Posts Tagged ‘History

Gabriel Byrnes with rage at DUMBO plan

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Usual Suspects star Gabriel Byrne has gone to war on “dumbos” who want to block the view from his luxury New York apartment. Byrne, 58, lives with his two kids Jack and Romy in a gigantic brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and is just a stone’s throw from the Broadway theatres where he performs and the set of his US television show, In Treatment.

But developers have announced plans to erect a giant skyscraper in the area where he lives which is affectionately known as “DUMBO” – short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Dubliner Byrne believe the 18-storey building will block beautiful views of the Brooklyn Bridge and just doesn’t fit the community of converted four- and five-storey warehouses.

Raged Byrne: “This huge building will dwarf the bridge on the Brooklyn side, causing irreparable damage to the bridge’s singular and majestic presence.” He submitted his bitter objections to a city planning meeting last week.


Written by Jim McMillan

March 15, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Gotham, History, Irish, News

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The past is orange, not emerald for Senator John McCain

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US presidential hopeful John McCain has always been popular with Sinn Fein-sympathising Irish-American voters because of his support for immigrants’ rights. So they will be perplexed to now learn McCain’s ancestor was one of the first Orange Men and fought alongside King Billy!

Senator McCain, 71, whose ancestors came from Armagh, has repeatedly played up his Irish roots and descent from Captain John Young. But he might be a little more coy about admitting that another ancestor – great great great great grandfather Captain Dixie Coddington – was a trusted officer of William of Orange who fought alongside King Billy to defeat James ll at the Battle of the Boyne.

Irish historian Sean Murphy, who has just uncovered McCain’s Orange Man link, explains: “The Coddingtons were a very wealthy Irish family so they weren’t hard to find in the records.”

Murphy, the University of Dublin’s genealogist, says his discovery is far more significant than the revelations that McCain’s chief rival Barack Obama is also descended from Irish stock. “Obama’s ancestor was a shoemaker, whereas McCain’s was an officer serving with King William,” he points out.

Written by Jim McMillan

August 19, 2008 at 1:49 am

RFK’s son believes one Kennedy conspiracy, rejects the other

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While Mark Chapman‘s chances of release are probably somewhere between slim and none, another notorious killer apparently has even less hope of getting out. Sirhan Sirhan, who was caged for gunning down Bobby Kennedy, had been pinning everything on a little-known film maker called Shane O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan – who recently brought out a book called “Who Killed Bobby?” to mark the 40th anniversary of the killing – believes Sirhan, did not act alone. But RFK’s son Bobby Kennedy Junior says he won’t get involved because, though he thinks his murdered uncle President John F Kennedy was the victim of a conspiracy, “I’ve never seen particularly compelling evidence [that my father was].”

Conspiracy theorist O’Sullivan, who also directed a critically-acclaimed documentary called “RFK Must Die: The Assassination of Bobby Kennedy,” refuses to be denied, however, insisting there are still questions which need to be answered. “The autopsy concluded all three shots were fired at an upward angle from an inch behind Kennedy, but witnesses placed the muzzle of Sirhan’s gun a foot and a half to five feet in front of the Senator,” he says.

Written by Jim McMillan

August 12, 2008 at 10:54 pm

That’s Hall we need! Landmark building to get noisier

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If you live near Webster Hall, you are probably less interested in its architectural merits than the cacophony of noise which eminates from it nearly every night. Nonetheless, Landmarks Commissioner Robert Tierney recently declared the Hall a “major architectural treasure”.

The hallowed hall is now undergoing major renovations, with a new venue being built inside its ‘historic’ walls, called The Studio. The new downstairs performance space will hold around 275 people, and is set to open in two months. A venue rep tells us that they plan on having shows “every night of the week” but would like to include a party night on Mondays and a comedy night on Sundays. Great, more noise!

Written by Jim McMillan

August 9, 2008 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Gotham, History, News

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History: Why is New York City sometimes called Gotham?

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Long before Batman began wearing snazzy bright-coloured underpants over grey tights in a series of beloved comic book tales, New Yorkers were referring to the Big Apple as Gotham. The very word “Gotham” suggests darkness – thanks to the Dark Knight himself and also to generations of disenfranchised and nihilistic goths who grew up on iconic bands like The Cure.

In fact though, Gotham is an Anglo Saxon word meaning “Goat Town” and was first used by Washington Irving in in his satirical 1807 periodical Salmagundi. Irving was comparing the savvy New Yorkers to inhabitants of the tiny English village of Gotham who gained notoriety way back in the thirteenth century by pretending to be insane just to get out of paying taxes to King John.

Insanity is a prevailing them in the Batman comics and Gotham’s Arkham Asylum has housed many of the world’s craziest comic book villains.

Most recently, cashing in on the Batman craze, several politicians have sought to designate “Gotham” as the official nickname for New York, rightly pointing to the fact that the word was coined way before anyone had thought of the “Big Apple”.

* Please email us at with your own stories about Gotham.

Written by Jim McMillan

August 3, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Posted in Batman, Gotham, History

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