Web links related to the Back of the Book program of November 12, 2011

It's Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 14:07, and I've updated this page with the photographs and text about the two old buildings said to have been George Washington's headquarters in 1776, in lower Manhattan that I talked about on this program. There are more updates to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ All right, we're back after a month! We plan to get to the below topics and more in our 55 minutes of air time. The trains are screwed up tonight so we'd better get going a little earlier than usual, so I'll have to come back and update this Web page soon. Really, I will. No, I mean it, I will! Check back and see if I don't.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of some of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held apparently whenever the Chair says it is, at a location to be announced.

The LSB met on Wednesday, October 12, 2011, at the New York City Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered Center at 208 W. 13th St., between 7th and 8th Aves. in Manhattan. The meeting got dominated by posturing and a motion that while it had some points to it was ill-considered.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

WBAI has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. And you can see the status of the streams at any time by clicking here. The stream was working at 1:35 this morning. The station has a Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here.

Back of the Book is again one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

In the table on the archive Web page Back of the Book and Saturday Morning With the Radio On are both in the “Show” column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

In the Summer of 2009, there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held in New York. Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th, 2009. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.

Arthur Evans

Arthur Evans was a gay activist I knew when he lived in New York City in the '70s. He passed away on September 11th, 2011. I hadn't heard about his death until another old gay activist called me up to tell me that there was to be a memorial gathering for Arthur last Sunday.

I spoke about Arthur on this program. He was one of the intellectual pillars of the early gay liberation movement. He'd joined the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) shortly after it had formed in 1969. He, like others, found that GLF was just too scattered to ever affect real change in society. So, along with several other GLF members who'd reached the same conclusion, he became one of the founders of the Gay Activists Alliance.

Reputed HQ of George Washington in 1776
Supposedly one of George Washington's headquarters in 1776

Just about everywhere we look in lower Manhattan, where WBAI is housed, we see some sort of historic location. Some are noted by plaques, most are totally obscure and have to be looked up. Often all you have is a location where something used to be. One example is the building where WBAI's studios are, 120 Wall St. The station is on landfill, old landfill.

Where 120 Wall St. now stands there used to be a place called Murray's Wharf. Apparently it was part of the Wall St. Slip, which was long ago filled in. The slip itself, where entire ships docked, is now Manhatta Park. The claim to fame of Murray's Wharf is that it's where George Washington landed on Wall St. in 1789, to go down the street to Federal Hall and take his oath of office as the first President of the United States of America.

I find it fascinating that locations we learned about in history classes are still there, albeit often very changed.

On the program I talked a little bit about some graphics I noted in a book I was glancing through at Project Gutenberg.

The two images in question are posted here, and the book says that they were both George Washington's headquarters for a short while in 1776.

This modest looking place on the left is given as 180 Pearl St. in Manhattan. It's possible that in 1776, Pearl St. was called Queen St. In any case, Washington wouldn't have stayed there long. He got chased up Manhattan, then mostly a rural area full of farms, woods and a whole lot of hills, by the British after he'd slipped away from them after the Battle of Long Island in August 1776. Eventually he left Manhattan entirely and retreated before the superior British forces to fight on in New Jersey.

180 Pearl St. in 2011
180 Pearl St. in 2011.

I'm not finding confirmation that George Washington had temporary headquarters at 180 Pearl St. So it's possible that the book could be in error about it. Or else he stayed there for only a very short time after the retreat from Brooklyn in August 1776.

After the program Pickles of the North and I went over to the location that should be 180 Pearl St. Predictably the old building from the 18th Century is gone. In fact any mention of 180 Pearl St. is also gone.

Looking up 180 Pearl St. on Google Maps I saw the place where it's supposed to be. On the right you can see the photograph I took of what's there now. It's 80 Pine St. The building is officially on Pine St., but it has this large entrance on Pearl St.

Directly across the street is 181 Pearl St., so somewhere in this photograph is where that building at 180 Pearl St. used to be. Quite the change from the olden days, and to be expected. New York is a living city and while we sometimes lament the changes, they are inevitable for as long as people are still doing things here. Hell, for all I know the original building at 180 Pearl St. was torn down 200 years ago, or more.

Number 1 Broadway c. 1854
№ 1 Broadway c. 1854. Definitely a Washington HQ in 1776.

The next location given in that book, № 1 Broadway, was definitely one of George Washington's Manhattan headquarters in the weeks before the British landed about 12,000 troops on Manhattan and started pushing Washington and his army north.

On the left is a depiction of how that building looked in the middle of the 19th Century.

And even though it was a famous building back then owing to Washington's having used it for his headquarters it was first modified into the Hotel Washington and later demolished. So knocking down buildings of historic interest is not a new development by any means.

The site overlooks Bowling Green, the oldest public park in New York City, having been established in 1733. Back during the American Revolution colonists who were opposed to King George cut off the tiny crowns that had adorned the tops of the fence around Bowling Green. The mutilated fence is still there today.

After Washington and his army were driven north high ranking British officers occupied the building for the duration of the Revolutionary War. British General Howe administered the occupation of New York City, which only consisted of lower Manhattan, until the war ended in 1783. It was from this building that British Major André began the correspondence with American General Benedict Arnold that eventually resulted in Arnold turning traitor.

no_1_bway_1 (33K)
№ 1 Broadway on November 12, 2011.

Years later Aaron Burr, who was in turn a United States Senator, Vice President of the United States, killer of Alexander Hamilton and who was eventually tried for treason, and acquited, lived in this building for a time.

After its life as the Hotel Washington the building at № 1 Broadway was totally demolished and the building in my present day photographs was erected in its place in the 1880s. It, in turn, was acquired by a company that was part of the financial empire founded by robber baron J. Pierpont Morgan.

In the years 1919-1921, that company completely re-did the building's exterior, and gave the place the new name of the International Mercantile Marine Company Building.

The building was a central hub for booking passage on steamships, most notably trans-Atlantic ones.

Looking around the Web I'm seeing information that says that a Japanese steamship company had offices there. Mostly the International Mercantile Marine Company seems to have bought up American and British steamship lines, but maybe a Japanese line also operated out of that building. I think we're talking about a multinational corporation operating out of this place. What had been Morgan's operation became the United States Lines, an evolving business entity that had various owners over the decades before it finally went bankrupt in 1986.

Corner shot of number one Broadway
Present Day № 1 Broadway From the Corner

There are various entrances to the building. On Broadway you have the entrance to the entire place. The old booking offices for the United States Lines is off the main entrance hall. Facing Battery Park, on Battery Place, are other entrances. The one I noticed, which is now an entrance to the Citibank branch located there, says “First Class” over the door. At fist I thought that this meant that the building had been a Post Office at some point in the past. In fact this was the entrance for passengers with First Class accommodations on the ocean liners.

The First Class door leads to a nice office on the ground floor of the building. Farther down Battery Place is another old entrance that still says “Cabin Class” which led into what I've read was a less upscale office. And down at the far corner of the building was an entrance that used to have letters over the door that said “Tourist Class,” and that entrance went down into a basement office! Yeah, the United States Lines sure knew how to let folks know that they didn't buy into any of that “classless society” crap! The “Tourist Class,” letters are long gone, the others are still visible.

The final photograph of the former headquarters of George Washington is my attempt at getting a shot from approximately the angle that the 1854, engraving took. Things have changed a bit in the intervening 157 years. You can see that there's a large bronze plaque on the corner of the building. Of course I had to get a shot of that, too. Click here to see a photograph of that bronze plaque and an easy to read transcription of what's written on it.

The building at № 1 Broadway has been landmarked, that's why the old lettering is still over two out of the three entrances. The robber baron's successors spent a lot of money refurbishing the exterior of the building and that does make it an interesting sight. That's probably the main reason why it's landmarked. But I think that it's good that there's a big plaque there commemorating the site's importance in the history of the country.

Coney Island Boardwalk Sign looking for a new beach
Sign at a Long Time Boardwalk Joint

Pickles of the North plans to talk about the latest developments along the Coney Island Boardwalk. Maybe everyone isn't going to be kicked out.

On the right, a semi-famous icon of the Boardwalk holding up a sign showing the ambiguity of the situation for the business he's promoted for decades. He's always had that hamburger, but over the years he's had various brands of soda and beer in his right hand. Perhaps he's thirsty these days without anything to drink.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

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WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2011, R. Paul Martin.