We took a Harbor Line sunset cruise on Wednesday. First, a delicious all fried supper with enormous tumblers of strawberry daiquiri. Then, we hopped on the 23 Street crosstown, got off at the last stop, made our way to Pier 62 and boarded a snazzy schooner for a two hour sail around New York Harbor. At the Statue of Liberty we turned back to Pier 62. The New York skyline is magical at night. Part of the magic is listening to the lapping of gentle waves and the silence on the water.
On Friday we hiked around the American Museum of Natural History. Most New Yorkers know about the controversy surrounding the Teddy Roosevelt Statue. He’s on a horse and is flanked by a Native American and an African American. The museum has mounted a terrific exhibit explaining the three figures background and the thoughts of many different ethnic groups. Ever since George Floyd’s savage murder, I have been coming to grips with my white privilege. The museum is staggering in its complexity. The dark rooms add to the mystery of the exhibits. I took many photos which I’ll be sharing in months to come.
We went to the Morgan yesterday. Remember actually, physically being in a museum? We had to sign up and were given a specific time: 11 a.m .sharp! Once there, the staff was pleasant and accomodating. At that hour I counted six other people.
In the East Room: the Library we saw the sculpted bust of Belle De Costa Greene, a member of a prominent African-American family who was secretary to J.P. Morgan and to his son, Jack Morgan. Miss De Costa dropped her father’s surname, Greene, and passed for white. The Library is a sumptuous room: the regal and pious statue of St. Catherine, the rare books, the ceiling paintings and tapestries.
In the West Room: Pierpont Morgan’s Study are the powerful portraits of Pierpont Morgan and J. P. Morgan frowning down at the room.
There are contemporary exhibits. I had seen the Jean-Jacques Le Queu exhibit on an earlier visit and treated it like one of those shows you go to for name dropping. I must have had my eyes shut. This time around I was astounded by LeQueu’s beauty and daring.
The well known photographer, Wally Wentick, took a glorious, impressionist photo of Central Park.
A tale of two Roman Catholics: Well, there’s Cardinal (Prince of the Church) Dolan speaking at the Republican National Convention and there’s Sister Elaine Roulet who helped female inmates bond with their children and created innovative programs for mothers both in prison and after release.
A friend and I took the ferry to Hoboken. We left from the downtown Brookfield Place Terminal. Ever have the happy experience in crowded NYC of being the only one on the subway? No other car on the block except yours? We were the only ones on the ferry. It was a blissful, short trip to the Hoboken Terminal. Remember wood, brass, marble, Tiffany glass? It’s all present in the 1907 terminal. Once again, there were very few people present. We cut through the train station, a look-a-like of London’s Paddington Station, and took the Hudson River walk before heading back toward the terminal. Hoboken has become posh. I’m not kidding. What would Frank Sinatra say?
On Friday, A friend and I clamped on GOVERNORS ISLAND. We took the twelve noon five second ferry from the Maritime Building at the Battery along with ten million bikes and children, landed at Soissons and trotted south around the island. We passed Castle Williams (closed) and Half-Moon Battery (closed). After we walked around the southeast corner near Buttermilk Channel, we came upon Collective Governors tent city !!!! After gawking at the tents and peering at the double bed in the single tent rooms, we looked at one another: Could we, should we, dare we enter these hallowed grounds? The answer is evident. One of us was a native New Yorker and the other was a real estate agent. The employees at the entrance couldn’t have been more welcoming. We decided to have lunch and were escorted to a tent with an open view of New York Harbor. So Laurence of Arabia. Perfect luncheon of Rockefeller oysters, watermelon salad, flatbread and lots of beer. We politely snickered at the thought that our fellow diners (seniors, white and Asian) were paying close to $700 a day for the pleasure of bragging rights that you slept in a tent on Governors Island – or attempted to. The Ladies Rooms were across a gravel yard, past a fence opening, up a ramp and voilà, you had arrived at three little bathroom/shower combos with a sweet little vanity table. After, we circled around to the Soissons land and caught the three p.m. ferry back to Manhattan.
Quite a week: medical appointments. All good. Funeral Home visit to prepare for joining the great majority. Writing a short story about birthdays and candy. Finally, no thanks to Apple, my 11Pro iPhone is receiving and sending calls.
Thanks to my friend June Hirsh…
INVENTIONS BY WOMEN
1. The Car Heater
We all owe our thanks to Margaret A Wilcox who invented the car heater in 1893!
(Margaret also invented a combined clothes and dishwasher)
This popular board game was designed by Elizabeth Magie in 1904, originally called the Landlord’s Game.
The purpose of this game was to expose the injustices of unchecked capitalism.
Her game was ripped off by Charles Darrow who sold it to Parker Brother’s 30 years later.
However, Parker Brothers later did pay Elizabeth $500 for her game.
3. The Fire Escape
The fire escape was invented by Anna Connelly in 1887
4. The Life Raft
The lifesaving Life Raft was invented by Maria Beasely in 1882. (Maria also invented a machine that makes barrels)
5. Residential Solar Heating
Solar heating for residential housing was invented by Dr Maria Telkes in 1947.
Dr. Telkes was a Psychiatrist in addition to being a Solar-Power Pioneer
6. The Medical Syringe
The medical syringe which could be operated with only one hand was invented by a woman by the name of Letitia Geer in 1899
7. The Modern Electric Refrigerator
The electric refrigerator was invented by Florence Parpart in 1914
(Florence also invented an improved street cleaning machine in addition to the refrigerator)
8. The Ice Cream Maker
The ice cream maker was invented by a woman named Nancy Johnson in 1843.
Her patented design is still used today!
9. The Computer Algorithm
Ada Lovelace is essentially the first computer programmer due to her work with Charles Babbage at the University of London in 1842.
In fact, her notes were an essential key to helping Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s.
10. Telecommunications Technology
Some of the Telecommunication Technology developed by Dr Shirley Jackson include portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.
11. The Dishwasher
The Dishwasher was invented by Josephine Cochrane in 1887. Before her time, she even marketed her machine to hotel owners and even opened her own factory without the help of a man!
12. Wireless Transmission Technology
Hedy Lamarr, a world famous film star, invented a secret communications system during World War II for radio-controlling torpedoes.
This Technology also paved the way for everything from Wi-Fi to GPS
13. Closed-Circuit Television Security (CCTV)
Marie Van Brittan Brown invented CCTV because of the slow response of police officers in 1969 to help people ensure their own security.
This invention influenced modern CCTV systems used for home security and police work today.
14. The Modern Paper Bag
Margaret Knight invented a machine that makes square bottomed paper bags in 1871.
She almost didn’t get credit when Charles Anan tried to steal her work claiming that it wasn’t possible for a woman to create this brilliant invention. (Margaret also invented a safety device for cotton mills when she was 12… that invention is still being used today)
15. Central Heating
Although Alice Parker’s invention in 1919 of a gas-powered central heater was never manufactured.
Her idea was the first that allowed for using natural gas to heat a home, inspiring the central heating systems used today
This life-saving material that is 5 times stronger than steel and used to make bulletproof vests was invented in 1965 by Stephanie Kwolek
17. Computer Software
Dr Grace Murray Hopper was a computer scientist that invented COBOL which is the first user-friendly business computer software system in the 1940’s.
She was also a rear admiral in the U.S. navy and the first person to use the term “bug” about a glitch in a computer system when she literally found a bug (moth) causing problems with her computer.
Backstory: Three years ago I bought an iPhone X at the Apple Store in Portland, Or. The technician made sure that all the data from my old iPhone was transferred to the iPhone X, that I received a discount because I was trading in the old model and the old model. was recycled.
New story: The Apple store on West 14 Street, NYC, Aug. 3. Because of my previous experience, I assumed my new 11 Pro iPhone would be all set to use. I bought it because I had dropped my X and it flashed vertical neon lines across the screen. The genius with whom I had an appointment let me assume that I’d receive full service. He introduced me to another employee who handed me a box. “That’s your 11 Pro,” she said. Apple had not removed the X data, had not followed the Portland, Or. procedure. I told a manager that the genius should have stated that Apple no longer set up your new iPhone for immediate use. He said the Covet was to blame. Apple is using the Virus to make customers do Apple’s work.$1500 later and in shock I contacted my computer specialist and we made the iPhone 11 Pro almost up and running. Except Apple had not included a Sim card so I can’t make outgoing calls.
If you go to the 14th Street Apple store be lawyer-like. Don’t be like me and assume nonexistent service.
On to good stuff. I’m attending Writers Police Academy virtual two day conference. Yesterday, courtesy of Zoom, I learned about Fingerprinting, Drugs and Homicide. Today, there’s a lively chat before the meetings begin.On to Child Abduction and Murder. Did I mention that I write crime novels??
The Irish Hunger Memorial at Vesey Street and North End Avenue is a few blocks north of the Battery and flanking the Hudson. It’s a large structure incorporating an Irish cottage and stones from every Irish county. It commemorates the over one million who starved to death between the years 1845-1852, courtesy of the English. My friend and I walked south on the Hudson. We’re both used to watching the river activity :the different kinds of boats and the ferries which are once again plying their trade to New Jersey and Staten Island. So it was great fun to look inward at the beautiful gardens and to discover The Irish Hunger Memorial. It’s a beautiful, mysterious structure not without controversy, something dear to the Irish.
The High Line from Gansevoort to 34 Street. On a blisteringly hot Sunday a friend and I walked on the High Line for the first time in four months. She arranged the by-appointment- only-visit. Promptly at 12:30 we climbed the Gansevoort stairs and wended our way through overgrown foliage. The usual rules applied: masks and six feet of separation. It’s still fun to peer into people’s apartments or should I say condos. And to watch the flotilla of boats on the Hudson. At 34th Street we were instructed to leave.
I asked Micah Busey for his Terrence McNally tiny prayer. It was the first one and here it is.
March 24th Tiny Prayer (for Terrence McNally, Tony-winning playwright, who died of complications of coronavirus):
Thank you for giving unapologetically vibrant voice to queer love that will live forever, outlasting viruses that might kill bodies, but never Truth.
Today a friend and I walked north from 14 Street to 34 Street and then we walked south in the Hudson River Park. What a marvel. The Hudson is to your left. Luscious bushes and trees are to your right blocking you from the west side traffic. In the middle is the Pier 62 Carousel. Is NYC a carousel rich town? There’s one in Central Park and one at the Battery. There are wooden benches reminiscent of fifties movies, Stone seats, mounted chairs. The bikers, bless them, stayed in their lanes and we pedestrians in ours. I couldn’t resist Frying Pan painted large on the side of a retired lightship.
Black women will celebrate Black Joy at Caveat on July 14. The women range in age from twenty through seventy. Get tickets at www.generationwomen.us.
The Rev. Micah Busey and I have been walking and talking in Washington Square Park. He’s written tiny prayers. They’re gentle, guilt free and popular in the Judson community. Micah’s first tiny prayer was written in March at the beginning of the coronavirus. Terrance McNally, the playwright, had died because of the virus and Micah honored him with the first tiny prayer.
This is a recent Tiny Prayer (for those who just want a hug):
May you reach out to someone today, through a screen or maybe a simple shift of your eyes over the brim of your mask, and invent a new sign of affection, and for just a moment, instead of focusing on the current scarcity of our most common modes of physical contact, may you focus on the abundance of creativity this time requires, have fun with the challenge, and become an inventor of new language, new customs, and newly deepened connection.
The virus has given birth to a number of blogs and webinars. Glimmerglass’s director, Francesca Zambello, writes glowing descriptions of town and country life. The photos of her recipes are scrumptious.Her tribute to Harriet Tubman is very moving. In a recent entry she announced Glimmerglass Glimpses which is Thursdays at 5:30 pm on www.glimmerglass.org. On Wednesday afternoon Jim Zogby discusses current affairs with an emphasis on Israel. The 14th Street Y offers exercise classes. Sisters in Crime has had several informative meetings. Currently, I’m signed up for Thrillerfest.