Tag Archives: Xavier F. Salomon

NYMysteries – Nov. 17

NYMysteries  Nov. 17

Remember I Love Lucy ? I lived it the night of the Friday blizzard. I guess Mayor DeBlasio and Governor Cuomo were so busy giving Long Island City to Jeff Bezos that they didn’t have time to prepare NYC or NY state for the blizzard.  

 At around 4 pm in Friday I caught a crosstown bus to 2nd Avenue and 57th Street. There, I waited for 100 hours with about 100 people in the rising storm at the bus stop. Finally, one came. We clambered on. I got a seat! The bus moved slowly. Who cared? It was going south. You couldn’t see out the windows because of the mixture of snow, sleet and rain. At 47th Street the bus came to a stop and the driver announced that the bus was not safe to drive in these conditions. We had to get out. The bus driver stood in the middle of 2nd Avenue, arms outstretched to make sure we got from his bus, across the avenue to the ice ladened sidewalk.The cars were playing ring-around-the-rosie. They didn’t obey the traffic lights. No wonder the bus driver made his tough call BUT now what? I figured I had to walk from 47th Street to 14th Street.  I got moving slowly. There were mothers wheeling children. I saw a father holding on to three young children. People were crowded into bus stops. I didn’t join them because I figured the busses weren’t running. Who knew what was going on? When I got to 30th Street I saw a man getting out of a taxi. I speeded up and begged the driver to take me home. “Sorry. My meter’s not working,” he said. I assured him I didn’t care and told him I’d pay him $40. He took me home. When I got into my apartment, the toilet was overflowing. Water outside. Water inside. After cleaning up and after a g&t or two, I went to bed.  The blizzard roared outside. The wind’s force swept through my bedroom window and slammed shut my bedroom door. It was 2:15 am. I got up and pulled on the bedroom door’s knob. The door wouldn’t open. A plastic exercise band which lives on the knob had caught in the door, sealing it shut. I looked around my bedroom, now a cage, now a cell. All right. I’m exaggerating but it had been a tough day. At least I wasn’t locked in the closet. I emailed a wonderful neighbor who has my keys explaining my predicament and asking her to rescue me in the morning. Of course, she couldn’t, I realized. I had put on the front door’s chain. There’s nothing like fear and a need to go to the bathroom to motivate you. I tore at that exercise band. The door opened, finally.

A busy week. I was at the Frick Collection last Sunday for The Quartetto di Cremona. The musicians played their violins, viola and cello on the “Paganini Quartet” set of instruments by Stradivarious. On Wednesday a friend and I went to Curator Xavier F. Salomon’s talk about Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth-Century Rome. Valadier, the son of French parents who emigrated to Rome, lived and died in that city, committing suicide because of debts. I suggest you go to the Frick website and watch on Youtube, Luigi Valadier: Splendor in Eighteenth Century Rome. It’s breathtaking. After that, you have to go to the Frick to savor this extraordinary exhibit.

On Wednesday, my birthday present to a friend was going to the Cloisters and lunch at New Leaf. The weather behaved, brisk and sunny. We wandered from quiet gallery to quiet gallery, garden to garden. A lovely experience and only a subway ride from Manhattan chaos.




Graphic Lessons: What do a thirty-four-year old, a nine-year-old and an eighteen-year-old have in common? Murder. 

Millie Fitzgerald applies for a private school teaching job, faints on a 

An Angel
The Cloisters
The Unicorn Tapestry,
The Cloisters
A Cloister
The Cloister

dying man in the school kitchen, deals with a troubled nine-year-old, the only witness to the stabbing and with the eighteen-year-old niece of the murdered man.

Graphic Lessons: Nine-year-old Dana is the only witness who overhears a person 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: NYPD Detective Steve Kulchek is assigned the murder case at the  prestigious Windsor School. What’s bugging him? His partner being stabbed while Kulchek was buying cigarettes? Escaping an attempted car bombing?  His hated boss, Captain Dick Holbrook, being a trustee of the Windsor School?  Losing his girlfriend to Holbrook? 

New York City Blog — Nov. 30 – Dec. 4.

We went to a delightful talk by Frick Curator, Xavier F. Salomon, about an almost forgotten seventeenth-century Italian painter, Guido Cagnacci. The main focus was on Cagnacci’s weird and wonderful “Repentant Magdalene”. It’s on loan from the Norton Simon museum. Travels with Cagnacci was the name of the lecture. By means of erudition, dry wit, a charming accent and video, Curator Salomon took us on a little trip around Emilia-Romagna to the birthplace of the eccentric and gifted Guido Cagnacci. Curator Salomon also gave an evocative picture of what it’s like to be in provincial Italy, away from the tourism of Venice, Rome and Bologna. After the talk, we walked four blocks north to the restaurant, Caravaggio. So appropriate, don’t you think?

On Thursday night I took my slightly schizophrenic self to a Green Party Meeting at the LGBTQ Building. There were about forty of us stuffed into an airless room. I recognized the regulars and listened to a new group who were joining the Greens under the banner Bernie Greens.The question of why Jill Stein had collected and spent seven million dollars to investigate voting fraud in three states was raised and quickly, too quickly, shelved. The same thing happened about the question of open primaries.

Friends and I went to “A Chanticleer Christmas” at  the church of St. Ignatius Loyola. It’s an exhilarating experience to sit in an enormous, cell free zone and listen to twelve men singing in their countertenor to bass voices a medley of carols, medieval and Renaissance music.
The Gospel according to Rex Stout: Black Orchid is an organization dedicated to mystery writer Rex Stout, the creator of Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin, Fritz etc. I attended their annual dinner at the Arno Restaurant on West 38th Street. The restaurant itself could have stepped out of the pages of a Stout mystery.
Was his Quaker upbringing responsible for his reasoned approach to life? Some memorable quotes are: If my garbage has been tampered with I don’t know if it’s the FBI or the raccoon. My subconscious and I are not on speaking terms.
In addition to dinner, we indulge in quizzes based on the books and Wolfean lore. Stout was a foodie so, of course, his culinary obsession fits in perfectly with our modern interest in food and drink.
From Too Many Cooks: Nero Wolfe says, “I do not soil myself cheaply; I charge high fees.”