Tuesday, March 29, 2011

City Stories: Stoops to Nuts ~ A Storytelling Show on April 12th @ 6pm

Walking downtown to see Francesca Rizzo in "Dames Like Her," her hilarious solo show at Cornelia Street Cafe (Ms. Rizzo owned the sold out crowd. The woman next to me laughed so hard she dumped a glass of red wine on my pants), I passed a bus load of out of towners near the UN. They were in from Philly, dressed light. Being chilly, I lent my coat to a few. Ran into Betty and Chloe who took a picture with Fred Frump, one of the visitors.

Barbara Aliprantis, has curated a terrific storytelling show at Cornelia Street Cafe for 14 straight years every month on the second Tuesday. Barbara is taking a sabbatical and I'm holding the candle until she returns.

My first "City Stories; Stoops to Nuts," storytelling show is Tuesday, April 12th @ 6pm @ Cornelia Street Cafe, with storytellers & songsmiths: Michele Carlo, Claudia Chopek, D.Indalecio Guzman, Amanda Thorpe, Adam Wade, Ward White. Please come down, I promise you a wonderful time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

400 Block East 85th Street ~ Now & Then

My friend, Nancy Kidney shared two pictures with me of the 400 block of East 85th Street taken in August 1942. It was a service flag dedication and mostly women and children gathered for the pictures. As you can see, the frontage of 424 is nearly the same minus the fences & gates in the now shot. Up the block on the right is P.S. 77, grammar school replaced by the Tri~Faith apartment building in the late 1960s.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Sitting Invitation On The River

Bicycling in traffic is terrible. My nerves are shot walking on the sidewalk, biking in the street with Fresh Direct trucks acting like subway mashers makes me loopy. If I have time, I head for the seawall on the Hudson where it all calms down. Thursday, I headed south to get eyeglasses and threw in a haircut for good luck. Saw the new Frank Gehry building up close and my beautiful reward: the sparkling new pier at the foot of North Moore Street. The space is happening. Since it was cold it was nearly deserted, so she and I got acquainted. We became quick friends. Here are the phone booth pictures we took together.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mommy!

Today would be Mom's 81st Birthday. I'm celebrating with a glass of milk and washing it down with a black & white cookie.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Mommy! I never had a boring day with Mom in Yorkville.

Chug, Chug, Chug...

...was all I needed to hear. I’d run from any point in the apartment and jump on. Mom’s washing machine was my rocking bronco. Old and cranky, but it still ran. Burping, coughing, and passing gas, its mechanical parts in constant resistance against one another. The machine would lift itself from its usual corner by the old sink in our tiny kitchen beginning its Ouija board dance of death across the linoleum floor. Sick of having to plug it back in when it pulled itself out of the wall socket; Mom finally gave in adding a long extension cord. This cord was my passport to ride the wide open plain from sink to wall, from wall to door across the rolling kitchen floor.

Only one rule was in play. I couldn’t wear my sneakers when driving. Early rides found me firmly planting my sneakered feet on the papered walls to maximize liftoff. This left indelible marks resistant to all Borax cleaning products. Our compromise, I wore socks. So did Mom. We each wore a pair of Dad’s thick hunting socks. Me to cleanly push off as the stage coach perilously neared the wall. I redirected my pony express out of the sage brush back onto the dirt road. Mom’s socks allowed her to slide across the floor in a fluid polishing motion till she saw her house proud smile reflecting off the burnished linoleum.

The kitchen radio played “Our Day Will Come and We’ll Have Everything” by Ruby and the Romantics, then Mom put Mario Lanza on Dad’s 1955 RCA Victrola record player. We’d sing on the top of our lungs locked in tune. The music, the bouncing machine and me, mom’s linoleum cleaning cha-cha, a chaotic orchestra playing for only us two, and Mario and we singing:

“Drink, Drink, Drink,

To eyes that are bright as stars when they’re shining on me.

Drink! Drink! Drink!
To lips that are red and sweet as the fruit on the tree!
Here's a hope that those bright eyes will shine

Lovingly, longingly soon into mine!
May those lips that are red and sweet,
Tonight with joy my own lips meet!
Drink! Drink! Drink! ”

We knew every word.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yankee Popcorn Megaphone

Last night, my friend, Zack Hample, had a book release party at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse on@ 67 East 11th Street. A cool space built with love by Jay Goldberg. http://www.bergino.com/

Zack's new book, "The Baseball," is a love letter to and on the sphere that is embedded into American culture. Zack's book is terrific and will satisfy the curiosity of demanding baseball fanatics and average fans who might say, "it's a baseball, what's all the fuss over?" Listen to Zack tell and you'll get it.

I'd never been in the space, Jay's built a sweet little baseball museum. My eyes kept coming back to one thing, the New York Yankee Popcorn Megaphone you see in the two pictures here. I love seeing something I so completely forgotten, that seeing it again I need to move furniture back into that part of brain and the memories flew in.

1965, I was 11, my brother, Rory, 9. Dad had two company tickets to a mid-week game between the Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels (they changed Los Angeles to Anaheim in September that year). The yellow paper tickets in my hands were for Barber Shipping Lines box seats just a few rows behind the Yankee dugout. I remember thinking, "Jesus, please don't let it rain!" The back of the ticket said no rain check so when Dad had company tickets you got one shot at using them. Dad was overprotective but this day he gave me a speech about watching out for my brother at all times, and he sent us with a buck each up to the 86th Street subway station. Mom protested and Dad said, "Patty, you've got to be kidding, we were on the subway when we were 8!"

Rory couldn't wait to buy food with his dollar, I planned to get a program (brought my own pencil) and a New York Yankee Popcorn/Megaphone. When Rory saw the item filled with popcorn he said he wanted one too, so we both had them. After you ate the popcorn you popped the bottom out and had a megaphone.

Half way into the game Rory got an itchy ass and we started walking from one foul pole to the other, after doing this four or five times, we came back to our seats. I told Rory it was important to properly boo the opposition.

"What do mean?"
I positioned the megaphone by my lips and let out the deepest and longest cow moo adding in the B at the mid point.
Then I told Rory, "You try."
"No, no, no, don't bring the M back. Stick with the ooooo after you bring the B in."

Then we drove the fans around us nuts for the last few innings, and later did same to the other passengers on the #4 subway ride home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Doing the Crime, Well Worth the Time

I spent a lot of time in the halls of St. Stephen's during class. An odd penalty the nuns applied when they had it with you. Sometimes, you went to the hall with no hit, and other times you were banished with a whack to the head on the way out. I was, and remain an excellent ducker.

I liked the hall. It gave me an opportunity to clear my head and plan the rest of my day. Mr. Beller's Neighborhood published a new St. Stephen's story yesterday. What did I do?

The nun caught me, but it was worth it.

Here's the link to the story.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Central Park on St. Paddy's ~ Late Afternoon

Spring sprung yesterday in Central Park. The birds flew in the warm breeze and the mounted police gallivanted near Sheeps Meadow. I expected a lot of stray people from the parade but the park was quiet. A pleasant bike ride. A few more weeks and the water fountains come back on, yes!