On this day (+1) in 1927, N.Y. Governor Alfred E. Smith cut the opening ribbon as a remarkable feat of engineering was completed. It was, of course, the Holland Tunnel, connecting New York City (Baghdad on the Hudson) with Jersey City (the Athens of America).
The cultural implications of this event paled even the collapse of the Berlin Wall. But the city fathers of Jersey City had anticipated the cultural devaluation that could result from this invasion from the East. And like other threatened civilizations had throughout history, they opted to go underground.
Thus the learned Lyceums which had stood on every corner were now disguised as Saloons. The classical reading salons were camouflaged as candy stores. Even the native’s renowned expertise in higher mathematics was taught underground. Their seminal work on “set theory” was passed from generation to generation on cryptic pieces of paper that strangers in the Federal government called “policy slips”. And they had their ground breaking work in “probability, permutation, fractal geometry and chaos theory” encoded in innocuous terms such as “a 4 horse parlay” or “a six race round-robin”. There is even a theory that today’s reported learning gap with Japan and Europe would disappear if problems were rephrased to replace terms like delta and beta with terms like Whirlaway and CountFleet.
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