Thursday, February 27, 2014

Little Miss Muffin Reopens

Just got an email from the folks at Little Miss Muffin 'N' Her Stuffin'.  They are now OPEN at 768 Washington Ave, between Sterling & Park Place. Great news after a sordid expulsion from their old spot at Park Place & Flatbush.  Bring on the patties!

To Market

To someone from England, any mention of "Spar" brings to mind a commonplace convenience store or mini-mart, found on village, town or city corner.  Certainly nowhere that might make nipping out for PG Tips or a pint of milk a quasi-romantic experience.  On Klauzal ter., in a market or vasarcsarnok setting, the grocery store mission feels soul-wrenching.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vigyazz, Auto!

So Caring for the Volkswagen! (Hungarian Wiki idiom) was published in 1969.  Its author, Gyorgy Botond-Bolics, was an engineer, editor & writer, better known, perhaps,  for his science fiction than his technical publications.  Sci-fi titles  include Contemporary Wonders, & Today is ...reality tomorrow! Race to the imagination.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Real Estate Monday

With my head still abroad, I'm reluctant to dip back into the murky pool of New York real estate.  Instead, a fantasy. Imagine you've finally made the break, are leaving the city and are heading off to live a quite different life.  In a palace.  Yes, the place needs a little work, but with looks like this, it seems like a minor detail.

This good sized one bedroom Budapest apartment, including a terrace with your own gargoyle,  is currently on the market for $109,000. You can read the details here .  You could find a studio apartment in a renovated building, centrally located, in the forty thousand range.
Any thoughts?


Falk Miksa u.

Bajcsy Zsilinszky u.

Sunday, February 23, 2014


Renovated buildings side by side with others worn by decades of war, terror, poverty, neglect.  You can barely focus on one aging beauty without another demanding attention.  Street upon street upon street of scarred grandeur.

Last Week

The escalators in Budapest subway stations move ten times as fast as those in New York.  Who cares about such dull concepts as safety?  - keeping things moving makes far more sense to me.  But my week went too rapidly.  Back home, Brooklyn feels dreary & squat. I miss the crumbling grandeur of the avenues, the faces & wreaths adorning buildings, and the statues & friezes above your head or just around the next turn.  Stone figures are watching everywhere. I want to see a tram rattling down the center of a street, or a glass display case outside a store, bearing, inexplicably, a picture of jewelry and several plastic ears of corn.  I miss using my same pitiful greetings and thank yous, and the magic of their gaining a response.  I miss the cafe culture (bearded barista free), and glimpses of courtyards behind wrought iron gates.  Maybe the city's more like a Paris of the fifties or sixties - less gussied up and burnished, more vulnerable, human, tender. The faces on the streets here are interesting ones, & all ages are represented.  Elderly ladies, companionable, walk arm in arm.  At fifty degrees, small children are dressed for midwinter gales: helmeted in wool, and padded in thick jackets.  The dogs are small, alert, and particularly nimble.
I fell for the city hard.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


From the Brooklyn Visual Heritage collection, some more photographs of 20s & 30s streets by John D. Morrell, all taken in 1960.  Morrell was Assistant Librarian at the Long Island Historical Society, now the Brooklyn Historical Society.  You can see more of his work in the online collection here.   And how about those cars?

28th & Third

I was happy to see that the miniature house on 28th Street (above, far right) had a place in a Morell photograph.

27th & Third

Fifth (22nd/23rd)

Third & 31st

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

From Budapest

I have learned to navigate the public transportation, and thus am at home.  I punch the little paper ticket before each subway ride and am careful to hold onto it, in case it is inspected at the other end.  The city is a dream for those of us who love mass transit: tram, subway, bus, train, and all running efficiently.  If you're 65 and older (no, I'm not there yet) all these are completely free.  As a result you see far more elderly riders about the city.
No transport photos yet, though there'll surely be some blurry ones up here on my return.  I'm in no hurry to get back.  Last night I heard the Hungarian Philharmonic at the gilded Opera House: Gyula, Mozart, and Schmidt, with a Chopin nocturne as an encore.  The audience was wild with applause - a sweet and generous music-hungry crowd.  Let's stick around a while longer.