There was a time not that long ago when New York City was overrun with marijuana. In the 1940s and early 50s, pot plants were flourishing in vacant lots throughout the five boroughs. In 1951 over 41,000 pounds of marijuana were uprooted and destroyed by the sanitation department’s weed wacking “White Wing Squad,” so described because of their white uniforms. Queens alone yielded 17,000 pounds for the grim reapers.
“Though the bust in the above article occurred in Greenwich Village, the leader of this group of “strikingly pretty girls” and musicians copped to finding his marijuana “somewhere in Brooklyn.” As to what they were doing “sitting hobo style around a man preparing marijuana in a frying pan” is, however, anyone’s guess.”
Read about the amazing history of New York City’s marijuana jungles at the Brooklyn Public Library’s website. Lots of jaw-dropping photographs.
In the photo below, 100 pounds of ganja uprooted in Brooklyn is being hauled off for incinerators in Woodside, Queens.
It looks like someone got to the crops before the cops did:
The Police Gazette was a legendary publication that started out as a small 16 page magazine in 1845 and by the 1950s had morphed into a fullblown tabloid with a focus on scandal, gossip, movie stars and every form of sensationalism that would move copies off the newstands. Hitler was a big seller and The Police Gazette didn’t hesitate to exploit the Fuhrer’s sales appeal. Readers were particularly attracted by headlines claiming Hitler was still alive.
From Pulp International:
You’ll notice that Gazette editors didn’t feel the need to think of clever headers—three times they went simply with “Hitler Is Alive”, which makes sense, because for readers of the time what could have been more frightening and mesmerizing than those three words? But posting these covers also made us think about how often Hitler’s name is invoked today, especially on cable news shows and wacko talk radio, while his image is rarely seen. Perhaps that indicates some sort of transition from actual monstrosity into ethereal boogeyman, but we think turning his name into an invocation is an insult to those who actually fought him and, needless to say, it trivializes his crimes and the indelible scar he burned across the face of humanity. Secondarily, it makes people vulnerable to all sorts of ad hominem arguments involving Nazis, arguments we can’t help noticing are often put forth by people who seem to have no actual emotion regarding the Holocaust, and no concept of its historical significance. Basically, we’re believers in Godwin’s Law. Adhering to those rules, Hitler retains his full, horrible meaning. And crazy as it sounds, that’s a good thing.”
In today’s world these Hitler headlines seem absolutely absurd until you consider the kind of alternate history being trafficked by the likes of Glenn Beck. I can imagine researchers at Glenn Beck University diligently poring over battered copies of The Police Gazette in hopes of uncovering repressed and forgotten bits of history’s shadow world. And if you’re unclear as to what Godwin’s Law’s is, the preceding two sentences qualify as an example.
More Hitler headlines from The Police Gazette after the jump…
On Thursday evening in London, there will be a premiere of what is thought by some to be a long-lost orchestration of “Song of the Volga Boatmen” by Igor Stravinsky. Joseph Landers, a music professor at the the University of Montevallo in Alabama, discovered a set of parts of the Stravinsky manuscript “in a pile of music destined for the rubbish heap.’ From Alabama.com:
A note attached to the parts, which he found while cleaning house at a New York library, read, “Parts orchestrated by Stravinsky especially for Mr. (Feodor) Chaliapin,” the famous bass singer. The complete score for the arrangement of the Russian folk song, “Song of the Volga Boatmen,” has never been found, so Landers assembled one for performance by the Orion Symphony in Cadogan Hall, in London’s Chelsea area.
Though doubt remains among some scholars concerning its authenticity, Orion conductor Toby Purser is convinced it is the real thing. He programmed the work as a result.
“There are moments of genius and originality in the orchestration which make its authenticity absolutely convincing to me,” he said in a written statement.
Landers was encouraged when he presented his findings last year to discerning scholars at Cambridge University, garnering support from musicologist Nicholas Cook and composer Robin Holloway. He hopes the London performance will help prove that the work is genuine, and perhaps yield the original score from a library, archive or attic.
“Stravinsky holographs show up every couple of years,” he told the Birmingham News last year. “I think it will be a point of debate in academic scholarship. I think it will get some legs as a controversy, probably after the premiere.”
Orion conductor Toby Purser is so sure the orchestration is Stravinsky’s that the audience will be asked to vote on its authenticity after the performance. Tickets can be purchased here.
“Song of the Volga Boatman, a traditional Russian folk song that dates back hundreds of years, was a #1 hit for the Glenn Miller Orchestra and is often heard in Bugs Bunny cartoons. Rocker Billy Squier inserted a bit of it into his biggest hit, “The Stroke.”
Below, Igor Stravinsky conducts “The Firebird” in Japan:
Halloween 1986 The Dead Boys re-unite and tear the roof off of The Ritz.
Stiv Bators, Cheetah Chrome, Jimmy Zero, Jeff Magnum and Johnny Blitz got it together for one more show in their old stomping ground of New York City. Starting with an introduction from long time supporter Joey Ramone, to the power riff of the honest-to-god anthem Sonic Reducer (played twice!) to an unreal cover of the Stooges Search and Destroy, the Dead Boys put the boot to the notion that all reunions suck.”
Here’s a great time-lapse video of a much seedier New York City shot back in 1983. Set to the sounds of Laurie Anderson’s “For Electronic Dogs,” it’s a wonderful portrait of what NYC was like in the early-80s.