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 June 25 – June 30

We used to call it the Gay Day Parade. Now, it’s the NYC Pride March or the LGBT Pride March. And it’s political. The Trump administration has made us aware of how dangerous democracy is. Judson Memorial Church was placed at the beginning of the parade. It’s a blessing. The nearer you are to the head of the parade, the shorter amount of time you wait to get lined up and march, skip, or run down Fifth Avenue to Greenwich Village. The parade passes the Stonewall Inn where Gays stood up to the 1969 police riots. Some of the participants in the present day parade were Lesbians have a Right to Abortions, Immigration rights, Gays Against Guns. Gays Against Guns passed out their pride hymnal, topical lyrics set to familiar music. MAR-A-LAGO is sung to “Oklahoma” : “Mar-! a-Lago! Where the lies are thicker than the steak! And the weekend set will not say yet, if there’s any law you want to break!“
It was a wonderful day.

Judson Memorial Church marching in the LGBT Pride March

 

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 June 10 – June 17

The Garden and Forest Book Club meets at the Central Park Arsenal. The other members work and write in the gardening, landscaping and forest fields. It’s wonderful for me because it’s a whole new world. During these difficult political times, discussing nature is a balm. Our assigned book was Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The book introduces you to the diverse and sturdy world of mosses. Listening to the other members discuss what they do with moss is a peek into the gardening world i.e. cart it from a deserted mine to cover tree roots. After the meeting we stood on Fifth Avenue and smelled the Lindens. A lovely evening.

MTA Mural at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, near the Arsenal

57th Street and Fifth Avenue Subway Stop, near the Arsenal

Was anyone else as bored with Wonder Woman as I was? It was long (two and half hours) repetitious video game violence, humorless and predictable. Isn’t Wonder Woman a cartoon character? Not in this movie. She’s a combination of saintly, quakerly virtues and a soldier. The Amazon myth has been revamped. It’s set in World War I so the Germans are the enemy and killed with gusto. After W. W. dices up a pack of men, never touching a woman, she is sorrowful. That’s the profound part. At the finale another myth is introduced, mimicking a Harry Potter plot.We drowned our disappointment in a delicious Chinese meal. Long live Peking duck.

Fingers Crossed for a Gay Day parade without rain.

The Portland, Or. Unitarian Church’s Gay Day March fan

 

 

 

 

 

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 June 10 – June 17

June 12 was the annual Judson Memorial Church’s Kids Day. The service is conducted by the Sunday School Grand Poohbah, Andy Frantz. It’s always loving, crowded and noisy. This year Don wigs were for the wearing.

That afternoon at Judson we were treated to The Bill of Rights: Ten Amendments in Eight Motets by Neely Bruce. All proceeds went to the New Sanctuary Coalition.

On Monday we went to the last in the Studio 5 series. Damian Woetzel, the retired NYCB Principal Dancer and now the Juilliard School president, started the series. It met in City Center’s Studio 5. The audience sat in two rows of chairs that ringed the periphery while Woetzel and his colleagues discussed and demonstrated various aspects of dance. Monday evening NYCB alumni joined forces to discuss The Répétiteur’s Work. Wendy Whelan led the discussion about the répétiteur’s role, one who stages work choreographed by others. Former NYCB soloists Jason Fowler and Craig Hall discussed their work as répétiteurs for renowned choreographers Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck. Whelen said that being a répétiteur, her newest dance adventure, was the hardest thing she’s ever done. Young NYCB dancers demonstrated various techniques. It’s intimate and very NYC.

 

On Friday we made our way to Pier One, Bowling Green to see the American Merchant Marines Memorial. The artist Marisol’s bronze sculpture depicts four merchant seamen with their sinking vessel after it had been attacked. I find most contemporary realistic sculpture a failure or a joke because the subjects’ clothes are dated or don’t work as sculpture. The American Merchant Marines Memorial is perfect. The merchant marines nondescript clothing clings to their water drenched bodies. The three men are aiding their drowning comrade. The scupture’s power depends, in part, on the ebb and flow of the harbor’s tides as the water washes over the body of the dying comrade.

We ended up in Santiago Calatrava’s Oculus, the hub that replaces the Path station destroyed in 9/11. Needless to say it cost zillions of dollars and took its time being completed. It’s a spacious, white area that is a high-class mall and train station.

 

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 June 3 – June 10

Last Saturday I went to the Left Forum which is held at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Amusing irony, isn’t it? Green party member Jack Baldwin gave a well reasoned talk on Normalization of Evil in the Current Dark Age. The other participants were too busy being victims &/or celebrities to give logical talks.

A friend and I went to Boston. Having listened to the weather report I was armed with an umbrella, one coat, one jacket, two berets and a pair of gloves. The temperature was near ninety degrees. While the rest of the USA watched former FBI Director Corey, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts extensive Botticelli exhibit and were immediately steeped in 15th century Renaissance Florence. There was a charming Matisse exhibit and little duck feet painted on the museum’s floor led to a Robert McCloskey celebration of Make Way for Ducklings.

Botticelli’s Holy Family

Botticelli’s Venus

Have a bite of Espinaces Gallegas, a delcious tapas

We stayed in the Back Bay area. It’s chockablock with tiny outdoor restaurants. We returned again and again to the Tapas place. Espinaces Gallegas is a delicious combination of pine nuts, garlic, golden raisins and spinach. I kid you not. Boston beer was perfect in the surprise heatwave.

Later that day we watched snippets of the congressional investigation involving the business man and the government man. James Zogby quoted Musician Mikel Jollet  who tweeted a photo of both Trump and Comey with the tagline: “One of these two men is lying. I wonder if it’s the guy who served 3 presidents from 2 parties or the one who said Obama is from Kenya?”

 

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.

NewYork Mysteries May 28 – June 3

At the IFC, Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary is playing. What a documentary. Coltrane’s ability as a composer, musician and good husband and father are celebrated by family and friends. He absorbed Christianity and practiced charity. His music reflected this. “Alabama” was his piece written to honor four black girls killed by racists. He travelled to Japan to play for the Japanese. What a guy. He’s been declared a saint by a  San Francisco Church. I find the concept creepy but who cares?

On Memorial Day a friend and I walked around the beautiful, deserted, rainy Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. We were in the Japanese Gardens and Shakespeare’s Garden.

 

 

The Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Japanese Garden,  Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The Met’s exhibit of Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B. C. – A. D. 22) wasn’t crowded but it was dark. The lack of light added to the mysterious, foreign atmosphere. How did the farm animal ceramics survive? Military figures and their chariots abound. Since it’s on the second floor I walked down the stairs to the Great Hall. For the first time I noticed the benefactors plaques that hang on the stairway walls. Each plaque is dated in Roman numerals The first: MDCCCLXX-MCMXX (1870-1920) has a list of the rich and powerful men of that era: Joseph Pulitzer, Benjamin Altman, among others. Other luminaries on other plaques include Junius S. Morgan, J. Pierpont Morgan, John Jacob Astor and Ira Gershwin.

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.

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.

Something’s eating at NYPD Det. 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.

NewYork Mysteries May 14 – May 21

“My belief in God tells me that the most important thing you can do for another human being is help them in their time of need.” Dr. Willie Parker, a Southern Christian abortion provider, was quoted in a recent Esquire article. Dr. Parker flies in to Alabama to work at the Pink House, the only abortion center left in Alabama. Dr. Parker will be speaking at Judson Memorial Church during the Sunday service. I chose to be part of the security team – The part of me that finds everything funny was in high gear – who can resist carrying a walkie-talkie and wearing a security vest? The humor stops there. Whether or not abortion doctors should be required to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case of complications is the latest obstruction to Choice. Texas is considering a similar law. With a population of twenty-seven million people, it has just six abortion clinics. It is already law in North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah and looms over Alabama, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

I attended a performance of Jinah Parker’s SHE. It’s a choreoplay about sexual violence against women and girls. It’s ninety minutes of dance and revelation, creation mixed with real-life stories. During the Q & A post production, men and women discussed men’s ignorance about how to treat women.

Congratulations to the 111 Graduating Class of Ramallah Friends School. The Society of Friends founded the school around 1901 to provide education for Palestinian girls. It has been co-ed for many years. In spite of the military occupation, many of the graduates will be attending college in Canada, the U. S. the U. K. and the Euro zone.
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.

May 7- May 13
Warning: This is devoted to food and drink. Last week I worked the birthday gig.
Now that we’re in Monsoon season… On Sunday, we had torrential rains for five and a half minutes and then a beautiful sky. A generous friend took me to Felidia, a restaurant that’s part of the Lidia Bastianich’s eatery empire. I battled the rain on Second Avenue and Fifty-eighth Street and arrived at Felicia. It’s like a cavern, narrow and dark. After some lovely prosecco we went into the crowded, small by NYC standards, dining room. The menu is needlessly complicated and fussy. You wade through field, garden and sea offerings in Italian and English. But the pappardelle was the best pasta dish I’ve devoured in a long time.
Last Saturday, a friend treated me to Jack’s 7 Subway walk. What a great idea. You hop on and off the 7 Subway and get a glimpse of what’s happening in Queens. The diversity of cultures is evident in the neighborhood restaurants and businesses.

An Asian grocery store in Queens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I met a friend at the Frick for the preview of the portrait medals exhibition, The Pursuit of Immortality. The Garden Court is the perfect place for people gawking. The Frick serves champagne, white wine and sparkling water. No red wine. Stains, you know. We then went around the block to Le Charlot. We sat outside, neither of us feeling much pain after the Frick.

Michael Bodycomb’s photo of medals depicting Josephine Bonaparte, Ferdinand III and Leonello d’Este for the Frick’s exhibit, The Pursuit of Immortality.

 

Rosemary on Greenwich has linguine made with preserved lemon (what’s that?), pickled chili and parmigiana. It’s divine and was a perfect ending to a lovely birthday week-long party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

NYMysteries April 29 – May 6

It was a busy Saturday. The Stuyvesant Town Flea Market, put on hold since 9/11, was held on a glorious spring day. The Oval, which is the center of the Stuyvesant complex, was packed with stalls, anything and everything Stuy Town residents wanted to get rid of, families and dogs. In the late afternoon I went to Judson Memorial Church for the wedding of the century. Two men, beloved by the congregation, were being united. One of the grooms’ fathers made a profound remark: Marriage does not give you license to change your partner. In marriage, you support your partner.

 

Fresh flowers for sale at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market

 

M & M at their wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Frick concert season ended with a wonderful display of piano brilliance by the Spanish pianist, Javier Perianes. He treated us to Schubert and Debussy. The two last pieces by Albania and de Falla were spectacular.

 

Delice & Sarrason on Christopher Street is a hot vegan restaurant. I thought I’d stepped into Alice in Wonderland. Remember the mad hatter’s tea party? Everyone at the table was on the same wave length except Alice. That’s how I felt at Delice and Sarrason. People were licking their young, beautiful lips over coq au vin, beef bourguignon, coquilles St. Jacques BUT the coq, beef and coquilles were made with vegetable fibers, tapioca and potato. If vegans don’t eat meat why do they name their non-meat dishes steak frites (three types of mushrooms)? In the 1940’s Ruth McKenny and her sister Eileen, Ohio girls, came to NYC and lived in the same area as Delice & Sarrason. The musical Wonderful Town was based on McKenny’s New Yorker stories and many of the scenes take place in their dump of an apartment on Christopher.

Highlights in Jazz ended its season with The Joe Bushkin Centennial. His son-in-law, Bob Merrill, was master of ceremonies. We were treated to performances by Nicki Parrott and Spike Winner.

 

 

BMCC: Performing Arts Center
Joe Bushkin’s Centenniel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.