Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bedtime Story

Dana and Trudy are best friends. 

This is them when they were only 88 years old.

They're both a bit older now.

Just the other day, Trudy came down to New York for a visit and Dana wanted to get out of the house.  So they somehow made their way to Union Square.

They were sitting in the sun enjoying the day and each other's company, minding their own business, when a very posh lady, with a TV crew trailing behind her approached them.

Could she interview them for a television show she was hosting?

I think it was Dana who shrugged 'why not', since Trudy was a bit more shy.

"What did you do with your husbands that was 'hot'?" the TV host asked them.

Trudy was aghast, but Dana didn't miss a beat.

"Well!  We turned off the lights!"

Related Posts:

Guest Artist Dana: Trudy and Dana

Draw!" Dana Commanded and Art Burst Onto The Wall

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Francisco's Sunday Memories In His New York With An Addendum Of Grace

This is Francisco.

He is from Brazil.

Unlike our other meetings this one was planned.

Still, everything was just as surprising as that first meeting one day in 2011 running past him as he took a picture of a doorway.

And everything else was just as unexpected as that second meeting in 2013, when tearing around a corner, late as usual, I almost crashed into him standing there with his daughter and her son.

Now, in  2014, we would visit at a dinner table, not a corner.

The Mariner asked, "What was your trade?"

"A diplomat."

And in unrushed time set aside, the story of Francisco's New York and all the other cities and countries he had traveled to, unfolded.  Dozens of places around the world, two daughters, decades long career.

Still,  where he returns, every year, once a year, is New York.

Sometimes alone, sometimes with family, but always here.

The memories of an 18 year old boy in 1947, leaving his country, disembarking a ship, stepping out of a cab, coming into his own...

...recounted in tender steps down old streets and, tonight, in words to new friends.


There are many things about Francisco that make New York this New York.

But, after weeks of long hours and a spectacular meal, an attempt late last night to describe that experience, even in a sweep of calligraphy, fell short.

The morning's "discussion" with the Mariner about transformation led to the challenge of describing the constant intersection between taking unfamiliar or uncomfortable action, and that all confusing term, "letting go" which sometimes means remembering that your lungs breathe in and breathe out without you yelling at them. 

Here are some moments, some reflections on unfamiliar, uncomfortable action and letting my lungs do their job:

In 2011, I was running down the street to an appointment.

Rarely stopping when late, I stopped.
Rarely engaging and asking questions, I asked.
Rarely requesting a formal portrait since taking pictures surreptitiously was a habit, I requested.

In 2013, I was, as usual, again, running down the street late.

There was Francisco, with his daughter and grandson.

At the exact intersection of the perfect second and the next moment.  If I had been later or earlier by even a minute, I would have never seen him again. 

It may have been unusual for me or for anyone.  But at dinner last night, he told story after story of that moment and the moment before, and the moment before that and the...

These moments were part of a long line of moments Francisco had in this city.  He took a step and a breath and  behold it became His New York, from the moment he stepped out of a taxi at Union Square to the moment I stopped him years ago and asked to take his picture.

That happens to him all the time.  It has always been that way, his daughter told me. 

There must be a grace that guides him, I said. 

Perhaps that is all it is:  when unfamiliar or uncomfortable effort meets breathing that doesn't need a memo of understanding, Grace unfolds.

Seeking Florence's New York, or the New York of my family, my friends, my neighbors, my city, I often just take a walk, breathing in, breathing out, just watching.  And sometimes, I meet Francisco.

Now, we are all wondering this:  when he was released from Ellis Island and put in a taxi and taken arbitrarily to Union Square and stepped out of that taxi and ran into his former co-worker and asked about a place to stay, the friend took him back to his apartment that he shared with his father.   It was on Second Avenue.

Do you remember where, I asked Francisco.

No.  But it had an elevator.   And a cinema was right across the street.  And the friend then took him around the corner to the rooming house where he settled in and began his adventure into his life.

That building which I found him in front of in 2011 is right around the corner from my apartment.

There are only three buildings on Second Avenue and that street that have elevators, mine being one of them.

We all are across the street from the cinema.

Could it be the first place Francisco visited was the place I have lived in for almost forty years?

This was His New York, Her New York and now Our New York.
Related Posts:

Lightening Strikes Twice And It Becomes Deja Vue All Over Again!

Sometimes You Get To Go Back To Your New York

When Love Was Free

Spring Has Sprung Across America

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving
And Needs Some Food



The cupboards are looking bare, and Social Tees need to restock its dry and wet food supplies for both dogs and cats. 
Social Tees enthusiastically welcome - OK.... BEGS!!!! -  for material donations at the storefront - rescue center on 5th Street  during regular hours so you can be thanked in person... and maybe even decide to adopt or foster a puppy or those fabulous cats hanging around.
If you can't stop in but want to contribute, please consider making a donation to Social Tees' Amazon Wish List here: http://amzn.com/w/WY8BHUIGRAAO
Social Tees really, really need some food for these hungry guys!  There are so many animals at the shelter and in foster homes and they all need solid nutrition.
Also always needed are other supplies like dog harnesses and leashes, cleaning products, pet carriers, litter boxes... gently USED is absolutely fine!! 
Email samantha@socialteesnyc.org if you have any questions, and THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!


This little baby and her mama, just rescued last night, are still stuck in a cage AND THEY NEED A FOSTER HOME!!!!!!
Both are sweet and friendly.  Mom is 12 lbs and baby is 5 lbs. 

Email samantha@socialteesnyc.org if you can help!!!

When you give 

Goldie and Jupiter, both rescue cats, take a meeting

you get back 
a billion times more

NEVER a dull moment

Constant yoga work-outs for the heart and any patience needing strengthening

Losing track of time playing fetch/catch with wool balls

Unexpected bursts of laughing that threaten embarrassing results but often no one is around to notice

Love that doesn't require couple's therapy or diaper changing

A reminder to rest in the sun and enjoy.


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!

 Social Tees 
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Time Of Day....

Florence's favorite song from "Guys and Dolls" was My Time Of Day.

And rather than sing Louise to sleep with "Rock-A-bye-Baby" this song became her lullaby.

My time of day is the dark time
A couple of deals before dawn
When the street belongs to the cop
And the janitor with the mop
And the grocery clerks are all gone.

When the smell of the rainwashed pavement
Comes up clean, and fresh, and cold
And the streetlamp light
Fills the gutter with gold

That's my time of day
My time of day

And you're the only doll I've ever wanted to share it with me



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

On A Clear Day Her New York
Marches To Save Forever

The March was Sunday.  The Climate Change Summit is today.  Revolution is always.

An unending sea of people kept pouring onto the 8thAvenue IND platform.

And every train pulling into the station was already crammed full of other seas of other people from other places. 

We were fed up and we were not going to take it any more.

Children on mothers' shoulders and ...

... fathers on crutches.

And these environmental scientists who had flown over other seas to be here.

The sky filled with steel birds.

And silk ones...

and a few real ones, usually considered pests, but today reminding us to speak for them and their brethren.

So we did.

Obviously a very pissed off New Yorker.

It was all very powerful and all very exciting.

To be together.

To fight together.

To stand as one.

And in a moment called for silence, to raise our hands in protest.

And then to raise our voices in rage and defiance.

and pray in protest.

It was all very powerful and all very exciting.  And very, very loud.  Except, of course, those praying in protest.

But revolution always start with a single and determined step, and sometimes it is taken alone. 

She must have been in her eighties.

She was by herself.

It took her almost 10 minutes to climb the stairs out of the subway, the sea of people pouring around her, but she didn't stop.

She would take a step, then rested, then another, then rested, then...

When she got to the top of the stairs, she pushed aside the barricades set up to keep us orderly and crossed the street to the front of the march.

It was Her New York.

And she was marching to make sure it stayed that way.

Related Posts:

The March

Desperately Seeking Her New York - An Encore

How Fragile We Are, How Fragile We Are

Birds' picture: Ted Krever

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Memories: Yearning For The Sea

Wandering on little walking paths around ancient bungalows and sandy beaches, I wondered what Florence had felt, a young woman on her honeymoon.

Here she was, in a place as different from Bushwick or Knickerbocker Village as the moon was from the earth.  Married to a person as different from her secret lover as the ocean was to a desert. 

How miserable she must have been, loving someone, but like this mermaid, far from where she belonged.  


Related Posts:

Special Encore For A Special Pride Day

Sunday Memories: On The Road

Sunday Memories: How I Learned About Love At Gramma's

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving And So Beautiful Your Heart Melts Into Your Socks


Once upon a time this way-too-cool cat was adopted two years ago as a tiny kitten named Jaws because he had a funny shaped lower lip. 

Now he's Yango, as gorgeous as can be (his lip is still a little funny, but you can't tell from this picture), and he has a very adorable doggy best friend. 

His mom says: "Yango has grown from being a cute little confused but curious kitten to a handsome, unusually long and very intelligent cat, whose favorite activities include annoying his canine brother Spuddy (mostly by making him jealous with his cuteness), meowing, stretching out, lying on top of everything (including Macbooks, phones, and humans), kneading, sticking his butt on things, and making us laugh. 

He has been such a loving addition to our family, and he really deserves to be called the 'best cat ever.' He amazes us with his character and actions everyday, and we have all learned a lot from being with him. 

My significant other is a dancer, and he even often seeks inspiration from Yango's movements! Yango is also a bit of an artist, as he likes to paw at markers and pencils when we draw, and by doing this he once sketched out his own scribble that actually looked pretty good (definitely MoMa-worthy). We are forever grateful to have found each other!"


This adorable fluffster is Princess, a seven-year old blind Shih Tzu mix, only 9 pounds. 

She is yet another one of those very poorly cared for animals whose magical, ever trusting spirit burns bright. 

Princess is very low key and a little slow moving, friendly with everyone and loves affection. Just needs a little guidance during walks. 

Her foster mom says: "This pretty girl is super sweet! She’s friendly with everyone she meets, despite not being able to see them. She’s very mellow and quiet. She’s good with other dogs and ignores cats. 

She is comfortable around the house, and knows to do her business outside. We have started taking walks on a leash, and although she is slow now, I expect her to get more comfortable with time and consistency. She can be fearful of new situations, but never barks or complains. Even though she needs some extra guidance, it has been so rewarding watching her blossom!”


These three amigos and their friends need foster homes ASAP!! 

They are chihuahua pups, 9 weeks old and super sweet and adorable! Fostering will last about 2 weeks.   Please email if you can help out!!!


 There's a reason Friday's Child
is now a part of Her New York

if only to say thank you.


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!

 Social Tees 
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

And Just Around The OTHER Corner....

It was time to say goodbye to a place that looked nothing like New York, not even Coney, but which felt like home and history in little, odd ways.

One last walk on the beach, we said. 

Of course, the last day was sunny and hot and perfect for swimming and all our stuff was packed up in the car trunk.

The walk took the time it took.  And besides, there were little bungalows with "For Rent" signs we had to investigate.  Still, at some point we knew we had to head home.

Not sure why neither of us heard the phone ring, but the Mariner's mother was trying to reach him.   Then the signal died, then we had to drive a little bit away from the beach then I got a signal on my phone then we called her back then Ted pulled over so he could talk and not drive at the same time and ... it was nothing... just making plans...

In the middle of all that, the man whose house we stopped in front of came out.

"Anything wrong?" which in New York meant "GET THE FUCK OFF MY...."

"Sorry, sorry, just had to call his mother back."

"Ok! Just checking...." which, if he was speaking New York meant, "Ok Just making sure you know you have to GET THE FUCK OFF..."

But, it didn't feel like he was speaking anything except, "OK.  Just checking..."

The gift of blarney inherited from Florence could not be stopped.

"You have a beautiful neighborhood...." and before you know it...

Mr. Chris was inviting us to check out all the seriously cool repairs he was doing to his rental property which was deceptively big inside and filled with wonderful things that had their own stories....

...and it reminded me how so often all of us living in that old, cranky building would drag one another through "show&tell", pointing out the clever solution to a weird corner or a constant leak, or what treasure had been found on the street, down the hallway, from a friend and maybe even bought in a store. 

But it was even more than that. 

Mr. Chris, not knowing us from Adam, had invited us in just like each one of us had invited in strangers, sometimes stranded in New York, or a friend of a friend of a... or, having just survived a mugging which took her keys, needed a place to rest until her roommates woke up or....

Just because the Mariner's mom called
Just because that little patch of land had terrible cell phone connection
Just because I got a signal and could get through
Just because that was the corner nearest to pull over to...
Just because...

We got welcomed into a stranger's home, got to see all the clever solutions to a weird corner or a constant leak, learned how something so beautiful and rare came to sit on that table, how that table got here, and then all the wonderful stories of his relatives in Brooklyn, especially the one who became a real estate emperor from just one little hotdog pushcart, and the wife with the gold tooth and the finished basement with the full bar and....

...sometimes the world is just one big moment of perfect timing

Related Posts:

And Just Around The Corner Was Her New York

Perfect Timing

Sunday Memories: The Door

Sunday Memories: Schneller And Her Boys

Sunday Memories: The Domino Effect

Tribes: Lost And Found

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Just Around The Corner
Was Her New York

As a friend exclaimed when I told her we were going on vacation, it must be 'tru luv' if I was willing to leave the city.

But leave we did, the Mariner happily behind the wheel of a car off to the land where Florence and Seymour may have visited on one of their long bike rides in early times of hope and love.

Rare days and sweet adventures were found on the wilds of empty beaches, sea-faring ducks and chipmunks that were cuter than any cartoon from the 1960s.

Yet,  in a restaurant at the furthest tip of land, sitting right next to us was another story of New York, immediately recognized in soft vowels that could have only been inherited from a familiar diaspora.

Born in Doctor's Hospital up on York Avenue in the 80's. Parents raised in New York to immigrants that came from the same places my grandparent had fled.  Grew up somewhere in Long Island, and then like so many, fled to the other coast that looked nothing like where he came from. 

However, the real story wasn't told in school records, house deeds, marriage certificates, or vacation plans.

When he was a teenage boy, like a lot of teenage boys, he was kinda interested in boxing.

Oh yeah? said his mom.  You know, your real grandfather was a boxer.  No, not the guy married to Grandma.  Your real one.   The Young Willie Jackson, a formidable boxer of his day.

His grandmother had divorced Willie.  While pregnant.  That was such a daring and outrageous thing for a woman to do in those days, she was called "infamous' in the papers.  But she did, and she married someone else who raised his mom and who he called Grandpa.

That didn't stop him from rushing down the very next day to the New York State Boxing Commission and talk his way into the Commissioner's office.  His grandfather's life came alive in clippings and stories and a rare photo.  It was a piece of home, as recognizable to him as his accent had been to me.

Each of us live with family secrets revealed and others suspected.  Some of us write stories.  Others take pictures. 

Young Willie Jackson's grandson gave himself a portrait.  A tattoo by his heart of his grandfather standing proud, fists posed and ready to go.

Related Posts:
And Just Around The OTHER Corner

Driving, New York Style

The Exhaustion Of Diaspora: Part Six - Home Where My Love Lies Waiting

Sunday Memories: Tribes, Lost And Found

Last of the Landsman At The Pass

Sunday Memories: On The Road

Letters At The Speed Of Light

Young Willie Jackson

It Was Our New York

Sunday, September 14, 2014

While Making Sunday Memories
Remember The First Ones

It dawned on me I hadn't been on vacation in almost 10 years.  

The decade had been filled with other kinds of trips that had little to do with floating a bit on new breezes.  It was time.

Waking up without pressures may have been a goal most desired, but as Florence once pointed out, when reaching for nirvana, you have to train for it.

So while learning how to experience time a little bit differently than the past ten year, a memory of the first vacations taken.

Originally posted Saturday, July 5, 2008


Florence, Atlantic City, 196something

There was no guarantee we'd ever go away.

Vacations were for other people. And summer was a stand-off between our need to have something to do during the day and their need to not have to think about it. Everything really worked much better when we were at school, he was at work and she was at the piano.

Time stops for no man and neither did the seasons. Summer came. Repeatedly.

I am not sure what started it, how long it lasted and when it ended but Atlantic City became our Riviera for a couple of years. And with the recent purchase of a car needed to get my father to his job out on Long Island, it was accessible.

A giddiness would fill me at the exotic motel we stayed in with an ice machine nearby and a real swimming pool that was small enough paddle across, not like the huge ocean of Pitt Street Pool.

The four of us in one room, two beds, no memory of how my sister and I negotiated sudden close space.

I just remember all the old boarding houses and cheap motels pushing the boardwalk into the sea and the salt-water taffy stands, magic peelers that made radishes into flowers, and unspoken fear and desire holding me back from swimming to China.

Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: Disciples of Soul

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving To You Like Loving And Giving Is Supposed To Be


Social Tees called her JoJo.  She was thin and tiny and tired and did a lot of sleeping in their window.  She was under a year, had been thrown out into the backyard of a building on 4th Street and when Animal Control picked her up, they wrote on her paperwork 'very friendly'.  

We renamed her Goldie.  

Her first month with us was bumpy, what with her so sick from shots.  We had to bring her to the food and the litter box. Still, she had the sassiest walk as she learned the lay of the land. But, even as she got better and would rush to greet us, any sudden move would send her cringing into safety.  

It's been a year filled with many cans of food and fierce brushings and lots of yarn throwing.  Goldie now runs to the window when she hears the neighborhood bluejay squawk in the morning, or the sirens at night.   She has her little corners to take her naps, snug and safe and sound.  

And just this morning, we woke up to find her curled up into safety between our feet.

Thank you, Social Tees.  Our hearts are bigger, our souls kinder and our home filled with love. 

You Too Can Live in the Land of Love

Fido's foster mom had to go out of town and Social Tees do not want to put this boy in a cage. 

He is about 8 years old and around 60 lbs. He's s very playful and spunky for a mature dog and makes an awesome jogging companion (he helped his former foster mom go from a 10 minute mile to a 7 minute mile!). 

But he is also super chill indoors and just wants to lie around and sleep and cuddle with you. He could use a little leash work because he pulls a bit, and he needs a little help learning how to properly socialize with other pups he meets on the street, but he's a fast learner and will be a wonderful, loyal companion to a big dog lover who can give him the attention he deserves. 

Please, please help this boy!!!  Fostering lasts 2 to 4 weeks.  Or even for the rest of your life!

Email samantha@socialteesnyc.org

Why, you might ask, does a blog that explores New York's disappearing landscape, family and home, write about cats and dogs up for adoption?

Why indeed. 
Meet Jupiter.

Click here to find out.
Meanwhile, at Social Tees 
 cats and dogs, 
kittens and puppies 
are just waiting to show you 
what real love is all about
Just like one kitten did to me not so long ago.

Social Tees  
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Preparing For Peace One Test At A Time

When this first got built, cigarettes and asbestos were A-O.K.

A lot has changed since 1952.  

So, everything got shut down and ripped up and replaced and upgraded and inputted...

Even weddings have rehearsals.

On a Friday night, folks from every department, from the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom,  forewent that movie or their friends hanging out at the bar, and instead pressed buttons and checked mics.

And made sure that when, in a few weeks, the world gathers once again and attempts to fill those sweeping walls and arched ceiling with some hope for peace, everything works.

Related Posts:

The Poetry Of Peace In Motion

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Walking The (Pretty) Walk

Ok, like I've lived as their neighbor for almost 40 years.  She's a New Yorker, 125th Street all the way. He's from the midwest but really cool.

I never walked anywhere with them.  (Unless you count going to the mailbox or up and down stairs to have dinner, try on clothes, and exchange shoes.)

Except for the couple of months when I needed a knee operation and could only hobble a few feet at a time, the Mariner and I walk everywhere.

Our first date was five hours of walking.  Our second date was 12 hours of walking.  Our third date was 11 hours of walking…OK Ok, so there was eating and drinking and occasional make-out sessions, but mostly walking.

And, no matter where we were going, I would always say, "Let's go the pretty way" and I would weave us in and out of quieter streets and small empty parks and nice avenues.

Just the other day, we all decided to go on a rare adventure together.  It occurred to me, as we left the building, that we had never all walked down a street together.

"Let's go the pretty way," she said, and she wove us all in and out of quieter streets and small empty parks and nice avenues.

Related Posts:

Flying Time

Migratory Patterns

His Ten Year Love Affair With A Keyboard

The Look Of Love Because This Is What It Looks Like

Sunday Memories:  The Iceman Cometh

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Memories: New York City

I wondered what the pigeon was remembering.

I was remembering brick like that, like home, Grand Street, the faces of women who never appeared without lipstick or stockings, unless they were at the laundry mat on a Tuesday morning, running four machines at once - colors, whites, linens, socks - and then they wore audacious curlers and important house dresses bought on sale from Klein's or Alexanders.

It was nice to see home.

Related Posts:

Sunday Memories: What The Stork Brought

Sunday Memories: Grand Street - Aladdin's Cave

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

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday's Child Is Loving And Giving
And Destined For Success


Abbey and her mama are just indescribably cute together. 

Social Tees rescued this young beagle mix from a family trying to give her up her via Craigslist a few months ago (NOT a good idea), and the lovely couple that fostered her fell in love pretty much right away and decided that Abbey had to be theirs. 

Her mom says: "Thank you again for bringing us together with Abbey! She is the absolute best addition to our family and we love her more than words can say! She is really doing great. She actually has started training to become a therapy dog!! She passed obedience 1 with flying colors and is in a 5 week program through The Good Dog Foundation so by early October she will be a therapy dog! She is so great with kids especially and brings such a smile to so many people's faces we figured it would be quite selfish to only be able to enjoy all the love she has to give! She truly is such a special girl!"


Freyja is a totally stunning German Shepherd/Lab mix, 

She is 9 months old, 55 lbs. 

SOOOOOOOO warm and friendly, just a big kid of a dog eager to love and play with everyone she meets. 

She is great with other dogs and friendly with all people. She loves to run and frolic around with other pooches and would do best in a home with a yard and maybe another dog that could be her BFF. 

Freyja is very reward driven and learns super quickly. She's eager to please! 

FOSTERING STARTS ASAP and lasts 2 to 4 weeks; email samantha.socialtees@gmail.com asap if you can help!!!!

IS A CAT!!!!

 Cali Girl spends her weekends sipping cat-puccinos, browsing the arts section of the paper hoping for a CATS revival, and dreaming of forever home with big windows past which lots and lots of pigeons flutter. 

Could you be her soul mate? 

This gorgeous, elegant kitty is amazingly affectionate and will meow when you get close to make sure you pay her the attention she deserves. She loves cuddling and petting sessions, and she's good with other animals.

 Eager to meet her? Stop by! 325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10009; 5-7pm


Come Volunteer!!!

Come Visit!!!!

 Come On In!!!!!

 Social Tees 
325 East 5th Street, NY, NY 10003