Conscience, consumerism and cephalomugs.

New York’s thrift shops are legendary, and Housing Works is among my favorites. Their mission is “to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.” They advocate for marginalized people in particular, including active drug users, homeless people and sexual minorities: they’re like the anti-Salvation Army*. I donate goods and funds to them regularly, and I shop there. Like, a lot. (More on that in a minute.) But beyond the obvious charitable aspects, there are other considerable benefits to shopping at thrifts.

Cost.

If you are cost-conscious, you will rarely find better deals than you will at a thrift shop. Sometimes those doing the pricing know exactly what they have, and they will upcharge accordingly. For example, a valuable antique, an item with high-end branding, or something that’s obviously beautifully crafted from quality materials won’t be super cheap. But the pricing will still be nowhere near what you would pay for the same item at retail, even on sale. Want to save more money? Your donations of goods and funds are also tax deductible (although your purchases are not, at least not in New York). And sometimes a price is so low you just know it has to be a mistake. But it isn’t. :D  

The thing is, you can almost always find something cheap, but all too often you will get what you pay for. Thrift stores provide an opportunity to find really nice stuff cheap—or at least a lot cheaper than you will find it elsewhere.

Labor and the environment.

If you’re environmentally conscious, this is the ultimate in recycling. A lamp or table for which one no longer has any use—or, more likely in NYC, any space—would normally end up in a landfill. Instead it takes on a second life, filling a niche for someone who can really use it. If you’re sweat-shop conscious, the clothing and accessories (handbags, ties, scarfs, shoes, belts, etc.) come with a lot less guilt: by purchasing an item here you’re supporting a good cause, and not so much a system of labor exploitation in, say, China. Many thrift shop clothing items have never been worn and still sport the original tags; if that seems odd to you, consider how many times you received a gift of clothing you know you will never, ever wear, or purchased something at a retail store that has lived in your closet for years. Uh-huh. I thought so. Bonus: if you’re the imaginative sort and handy with paint or a needle and thread, your furniture and clothing options at a thrift shop are considerably more vast.

Gifts.

platterI bought this platter for $40 as a gift for someone I don’t even like
Turns out it’s worth a couple grand. Fuck.

Housewares are probably my favorite stuff to peruse. I collect eclectic silverware—no two pieces the same—so I’m always on the lookout for a single place setting to add to the mix. Ditto: coffee mugs, serving platters and table linens. (Dishes and glassware, however, must be strictly matched and neutral-toned because (a) I am really weird and (b) this is a monarchy.) Many times I’ve come across enormous troves of donated silverware, serving pieces, plate settings and tabletop accoutrements, presumably from restaurants and hotels who are switching theirs up or going out of business. I’ve also found Candlewick pieces, which my mom collects, in addition to scented soy candles, gorgeous coffee table books, candle holders and picture frames, all of which have made really nice gifts.

cutleryFrom the Palace cutlery collection.

And then there is the jewelry**. I don’t wear very much of it myself, and I tend to rotate a few pieces pulled from the same small collection every day. (Until, that is, unbeknownst to me, I lose one of the earrings, or a stone pops out, or the catch on a necklace breaks. This is why I can’t have nice things.) Although I may rarely indulge, I do frequently buy gifts of jewelry for friends and family. And d00d, I have scored.

earringsL: sterling silver fleur-de-lis earrings. R: pink & amber studded post earrings.

Magic.

Finally, I want to talk about the magic. Yes I know, that’s quite the word to be flinging around willy-nilly on a godless blog, but hear me out. I am not talking about anything supernatural here; what I mean is something more like “a fortuitous confluence of matter and spacetime events in the natural universe.” Life in New York City generally meets that definition for me; so does fall color, and being in love. On a much smaller scale, if I don’t feel like drying my (plain and perfectly matched) dishes right after I wash them, I might wander off and quip that “the faeries can dry them.” And when I return from my errands, lo and behold the faeries have done my bidding, and the dishes are all perfectly dry! It’s a goddamn Christmas miracle, is what that is.

lampcakeplateL: glass-beaded tealight lamp; R: silver cake plate and server with mother-of-pearl inlays.

And so it is with scoring a find when thrift shopping. The trick to the magic is this: be open-minded, shop early and shop often. It is generally not a good idea to have a particular item in mind when you go; there is a constant churning of merchandise and thus the selection can vary wildly from week to week or even day to day. My fellow New Yorkers tend to have keen eyes and impeccable taste, so if I don’t grab that really cool thing when I see it, it will almost certainly be gone in an hour. There are not one but two thrones that I do not possess because I dallied (and/or I listened to My Amazing Lover™, who for reasons I cannot fathom does not share my glorious vision):

throne2throneI needed these thrones, people, and now they are gone. Forever.

But my point is that if I went looking for a throne in a thrift shop, the odds I would find one are virtually zero. The same holds true for finding the perfect gift for someone on the exact day you need it. By far, the most important thing to take with you to a thrift shop is an open mind, and again, go early and go often. That is how I crossed a few items off of my holiday gift list before August.

It is true that for some things I will have to resort to retail. It turns out that some people, especially kids, have no appreciation whatsoever for vintage martini shakers or embroidered eyeglass cases. But seriously? Fuck Wal-Mart and K-Mart and Target and Macy’s and everywhere else. Or at least, fuck them as much as possible. I’ll be doing most of my holiday shopping at places like Housing Works (and Greenmarkets) this season. And if for some reason I have not yet convinced you to do the same, behold my latest find:

 cephalomugsHand-painted Cephalomugs, $2 (each).

^This is what winning looks like, my friends. Happy holiday shopping.

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*To be clear: I do not repudiate anyone who relies on Salvation Army’s services in New York, or anywhere else. I do, however, repudiate donors and patrons who have the opportunity to make a better choice but don’t: there are networks of thrift shops that benefit local veterans, domestic violence shelters and programs, animal rescue and many other causes that are not right-wing Christian churches. (NOTE: I recommend doing your research to make sure any charity you’re inclined to support is reputable.) And I really repudiate a government and economic system that requires charities to ensure the barest survival of its most vulnerable citizens, including disabled vets and AIDS patients. Such a system is not only morally grotesque, a charity approach to these issues is itself a terrible idea.

**Iris’s trusty sparkly sanitized jewelry trick:

  • place jewelry in an aluminum vessel of some sort. I use aluminum cupcake pans, or you can rig something up with foil yourself. It just has to be aluminum because SCIENCE.
  • sprinkle baking soda on the jewelry.
  • pour boiling water onto the baking soda and jewelry.
  • let cool, rinse and dry.

Do this to clean and brighten your own jewelry whenever it begins to tarnish. I don’t know how it works. Probably magic.

Ferguson link roundup.

blacklivesmatter[TW for racism and violence, in this post and at the linked references.]

A lot of great writing and clever memes about Ferguson bubbled up yesterday. One thing that struck me about the press coverage is that I found it exceedingly difficult to get information about New York’s local protests, so overwhelmingly focused on events in Ferguson were the major media outlets. It was not until late morning that a fellow New Yorker (and Loyal Reader™) linked this: Protesters Shut Down New York Bridges Over Ferguson Decision. Zeveloff, J., Business Insider (Nov. 2014). No one I spoke to in the city all day yesterday had any idea that thousands of overwhelmingly peaceful protesters marched from Union Square throughout the city overnight, and shut down traffic on three bridges—the Manhattan, the Tri-Boro and the Brooklyn Bridge. (More at the link; see also here).

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Later in the day I came across this: Ferguson protesters rally across US for second day. Gurman, S., Associated Press via The San Francisco Chronicle (Nov. 2014). This is where I learned something amusing:

In New York, police noted protests have been large but mostly peaceful, with just two arrests including that of a man who threw a jar of fake blood that struck Police Commissioner William Bratton and his security detail.

bloodybrattonHeh. As I noted on Facebook, I do not approve of violence against anyone, and that includes authoritarian shitweasels like Bill Bratton. But I am a huge fan of deploying fake blood as a means of protest. (You people really should see me in my bloody coat hanger abortion dress.)

Anyway, the heroic fake-blood-flinger, Diego Ibanez, 26, was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief, obstruction of governmental administration, disorderly conduct, harassment and reckless endangerment. Good for him.

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This morning I learned via email from Carl Dix at Stop Mass Incarceration Network that early last evening, Noche Diaz—an anti-stop-and-frisk and anti-mass incarceration activist well known to police for his (non-violent) activism—was singled out for arrest out of a demonstration of thousands. As of 10pm, police were refusing to reveal where they were holding him or his condition; he was supposed to be arraigned downtown at 9AM today, but as of this posting I have not seen any updates. (I have met and previously reported on both Diaz and Dix here).

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White people rioting over stupid shit: Let’s put those Ferguson pictures in perspective, shall we? betakateenin via @red3blog, Storify (Nov. 2014). You can see many more pics of white people rioting over stupid shit at the link, but here are a few:

https://twitter.com/red3blog/status/537109889576087553

https://twitter.com/red3blog/status/537109646906249216

https://twitter.com/ChrisWarcraft/status/537097358358487040

Also making the rounds is this meme showing different white thugs animals savages people rioting over different stupid shit:

whitepeoplerioting__________

It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did. Casselman, B., Fivethirtyeight.com (Nov. 2014).

Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.

“If the prosecutor wants an indictment and doesn’t get one, something has gone horribly wrong,” said Andrew D. Leipold, a University of Illinois law professor who has written critically about grand juries. “It just doesn’t happen.”

SPOILER ALERT! Police shootings are the exception (see below).

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Why It’s Impossible to Indict a Cop: It’s not just Ferguson—here’s how the system protects police. Madar, C., The Nation (Nov. 2014). Informative and infuriating.

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12 things white people can do now because Ferguson. Woods, J., Quartz (Nov. 2014). A thoughtful and passionate primer on how to be a white ally, and why it’s fucking important:

We’re 400 years into this racist system and it’s going to take a long, long, long time to dismantle these atrocities. The antiracism movement is a struggle for generations, not simply the hot button issue of the moment. Transformation of a broken system doesn’t happen quickly or easily.

People of color, black people especially, cannot and should not shoulder the burden for dismantling the racist, white supremacist system that devalues and criminalizes black life without the all in support, blood, sweat and tears of white people.

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The Gospel of Rudy Giuliani: Why is no one talking about American-on-American crime?
Coates, T.N., The Atlantic (Nov. 2014). A brilliant and scathing indictment of political leaders and media:

Americans perpetrate roughly five 9/11s against other Americans every year…Why are our politicians ignoring this plague of American-on-American crime?…Who will bravely challenge the culture of failure that says that Americans should only be outraged when Muslims kill Americans?

I demand a TSA checkpoint at every shopping mall to shield Americans against Americans. I demand drones to kill Americans before they kill other Americans. I demand that American leaders stop pretending that American morgues and American cemeteries are full of young men because of jihadis.

FIVE STARS.

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Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson: One reason for the racial divide over Michael Brown’s death is that white Americans tend to talk mostly to other white people. Jones, R.P., The Atlantic (Aug. 2014, updated Nov. 2014). Perspective: we whites should get some.

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In these potentially violent times in Ferguson, I think it’s important to look at the example MLK set. His quiet dignity. His restraint. How he was able to show compassion even under duress. How he got shot in the fucking face anyway. –Xavier Holland via Facebook

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https://twitter.com/jsmooth995/status/537029716746960897

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There are countless posts I have not seen, and no doubt many more to come in the days, weeks, months and years ahead. I would encourage you to seek them out, and in particular look for the work of black writers. For some context and background, see the links at the end of my post from yesterday; additional resources can be found in the Palace Library under the headings POLICE; DRUG WAR, PRISON & SENTENCING REFORM; RACE; and SURVEILLANCE STATE.

#blacklivesmatter.

Ferguson heartbreak.

Today is a sad day. No, I did not expect the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson; that would have been contra everything I know about U.S. jurisprudence and the racist rot at the heart of vast swaths of American culture.

I am continually astonished that so many of my fellow whites shrug it off (or worse) while the state targets, brutalizes and incarcerates people in numbers that dwarf the rest of the world—and people of color, already among our most marginalized and impoverished citizens, make up a wildly disproportionate percentage of them. Not just disproportionate to their percentage of the general population, disproportionate to the number of whites (including cops) who commit the exact same offenses with impunity. Susan McGraugh, a criminal defense lawyer and professor at the St. Louis University School of Law points out:

Officer Wilson got preferential treatment. I represent only poor people, and he was given a lot of courtesies that my clients have not. I can guarantee you that if one of my clients had killed somebody with a gun, they would have been arrested and they’d have been charged. And they would have either had to post bond or sit in jail while the grand jury deliberated on their case.

This explains both why whites generally tend to have faith in the criminal “justice” system, and precisely why they should not. And just like our murderous for-profit health care system, imprisonment has been very profitably privatized, once again to the disproportionate detriment of people of color. And compounding all of these injustices, after serving their time ex-convicts are further disenfranchised and marginalized: in many places they are legally denied housing and other public benefits, jobs are virtually unattainable and they are prohibited from voting—for life. Is it really such a mystery why so many return to crime? Ask yourself who benefits from these policies. Christ, even these hateful assholes preach that once a person has been punished, they are not to be penalized further: doing so is not “Christian”—or at least, not biblical—which is really saying something, my friends.

I saw with my own eyes (mostly white) Occupy protesters surveilled, harassed and arrested by NYPD for being in a park; and from the relative safety of my apartment, I observed with growing horror the escalating police assaults and brutality, including pepper spraying and tear-gassing captive people who could not escape police cordons. It was not lost on me then or now that this is exactly what it’s like to live in many black and brown communities every single day.

Except the occupiers were not being routinely slaughtered in the streets.

Not this time, anyway.

The injustice of killer police (and police rapists and citizen vigilantes) going free should outrage every person of conscience. But even if you’re just a run-of-the-mill narcissistic shitweasel—i.e., conservative—if you think a militarized police and surveillance state could never come gunning for you, you are terrifyingly ignorant of all of history—including the recent history of the United States.

R.I.P. Michael Brown. May this day mark a turning point in the broader culture, for all of us.

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Recommended reading from the Palace Library:

See also:

Recent reading.

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Jehovah’s Witness leader complains: Gay people are plotting to put everyone in ‘tight pants’. Garcia, A., Raw Story (Nov. 2014). (LOLOL! –Ed.)

Petitioning Girl Scouts of the USA: Re-model the Barbie brand Girl Scout doll to be realistic. Chiu, K., change.org (Nov. 2014). (“I was so upset to see the new official Girl Scout Barbie — a doll that does not represent the diversity or mission of the Girl Scouts, and which, of all possible things, is dressed in high-heeled hiking boots.” WHAT. –Ed.)

New York City police will stop making arrests for low-level marijuana possession. Francescani, C., Reuters via Raw Story (Nov. 2014).

Notes from a Pornographer on Sexist Sexual Imagery and Behavior. Christina, C., Freethoughtblogs (Nov. 2014). (“The idea that sex-positivity and sexual liberation means everybody expressing every sexual thought and acting on every sexual desire, the minute it pops into our heads — this is bullshit.”)

The Psychology of Spanking. [No, not the fun kind. –Ed.] (“eliminating corporal punishment of children is ‘a key strategy for reducing and preventing all forms of violence in societies.’”)

How the drug war blocked research into a promising experimental PTSD therapy​: ecstasy. Ehrenfreund , M., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014). (“Initial research suggests MDMA, used in the party drug ecstasy, could be a powerful treatment for veterans dealing with the trauma of war.”)

The flying of unauthorized drones at stadiums prompts safety concerns. Whitlock, C., The Washington Post (Nov. 2014).

Buy Your Daughter All the Butch Dolls You Want, She Still Won’t Be Able to Get an Abortion in Texas. Vargas-Cooper, N., The Intercept (Nov. 2014). (“We should disabuse ourselves of old ideas, especially this hold-over notion from the baby-boomer generation that somehow social institutions can be jammed, subverted, reformed, or overthrown through buying stuff.”)

MIT’s Crazy Materials Could Make for Self-Assembling Ikea Furniture. Flaherty, J., Wired (Nov. 2014).

Why Washington Continues to Beat the War and Disease Drums: Escalation is now a structural fact embedded in the war in the Middle East and the Ebola crisis here at home. Engelhardt, T., The Nation (Nov. 2014).

Clashes at protest over Mexico student deaths: Masked protesters, demonstrating over suspected killing of 43 students in September, clash with riot police in Acapulco. Al Jazeera (Nov. 2014).

The Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape. Van Syckle, K., The Cut (Nov. 2014).

Soleá, the Flamenco of Seville. The New Yorker (Nov. 2014). [VIDEO.]

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PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Reading.

library4

Wrinkles in Spacetime: The Warped Astrophysics of Interstellar. Rogers, A., Wired (Oct. 2014). (“Most Interstellar viewers will see these images—the wormhole, the black hole, the weird light—and think, ‘Whoa. That’s beautiful.’ Thorne looks at them and thinks, ‘Whoa. That’s true.’”)

World’s Longest Snake Has Virgin Birth—First Recorded in Species: An 11-year-old reticulated python produced six babies without mating. Qui, L., National Geographic (Oct. 2014).

School Shooter Identified as Freshman Football Player. The Wall Street Journal via Associated Press (Oct. 2014).

GM’s hit and run: How a lawyer, mechanic, and engineer blew open the worst auto scandal in history. Penenberg, A.L., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014).

S4E7 – #GamerGate. Olson, D., Chez Apocalypse (Oct. 2014). (“A look at Base Assumptions as a critical tool as applied to the GamerGate movement.”) (VIDEO) (FIVE STARS.Ed.)

Palestine2Ferguson Contingent Shows Power of Unity. US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (Oct. 2014).

There’s a surprisingly strong link between climate change and violence. Mooney, C., The Washington Post (Oct. 2014). (“Bottom line: In an ever warming world, expect more wars, civil unrest, and strife, and also more violent crime in general.”)

Easter Islanders also made voyages to the New World. Graham, K., Digital Journal (Oct. 2014). (“Rapa Nui people met with early South Americans, well before Europeans came visiting.”)

Entitlement Culture War. Thibeault, J., FreeThoughtBlogs (Oct. 2014).

You already have bed bugs. Now get ready to deal with rat mites. Holmes, D., Pando Daily (Oct. 2014). (Jeezus. –Ed.)

Which Foods are the Worst for the Environment? Berger, M., The Weather Channel (Oct. 2014).

20 Things New Yorkers Older Than 40 Did. And will never do again. It was a great time to be a New Yorker. copyranter, BuzzFeed (Jul. 2013). [h/t Josephine.]

Houston Man Charged with Raping Teen, Toddler, Both of Whom Now Have HIV. Edwards, B., The Root (Oct. 2014). [TRIGGER WARNING: rape, child sexual assault.]

Evo Morales: A Bolivian idol. Bolivia’s president talks about the country’s ongoing socio-economic transformation and his third term in officeAl Jazeera (Oct. 2014).

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For the Quote collection:

I have no regrets – in fact, I am pleased to have expelled the US ambassador, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and to have closed the US military base in Bolivia. Now, without a US ambassador, there is less conspiracy, and more political stability and social stability. Without the International Monetary Fund, we are better off economically. –Evo Morales, Bolivian President

When the United States was in control of counternarcotics, the US governments used drug trafficking for purely geopolitical purposes …. The US uses drug trafficking and terrorism for political control …. We have nationalised the fight against drug trafficking. –Evo Morales, Bolivian President

Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The issues are too important to be left for the voters. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings “The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” … But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations (Meeting of the “40 Committee” on covert action in Chile 27 June 1970)

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

The war is just when the intention that causes it to be undertaken is just. The will is therefore the principle element that must be considered, not the means… He who intends to kill the guilty sometimes faultlessly shed the blood of the innocents…In short, the end justifies the means. –Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations

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NOTE: Acquisition of links and/or bon mots for the Palace Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization or individual.

Recent reads.

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Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants. Timberg, C., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

Newest Androids will join iPhones in offering default encryption, blocking police. Timberg, C., The Washington Post (Sep. 2014).

7 Famous Artists You Didn’t Know Were Perverts (Pt. 2). Lacerda, R. and Hossey, M., Cracked (Sep. 2014).

Another week, another atheist demands we call his sexism not-sexism. (This time, Sam Harris.) Marcotte, A., Raw Story (Sep. 2014).

Poverty and Language Development: Roles of Parenting and Stress. Perkins, S.C. et al., Innov Clin Neurosci. (Apr. 2013). (“with poverty, disparities in the development of language processing are arguably among the most consistently found— with decreases in vocabulary, phonological awareness, and syntax at many different developmental stages.”)

A New Yorker Expertly Teaches The Unwritten Rules Of Living In NYC In These Illustrations. Marino, A.S., Distractify (Sep. 2014).

If you’re a feminist you’ll be called a man-hater. You don’t need rebranding. Penny, L., The Guardian (Oct. 2013).

Feminists are not responsible for educating men. Winterfox, C. (Oct. 2013).

5 Things I Learned as a Sex Slave in Modern America. Evans, R., and Anonymous, Cracked (Sep. 2014).

Spanking Is Great for Sex. Which is why it’s grotesque for parenting. Keenan, J., Slate (Sep. 2014).

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NOTE: The acquisition of links for the Library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual. Except for Amanda Marcotte’s piece on Sam Harris up there—that one gets the Palace Seal of 100% Approval™.

I am such a meanie.

SCENE: afternoon, a bar in the West Village.

IRIS eats mac&cheese, drinks rosé and reads Important Stuff on her iphone.

WOMAN places shopping bag on adjacent bar stool and says something unintelligible.

IRIS: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you?

WOMAN: I said, you’re a young woman with an old soul. I do readings. I’m a shaman.

IRIS: No you’re not.

WOMAN: Yes I am! And your aura is just blazing, especially above your crown…

IRIS: No it’s not.

WOMAN: Yes it is! I can see it and it’s-

IRIS: No you can’t. Because there’s no such thing.

WOMAN: [grabs shopping bag.] Well if YOU say so! [storms out.]

IRIS: [checks for wallet, sips rosé.] Yep.

aaaaaand SCENE.

I missed it?

Okay so there was apparently some big sporting competition for d00ds called the “Word Cup” or somesuch, to which I of course paid absolutely no attention whatsoever. (This is no small feat in New York City, let me tell you.) But now I’m totally sorry I missed it! As it turns out it, was awesomely fabulous as well as fabulously awesome:

Priest: World Cup Is A Homosexual Abomination Because Players Wear Gay Shoes

A Russian Orthodox Priest has claimed that the World Cup is an abomination because players wear brightly-coloured shoes.

Writing in his column on Russian People’s Line, Priest Alexander Shumsky claimed that players are promoting a “gay rainbow” by wearing green, pink, yellow and blue shoes.
He said: “Wearing pink or blue shoes, [the players] might as well wear women’s panties or a bra.

“The liberal ideology of globalism clearly wants to oppose Christianity with football. I’m sure of it.

“Therefore I am glad that the Russian players have failed and, by the grace of God, no longer participate in this homosexual abomination.”

Now I freely admit I am unfamiliar with Russian Orthodox dogma (as well as bright shoes, at least since the ’80s). Also: fútbol. “Soccer.” Whatever. But! I have lived in the West Village for many years, and I think it’s fair to say that I have at least a passing familiarity with “homosexual abominations.” (Why the fuck else would I live here, people? HELLO?!) Of course I cannot speak for my friends and neighbors, but I would be willing to go on record as saying that this whole Wad Cup dealio, whatever it is, would gain at least one loyal fan if players were free to—nay, encouraged to—wear women’s panties and/or bras.

On a much more serious note: if Father Shumsky is correct that globalism and Christianity are indeed at war with each other, how can I, as a concerned citizen, add fuel to that fire?

I was so wrong about capitalism vs. healthcare!

[TRIGGER WARNING: several f-bombs, one m-f bomb, graphic depictions of opulence.]

Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall the long and sordid tale of how the entire lower West side of Manhattan ended up without a single hospital bed (see e.g. here, here, here, here and here). I often write about the deadly cruelty, inefficiency, cost and jaw-dropping stupidity of our for-profit health care system here in the U.S. of A., and I won’t repeat that here. Suffice it to say that St. Vincent’s, our neighborhood hospital, was just one more predictable casualty. At least ten New York City hospitals have closed since 2006; others remain on life support.

The fact is that wealthy real estate developers pretty much run this town, and the politicians they own are more than happy to help. The closing of St. Vincent’s was eagerly aided and abetted by a raft of corrupt, neoliberal shitweasels in every branch of state and city government—for example, the hospital emerged from bankruptcy court with its impossible debt obligations 100% intact—whereupon the well-connected Rudin family immediately picked up the property for a song. Perhaps no one was more helpful to this process than former city council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn, the Robin to Michael Bloomberg’s Batman—except that this metaphor really should be about some kind of Bizarro World Robin Hood. How else to describe Quinn proudly taking credit for the destruction of a 161-year old charity hospital with a Level I trauma center smack in the middle of her own district—the primary admitting hospital for victims of the 9-11 World Trade Center attacks in 2001 and survivors of the Titanic in 1912—in favor of a billion dollar luxury condo development?

I’d like to think it cost Quinn the mayor’s race. During the campaign, she stupidly showed up at a health care rally on the site of the former St. Vincent’s, and was loudly booed. Putting aside for a moment the public health aspects of closing a full-service hospital, many local businesses that catered to the daily influx of visitors and staff (e.g. florists, restaurants, pharmacies, coffee shops) swiftly went under—and that’s to say nothing of job losses at the hospital itself in a rapidly consolidating health care market. A particularly rich moment occurred in July when Quinn was speaking at a campaign event: one of her staffers passed out, and it took more than 30 minutes for an ambulance to arrive on the scene. She was flabbergasted and appalled, complaining bitterly the whole time. What a joke. Except it’s not fucking funny.

Here is a map that shows the hospitals closest to where I am presently sitting, as well as the site of the former St. Vincents:

hospitalmap

greenwichlanesite

Construction at former St. Vincent’s.

If those distances seem negligible to you, you have never been in New York City during morning or evening rush hours, when the UN is in session, or when our neoliberal shitweasel president is in town back-slapping the banksters on a job well done and/or undermining our liberal congresscritters. Meanwhile, city and fire department officials are busy ensuring that no EMS transit times are made public, as they once routinely were. There can be only one reason for that: those numbers are not good. At this link (@ 1:06) you can see a Beth Israel Hospital ambulance stuck in traffic on 7th Avenue, directly in front of the former entrance to St. Vincent’s emergency room.

But never mind all of that, people, because today I bring you absolutely fantastic news. After walking by the construction site, I actually remembered when I got home to go online and look at the Rudin development’s website! And I am here to tell you: I was so, so wrong about all of this. My silly protest signs, speeches at zoning meetings, signatures on petitions, emails and phone calls to politicians and my impassioned screeds on the subject now just make me look foolish.

My sign.Iris’s dumbass protest sign.
Occupy St. Vincent’s, Oct. 27, 2011.
(Jeezus. How embarrassing.)

For as it turns out, hundreds of thousands of residents going without a single nearby hospital bed, trauma unit, emergency room or surgery facility is but a pittance to pay in exchange for something so…so… magnificent. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: The Greenwich Lane,”a collection of five unique addresses and five townhouses nestled together in the West Village.”

greenwichlanerenderingAs you can see from this gorgeous rendering, the gleaming towers of floor-to-ceiling glass will provide a stunning visual counterpoint to the surrounding low-rise buildings emblematic of this historic neighborhood. But that’s not even the best part. Nope: the best part is the enormous private garden, billed as “the heart of the community”—although technically speaking, the actual community will have no access to it whatsoever. But never mind that. Just look at it!

greenwichlanegarden

A formal garden with a reflecting pool passes into a birch allée with limestone benches, followed by a more sheltered area with a contemplative, trellised pavilion. The garden offers not only the pleasures of a natural landscape; but also, with all of its plantings, it fulfills an important role in creating a healthier microclimate for the buildings, filtering the air and beneficially restoring more trees to the neighborhood.

And just maybe, if some of these trees eventually grow tall enough, people in the neighborhood might be able to see the very tops of them! OMFG swoon!

But I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the “principal amenities” surrounding the garden that really put the place over the top:

  • A dedicated fitness floor with state-of-the-art training, yoga, golf, and wellness rooms, as well as a 25-meter pool.
  • A suite of social and entertaining rooms overlooking the central garden, including a private lounge, a dramatic dining room, and a fully outfitted guest chef’s kitchen.
  • A separate catering kitchen for larger events.
  • A private screening room seating 22 with a private wet bar.
  • A light-filled and sheltered children’s playroom with views of the garden.
  • 24-hour attended lobbies, with services including storage for grocery, wine, and flower deliveries, on-site resident managers, complete porter staff, and handymen.
  • An underground private parking garage.

I know what you’re thinking and yes, before you ask, I believe it’s safe to assume there are oversized parking spaces large enough to accommodate the vintage Rolls.

greenwichlanepoolThe envisioned 25 meter pool + gym on the dedicated fitness floor.
(!!!)

This probably goes without saying, but: “As designed by Thomas O’Brien, these handsome spaces bring to mind the cachet of an Old World private club.” Including, probably, the parking garage. Here you can see a little movie wherein this very same Thomas O’Brien d00d ‘splains his unique vision, which looks an awful lot like last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, but what do I know? (Wait, I know last year’s Restoration Hardware catalog, cover to cover. Hmmm.) Anyway:

It’s also this incredibly unique thing that rises above—in a very nice way—and you look downtown, South and West, over all of this protected, wonderful architecture that is the West Village.

Indeed! Why on earth would anyone want to live in all of this protected, wonderful architecture when instead one can peer down upon it—preferably, I assume, through a $3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware?

RHtelescope$3000 faux-vintage 19th century telescope from Restoration Hardware.
(On sale now for only $2395, because last year’s catalog hello?)

Also, Thomas O’Brien apparently forgot to mention it, but the views to the south also take in the Freedom Tower Penis, on the very site of the former World Trade Center.

penistowerView down 7th Avenue of the Freedom Penis.
Ejaculating FREEDOM, motherfuckers.

The bad news is that there are only a very limited number of units still available at these low pre-construction prices:

Building

Res.#

Bedrooms

/Baths

 Int.Sq.Ft.

/Ext.Sq.Ft.

  Price

Floor Plan

140 W. 12th St. M-1 2 2 / 1 2408 $5,550,000 VIEW
302 4 4 / 1 3088 $8,610,000 VIEW
150 W. 12th St. 3 E. 5 5 / 1 4187 732 $12,450,000 VIEW
4 W. 1 1 / 1 1465 255 $3,850,000 VIEW
7 W. 2 2 / 1 2079 $6,100,000 VIEW
160 W. 12th St. 36 2 2 / – 1583 $4,195,000 VIEW
45 1 1 / – 892 $2,170,000 VIEW
47 2 2 / 1 1737 $4,380,000 VIEW
58 3 3 / 1 2450 $6,900,000 VIEW
64 4 4 / 1 2818 153 $8,570,000 VIEW
72 2 2 / 1 2040 $5,740,000 VIEW
85 1 1 / 1 1166 $3,450,000 VIEW
86 3 3 / 1 2524 $7,350,000 VIEW
108 3 3 / 1 2455 $7,950,000 VIEW
155 W. 11th St. 4L 1 1 / – 758 $2,050,000 VIEW
4C 2 2 / 1 1934 $5,620,000 VIEW
4B 2 2 / 1 1670 68 $5,050,000 VIEW
6D 2 2 / – 1515 $5,275,000 VIEW
7A 4 4 / 1 3687 44 $14,500,000 VIEW
8B 3 3 / 1 2383 153 $7,650,000 VIEW
10C 2 2 / 1 1938 $6,710,000 VIEW
11A 4 4 / 1 3951 44 $17,525,000 VIEW
145 W. 11th St. 7 5 4 / 1 4537 83 $18,250,000 VIEW

The Palace, naturally, will be putting in a generous offer at once, so as not to lose out on this amazing opportunity. OMG I CANNOT PICK MY FAVORITE!!!11!!! (LOL #firstworldproblems, I know right?)

Now I ask you: Could there be anything our neighborhood needs more urgently than this fine establishment in our midst, and the several menial jobs that will be created in order to maintain it? And the fine upstanding citizens dwelling here at least part of the year will contribute literally oodles of tip money to the local delivery people. We can only hope that neither our new neighbors nor their (no doubt charming and adorable!) children ever suffer any ill health or injury on the premises. Because if that should happen, they’re just as fucked as the rest of us.