Sunday, 20 April 2014

Mums and Tots at BMCC

BFTF has previously been hugely impressed by the Mums and Tots group based at Wollaton Mosque and Community Centre and run by HR consultant Saema Mohammad (see here and here).

So it was great to hear that Saema has managed to organise a similar group at the Bobbers Mill Community Centre (512-514 Berridge Road West, NG7 5JU, enter via Nursery entrance)

The BMCC Mums and Tots group will meet on Fridays at 10.30am-12noon every two weeks, with initial dates being 25th April, 9th May, 23rd May, 6th June and 20th June.

Cost is a very reasonable £1 per visit.

Contact Saema on 07899882385 or for more information.

Or visit their FB page.

BFTF looks forward to being able to report on some of the exciting events at the BMCC Mums and Tots group in due course!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

New York Architecture - Skyscrapers

BFTF recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend walking around Manhatten, New York and was fascinated by the architecture there.

This is the last in a series of posts about Manhatten and its buildings. The other posts in the series are :

2)Oddments and Wall Street Pictures
3)Old Buildings Pictures
One World Trade Centre (link here)

8 Spruce Street (link here)

375 Pearl Street (link here)

Rockefeller "XYZ" Buildings (link here)

The Empire State Building (link here)

The Rockefeller Centre (link here)....

...from the top of which one gets this view looking south in daytime....

...and this view looking south at night.

Financial district as seen from the Brooklyn Bridge

And yes, BFTF did see the Statue of Liberty !

New York Architecture - Old Buildings Pictures

BFTF recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend walking around Manhattan, New York and was fascinated by the architecture there.

This is the last in a series of posts about Manhatten and its buildings. The other posts in the series are :

2)Oddments and Wall Street Pictures
4)Skyscrapers Pictures


Initially thought that "Niketown" was a converted Fire Station or similar, but it turns out it was built by Nike, from the ground up, to resemble an early 20th century gymnasium. Further information can be found here and, but the architect no less, here. The numbers on the front of the building (which are what led BFTF to surmise that this was an old Fire Station, with the code being that of the fire crew) is in fact the touch dial code for "Nike".

James Farley Post Office Building

This post office, which occupies such a huge area and is being redeveloped into an Amtrak rail station is rather classically built. Above the columns are a number of tributes to historical figures who have developed key aspects of the postal process. The "Untapped Cities" blog describes how these inscriptions range from Cardinal de Richelieu to the Persion Emperor Cyrus).

Times Square, not as big, or as square, as you might think

Times Square, so called because it used to be the home of the New York Times newspaper, is famous for being the place to congregate as the New Year begins, and for its dazzling electronic billboards. It is also the start (or end, depending on your point of view) of the Lincoln Highway, which stretches all the way across the US to San Francisco on the west coast.

Loved these old business signs

BFTF was facinated by the old advertising signs painted onto some of the early 20th century brick covered buildings, and wondered what had become of these firms and what their stories were.

So imaging my joy at finding out that there is a website that has catalogued many of the signs in New York - and has a picture and information on this specific building!

Clearly, the 1970s were a tough time for the garment industry in NYC. A little digging reveals some research by economists Jason Bram and Michael Anderson showing that, shockingly, between 1969 and 1999, NYC lost however 69% of jobs in the apparel business.


St Thomas Church

A striking juxtaposition of very old and very new.

Rougher looking area in mid-town

Odd that there can be any run down looking parts of a place as expensive as Manhatten, but there you go.

Another example of old against new

Bit annoyed I can't tell you exactly what where the above, or below, buildings are located at...

Beautiful ornate gilded stonework

More lovely old stonework

Very Nice!
Residential flats in Manhatten - people do actually live here too.

Image Sources
All BFTF's own

New York Architecture - Oddments and Wall Street Pictures

BFTF recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend walking around Manhattan, New York and was fascinated by the architecture there.

This is the second in a series of posts about Manhattan and its buildings. The other posts in the series are :

3)Old Buildings Pictures
4)Skyscrapers Pictures

First picture, having just come out of the Port Authority Bus Station
(just south of Central Park)

THIS is how you park cars in a limited space.

A Rickshaw? Didn't see that coming!

Took this, quickly, while crossing the road, possibly around 42nd Street

Southern end of Central Park, showing outcrops of the Manhattan bedrock
and buildings in the background 

New York Stock Exchange

Wall Street looking east. Narrow, isn't it?

Wall Street looking west.
Oh, the irony of having a church so promimently close to a place like Wall Street.

Wall Street Subway Station, not as smart as one might expect....

....but then, the very rich have the option of arriving at this Heliport
just a few hundred metres from Wall Street

Image Sources
All BFTF's own

New York Architecture - Introduction

BFTF recently had the opportunity to spend a weekend walking around Manhattan Island,New York and was fascinated by the architecture there.

This is the first in a series of posts about Manhatten and its buildings. The other posts in the series are :

2)Oddments and Wall Street Pictures
3)Old Buildings Pictures
4)Skyscrapers Pictures

It was great to get a handle on the actual locations of places I had seen on US made TV series and films (including (but not limited to) Top Cat, Kojak, Taxi, The Equalizer, CSI:NY, Law & Order, Deep Impact, American Gangster and Ghostbusters

New York, which is something of a natural harbour, is located on the Eastern Seaboard of the US, and comprises 5 "boroughs" as shown below (not my picture, this one)

The Five Boroughs of New York City:
 1: Manhattan (d blue) 2: Brooklyn (yellow) 3: Queens (orange) 4: The Bronx (red) 5: Staten Island (purple)

BFTF only had time to walk around the part of Manhatten south of Central Park, but this is perhaps the most "famous" part of the city and contains two areas of skyscrapers, one just south of Central Park, and one at the southernmost end of the island. Both can be recognised in the image below (again, not mine) as areas that are casting long shadows.

Southern Part of Manhatten Island, showing Central Park
with skyscrapers just to the south of the park and at the bottom end of island

The solid bedrock of Manhatten is the main reason that such tall skyscrapers can be built there, and this bedrock is closest to the surface where the skyscrapers are congregated. One might think this is a case of case of cause and effect, but some academics have argued otherwise. For example Jason Barr, Troy Tassier and Rosen Trandafilov have argued instead that:
"bedrock depths had very little influence on the skyline; rather its polycentric development [i.e.two areas of skyscrapers] was due to residential and manufacturing patterns, and public transportation hubs"

The ORIGINAL inhabitants of Manhatten, so far as researchers can determine, were the Lenape Native Americans. A short, sad, history of the Lenape after arrival of the Europeans can also be found here at Lenape Life.

A startling insight into the appoach taken by the US government towards the Native Americans can be seen in a letter by President Thomas Jefferson to William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory in 1803, in which Jefferson comments that :

"Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to cultivate an affectionate attachment from them, by everything just and liberal which we can do for them within the bounds of reason, and by giving them effectual protection against wrongs from our own people...To promote [the exchange of] lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands."

Image Sources
5 Boroughs, Manhatten

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Why Non-Violent Activism Works

Recently read a quote, shown below, that seemed to sum up a key point about why non-violent activism is effective.

"When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour." This quote is apparently from John Lennon. BFTF mentions that only for reference, the validity of the quote is in its text, not in who first said it.

Monday, 24 March 2014

200,000 page views!

Wow!, the Blogger page view counter just rolled over to 200,000 page views since the BFTF blog started up back in late 2011.

Thanks so much to all the surfers, FaceBookers, Tweeters, Redditers and, no doubt, bots, who have helped get the blog to this point.

It's been an incredible ride!

Seems appropriate to provide a list of the "top 10" posts of all time, in decending order of page views. The titles will click through to the relevant posts...

1) Food Banks in Nottingham
Disturbingly, this post has twice the page views of any other post, which provides just a hint to the levels of poverty present in Nottingham

Donations to a Food Bank

2) Sustainable packaging for Jamie's Fish Fingers
BFTF never really did get a solid answer as to whether the cardboard packaging for Jamie Olivers Fish Fingers was sustianably sourced or not...

Jamie Oliver's Fish Fingers - Sustainable Fish... but what about the packaging?

3) Booing the National Anthem
When footy fans boo the national anthem they get understanding and gentle questions about their reasons. BFTF wonders how Muslims would be treated if they did the same thing.

4) The Deen Riders visit Nottingham
Rather lavishly illustrated, and quite quickly written, post on the visit of the Deen Riders to Nottingham on their tour to raise money for civilians in Syria. One of BFTF's fave posts.

Usman and Kamran by their beautiful British Triumphs

5) Moustafa Ismail and his Biceps
A short post suggesting that Moustafa's biceps weren't all that they appeared. The post got a lot of views because the story was in the news and also because the post got linked to on some Turkish social media boards.

6) Families Forum Parts 1-4 Israeli and Palestinian Stories
A wish to publicise and document this talk (which ended up needing 4 posts) was one of the reasons BFTF set up the blog. Still a very powerful story to read. Early post, so BFTF hadn't figures out how to do images yet!

7) Interview with Prof Ian Shaw regarding the NHS
Really important interview on the NHS and its future in the light of the then forthcoming Health and Social Care Bill. A must read.

NHS Flag, QMC, Nottingham

8) Hope and Homelessness Commission Report
Great to see a project from Nottingham Citizens in the Top10, in this case the focus was on ensuring that vulnerable people did not suffer unnecessarily and that tax payers money was used effectively by the National Asylum Support Service

The launch of the Hope and Homelessness Commission Report

9)Olympic and Paralympic Team Sizes
BFTF wondered what the size of a countries Paralympics team, compared to it's able-bodied Olympic team, said about the values of that country - so did a little digging and knocked up a graph!

10) Dates in the Square - Summary of Events
Great series of open air events, held in the market square, to highlight issues of social justice

Great to see such a wide demographic at the events.