In case you were concerned, the tree debris has been removed. The city only takes tree debris if the limbs came from the boulevard tree, which are THEIRS. But I am responsible for mowing it. And picking up trash. And shoveling the walk, of course. But it’s THEIRS.

You might ask: how would they know if it’s boulevard tree debris or BTD? Because there’s no way the limbs came from the trees on THEIR part of the arboreal landscape. The limb was as thick as the trunks of the trees. I called some tree services and left my number, asking for estimates, then I also called a junk removal service to see if they’d do the job. They would.

The day before the junk-removal guys came, I got a call from one of the tree services. He said he was in the neighborhood and could pick it up, and I said I had a guy, but as long as he was around, sure.

“Can I ask you, what the other guy’s estimate was?” said the sharp and canny businessman.

The junk-removal guys had a base rate of $109. I said:

“It’s one big branch about eight feet long, eleven inches to three inches in diameter, and some small branches. Would you do it for $70?”

I expected he would say “Sounds like a $150 job” and we’d go from there, but said:

“Oh, no. It’s not worth it. I start at $400. My guys make $70 an hour apiece.”

Well. SORRY sir I don’t meet your fargin’ standards for making a quick $100, so off with you.

The Junk Guys arrived the next day, and the main removal guy was unhappy:

“It’s not going to fit in the truck,” he said. I said I’d told the dispatcher how big and long it was.

“I don’t have a saw,” he said. “I don’t know what I can do without a saw.”

“I have a saw,” I said, and he brightened, because now it seemed likely they would make money on this job. I gave him my old saw, which had seen some days but had chewed into the Bastard Tree with unexpected vigor when I tried it last Sunday. While he sawed, I set about dissembling the gazebo so they could take that, and I had it completely knocked down in 30 minutes.

Ding dong, job’s done. Can you take this pile of useless Chinese metal?

“The truck is full,” he said. Noon, and the truck was full of junk. Of people’s stuff. Sofas and boxes and TVs and mattresses and stuff. They had to dump off before heading to the next job, which was a full basement removal.

“You’ve seen some jobs,” I said. He grinned and nodded. “Houses where the living room’s full and there’s one narrow path.” He said: “And more.”

Hot, ugly, smelly work. He thanked me for trading with them and I signed and off they went.

Then the handyman showed up to fix the fence, which was knocked down in an April storm, and repair the rotten parts Scout had battered while chasing squirrels. Later I dragged six bags of yard waste to the curb.

Some days I remember living in an apartment, and think: no worries. But there’s footsteps upstairs. There’s cooking smells in the hallway. There’s tired carpet and tired ghosts.

This is work, this is money, but this is home, by God. I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else.

Can’t imagine anywhere else. Won’t. Time comes, put me out on the curb. If I die on the boulevard, maybe the city will take me.



And now, another episode of our occasional Friday series on . . .


Isn't it grand? New York, 193 . . . well, you guess. The facades and theaters and signs change so utterly it’s hard to tell what’s what. But the tall building on the left fixes the location without any doubt.

The Great Ziegfeld - is that playing anywhere? Where? What do you mean, look up? New Yorkers are so unfriendly.

SPUD! The refreshing . . . what? If you're a long-time Bleat reader, you'll know.


Did they have imported beer back then? They did. Expensive imported beer.

Interesting detail: Trommer’s had an international market, so in some places the beer that tasted like expensive imported beer was exactly that.

A strike killed the brewery in 1950, but not for reasons you might think.

. . . what killed Trommer’s was not spending the money or even the competition. It was the yeast. Each brewery develops its own unique strain of yeast for fermentation. The strikers didn’t take care of the yeast when they took over the plants, and the strain died. When the strike was over, Trommer’s had to begin a new strain of yeast. The taste of the beer was radically different, and people didn’t like it.

Trommer’s was a Brooklyn brewery; Piels bought them in 1951.

Oh my God, that Maxwell House facade:

It was around until at least the early 40s. BTW, the facade wasn’t constructed for Maxwell House; it looked that way in 1929 when it was a Lucky Strike shop.


I couldn’t make out the rest of the sign until I found another picture, and there it was: MAYFLOWER DOUGHNUTS. The more I research it, the more it seems as Mayflower owned the joint, and slapped a big name on it to piggyback on bigger brands - like Lucky, or Maxwell House. Except that story says they opened in Times Square in 1931. And here’s the facade in 1929.

Then I found these two images, here.


Minksey’s, as in The Night They Raided:

A sign of old New York history, and the changing purposes of Times Square:

The Central, the Minskys' burlesque house in the 1930's, has been known as the Holiday, the Odeon and the Forum 47th Street. Its entrance is through a 19th-century brick building, with a peaked cornice, that was once the Mathushek & Son piano factory.

It's hard to think that something this big was destroyed:




The Picadilly, knocked down for the Times Square Marriot.

As was everything else.








As noted, I'm going through the entire Gildersleeve series this year - and there's a lot. I guess we're still in the war years; lost track there for a while.



In season 5 or so - it's been a while and I can't recall - they dropped the custom openings that followed the ad, and went with this for every show.



Marjorie was the perpetual teen who had all the problems of youth. Leroy was perpetually 12.

Eat your prunes. There's a war on. What?




Peary bobbled more lines than anyone else in radio, I think. Pay attention for the irritating laugh guy! He must have been an usher.







Perry cycling through some trademark noises and catchphrases, then sentimental music, then City music. They had to give you a lot to hear if there was nothing to see.




AD: In the late 50s, radio ads got loose and beat - at least the ads for radio itself.



L'artiste avec le French nom et le musique pathetique!

Wikipedia says he's "a prolific composer, having written over 200 film and television scores, in addition to many memorable songs.He is best known for his often haunting, jazz-tinged film music."


Very much the music of the time. Unless you were there you've no idea how much everything sounded like this for a while.



That'll do - thanks for stopping by this week! Next week: something quite different.

And worse!


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