On July 27, 1978, Manhattan Borough Commander John J. Fogarty faced a difficult fire at the 179-year old Episcopal Church, St. Mark’s-in-the-Bowery, a New York City landmark that is the oldest site of continuous worship in the city.
PANTS ON FIRE
Looking for lies and liars
I always remember the moment in the TV show Ironside, when the wily, wheelchair-bound detective played by Raymond Burr, summed up a stumbling block in his investigation of a murder. “The problem with believing what isn’t so,” he said, “is you keep asking yourself questions you can’t answer.”
April Fool’s Day came a day early for me this year.
March 31 began darkly. It was a rainy Thursday morning, and I was standing at the end of a line of people boarding a southbound M60 bus on Amsterdam Avenue and 122nd Street. The line moved up, the woman in front of me stepped onto the bus, and I had my hands in front of me, getting my MetroCard out of my wallet…
Special sessions, special lessons
I felt like a spy. And no wonder: I was a spy. I had been talking to a shareholder who lived in a large co-op complex about a special meeting that was being staged to vote on the removal of three board members. I asked him if I could attend the meeting, to see what was going on as material for a story I was writing on special elections…
WOULD YOU BELIEVE…?
“Hey, Tom,” my brother Pete said to me softly. “Look over there. Isn’t that Barbara Feldon?” He pointed across the crowded theater lobby at a tall woman chatting with a couple of people. Sure enough, it was “Agent 99” from a favorite TV comedy, Get Smart…
On People, Policy, and Paranoia
I was on the No 1 local as it slowly pulled into the 96th Street station. There was an express train waiting across the platform. Our conductor made an announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be here for some time. The express across from us will be leaving immediately. If possible, take the express.”
SECURITY & SARCASM
The three incidents at the Manhattan co-op happened within two weeks of each other, and each was disturbing in its own way…
(DON’T) LET THEM EAT CAKE
Being on a board is like being on a diet. You know it’s for your own good, but it can get very tedious. Sure, you should eat soup and salad but doesn’t the cream-filled chocolate cake seem so much tastier?
I was with my boss in her car, waiting at a stop light at 23rd Street and Eighth Avenue. A woman in a wheelchair was proceeding slowly across the street. The traffic light was blinking red and it didn’t look like she would make it across by the time the signal turned…
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU
Scams, Both Large and Small
Sometimes being on the board of a cooperative is like being on Racket Squad. Only baby-boomers with long memories will recall Racket Squad, a sort of Dragnet wannabe from 1950s television that supposedly re-enacted cases ripped from the police files…
LOCAL LAWS GONE LOCO
Ellen Kornfeld is on a tear. “The city goes ahead and changes the elevator code in December, not giving people who have already done their budgets an opportunity to know what costs they are going to incur in terms of retrofitting things to code. You don’t find out till January or February what these things are going to cost and by then, every budget is out of whack. Nobody expected $10,000, $15,000, $17,000 in expenses to bring the elevators up to code. All the elevators are going to need new equipment because the city is changing the code.” Kornfeld, vice president at the Lovett Group, is fired up because the city keeps adding new regulations…
“It’s too late to say you’re sorry./How would I know, why should I care?/Please don’t bother trying to find her. She’s not there.” The old Zombies song rumbled through my head as I considered the case of the capricious cooperator…