Living in an Open City during Covid 19

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Jocelyn, ICU Elmhurst Hospital, April 4, 2020
The Covid Journal

The Covid Journal is a project I launched a few days ago. It’s my response, my contribution, my attempt to be useful in this incredibly strange and difficult moment. On a regular basis I am going out into my community which includes one of the most virus besieged hospitals in this virus besieged city, Elmhurst Hospital.

A peaceful Merz Atak by the Gowanus Canal is destroyed

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Brooklyn, Open City

Open City Kurt Schwitters Merz Attak Lynne Sachs

In an OPEN CITY , would we wage a Kurt Schwitters style attack on all things militaristic? I found this Dada celebration in the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn in the summer and now it is long gone, making way for sky high apartment buildings.  Perhaps they will create their own OPEN CITY of peace.  (OPEN City – In war, a city that has abandoned all defensive efforts.)

The Penitent City

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Open City, Places, Queens, Staten Island

All the hoping and praying

all this city

ever did was


like a tot to a tit

trying to squeeze milk, milk

and more milk

from her blemished breast.

The harbors’ mother

tarnished to reptilian green

slowly bows to the burden

shows her chameleon skin

and crawls slow

into deeper waters

leaving her pedestal, cloak

and pointed coronet.

From Diglot to Omni-view

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Diglot, Open City

Hi WebWordVisionaries. Think I may be stating the obvious with these comments, because I don’t feel I have any real web experience/understanding. But, in fact, that’s what fascinated me: I couldn’t get over the construction of the site, especially after seeing and hearing the presentations at the library. So, I was really wowed by your mastery of the technical aspects of the medium/media you were using, wowed by that before I even got to the content. The conception of the project, by itself, was amazing to me.

Which brings me to the content and then to the uses to be made of what you’re doing. I really see the use of the overall project as a teaching tool.

Seems to me that it could consume an entire semester of middle school, much in the same way one might take a course at college on, let’s say, European Studies, which would encompass, lit., philos., math, science, and so forth. One might start with the content parts, i.e, geography, history, spelling, and the like and then progress to the means by which the entire site came together technically and how it all interacts. Or make that two courses. Putting together the lesson plan(s) would be so stimulating for the teachers of those grades.

Given that children seem to be taught and to learn differently in this era, here’s why I think the project should be used at the middle school level: children of that age should have learned basic skills and would be ready to be stimulated by the complexity of the Net and its links. And for the thousands who can’t read and do basic math, given the many social and economic problems that so many NY school children are faced with, this project would provide some real stimuli for curiosity to grow. How exciting to be able to spell and know what a diglot is–I had lunch with a Korean friend of mine and informed her that she was a diglot, so I put my learning to immediate use! And what about those really hard, arcane words. What bragging rights a 13 yr. old could get. Or what a contribution could be made by a child with no skills, who could yet see his/her input right up there on a computer screen. Just give him/her a camera for a class “walk around the neighborhood” project. Or give them a local map and let them lead their classmates to the candy store and interview the owner. And on and on…..

As for the other age groups, one could parse out the manner in which the project provides the best access to their interests. What about the senior citizen centers or whatever is used in NY to spread knowledge. Those seniors are all over town, soaking up learning and being in a position to pass it along to others. And many of them are a little light on computer use, even though that has rapidly changed in the last few years. I’m always astounded when I meet someone around my age who functions technologically like a neanderthal, but they are numerous yet.

And then, of course, there’s the project as art form and community. Don’t think I need to comment on that, as you probably started with that thought.

The project was particularly interesting because it seems to make unusually productive use of new technologies to incorporate literary ideas. Could become the Zagats learning tool for all our cities, thereby making them all Open Cities for expanded thought and civic behavior.

Open City: Fort Shuyler, The Bronx

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Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Shuyler >>

“A walk through the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler brings with it a vivid presence of seafaring in both bygone years as well as today’s present era. The exquisitely fashioned ship models, historic artifacts, nautical photographs and prints, and the host of corporate banners identifying exhibits of the respective steamship companies they represent gives the visitor a true sense of being at sea with those individuals who experienced life in the merchant marine or passenger cruise line industry.”

SUNY Maritime College |

Open City: Fort Schuyler, The Bronx

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Bronx, Open City

My understanding of open city is that it is a military designation that creates a hallow of protection over an urban setting. All of its defenses have been abandoned, and a kind of diplomatic trust ensues. Having lived through the initial shock and the harrowing aftereffects of September 11, 2001, I was wondering how it would feel to visit a perfectly preserved Civil War fort situated at the mouth of the East River to “protect and defend” the people of New York City. Fort Schuyler is a remarkably picturesque and serene enclave that is perched on the tip of a finger of land that juts into the water. Surrounded by the White Stone and the Throgs Neck Bridges, the fort would seem to have a more prominent place in the city’s consciousness. Instead, we felt as if our drive across this narrow piece of land was taking us to a remote island way off the coast and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Fort Schuyler Canon and Bridge, Bronx, New York