The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for November 6th, 2017

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It’s National Nachos Day, in these United States.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

The most consequential historical event of the 20th century in New York State had nothing to do with the building of great bridges, the digging of subway tunnels, nor the forging of business empires. In 1917, precisely one century ago, a seismic struggle that had begun with an upstate tea party in 1848 ended with the passing of a constitutional amendment in our Empire State acknowledging the right to vote for women.

Acknowledge is the correct word, by the way. The Constitution of our State or the Nation “grant” you nothing, they merely concede that individual rights are inherent and inalienable. When you boil it down, that’s the ultimate difference between “right and left” in politics. People on the “right” use the word “grant” whereas the left uses “acknowledge.” Women’s, and ultimately “universal,” suffrage was and is one of the political struggles which you don’t want to be on the wrong side of in the historical record. Women’s suffrage was passed nationally a couple of years later in 1919, and the world has never been the same, in a good way. A plurality of opinion and experience is required to have a functional Republic after all, and every citizen’s voice should carry the same weight whomever they are.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Also on this day, in 1894, what I refer to as “the great swindle” was voted into law, which resulted in the creation and consolidation of the City of Greater New York in January of 1898. This collossal mistake committed at the end of the 19th century rendered municipal supremacy unto Manhattan and eliminated its competitors in Richmond (Staten Island), Long Island City, and especially Brooklyn. It’s discussed in some detail in this 2011 post.

It’s when the term “Queens” was coined, and when Manhattan began to export its dirty industries, garbage, and sewage to the so called “outer boroughs.”

– photo by Mitch Waxman

On a lighter note, and given that a humble narrator is deep diving into the recent American history of today’s date, today is the birthday (1854) of the legendary John Philip Sousa. Sousa was known as the “American March King” and pretty much set the compositional and performance standards which American marching bands since him have strived to achieve during parades and public events.

He also invented the Sousaphone, as the name of the musical instrument would imply. His best-known compositions include “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (National March of the United States of America), “Semper Fidelis” (Official March of the United States Marine Corps), and “The Liberty Bell” (which is the opening theme music for Monty Python’s Flying Circus).

Upcoming Tours and events

Exploring Long Island City, from Luxury Waterfront to Abandoned Factories Walking Tour,
with NY Adventure Club – Sunday, November 12th, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Long Island City is a tale of two cities; one filled with glittering water-front skyscrapers and manicured parks, and the other, a highly active ground transportation & distribution zone vital to the New York economy — which will prevail? With Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour, with Atlas Obscura – Sunday, December 10th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour, with Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman details here.

“follow” me on Twitter- @newtownpentacle

Written by Mitch Waxman

November 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

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