Sunday, September 26, 2010

On the Bowery

There are only two days left to get down to Film Forum & see On the Bowery, Lionel Rogosin's part scripted/part documentary 1957 film about life on skid row.  This is a haunting, beautifully shot picture of a very different city.  If you see it in New York, you will also get the opportunity to see a documentary by Rogosin's son, which explains the genesis & history of his father's film.  A number of critics have singled out this film, & Morris Engel's Little Fugitive (1953), as pivotal & influential works in the history of cinema.

"Gypsy Circus is Next on France's Expulsion List"

Here's a video of the Cirque Romanes, which has been based in Paris for the past eighteen years, & is under threat of closure .  It seems hard to believe, but according to the Guardian, Romanes is Europe's only Gypsy circus.  I saw a show several years ago. A great experience, but something about those child performers was a little unsettling...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rite Aid for the Chop? - Never Expected I'd Ever Link to Nasdaq ...

So I was just wondering some more about that long boarded up window at the Fifth Avenue Rite Aid.  With a miniscule amount of effort, I found a slew of reports, including many just out today, on Rite Aid's recent financial woes, with the imminent closure of an upstate distribution center, & further planned store closures.  Last week EV Grieve commented on the dwindling array of goods at the East Village (First & 5th St.) store & speculated on a possible closure.  Could the much loathed South Slope store be boarding up its doors (and all its windows) soon?   Probably just wishful thinking ...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sixth Avenue & Second Street

Yet Another Tornado Photograph

Our tree problem was pretty small potatoes in comparison to a lot of the damage caused by yesterday's weather.  There are many pictures of fallen trees to be seen online today, but this one, on 10th between 5th & 6th, is particularly dramatic. This hefty tree crushed cars on both sides of the block:

Help Arrives

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tornado Causes A Little Difficulty Getting In & Out of the House...

This is something to come home to. Right now I'm getting into the house by climbing over from the next door neighbor's.  From the front door there's a barrier of branches blocking the yard.  The sidewalk is impassable.  The firemen are in action all over the neighborhood, but I don't know when they'll get to us. When I tried to figure out just how the tree was positioned, I startled some roosting birds, who flapped away into the night.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Animals Hanging Out

This sign on Union, for the 6th Avenue Animal Clinic, has faded over time, but I like it.  It's got a very non generic feel, with a bemused  looking cat half-heartedly bathing/grooming an ecstatic poodle, and another attempting to bat at a snail that wonky perspective keeps defiantly out of reach. It's way more entertaining than the banner underneath it, which advertises microchip IDs.  The guys above clearly had more fun than their tagged & chipped descendants.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Whenever I go down this block, I'm struck by how out of place these mailboxes look on a city street, & by their flimsy ugliness.  If you're paying a bundle for one of these Second Street condos, wouldn't you at least want your mail delivered inside the building?

Saturday, September 4, 2010


A couple of the rare visitors to this blog have remarked upon (or even complained about) the lack of a comments option.  I'm not that keen on putting one in, &, given that this is such a low-key & lightly travelled blog, am not convinced  that it's necessary!  I do encourage e-mails though& am happy to reply to them. Just go to My Profile for the e-mail link. I will also be happy to post responses (yes, even critical ones!) that might be of interest to readers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tulcingo Deli VI

Earlier this week, we went to Tulcingo Deli VI, in Sunset Park (5th Avenue at 55th). We enjoyed the really fresh salsa, a bright flavored melon juice, and tried a variety of tacos.  Views about two of them, the al pastor (pork) & the arabas (lamb) were mixed.  Some found the al pastor too dry, though mine was just fine, and one diner found the arabas (in a rich mole sauce) a little too spicy.  But no one expressed anything but delight in the taco barbacoa - a taco filled with tender morsels of goat.  Perfect.  I liked the tacos here better than those at Matamoros (45th St.) & at just over two dollars each for a hearty portion, they were really good value. I would definitely return.  As it's within walking distance, I also want to check out the Guerrero Food Center, which has pretty bare bones eating facilities (two tables at the back of the store) but is praised for its huaraches, tortas & quesadilla flora calabaza.  Oh & for cans of something called pulque, a fermented drink made from the sap of the agave plant, the same plant used to make tequila & mezcal.  It's supposed to be a bit of an acquired taste ...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bedbugs, Parrots

Hamill decries the latest bedbug panic... (Daily News)
Parrot poachers at work? (Gothamist)


Autobiographical writing.  Just finished Margaret Drabble's The Pattern in the Carpet, & now I've started Mantel's Giving Up the Ghost. It was wise to take a break from Mantel for a bit - you need a good deal of emotional fortitude to enter her territory.  But it's good stuff. 
The other day, I heard a recording of the contralto Kathleen Ferrier on the radio.  Ferrier died in the 1940s, but was still very popular when I was growing up.  This is definitely a voice of my childhood. I especially like her folk song recordings. In the late sixties and seventies we were still singing these kinds of songs in music class.  We were familiar with ballads, folk songs & any number of sea shanties, & we belted them out with gusto: The Keel Row, Hearts of Oak, Men of Harlech, Loch Lomond, Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron, Barbara Allen, Will Ye No' Come Back Again?  Are schoolgirls today familiar with any of these?  Our music teacher, Mrs. Pennington, was very popular with the students.  A big, brassy, chainsmoking blonde, who liked to put on an American accent for laughs, she was a nice antidote to the general stuffiness of the teaching staff.  The headmistress despised her, for all the reasons we found her fun. At some point a drinking habit began to get the better of her, & intruded on the school day. Her voice began to grow slurred, her piano playing became wilder, and one day she broke down in tears in front of the class.  Pretty soon after that she was gone.