I've never been a fan of term limits. I think term limits have always been built into the system; it's called voting. You don't like someone, vote him out. There: his term has been limited. No additional law is needed.
But term limits have been approved by New York voters twice in the past several years. It's what they want. But it's not what power-coveting, attention-loving, law-flouting, two-faced Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants. In the past he has supported term limits. He has even called the idea to revise the term limit law "disgusting." But that when the law applied to others, not to him. Now that it applies to him, he wants that law GONE.
Our mayor is a hypocrite. Our mayor is a double-dealer. Our mayor is 66 and is the richest man in the City, one of the richest in the nation, and yet it's not enough. He needs to be a civic savior, a man of power and consequence, Mr. Popularity. And since nobody wanted him to be President, and nobody asked him to be Vice-President, and Governor Patterson is looking more and more formidable an opponent with each passing day, holding on to City Hall is the only way he can stay in the papers, the only way reporters will still listen to what he has to say about the environment, the future, affairs of state and trans-fats.
The rationale that is being put forward—and it's as cynical and opportunistic as Giuliani's was back in 2001, when he said the events of 9/11 demanded he stay in power—is that, as the Times put it, "the worldwide financial crisis — with its potentially severe impact on New York City — demands his steady hand and business experience."
Uh huh. Excuse me, but that financial crisis happened on Bloomberg's watch. Unless I missed something, he was mayor during the years in which the mortgage bubble grew and grew. I don't remember him warning us of impending danger. I don't remember him berating Wall Street, the Fed, the SEC and Treasury Secretary for their reckless behavior. I think, instead, he said a lot of stuff about how the economy was robust and the city was doing well. Bloomberg's a Wall Street guy. He knows all the players. I'm sure he lunches with them, gets them on the horn every day. He did nothing to avert this disaster. He was an enabler.
The Times wrote, "In the business community, however, the idea of a Bloomberg third term is popular. At charity balls and on golf courses, executives like the financier Steven Rattner, the developer Jerry I. Speyer and the media mogul Rupert Murdoch have encouraged him to seek a third term." Well, of course they do. Bloomberg has handed over the city to business interests over the past seven years. He is fecklessly pro-business. That's why we have a corrupt DOB.
A few months ago, I thought the Times and other papers were beginning to see through this petty megalomaniac. But now the Daily News and the Post are encouraging him to run again. On Oct. 1, the Times will print an editorial asking the term limits be abolished. What is going on? Is Bloomberg buying everybody off? Why do people so easily let his political machinations slide?
If he gets his way, we can add political crisis to the other crises New York is currently suffering.
30 September 2008
Does this Canal Street building look a little fancy for a Zenith television store?
Well, that's because it is. 31 Canal Street was built as a theatre, by the ubiquitous theater architect Thomas W. Lamb. He chose the Spanish Baroque style for this single-screener, constructed in 1927. It remained a theatre, run by Loew's, until the 1960s, when DOB records indicate the ground floor was given over to retail and the second floor to light industry.
I have to think the retail in question was the Zenith shop, because that sign looks pretty vintage to me. The 1960s would seem to me to be the last time any appliance retailer would boast of color TVs and Hi-Fis. The store has been closed for what looks like a while. Between the Lamb facade and the Zenith sign, though, 31 Canal still remains a sight for sore eyes.
On a recent trip upstate, while cruising up old Hwy. 17, I passed by the haunted, silent hull of the Red Apple Rest.
A icon of long past era of vacationing, the Red Apple was a fabled stopover for New Yorkers on their way to resorts, summer homes and families in the Catskills. In the 1950's, it boasted a million customers a year and served 350,000 hot dogs. The enormous asphalt field of the parking lot would be filled with cars and buses. Traffic along 17 (this was before the New York State Thruway was built) would often be so slow that family members could get out of their moving cars, use the bathroom, make a phone call and order some food before their ride has passed the Red Apple. Every one stopped there. The Borscht Belt comedians knew it well. It was the Stuckey's of the New York set, with a legendary vegetable soup, not a pecan log, as its iconic menu item.
The Red Apple was started by Reuben Freed, a refugee from Russia. He bought a combination gas station-refreshment stand in 1931 on Hwy. 17 and called it the Red Apple, after his chef, a red-haired man named Red Appel. The restaurant hit its stride after WWII. It stayed open 24 hours a day. Freed almost never went home. The Thruway dealt it a slow death, as did the lessening popularity of the Catskill resorts, which eventually closed one by one. Freed died in 1980. In 1985, Freed's son Herbert sold the place to Peter Kourakos.
The Red Apple mysteriously closed in September 2006. Signs in the window and a telephone answering machine message, said "We went away for a graduation and vacation." The restaurant never reopened. It was condemned on Jan. 23, 2007, due to roof damage. It has sat there ever since.
Inside, not much has been touched. Tables and chairs still sit, waiting for customers that will never come. A menu board still hangs above the counter listed very reasonable prices. It even trumpets specials, mostly like posted back in 2006. ("Egg Salad Platter.") A cruel sign on the side mocks "Bus Parking Only!" An old phone booth is neither taking or receiving calls. In the window is a sampler reading "No matter where I serve my guests, they seem to like my kitchen best." My mother had one just like that.
29 September 2008
Doesn't it seem like the Brooklyn Trader Joe's opened eons ago?
I decided to check in on the Brooklyn's own Big Bank of Food this morning, one weekend after its official opening. A crowd of about two dozen was gathered outside, somewhat impatiently waiting for the doors to open at 9 AM. Once they did get in, however, everything was quite civilized, and there was none of the hurriedness and frenzy associated with the Union Square store (which, my sources tell me, is the busiest Trader Joe's in the nation).
Each of the dozen registers was manned was a willing, waiting clerk, some yearningly waving small American flags to signal the dispatcher to send a customer their way. I suspect the number of working registers will dwindle considerable in the next few days if this keeps up. Or maybe crowds will pick up when everyone realizes the store is open. Could go either way. I'm betting on the former, though. Witness the example of IKEA.
I was cashed out by a little old lady, who was none too quick. But she was sweet, and I liked that Joe's had hired all sorts of people to work there.
Oh, and the steel drum band is gone. Thank God.
28 September 2008
In the Sept. 25 New York Times, architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff wrote an article so wonderful, so needed, so much a call to arms suited to our aggrieved times, I can scarcely believe it appeared in the pages of the too-judicious-by-half Grey Lady.
Titled, splendidly, "New York City, Tear Down These Walls," it put forth the Swiftian modest proposal that the financially crippled City should, "Instead of crying over what can’t be built,... refocus our energies on knocking down the structures that not only fail to bring us joy, but actually bring us down?"
He then went on to list his seven choices for the wrecking ball—a couple of them very recent creations, monstrosities of the Bloomberg administration's building binge. "Ugliness, of course, should not be the only criterion," he reasoned. "There are countless dreadful buildings in New York; only a few (thankfully) have a traumatic effect on the city."
And, oh!, but does he hit the right marks, from Madison Square Garden to the Verizon building to the Astor Place tower in the East Village. Vulgarities that make you grit your teeth in fury. Here is the list (along with some of Nick's juicier comments):
1. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN AND PENNSYLVANIA STATION
"As arenas go, it is cramped and decrepit."
2. TRUMP PLACE
"A cheap, miserable contribution to an area of the city already in need of some mending, this luxury residential complex is about as glamorous as a toll plaza."
3. JACOB K. JAVITS CONVENTION CENTER
"The site would serve better as housing than as a shed for dog shows and car fanatics."
4. ANNENBERG BUILDING, MOUNT SINAI MEDICAL CENTER
"This towering structure, clad in rusted Cor-Ten steel, looks like either a military fortress or the headquarters of a sinister spy agency."
5. 375 PEARL STREET (The Verizon building)
"Each time I cross the East River, I find myself wanting to throw my cellphone at the building."
6. ASTOR PLACE
"Astor Place would seem more comfortable in a suburban office park...it’s a literal manifestation of money smoothing over the texture of everyday life."
7. 2 COLUMBUS CIRCLE
"A mild, overly polite renovation that obliterates the old while offering us nothing breathtakingly new."
My God! How did this get past the hyper-rational editors of the Times? Oh well. I don't care. As long as it made it into print. As long as the creators of these brick-and-mortar crimes are properly and publicly embarrassed. Do yourself a treat and read the entire article. It's brimming with vim and vinegar. Well worth the time.
Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 7:08 PM
It's been nearly a month since the DOH slapped the timeless Chinatown treasure, the Nom Wah Tea Parlor, with 58 violations, resulting in the shuttering of the dim sum palace. So I decided to check in on the Doyers Street restaurant over the weekend.
I found it still shut, but with the lights on, revealing the wonderful interior, with its tile floor, tin ceilings, old-fashioned bar and ancient equipment. The central pillar surrounded by coat hooks is, alone, a wonder. Things didn't look too tidy, so I wasn't encouraged as to the parlor's future. In the back, four middle-aged and elderly Chinese men sat. I think there were playing cards.
After a while, one of the men peered out the door, and I seized my chance. This turned out to be the owner. He told me he expected the parlor to reopen next week. He was only waiting for a DOH inspector to return. "It's all cleaned up," he said. He also did not try to pretend that the restaurant had really been closed for renovations or because of an electrical problem, as many eateries pretend when the DOH shuts them down. He just slapped his hand on the DOH notice in the window. "Health Department," he said, simply.
It will be good to have the parlor back.
27 September 2008
What's wrong with New York? Easy. We don't do anything anymore. We don't makes things. We're non-productive. No industry. Our activity is all make-work and busy-work. We open restaurant after restaurant, bar after bar. We market and advertise things, but don't create them. We put on plays and make television shows. We open hot clubs and neo-speakeasies. We're like Rome in its final days. Eating and entertainment. Eating and entertainment. Nothing solid. Nothing you can lay your hand to and say, "This makes life work." Just distractions. Enhancements. Everything transitory and ephemeral.
We rely on a few specious "industries" to keep the City's engine going. There's financial services, in which people make money shuffling other people's money around. Then there's real estate, in which people either many money feeding the same living spaces through the system again and again, or tear down existing building so they can build news one, creating temporary construction jobs and upping the ante on living costs each time. This process is repeated when necessary. There's tourism, when folks from other countries come and gawk at what appears to be a working City, and spend lots of money at the restaurants and bars and clubs and arts attractions that we keep opening for them.
In recent months, the Recession halted the decade-long development boom. Poof! There's goes one source of income. Then the financial crisis on Wall Street threw financial services against a brick wall. Poof! Did it surprise anyone that, with two of the aces in City Hall's economic house of cards withdrawn, the City suddenly went from Boom Town to Bust?
Now, tell me again that Bloomberg is a great business manager. His company, called New York City, is going down the drain. He gave the building industry full reign, with little oversight, until it became so corrupt it collapsed under its own greed. He has no official say over what goes down at the Stock Exchange, but he's an old Wall Street hand and a supposedly smart moneyman, and it is his City. Certainly he knew what sort of shenanigans were happening in lower Manhattan. And I'm sure he has personal relationships with many of the key players in this mess. Yet he never issued warnings or did anything to slow that train wreck. He played it for all it was worth, collecting the money for Gotham's coffers, until the crash. And this is the man we're supposed to elect for four more years to fix things.
But does anyone learn? The single block of Union Street, from Hicks to just past Columbia in Brooklyn, already had three real estate brokerages: the oldtimer Frank Manzione at the corner of Union and Columbia, Frank Galligano kittycorner from Manzione, and another office that opened in the old Lattacini-Barese Salumeria space in 2003. Now, next to the former Schnack, a sign indicates that we can welcome a fourth broker: Cozy Quarters Real Estate. God forbid there should be a shoe repair shop, or hardware store, or fish monger or anything other than a restaurant, bar and real estate brokerage.
26 September 2008
The Donut Shop, old-time diner in South Brooklyn, will reopen on "Monday or Tuesday" after a brief renovation. Only it won't be the Donut House. I was told the name of the place will now be the Cobble Hill Coffee Shop, "but it will be run by the Donut House people." To bolster this fact, a new sign is already up, reading "Cobble Hill Coffee Shop."
I guess that's all OK. Except part of what made the Donut House so great is it was called the Donut House, a kind of oddball name for a diner, especially since there weren't many donuts for sale. Cobble Hill Coffee Shop has a much more prosaic sound. Also, someone should have told them that the store is south of Degraw Street, which means, technically, it's in Carroll Gardens, not Cobble Hill. How businesses make this mistake again and again mystifies me. Then again, maybe the owners just thought Cobble Hill sounded more swish.
It's happened. Brooklyn has a Trader Joe's.
The store was good and crowded by 9:30 AM. Horizontally, that is. Vertically, there was plenty of room. One thing you can say about the space: it's airy. Must be the most head room of any Trader Joe's on the planet. The old bank building's ceiling towers above the crowd, newly scrubbed and quite handsome. Some of the windows were decorated with scenes meant to endear the chain to Brooklnites (like that was necessary): the Bridge, Coney Island, etc.
Many balloons and a kitschy steel drum band greeted customers. Lotsa people like me (bloggers, NY1, and who knows who else) took pictures.
Otherwise, the scene was very much like what you might find at any Trader Joe's. Staffers in Hawaiian shirts. Unrelieved crowds of shoppers pushing tiny red metal carts. And, of course, an enormous line for check-out. Already. I left without buying anything. I'm come back on a weekday around 2 PM or so, and hope for a line of only 20 customers of so.
And, it is fall, so there were pumpkins, of course. Sigh. Pumpkins.
Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 6:56 AM
25 September 2008
Gary's Liquors is located at 141 Essex Street on the Lower East Side. It sells wines and liquors, so the sign (one of three) says. It was founded in 1933, so the sign says.
Has anyone every heard of 75-year-old Gary's Liquors? Has anyone shopped there? I can find out nothing about the place, which dates back to the tale end of the LES's days as an immigrant mecca. I've check every resource I can think of. The signs sure don't look like those of an old business. And what's with the "KGB" initials. Is there some sinister Soviet connection at work here? Please write in. In the meantime, I will continue my investigation.
I have many items on my list of New York City places I still must visit. But high on the tally for some time has been Hart Island.
Hart Island, at the western end of Long Island Sound and just east of the Bronx, is New York City's potter's field—the largest tax funded cemetery in the world. Gotham unfortunates who have died without funds and/or connections, have been buried on this flat, isolated piece of land since the Civil War. Rikers Island inmates conduct the mass burials. Hart Island has a spooky charisma and I've long wanted to visit, but the isle is off limits to regular citizens. The closest I've ever gotten was staring through a viewfinder at the southern tip of City Island.
The amazing Richard Nickel of Kingston Lounge, however, someone made his way ashore and took a raft of fascinating pictures. I've posted a few here, but go to his blog to see the whole collection. They're well worth it.
Novelist Dawn Powell, playwright Leonard Melfi and child actor Bobby Driscoll, each dying in relative obscurity, all ended up here. The former two were reclaimed and buried elsewhere. Oscar winner Driscoll still lies in Hart Island soil.
There was a submarine in the East River. Does this have something to do with the financial crisis?
Red Hook's going to get a mall. A big one.
Renovation of the save St. Brigid's Church begins.
And, of course, the MTA sucks.
The House of Pizza and Calzone, legendary pie place on Union Street in Brooklyn, is back open for business, after a month-long renovation.
I've reported earlier on the new hand-painted sign and the sliding glass-door frontage. Inside, it doesn't look anything like it did before. The joint boasts yards and yards of elbow room you never imagined was there before. Cramped before, the pizzeria is now ridiculously spacious. In a nod to the past, the old, boxy, gray-marble tables are still in use. Above them are some modern lighting fixtures, attached to warm brown walls. The bathrooms are big and on the fancy side for a slice-monger. The ceiling remains unfinished, as does a huge, brick-walled, additional dining room in the space, and a backyard patio. I'm guessing seating will top 200 when all is said and done.
And the pizza. Still good, still the same. Though I wish they'd dust the floors of the pizza ovens with semolina flour the way the old owners used to. Just a suggestion, guys.
Outside, a shiny black town car with tinted windows, and a shiny black SUV with tinted windows were idling, waiting for their pies. I'm not saying anything.
It seems there is nothing developer Billy Stein will not try to keep his precious Oliver House, aka 360 Smith, just the way it is: 70-feet high and completely unlike everything in the surrounding Carroll Gardens neighborhood.
Stein was stopped in his tracks by the recent "narrow streets" zoning amendment which dictates that structures on certain CG streets (including 360's) not exceed 55 feet in height. Stein could have proceeded with his nasty monstrosity if he had completed 50% of his foundation, but the DOB decreed he had finished but 20%. Stein pleaded his case at an Aug. 28 Community Board 6 Public Land Use Meeting, where he was about as popular as a porcupine as a balloon convention. He was turned down. The board's recommendation was then passed on to the Board of Standards and Appeals, which reviewed the case yesterday.
Stein doesn't really speak at these meetings. He always talks through a legal mouthpiece. The lucky puppets this time were Deirdre Carson and structural engineer Neil Wexler of Wexler Associates. And they were a hoot, by all accounts!
Wexler argument to the board was that the foundation is already completed. That's right! It's done! What foundation, you may ask. Why, the subway tunnel itself, the one that lies below 360 Smith! The tunnel will help support the building and is thus its built-in foundation, handily built by the City a century ago.
Are you laughing yet? Isn't it just amazing when corporate types start telling, off-the-wall crazy lies? You just can't believe your ears.
Wacky Wexler—who has been described to me as looking like he didn't believe the words that were coming out of his mouth, even as he was saying them—also said that the building had two foundations: one being the ready-made subway tunnel; the second being the pile foundation that Stein was actually building.
The board was furnished with a mountain of evidence and materials from the community groups opposing 360, causing the body to schedule another hearing on the matter for Oct. 28, where anything might happen. Anything, that is, other than Stein actually backing down or ever acknowledging that there's absolutely no reason for him to press on in his idiot quest except greed, conceit, arrogance and thorough pigheaded stubbornness.
(Thanks to Pardon Me for Asking for the picture.)
Is there any silver lining to the current financial meltdown?
Yes, reports the New York Sun. "The era in which Manhattanites could find two, three, sometimes even four retail banking outlets on the same city block could be ending, according to a number of retail brokers who are readying themselves for a shedding of banking outlets caused by the crisis in the financial sector. Hundreds of thousands of square feet of available commercial space could be hitting the market once the dust settles on Wall Street."
No Bank of America at every intersection? No Chase signs lighting up the night? Well, hallelujah!
Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 6:51 AM
24 September 2008
As I say in my blog "profile," I make a living as a writer. A goodly part of that living is in the field of journalism. And a good deal of that is feature articles. Which means interviews. Phone interviews. In-person interviews. But interviews. And I don't know any reporter that takes shorthand anymore, or remembers quotes from memory, so interviews mean a tape recorder.
Progress does not appear to favor my line of work—and I'm not talking about the long, slow death of print news—though that is a worrisome fact of my life. I mean the disappearance of the apparatus that allows me to do my job. A year of so again, my old Sony cassette recorder which I use on interviews finally gave out. I had had it for 15 years. Nice piece of machinery. I went to a Best Buy to purchase another. After questioning a few clerks as to where I might find tape recorders (and who all thought I was talking about video recorders), a wiser worker led me to an obscure corner of the basement level where a couple cassette recorders, encased in plastic, hung on a wall. They could have been phonograph needles, so remote was their location, so un-sought-after were they.
Lately, meanwhile, I have had some trouble finding cassette tapes to put in that tape recorder. Some locations of the big chains, like Duane Reade and Rite Aid, don't carry them (thought Staples dependably stocks them). In the past, such tapes could always be found in the school/office supplies section. Often then were displayed in the racks by the cash register. Moreover, many corner bodegas could be counted on to have one or two on the shelf. No more. People don't make tapes anymore—voice, music or otherwise. And again, people think I'm asking for video cassette tapes when I ask for audio tapes. Everyone, it seems, owns a video recorder. Nobody owns an audio recorder.
And it gets more difficult. For phone interviews, one needs a small, rubber suction-cup device. The cup is applied to the phone receiver and the attached cord is plugged into a specific hole in the tape recorder. By this method, an interview is recorded for later transcribing. Used to be, Radio Shack always had these in stock. Last week, however, I went in search of one (they cost about $4) and went away empty-handed from three Radio Shack outlets. Each of the stores' clerks spoke doubtfully about whether the gizmos would ever be stocked again.
Next I'll be told that pencils and notepads are being phased out. What is going on? Is the paraphernalia of journalism doomed to go the way of the tools of bookbinding and blacksmithing? Is this a vast plot by conservative corporations to defang the Fourth Estate by depriving them of basic equipment? Anybody know where rubber suction cup thingies can be found out there? I think I better take a case.
Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 2:23 PM
Developers defile Sheepshead Bay landmark Lundy's.
Coney Island developer/destroyer Joe Sitt puts on his old disingenuous act. Again.
Lehman Brothers sure left the building quickly.
Jamaica's Chapel of the Sisters is restored.
Landlords are crazy and evil. Some moreso.
The Dublin House tavern on 79th Street sends out a blinkin' beacon that it is open for business day and night. Because it is open for business day and night. Even 9:30 AM, when this film was taken. Don't really need neon at 9:30 AM, but...
23 September 2008
If you hit Katz's Delicatessen late one night after a round of Lower East Side carousing and don't have the jack for a sandwich and a beverage, don't sweat it. It's hard to spot right way, but at the back of the cavernous eatery is this unique silver, Art Deco apparatus. It dispenses free water out of three faucets. Just grab a glass from one of the three shiny shelves and you're in business.
I've never seen a piece of work like this anywhere else in the City, and I think it's pretty safe to say this is the only example of its type in town. Belongs in the Smithsonian, as far as I'm concerned. Or the Cooper-Hewitt.
22 September 2008
Back in late August, when the owner of Brooklyn's House of Pizza & Calzone was taking down the shop's cheesy, but beloved old awning in preparation of a massive redo, he was cagey about what sort of signage would take the awning's place. One feared the worst (that is, a run-of-the-mill, "dignified," gentrification-special, cloth awning of either bright red or deep green).
What a surprise and relief, then, to pass down Union Street today and see the pizzeria had gone the very appealing, but rarely traveled, hand-painted-sign route. Over a coat of chocolate-brown paint applied directly to the building's old brickface, has been painted, in cream-colored letters, "The Famous House of Pizza & Calzone." The first four words are small and in cursive, with "Pizza" and "Calzone" dominating the eye.
I know a lot of criticisms can be made against this approach: that it trucks in faux nostalgia, is precious and chases after the bourgeois crowd. But just think of the other ways they could have gone with the signage. If it was impossible to keep the old sign, I think this is much the preferable option.
Here's how things are at the former site of the last standing Howard Johnson's in New York City, the ancient one that lived on Times Square at Broadway and 46th. The nasty steel thing is to be an American Eagle Outfitters, a fairly big one by the looks of it. At least it's not another skyscraper.
21 September 2008
Yankee Stadium, the House That Ruth Built, saw its last days of working life this week, and will now yield to the House That (apparently) Taxpayers (illegally) Built. More greed in a City currently crippled by widespread greed.
Here are some accounts of the grand old stadium's final days.
The New York Times allowed all kinds of non-reporters to submit their memories of the stadium, including Paul Simon, the guy who wrote "Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio?"; that relentless Yankee-wannabe Billy Crystal (we know you love the Yankees, Billy, now will you drop it?); New Yawk actress and director Penny Marshall; and still uncharged war criminal Henry Kissinger.
George Steinbrenner shares his Yankee Stadium memories with the New York Post. Is the moment he decided to tear the thing down to further line his pockets one of those memories? "The new ballpark with its design replicates the original 1923 stadium," he writes. "It is beautiful and really befits the team. Yankee Stadium is the cathedral of baseball, and it was most important to us in the design that we recognized the history, roots and legacy of our franchise. Our fans will love it, and that is so important to me. The field and its dimensions are exactly the same as the old stadium. The amenities will be great even down to the fact that you can go to a concession stand and buy a hot dog and still be able to watch the action on the field. It's going to be incredible." Asshole.
Mike Lupica's take in The Daily News.
Newsday notes bitterly that the stadium was unaccountably passed over many times by The National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Politics anyone? A few well-place calls by Steinbrenner? I'll say it again: Asshole. Asshole for the ages.
20 September 2008
I know its a peep show, but it's still a great sign. More in the character of an old Garment District business, than an XXX concern in the Financial District. And get the American flag! Patriotic smut!
The name of the business is curious. If I were in the lingerie game (and it's arguable that that's actually the game these guys are in), I'd go for a more delicate, ladylike name, not "Thunder." Can't beat the "And More," though. There are whole worlds contained within that "And More."