One of my favorite characters in THE LEMROW MYSTERY, Wellington Chen, would have been intrigued by the Museum of Chinese in America. It’s in a small building on busy, chaotic Centre Street. I was especially interested in the The Lee Family exhibit. The Lee family have been in New York’s Chinatown since 1888. To this day, they have an important presence. After visiting the museum, I walked past Lee Insurance on Pell Street. It was painful to read and to see exhibits about the discrimination the Chinese endured. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 denied the Chinese the following: entrance into the country, testifying in court, owning property, voting, or marrying a non-Chinese. The Magnuson Act repealed the law in 1943.
I hadn’t been to the Union Square market in ages, but this past week when I returned, I wasn’t disappointed. This gentleman was not camera shy, nor was his dog.
This time last week I was packing my bags in Agrigento and heading to Palermo. On March 17, wearing green earrings, I returned from Sicily having been there for two weeks.
I knew something was a foot (pace Sherlock) on my first day back in NYC at the Y pool. Our water exercise instructor showed up with luscious locks and wearing lipstick. Katie Couric was in the building! We were going to be filmed. We started stripping off shower caps that some wear in lieu of bathing caps. We practiced smiling. First, the advance person got into several huddles with our instructor. We, like kindergarten children, had been told to do a particular exercise to keep us busy. Then four men arrived. One was holding a sound instrument, another a pad, another a camera and, finally, one to give directions. Our instructor sprang into action. Exhorting us in a jolly way through a series of exercises while the Couric staff recorded this seemingly impromptu session.They weren’t required to take off their street shoes, unlike the rest of us.
It sure wasn’t Sicily. Going back to Italy is stepping into a time warp. I lived there for eight years and have gone back and forth for years, dragging physical and mental baggage with me.
Agrigento was our last stop before heading back to Palermo and the States.
No service from Verizon has turned into a benefit. I’m up close with my cell and realizing I don’t need a land line, but what lousy service. There was the promise of a repair person who never materialized and no notification from Verizon. I have been without the land line since Feb. 23 and it won’t be restored until March 8, plenty of time to whine and plot an escape.
Here’s an e.e. cummings’ poem, “maggie and millie and molly and may”.
On Sunday I got out the sleigh and dogs and headed to the Frick for an all Schubert concert by Wolfgang Holzmair. The Frick Music Room is a circular space with brocade covered walls and a raised platform on which Holzmair and his piano accompanist, Russell Ryan, performed. I chose to sit and listen to the songs without aid of the provided text for fear of crinkling the pages and driving my fellow guests crazy. It was a warm, intensely melodious afternoon in snowy Manhattan.
Monday night my hiking friends and I celebrated Chinese New Year. One of our members does all the arranging with a mid-town restaurant. This year, while spinning the lazy susan, we were regaled with a brief history of the Chinese zodiac, courtesy of one of the servers. The dragon, the only mythical sign, is made up of four animals: the fish, the snake, the lizard and one other I can’t remember. Happy Year of the Horse!
Wednesday I was at the Arsenal, the building that predates Central Park, at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue. We met in the conference room that has the original 1858 c. drawing plan of Olmsted and Vaux. It won the design to expand the park.
There’s something mesmerizing about Chris Christie aka the prince of Port Authority. He reminds me of other hypnotic fat men: Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca, Count Fusco in Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White.
February 2nd: R. I. P. Philip Seymour Hoffman. The last movie I saw him in was A Late Quartet. He and the other wonderful actors created the impression that they were highly skilled musicians who had been playing together for years. Hoffman was buried from St Ignatious Loyola, another man who had his own terrors. Although there were many mourners present, not one carried the coffin. Instead, it was carried, I guess, by minimum wage employees of Frank Campbell.
stand in a long line. Secretly, I was relieved that we decided to forgo the pleasure and instead ate a delicious Chinese meal with not a vegetable in sight.