From a neighbor came a note so utterly unexpected, I just had to post on his behalf. Thanks Chris! I can honestly say this was way, way, way off my radar. It's this kind of thing that makes me so glad I started a blog in the first place.
|are those squirrels getting caught in a Dutch windmill? and a yo-yo in the hand of Dutch-man?|
As a candidate in the 2014 New York City mayoral race, Bill de Blasio deployed a campaign strategy that vocalized the polarization of the City of New York. Like the Dickensian portrayal of conflict between French peasantry and aristocracy, Candidate de Blasio’s iteration of class in contention called attention to the expansion of the “inequality gap” after the Great Recession of 2008. Pointing to the recovery of Wall Street on one hand and the struggle of millions of New Yorkers on the other, Candidate de Blasio was buoyed to Mayor de Blasio.
In the infancy of his first term, Mayor de Blasio announced the intent of his administration to refresh the relationship between the City of New York and its constituents. At his Inauguration, the newly sworn-in mayor promised to “give life to the hope of so many in our city.” A series of launches in 2014 further revealed the content of his intent- the signing of legislation to lower the citywide speed limit to 25 miles per hour, the re-commitment to reducing the homeless veteran population to zero by the end of 2015, and the initiative to impact student learning in 94 of the City’s most troubled schools.
The Mayor’s “refresh strategy” reveals the absence of an intention to refresh the Seal of the City of New York, the hub of government and the City itself. Like the contestation for place (equitable vs. biased, zero vs. multiple, renewal vs. exhaustion), the Seal depicts a cosmos in contention. When examining the Shield, does the windmill resemble St. Andrew’s Cross (“saltire wise”) or the gammadion cross? Does the Latin Motto translate, “The Seal of the City of New York” or “The Seal of the new City of York”? And is the “American Eagle with wings displayed” in flight or alighting “upon a hemisphere”?
On the 100th anniversary of the unanimous decision by the Board of Aldermen to re-establish the Seal of the City of New York, refreshing the Seal provides the Mayor and City Council with the opportunity to jointly demonstrate their commitment to reconciling the two cities. The following three recommendations provide a start:
- Clarify, the custodial duties of the Office of the Clerk to ensure the standardization of the Seal; too many variations of the Seal exist in the City;
- Update, the visual appearance of the Seal to reflect modern heraldic practice; in its current iteration, the Seal appears two-dimensional and unfinished; and
- Commemorate, the sovereignty of the City of New York through an annual flag day on the 15th day of June; the federal government celebrates the Declaration of Independence annually through the 4th of July holiday.