Tag Archives: Manhattan

Alexander Hamilton memorial events: July 12–Downtown NYC.

On July 12, 2012, the 208th anniversary of Hamilton’s death, the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society organized a series of events in downtown New York City. Much of Hamilton’s work and life was spent in downtown Manhattan. He lived downtown for a number of years and had offices there as well. Even more, downtown New York became the financial capital of the United States (some would say the world, but that would take another century) thanks largely to the various projects of Alexander Hamilton. There could be no more appropriate place to celebrate Hamilton’s life and mourn his death than in the heart of capitalism and wealth.

We started with a tour of downtown, led by Arthur Piccolo, Chairman of the Bowling Green Association. Mr. Piccolo took us the sites where Hamilton trained his troops during the War for Independence, where he lived, where he worked, and where he socialized. In addition, Mr. Piccolo raised the flag of St. Kitts-Nevis, Hamilton’s place of birth, and read a letter from the Prime Minister of that nation.

After a short break, we met again at Federal Hall where Alexander Hamilton, as portrayed by William G. Chrystal, author of Hamilton by the Slice: Falling in Love with Our Most Influential Founding Father, greeted us, said a few words, and posed for photographs with some of his fans:

We then proceeded to the cemetery of Trinity Church, where a memorial service was held for Alexander Hamilton. As a kohein, I am forbidden to enter cemeteries, but I took pictures from the outside looking in:

After the memorial service, Rand Scholet, President of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society,  spoke briefly and Alexander Hamilton, as portrayed by William G. Chrystal, author of Hamilton by the Slice: Falling in Love with Our Most Influential Founding Father,  answered questions about his life and achievements:

Trinity Church then invited us into their archives to see some of their documents related to Alexander Hamilton. Most impressive was the baptimsal book that listed Hamilton’s children. Equally impressive were the names of the sponsors for Hamilton’s children: Schuyler, Church, Van Rensselear, and the Baron von Steuben:

That evening, we gathered together at the Museum of American Finance where Rand Scholet, President of the Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society,  presented “The Essence of Alexander Hamilton’s Greatness”:

Before Mr. Scholet’s presentation, I was honored to be invited by the Mr. Scholet and David J. Cowen, President and CEO of the museum, to see a pair of the official copies (only 100 were produced) of the Hamilton-Burr dueling pistols:

Photos of Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park. Looks like a third-world tent city to me.

I was down at Zuccotti Park today where the Occupy Wall Street “protesters” have literally set up camp. I was shocked by what I saw. This does not appear to be some noble protest. Instead, it looked like a third-world tent city–one without privacy, running water, and sanitation–was dropped into the heart of our financial capital.


Also shocking were the restrictions around Wall Street. Vehicle traffic has been blocked on Wall Street and Broad Street in front of the stock exchange ever since 2001, but the barricades have recently been pushed far back for pedestrians as well, given them little space to walk.

Even the famous bull at Bowling Green at the base of Broadway has been cordoned off.

Even though Mayor Bloomberg has been sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street protesters, he and the police are clearly worried about potential violence against these New York landmarks.

The most amazing thing is that you really cannot tell what these people are protesting for or against when you walk by. As you can see by the photos above, there were no banners or placards attacking Wall Street and no list of demands. Instead, to all appearances, it was just a lot of homeless people (whether by circumstance or by choice) who have set up camp in downtown Manhattan. While I know from the “news” that these are noble protesters seeking to right the wrongs of the world, but it certainly looked like a lot of homeless people in tents.

From the perspective of the average American, I cannot understand why anybody would care what these people believe, think, or want. It is a lot of unemployed people (again, whether by circumstance or by choice) who have completely failed in delivering their message, whatever that may be. Like their makeshift camp, the whole movement appears to be a disorganized mess that, in my humble opinion, should be cleaned up both from a standpoint of unsanitary conditions and poor political reasoning.

– Michael E. Newton is the author of the highly acclaimed The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny. His newest book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution, was released by Eleftheria Publishing in July.

Jaywalking: Libertarianism in New York City

Everybody knows that New York City is a major center of liberal ideology. A number of New Yorkers decided to remind Glenn Beck of that fact a few weeks back.

But while the residents of New York think liberal, they often act libertarian. Just go to any Manhattan street corner. The government in its wisdom and kindness has install lights that tell the people of New York whether they are to WALK or DON’T WALK. Clearly, any liberal would tell you that such signs are necessary to create order and protect pedestrians from oncoming traffic.

But reality is very different. As half those signs glow DON’T WALK, dozens of people are crossing against the government’s advice. The people of New York realize that they don’t the government to tell them when to cross. They can just look for themselves, see if a car is coming, and decide for themselves. People don’t need the government to organize every aspect of their lives.

In the movie Keeping the Faith, the two main characters are waiting at a corner for a traffic light. The scene, meant to be a metaphor about life and faith, could also be a metaphor about politics and government.

 What the– Why are you standing here?

Oh, my God. You’re right. What am I doing? What am I doing standing here?

Sign hasn’t changed.

– Oh, my God. – This is New York City. Who waits for a sign?

What– Cross the damn street! What, do we all need signs to tell us what to do now?

God does not always give us a sign what to do. We certainly don’t always need signs from the government.

“Men must walk in freedom, responsible for their own behaviour.”  Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

— Michael E. Newton is the author of the highly acclaimed The Path to Tyranny: A History of Free Society’s Descent into Tyranny. His newest book, Angry Mobs and Founding Fathers: The Fight for Control of the American Revolution, was released by Eleftheria Publishing in July.

New York ruling changes tax law. Get ready for a marginal tax rate of 288%.

New York has decided that owners of property living in another state may still have to pay income taxes in New York. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Connecticut and New Jersey residents with a Hamptons summer cottage or a Manhattan pied-a-terre are about to get a nasty surprise: New York state wants more taxes from them.

A New York court ruled last month that all income earned by a New Canaan, Conn., couple is subject to New York state taxes because they own a summer home on Long Island they used only a few times a year. They have been hit with an additional tax bill of $1.06 million.

Tax experts and real estate brokers say this ruling could boost the tax bill for thousands of business executives who own New York City apartments they use only occasionally. It could also hurt sales in the Hamptons and New York’s other vacation-home communities.

I want to focus on this line:

Under the ruling, if an owner doesn’t spend a single a day in a home it could still count toward a permanent residence.

If every state applied this ruling and federal court does not overturn it, a person could in theory own housing property in every single state and thus owe income tax in every single state and the District of Columbia. By my rough calculation using the top marginal federal income tax rate of 35% and the sum of all the top marginal state income tax rates, a person could theoretically be taxed at a rate of 288%. (Yes, I recognize it is absurd for somebody to have property in all 50 states and DC, but the whole notion of paying income taxes in every state you own property is equally absurd.)

I urge the federal courts to overturn this ruling. A permanent residence should be and must be the state in which the person lives the most. Income should only be taxed by states once, either by residency or by where it is earned. Not both and certainly not in a state where a person is neither a resident nor an income earner.

Isn’t this why we have the interstate commerce clause in the first place? To stop states from conducting commercial and financial warfare against other states or residents of other states?

A smoking ban does not make a nanny state. Or not entirely.

New York City is about to ban smoking in public parks and beaches. Many libertarian and conservative types are up in arms over this expansion of the nanny state. However, I support this ban. But before you attack me, let me explain what I don’t support and why I support this.

As my readers know, I am no supporter of the nanny state. I oppose the government telling private businesses what they can and cannot do in this area. If a private business wants to allow smoking in their establishment, why not? It is their private property and people can choose not to frequent that establishment. For years, smart business have provided smoking and non-smoking sections. As long as the smoke does not enter the non-smoking section, this worked very well and everybody was happy.

On the other hand, public areas, such as parks, beaches, and streets, are for everybody to use. We obviously have the right to occupy space as we walk through the area or sit/stand in place. But we do not have the right to interfere with other people’s enjoyment of the area. We should not litter, we should not make too much noise that would disturb others, and we should not pollute the air others are trying to breathe. There is no reason that the smoking minority should rule over the non-smoking majority. If smoking is allowed on the public streets, this essentially forces non-smokers to breath in the deadly pollutant or stay home. In modern society, there is no way to live without going into the public thoroughfare and allowing smoking there is dangerous. Besides, what is the point of banning smoking in a bar if I have to walk through smoke-filled streets to get there. If you don’t believe me, walk through the streets of Manhattan. In front on every skyscraper is a group of workers taking a smoke break, to the detriment of the public. Those smokers should stay indoors. The building owners should provide them with a room or area to smoke in. But in NYC, that is illegal. They are forced to smoke out on the street.

The other suggestion is that New York City should have made the vast majority of the parks non-smoking and provided small areas for smokers. This is something that I would support. However, all smoke should be kept away from the public, so smoking should still be banned on sidewalks and streets. And parks too small to have both smoking and non-smoking sections should be totally non-smoking.

Just to clarify, I thinking smoking is pointless, dirty, and unhealthy. But I think people should have the freedom to do as they wish. And on another note, many would point out the costs to society of the health care costs that come with smoking. If that were the issue here, New York City would ban smoking entirely, including in individual homes. But the issue here is the rights of individuals while in a public area.