Ever read the Nancy Drew series? Nancy Drew’s father, Carson Drew, had a shiny black roadster. I felt like a Nancy Drew character as my editor and I, in her shiny blue Honda, drove from East 20 Street to 125 Street, crossed over to the westside and zoomed south to Wall Street. We were citing the locations of my next mystery, Graphic Lessons. Gigi Hernandez, a young Puerto Rican girl attending the Windsor School (90 Street and Park Ave.) as a scholarship student, lives at East 124 Street with her Uncle George, a Winslow kitchen worker who got her the scholarship, her father, Manuel, who also works at the school as a handyman and who takes incriminating photos of a NYPL department captain, Richard Holbrook (domicile: 114 East 90 Street) and his secret squeeze (1088 Park Avenue). Detective Steve Kulchek (20th Street Loop, Stuyvesant Town) is the lead investigator of a murder at the Windsor School.
Alan Rickman died at 69. In 2005, Rickman directed the award-winning play My Name is Rachel Corrie, which he and Katharine Viner – now Guardian editor-in-chief – compiled from the emails of the student who was killed by a Caterpillar bulldozer while protesting against the actions of the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip. This was not mentioned in the American media.
A friend and I attended Alwan for the Arts for the fifth annual Maqam festival. Maqam is an Arabic melody type.Tareq Abboushi and his musical band, Shusmo, filled the room and probably most of Beaver Street with the sound of enchanting, exotic music. Remember the tambourine? In elementary school, if you had zero musical talent you played the tambourine or the triangle. Zafer Tawil who plays at least five different instruments, made the tambourine rock not to mention the strap of bells around his right ankle, a yellow gourd filled with seeds and a drum.
There’s an exhibit of Frida Kahlo’s botanical drawings at the N. Y. Botanical Gardens. It’s a small but exquisite exhibit. Kahlo interests me more as a person living a tumultuous and often tragic life rather than as an artist. However, since one of the characters in my upcoming mystery, Graphic Lessons, impersonates her, I wanted to look at Kahlo’s art and get a sense of her love of tropical flowers.
Burger & Lobster on Nineteen Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is lots of fun. It’s new. It opened at the end of 2014 and it’s young and noisy. You can sit in a booth, always a plus, and the service is very good. Three entrees are on offer: lobster roll, lobster and burgers. This photo is of Steve’ Kulchek’s buddy, Hank. He eats both the lobster and the lobster roll. Lobsters give him strength, he says. Right, Bro.
I’ve just spent two days near Claryville, N. Y. It’s in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. There’s perfect air and active wildlife. At different times, I watched from my host’s window as deer frolicked under the apple trees and a bear help herself to an apple. In the daed of night I heard coyotes calling to each other. The locals claim they have killer winters but they can’t complain about August.
Felled by a bad cold, I stayed inside for most of the week reading Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods. Bryson catches perfectly the excitement of buying lots of shiny expensive hiking equipment in hopes you’re buying security and safety on the trail. His trail was the Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. I went down memory lane with the Appalachian Hiking Club. It originated in Boston but has New York headquarters as well. Bryson and his hiking pal camped. Never did I do that. Never. I was a Saturday hiker. Cadging a ride was an unusual feat. Usually, taking the subway to Port Authority and then the bus to Sloatsburg orTuxedo was routine. On the trail by 10 a.m. and back in the bus by 4 or 5 pm at the latest. A few of the memories are: a stag racing beside us judging a space exactly, and zigzagging through our straggly, bewildered line; the female photographer who took photos of the women peeing, explaining, when confronted by ladies hastily pulling up their drawers, that it was all right because it was for a photography course; the man who asked a surprised woman he didn’t know, and was never going to, if she’d swim in the nude with him for his birthday; meeting up with a bear and her cubs passed without incident, but on the trail back to the car (God bless the internal combustion machine) I kept imaging tree stumps were bear cubs.
Rather than tackling my police procedural, Graphic Lessons, or doing my income taxes, I wasted time trolling sites such as the 20 male celebrities who are shorter than you think (Dustin Hoffman – 5’ 5”, Prince -5’2”)
I gave up preparing my taxes to send to my long suffering tax man. Since I was in a hateful mood, I watched seven co-stars who couldn’t stand each other.
Finally, still coughing, I ventured out on rainy Saturday to a memorial for George Graf Dickerson. One of his daughters did the Talisman painting on the memorial program’s cover. I think it’s wonderful.