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Bill Cotter

Anyone happen to know where this is?

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I found this view that I thought was interesting and thought I would see how quickly the gang of experts here could identify the locale. Hint - the picture below was taken in 1964.

mystery-1.jpg

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I found this view that I thought was interesting and thought I would see how quickly the gang of experts here could identify the locale.

My guess is Penn Station's makeover.

I remember traversing these ratholes while the new Madison Square Garden was built.

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That's a makeover? It looks like a medieval dungeon or, at the very least, a house of horrors at county fair someplace.

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Until I noticed that Bill said it's 1964, I was going to guess part of the Churchill exhibit- a replication of his World War II underground command bunker.

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"My guess is Penn Station's makeover.

I remember traversing these ratholes while the new Madison Square Garden was built."

Thats what I thought the moment I saw it - platform 17 or 18 or so. Those stairs, railings, the "little tunnel" entrance and the little landing look quite the same. But - who Knows? Bill?

MB

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This group of tourists is waiting to spend 10 cents to ride the elevator and thus avoid the many, many stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I just loved the look of the place in this shot. I sure remember climbing up just to say I did it. Never ever again. Sure looks like a medieval torture chamber - or Penn Station. What a mess that and Grand Central were during what seems like most of the 60s and 70s.

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I found this map of the pedestal & statue interior- you can see the tunnel that leads to the elevator.

liberty-inside.jpg

Apparently the spiral staircase to the crown has been closed since 9/11 and the elevator won't take you up there either- ostensibly because the statue proper doesn't meet New York City building codes for fire evacuation.

So you can take the elevator to level #6, but that's it (and before they could re-open after 9/11 they installed some kind of emergency exit staircase to get down, as an alternative to the elevator).

Bill you say your picture was taken in 1964?

I found some information that said the area between the pedestal base and the outer "star" walls of the fort (see diagram above) was completely excavated- completely open to the air- starting in 1961, so that it could be rebuilt into a museum.

fig10.jpg

And the dedication was done by Lady Bird Johnson in 1968.

fig12.jpg

So your picture may have been taken after a new "roof" had been built over this area, but while the the museum area was still very much under construction. That might explain the modern looking columns in the foreground, but other than that everything looking dark and dank, to say nothing of the yellow "F8" spray painted on the wall and temporary-looking wooden staircases.

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That view is pretty much as I remembered it, dark and cool inside. Then when you started climbing it got hot and very stuffy. I remember seeing the side walkway that once took tourists to the torch (you could actually climb outside there once) and trying to convince my younger brother that we should slip under the chain and check it out. Happily I couldn't convince him otherwise we would probably have fallen off. The torch was closed as cracks were developing in the arm from all of the tourist traffic and they were getting worried about it coming apart.

Once we got to the crown it was very disappointing. The windows probably hadn't been cleaned in decades and it was almost impossible to see out. I have a shot up there as well and will post later, but it needs a lot of work. This batch of film has turned very purpleish in color and it takes an effort to get the right colors back. Odd film stock indeed.

It's too bad they don't let people up there anymore. It was a pain to get there but a very patriotic sort of day indeed. I think the elevator only ever went to the top of the pedestal and from there it was a climb. I remember small seats cut into the railing so people could sit and rest. I think there were 1-2 crossovers where you could go down if you changed your mind.

You may be right about this crossing the construction area. I have several shots of the island under construction in 1964 and it looks like they built a temporary causeway out there, just like they did for the rebuild of Ellis Island.

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Here is Newsday's explanation of why the arm was closed to the public a LONG time before 9/11-

When the Statue of Liberty opened on October 28, 1886, visitors had access to the statue’s torch via a 42-foot ladder inside the arm. Shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 30, 1916, however, German saboteurs blew up an estimated 2,000 tons of ammunition stored at Black Tom Pier in New Jersey, which was located opposite Liberty Island.

snpwwi4a.jpg

The blast killed four people, destroyed nearly all the windows in lower Manhattan, and demolished the mile-long pier. Residents of Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and 15 miles of the Jersey shore were thrown out of their beds, and the blast was heard as far away as Philadelphia. Buildings on Ellis Island were damaged. The explosion also so weakened the Statue of Liberty’s arm [popping some rivets according to one report] that it was no longer considered safe for visitors. Public access to the torch ended immediately and has never been reinstated.

-------------------------

......pieces of metal [flying shrapnel] damaged the skirt of the Statue...

--------------------------

photos:

http://www.njcu.edu/programs/jchistory/Pag...m_Explosion.htm

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Walk the south side of Liberty State Park today and you'll find a marker memorializing the Black Tom terrorist attack of July 30, 1916. A circle of American flags compliment the plaque, which stands just a bit east of the visitor's center

----------------------------

'Ground Zero' of the Black Tom explosion, in 2003. This is now the south end of Liberty State Park.

Black_Tom_Explosion_Site_Liberty_Park_A_small_2003_CK.jpg

Back to "the room"

Compare this recent view to Bill's photo. The room was remodeled for the Bicentennial Statue refurbishment, in order to display the original torch. I'm not sure which stairs match which ones in Bill's picture, but something probably matches.

Torch3619.x.jpg

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My first trip to the statue was in October of '64 when I was 4 years old. I remember it pretty well, including the climb up to the crown and looking out, and noticing hundreds of pinholes in the outer skin. On the way down we took the elevator in the base down 9 I was probably pretty tired) and had to run to catch the last ferry of the day back to Manhattan.

My next trip was in Feb of 2000 with my wife (her 1st visti). The museum in the base, including the origianal torch, was definitely new - from the centennial. They also had installed an elevator that could handle 1 or maybe 2 people from the base up to the crown - maybe to meet ADA requirement?

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I remember the grunge and non-opening windows in '65, although much of the other details escape me, and I may be confusing my original impressions of the interior with stuff I saw on TV about the restoration.

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I found this view that I thought was interesting and thought I would see how quickly the gang of experts here could identify the locale. Hint - the picture below was taken in 1964.

mystery-1.jpg

OH MY GOSH!! the public found out about the secret underground house at the fair!!!

just kidding. awesome picture though

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We've had a discussion here before about the American Indian Pavilion at the World's Fair that few people knew about- it was an underground casino with a secret entrance (large metal hatches) next to the New York City Building.

That crossed my mind too when i saw this picture...

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I remember my one and only trip to the top of the Statue. It was a very windy first Sunday in December, 1989. When we got to the top, that big green lady was swaying back and forth with the wind like a dancer at an afternoon tea dance. Yikes! It was a very weird and uncomfortable feeling and I was only more than happy to get the heck out of there. Going up those stairs wasn't so bad. You kept looking up as you went up so there wasn't much feeling of being high. On the way down though, the railing is only at waist level and the feeling of vertigo was very uncomfortable, as there didn't seem to be much between you and falling 180 feet to your death.

I'm glad I got to do it. It's something people will probably not be able to experience ever again. What a shame.

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I did not know much about the Black Tom Explosion and I thank you for sharing that information. There are so many sites like that. I was just reading about the Port Chicago disaster the other day. This was a massive munitions explosion near San Francisco in July of 1944, I believe. If I correctly recall, it took the lives of over 300 sailors--mostly African Americans who had been ordered to load munitions onto ships. Following the explosion and the clean up, many survivors refused to continue that sort of work and were court martialed. I believe there is a movement to have them all exonerated because it is long past clear that these men were used for this deadly work because of their race.

The Black Tom Explosion reminds me of the massive WWI munitions ship explosion in Halifax (1917)which took hundreds of lives (actually, 1,631 lives) and leveled half of the city. So much tragedy....

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The core issue in the San Francisco court martial is whether orders to those sailors were lawful under the Uniform Military Code of Justice.

The Code was changed after the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, to give sailors and soldiers more latitude to refuse to obey an order than is unlawful or violates international war conventions, but the burden of proof is on the person refusing the order to show that their refusal is covered in the UCMJ.

I don't believe that an order being 'dumb' or possibly 'racially motivated' is good enough. There are other avenues to address that, rather than 'going on strike'- which is called a mutiny in the Navy.

It's like if you're in the Army and you get assigned to a platoon that is going to be the first one off the landing craft to take Omaha beach. You know that the first wave is basically cannon fodder. There is really nothing that you can do other than plow ahead, do the best you can and try cover your platoon buddies. That's what war is all about. There's no such thing as a 'second wave' if there wasn't a first wave before them- SOMEBODY's got to be the first ones to hit the beach.

The allegation that your platoon may have been picked on or discriminated against in being chosen for the first wave doesn't give you an excuse to go AWOL.

Thankfully in the late 40's the military reorganized, and Truman insisted that racially discriminatory assignment practices be eliminated at the same time. Since then the military has been one of the most racially neutral organizations in the country. That's how Colin Powell and others advanced like they did.

Left-wingers like to make those 1944 "strikers" into heroes today, but I'm not sure that's necessarily the case. The Navy brass who assigned them to those duties was certainly negligent, but that doesn't get the sailors off the hook for 'walking out', risking troops in combat in the Pacific who would start running out of ammo while under fire.

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I believe those crews were working under very poor conditions, with next to no training and without the proper tools to do the job. If I were them I would strike too. Charging the enemy is one thing, but getting blown up because you're considered expendable is another. The folks waiting for the ammunition couldn't have used it if it had been blown up in yet another explosion. By pausing and getting things sorted out it would see a win-win situation.

Off my soapbox!

Bill

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The military doesn't have worker's unions. It's against the law. Defense of the nation supercedes working condition issues.

Very similar to the rationale for Reagan firing the air traffic controllers when they walked off the job.

You're going to have planes colliding in the sky because the controller is miffed that he didn't get a raise? I don't think so.

That doesn't mean issues don't need to be addressed. But striking is not an option, no matter the rationale (other than the unlawful order provision).

Now back to 1944. I think most of the strikers fully understood that if they walked out they would be court martialed, convicted, and sent to Leavenworth. And to them, that was preferable to the risk of working where they'd been working. Prison was safer than active duty. That's fine. That's their choice.

Although in wartime the death penalty was available, I don't think it should apply in a non-combat case like this. 5-to-10 years is probably enough.

By the way, today's American military is totally a volunteer force- there is no longer a draft.

I think that recruits should receive several days of UCMJ training BEFORE they are allowed to sign the enlistment papers, so they fully understand what their obligations are going to be (basically they're signing away some rights that civilian American citizens are entitled to under the Constitution). Kind of like cops reading people the Miranda card.

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In the pre-processing center you get a 1 hour lecture on the UMCJ prior to enlisting.

At least 3 hours in boot camp and you are suppose to go through a review at least twice

a year. Also the UCMJ must be posted in a common access area on all military installations.

After 23 years working with Subs I never did see a posted copy!

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A couple of postcards I picked up at the local monthly antique market today.

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