Friday, May 31, 2013

GOODBYE TO  LOVELY MAY........
 
 Click on image to enlarge clendar photo for May 2013.

Click on image to enlarge calendar dates for May 2013.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

IT WAS A YEAR AGO TODAY...
 
 A year ago today, I woke up to this peaceful Harlem scene in Keek's fifth floor walk-up apartment.....
 I am staying in her lovely apartment with Chiara and her adorable roommate, Isa, because I am attending Keek's graduation, with honors, from New York City College with a Masters in Landscape Architecture in just a few days........
 This serene scene (at night you can see the Empire State Building over the tops of these buildings) belies the fact that before the day is through I will suffer what could have been a fatal heart attack.  After a year, I am just now getting around to printing the photos from the trip.....

 But the day begins in this cheery apartment in the company of my precious girl..........

 Keeks on her stoop--perhaps the five flights of stairs up and down from the apartment had some effect on my old and aging heart......

 Harlem street scape--and we're off to explore her neighborhood before meeting the rest of la familia in Queens.............


Keeks likes this bright mosaic on a building on a busy thoroughfare in her neighborhood....

One of the items on my Harlem itinerary was to check out some of the architectural gems of this neighborhood.  I have lost my informational tour papers in the year since, so I am sorry that I cannot give you all the particulars about these buildings, but basically, we investigated two apartment blocks that were designed as luxury apartments about a hundred years ago by the same architect.  This is the fancier of the two block long apartment buildings.....

Note the stone trim, roof balconies......

And the wrought iron stoops and wrought iron balconies.  This view does not show it, but this upscale neighborhood had all Bishop's Hook street lights...........


Even the negative space between buildings was treated in an interesting manner.....

And the street scape is still gorgeous today........

Like most neighborhoods in the City--wherever there is open spots, folks plant it profusely.....

And vines grow with very little tending necessary...............


What is this?--a photo from Keek's time studying Landscape  Architecture in Edinborough, Scotland?? No, actually, in this photo Kiki (looking for all the world like her grandma Anne Browne DiPalma) is standing in a little mews behind the apartment block where the owners of these luxury apartments were afforded a rare and unusual extra for the big city--garages!  And high on the hill above is City College--Chiara's Alma Mater............


It is somewhat amazing though, that this scene is from Manhattan---as you can see, some residents turned their garage's roofs into decks and balconies...........

This one was lined with tin ages ago...........

Around the block is the "sister" apartment block by the same architect.  It is less ornately decorated, but equally elegant.....

With lots of the same wrought iron trim...........

And spacious entries...........


And understated stone friezes......

A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, but they also pop up wherever there is free space in Harlem.......


So as we ascend our way up to City College, we enjoy the many interesting aspects of the neighborhood.......(by the way, after climbing a double staircase at City College, I had to take a "breather" because I was winded, which surprised me since I came from 7,000 ft. elevation in Santa Fe to sea level in New York, and I felt like I had a rock on my heart--a hint of things yet to come)

A nice old building with stained glass windows......

A dark stone Roman Catholic Romanesque church...........

More of the Bishop's Hook streetlights...........

Hamilton Grange--the 18th century home of Alexander Hamilton which was moved a few hundred feet to the base of the hill City College sits upon..............

The Scholastic Gothic tower of City College.  An architectural book about New York that I read a few years back described the college's architectural style as resembling a "bear wearing jewelry"--at any rate, I like it!..............


Hamilton Grange is a National Monument and we intended to explore it, but since we were running late, we decided to leave that for a day when Binks could join us...............


And so we're leaving Harlem and off to meet the gang in Queens..............


We met at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens--a delightful museum that has recently gone  through a total remodeling......

 Here are some shots from a flip book that we made at the museum......



There were also fun exhibits where you could dub your voice into scenes from classic movies.....
 

 Chiara tells me that the museum won architectural awards for the innovative re-design.  I love the use of all this white space culminating with a green space outside.......

 Green space is for lovers..........

 We listen to the narrative of films being shown on a large screen............

But there is still a lot of kitch left over from the original museum like this crazy Movie theatre.....

And the accompanying lobby too..............

There were lots of old-time exhibits because the movie biz started in New York after all......

Gotta get me some popcorn for the matinee...........


"Welcome to my crypt"............

Costumes from movies made in New York.........

"What me worry?"  (Yeah, I know that's Alfred E. Newman, but Yoda talks rather strange too and I think he would also say that.)

This prop from THE EXORCIST probably contributed to quite a few nightmares for movie goers.........

Sisi gets far out and groovy..............


"I'm late, I'm late for a very important date.............."

 To see these rather creepy wigs from TAXI DRIVER..........

 And another more iconic wig.............

 There is so much to do and to see in the museum............
 "Wait for me!"............

 But time is of the essence and we must soon leave the museum....


And get back on the train to get to another Flushing, Queens institution..........


Citi Field--HOME OF THE NEW YORK METS!!


We join in the excited crowds entering the new stadium patterned on the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn..


Hail!  Hail!--the gang's all here.............

We pass banners of Mets greats from the past.............

And count ourselves lucky to be together for this game............


Into the beautiful Jackie Robinson Rotunda.........


With lots of exhibits of the great man himself..................


"Courage" was something that kept Jackie Robinson going..........

Here he is signing his contract with Branch Richie on Montague Ave. in Brooklyn.......


So while the kids head up the escalators to get our seats, Sisi and I decide to check out the new Mets Museum.....

 Championship rings from the Mets two World Championships--1969 & 1986............

 The jersey from one of my favorite Mets from the past--Gary Carter.....

 And from the face of the franchise today--the excellent David Wright.....

 Ain't she pretty?--the most gorgeous trophy in sports!  I think I saw 27 of these at the Yankee's Museum...............

 Me and Mr. Met--two icons!  After the heart attack and after I got my pictures back, I was anxious to see what would have been the last picture of me that family would have to remember me by if I hadn't made it, and here it is!--me.........and of course, Mr. Met.........
Sisi loves her some Mr. Met as well............

 We have a good view of the field from our seats.........

 Nothing says "Summer" better than a beautiful night at a baseball game.........

 The scoreboard by daylight............
 And the auxiliary with my favorite little gecko............

 The Mets have hit a home run and here comes the Big Apple.........
 LET'S GO METS!!!!

But this was not meant to be a big night for the Mets.....and even though they stayed in it till the end, they lost.  This photo was taken in the final minutes before the game ended and before I began my fateful trek to Grand Central Station...........................

By the time I got to Grand Central Station, I was in trouble............After climbing three extremely high flights of stairs, I arrived at the terminal disorientated, nauseated, with aching pain in my teeth and jaw and a boulder seemingly on my heart.  I put my back against an exterior wall and slid down the wall to wait for Kiki to meet me.  I also took a couple of photos............

This is an extremely important photo to me--almost metaphysical in meaning to me.  As I will explain later, my camera was later lost and I was heartsick to think that I had lost this photo that could have been (as I learned later) the last thing I would ever see.  What I realized when I got to see the photo was that my last moments on earth were just soooo ordinary.  There was an old man buying a train ticket, a girl flirting with a boy, another man carrying a box............all in one of the most remarkable interior spaces in our country.  And the lesson I take from the photo (I had it as my screen saver for many months)and the realization about our place in the universe that it represents to me,
 is that whether we are a "star" in life or whether we are a "nobody" in life, when we are gone--we are GONE!  Life goes on--people will be buying tickets, carrying boxes, meeting members of the opposite sex etc., etc. long after we are immemorial dust.  So, all we can do is to LIVE our life, treasure our joys, not take ourselves too seriously, and realize that we are all insignificant in the grand passage of time...........................................

Fortunately for me, I was extremely lucky.....once Keekers arrived, we went by cab (with a very kind and sympathetic cabbie) to Bellevue Hospital.  Once I arrived, the staff literally "ran" through the entry process, wheeled me up to surgery and I had my artery opened up and a stent inserted in my heart.  I was in my CCU room in slightly less than an hour and remained here for the next two days..........

View from my window--Brooklyn at sunset.............

View from down the hall--Empire State Building.  It looks like there are bars on the windows, but it is just venetian blinds.  Some folks tell me "Oh, you had a "heart attack" at Bellvue?"and give me a skeptical glance  because, as you all know, on every Cop Show on TV they always say:  "He's CRAZY--send him to Bellevue!".  Yes, Bellevue IS a psychiatric hospital, but it is also one of the premier trauma hospitals in New York......


A nice view of the 59th Street Bridge from my window......

The UN Building is visible on the left side of this shot.................

Well, I missed the graduation, but Miss Chiara warmed my day--and that of the CCU staff--by coming by in her cap and gown after the graduation..........

I LOVE this girl!  She was my rock through this crisis and I am sooo proud of her too.  At the graduation today she graduated Summa cum Laude, won the Spitzer Award as the top Landscape Architecture student, won the award for best project (Her project has since won two competitions for cash awards--beating out students from Harvard and other Ivy League schools) and she was awarded a fellowship to study Parks and Public Spaces in Berlin........
I'm ready to blow this Popsicle stand........

Because I'm S-T-R-O-N-G!!......................

Pretty girls are even prettier when they smile............

We are going to be going to the DaVinci Hotel--the doctors nixed Kiki's fifth story walk-up and Frannie and Bianca will be arriving tomorrow.  Unfortunately Dwight is back in Santa Fe.  I came to NY alone--planning to stay with Keeks and save $$--how did that work out?.......

 Well, I escaped, err-- was released--from Bellevue and I REALLY am blowing this Popsicle stand..........

 And what does this award winning scholar do next?

 What else?--It's out into the street to hail a cab.  And now for the real MIRACLE part of the story:  we got a great cabbie who took us to our hotel, but the next day I discovered that I had lost my camera with all my precious photos.  After several days of detective work and dozens of phone calls, Chiara found our cabbie.  She said: " I think you might remember us, you picked us up in front of Bellevue, my Mom had just had a heart attack and I was wearing a cap and gown?"  And the cabbie said: "Oh yeah, I have your camera!"  He drove it all the way up to Harlem on his own time and did not want to take any money as a reward or for his time.  And that is the true miracle--the kindness of the human heart..............

 I love this photo that Bianca took the next day when we had a stop at Grand Central on our way to New York Botanical in the Bronx.  (At the rate I am working on these photos, I'll probably have those photos in a few months)......

 
So, thanks very much for staying through this very lengthy post, kind of chronicling "a day in the life" of this blogger.  In cardiac therapy, I learned that 42% of women who suffer a heart attack do not make it through the first year afterward, so as I reach this milestone anniversary, I would like to thank all you gentle readers for your prayers and kindness this past year--Yes, LIFE IS GOOD!!

  NOVERMBER ARRIVES WITH A BLAST OF COLD AIR Click on image to enlarge calendar photo for November 2017.  Click on image to enlarge ca...