This is the weekend when we are called to reflect upon the incalculable debt owed to courageous men and women who gave their lives defending this country. True, like many other once-solemn occasions, this one has devolved somewhat into an excuse for revelry and consumption, but more than a bit of the original spirit endures.
One of the bitter ironies of war is that it disproportionately claims the young—people with decades of life in front of them. But what of those so young that uniforms aren’t made to fit them, and those so small that they are unable to take up arms? We owe gratitude beyond reckoning to all who have died defending us. Is our debt any smaller, however (this one not of gratitude, but of atonement), to those who have died because we failed to defend them?
In 2020, gun violence became the leading cause of death for American children and teenagers. Firearms prematurely end the lives of our youth more than car accidents, more than drugs, more than disease. Soldiers cut down in battle are cheated out of dreams such as watching their children grow up. But children slaughtered in a schoolhouse are cheated out of dreams such as learning to ride a bicycle, or looking forward to jumping rope during recess, or wondering what it would be like to hold hands with that cute classmate two seats in front of them.
And that is only the most tragic tile in a mosaic of catastrophe. In 2018, more than 38,000 Americans died as a result of gun violence. That is more than five times the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined, after almost 20 years of war. It is a more grievous toll than the entirety of the Korean War. And it is the equivalent of enduring the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, once each month. This comes to more than 100 of our friends, our neighbors, and our children vanishing each day, every day.
On Wednesday, May 25, 2022, one day after the school shooting in Texas, in which 19 children and two adults were killed, a military vessel sails up the Hudson River in the Fleet Week Parade.
How is this possible? Set aside the pro forma denunciations of “pure evil” and the obligatory eye-rolling resignation about “mental illness.” These are well-practiced, bait-and-switch dodges designed to exculpate those who themselves would never dream of shooting anybody, but whose careerist ambitions are lofted into the stratosphere by craven pandering.
Focus instead on the motives of these enablers and cheerleaders, whose response to each new outrage is the moral equivalent of saying that when faced with an outbreak of arson, we should respond by making kerosene, kindling wood, and matches universally accessible. That limiting the availability of combustible material not only wouldn’t prevent fires, it would actually cause more of them. And above all, that tampering with the right to set blazes would trample on sacred freedom and bring us to the gateway of tyranny.
Consider how little you personally have done to hold them accountable, and whether a society that flatters itself by invoking justice as a core value while sacrificing its own children doesn’t have an obligation to bring this bitter fruit to the doorsteps of those who planted the seeds.
But when these thoughts become too troubling, put them out of your mind. Concentrate instead on the holiday weekend that beckons. There will be some great discounts at almost every store you can think of. Somebody will sell a lot of mattresses and barbecues. Somebody else will sell a lot of assault rifles and bump stocks. And come Tuesday, when the three-day hiatus that marks the unofficial start of summer has drawn to a close, a few hundred of us won’t be around anymore.
Coffee and Captains
Upstate Goods Delivered by Boat
Starting this Saturday, May 28, and continuing monthly throughout the summer and fall, the schooner Apollonia will unload goods from the Hudson Valley for sale at Pier 16, South Street Seaport. Products grown or produced in upstate New York such as cider, coffee, wool, honey, maple syrup, and soap will get to New York City the old-fashioned way, via carbon-neutral sail freight delivery along New York’s waterways.
Members of the public may order a monthly Boat Box, with a variety of Hudson Valley goods, for future pick-up at Pier 16. Orders must be placed at least 10 days before delivery dates of June 25, August 27, September 24, and October 22. Apolloniawill make other stops at ports around the region, including towns along the Hudson and waterfront neighborhoods in New York City such as Red Hook, Brooklyn, and Long Island City, Queens. Learn more about the schooner and the history of sail freight in local waters here.
CB1 Wants a Voice in How to Allocate BPCA Funds Collected Here, Sent Elsewhere
Local leaders are demanding a commitment from elected officials and the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) for a voice in deciding how future excess revenues are allocated, in order to avoid reprising a decade-old deal that earmarked $861 million for use outside the community, without any public input.
To read more…
23 and NYPD
Downtown Non-Profit Sues to Halt DNA Collection from New Yorkers Convicted of No Crime
A non-profit based in Lower Manhattan is suing the City, along with two of its agencies, to halt what it describes as, “the illegal, secret seizure and storage of DNA material from New Yorkers—including children—whom the police suspected of committing a crime without obtaining a warrant or court order.”
Visit the exhibitions and the ships of the South Street Seaport Museum for free. At 12 Fulton Street, see “South Street and the Rise of New York” and “Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914,” and at Pier 16, explore the tall ship Wavertree and lightship Ambrose. Through Sunday.
The Honorable William Wall, aka the Willy Wall, is the floating clubhouse of the Manhattan Yacht Club, anchored just north of Ellis Island. It’s open to the public for parties and picnics, sunset enjoyment and sailboat racing excitement. The Admiral’s Launch provides transportation to and from the Willy Wall, departing departs from the club headquarters in Jersey City. Launch tickets are $20 on weekdays, $30 on weekends. Get to the Club by PATH, ferry or Uber/Lyft.
A graduate from Columbia University with a Ph.D. in international law and diplomacy in 1912, Wellington Koo (顾维钧) witnessed and participated in many historical international events in the Republican era of China. He was China’s plenipotentiary to the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, where he made a decision that would steer the history of China and leave his mark on world history by refusing to sign the Treaty of Versailles; served as the Ambassador to France, Great Britain and the United States; was a participant in the founding of the League of Nations and the United Nations; and sat as a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague from 1957 to 1967. Free.
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Available for PT/FT. Wonderful person, who is a great worker.
Worked in BPC.
$2.00 per notarized signature.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturday 11:30am-5pm, May through Thanksgiving
Today in History
In this photograph, taken around 1960, the Queen Mary is passing piers that would become Battery Park City. Her maiden voyage was on this day in 1936, when she set sail for New York from Southampton, England. In 1967, the Queen Mary was converted to a floating hotel and docked in Long Beach, CA. Today, the decaying ocean liner is closed and idle. She was succeeded by the Queen Mary II, current flagship of the Cunard Line, in 2004. Watch for the QM2 to next visit New York City, docking at the port of Red Hook, Brooklyn, on June 5, 2022.
1679 – Habeas Corpus Act (protects against false arrest and imprisonment) passes in England
1703 – St Petersburg (Leningrad) founded by Peter the Great
1905 – Japanese fleet destroys Russian East Sea fleet in Straits of Tushima
1921 – After 84 years of British control, Afghanistan achieves sovereignty
1930 – Richard Drew invents masking tape
1930 – The 1,046-foot Chrysler Building, tallest man-made structure at the time, opens to the public.
1936 – RMS Queen Mary leaves Southampton for New York on maiden voyage
1940 – British and Allied forces begin the evacuation of Dunkirk during WWII
1994 – Writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn returns to Russia after 20 years in exile
1995 – Actor Christopher Reeve is paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition in Culpeper, Virginia
1997 Russian President Boris Yeltsin signs a historic treaty with NATO
1997 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin signs a historic treaty with NATO
1999 – A war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands indicts Slobodan Milosevic and four others for atrocities in Kosovo. It is the first time that a sitting head of state is charged with such a crime.
1774 – Francis Beaufort, admiral/hydrographer (Beaufort wind force scale)
1794 – Cornelius Vanderbilt, magnate in railroads and shipping