Thursday, August 14, 2014

Union Square

Now one of my favorite NYC public spaces...at least on this Sunday afternoon...

Checkers!  But not just any checkers.  When I was growing up we called the big ones Texas Checkers.

And Krishnas supplying the soundtrack.

Must have been a dozen chess tables in action (along with a seemingly ever-present Whole Foods).

Token nudity.

A street vendors inspiration/stimulation.  (Sheila bought an excellent cheap phone case from this guy.)

Apparently this clock with 8 digits count up from midnight and 7 digits counting down to midnight had been keeping bad time in both directions, but was recently corrected.  It remains remarkably unmoving art (for a number of reasons I won't bother to enumerate in this sitting)...

...particularly compared to this find!  Victor, a Cuban immigrant, called it "mixed media".  It called my name from across the Square.

Always figured the subway canopy was a nod to the Paris Metro.










Monday, August 11, 2014

Black and blues

It wouldn't be an honest blog if I didn't admit tha the vacation was, shall we say, impared. 

I have pictures of my ugly bruises, still ugly after 11 days, but I think I've hit my limit with last spring's hammock attack bruise, so I'll spare you the gorey visuals. 

Still cannot wear a shoe. Hands to shoulders, still in pain. Cannot open a twist off cap, cannot grasp, can't go to the grocery store because I couldn't carry the bags. 

It's hard to feel like the biggest klutz especially when the DH is fit as a fiddle and ends up being my Sherpa, again and again. 

Hurray for codeine. It was only with that aid that was able to walk and go places and do things and even drugged, I was far from fully functional.

Should have traveled more when I was younger, though I know why we didn't. 

Museum quality


In 11 days, we went to three art museums, one history museum, and three art galleries. 
It is foolish to take photos of art, because the are so lame in comparison to the real thing, but we do it anyway. 

Two galleries in NYC presented a curated show whose theme was Detroit. There were all sorts of things included, old and current and some whose connection to the Motor City was not clear, but it was fascinating.


This is Diego Rivera's portrait of Edsel Ford. We wondered how many visitors knew the story of how Ford convinced the directors of the Detroit Institute of Art that they must not destroy the 4 enormous murals Rivera was commissioned to paint. The images were controversial and small minds began to press for their destruction on the grounds that Rivera was a communist, but Edsel saved them. They are exquisite and amazing and, say what you will about the car named after him, Edsel Ford is a hero to all who love truth and beauty.

There was also an endless loop of the MC5 from a German TV show in 1970.


There were other items of note as well in our travels.

    I would love this bed in human size. 
    


    Not what we think of when we think of Edward Hopper.




Norman Rockwell references the Flemish painters while selling raisins. 









Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Notes From New England

No theme here...

    Books in Boston




     Makes me want a weather vane.


The ceiling of of MFA Boston as seen in the mirror they have placed on a table top. 


   We not only like visiting cemeteries, but small town hardware stores as well. 


   
    Alas, the spigot marked ice water did not deliver, but I wonder how this century old hotel in Brattleboro, VT. would have accomplished that and when.


    We ended up at the Norman Rockwell Museum, lured in by their Edward Hopper exhibit. 
    Hopper did plenty of work in the advertising field, which they showed, and hand made greeting 
    cards.


   Rockwell's studio is exactly as he left it. Above and below, some of his books.


And our final abode before NYC.










7...and 7; 14 for 2, and last card for one more...

...and so Sheila pegged out during the play to win a close one.  After running the TSA gauntlet at AUS we felt obliged to play at least one game during the trip.

Sat down in the cooling early eve at Madison Square Park, with the hour-long line for Shake Shack burgers (coming soon to Austin to give Hop Daddy a run for the money) winding behind us and Eataly visible through the trees across Broadway and 5th. 

If I looked up to my left, I could see the Flatiron peeking at me.

If I looked up to my right the ESB loomed.

If I looked down, I could see the game slipping away from me...


Ever changing

Near our flat is a lovely ornate building I'm guessing to be 100 - 120 years old, all scrolley and pillared and it's a Home Depot. 

These were banks. 

Now one with the green dome is a CVS and the other with the eagle guarding the door is a men's spa.


That's right. The old Port Authority building is now Google, with a Banana Republic at the retail level. And it's a very big building. 

There is always a crowd near the Apple store, since it's so close to Central Park. In the glass cube is the elevator and thru the cube is the former Plaza Hotel, now condos, where Mark stays once back in his radio days. 

And to think I was first in NYC when the Bowery was...the Bowery. 




Friday, August 8, 2014

Chelsea Morning






Our semi-basement flat has a door out onto a small green space where direct sunlight hits it for only a small portion of the morning, which Mark sought to capture and a neighbor inquired "Hey! Whaddaya dune." 










Thursday, August 7, 2014

Coney Island Baby











(Thinking about Tony Soprano and Lou Reed)



Here at Coney Island,
It all looks shiny and new,
Pretty, clean and polished
For its post-Sandy debut.

Tourists on the boardwalk.
Locals on the sand.
Day camp kids are everywhere
Even a marching band.

It's summer in the city
But it doesn't last for long,
So come see Coney Island
Cuz some day it will be gone. 









Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Some time in New York City...

The drive south was lovely down one park way after another and we made good time to our flat in Chelsea.
Our AirBnB host, Adam, is a very nice young man who was born in The City but lived in Israel till just a year ago. His place is wonderful and the location is hard to beat though dangerous, since were just a few blocks from Eataly, which has the best gelato I have ever tasted. Close to buses, subways and a Whole Foods half a block away. Quiet, clean, perfect. 

Mark made the trek to Newark to return the car so I might spare my aching foot, then he took the train back and after a bit of grocery shopping, we headed to the southern tip to take a clipper ship out into the bay.  

While awaiting the bus and then on the bus, had a nice chat with a woman about Austin- she has been there many times for SXSW, and she offered restaurant suggestions. I told her I was thinking about going to Coney Island and she thought it was a great idea. I thanked for encouraging me, since I wasn't sure. How did New Yorkers ever get the reputation for unfriendliness? That has never been our experience here. Heck, once a man literally gave Mark the shirt off his back! 

Freedom Tower


The weather was perfect, the sky was blue, and there were plenty of other boats to watch cross cross and make wakes. 

I don't get sentimental over the flag. It has been used and misused so many times, waved by cretins and ninnies with hatred in their eyes, I feel nothing about the the Stars and Stripes.

But Lady Liberty, well, she still gets me right there. And I know the poem by heart. 



32years later...

The scenery on the drive south into Massachusetts was really lovely.


 The sun was shining and we didn't get lost very much. (The downside of thinking you'll use a phone or tablet to navigate is the fact that there are many places where one has no signal, or it is so weak that a map won't load until well after you've missed your turn.)

Somewhere on our route I lost my jacket. I was very sorry to loose it. And my damaged body is still very damaged. My right wrist and hand ache badly and are of little use, yet I keep trying because I am right-handed. Have you ever tried to wipe yourself with your non-dominant hand? For me, it's amazingly difficult. 

That may seem a digression, but it is a description of my day. Plus, I simply was feeling yucky. My mind was other places and fretting about NYC because I still cannot wear a shoe and even in sandals, even in sandals that I have modified, it still hurts to walk. 

And all of this is a lead-in to explaining how it was that I forgot our anniversary. It wasn't till dinner, over mussels and spanikopita, that Mark mentioned the occasion.

But I will remember this 32nd anniversary because we went to Tanglwood.


They have a rain or shine policy here at the summer home of The Boston Symphony. The Boston Pops played as well, plus many young Tanglewood musicians. Shostakovich, Gershwin, Brubeck with 5 different conductors through the night, including long time Pops conductor John Williams. He did NOT conduct anything from Star Wars. Instead, we got the full overture from Raiders of the Lost Arc. Fun!


And the hand-held ticket scanners make the sound of a light saber.

Plus, the long and loud thunderclaps added a certain something to the music. By the time we got to the close, the sound effects were human made as they played the 1812 Overture.