Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Million Dollar Wall

So I don't know exactly why this massive retaining wall was so named but I'll guess it's the obvious one - it cost a million dollars. There's definitely something to be said for letting the public know what a municipal undertaking costs. Remember, the government does nothing to earn money. It only gets money by taking it from us and then, ideally, spending it on things we'll all benefit from.

What's cool about the older picture below is the view of the rail yards. There were rail bridges and barges (my grandfather worked as a carpenter for the Erie-Lackawana Railroad fixing them) that brought everything to the Island it needed. There's another picture I'll try to track down that shows a birdseye view of the railyards from the other direction and really leaves the viewer impressed by their size. Now there's nothing there of any consequence (c'mon, it's pretty but the Yankee's Minor League stadium just doesn't count) except the 9/11 Memorial and parking lots almost up to the water's edge. Someday there might be a passenger train again along the north shore but sort of massive industrial undertaking represented by the railyards will never be replicated.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

What I've Read Since March 20th

Lehane, Denis Gone Baby Gone - solid crime writing
Pelecanos, George Shame the Devil - overdone crime writing
Smith, Scott The Ruins - interesting failure
Higgins, George V. The Friends of Eddie Coyle - amazing crime writing Hedges, Chris I Don't Believe in Atheists - too rambling
Puzo, Mario The Godfather - some of the best garbage ever
Mignola, Mike Garden of Souls - great BPRD
Chabon, Michael Maps and Legends - good essays, even better cover
Cotterill, Colin Thirty-Three Teeth - great
Cotterill, Colin Disco for the Departed - great
Wright, N.T. The Gospel of Jesus and Judas - good critique of gnosticism
Brooks, Terry The Scions of Shannara - fun, dumb diversion
Brooks, Terry The Druid of Shannara - see above
Cussler, Clive Raise the Titanic - one of the worst books I've ever, ever read
Mignola, Mike Dark Calls - usual high quality Hellboy stuff
Williams, Tad Shadowmarch - surprisingly good
Ingle, Bob and McClure, Sandy The Soprano State -riveting and utterly depressing examination of NJ corruption