Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yorkville Paint Party 1959

1959: Around 11 am on a lazy Saturday, Mom said, "time for a paint party," got on the phone, and an hour later, her mother and her two sisters, Joan & Barbara, showed up on 83rd Street with four gallons of Benjamin Moore, two six packs of Schaefer and three packs of Marlboro. They let me control the radio. By the time Dad pulled in from Loftus Tavern around 5, they had finished painting the bathroom, Rory's and my room, and made one extra beer run. Dad took this photo of Nan, made another beer run to Parker's Grocery came back and they finished the kitchen together. Nan, Joan & Barbara returned the next day after Mass and did the living room and my parents' bedroom. Closets too. Smell drove me crazy but our junior four apartment with two coats of new paint made all the adults smile.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Manhattanhenge, Returns Tonight

York Ave. & 79 St.
Manhattanhenge is an evening event when the sun lines up with the main artery streets in Manhattan.

I took this top shot in 2012 on York Avenue and 79th Street.

Here is  a New York Times piece on Manhattanhenge from today's newspaper.

The photos below I shot last year on West 72nd Street looking west from The Dakota, and the other on York Avenue & 86th Street towards Fifth Avenue on a not so clear night when the sun was playing hard to get behind clouds.

72St. from Central Park West looking west

86St & York Ave. looking west

Monday, May 26, 2014

Poor Man's Riviera on Memorial Day Sunday

"This could be the best day in this kid's life, even if he lives to be a hundred." Yesterday, at the Poor Man's Riviera, Coney Island.

Doesn't the Coney Island mobile home bathroom left on the beach after Sandy look like the set from Woody Allen's "Sleeper?"

1967, Mr. Murphy took five of us knuckleheads to Coney by subway, i lost my eyeglasses and spent my first day there taking in sounds and smells with limited sight. stole pretzels, fat cop chased us, and we had a re-ride on Cyclone thanks to Mr. Murphy springing for all of us.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves

The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves (1953-56), Omaha Beach Memorial, Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, France.

by Donald Harcourt De Lue (October 5, 1897, Boston, Massachusetts – August 26, 1988, Leonardo, New Jersey)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Luka Bloom at City Winery

Luka Bloom is strong as ever. Last night at City Winery, he played with the audience like a bullfighter, we rode up and down at his whim. One of my favorites songwriters, up close, life is good. Walked past Jefferson Market, Bleecker Street, Seventh Avenue and Varick Street. 180 Varick is a sight as the sun descends against its bricks.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Son of a Son of a Sailor

February 1941, on a Saturday morning, my father woke up and found his father drinking coffee alone in the kitchen with only the bare winter light coming in through the backyard window. My grandmother and uncle had left for work. Dad, 11, talked baseball with his Dad while eating three bowls of cereal. My 40 year old grandfather, ill with Potts Disease, a late stage Tuberculosis, told his son he needed to rest and suggested Dad go out and play. Dad got dressed took his mother’s scarf on his father’s suggestion, then he got a long hug and a wet kiss from his father and a good bye in his ear, twice.

After my father left, my grandfather pushed himself up from the table, grabbed a bunch of towels and stuck them under the door and the windows. He pulled a chair over to the oven, stuck his head in it and killed himself. My father found his father dead an hour later and ran and get a cop.

Today is Dad’s birthday, if he were here he’d be 85 and he’d still be expecting a call a day and a kiss on the lips, hello and goodbye. When I was young I didn’t understand his strong grip on Rory and my life. He was a suffocating son of a bitch but I guess he wanted to make sure we didn’t leave him.

Lucky for me, he was the most interesting pain in the ass I’ve ever known, and I miss him each day. His artistic and mechanical talent was boundless, barely owning an education (his early schooling were movies and music at the Paramount) he read everything and could talk any subject intelligently. He knew every joke ever told, and told them well, over and over again.

Most of all he was a sailor, in his heart and in his soul. No conversation was ever far away from a reference to the sea, the Navy, the Merchant Marines, or his three trips around the world. Dad joined the Navy on his 17th birthday in 1946 after a failed attempt the previous year to get in before the war ended. After two years in the Navy he spent three more in the Merchant Marines.

If Dad didn’t meet Mom, he would have made a career at sea. He loved us dearly but never lost his yearning. My brother and I often heard, “if it wasn’t for you I’d be on the ocean.” He told me his father’s fondest wish was to be a sailor. Maybe in his heart that’s what my grandfather was. Being a sailor must have been a dreamy place to go to when he was a boy in the Staten Island orphanage and later when the disease sent him upstate to Tuberculosis Sanatoriums for 7 of his last 10 years. Maybe my Dad wanted to finish his Dad’s dream. For five years, he got the chance.

That makes me a Son of a Son of a Sailor.

This is my latest column in Ask A New Yorker

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Things Not to Do in NYC

Everybody in New York is an expert on where to go, what to see in the city.

Well, I'm an expert on where not to go.

Excluding, standing in the middle of oncoming traffic, the worst spot to stand, sit or lie down in New York City is under the guide wires at the corner of 59th Street west of Fifth Avenue near the northeast corner of The Plaza.

I strongly advise you avoid this spot.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Dancing With the Moon

Two years ago, I stopped my bike at Sailboat Lake in Central Park and watched the hawk called Pale Male search for prey. He soared over Fifth Avenue. I tired before he did, but not before I took several photos of him dancing with the moon.

Leaving the park a water fountain got all psychedelic on me. I spied 64 Crayola colors reflected in the rippling water.

I’m lucky to be in New York City, find quiet places to read and think and when the mood suits me let an impulsive sensation lift me up. New York never bores me. Here are shots from my stay with Pale Male and a public Facebook link to 70 photographs from my Central Park romp.

And for good luck, here’s Billy Stewart singing, “Sitting in the Park.”

This is my new column in Ask A New Yorker

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stoops to Nuts ~ Lost & Found

Alfonso Colasuonno
Thank you, Alfonso Colasuonno, Robin Eisgrau, John Lewis and Marie Sabatino for bringing your gold standard to "City Stories: Stoops to Nuts" storytelling show last night at Cornelia Street Cafe. Terrific tales about how impaired judgement during a blue moon can lead to a spike in your social standing score - finding your acid test Kool-Aid drummer before its too late -caution out the window when spending an evening at Armageddon with your so far no sex best friend ever and  where are you, Brian Williams?

Thank you, to an appreciative audience that came out on a warm spring evening. Thank you, Lily And Mike for keeping the customers and artists satisfied with your splendid professional service. Thank you, Angelo, Robin and Josh letting us play in your house.

Robin Eisgrau

Tonight @ 7pm, I'm bringing a story to Daniel Guzman's Lost & Found Show Book's Edition at The Gallery at LPR at 158 Bleecker Street. If you can get to the East Village stop by its a free show with a sharp gang of tellers.

Tim O’Mara (Sacrifice Fly, Crooked Numbers)
Christina Fitzpatrick (What’s the Girl Worth?, Where We Lived)
Thomas Pryor (New York Times)
Michael Maiello (Esquire, McSweeney’s)
Gabriel Levinson (ANTIBOOKCLUB)
Daniel Guzman, your host.

Marie Sabatino

John Lewis

Here are a few photos from my walk to Cornelia Street