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. 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 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.