Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Liberty State Building Statue

-- Andy McCarthy

Taking the pre-ordained route, pistolshot from 42nd
Street and the Westside Highway, on the north corner
of 42nd stands the Consulate-General for the People's
Republic of China. The location of the Consulate is
found quite remote from any city neighborhood
considered Chinese. The Consulate faces the Hudson
River, so its watch-towers do not monitor the bodies
of water off the shores of Queens where boats spilling
Fujianese refugees are capsizing. Look across the
street from the Consulate, to the southside of 42nd
Street: here is where the Entertainment District
begins. The Falun Dafa, like China's Mormons, are
staging their torture tableaux, they make a playhouse
of the corner with water-hoses jammed up noses and
figures in death squad uniforms clubbing hanged
victims and fingernails yanked out. You don't need
TKTS tickets for this show. Not as grand and hallowed
as the USS Intrepid (no longer perched on the West
Side Piers but under repair at the Bayonne Marine
Terminal) – nonetheless passersby get the hot sick
gist....

Now up the Henry Hudson Highway you garner a sustained
view of what modernity-maven Le Corbusier considered
the optimus prime of bridge-making: The George
Washington. In this author's opinion, NYC named the
GW Bridge after The General not by respect, but by
punishment. GW lost New York to the Royalists at an
early juncture (1776) in the Revolutionary War –
decisive battles with Hessian Bluejackets took place
not far from where vehicles hit the exit ramps. Why a
punishment? Of course, it's the only bridge from New
York that takes you into New Jersey! (Lincoln and
Holland Tunnels don't count: no Palisade vista).

Instead of cutting further east to the Hutchinson Parkway, I suggest a turnoff to Cabrini Blvd. In this choice lay the experiences of two renowned female
figures. Anne Hutchinson, late in life given land in
New Netherlands where the namesake byway passes, was a
New England orator banished south by the Pilgrims
because of her belief that no Church may dictate the
personal mystery of each his or her own god-made God.
Hutchinson was murdered, along with all her children
save one, by Lenape Siwanoy Indians in 1643. The
Siwanoy believed in giving living things a dead name as way of respect to the killed. The Genovese Family down at the Harbor operated likewise. The Siwanoy
warrior responsible for the slayings adopted Hutchinson's name as his own. Are there brownstones in the Gothic style on Riverside Drive named for Lady
Annehook?

. . . that hook being a detour to the skyway gulch
regions of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and further
up to Mother Cabrini Chapel. Mother Cabrini,
Patroness of Immigrants, born in the North of Italy
but the first outlander canonized with American
sainthood. She made a miracle of sight to The Blind
Child. Inside the Chapel, at the altar before all
congregants, lay the body of Mother Cabrini, in state,
the women's corpus shroud in a wax likeness, festooned
in robes and flora and sealed under glass. The
Catholics like to keep it morbid, as the Falun Dafa on
Forty-Deuce. The Patroness of Immigrants has been
granted an eternal home at the very top of Manhattan
Island. Now is as good a time as any, for the
venturer, to scamper from these hinterlands and hop
the ferry 10 miles south to The Statue of Liberty. To
The Mother of Exiles. She stands on broken chains,
the land at her foundation the only in America not
interjected by water which can be officially claimed
by both New York and New Jersey. The most blustering
symbol of Immigration on the continent. An act of
perfection on behalf of New York City, too, if only
because the first Dutch colonialists spoke not Dutch
but French, the very language used by the engineers
who rendered Lady Liberty as well as the gift-givers
who stood her staunch and significant in the
all-seeing Harbor.

3 comments:

Chris Leo said...

An incredible testament to Gran Raccordo! And I knew you wouldn't make it around! The city had it's way with you. I know cause I tried the same route last weekend on Bloomberg's newly completed bike trail around the city. Fortunately, I awoke Sunday morning before Saturday's booze had turned sour. The race was on. I hopped on my bike to beat my hangover. If I could get my heart pumping I could skip the hangover.

I also entered Gran Raccordo at the Chinese Consulate on Forty-Duece. It should always be noted that they shipped Chinese workers from China to construct that thing and shipped them right back when they were done. Not a single American laid a hand on it because the Chinese were convinced the US would plant bugs in their walls. Probably true.

Up the bike path along the Hudson I loved Bloomberg like a New York Israeli loves Bloomberg: as long as he continues paving epic bike paths he'll get my vote regardless of extraneous agendas. On the bike path you get to ride underneath the George Washington, right past the Little Red Lighthouse beneath it that once shined little white light to the little people of Midgetville across the river.

Le Corbusier called it a punishment to Washington! The only construction project in NYC history to be completed UNDER budget in 1931 when no one had money anyhow and that doesn't honor his legacy? The combination of mad tycoons and WPA put hundreds of thousands of unemployed New Yorkers to work around the city that year constructing their sustainable city so that never again would New York slumpn -- for a city with unrivaled architecture can't ever die. You know, the entire bridge was meant to be covered in stone, but when they got to the infrastructure everyone loved it so they stopped. Maybe this is what shot you back down to the Statue of Liberty, Andy. Done with Corbusier -- an architect who I predict will have not one of his buildings left standing in 100 years, and let's hope the UN goes first -- the skeletal George Washington made you long for the man who designed the skeleton of Lady Liberty, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel.

And speaking of Liberty, did not Corbusier realize that though Washington may have lost all of his battles in New York, he won all of his battles in New Jersey.

Andy said...

You mistook my reference to Le Corbu - he loved the GW Bridge, he exalted it as the purest work of modern function and art. It was I, the author, who with the sarcasmicist's sneer said the GW was a punishment - playing along with the cliche that no one has anything nice to say about New Jersey, even New Jerseyans.

Chris Leo said...

Ah! I forgot about the Gaelic genes amongst the Gallic. Of course Le Corbusier would love a bridge that straps Manhattan to New Jersey, for if an enemy of his enemy is his friend, he may deem New Jersey as a binder limitating New York's levitation above Paris.
Lafayette once threw a birthday party for himself in Newark because he considered it "The Pearl of North America." Now we know, it's all just doublespeak facilitating balances of power.
So seeing as Le Corbusier is usually wrong in general one might therefore think they can argue that his praise of the GW is also wrong, but the rebut to that rebut is that his zealousy to balance the power overrode his ability to be wrong this time.