New York Mysteries Sept. 8— Sept. 15

Isn’t the Noble Order of the Knights of Labor a scary name?  It’s very nineteenth century. The organization was progressive, promoting eight hour work days as well as supporting the first Labor Day and a Labor Day parade. It means the official end of summer, doesn’t it? September in New York City whispers of autumn: the slanted light, the wind stirring up the fallen leaves.
What better way to prepare for the imminent fall and winter than to stuff yourself with barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs and assorted relishes washed down with beer or wine. And that’s exactly what I did in Brooklyn. An old friend, a wonderful gardener, gave the perfect farewell to summer.

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Labor Day 2017

Labor Day 2017

Labor Day Cook Laboring

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries Aug. 28— Sept. 2

Isn’t Mermaid Inn a charming name? The restaurant is on Second Avenue between Fifth and Sixth Streets. In Portland, Or. Happy Hour is a tradition. Between the hours of 5 and 7 food and drink are reasonably priced. The Mermaid Inn, NYC has its take on Happy Hour: Dollar oysters, $5 beers. It’s lively and fun. The wait staff is efficient and very pleasant. Sitting inside is cozy. Sitting outside is breezy. You choose.

On the way home I stopped in at the Community Garden between First Ave. and Ave. A. Why do semi-tamed urban gardens make me think of the nineteenth century? The gardening volunteer and her adorable dog allowed me to roam around.

Lower East Side Students’ Garden

The dog followed me. The volunteer thought her dog liked me. I explained that I had some of Russo’s sausage in my bag. So much for love.

 

 

 

 

Entering the Garden

Snack time in the Garden

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries  Aug. 18— Aug. 26

I attended the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference at the Hilton. Aug. 18-20. I had promised myself that I’d be fully engaged. That meant no kindle reading, no distractions about physical appearance. (She’s fatter than me. She’s thinner than me. She’s younger than me, She’s older than me.) No day dreaming about lunch. It worked. Full marks to Writer’s Digest and the Hilton for superb organization. Discussed topics were under the headings: Getting Published, Platform and Promotion, The Business of Being an Author, Craft, Genre Studies. The hour long sessions were discussions by the speakers followed by Q & A. Along with hundreds of others I attended Ask the Agents. Barbara Poelle, Janet Reid, Abby Zidle and Jessica Strawser spelled out the difficult task of getting an agent and gave solid advice about does and don’ts. Later in the day, Janet Reid gave an informative and hilarious session about effective query letters. Most of the participants were attending Pitch Slam. Throughout the day, a long line formed outside one of the conference halls. Inside, agents were seated at tiny desks. Each applicant was given three minutes to sell the project to an agent. I didn’t do a Pitch knowing that I’d only focus on that. A frightening thought: are there more writers than readers?

NYC Eclipse prep

 

When I was in Oregon in July, the state was gearing up for the eclipse. Friends and I went to a talk about eastern Oregon having orchestra seats for the event. Meanwhile in NYC, on Aug. 21 at about 2:26 EST people gathered on sidewalks and looked up.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

New York Mysteries Aug. 13 — Aug. 17

The Italians have an expression, Autumn begins with August. It’s certainly true about New York.
Returning to NYC from Portland, Or., I walked through Washington Square Park. The piano player was missing but the figure in paint was there. Home at last!

 

Washington Square Performing Artist

Veselka’s is one of my favorite restaurants. It’s boisterous, unpretensious and friendly. Have a sip of watermelon tea.

Veselka’s Watermelon Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim is a current exhibit at the Guggenheim. Artists Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso and Vasily Kandinsky are among the many artists who are present in the exhibit.

 

 

Brancusi at the Guggenheim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Guggenheim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plum on Park

Plum on Park in Montclair, N. J. is located in a historic 1929 street car diner with table and counter seating where friends and I had a tasty lunch.

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries Aug. 6 — Aug. 12

Staff Day at the Frick. Would you like to make your own medal? Learn how to decorate leather books? Listen to a talk about Du Paquier Porcelain? Plant a container? Visit the I am not who you think I am staff exhibit? These were among the choices available to staff and volunteers at the annual Frick Staff Day. Walking around the empty galleries and sharing the delicious lunch is a wonderful way to appreciate this wonderful Collection.

Container Gardening
Frick Staff Day

 

Troy Arnold’s Ghosts of the Frick

Friends and I went to a Wave Hill Wednesday. It’s a glorious location, overlooking the Hudson River and Palisades. We had a picnic and accompaniment by a very jazzy Latino band. The variety of botanical specimens is impressive. You can stroll through a variety of tropical and annual plants, diminutive rock gardens and water gardens. Choose a sunny path or tree-lined walk to enjoy views of the Hudson at sunset.

A Wave Hill Sunset

Wave Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York Mysteries July 29 – Aug. 5

I’m back in NYC packed with lovely memories of Portland, OR. These include being with old friends and making new ones, the Inn@Northrup Station, the Japanese Garden, the Historical Society, many happy hours and Pioneer Square.
As I’ve mentioned before, The Inn@Northrup Station is a mixture of Fred Flintstone, Salvatore Dali, Portland courtesy and efficiency.

The Japanese Garden has a new campus designed by Kengo Kuma. It combines Japanese tradition and northwest climate conditions. Check out its website. It’s gorgeous.

One of my favorite sites is the The Historical Society. THE coin that determined Portland’s name is found here. Know the tale? Two of the founding fathers were in disagreement about what to name the new town. The Bostonian wanted Boston and the Portland, Maine man wanted Portland. They flipped a coin. Guess who won.

A Whirly-gig out side The Inn@Northrup Station

The Oregon Historical Society

Happy hours are a Portland tradition. Between the hours of four and six you can eat tasty small plates and drink lovely cocktails for about $20. Bartini is know for its martinis. Bamboo is a modern version of Japanese and northwest cuisine. Scrumptious.
I attended the Ninth Annual NW Book Festival in Pioneer Square which is being renovated. Toilets, anyone? The crowd was small but choice and the other participants were great to talk to.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

New York Mysteries in Portland, Oregon July 22 – July 28

“Oregon reports more hate crimes than anywhere else in the country per capita.” I’m quoting from a pamphlet that promotes friendship and building a beloved community. We went to the first meeting at the Ainsworth United Church of Christ. Bobbin Singh is the director of an organization that promotes civil rights. He spoke to about 100 people about his vision and asked us to discuss our ideas in small groups. We did. It’s slow going, isn’t it? Like most people, I’m overly fond of the sound of my own voice. But it was a beginning.

On Tuesday I listened to my favorite pianist rehearsing his Schubertiade. Michael Kelly will play two works by Franz Schubert (1797- 1828) on Aug. 18. I won’t be in Portland so Michael allowed me to attend a rehearsal at the First Congregational Church UCC of Portland where Michael is the musical director. Michael played two pieces that Schubert wrote in the final years of his life. Schubert dead at 31 because of syphilis. Here we are in the Church’s Sanctuary.

 

Michael Kelly playing Schubert.

The Seventeen year old film, Best in Show, still resonates with those of us who go to dog shows to laugh. It’s a close knit society and if you don’t belong you might feel like Alice at the Mad Hatters Tea Party. In other words, everybody is on the same wave

Portland Dog Show

Tony Starlight

length except you.We went to a Portland Kennel Club dog show and watched terriers: Welsh,Rat, Norfolk, Scottish being brushed, curled, groomed to walk around in circles to be judged.

 

Tony Starlight? The name conjures up a fast talking guitar player from the 70’s, right? Tony Starlight made music in public for free and it was blast. Neil Diamond, Elton John, you name it.

 

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

New York Mysteries in Portland, Oregon July 15- July 22

July 15 Vive la France, “Je souhaite à toutes les Françaises, à tous les Français, une fête nationale sereine et joyeuse. Vive la République et vive la France!”
— Emmanuel Macron, 14 juillet 2017.
A friend and I celebrated Bastille Day in Jamison Square. How best to honor French culture? By eating the lovely cuisine. Both savory and sweet crêpes were prepared by two hard-working French speaking women. In Portland, standing in line is an art. No whining, no pushing, just patience. There was the annual waiters race. On a tray, each waiter carried a glass bottle and a glass, both filled with water. Dropping one, disqualified the waiter. The race was held on a walkway that circled Jamison Square.

 

The Waiters Race

July 15 was a busy Portland Saturday. While waiters were racing, The Big Float celebrating the Willamette River was held. All you needed was a life jacket, an inner tube or kayak and a sense of fun.

The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival was held the next day at the base of St. Johns bridge in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of Portland. It was a balmy day, perfect for sitting outside on a blanket surrounded by lush greenery, friends and jazz.

Sen. John McCain has been diagnosed with a very aggressive brain tumor. Condolences to Senator John McCain.He’s a public figure who’s a product of mid-twentieth century America. He does have worries but he does not have to worry about health care. The Mayo Clinic will treat him like royalty. The irony is that Mitch McConnell held up the final vote on the Republican Health Care bill. Now, that has gone south. Had McCain not been diagnosed with a serious illness he could have voted for a new health care bill that would have deprived millions of Americans of the stellar treatment he will receive.

From Alphabet City to Alphabet City: in NYC I live in Alphabet City and in Portland I stay in Alphabet City. How’s that for a coincidence?

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

 

 

New York Mysteries in Portland, Oregon July 8- July 15

Come Sleep With Us? Why not? That’s the motto of funky, efficient Inn@Northrup Station. Let me show you some of the charm. Back to Salvatore Dali land…

 

 

Guess what this object is.

Follow the colorful carpet

Welcome to the Inn

 

Among the Portland rituals my friends and I observe are martinis at the Benson and going to the Mississippi Street Fair. Mississippi is a street in north Portland. After eating the best mussels in the world we attended a too short exhibit of Taiko drums.

One of my favorite movie houses is the Bagdad in the Hawthorne section. It’s enormous and wrapped in red plush. You can order a pub meal and lovely Oregon wine delivered to your seat. Before you ask, there’s a section equipped for eating in the dark. A platform extends down the designated food aisle. Unfortunately, the Bagdad seems to show only Planet of the Apes.

One of my friends goes to Sundance each year. He raved about The Big Sick. Kumail Nanjiani, the Pakistani-American protagonist, is a charmer and very funny. He has a rubbery, handsome face that dominates the screen. It was a pleasure to sit through a movie without guns and drones.

 

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.

 

 

New York Mysteries in Portland, Oregon July 1 – July 8

“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”
John Adams

Onward….

I’m spending some summer time in Portland, OR. The NYC-Portland Delta flight was smooth. I had remembered Delta as a dating site for attendants who were busy pleasing male customers. No more. At least not on this flight. Gone are the fly me girls. Now, there are mature people who concentrate on service to everyone.

As my pals know, I’ve had some unforgettable, slightly grusome experiences during my previous visits: last year’s airbnb, the Amtrak caper where many others and I were forced to sleep in the Lounge. I hasten to add that I’ve stayed in a charming cottage, a cool basement, Victorian hotels with very modern rates and am now at the Inn@ Northrup Station. Over a yearly ritual, martinis at the Benson, a dear friend told me that Northrup Station was originally built to provide lodging for flying attendants. Imagine handing Salvator Dali buckets of paint and a gift card to a second hand store . Result: The Northrup. It’s oddly charming or charmingly odd. Chartreuse dominates, animal prints, free streetcar passes.The weather is a silky coolness.

Says it all.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man in the school kitchen, deals with the only witness to the stabbing – a troubled nine-year-old, develops a crush on a NYPD detective and her dog dies.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears three people fighting with George Lopez, the soon to be stabbed Windsor School kitchen worker. Who can she tell? Her mother who never listens or accuses her of lying? Her father who’s started a new family in Singapore? She tells Millie.

Graphic Lessons: Something’s eating at NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek: a failed marriage? surviving a car bomb? his girlfriend marrying his corrupt boss? screwing up an important case? It doesn’t matter because he’s relentless.