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“The Missingest Man in New York”

“Good Time Joe” Crater was a dapper 41-year-old judge known for his dalliances with showgirls and his ties to corruption-ridden Tammany Hall – until he got into a cab in Midtown one evening in 1930 and disappeared, earning the title of “the Missingest man in New York.”

Long before there was Jimmy Hoffa, before there was even Amelia Earhart, another VIP vanished without a trace. Though you’ve probably never heard of him, he was a household name to your parents and grandparents. And his disappearance remains New York City’s oldest unsolved Missing Persons case.

The disappearance of New York Supreme Court judge Joseph Force Crater captured so much media attention that the phrase “pulling a Crater” briefly entered the public vernacular as a synonym for going AWOL. On August 6, 1930, the dapper 41-year-old left his office and dined with an acquaintance at a Manhattan chophouse. He was last seen walking down the street outside the restaurant. The massive investigation into his disappearance captivated the nation.

Crater was infamous for his shady dealings with the corrupt Tammany Hall political machine and frequent dalliances with showgirls. In the days leading up to his disappearance, he had reportedly received a mysterious phone call and cashed two large personal checks. These details spawned rampant speculation that the judge had been a victim of foul play.

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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kiwis onboard LH441 after bomb threat diverts plane to JFK

Lufthansa flight LH441 was ordered from the sky after a bomb threat was issued en route from Houston to Frankfurt this afternoon (NZ Time).

Already over the Atlantic Ocean and 90km past New York they had to turn around and make an emergency landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The aircraft landed safely and was sequestered safely so that a thorough inspection of passengers and the aircraft could take place.

Whaleoil spoke exclusively to two Kiwi passengers on the flight as they awaited transport to their hotel.

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Photo of the Day

As a passenger aeroplane flies seemingly very close to Petit, and the top of the World Trade Center, in this image taken from the ground – some 1,350 feet below – the enormity of the Frenchman’s achievement is made clear. Photo AP

As a passenger aeroplane flies seemingly very close to Petit, and the top of the World Trade Center, in this image taken from the ground – some 1,350 feet below – the enormity of the Frenchman’s achievement is made clear. Photo AP

Is it a Bird, a Plane, or Superman?

On a shimmering day in August 1974, Philippe Petit balanced precariously on a wire 110 stories above Manhattan – and looked down…

To me it’s so simple, that life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion; to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge, and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope.

-Philippe Petit

People in Lower Manhattan stopped in their tracks to watch a strange event in the sky—not a bird, not a plane, and certainly not Superman. In 1974, just a year after the Twin Towers were completed, a French tightrope artist, Philip Petit set out to achieve his ultimate goal: to string and walk a wire between the Towers.

Combining the cunning of a second story man with the nerve of an Evel Knievel, a French high wire artist sneaked past guards at the World Trade center, ran a cable between the tops of its twin towers and tightrope walked across it in the early morning.

Hundreds of spectators created traffic jam shortly after 7:15 A.M. in the streets 1,350 feet below as they watched the black clad figure outlined against the gray morning sky tiptoeing back and forth across the meticulously rigged 131-foot cable.

Philippe Petit went to New York for the first time in January 1974. The twin towers of the World Trade Center would be formally dedicated on 4 April: but even then they were not fully complete or occupied. When he sneaked into the north tower for the first time, the buildings were still under construction. He rode elevators and ran up staircases to evade security guards. It took him an hour to get to the roof. The next day he returned with his friend Jim Moore, a photographer, and took the same route to the 110th floor. Philippe explained what he had in mind. He showed Jim the drop. Jim just went white. ‘You’re insane,’ he whispered.

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Photo of the Day

Incubators on display at an exhibition in 1901. Credit Library of Congress

Incubators on display at an exhibition in 1901. Credit Library of Congress

“All the World Loves a Baby”

Coney Island is more than just a world-famous amusement area in Brooklyn, New York.  It has served as a metaphor for various aspects of society and life. Over the years, Coney has been known by nicknames from “America’s Playground” to “Sodom by the Sea.”  For some, it is the symbol of the best of America’s democratic nature, welcoming all regardless of race, social class, gender, or ethnicity, while for others it has been a site of blighted dreams, representing the excesses of capitalism, hedonism and urban decay.

Close to a century ago, New York’s Coney Island was famed for its sideshows. Loud-lettered signs crowded the island’s attractions, crowing over tattooed ladies, sword swallowers—and even an exhibition of tiny babies.

The babies were premature infants kept alive in incubators pioneered by Dr. Martin Couney. The medical establishment had rejected his incubators, but Dr. Couney didn’t give up on his aims. For 40-some years, starting in 1896, he funded his work by displaying the babies and charging 25 cents to see the show. In return, parents didn’t have to pay for Dr. Couney’s incubators, and many children survived who never would have had a chance otherwise.

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Key swings from one lost cause to another: the TPP

Prime Minister John Key has reinforced the benefits of the Trans Pacific Partnership in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York today.

Mr Key told the Council he welcomes the priority that the US Administration has placed on TPP’s passage through Congress this year.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will help liberalise trade and investment between 12 Pacific-rim countries,” says Mr Key. “It will provide better access for goods and services to more than 800 million people across the TPP countries, which make up 36 per cent of global GDP.

“For New Zealand, it’s estimated it will boost our economy by at least $2.7 billion a year by 2030. It will help diversify our economy and create more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders. Read more »

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New Zealand signs up to Climate Change subterfuge

Leaders from 175 countries, including New Zealand, signed the climate change accords in New York this morning, potentially paving the way for the agreement to come into force years ahead of schedule.

The Paris Agreement covers more than 90 per cent of the world’s emissions with 188 countries taking part in the negotiations held in France in December last year.

“We are in a race against time,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the gathering.

“The era of consumption without consequences is over.”

Many now expect the climate agreement to enter into force long before the original deadline of 2020.

Some say it could happen this year.

Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett says while New Zealand’s 2030 target of reducing emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels was ambitious, she is confident of success.

“The next step is for more of the operational details to be fleshed out so New Zealand can consider timing and the best way to ratify the agreement,” Ms Bennett said.

So we signed up to something and we have no idea how to achieve it.  We actually have to still figure it out.  How’s that for awesome?   The thing to remember is that the agreement is non-binding, so yeah, whatever.

John Key’s put all his eggs in the “technology will provide the answer” basket, but to be honest, none of the politicians that are making decisions about climate today will be around to answer for the results, or the lack of them, when it actually becomes clear in 50 years time how much of the whole thing was actually true.

Some decades ago, the world decided to attack pollution.  Clean up the air and waterways.  And that’s a good thing to do no matter what your political persuasion.  Most of the western countries have stopped discharging untreated waste, and we are all better off for it.

And so it is with measures that mitigate climate change.  They may not actually have the desired effect, but the general environmental and life-style improvements that the search for “greener” production will generate is something we can all benefit from.

You may have seen this earlier this week.  If not, I recommend you watch it.  It makes it extremely obvious that by tackling climate change, we need to be looking ahead, and not apply bans and taxes.

 

– One News, TVNZ

Photo Of The Day

LEGENDARY TOUGH NEW YORK COP DETECTIVE JOHNNY BRODERICK, wearing the cap.

LEGENDARY TOUGH NEW YORK COP DETECTIVE JOHNNY BRODERICK, wearing the cap.

“The Toughest Cop in the World”

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled ordinary smart guys. There were three of them, standing outside a downtown restaurant, looking for trouble. Johnny smacked them around for a while, then he picked them up one by one and flung all three of them through the restaurant’s plate-glass window. Then he ran them in for malicious destruction of property, and the judge gave them 30 days and made them pay for the damage.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled racketeers like Vannie Higgins. Dapper Vannie would come around to Madison Square Garden for a sporting night out on the town, and Johnny would be waiting for him every time, and Johnny would just pick him up and send him crashing through a phone booth and make him leave. Vannie complained about this to the fixers on several occasions, but it never got him anywhere.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Legs Diamond, who blustered one night that he’d had enough of this Broderick and he was going to take the lousy copper for a ride. Word of this came to Johnny, who went out looking for a showdown and soon found Legs and his boys at Broadway and 46th. The boys fled at once. Legs gulped. Johnny dumped a trash bin over his head. Then he made him crawl away on his hands and knees as the whole Stem watched.

Here’s how Johnny Broderick handled Two-Gun Crowley. Crowley was holed up at West End and 90th, fending off tear-gas bombs, challenging 300 cops outside to come and get him. Johnny stomped upstairs by himself, bashed down the door, ordered Crowley to come along and marched him out by the scruff of his neck.

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“Record-breaking” blizzard in USA in the “hottest year on record”

JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS via Stuff

JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS via Stuff

A winter storm has dumped nearly 58cm of snow on Washington DC and Baltimore, before moving on to Philadelphia and New York, paralysing road, rail and airline travel along the US east coast.

At least 10 states declared weather emergencies on Saturday (Sunday NZ Time), aiming to get a handle on highways made impassable by the drifting snow and to shore up coastal areas where the blizzard conditions raised the danger of flooding.

High winds battered the region, reaching 110km per hour in Wallops Island, Virginia, late on Friday (Saturday NZT), said meteorologist Greg Gallina of the National Weather Service.

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Photo Of The Day

© Estate of Diane Arbus. Diane Arbus photographing the Doppelgänger Twins.

© Estate of Diane Arbus.
Diane Arbus photographing the Doppelgänger Twins.

Go Places You Have Never Been

Adore your subjects

Photographer Diane Arbus’s distinctive portraits showed the world how crazy (and beautiful) New Yorkers were in the 1950s and ’60s.

Arbus took a lot of photographs of marginalized individuals in society (transgender, dwarfs, circus people, etc) and of course she had her natural prejudices when she took photographs (as we all do). Her individuals would try to present themselves to the world in a certain way, but other people might perceive them in a different way.

For example, if someone dressed up as a rock star with chains and spiked studs, they may feel that they are giving off the image that they are powerful and cool. However an outsider might see this as frightening, and something abhorrent.

“Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still adore some of them, I don’t quite mean they’re my best friends but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe.

There’s a quality of legend about freaks. Like a person in a fairy tale who stops you and demands that you answer a riddle. Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.”

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Yeah, because banning toy guns will stop murder

Only the most slow-witted politician could ever think that banning toy guns is going to reduce gun crime.

It appears that New York has a good amount of slow-witted politicians.

Three dozen online retailers will no longer be able to sell realistic-looking toy guns in New York, according to PressConnects.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement this week with 30 online toy gun retailers who sell their products through Amazon.com. Through Amazon, those retailers sold over 5,000 “imitation weapons” – toy guns that look real – in New York that are illegal because they did not meet state safety standards.

In August, Schneiderman had announced an agreement with Amazon.com, Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart and California-based ACTA for them to stop selling imitation toy guns. They also had to pay a $300,000 fine.   Read more »