• Artifact of the month (January 2020)



    Circa 1903 roundel with a deep relief female portrait bust wearing long hair, a necklace and lace garment, laurel and oak leaves flank the figure, each element has a symbolic meaning and purpose. The laurel leaves symbolize victory while the oak leaves symbolize strength.

    So this female figure was associated with victory and strength.

    Terracotta 25″ across, purchased from an antique store on Bleecker Street in 2009 for $1350. The roundel, which was salvaged in the 1950s from the Lower East Side  was probably from a tenement  East of Avenue D when the city built the “Projects,” originally she likely  had a separate border made of six sections.

    The Brooklyn museum has one of these roundels with five of the six borders in their sculpture garden. The author has found photos of at least three extant buildings in Manhattan which have these same roundels on them, they are located at 431-441 East 80th Street, and 219 Grand Street.

    The East 80th street buildings’ roundels have no borders while those on the Grand St facade do have them.

    It is unknown who the portrait represents, but as should be obvious- the uncommon round shaped terracotta, and the prominent locations these were placed and on multiple buildings suggests that the figure represents either a historical  person of the day, or even someone important to the architect or building owner. It is dated to 1903 but after researching possibilities, about the only seemingly likely figure might be Jenny Lind, a much beloved popular female singer of the era but she died in 1887,

    how about Emily Warren Roebling- the female engineer who completed the Brooklyn bridge died in 1903? or perhaps Julia Boggs Grant  who was the First Lady of the United States and wife of Ulysses S. Grant, she died in 1902? so many possibilities and no effective way to  pinpoint the “who” for sure.


  • My book: The Gargoyler of Greenwich Village (update)

    I am pleased to say I now have printing for the book arranged again and the quality of the printing is excellent as before. I tried an alternate printer that was a little less cost and as soon as I got the two samples I ordered I immediately regretted it, the photos were muddy and dark, the colors washed out and even the actual photos as printed were not as clear and were somewhat “hazy” as you can see in the photo below, the upper photo in each set is the alternate printer, the bottom was printed by Amazon/KDP, mind you the original Kodak print dates back to the 1970s and has damage to it that isn’t going to go away like magic at the printer, but you can clearly see how poor the alternate printer’s work was- darker, not clear, foggy or hazy, detail is lost, the colors are dull. In contrast the Amazon/KDP is warmer, clearer/sharper, no “haze” and more vibrant colors.

    These are just quick snaps with an iPhone of the two books laid on the kitchen counter;



    The gloss cover on both printed books however looked the same and excellent;


    You can order a signed, numbered copy directly from me for $35 total, ppd,  or you spend more and get it from Amazon for $39.95 plus tax and shipping but they won’t be signed or numbered as they won’t pass through my hands, link to order the book;

    My BOOK The Gargoyler of Greenwich Village


  • My book dilemma

    I was going to look at ordering a few copies of my book on createspace the other day, and I discovered I couldn’t log in, furthermore, the “forgot password” never sent me a confirmation/reset email
    I tried the email address in my autofill and 3 others I have used and never got the emails.
    So I emailed customer support on what is now known as KDP print and someone with an “Indian” sounding last name obviously had no clue, told me she couldn’t find an account with my email address on it, that if someone else published the book for me to have them use their email address, LOL!!!!
    After going back and forth over 3 days I decided screw it- and created an account on KDP, then I uploaded my manuscript PDF and it asked for my ISBN, I put the one in FOR my title that Ive used on it all along which I bought from Bowker directly in 2012, the freaking system tells me the number is already assigned to another title!
    NO KIDDING!!!! it’s assigned to the very title I’m UPLOADING go figure!!!
    Tried several different ways, no go, so I email them again about that and another “Indian” name wrote back telling me that the ISBN is in use for a title already… and that I could use their “free” ISBN or buy one from Bowker, oh GAWD these people are helpless!!!!
    So I email them back with some screen shots showing my title and ISBN in my Bowker account and told them to CALL me.
    6 hours later, and not 5 minutes after I bought ANOTHER $99 Bowker ISBN just to be done with the damn thing- someone from KDP Print calls me, during the course of the call I said yes, like my email said- I don’t want Amazon selling/marketing and yada yada I only want PRINTING like Ive had done by createspace since 2012, I sell my book myself retail direct, well it turns out they don’t do JUST printing any more, you have to sign up for the whole package with Amazon/Kindle marketing/listing and bla bla bla, so I said “FINE!! forget it, I have no further use for your service” and hung up on her.
    Good grief, if I knew createspace was going away I would have bought a bunch more books, now I had to scrounge around and try to find another printer like Createspace where I dont have to order 50 books at a time, that has 7×10 size paperback, and doesnt cost like $75 each like 48hourbooks or some others quoted!
    I tried to find an alt to CS 2-3 years ago and every one them cost at least twice what CS charged. my 298 page book that has a LOT of color plates in it ran me about $21 on CS, I think 48hour books quoted me something like $65 each a couple of years ago, that’s why I never switched to another printer.
    So I spent some time getting instant quotes and went to Lulu.com again, punched in the criteria and got a quote, some others wanted- $67 each, $56 each, well Lulu had some choices, so I tried variations and discovered the price diff between 60# paper and 80# premium paper was only $3, what was surprising is the “standard color” showed the cost would be $14.77 per book but changing that to “premium color” shot the price up to a  whopping $48 each.
    I ran into an issue with my cover, it said it was not sized right for the 7×10 book! it was sized fine on Createspace… so I edited the file, had to fix everything due to the change in size, created a new PDF of it and uploaded that and it went through ok then.
    So I decided to order ONE copy in the cheaper “standard color” to make sure the interior and color are all correct.
    They have a hard cover option that adds about $8 more, hardcover was not an advertised option on Createspace but I heard it had a $100 setup charge.
    Still, $48 is more than double what I have been paying, there’s no way I could sell a book for that kind of price, thay have been $35 with postage only because they COST me $21 plus UPS shipping TO me, so I made my cost and a very few bucks for my time.
    I’ll have to see how well or badly the “standard color” looks compared to what Createspace did. I upgraded the paper to coated 80# which will help.