Archive for July, 2005

29th July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 29, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Robert Klein,the comedian,has a new book out, a biography of his early years, “The Amorous Busboy of Decatur Avenue” (Touchstone, $24.95).This book is of interest to me because I grew up in a neighborhood in the Bronx less than a mile away from that of Mr. Klein, who faithfully paints a vivid picture of the Bronx of the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr. Klein jokes about New York’s numbered schools and their school songs, like this one from his junior high,“‘80 … dear 80 your name will rise above.’ I can’t remember what 80 was supposed to rise above, but I assume 79.” (more…)

28th July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 28, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

When Fernando was mayor, things were really bad.

How bad? It certainly wasn’t a good thing when two competing New York City police departments fought each other in the streets. A squad of 50 members of one of the two departments was dispatched to City Hall to arrest the mayor, only to meet up with 300 members of the other police force, there to protect the mayor from his attackers.

With the two police forces engaged in open warfare, the criminal element took full advantage of the lack of authority. New York’s legendary gangs fought using guns, knives, and clubs in what has been described as a “desperate free-for-all” that often had ugly ethnic overtones. (more…)

26th July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 26, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

In Europe, the only place you can reliably hear the word “Bloomberg” is if your hotel’s television gets his channel (mine did in German). And e-mail and Internet access was spotty on my twoweek vacation there, but apparently not as spotty as the campaigns of those who seek to unseat the incumbent mayor.

It is becoming increasingly likely that the mayor will not just win,but win easily.After wading through two weeks of articles,Web postings, and broadcast summaries, I came away with the same impression that one gets from seeing a speeded-up version of a plant growing. At any given instant, there appears to be little or no change. But when you play the film, a flower can bloom in seconds. Such has been the replay of the past two weeks. (more…)

7th July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 7, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

The loss of New York’s Olympic bid, the bid that no international expert really thought was realistic, somehow came as a shock. I went into the shower yesterday morning hopeful, only to emerge wet and finding out that we were early losers in the second round of voting. As much as I really don’t care about the Olympic Games, which I find boring, Gotham’s winning the 2012 Games nonetheless became important to me.

My older son, who lives in Atlanta, recently told me that we were crazy to want to have the Games here. He should know, since he was a student at Emory University in 1996, when the Games were held in Atlanta. Yet Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff hit upon an untapped vein of boosterism within and seduced me into caring. (more…)

5th July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 5, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Following the assault of a young black man in Howard Beach last week, it has become the bad luck of the people who live in the neighborhood to suffer through the endless rehashing of the more serious events of 19 years ago.Other than the location and the races of those involved, there is little similarity between the two incidents.To characterize the assault of the young black man there last week as a racial incident in the same terms as the murder of Michael Griffith in 1986 simply isn’t right or fair.

The recent incident was more of a case of young men — black and white — out at 3 a.m. looking for trouble and finding it. Both the alleged perpetrator and his victim are no strangers to our criminal justice system. (more…)

1st July
2005

First Published in The New York Sun, July 1, 2005

By Andrew Wolf

Despite the many criticisms I have made of the educational reform effort in New York City, I have often noted that there is one area in which Chancellor Joel Klein and I are largely in agreement. That is the need for standardized testing.

Where he and I part company is on just how these tests should be administered and analyzed.This was the underlying subject of a public hearing earlier this week conducted by the chairwoman of the City Council’s education committee, Eva Moskowitz. This hearing showed the best and the worst of the system. (more…)