in the years after the Revolutionary War,traders and speculators would gather under a particular buttonwood tree that sat at the foot of Wall Street.They soon formed The Button Association(1792),which is believed to be roots of the New York Stock Exchange,whose headquarters has been located on Wall Street for centuries.
By the late 19th and early 20th centuries,Wall Street was “the place” to be if you were a large financial institution or other big business.So many buildings sprung up on this tip of Manhattan that the Wall Street district began to boast its own distinct skyline,separate from the buildings in Midtown.Other attractive and significant buildings surrounded by Wall Street include one of Wall Street’s famous landmarks that is the Federal Hall National Memorial,originally built for City Halls and offices. In front of this building our first president,George Washington had his inauguration and this site was also where the United States of Bill Rights was introduced in the First Congress.
The Trinity Church,currently is the third building to stand on Broadway and Wall Street.It was designed by American Institute of Architects co-founder William Upjohn and was consecrated on Ascension Day in 1846.
The Woolworth Building-The building became an instant landmark,due both to the then very impressive height,and because of its Gothic ornamentation.This gave it the nickname “Cathedral of Commerce”.The height caused several challenges at the time: it was the first building to have its own steam turbines and it had the fastest elevators(30 in total).
Wall Street in a conceptual sense represents financial and economic power.To Americans,it can sometimes represent elitism and power politics,and its role has been a source of controversy throughout the nation’s history,particularly beginning around the Gilded Age period in the late 19th century.Wall Street became the symbol of a country and economic system that many Americans see as having developed through trade,capitalism,and innovation.
By Christabel Koomson
With all of the anticipation followed by celebration centered on the Supreme Court case concerning DOMA and Proposition 8, the news media did not publicize the Voting Rights Act case ruling. As rights were granted to gay couples, protection against discriminatory voting was withdrawn.
The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 6, 1965. It prohibited discriminatory voting practices like poll taxes and literacy tests. Now, 47 years later on Tuesday, June 25, 2013 section four of the voting rights act was overturned. Section four only applied to nine states that had a history of discriminatory voting practices. The justice department needs to approve any changes made to voting procedures. The nine states that were subject to the provisions of section four wanted to be able to change their election laws and procedures without need for the approval of the justice department. The nine states in question are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. They argued that the country has changed, that there is no need for these laws preventing discrimination. So with a 4 to 5 ruling, section four of the voting rights act was declared unconstitutional. Now that these states are free of federal supervision, early voting practices have changed and voter ID laws have been implemented.
Section four of the voting rights act prevented gerrymandering when electoral districts were redrawn.
“Gerrymandering (noun): US Politics. The dividing of a state, country, etc., into election districts so as to give one political party a majority in as many districts while concentrating the voting strength of the other party into as few districts as possible.”
Now states like Texas are free to redraw electoral districts without the seal of approval from the justice department. The state of Texas has the second largest Latino population in the United States, a state that used to be solidly Republican, is now getting more and more purple. After section four was overturned, Texas introduced four new districts. These four congressional seats were gained by Texas in the 2010 census, mainly due to the increase in Hispanic population. What makes this situation ironic is that come the next congressional election in 2014, it is predicted that three out of the four new districts will vote Republican. It is not to say that all Hispanics vote Democratic, it’s just that they are more likely to. In the 2012 presidential election, 73% of Hispanics voted Democratic. It is clear that the Hispanic population in Texas continues to grow and there will come a time when Texas Republicans cannot continue to draw district lines to stay in power.
The Supreme Court ruling creates another issue. Before section four was overturned, it was the federal government’s job to prevent discriminatory voting practices. Now the burden lies on the person who is being discriminated against. Now the victim has to prove he or she is being discriminated against. The civil rights movement has come so far, but the Supreme Court ruling on the voting rights act shows that the fight is not over.
- Basya Kasinitz
The AIDS exhibition on the 2nd floor is very interesting and has a spectacular design! I felt like I was walking through a point in the United States where there was an immense amount of confusion among the American public. The exhibit has a storyline feeling because the setup allows the story of the first 5 years of AIDS to flow smoothly and clearly. The exhibit’s setup made it easier for me to be interested in the exhibit because if I had a question about something I had seen; it would be answered by the following section in the exhibit. The end of the exhibit has a picture of an advertisement meant to target The Three H’s of AIDS; the Rosa Winkel (German for “Pink Triangle”) a symbol of a pink upside down triangle as a badge of shame used by Nazis in concentration camps to identify homosexual men, but the advertisement at the end of the exhibit uses the triangle with its point facing upward and it says “Silence = Death” underneath it. A person’s voice is the only thing they truly own and if silence is being practiced in this time of AIDS epidemic and spreading across society, the AIDS host is revoking another person’s natural right to a healthy life. A life would be wasted on a disease that could have been saved if the person hadn’t been silent about AIDS in the first place. I was surprised to see how the modern United States (1980s) would use a symbol used by Nazi Germany during World War II. I am also shocked and disappointed to see the symbol used in the United States especially since the United States fought the Nazis in the war as a primary enemy. There are key ideas about life and history mentioned in this one advertisement even though there are only two words and a simple triangle in the advertisement.
Questions to think about:
· Why a triangle?
· Why is the triangle pink?
· What can a triangle represent in relevance to homosexual people?
· Why did the Nazis flip the triangle to point downward?
· Could it be pointing down to represent inferiority and/or oppression?
Music has always been a beacon of unity for people of all cultures. In the 1930’s specifically, Jazz was the new music genre that was bringing all types of people together to enjoy this one thing. Even though there were many factors of separation in America at the time, such as segregation and the Great Depression, people have still found a way to have a great time.
Now, the along the theme of unity, the origins of Jazz have a similar structure; the components of this genre have some very intriguing birthplaces. The drums and the upbeat tempo of Jazz originated in Africa, while the strings and symphonies came from London and parts of Europe. Also, the vocals came from Latin American culture and music like the Samba and Merengue. The combination of all of these elements were formed first and more commonly seen in New Orleans in the early 1900s. In the picture above we can see the Cotton Club, one of New York’s most prestigious Jazz clubs in the 1930s. Though the performers were mostly African American, people of all races, class and types were able to come here and have a fun night of dance and music. We can see the parallel themes of unity associated with Jazz, and see that it’s not only just a form of music, but a peace maker as well.
- Kyle Chapman
Breaking and entering, theft and trespassing were all without question if you wanted to get off the bench and play the sport. Crime soars, corrupt officials are posted on every block, low income facilities, drugs and the underground and yet boys were all able to befriend one another over these common interests as well as the holy three: Rap, graffiti, and breaking. In case it has not become apparent already, the scene is New York City in the late seventies and early eighties in the upper Bronx of Manhattan. A political war, sanitary improvements, incarceration, discoveries and an art form that will continue to live on long after its innovators and pioneers disappear as they begin to.
Whether or not you consider graffiti to fit the definition of art, whatever that may be, it is certainly an art in that it was not for everyone. Some of the prominent early writers are known as: Tracy 168, Haze, Stay High 149, Seen UA, Iz the Wiz to Min one, Freedom and Lady Pink. A girl you say, but how? There is no definitive answer other than graffiti was an escape mechanism used by many. Considering the fact that writers would roam the underground tunnels of the subway, hangout in abandoned stations to escape the harsh reality and society that lay above them; art is an expression of oneself and this certainly applies to graffiti because although some just enjoyed painting others were out to fight “the system”. There was an ongoing war between Ed Koch and Vandal Squad against the writers. The Vandal Squad was a group of undercover cops whose assignment was to arrest writers by infiltrating their crews, patrolling layups (areas where trains parked for the night), the subway and train lots. Many of their marks can still be seen throughout the city, in fact, on our trip to lower Manhattan, we concluded our tour in china town and on a ledge we rested on was a Stay High 149 tag fading long after being written.
Long after these writers pass away, as some have already, their legends continue to live on throughout new writers showing respect and tributes and dedications throughout the world. They also continue to live on in major ways that would not be imaginable at their time. Haze, for example has multiple collaborations with Nike, Heineken, and Stussy. Running along the west side highway a tunnel going up to 125th street all the way downtown is known as Freedom Tunnel. The tunnel was originally used by Amtrak and is still presently, yet in the 80’s and 90’s it was inhabited by the homeless community of New York who were able to surprisingly survive with electricity, hot water, and decent living conditions. Freedom was the first writer to explore and painted various iconic murals throughout the upper half. Since then it has been dubbed Freedom Tunnel due to his first marks. Stay High 149 recently passed away and since then there have been numerous t-shirt collaborations with well known streetwear brands such as Staple NY and others as well. Walking the streets of the five boroughs and keeping a keen eye out can lead to new and old secret discoveries every day.
*All of the artists mentioned in the article have tags on the door featured in the Luce Center*
As dawn broke on the morning of September 14, 1814 a Virginian lawyer and amateur poet caught sight of a large flag flying high above Fort McHenry. This man, Francis Scott Key, was so inspired by the sight that he rushed to copy down the poetic verses that sprang unbidden into his mind. His friend, Dr. William Beanes, asked worriedly, “Can you see it? Is the flag still there?” Key joyfully affirmed that the American flag was indeed still flying, meaning that the Americans had won the battle and driven back the British. On a ship eight miles away from the fort, Key was witness to the end of a momentous battle between the Americans and the British.
Key’s poem “The Defense of Fort McHenry” – and the song that it soon became – reveals the fact that Americans believed it necessary that their country and its people have a strong national identity. At first upon reading the poem, Key’s verses are marked by violent descriptions, such as the “havoc of war,” “the terror of flight,” “the gloom of the grave,” and “war’s desolation.” The poem seems to be passionately supporting war and destruction. But further reading reveals expressions such as “loved home” and “victory and peace.” Each stanza ends with a promise that the American flag is waving “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” The two ideas seem to be completely at odds with one another. These contradictions reveal the fact that a national identity will always have incompatible aspects, because each individual defines himself or herself differently. But an examination of the song that was soon popularized by Key, settles these conflicting ideals into one national identity. Key paired the verses in his poem with the tune “Anacreon in Heaven.” At that time in America, the melody was more commonly known as the political song “Adams and Liberty,” the anthem of the Federal Party. Key intentionally took the song of an anti-war political party (the Federalists were adamantly opposed to the War of 1812, to the point of deciding to secede from the nation if the war continued) and made it a hymn to military fortitude and national pride. By putting together his martially themed lyrics with a tune associated back then with pacifism, Key united the two conflicting values of war and peace. The immediate and immense success of Key’s poem in this song form revealed the fact that Americans, who had been divided into pro-war and anti-war sentiments, yearned for the chance to unite the two conflicting identities of their country. Because the country was young and did not have any precedent or history to fall back on, its people were greatly in need of cultural nationalism, in the form of a powerful common identity. Because Key’s work resonated with national opinions, disagreements, and feelings, it transcended its beginnings as a song about one battle, and led the American people to discover their national character. The poem, and through it the national flag, ended up representing a common identity among Americans, one of pride in their “home of the brave.”
The song that Key transformed his poem into held such power that it became an embodiment of our country, representing all the varying values and ideals of the American people. It immediately was heralded as an enduring representation of America, and all that the country stands for. As the theme of our nation, “The Star-Spangled Banner” unites us and illuminates not only our similarities but also our differences. As Judge Joseph H. Nicholson declared upon hearing the piece for the first time, it was “destined long to outlast the occasion.”