NYMysteries Blog April 23-April 28

Recently, I wandered around the Morgan Library. Something I haven’t done in a long time. Pierpoint Morgan and his decendents built a museum and library next to the family’s original residence, a 1882 brownstone. As Mr. Morgan’s collection grew, different buildings such as the 1928 Annex were added to the original complex. Years ago, when I entered the 1900 Charles Follen McKim building my first impression was of wood, tapestry, iron, wax and an eclectic collection of books, manuscripts and drawings that gave a glimpse into Pierpont Morgan’s many interests. The Morgan was renovated many times, often with disastrous results. The 1990’s Renzo Piano design transformed the solid Morgan complex into a J. C. Penny building, destroying the opulent, long ago atmosphere.

I’m happy to report that as I wandered through the beautifully mounted Emily Dickenson exhibit and the Symbolist exhibit a whiff of the old Morgan returned.

 

Otis Allen Bullard’s portrait of Emily,Austin, Lavinia Dickinson

Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A friend and I have an informal and infrequent lunch date at Veselka (rainbow in Ukrainian!), a busy, bustling, friendly hashhouse that’s been around since 1954. It’s a combination of NYC, Ukrainian and the East Village. Not bad, eh? It has the required foot long menu offering everything from borscht to cheese week specials.

 

 

Graphic Lessons: Recent thirty-five-year-old widow Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a stabbed and dying man, 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?

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 City Blog January 3 – January 10

Books and words are old friends, aren’t they? Fiction, nonfiction, dictionaries, picture books, maps… One of my pleasures is to browse in a bookstore or library and see familiar names across the centuries: Chaucer, Saint Simon, Emily Dickenson, Amy Lowell, Kenneth Graham, Edith Wharton, James Baldwin, E. M. Forester, Ruth Rendell, Michael Connolly, etc. Each recognized name makes me recall the book, the author, the circumstances under which I read it. When I read Simenon’s description of French life it takes me back to a rural train station near Rodez in which my partner and I had delicious

Books

homemade soup. Andrea Wulf’s Founding Gardeners whisked me back to colonial times and to the fragility of the brand new United States.

A man once told me that he enjoyed flipping open a dictionary at random to wander among the words and their derivations. One reason I enjoy the British sitcom, Black Books, so much is because it takes place in an old fashioned, hideously disorganized bookstore. I had thought of opening a children’s bookstore but chickened out when I faced the reality of cost. Reading is a wonderful way of taking a trip in time and space. Why does it grip some of us more than TV, movies and the stage?