Sunday, February 22, 2009

Change by Barie Fez-Barringten


by Barie Fez-Barringten

The most apparent impact on American Culture is the proportional context redistribution from a rural to urban. According to Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist of the late nineteenth century these changes result in a loss of identity including our values and standards resulting in deviant behavior. This deviant behavior is the basis of crime, suicide and trauma. He calls it anomie”. It is these demographic shifts and their vulnerability which political parties amass to their advantage. It is not only the impact of internet, TV, suburbia, malls, computers, and the likes of cell phones but contextually random urbanity. All of the aforementioned are but the “techne”. The reality is life's infrastructure or the lack of infrastructure. Buckminster Fuller drew my attention to the structural relations between the universe, earth's cultural and world social systems which was only confirmed by my research about Saudi Arabia and Leipzig which showed that metaphors and interrupted expectations contribute to global terrorism and national dysfunctionalism.

To extrapolate, terrorism really begins with the terrorized "terrorist".

Many live in the past resisting the future, defying agents of change and ready to die for a return to a status-quo while others mourn for a life which was no longer the one they enjoyed and believe defined their life and pursuit of happiness.

In the seventies, it was this same loss of identity sociologist found caused Saudis to have the largest suicide rate.Sociologist also reasoned that this and their cultural norm to follow without question had not only made them the perfect group to be subject to a king but also very susceptible to potential hurtful ambitions. This vulnerability, using such societies on a global scale, is different in our modern time, though not without precedent, as was true in the Germany before Hitler and the great despotic warriors in history (including the Japanese suicide bombers of W.W.II). To most others that are less vulnerable, change can be superficial and vicarious as a society challenges, thinks and directs itself; it is the co-dependent society which is most susceptible.

Contemporary contexts are increasingly synthetic, controlled and managed urbanity playing out in malls, corporate workplace, shopping centers, gated communities, churches, etc. The random, flexible, risky, unpredictable, dissonant, vulgar, and surprising networks of intersecting life styles and ideas has been replaced by reliable, predictable and repetitive ideals and expectations. Architecturally, it is without walls, program, and contexts. Because of its velocity, change has become irrelevant as contexts and buildings obscure and hopelessly mitigate. Agents which manage, facilitate and support speedy variations have become standard commercial and government tools. Society has become absentee owners and visitors leaving the care and maintenance of our bodies and habitations to specialized “others”.

While artisans , poets and dreamers portray their visions, society lives amongst these aberrations with insincerity and disdain; or worse ignored and forgotten. Many proclaim “change” as the new reality when in fact it is the oldest. But aside from our neo-violent post deluvian age we are in the midst of a new urbanity where infrastructure of sewers, roads, wires, ducts, water, subways are being abstracted, reproduced, and globalized.

There are pockets and oddities amongst milieus of states and their cities. In the cities, it is not the suburbs which are reentering and invading but the synthetic urban.

Still alive and well are the ancient and tumultuous souks of Arabia, Pakistan, and India as well the junkyard markets of the Philippines and Indonesia. In the New York of the forties there were the open markets of Delancy, Ghirardelli, Bathgate and Simpson; even Rouse Development recreated these market concepts in Boston and Baltimore. Eclectic or not the recreation of forms, functions , techniques and details is the result of business modeling, site selection, research , analysis, programming, planning and design. This can be followed by the award to operators, franchisees, specialized products and vendors to synthesize what normally took generations, happenstance, and fortunate (and often failed) circumstances.

These are the places of the have- nots, disenfranchised and non-affluent ( insufficient, lacking, needy, suffering, wanting ) There is no small group organizing our lifestyle but it is the world making itself palatable. Indeed, we are a better market because we buy and live in mass. Our populations are exploding because they can be fed by our means of mass production and controlled urbanization. It is not what we do it is how we live in that milieu. In the USA the most dramatic changes in the economy has been in the product of production that transforms the most income form materials to ideas.

There fore it has more efficiency, more free time, more leisure, more recreation and more efficiency. This was all predicted in the New York 1939 world’s fair and prophets back in the in the forties and fifties. We now have creative destruction, which is to say that we intentionally destroy to benefit.

Globally, the world’s common dependency is energy. Discovering, exploration, refining, distribution and sales drive all economies and denominate in dollars making the USA a global power and the world linked by a common need and roles in the energy chain from discovery to consumption.I cannot help think of urbanity when I think of change and what has been lost.

In fact, it is about and at this point that I felt the urge to write about this ebbing condition of urbanism and how it is being eclipsed in favor of a new expectation, social framework and context. Planners, developers, and town fathers try to recreate that lost “something” into rural and suburban settings. Is urbanity something that one can create? Royalty creating Baghdad and other ancient cities did it. Did they created urbanity or the infrastructure on which urbanity flourished?

When one period ends another begins to take its place. When one story is told another story is being written. The mind of men and men’s imagination has no limit and the realities which all of mankind and their creativity can create have no limit. The places, cities and constructs of civilizations are too many to grasp and comprehend. It is only in our hand to live each day of our lives and in living construct of our own story.

The variances of one to another from this period to another are worth noting and savoring. These are reified in our urban contexts and what constitutes urbanity. It is why they are so wonderful and worthy of our attention. They, as our lives are the metaphors of our time and the period in which we have lived. They are the artifacts of our being.

In fact, urban is defined by places like Baghdad, Madras, Berlin, Amsterdam, Calcutta, Arabia’s souks, Bangkok, New York, Florence, Rome, Munchen, etc. I believe it is coincidence of both. There are also hundreds of small islands of inhabitants and the infrastructure that earns such a reputation, such as the urban villages in Italy, France, Germany, Holland; based not alone on trade, but cross sections, intersections, terminals and complexity.

It is places dense and demographically mixed in population. Places where a complex and contradictory set of interest coexists. Typified by ambulating, transporting and communicating conducted on many levels, places and mediums. We also expect freedom and liberty as well as respect and unwritten rules and protocols. It is not the wild and unruly chaos but variety and spontaneity. It can be conservative and controlled but the controls obey the need for diversity and contradictions in language, and tastes. The controls are there to facilitate limitless creativity and imagination and provide for the health, safety and welfare of inhabitants.

Urbanity encourages opportunity for the poor to survive and advance and the rich to thrive and wallow. The best of urbanity combines both and lets the have and have-nots interact in unfair and often wealth building and culturally advanced peoples. It is where the diverse needs of poverty are exploited by the overly rich and the rich are envied because they are at hand and exhibited. Urban places allow the rich to build institutions for the poor and where the poor can utilize those institutions for upward mobilization and development.

Urbanites expect working contexts including sidewalks, public and private transportation, the latest in technology, arts and crafts originating from their context and fountainheads of science, fashion, construction, foods, and every invention and art form known to mankind. If it exists it can be found in the urban context. It is where you seek and find; and, where finding is a delight and part of the urban experience. It is both the infrastructure and the mind of its' dwellers that make the place urban. The two transfer and change each other. They feed and nurture each other. The city is urban because it has an infrastructure and the mind of the people transforms the city because they are cosmopolitan.

Metaphors proliferate in urban settings, defining urbanites and their relationship to each other, family, society and specific contexts. Urbanites can tell you where they stand on the socio-economic pecking order and about their neighborhood’s relative stature amongst neighborhoods. They can define, categorize and characterize neighborhoods and building types. It is a place where creature comfort is often sacrificed for location status, image, contextual and status expectations and reliance upon the urban identity.

It knows its' merits and competes with other centers on the basis of heroes, brand names, adherents, and institutions. For example you will not find an urban center without a symphony, museum, college, medical center, etc. Urban centers have themes and are notorious for being the first, greatest, longest, etc.

“I am a New Yorker”, means not just my city of origin but what behavior, stature, and metaphorical references I carry with me from all that has been told about the city. Paris, London, Dublin, etc. like wise carry characteristic metaphors identifying its' society, individuals, and institutions. Our preoccupation with metaphors and the expectations they contain is characterized by so many events in our experience. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest suicide rates; people form India pray and mourn for our lifestyle with its burdens, discomforts and inconveniences; and, Leipzigers in the former German East Zone are increasingly made miserable because people from the West immigrate to take away their jobs and more importantly challenge and confront their seventy year-old habits with new and modern standards and cultural rightness.

I can recall when cities, roads and streets were dark. The streetlights were very dim, few and far between. Building’s lights were turned off when buildings were unoccupied. Few people owned or used automobiles, few people had telephones or more than one, air conditioning was something you enjoyed in theaters and public buildings, and people’s expectations were different. Countries and neighboring states were very far away and exotic. People had much more disposable time, bi passes, ring roads, parking fields, and highways did not carve up cities. Streets were filled with people walking and using building’s appurtenances as stoops, porches and fire escapes to sit and relate to neighbors.

The scale of our life was related to a different world then it is today. Today’s world is miniaturized by communication and transportation. The power black out we experienced in the mid sixties came about 28 years after I was born just about when the glut of oil and its potential had reached it first phase. The loss of power was surely an inconvenience but most people easily adapted to the lack of power because many things they used were manually operated and independent of power. The blackout of 2003 showed the difference between the impact of the shut down and the systems we rely upon for increased population it serves. New York City in 1965 was at about six million compare to twelve million today. The following italicized descriptions were copied off the Internet.

Globalization, internationalization, increased disparity between nations, religions, and peoples, population increase, increase food and resource supply and distribution, dependence on massive , complex and automated systems, drug dependence for long and quality of life, etc. are impacting our personal choices causing strife, anger and world conflict. Have nots, disenfranchised, and destitute are becoming affluent and capable of global redress and consequence for global policies that do not include there interest and needs. National, Commercial and religious leaders find themselves challenged to reconcile their “reality “ with the “realities” of outside and non-participating groups.

Western Life became metaphoric when life became life as military following world war two. Military concepts begat corporations, family life, education, recreation and even domestic household management.

Life is controlled and managed under this approach and choice. As the “Victorian “ times, life reflected mechanized of industrial revolution into family life being orderly productive, efficient and consumptive. It permeated and cultured business, family life, education and recreation. Many families remained immune from such influences because of their remoteness form media, communications immigrant status, location, classes, etc. Most of my high school, family and friends succumbed to the rightness and correctness of the status and portrait being painted for a happy and successful life. The ideal life would be controlled, managed and prescribed. People like Barbara Streisand, became successful by saying “no” to these choices instead using her identity. She scoffed at the momentum toward a controlled and managed culture for her own personal identity. The concern, dependence and responsibility of communications media to our lives and our perception of reality was greatly dramatized by this and other smaller scaled events. Communications and the media in our times are an overwhelming stimulus of material, earthly and fleshly reality. Urban folks learn to lean on their five senses and media as they’re extended tool, for checks on there own perceived truth than at any other time in history or government. The very Bill of Rights separated press from state and made the media our eyes and ears to the real ”Que Pasa”. (What’s happening)?

Christina and I traveled from New Haven to NYC in our new Austin Healy Sprite to go to several Art gallery openings. We parked and had just gone up several flights of stairs to one gallery when the power went off. We immediately prayed and left the building, got in our car and proceeded to one of the East Side avenues. Every thing was calm. The radio stations were reporting the event. Our concern was an attack by Russia, or worse sabotage. It was important to hear from the radio stations about what was happening. We listened as we drove and believed it best to get out of the danger zone and to our home in New Haven. We drove through Harlem noticing volunteer civilian traffic monitors stopping and waving cars on.

In most intersections this was not needed as cars waited the normal amount of time and then like a harmonious school of fish all proceeded while the others stopped and waited. It was like a ballet. We went over the 138 street bridge and up Bruckner Blvd. to Cross Bronx and to Holland Ave to see Mom. She was fine and unconcerned. We then proceeded to New Haven on the Merit Parkway and reached New Haven by dark. All was normal in New Haven.

This was one of the many events in our life, which well prepared us for working in danger zones. Contextually, this was one of the early distancing events from our ties to New York City. We were able to be objective about our context and its structure.

Like the four hurricanes that devastated parts of Florida in 2004 the media were there reporting and helping society communicate and know that help was on the way. The media brought comfort and assurance. It was the voice that let you know you were not alone.

Change in Fashion

I have been told that since W.W.1 neither men wanted to be gentlemen nor women aspired to be ladies. These changes in attitudes have been reflected in abandoning some of the symbols of gentler and symbolic times. The italicied below was cut and pasted off of the world wide web.

For example the Fedora (hats) was made of felt with a lengthwise crease in the crown, and a medium brim. In addition to shinning shoes my grandfather blocked, cleaned, and made hats for men.

According to a former friend, Carol Howland (Nolan), she wrote that “Men's fashions of the 1940s that “The beginning of the decade saw extreme social and economic conditions. According to the 1940 US census, one out of five Americans owned a car, one in seven had a telephone and only fifteen percent of the college-age population attended college. Other statistics revealed that only 75% of American households had a refrigerator or icebox, 60% lacked central heat and three out of four farmhouses were lit with kerosene lamps".

My Grandfathers, Dad, brother and I wore such hats. Of course with shorter brims fitting to our height and size of heads. It was our identification with adults. Today our society cloths styles identify with the children.

The following is a timetable of the chronology of some of the key events that took place over my lifetime, in italics copied from the internet, which started December 28, 1937:

¨ On September 3, 1939, England and France declared war on Germany for invading Poland, and refusing to withdraw troops. On September 3, 1940, the United States transferred destroyers to Great Britain. The United States officially entered World War II on December 8, 1941. My brother was born December 4 and my Dad and his friends still were fedora hats. My mother wore hats and gloves and I wore knickers and short pants. Furniture in most homes was European style and heavy. Modernism was not known. Tradition and respect for elders and etiquette between sexes prevailed.

¨ On March 8, 1942, the US Government War Production Board issued regulation L - 85, which regulated every aspect of clothing and restricted the use of natural fibers. In particular, wool supplies for civilian use were cut from 204,000 to 136,000 tons in order to meet military requirements. We struggled to maintain dress and household cultural codes.

¨ Stanley Marcus, the apparel consultant to the War Production Board, took the stand that it was the designer’s patriotic duty to design fashions, which would remain stylish through multiple seasons and use a minimum of fabric. I remember everything getting very practical and we were dressed in Navy pinafores and wore jackets to school.

¨ There was one exception to the strict rationing of the early forties - the zoot suit. By no means was it sanctioned by the War Production Board - as a matter of fact, the zoot suits were thought of as contraband and illicit items during the War. The fashion was born during the early thirties in Harlem’s nightclubs. It was an exaggerated look comprised of an oversized jacket, wide lapels and shoulders, with baggy low-crouched trousers that narrowed dramatically at the ankle. The zoot influence remained through the 1940s and men's coats were noticeably roomier as a result of it. Higher-wasted trousers were also due to the influence of the zoot suit.

¨ The end of the war and rationing brought a dramatic change in fashion. Men’s style after the War favored full-cut, long clothing. Part of the reason for this change was a reaction to wartime shortages. Long coats and full-cut trousers were a sign of opulence and luxury, coming in a full spectrum of colors from garish to delicate hues. Hand-painted ties were also popular featuring skyscrapers, exotic foliage, limousines, rodeos, Tahitian sunsets and even pin-up girls.

¨ One of the most extreme changes in postwar men's fashion was the adoption of the casual shirt. In 1946 and 1947, Hawaiian or Carisca shirts were first worn on the beaches in California and Florida. Made in bright colors, the shirts sported fruit, flowers, flames, and women or marine flora. About this time, a man walking the streets of New York without a jacket and shirttails flapping, became a common sight.

¨ In 1949, Esquire promoted a new look by labeling it “the bold look”. Its characteristics were a loose fitting jacket with pronounced shoulders. Other style changes included single-breasted jackets with notched lapels and three buttons. Henceforth, peaked lapels were reserved for double-breasted jackets. These jackets also included a center vent.

¨ The end of the decade saw American men home from the war and craving a new look, tired of uniforms. American designers left their mark on the world with sportswear. Europe now looked to the United States for trends in sportswear. For the first time in history, young people were setting fashion trends and older people were following.

Christina bought me hand tailored blue doubled-breasted suit in Manhattan tailored by an Italian Taylor. I wore it only a few times before I out grew it. When we lived in Jackson we shopped at local warehouse outlets for a variety of suits and sport jackets that were lightweight and fit to the colors and styles worn by me fellow employees.

When we moved to Reston, Christina discovered designer’s suits and outlet in New York City and Virginia's Tyson’s Corners and she bought me about fifteen three-piece designer’s suits at cut-rate prices. One place was Barny's and the other Sam’s (the same company that is now franchised throughout out the USA) on the corner in the Lower East Side garment district. I still have these suits hanging in our closets that I hardly ever wore. I out grew them with a few years of purchase. They are the trophies and symbols of a period and hope in our cultural and style of our life. The bears such labels as Bill Blass, Pierre Cardin, SSSSSSSSSSSSSS, Gevanchee, Dior, etc. At the time these cost more than we could afford at about $125/each. They originally cost upwards of $500. They were bargains and Christina wanted me to dress the part of a well-paid corporate executive. She hoped that the “cloths made the man”. In fact, as with most such things, no one noticed. I was just "normal".

Women’s Fashions changed:

To understand my context and my urban identify would be impossible with out a description of the cloths and the care and attention they were given. Cloths were not only symbols and metaphors for each person but decorated the street, homes and gatherings. One could compare one to another interpretation of current style and trend and command of the wearer’s ineptness or discernment to be “in” and up- to- date. It is worthless to discuss fashion of the forties without first understanding the tremendous impact World War II had on everyday life during the early part of the decade. Social trends dictate fashion. World War II changed the world of fashion forever.

When GOREDCO sent me to Houston they gave me a saddlebag and a Stetson hat. Change requires all of us to stay awake, be sober, civilized and loving.

Change and it’s evil cousins demand governments to be wary and on guard. It demands parents to be loving, patient and watchful, full of responsibility and dedication to their children.

Change also requires flexibility and courage to face difficult decisions, alternatives and to do disengage and reengage for more mature and ethical alternatives.

Add to this the change in writing instruments from the inkwell and quill pen used while I was in public school to the current ball point pen. Parker’s fountain pen was injection quill pens also made by Script were used to carry around in jackets and even dressy it’s in gold and silver. Christina bought me a Parker for my birthday. In school we used rapid-o-graphs to make all sorts of weighted lines.

The wooden pencil made by Ticonderoga has lasted the longest but in college I used led pencils with let fillers and led pencil holders.

Radio receivers changed and got lighter doing away with the tubes and wires and being replaced by digital and other means. Electronics which started out big and bulky got small and miniaturized. We fancticed about all this with Dick Tracey wristwatch telephone and moving images well before television.

Five Footnotes below (3,680 words)

1. Introduction; .3 Chronology; List; Change

Footnote #1 Suicide:

1. Introduction; .3 Chronology; List; Change

Comparing Cultural Similarities between W.W.II Japanese Kamikaze Pilots and Modern Day Terrorists. Kamikaze means "the wind of gods. Thousands of kamikaze pilots made a suicide. The kamikaze pilots were kept unknown. Their names, writings and nothing were revealed to public.

Only the family and some friends knew about a young man's decision of going for a kamikaze mission. Much like some of the Arab terrorists young people then who had gone into military schools did not have the ability to think logically, and therefore sent applications without much thought. He also says that these pilots were really innocent, and thought purely that they would be able to serve, and protect the country. These pilots wished to die for their country. "Japan." They had a secret weapon to help turn the tides when the battle was going poorly, namely kamikaze attacks — the art of flying an airplane directly into the enemy, usually a naval vessel.

The history of kamikaze goes back to the 13th century, when legend has it that Kublai Khan's invading fleet was turned away from Japan by a typhoon sent from the gods (kamikaze translates as "divine wind"). Long thought to be an apocryphal story, recent archaeological excavations have proven the tale true (the fleet part, not the gods part), with the discovery of underwater remains from Khan's fleet. Of course many other Arab terrorists are coerces and paid to commit suicide. Everyone was terrified by both the Japanese Kamikaze and the German’s blitz bombs to London. Historians have long proclaimed that there is nothing new under the sun; change is still prevalent at all times in history.


Footnote #2 Urbanity:

1. Introduction; .3 Chronology; List; Change

In describing identity and urban space in filmic representations of the Casbah, Frantz Fanon described the generic colonial city in the “Wretched of the Earth" saying: “The colonial world is a world cut in two . . . .The zone where the natives live is not complementary to the zone inhabited by the settlers. The two zones are opposed, but not in the service of a higher unity . . .. The settler’s town is a strongly built town; all made of stone and steel. It is a brightly lit town; the streets are covered with asphalt, and the garbage cans swallow all the leavings, unseen, and unknown and hardly thought about. The settler’s town is a well-fed town, an easygoing town; its belly is always full of good things. The settler’s town is a town of white people, of foreigners.”

This description of the levels of understanding is similar to Serge Chermayeff’s hierarchies and levels in complementarities of both equals and opposites. Where, at one level an issue may seem opposite but at another equivalent. So he analyzed campuses in a report to the USA Bureau of Standards which I illustrated.

Fanon Continues: “The town belonging to the colonized people, or at least the native town, the Negro village, the Medina, the reservation, is a place of ill fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matters little where or how; they die there, it matters not where, or how. It is a world without spaciousness; men live there on top of each other, and their huts are built one on top of the other.

The native town is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire Space is essential in any exercise of power. In the colonial context, the oppressive power relations inherent to colonialism were inscribed in the spatial organization of the city itself, most visibly in the institution of segregation. It is this legacy I experienced in the Bronx and its reputation when attending Pratt and Yale. I was from the Bronx. I was an enigma.

Sociologist say that at the center of steel and stone in our modern cities stands the same individual that once stood in the shadows of the ancient desert. This individual yearns for the same spiritual rootedness to a universe larger than one's context. This cry for a glimpse of the ineffable is becoming increasingly audible as a public voice in the canyons of our urban environments.

We began as nomads, free and limitless in a land not sown. It was all earth and sky, a land and a light of exquisite contrasts, with a wind and a people moving across its endless space.

According to another sociologist the peasant found a rootedness in the planting. He himself became the plant, no longer nomadic, limitless or free. And the marketplace of the peasant was one of individuals, rooted to their crop.

But we went further, leaving the rootedness of the peasant life of the earth. We imagined, through the abstract life of the mind, a built world manifesting a universe greater than ones self. The intellectual construct of the collective, which we know as urban landscape, freed us, made us limitless and again nomadic.

The fact that almost the entire Book of Exodus is dedicated to the most intricate and detailed descriptions of the building, contents, materials, assemblage, and even timing of the assemblage of the Mishkan along this journey, indicates an enduring importance to the People of Israel that is significant beyond its literal physical attributes. The Mishkan became the vehicle that strengthened the bonds between individuals assisting greatly in their evolution as a People.

It is held in the Hebrew text that God created this physical world as a dwelling place for man. And in turn, man created the Mishkan as a dwelling place for God. Just as the world that God created needed man to complete it, the dwelling place that man created was not complete without God. This reciprocal act of “making” signifies the partnership established between God and man”. However, God later said to David he does not need a tabernacle.I tell this to explain the ancient nature of urbanity.

In the prologue “Architecture of Time” Abraham Joshua Heschel states “Technical civilization is man’s conquest of space. The danger begins when in gaining power in the realm of space we forfeit all aspirations in the realm of time, where the goal is not to have but to be,

Not to own but to give,

Not to control but to share,

Not to subdue but to be in accord.

” Heschel’s admonition is that “life goes wrong when the control of space, the acquisition of things of space, becomes our sole concern.”

Our cities, although intricately layered, have become a singular idea, a space-oriented world devoid of the distinctions of time. It is this focus on the bottom line, creature comforts and amassing of real and abstract property that I lived. Sizes of dwellings, cars and bodies have become preoccupations forming the metaphor of expectations. It is an oversimplification to call it materialism when it is much more significant and essential. I changed the way we shop, live and value our lives.

The great urban environments of the world are formed by a critical mass of diversity, a life force in the continuous encounter with the stranger, a speed of movement for the urban dweller that makes all time like any other time.

Its spaces are static, its architecture is immutable.

Our urban complexities are losing the living dynamic, the constant dialogue between space and time. There are no distinctions, no landmarks.

European and ancient cities have landmarks, which are these “bench marks” of time telling of the past and events, which form literal dialogs of the place and what formed the place.

Footnote #3 NYC Black Out:

Introduction; .3 Chronology; List; Change

The below in italics is cut and pasted from the internet.

The “New York City 1965 Black-out was an event which reminded many New Yorkers of what defined there lives and how they would cope with change. At 5:27 p.m., November 9, 1965, the entire Northeast area of the United States and large parts of Canada went dark. From Buffalo to the eastern border of New Hampshire and from New York City to Ontario, a massive power outage struck without warning. Trains were stuck between subway stops. People were trapped in elevators. Failed traffic signals stopped traffic dead. Now there was insufficient line capacity for New York City. New England and New York are inter-connected on a power grid, and the power that had been flowing toward New York City had to go elsewhere, instantly. The grid wasn’t prepared to handle this overload. The operators of the control centers at Consolidated Edison in New York and at Boston Edison, and in many other localities around New England, were left with a massive power shortage. But they had no contingency plan for partial blackouts to supply power to part of their customer base.

One by one they were forced to shut down their generators to prevent damage from overworking them. The lights went out. The flickering decline took only a few minutes. New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, metropolitan New York City and some small parts of Pennsylvania were in the dark.

And, at the height of the Cold War, many thought Armageddon had arrived. One pilot flying over a darkened New York City stated, "I thought, 'another Pearl Harbor!'" By 5:40 p.m. that evening, 80,000 square miles of the Northeast United States and Ontario, Canada, were without power, leaving 30 million people in the dark.”

But, what was most remarkable was the ease at which every one adapted to the reality of no power. The sense of a holiday and vacation; a very convenient set of conditions. It was business that was concerned to get back up and operating. The people themselves could cope. The power lines from Niagara Falls to New York City were operating near their maximum capacity. At about 5:15 a transmission line relay failed.

Our problem was not knowing all of the above and surmising, preparing and contemplating the worse.

Later, August 14, 2003; 4:00 pm computer controlled blackout put 50 million people out of power in 9 seconds and unlike the 1977 blackout which went without the over 500 fires and looting more like 1965. New York had changed.

That was all back in 1965 and 1977 when the population and service area were much smaller. When the power died in the Northeast the evening of November 9, 1965, radio stations in the affected area either made or lost their reputations as reliable news sources in a crisis. My favorite media was once again the lifeline of civilization, as I knew it.

All affected stations were off the air briefly, leaving the broadcast band rather quiet; then they gradually came to life again. Within one minute, carriers that were off began to return, and those stations equipped with automatic switchover began to program. WCBS was a prime example of preparedness. With studios on the 16th floor of a new building and a remotely controlled transmitter, the station had auxiliary diesel generators with automatic switchover to produce operating power for two studios, control rooms, input equipment, newsroom, and some lights. In addition, there was a second generator to power elevators. It was the same during the 2004 hurricanes in Florida; somehow lonely obscure radio stations became the lifeline and chat room of the community. People were linked and helped.

Chief engineer of WABC, Julius Barnathan says that his station was off the air for 15 minutes, the time it took to get the emergency generator going at the transmitter site. WINS, the city's all-news outlet, lost studio facilities for two minutes as lights when out. WINS, being an all-news operation, had more reporters on the street when the problem occurred than other stations. As soon as programming began, chief engineer Hal Brokaw (perhaps Tom’s relative) reports, his engineers turned to the problem of coupling battery-operated tape recorders to incoming phone lines for beeper reports.

WOR Radio was typical of the non-network metropolitan stations partially affected by the power drop. With a transmitter in Carteret, New Jersey (an unaffected area), a studio in Manhattan, and a remote-control-point in the Empire State Building manned by WOR-TV engineers, the station was off the air for a quarter-hour.

WOR was blessed with a traffic-report helicopter in the air and a mobile unit on the street at the time.

WNEW was more fortunate. Chief engineer Max Weiner reports two of his maintenance men were about to leave the transmitter when the failure occurred. Again the transmitter was in a safe area, but the fail-safe feature of the remote-control unit kicked the carrier off the air. The men immediately restored the carrier locally and programmed music from a turntable at the transmitter.

Footnote #4 NYC Women’s Fashion

1. Introduction; .3 Chronology; List; Change

Prior to World War II, New York fashion designers made the trek across the Atlantic Ocean to attend the flamboyant and opulent French fashion shows each year. Of course no one I knew did this but the movies and magazines let us know who these people were and what they were wearing.

In their attempts to design new fashions for the United States market, they concentrated on sportswear. This led to the United States emerging as the sportswear capital of the world.

In 1941, war goods manufacturing took center stage. The government confiscated all stock of natural fabrics, forcing domestic manufacturers to concentrate on substituting other fibers for domestic garments. The industry geared up rayon production. Nylon stockings disappeared in 1943.

In an effort to comply with the restrictions imposed on them, American designers created a new style of suits for women. Skirts were short and straight topped by short jackets of twenty-five inches or less in length.

New York City had the latest in all these developments and you had to go downtown for the absolute latest. Neighborhood shops were a few months behind.

McCall’s produced patterns for transforming men’s suits into ladies’ suits and women’s dresses into children’s clothing. The women of America were once again sewing their own family’s garments. Many of my girlfriends, aunts and cousins were trendy and followed these fashions very carefully. I’d love to be the audience to the many fashion shows paraded before me by my family and friends. They would but something, bring it home and then model it before me looking and carefully listening to my reactions. I found after I got older that they really cared less about what I thought than what their girl friends agreed or disagreed. It was all about metaphors, competition and identity.

The true hallmarks of fashion in the early 1940s included an austere silhouette with narrow hips, padded shoulders, and all manners of hats.

The working-class look of icons such as "Rosie the Riveter" became chic, as women of all social standings joined the war effort. They kept things going at home, taking over the jobs - and the closets - of husbands and other male relatives. Class barriers fell and people dressed down. It was considered gauche to be showy during a time of shortage. Designers flexed their creative muscle - even creating beautifully decorated gas masks for evening wear! There was a certain masculinity expected in women because of the dual roles they had to perform. I do not believe my mother adapted well to this and my father chided her in the early years of their marriage.

American designers introduced the concept of separates and co-coordinating components in order to create the illusion of more outfits than one actually had.

Many varieties of peplums were in vogue: butterfly, bustle and gathered peplums were a few. Ruffles found their way to skirt hems, necklines and waists.. Lace also accentuated blouses around the neckline. Factories were converted from consumer goods production to military production. U.S. rationing rules limited the height of shoe heels to one inch and allowed for only six color choices; stockings were also unavailable. Magazines and beauty salons helped out by offering tips on how to paint legs with back seams and tans using makeup. This being unpractical as an ongoing ritual, ankle socks became increasingly popular.

In 1947, Dior introduced the “New Look”, featuring longer lengths and fuller skirts; a return to classic femininity with a nipped waist.

Before I was born the great Wall Street Crash of October 24, 1929 and subsequent Depression directly influenced fashion of the 1930s. The autumn, 1930 Sears Catalogue admonished, “Thrift is the spirit of the day. Reckless spending is a thing of the past.” The beginning of the decade saw women sewing more. Clothing was mended and patched before being replaced. Less ready-to-wear garments were purchased, even though styles were dramatically changing. This was the mood of my childhood. It was the glass ceiling I had to penetrate. It was the cloud, which covered the generation caring and protecting me. It was the generation that was preparing me to face the future and all they could see was the gloom and horror of the past.

A softer, more feminine style replaced the boyish, flapper look of the twenties. At the beginning of the decade, hemlines dropped dramatically to the ankle and remained there until the end of the thirties. Necklines were lowered while torsos were sensuously molded beneath squared shoulders.

I recall the belabored discussions my mother, girlfriends aunts and cousins had about hemlines, seams in nylons, bra thrusts, necklines, crinolines or tightness of dress, panty lines, etc.

The entertainment industry continued to exert a strong influence over fashion. Movies were one of the few escapes from the harsh reality of the Depression. Movie star endorsements of styles and accessories became common, especially with evening wear. A popular formal look was the empire-wasted gown, with ties at the back.

Fur of all kinds was worn extensively during this era, both during the day and at night. Fur capes, coats, stoles wraps, accessories and trimmings adorned women’s dresses. Pelts in demand were sable, mink, chinchilla, Persian lamb and silver fox. Cloths but actresses looks, hairstyles, makeup and general appearances were not only studied and emulated. The average women strove to clone one or another Hollywood goddess. She dressed and became her man’s personal “cupie-doll”, icon, and goddess. The look of Sophie Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Monroe, etc.

Washable, easy-care fabrics were introduced during this decade. The first openly synthetic fibers were developed in the 1930s. Prior to this, manufactured fibers had been developed to emulate natural fibers.

In 1935 the DuPont de Nemours Company successfully synthesized nylon. Nylon was introduced in stockings during 1939 but World War II interrupted its use in fashion. Widespread use of this synthetic fiber didn’t occur until after WW II. I remember how my mother and her friends relished there nylon stockings though many still wore cotton not wanting to be exorbitant or frivolous with precious funds.

An American Point of View

From colonial times until well into the 20th century, Americans imported their fashions from Europe. Even the greatest American dressmaking houses - Mrs. Donovan in New York, Weeks in Chicago, and the Shogren Sisters in Portland - had to import a certain number of Paris models each year in order to be taken seriously by their clientele.

In 1865, with 100 dollars, John B. Stetson rented a small room; bought the tools he needed, bought 10 dollars worth of fur and the John B. Stetson Hat Company was born. A year later the "Hat of the West" or the now famous "Boss of the Plains" hat was born and the name Stetson was on its way to becoming the mark of quality, durability, innovation and beauty.
John B. Stetson experienced trying times in his life but after it all he relied on the one thing he did exceptionally well, making hats.

Footnote #5 NYC Change is Biblical

About future change Paul says in 1 Cor 15: "51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed

And, about current change Paul says in Romans: 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

But he advises that we must do some thing to make it effective for which I strive”:

11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
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