Way Back Machine | ‘Rough Boy’ Statue May Get More Respect in Brooklyn

Rough Boy: Still rough after all these years. If many another male has been obliged to apprehend at least the basics of sensitive, modern sharing-and-caring guyness over these past several generations, Rough Boy isn’t having it. Here he is yet to this day, all 22 marble tons of him, heroically stationed outside Queens Borough Hall with weapon in hand, quite unmistakably beating up on a couple of women who are cringing at his feet. And still to this day he remains sourly unloved by assorted indignants who deem him rude at the very least and want him gone. Now Representative Anthony D. Weiner has become the latest in a long parade of public scolds calling on the city to toss Rough Boy out. “Ugly and offensive,” declaims the art-critic congressman. “It’s time for him to go.”

For nearly 90 years now this has been going on. Rough Boy has never much enjoyed welcome-wagon hospitality, not since the day he was first unveiled in 1922. But perhaps he has found his home at last, now that the keepers of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn — recognizing that he is, of course, the last masterwork of the American sculptor Frederick MacMonnies — are offering to salvage him from the pit and the abyss and give him shelter in their bosky glades.

MacMonnies had trouble winning universal admiration for his various artistic visions in the first place. Brooklyn-born, Paris-educated, MacMonnies specialized in grand public monuments: His Nathan Hale statue in City Hall Park and one of the groups at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch in Brooklyn had been judged socially acceptable. On the other hand, Boston had refused his “Dancing Bacchante” on grounds that the bacchante was excessively bacchanal, and Denver had spurned his frontiersman group because the Indian was taller than the white men. Now, in 1922, seven years after the Parks Commission and the Municipal Arts Commission paid him $60,000 to create something epic to put atop a fountain in City Hall Park, here was what MacMonnies had wrought:

“Civic Virtue Triumphant Over Unrighteousness,” it was formally called, though the town wags nicknamed him Rough Boy on the spot. A mighty marble allegory. A near-naked youth, 20 feet in the air, built like an oak and astride two women, one of them already defeated, the other still merely cowering. Here was the Protector. Here was the Conqueror of Temptation, the Vanquisher of the Loreleis, he who would ruggedly resist the songs of the sirens, intended to represent corruption and vice. Here was what civic virtue would look like in the event such a thing ever struck the City of New York.

Allegory, MacMonnies kept patiently explaining. But shocked were the city’s ladies all the same. Never had they been so insulted. Complaints rained down on City Hall: Demeaning and degrading! Virtue is male? Unrighteousness is female? And for weeks there thundered in the city’s prints and town hall meetings nothing less than the Battle of the Sexes, practically warranting a great marble statue itself. Mayor John F. Hylan, an amiable ex-railroadman who did not stand accused even by his friends of being much more than dim, was nonetheless shrewd enough to sniff political difficulties. Well, women had the vote now. You couldn’t just tell them to sit down and be quiet any more. Indeed, bloc-wise, he probably owed them his own recent re-election.

And so there was scheduled a Board of Estimate hearing to discuss the appropriateness of installing in a public park a statue that had been officially approved and paid for years earlier, and on March 22 there appeared before the board great crowds of citizenesses determined to speak their aggrieved minds. Declared Elizabeth King Black of the National Women’s Party: “Men have their feet on women’s necks, and the sooner women realize it the better.” Declared Dr. Ella Boole of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union: “This type of man might have done for a statue in the Middle Ages, but it doesn’t represent any modern man, especially anybody engaged in civic affairs.” Agreed Hylan, to the deafening cheers of his audience: “I don’t claim to know much about art, but I know I don’t like the looks of this chap and I don’t think he’ll look well in City Hall Park.”

“He’s going there just the same,” mildly rebutted the deputy comptroller, Henry Smith, who in 1915 had been one of the art commissioners who had approved Rough Boy.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Hylan said. “I think I’ve got something to say about it.” Again the chamber cheered him long and loud, and at this point Hylan was enjoying the acclaim so much that he decided to schedule a second hearing two weeks later to enjoy still more of it.

Which was a tactical mistake, because two weeks later Rough Boy’s supporters had marshaled expert testimony. The president of the National Association of Women Sculptors and Painters pronounced “Civic Virtue Triumphant Over Unrighteousness” a brilliant MacMonnies. A scholar who maintained that the piece was not in harmony with City Hall’s colonial architecture was shot down by another scholar who said City Hall was Italian Renaissance, not colonial, and that in fact Rough Boy was Florentine and thus very harmonious indeed. A lady from the Long Island City Council of Women’s Clubs stood up to say she didn’t understand what all the silly fuss was about anyway.

And in the end, late in April, Rough Boy went up outside City Hall as planned, and there he stayed until the spring of 1941, when Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, who was also no big fan, bounced him over to Queens. There he has continued to stolidly endure one assault after another: The onetime borough president, Claire Shulman, tried to banish him from her sight more than 20 years ago, and now it’s Mr. Weiner’s turn to boldly stand up for the dignity of womankind just in case he happens to be running for something someday. Green-Wood Cemetery’s offer may finally end this long-running ruckus, although the mechanics of Rough Boy’s proposed resettlement remain unclear for the moment. As he does, after all, weigh 22 tons.

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The Best Way to Get Qualified Prospects

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Do you need to take an online test for your virtual assistant?

Virtual assistants are hired to help you with your day to day official work. To choose the right virtual assistant, you need to go through their websites and then call them up to ascertain whether they are the right person you are looking for or not.

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Ending up with the wrong virtual assistant can prove to be very costly. Firstly, you may lose the money you shell out in advance. Secondly, the wrong virtual assistant may botch up the work completely. Setting matters right may become more difficult. Also, replacing your inefficient virtual assistant with a new one may become difficult. Who knows, you may even lose complete faith in virtual assistants.

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Hats Off To “Live Free Or Die!” New Hampshire – Rejects Cap & Trade By A Veto-Proof Margin! Signal To The Nation

by P. Gosselin

Back when I was a boy in the 1960s and 70s, northern New England was as conservative as could be. My home state of Vermont (which is French for “green mountain”) was George Aiken and Winston Prouty country. Back then the revolutionary Yankee-spirit of Ethan Allen, fighter for freedom, was alive – but rapidly dying.
Vermont has long since been overrun by the politically-correct from New York, Massachussetts, New Jersey and other deep blue areas, and has been turned into a socialist cesspool with one of the highest property tax rates in the country and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders.
This all makes the latest news from sister state New Hampshire (home of the White Mountains) all the more encouraging. New Hampshire was also once very conservative – so much so that it’s official motto is still ”Live free or die“. Its governor from 1973 to 1979 was Republican “Ax-the-Tax” Medrim Thomson. But New Hampshire too succumbed the same political fate as Vermont, turning deep blue.
But who knows! Maybe the “live free or die” spirit is making a comeback. Let’s hope so. The latest news seem to indicate so. Fox News writes in a piece called:  “One Giant Leap Forward -New Hampshire has smacked down Cap & Trade”
The New Hampshire House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly — 246 to 104 – to become the first state to move to repeal an already up-and-running global warming cap-and-trade energy tax scheme.  The Granite State’s repeal appears headed for a similarly veto-proof repeal in the State Senate that will make Governor John Lynch powerless to stop it.”  Big things often start in New Hampshire – especially presidential things. Let’s hope the Senate makes it something big there, too. New Hampshire’s cap & trade scam is known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which originated in New Jersey. Its stunning defeat in New Hampshire was led by conservative House Speaker William O’Brien, who, according to Fox News, said: “The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has always been a backdoor tax increase on the citizens of New Hampshire. RGGI is a perfect example of the cost of regulation to the public. Rarely has a program been as transparent in its attempts at income redistribution.”
The big beneficiaries of RGGI are politically correct corporations and special interest groups. The big losers are consumers. The rejection of cap & trade in New Hampshire sends a strong signal nationally. Fox News writes: “At the national level, it cements the extremely strong opposition to cap-and-trade in New Hampshire and therefore colors how the issue will play in the Republican presidential primaries. In 2008, both parties nominated pro-cap-and-trade candidates for president, and again this year there are a number of pro-cap-and-trade Republicans vying for the nomination. They will have a difficult time explaining to voters why a program that has failed and been overwhelmingly rejected at the state level should be taken national.”

Don’t you love the smell of climate-napalm? Cap & trade gets crushed.

This should lead us to recall how Newt Gingrich cozied up on a couch with Nancy Pelosi in support of regulating carbon. There have been reports about naughty Newt launching a presidential campaign for 2012. Sorry Newt, but you belong on the scrap heap along with Pelosi. You’re not getting my vote.
New Hampshire is a lovely state, especially the northern part with its Presidential Range, which includes Mt. Washington – where the world’s highest ever wind velocity on the planet, 231 miles per hour, was recorded – a climate extreme back in the 1930s when CO2 was only about 320 ppm. New Hampshire is really worth a visit. Vermont is also a beautiful state, but visiting there means you’ll be leaving your money into the wasteful hands of greenie-socialists. Go to New Hampshire instead.

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A Mixed Reception for the Mayor at Queens Parade

Spectators clearly relished the green regalia and the incessant wail of bagpipes at the 36th annual Queens County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Belle Harbor, the Rockaways, on Saturday. But Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appeared intent on not reacting to the mixed reception he received from people along the mile and a half parade route.

At points from Beach 131st Street to the reviewing stand on Beach 105th, the mayor received jeers, catcalls and the occasional expletive, along with rude hand gestures. Alongside Mr. Bloomberg were Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Representative Peter T. King from Long Island, who are of Irish heritage.

The dissatisfaction lobbed at the mayor did not stem from a single issue. For some spectators, like Danny Boyle, 29, of Rockaway Beach, it was city’s response to the Dec. 26 snowstorm, which closed large portions of the city. As Mr. Bloomberg passed Mr. Boyle’s friends’ house on Beach 110th and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Mr. Boyle shouted, “You ought to thank God there is not a snowstorm here, Mr. Mayor. Otherwise, you wouldn’t make it.”

Some spectators were angry at the city for shortening the parade route by a half a mile. In April 2009, the New York Police Department began requiring all New York City parades to shave their routes by 25 percent, or be limited to five hours.

“I’m not upset with Mike Bloomberg at all for his job as mayor,” said Ronnie Schwab, 48, an electrician from Beach 99th Street. “I’m just mad that this tradition has been cut short.”

And then there were the several dozen teachers who lined Beach 116th Street, one of whom was Sondra Smith, 38, a special education teacher at Public School 114. She has been teaching in the city school system for 15 years. Despite the mayor’s prediction that thousands of teachers could be laid off next academic year, she said she did not fear for her job.

Heckling the mayor as he turned the corner onto Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Ms. Smith yelled, “You’re against the teachers, and you’re against the kids.”

She was appalled that she has had to buy school supplies for her 30 students, complained that the classes were overcrowded, and thought that the mayor should embrace a city tax at sporting events to make up for any shortfalls in the school budget.

“There are so many things the mayor could be creatively thinking of to save teacher jobs and serve the kids, and he doesn’t because he doesn’t care,” she added.

For all the things there were to complain about, a number of paradegoers interviewed said they were unaware of an off-the-cuff remark Mr. Bloomberg made in February that caused a brouhaha. The mayor, speaking at the American Irish Historical Society, said he was used to seeing ”people that are totally inebriated hanging out the window” at the society, in reference to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. His comment drew criticism from Irish-American officials, and he apologized in short order.

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The Hands That Steer Are Building the Bikes

Like thousands of other New Yorkers, Jason Henkle throws a leg over a bicycle every day and pedals to work. Unlike most of his fellow riders, Mr. Henkle built his understated single-speed bike by hand.

Mr. Henkle is among a small group of dedicated New York cyclists who have begun building their own bicycle frames. Their hand-constructed cycles are often custom made for a tailored fit and sometimes include personal touches like the small metal pi symbol Mr. Henkle affixes to his machines.

“They’re pi-cycles,” said Mr. Henkle, making the kind of pun befitting his job as a high school math teacher. He keeps two of his bikes in his living room and often spends his evenings and weekends in a tight storage room he has converted into a frame building shop in his apartment building in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

A recent Saturday afternoon found him methodically filing steel tubes for a precise fit on a road frame that’s half-finished. “It’s a nice combination of an athletic activity, craft, science and engineering all balled up into one,” said Mr. Henkle, 30, who figures it takes him about 80 hours to complete a frame.

Many other cyclists in New York and the rest of the country have taken up files, torches and even bamboo and glue to build their own bikes. The North American Handmade Bicycle Show, which started in 2005 with 23 frame builders exhibiting their wares, has grown into a Concours d’Elegance for two-wheelers, featuring more than 160 microbike exhibitors. Mr. Henkle attended the 2011 show last week in Austin, Tex., to learn the latest techniques.

“I got to chat with some of the pros,” he said. “I was definitely able to walk away with some good info.”

Some people, like Mr. Henkle, treat the craft as a hobby, building bikes for themselves and a few friends. But a growing number of shops are building made-to-measure frames for customers.

Anchoring the scene is Johnny Coast, a 35-year-old with seven years of frame building and, by his count, 200 to 300 frames under his belt. Mr. Coast’s frames, which are highly regarded for their classic lines and elegant lugs — the often-decorative joints that join tubes — start at $2,250.

Mr. Coast and many builders embrace the small imperfections that are less likely to be spotted in mass-produced machine-built bikes.

“I think people like seeing the hand of the builder,” he said. “You see a little file mark, you see a human made this.”

Like many hobby builders, Lance Mercado, 35, began by making bicycle frames for himself and friends. He has been building custom steel frames professionally since 2007, after taking a popular course in Oregon, and is the owner of SquareBuilt, a shop in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, that specializes in single-speed and track bikes.

“I basically was going to buy a bike one day and saw the ad to learn to build a bike,” he said. “So I went, and people started asking me to build them one, too.” He eventually dropped his job as a waiter to pursue the business.

Mr. Mercado’s shop has become a nexus of the frame-building community. Krista Ciminera, 27, a messenger, is building a frame for herself and learning the craft at SquareBuilt.

“I really like making stuff with my hands,” Ms. Ciminera said, “and it feels good to be at these machines with sparks flying.”

Recently, Mr. Henkle stopped into SquareBuilt for help on a problem with a lug on his current project. Mr. Mercado welcomes the growing interest.

“The more builders there are in New York, the better for everyone to learn off each other,” Mr. Mercado said.

The city has long been a bike-building center. For more than a century Worksman Cycles in Queens has been making durable utility bicycles and tricycles, and Brooklyn Machine Works has been creating BMX and downhill bikes for more than 15 years. But the community of smaller shops, especially in Brooklyn, continues to broaden. Horse Cycles is a one-man custom-steel shop in Williamsburg, and Bamboo Bike Studio in Red Hook offers a two-day frame-building course using bamboo.

“You can make a bike and make it just as good as any other bike,” said Marty Odlin, 29, who started Bamboo Bike Studio in 2009 and has since expanded to San Francisco. A basic frame-building class costs $632, and proceeds go toward projects to supply bicycles to people in the developing world.

The studio has taught more than 250 people — from 12-year-olds to riders in their 70s — to make the distinctive frames. “They’re beautiful, and they’re really beautiful to the people who build them,” Mr. Odlin said, referring to the bamboo bikes but echoing the thoughts of many hand builders. “There’s a pride thing.”

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