Big Ticket | Sold for $10,640,712.50

A sponsor unit at the Mark Hotel, where a partial conversion to 42 luxury co-ops turned painful as a result of the recession — two early buyers dropped out and sued to retrieve their deposits — has sold for an exacting price, $10,640,712.50, and was the most expensive sale of the week, according to city records.

Marketed as one of three “tower suites” on the 15th floor, No. 1501, a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath apartment designed by Jacques Grange and offering Central Park views from the living room, dining room, kitchen and “Grand Hotel-inspired” master bath, was originally priced at $15.75 million in 2010. The most recent asking price for the unfurnished 3,183-square-foot unit, which has a monthly carrying charge of $12,337, was $11.75 million.

When the 16-story Mark, designed by Schwartz & Gross and erected in 1927, closed its doors in 2007 for a grand renovation, the intention was to reinvent itself on a five-star scale and crown the hotel with 42 high-end residences on the upper floors. Although the hotel — whose amenities include the Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten and a Frédéric Fekkai salon — emerged unscathed from the economic turndown, the co-op plans did not. This year all but nine unfurnished co-op units were returned to the hotel roster. With the exception of the penthouse, which is listed at $60 million, the co-ops underwent a price reduction.

The identity of the buyer of No. 1501 was shielded through a limited-liability company, EXY.

“The price reductions were calibrated to the condition of the current market,” said Kelly Mack, the president of the Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is handling the marketing and sales of the hotel residences. “The traffic has doubled since the price reduction, and we have offers on three other units.”

Big Ticket includes closed sales from the previous week, ending Wednesday.

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Board Approves Measure to Create ‘George Carlin Way’

George Carlin may get his Way after all. After a contentious yearlong battle, the community board in Morningside Heights approved a compromise measure Thursday night to rename a section of the comedian’s childhood street after him.

The compromise is that the block of West 121st Street that Mr. Carlin actually lived on would not be renamed. Instead, the block east of it would. Mr. Carlin’s own block is also home to Corpus Christi Church and its school, his alma mater, both of them frequent targets of his unprintable irreverence, and the church had objected strenuously to the original measure.

The 25-4 vote of Community Board 9, with three abstentions, sends the renaming on to the City Council, which is expected to include it in its next semiannual bulk-street-renaming bill. Those usually pass without controversy.

The block that would become George Carlin Way is the 400 block, between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Drive. Mr. Carlin, who died in 2008, grew up on the 500 block, between Amsterdam and Broadway.

Kevin Bartini, a comedian who has led the renaming effort, pronounced himself satisfied.

“At the end of the day, our goal was to get a sign to commemorate George Carlin, and we’re much closer to that goal,” he said on Friday. “And it took the church out of the equation, so now we have really no known opposition.” The vote was first reported by The Columbia Spectator.

The Rev. Raymond Rafferty of Corpus Christi Church, who had spoken out against the renaming, was not immediately available for comment on Friday.

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Recalling a New Pitch and a Strange Death

As the hitter gripped his bat and the pitcher began his windup, the catcher’s voice rang out across the blades of Kelly green grass on Thursday morning under a baseball-perfect sky in Brooklyn.

“Strike them out, Creighton!” hollered silver-haired Mickey Tangel, 64, crouching behind the plate in a baggy cotton shirt with a 19th-century baseball logo.

But the man to whom Mr. Tangel referred, James Creighton, was not standing 60 feet 6 inches away. Instead, Creighton’s remains were buried six feet below ground, beneath a marble monument at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Mr. Tangel and a half-dozen other 19th-century-baseball enthusiasts had gathered at the cemetery to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Creighton, a man who scholars of baseball’s nascent days say revolutionized the game.

“There’s a good argument that Creighton changed the game more than Babe Ruth,” Thomas W. Gilbert, an author and historian, said.

Creighton rose to fame in 1860 as a member of the Brooklyn Excelsiors, an amateur team, and was the first pitcher to throw something he called a “speedball,” a term so antiquated it sounded quaint in the first verse of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 song “Glory Days.” Today’s hurlers call Creighton’s innovation a “fastball.”

“He was a pioneer,” said John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball. “There are people without whom the story of baseball cannot be told, and I think James Creighton is one of those players.”

Despite the pitch that Creighton introduced, he is best known for his mysterious death. On Oct. 14, 1862, when he was just 21, Creighton played in his final game for the Excelsiors against the Unions of Morrisania and died four days later in Brooklyn at his father’s home on Henry Street, writhing in agony.

In 1862, a man named John Chapman played first base for the Excelsiors, replacing a man who joined the Confederate Army. In the 1890s Mr. Chapman said that Creighton, in his final at-bat, swung so hard that he burst an internal organ but still cracked a home run. Almost immediately this Robert Redfordian myth became Mr. Chapman’s legend.

No known record can verify Mr. Chapman’s story, but historians like Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Thorn who have delved into Creighton’s life believe that he probably had a chronic hernia that was exacerbated by his penchant for throwing around 300 pitches a game. Eventually it became infected.

At Green-Wood Cemetery, Eric Miklich demonstrated Creighton’s windup and delivery, an underarm motion similar to fast-pitch softball. Twisting his hips, and possibly snapping his wrist in violation of the era’s rules, Creighton was able to hurl early baseballs made of black leather at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. Hitters were used to pitches that topped out at less than 50 miles per hour, Mr. Miklich said.

“It was the Creighton revolution,” said Mr. Miklich, who plays on a 19th-century-rules baseball team. “It led directly to the creation of what we know today in baseball as the strike zone, and it destroyed the old game of baseball in which the pitcher only threw what the batter could hit.”

On Saturday, Mr. Miklich will pitch in the Jim Creighton Festival, a doubleheader at the Smithtown Historical Society in Smithtown, N.Y.

Bob Johnson, 65, who suited up in an old-time shirt and cap for the ceremony on Thursday, is a member of the 19th Century Research Committee for the Society for American Baseball Research. He said understanding the roots of the way baseball is played today added to the enjoyment of the game.

“The idea behind this day is to remind people where it all came from,” Mr. Johnson said.

Craig Nordquist, 24, who works for MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J., traveled to Green-Wood Cemetery on his day off simply for an opportunity to learn about an early ballplayer.

“I’ve got a lot of curiosity about an era that even the best baseball minds don’t know much about,” he said. “There’s so much mystery involved.”

The gathering on Thursday was not the first at Creighton’s grave, said Jeff Richman, the Green-Wood Cemetery historian. In 1866, players on the Washington Nationals team visited Creighton’s final resting spot, on a hill underneath a London plane tree with a view of New York Bay. Each player clipped blades of grass to take as souvenirs, Mr. Richman said.

“It was a precursor to the idea of having a Hall of Fame,” he said. “They came to his grave as a way of going on a pilgrimage to a place to honor a great baseball forebearer.”

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In Brooklyn, Honoring a Baseball Pioneer

As the hitter gripped his bat and the pitcher began his windup, the catcher’s voice rang out across the blades of Kelly green grass on Thursday morning under a baseball-perfect sky in Brooklyn.

“Strike ’em out, Creighton!” hollered silver-haired Mickey Tangel, 64, crouching behind the plate in a baggy cotton shirt with a 19th-century baseball logo.

But the man to whom Mr. Tangel referred, James Creighton, was not standing 60 feet 6 inches away. Instead, Mr. Creighton’s remains were buried 6 feet below ground, beneath a marble monument at Green-Wood Cemetery.

Mr. Tangel and a half dozen other 19th-century-baseball enthusiasts had gathered at the cemetery to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the death of Mr. Creighton, a man who scholars of baseball’s nascent days say revolutionized the game.

“There’s a good argument that Creighton changed the game more than Babe Ruth,” Thomas W. Gilbert, an author and historian, said.

Mr. Creighton rose to fame in 1860 as a member of the Brooklyn Excelsiors, an amateur team, and was the first pitcher to throw something he called a “speedball,” a term so antiquated it sounded quaint in the first verse of Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 song “Glory Days.” Today’s hurlers call Mr. Creighton’s innovation a “fastball.”

“He was a pioneer,” said John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball. “There are people without whom the story of baseball cannot be told, and I think James Creighton is one of those players.”

Despite the pitch that Mr. Creighton introduced, he is best known for his mysterious death. On Oct. 14, 1862, when he was just 21, Mr. Creighton played in his final game for the Excelsiors against the Unions of Morrisania and died four days later in Brooklyn at his father’s home on Henry Street, writhing in agony.

In 1862, a man named John Chapman played first base for the Excelsiors, replacing a man who joined the Confederate Army. In the 1890s Mr. Chapman said that Mr. Creighton, in his final at-bat, swung so hard that he burst an internal organ, but still cracked a home run. Almost immediately this Robert Redfordian myth became Mr. Chapman’s legend.

No known record can verify Mr. Chapman’s story, but historians like Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Thorn who have delved into Mr. Creighton’s life believe that he probably suffered from a chronic hernia that was exacerbated by his penchant for throwing around 300 pitches a game. Eventually it became infected.

At Green-Wood Cemetery, Eric Miklich demonstrated Mr. Creighton’s windup and delivery, an underarm motion similar to fast-pitch softball. Twisting his hips, and possibly snapping his wrist in violation of the era’s rules, Mr. Creighton was able to hurl early baseballs made of black leather at speeds of up to 85 miles per hour. Hitters were used to pitches that topped out at less than 50 miles per hour, Mr. Miklich said.

“It was the Creighton revolution,” said Mr. Miklich, who plays on a 19th-century-rules baseball team. “It led directly to the creation of what we know today in baseball as the strike zone, and it destroyed the old game of baseball in which the pitcher only threw what the batter could hit.”

On Saturday, Mr. Miklich will pitch in the Jim Creighton Festival, a doubleheader at the Smithtown Historical Society in Smithtown, N.Y.

Bob Johnson, 65, who suited up in an old-time shirt and cap for Thursday’s ceremony, is a member of the 19th Century Research Committee for the Society for American Baseball Research. He said understanding the roots of the way baseball is played today adds to the enjoyment of the game.

“The idea behind this day is to remind people where it all came from,” Mr. Johnson said.

Craig Nordquist, 24, who works for MLB Network in Secaucus, N.J., traveled to Green-Wood Cemetery on his day off simply for an opportunity to learn about an early ballplayer.

“I’ve got a lot of curiosity about an era that even the best baseball minds don’t know much about,” he said. “There’s so much mystery involved.”

Thursday’s gathering was not the first at Mr. Creighton’s grave, said Jeff Richman, the Green-Wood Cemetery historian. In 1866, players on the Washington Nationals team visited Mr. Creighton’s final resting spot, on a hill underneath a London plane tree with a view of New York Bay. Each player clipped blades of grass to take as souvenirs, Mr. Richman said.

“It was a precursor to the idea of having a Hall of Fame,” he said. “They came to his grave as a way of going on a pilgrimage to a place to honor a great baseball forebearer.”

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Mourning an N.Y.U. Fixture Who Kept Fast-Paced Students and Drivers Alert

For years, students at New York University grew accustomed to seeing John Votta at his usual spot, where Washington Place meets Washington Square East in Greenwich Village.

The location is busy with students rushing to class, and also a bit chaotic with vehicular traffic, which is why Mr. Votta, over the past decade, had appointed himself the university’s unofficial traffic cop — and screamed at drivers to slow down.

Mr. Votta, who was said to be 70, also became known as “the Timekeeper” because he would constantly give students updates of how many minutes they had left before class.

But at his usual spot on Thursday, on the east side of Washington Square, Mr. Votta and his unmistakable voice were noticeably absent. Instead, there was a makeshift memorial.

On a piece of paper ripped out of a spiral notebook were the words “John Votta 1942-2012.”

There was a framed photograph of Mr. Votta posing with two watches on each wrist. With it was the message, “Dear John, thanks for keeping us safe. Rest in Peace.”

“He wasn’t an official member of the N.Y.U. community but he left more of an impression on students than many faculty members,” said Natasha Raheja, 26, of Brooklyn, a doctoral student of anthropology who stared at the memorial on Thursday afternoon. “He reminded us that it’s the small things we do that matter.”

He called the spot hazardous for distracted students rushing to class. His warnings, echoing through nearby streets, became mantras to students and local residents.

Roland Velez, a doorman who works on the block on West 12th Street where Mr. Votta lived and who became one of his closest friends over the past 15 years, said Mr. Votta had a heart ailment and a pacemaker, and had been hospitalized recently for feeling faint and weak. Mr. Votta had not been seen leaving his apartment over the weekend, and Mr. Velez finally called 911 on Monday, he said. Mr. Votta was found inside dead.

“John did everything for everybody and wanted nothing in return,” Mr. Velez said.

In a 2009 interview with The New York Times, Mr. Votta said he was a lifelong bachelor who lived on an $870 monthly Social Security check and paid $60 a week for a rent-regulated furnished room on West 12th Street, with a hot plate and a common bathroom in the hall.

Although he had no official affiliation with the university, he tailored his appearances to match the semester. He would put in a morning and an afternoon shift every school day. He was known for wearing multiple watches on each arm to better keep time and to update students on when class was starting.

On Thursday, there was a wristwatch buckled to an iron fence near the memorial, and a toy clock with the words, “You will always be our timekeeper.”

Two college seniors, Anastasia Moryakova, 21, and Randy Ray, 22, stopped at the memorial and discussed the possibility of raising money from the student body to get a statue of Mr. Votta erected there.

“A tribute to his legacy,” Ms. Moryakova said.

Starting a Johnny Votta scholarship was suggested, and Ms. Moryakova laughed and said it could be awarded to a prompt student.

“You don’t have a 4.0 average but you’ve never been late to class,” she said.

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