Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ask. The. Bust.

Mr. Bair bought a phone: my friend Paul at a Verizon store on the Upper West Side.

The cars from on high in Harlem.

1 World Trade Center already looms over the vertical city... from Seventh Avenue South.

Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn at dusk.

It's in Prospect Park... cannot remember the name of this edifice, which is most beautiful at night.

Newark Public Library: still beautiful in an age of brutal budget cuts.

In the foyer of Newark Public Library there is a bust of Julius Caesar, which I was photographing earlier today, when the security guard had a fit and yelled: "You can't do that! you have to ask permission!" 

So I said: "Come off it! Permission to take a photo of a work of art?"

She yells back: "Yes!! You needa ask permission!"

So I replied: "Whose permission do I need? The bust's?"

Then I went outside, sat down on the steps. About a minute later, the security guard comes out and lights a cigarette.
"May I ask you for a cigarette?" I said, sweetly and trillingly. She gave me a hard, long look, then she says:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

An out-of-shape America

Depressing but good:
The Iraq war was a kind of stress test applied to the American body politic. And every major system and organ failed the test: the executive and legislative branches, the military, the intelligence world, the for-profits, the nonprofits, the media. It turned out that we were not in good shape at all -- without even realizing it. Americans just hadn't tried anything this hard in around half a century.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Around Town

The cars they drove: a Dodge Challenger parked across Eighth Avenue from Madison Square Garden.

The things they worshiped: strange family of totem-starers on the Upper West Side.

The Man in Red: Santa, everywhere. As I keep reminding people, Santa is just an anagram of SATAN.


Don't forget, times are tough this Christmas. Above, one of many small, independent-y
businesses, heading for the history books. 

Apposite for the neighborhood: a ramshackle Christmas decoration thing in Spanish Harlem.

The secrets she told: gossiping outside a West 21st Street night club.

I: The food they ate: fruit stalls are everywhere in New York City these days. 

II: The food they ate: chicken with rice stall; nearly as ubiquitous as the fruit stall (see above).

Their lives, our memories, memorialized: a First World War memorial in Central Park.

Accursed Claus! Christmas everywhere on 125th Street.

On 175th Street, the invitation still goes forth from that famous church:
"Come on in! Or, smile as you pass."

And in Spanish Harlem again: not a neon Bible, but a neon Cross. 
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all.