Tuesday, December 31, 2013

In The Landscape Of Glass And $5 Coffee, Suddenly Wonderfulness..

Mees was on the corner and EVERYBODY went there for EVERYTHING, not just noodles but if you wanted the best noodles, then definitely noodles.

Standing by the take-out counter (which was also where you stood to eat-in at the Formica tables and rickety wooden chairs) it was mesmerizing watching the cooks perform magically acts as they flew through the air.

Suddenly there would be a container of wonderfulness.  At prices anyone could afford.

Until suddenly, it was boarded up and the building was being rebuilt and we got some menu that said Mees was somewhere on the internet or uptown, but not on the corner.  There was no counter to stand at, mesmerized and anticipating delight.

The building became half-glass, a bit taller, and luxurious and the corner became filled with very delicious coffee that cost almost as much as a container of wonderfulness.

Years went by and that coffee place became almost old.  If you wanted noodles and wonderfulness, well, in this neighborhood, you'd have stand on line at a place most carefully designed  to look nonchalant.

The memory of Mees joined that soft fog of missing everything else.

Until, why just the other day, walking slowly down from the First Avenue Bus with the Mariner, newly minted as domestic partners, a sign that was maybe even a 'sign' of more good things to come, announced a counter was coming back to the neighborhood.


Maybe not at the corner, but close enough.  Close enough to once again walk over and watch cooks perform magically acts as they fly through the air.  And maybe once again there would suddenly be a container of wonderfulness.  At prices anyone might be able to afford.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Memories: The Painting


Always knew it was the Williamsburg Bridge. 

It hung on the wall by Florence's piano.

Until the bad years when, one night, she threw it out.  My father and I followed her downstairs to the laundry/garbage room on the other side of the courtyard, and after she has stormed off, took it back and hid it out of her sight behind a beat-up aluminum portable closet. 

She was trying to erase the horrible disaster one makes when one turns his or her back on their soul.  She was attempting to rewrite her life.   She was insisting on being reborn as who she was.

Soon after, I began my own repetitive diaspora.  Finally landing a new home, I took the painting from its hiding place and put it on new walls.

Years later, Florence, wanting to live again with remnants of her past, requested the painting back.   It went back behind the portable closet, now more beat-up than ever.

And after she died, I brought it back to my now old home.  One of the first things I asked the Mariner to help me with was hanging it back up on the only wall it fit. 

Like a relative you suddenly realize isn't just "Aunt" or "Uncle" but an actual person with a real life, one day I looked closely at the painting and saw that in fact it had been signed.

Maybe I was waiting for the internet to be invented.  

I found the artist.  Bill Chaiken.   Still painting at 92 years old.  Letters exchanged and I finally found out the story of the painting.

He had come from Winnepeg, Canada to New York to study painting at the Arts Student League.   He got a job at the Henry Street Settlement as the janitor, which included shoveling coal into the furnace early, early in the morning.   

On one of those early, early mornings he heard a piano being played, some classical piece.   He followed the sound to the dance studio.  And there was Florence, soon to be married but still living in the tenement on Hester Street with her mother, at the grand piano, practicing. 

Thus began a daily morning visit where, as she practiced, he sat and listened to his own private concert.

He had an artist's studio under the Williamsburg bridge, painting the "landscape seen through the lace steelwork".  He may have given the painting to her, she may have bought it.  He can't remember.

All he remembered was those early, early morning private concerts and, of course, the painting, which he was glad to see again some sixty years later.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And Wishes Everyone A Wonderful Forever Home Christmas!

There's a reason Friday's Child is now a part 
of Her New York, if only to say thank you.


MERRY CHRISTMAS TO SOCIAL TEES!!!!


Social Tees didn't need a visit from Santa this year. Look at the stash of loot (donations) the storefront rescue center got this week from our out-of-this-world-incredible supporters!!!!! 


Pet food, cat litter, crates, cleaning products, and more!!! 

Social Tees says:Omg we are beyond grateful. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY!!!!!

Do you want to foster or adopt???!!!!


 It's easy.  All you have to do is fill out a form

 

WHAT'S FOSTERING, YOU WONDER?!



Fostering lasts a few weeks, and Social Tees can provide supplies if you need them.  Fostering is SUPER important because it's much healthier for our animals to be in homes than in cages, and it expands our shelter virtually.

AND for every cat and dog that is placed in a foster home, Social Tees can pull another out of the kill shelter. So if you are an animal-lover with commitment issues, FOSTER!!!

For more info on fostering, check out our FAQs here.


WANT TO GET INVOLVED!???


VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED!



Social Tees
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003
socialteesnyc.org


 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

'Twas The Day Right On Christmas...

It was Christmas The doorbell rang and there was Kay.

Kay had been the first woman in lots of things.  Newspapers, magazines, publishing....

But, I only knew her as my neighbor Pat's younger sister, the one who, although just about blind, made sure Pat answered the phone, got fed, was OK ... the one who before the big hurricane hit was going to go unaccompanied across town to get her big sister to safety.


So, of course, when I saw Kay, practically barefoot at my front door, I thought something was wrong.

"You need to come over and help Pat," she said.

I shouted for the Mariner and rushed next door. 

And there on the kitchen island was tons of food.

From the Second Avenue Deli.

"They sent it up from Florida, but we don't eat that much.  Take what you want.  Can you see if Olga is home?"


So I got Olga from upstairs and the Mariner got a tupperware and we all had Christmas dinner standing around the kitchen island. 


**
Related Posts:

R.I.P. Rags, Our Beloved Neighbor, Our Dearest Friend

Sunday Memories: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

They Don't Have Real Food Where She Lives

In Case Of Emergency

Days Like This

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It Happens When It Happens


I had met them before.   On a Thursday.

On the same bus.  Avenue A going back up to 14th Street.

Had to run downtown to Florence's.  Stopped to talk with the staff there. Ran into an old friend as I hobbled up the stairs.  Got to the bus stop before the bus got to the bus stop.  Watched them get on at the next stop, clearly miserable in the cold weather, not sure how to get to where they were going, and and bugging the bus driver who finally told them to relax sit down I'll get you there but you gotta let me get there first...

Yeah, I chimed in, you'll be fine -  because travel on the MTA is a group participation activitiy. 

The weekend came.

Had to run downtown to Florence's.  Brought the Mariner with me.  Met with a whole bunch of people. Met a whole bunch of other people last minute.  Visited a neighbor. Stopped by the laundry room to say hi to an old friend, hobbled up the stairs, got to the bus stop before the bus got to the bus stop....

And there they were.  At the next stop.  Definitely enjoying the warmer weather.

We gave them our seats.  And before you know, we're all talking non-stop, yeah they had gotten to New Jersey alright, her former daughter-in-law was in the same anthology series I was, writing about the store her family owned - the one my bubbie used to go into and argue with her distant cousins to give her a better discount, he was a cop in Brooklyn in the 30's, in those days, ok just a short story, but in those days...

...and then of course the question about how long have you been together...

"A year and a half," she said.  "You?"

"Two and a half," we said.

"How?"

"We met online.  You?"

"At the airport."

Both heading home to Florida after some tough family stuff in New York, the plane got delayed, and the only seat left on the plane was next to him.

She sat down and said, "This is the last time I'm ever flying this fucking airline."

He thought, "Wow what spunk."

And she, 'allergic' to short men, glanced at his legs, and thought, "Wow. Tall."

Which made me and the Mariner laugh because on our first date I yelled at him when he asked if he could kiss me.

He says he said, "Ok.  I'll try later."

I don't remember that.  But I did remember thinking, "Wow.  I get to be myself with this guy."

And he remembered thinking, "Wow.  She's honest."

"I was widowed five years ago, wasn't interested in dating at all," the woman said.

"I'm 90," the man said.  She grinned.

We refrained from going, "AWWWWWW!"  After all, we hate it when the 20 somethings say that to us when we stand on line at Trader Joes.

But looking back at that bus ride, the perfect timing of running into that couple out of the blue again, the storytelling, the intersection of family and history, I guess it shouldn't have surprised either of us when in the middle of a messy house, the cats running around, the sink full of dishes and us in our most comfortable nap-time sleepy clothes, the Mariner got down on one knee...


**
Related Posts:

Days Like This

Sunday Memories: The Future Look Of Love

Conjugating Love

Part Two: The Look Of Love

Part One: The Look Of Love

Perfect Timing

Jewish Geography

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Encore of a Sunday Memory: Visiting Santa

Originally posted on Sunday, December 26, 2010



Why my Jewish parents did this or what they were thinking will forever remain a mystery.

Every year when the blinking lights went up and the store windows filled with moving animals, toys and people, my mother and father, my sister and me would leave the lower east side where nary a Christmas tree could be found and head to Macy's to look at all the Christmas decorations.

In those days, the corner window squeezed in between the Nedicks doors had a special Santa throne. We would wait in the freezing cold and then he'd suddenly appear out of the chimney or a beautifully wrapped box and the crowd would go wild as he waved through thick glass that blocked the sound of our cheering or his 'ho ho ho's.

He also lived on the 8th or 9th floor in Santaland. We may have visited him on more than one occasion but I only remember this one time.

I was in fifth grade and it was not going well. Especially math. I was worried. My father, I think, brought me up to Santaland which for some strange reason was almost deserted. I didn't quite get the "ask Santa for presents" deal. I knew it was my dad or my mom who produced the eight days of Chanukah presents. And our God which we never discussed was busy with plagues and lion dens and Israel.

I was kinda big to be climbing onto Santa's lap, but desperate times call for desperate acts. There was only one thing I really wanted that couldn't be gotten anywhere except from someone who made happy dreams come true.

I perched my ten year old self on his knee, and when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I told him. I want to pass math.

It recently occurred to me, 40 plus years later, that maybe he didn't hear many requests like that. At the time, it seemed perfectly reasonable. Passing math was beyond my own abilities, asking my parents for help was beyond theirs and our God was busy with more important things. It was going to have to be up to Santa.

As if it had already happened, he decreed, "You'll pass math."

And so it came to pass that when fifth grade ended many months later, I had passed math.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And You Want To Take Them Home!!!

There's a reason Friday's Child is now a part 
of Her New York, if only to say thank you.


 If Scrooge had asked the Ghosts for a puppy, 
it would have been this one!


Aggie, a sweet young Wheaten/Poodle mix, desperately needs a foster or forever home ASAP! 

She's only about 15 pounds, hypoallergenic, and super loving. This delicate girl just came from the vet -- she's recovering from a nasty cold and needs to be in a foster home with no other dogs and with someone who can give her antibiotics once a day and make sure she's eating and recovering properly.

She's doing very well,  BUT she just needs an attentive foster parent so she doesn't relapse! 

If you can help this fuzzy angel, please email samantha.socialtees@gmail.com ASAP. We must get this girl into a warm, loving home where she can get the R&R she deserves!!!!

 ADOPT A SNOWY DAY SNUGGLER!!!

 
Social Tees has so many puppies, kittens, dogs, and cats up for adoption. 



This weekend visit them on 5th Street (12-4pm) or head to one of these adoption events:

Petco on 86th and Lex: Puppies and dogs 12-4pm

Petco in Union Square: Kittens and cats 12-4pm



Do you want to foster or adopt???!!!!


 It's easy.  All you have to do is fill out a form


WHAT'S FOSTERING, YOU WONDER?!

Fostering lasts a few weeks, and Social Tees can provide supplies if you need them.  Fostering is SUPER important because it's much healthier for our animals to be in homes than in cages, and it expands our shelter virtually.

AND for every cat and dog that is placed in a foster home, Social Tees can pull another out of the kill shelter. So if you are an animal-lover with commitment issues, FOSTER!!!

For more info on fostering, check out our FAQs here.


WANT TO GET INVOLVED!???


VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED!

Social Tees
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003
socialteesnyc.org

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Emptying into Open


"Commence,"  Florence would command.  My unwilling fingers would touch ivory keys, and I'd begin the scales or triads or charming little piano piece for young people she was always dragging me through.

The journey through Her New York began in this room, once my first bedroom, once her last bedroom.  

Now, emptied of second-hand clothes, bent pictures, beaten up blankets, rickety old wooden furniture, radios from the 1970s, chairs found on the street, tables left behind by departing girlfriends, it comes to an end. 

Staring at the door, I heard her ghost command, "Commence."

My unwilling fingers touched camera buttons and began dragging myself through unspoken memories and inherited ghosts buried deep beneath my soul. 

**
Related Posts:

Blog with a view

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Community Garden


When the elevator opened, Wallace trotted out.

By himself.

But here's the thing about community.  He knew who we were.

So when we said, "Come on, Wallace.  Come into the elevator and we'll bring you home", he trotted right back in with us.

Each person I spoke to about buying Florence's apartment talked about the Quartchyard's community.  Their friends lived in that building.   Their kids knew each other.  They wanted to live where they could raise a family.  They wanted a home that wasn't just walls of bricks and bright computer screens.

They wanted what me and the Mariner got when the elevator door opened.

**
Related Posts:

Shona Tova, Shona Tova, a voting day for all of us, Shona Tova


Sunday Memories:  In The Garden Of Eden There Are Stars Up Above

In Memory Of Cindy: In The Land Of The Quartchyard

Pets Of Our Lives: Part 4 - Cats

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Memories: It's A Wonderful Lobby


 The snow kept away a lot of drunk Santa.  So the streets weren't too awful, except for those two looking to pee under the library stairs and when I scolded them one swore they hadn't, he promised.  

And other than the two drunk santas in mini skirts huddled in the vestibule waiting for their boyfriends, the annual gathering filled the old lobby. 



**
Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: In Between The Cracks


Sunday Memories: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future

Home for the Holidays

Sunday Memories: Home - Schnelle and Her Boys

Sunday Memories: Dead Shoes Walking



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snow Delay for Sunday Memories....

We will return to our regular schedule programming of Sunday Memories after this brief holiday interruption.

Meanwhile enjoy a brief moment between two memories at Zafi's Coffee Shop.

Photo by Joni Wong.



Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And Ready To Be Your Holiday Cheer!!

There's a reason Friday's Child is now a part 
of Her New York, if only to say thank you.


PUT A HOLIDAY BOW ON HIM !!!!!


Edgar is the sweetest, spunkiest little terrier mix you could ever hope to meet. He's about a year and a half old and 18 pounds (full grown!). He's got funky wire haired coat that you can coax into a mohawk if you pet him the right way. Edgar is amazingly cuddly, loving, and playful -- if you sit cross legged, he'll climb into your lap and flip onto his back, ready for a belly rub. He's great with other dogs and cats. This sweet boy needs a home! Interested in adopting?

OR A HOLIDAY BASKET FULL OF KITTENS!!


 Social Tees just rescued 22 kittens (including this little button) from the kill shelter, and they're kittening everything up here at Social Tees!!!! 

It's a kittenpalooza in here! This is NOT normal -- usually, there aren't many baby cats to be found during the winter months. Must be global warming... All of these fuzzies need forever homes pretty damn badly. Please come meet (and adopt) them!!!!

Do you want to foster or adopt???!!!!

 It's easy.  All you have to do is fill out a form

WHAT'S FOSTERING, YOU WONDER?!

Fostering lasts a few weeks, and Social Tees can provide supplies if you need them.  Fostering is SUPER important because it's much healthier for our animals to be in homes than in cages, and it expands our shelter virtually.

AND for every cat and dog that is placed in a foster home, Social Tees can pull another out of the kill shelter. So if you are an animal-lover with commitment issues, FOSTER!!!

For more info on fostering, check out our FAQs here.


WANT TO GET INVOLVED!???


VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED!

Social Tees
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003
socialteesnyc.or

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Some People's Old School Is Other People's Normal


.... except that my phone has a red cord.


**
Bedford Street Station, L train.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hope


Years, years, years ago I wanted.

But my dreams seemed utterly impossible, hopeless, futile.  Because no matter what I did, everything stayed so out of reach.

"I will die alone, it will never work, I'll never be... " I'd pronounce to someone trained to share a room with despair and anger.

"You can't write the end of the book until you get there," he'd answer.

Somehow, dreams slowly became my daily life.  I could see impossible wasn't.

I mean some things were.  I would never get a chance to be James Bond.  I suspect many people got disappointed by that dashed hope.

But the dream of a home, of a love, of a family, of an art, of a word, of a poem, of a story, of an eye, of some peace, of powerful prayer, of good food, of better health... of hands no longer holding a cigarette...

I couldn't see them at the beginning.  I just had to look and not see the end.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sunday Memories: Forgetting The Past


It's slow dissolving ghosts.

Each time we'd lean forward or walk past her or even when she jumped up on chairs so we could scratch her ear, Goldie would recoil, desperate to protect herself from a past she couldn't tell us about, but terrified if she didn't let us touch her she wouldn't get fed.

A thousand cans of cat food later, sometimes 8 at night, sometimes 4 in the morning, she knows even as she cringes, she'll be fed, she'll be scratched, she'll be loved.   No matter what.  She knows there are toys to chase, hands that willingly rub her belly, and lots of warm blankets and clean laundry and laps to rest in, even if it is just killing time before another can.

It is when the birds are out, she can forget the past.  For here, she gets a chance to dream, on a full stomach, of the hunt.

**
Related Posts:

The Showdown

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And Just Came Home

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And On The Mend

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And That's Why Home Is Wonderful


Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And So Cute You Just Gotta Take One Home!

THAT PUPPY IN THE WINDOW IS FREE!!!


A ridiculous number of dogs and cats are dumped at kill shelters across the country during the holidays, and Social Tees is trying their hardest to save as many as they can.

See all their adoptable animals HERE .  And please spread the word! The more awareness they can raise, the more lives they can save.

MUSE, CAT, NO DIFFERENCE!


Sammi is up for adoption too!!!!  If you are working on the great American novel, she's the perfect cat for you!

Do you want to foster or adopt???!!!!

 It's easy.  All you have to do is fill out a form

WHAT'S FOSTERING, YOU WONDER?!

Fostering lasts a few weeks, and Social Tees can provide supplies if you need them.  Fostering is SUPER important because it's much healthier for our animals to be in homes than in cages, and it expands our shelter virtually.

AND for every cat and dog that is placed in a foster home, Social Tees can pull another out of the kill shelter. So if you are an animal-lover with commitment issues, FOSTER!!!

For more info on fostering, check out our FAQs here.



SOCIAL TEES TO THE RESCUE!!!




Twelve rescue dogs and puppies (including this girl!) arrived tonight from a kill shelter in Los Angeles thanks to all of you unbelievably caring and generous donors, foster parents, transporters, and word spreaders. We couldn't have made this happen without you, and we have more pups on the way arriving later this week! Thank you so much!!! We are eternally grateful.

If you would like to help us take care of these guys and our other critters but can't foster, PLEASE DONATE CRUCIAL SUPPLIES via our Amazon Wish List here: http://amzn.com/w/WY8BHUIGRAAO



WANT TO GET INVOLVED!???


VOLUNTEERS AND DONATIONS ARE NEEDED!

Social Tees
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003
socialteesnyc.org

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Refuge


Even in the '70s, when only old men worked out on universal weights, and instead of treadmills, there was a running track above the basketball court, I hid out in gyms.  A space where I could rest my expectations of myself and instead experience possibilities.  Always a late night visit, just before closing, and when I was done, listening to the staff slowly shut down the place, like turning down the volume of a factory, the place getting quieter and quieter and quieter and soon I'd sit, finished, dressed, pondering on how I had gotten through the day and if I was ever going to get a chance to live my own life.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Home Beckons


It's that sudden moment in the middle of an autumn month when dark comes early and lamps make everyone to forget sunshine.  In that dark and light, the only thing I'm rushing to is dinner with tons of food and even more wit.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sunday Memories: The Buddhas

Mother and Son
The first time I laid eyes on her, it was like watching firecrackers laughing hysterically you just had to join in we never could stop snap crackling and popping at bus stops, in class, the girls's bathroom, once on a beach in Hawaii, but mostly on streets in her, my, our New York...
 
The last time I held him, really held him, my heart couldn't stop breaking he fit into the crook of my arm, three-months old, a tiny little meow in the middle of the night to let us know he was hungry, we adored him so much this Baby Buddha, we nicknamed him Boyfriend because he was all love, even then.