The Alienist and The Slide and Blackwell’s Lunatic Asylum

March 19th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I binge watched The Alienist the other day. Anything to do with 19th century New York is my favorite thing, so I was very entertained, aside from the gore. I especially loved how mostly correct the history is. They’re only taking the tiniest of liberties. They do a stake-out in a club called the Slide that catered to men attracted to men dressed as women, and the Slide actually existed. However it closed in 1892 and that scene was set in 1896. A very minor quibble. I’m mostly showing off that I know that. AND, I could be wrong.

The guy who ran it, Thomas Stevenson, was sent to the Penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island, which is why I knew about the Slide in the first place, (backstory: I have a book about Blackwell’s Island coming out in a couple of months). The Slide closed when Stevenson went to the Island, but maybe it re-opened later. One of my favorite things that I learned while researching the Slide was how the men dressed as women assumed other names which they often took from Gilbert & Sullivan operas, like: Princess Toto, Hebe Pinafore, and Princess Ida.

There was also a harrowing scene set in the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. They show a bunch of women lined up in chairs and in restraints. They’re not even allowed to get up and go to the bathroom.

I can’t say for sure it looked like that, and I’m guessing they based that scene on Nellie Bly’s report of how they were made to sit upright all day without talking or moving, although Bly doesn’t say anything about restraints. But based on my research, it’s not inconceivable that it could have happened just like that from time to time. They used restraints a lot, and that’s an understatement. In 1882 for instance, 351 women were restrained 3,086 times. “Insane women on the whole are more unmanageable than are insane men,” one superintendent wrote, defending the practice. I’m also pretty sure I read an account of women urinating on themselves while in restraints and then getting beaten for it by the attendants who were expected to clean it up.

The show is mostly correct, even to the tiniest detail sometimes. I could see a bit of a motto on the wall behind Dakota Fanning at one point, and the typeface was the same as a motto I saw on the wall in the photograph above, which was taken in one of the hospitals on Blackwell’s Island in 1896. When Dakota Fanning’s character goes to the Asylum looking for records of a murder suspect she’s told that the men had been moved to another asylum, and that was true (except that happened decades earlier). The women would be moved in a few years as well, when the Asylum closed in 1901 and the building became Metropolitan Hospital.

Death Tributes

March 18th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I took these a couple of weeks ago, walking down the West Side Highway. The first was a ghost bike tribute, for a cyclist killed on that spot, but someone also added pictures of the eight people killed in the terrorist attack on Halloween last year.

Ghost Bike Tribute, West Street, New York City

This wreath was directly for those eight victims. I just read that the driver of the truck is seeking a deal to avoid the death penalty (he wants life in prison instead). It is his right, and I am against the death penalty anyway, but I can’t avoid the incongruousness of doing everything you can to avoid something which you inflicted on others. Obviously he understands it’s a terrible, horrible thing, to kill and to die. Does he address this in any statements?

They Love the Bunnies

March 13th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Whether or not it’s going to lead to them biting me less is another story. However, I was looking at old videos of Finney and he used to bite me too when he was young and he grew out of it. Maybe they will grow out of it too. Please. I love it when they carry around the bunnies though.

Everything is a Chew Toy

March 12th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

They knocked a water bottle off the coffee table and played with it for about ten minutes before moving on to the next thing to destroy. Kittens are cute not so we’ll love them, but so that we won’t kill them.

The Village, 2018

March 11th, 2018 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

They were shooting on Perry Street the other night. It was so lit up I had to go out and take a look. I watched them shoot a scene of a girl leaving the building via the fire escape. The production is called “Village,” and the actress’s name is Grace, that’s all I caught. I googled it but couldn’t find out anything. That’s Grace making her way down.

Walking towards the block.

I went to my roof first and saw these lights pointing towards the next block. (My building is five stories high, to give you an idea of how tall this stand of lights was.)

Holy shit. My friend across the street just tweeted that they broke some branches off a tree on our block. Jerks. I should call 311 or something and report them.