...And That's My Opinion©

By Sandy Goldman

The Rogers Park Community Curmudgeon

New York! New York?


This first issue, I’m sure, will create some new enemies but what the heck!!


Most of you who know me understand that I have no great love for New Yorkers.  In fact I place them just alongside of Parisians. Arrogant.  Pretentious.  Vain.  Boastful.  Haughty.  Overbearing. Audacious.  It is plain to see that I do not belong to the “I Love N.Y” group.  Samuel Johnson said “ A Frenchman must always be talking whether he knows anything of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say”.  The first part of that quote applies to New Yorkers as well.


But now I think that New York City has plunged into the Whirlpool of The Ridiculous!.


Two aging flower children, Christo and Jeanne Claude, have spent 26 years formulating, conceiving, and financing a project called “The Gates” which opened in early Feb and closed Feb 27th.  Hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers were agog. Lest you missed it, this mish-mash posing as art was a $20 million project of 7,500 vinyl and aluminum arches 16 feet high,  resembling gargantuan croquet wickets covered with orange bed sheets, ranging in width from 5 ½ feet to 18 feet spaced about 12 feet apart and covering 23 miles of pedestrian walk in 843 acres of park.


These are the same “artists” who denied visitors the sight of the German Reichstag building in 1995 when they “wrapped it”.  In 1969 they wrapped the Swiss Art Museum.  In 1969  they also “wrapped” the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in its first home at 237 E. Chicago Ave. My art professor at Lake Forest College, Franz Schulze, commented that the project “ was not pretty”.  (They) made no efforts to make the thing elegant.  It simply looked like a big building wrapped in brown canvas and secured by a rope”.  Originally the Fire Department thought it was a fire hazard.


In 1976 they constructed a 24-mile long clothesline hung with fabric down the northern shoreline of California ending in the Pacific Ocean.  This was followed by a planting of  3100 umbrellas in California and then repeated the “artistic planting” in Japan.  ln 1985 they covered the Pont Neuf in Paris with 65 million square feet of fabric.


New York experts expected the Central Park “Gates” to draw 200,000 visitors and bring in$ 80 million in the 16-day run.  I have not read any of the results but I’m sure it met that goal.  Avant-garde boondoggle.  These are the same “experts” who said no to Wal Mart.


Maybe Alderman Joe Moore (49th) could talk to the Cristos’ about  Morse Ave and Howard Street. Can you imagine?


Well, it might be a beginning.


Wrap them up so no one can see the truth!!! 


An Old Friend


In a recent column (Chicago Tribune Feb 17th) Eric Zorn wrote about the demise of the Lerner Newspaper logo and the shift of the Lerner Community Newspapers to the Pioneer Press Publications.  He chronicled the history of this community newspaper and quoted many of the former and present employees.


I would like to add my comments.  In the years that Carol and I have lived in Rogers Park—and that would be 47 years—the “Lerner Paper” has always been in our house.  But more then that when I was active in community fundraising for the Rogers Park Community Council (first as committee chairman and later as President) Lerner never turned us down for pro bono advertising and consultation on a variety of things.  Lou Lerner never said no to any reasonable request nor did Joe Ferstyl, the advertising manager.  We could always count on Lily Venson and later Joel Schatz, the community reporters, for some well-placed plugs about any of the events we conducted.  This included attendance and accurate reporting of the RPPC community meetings, which were held on a monthly basis.


Eric concludes with this, “—offering a farewell tip of the fedora—“


Me too!!!


A Tardy Farewell


Speaking of the Lerner News—I think that it will always be known by that name—I note that after more than a decade Marcella Tardy has written her last column.  I will miss her.


Adios.  Aloha.  Auf wiedersehen.  Arrivederci.  Au revior.  Do widzenia.  Na shledanou.  Shalom and Good-bye.


May the wind always be at your back.

...And that's my opinion.

And I'm Sandy Goldman

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