Penn Station at Night

July 27th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Penn Station at night is one of the most depressing places in New York. When I get off the train from Long Island and climb the steps I always walk into this palatable wall of all-is-lost, give-up-now. I remember how in my youth my friend Chris and I would invariably miss the last train back to Long Island and we’d have to spend the night there. Only the young and sturdy can withstand passing a night in such relentless bleakness. Bad light, perpetually dank, and filled with dead-eyed people who seem to be waiting for it all to just be over.

It’s such an incongruous portal to NYC, which is a multi-colored explosion of anything is possible. When I climb the steps at my subway stop in the West Village, the light glimmers warmly and I feel like I’ve made it to one of the most magical places on earth. Lucky me!

So the goal is to get out of Penn Station and home as fast as humanly possible. I’m always faced with the same gamble: go left and try one of the 8th Avenue subway lines, the A, E or C? They’re closer, and these days they are packed with kids in their party outfits talking loudly non-stop, because it’s Saturday night! They will get off at my stop, switch to the L, and head out to Brooklyn, which is the place right now, especially for the young. Also, the A train is fast and Heaven is only one subway stop away.

The 7th Avenue lines to the right, the 1, 2, or 3, are far, far, away, but for some reason those trains feel more like home to me. Maybe it’s because the first thing I see when I leave the subway is a pool hall I used to play at when I was in my twenties and still feel great affection for. Also, the corner of Christopher and West 4th, which is closer to my apartment, is residential and intimate vs the very commercial and brassy corner of 8th Avenue and 14th. I almost always go right.

But last night I rolled the dice and went for the A, E, C. The universe shined down upon me. The A rolled right in and within minutes I was climbing the steps to almost-home. Lucky me! The Village is quieter these days, but it still sparkles.

I have an on-going contest with myself whenever I go out to Long Island, to get a great shot—from a moving train—of the Prospect Cemetery in Queens. Here’s what I got yesterday afternoon. Okay, not so good. I got a better one in 2012. It’s sharper. But it doesn’t show as many graves.

Prospect Cemetery, Jamaica, Queens, New York

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I Feel Sorry for Finney

July 26th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

I just watched Finney walk into the kitchen. It breaks my heart the way he walks. He has arthritis in his back legs and hip area and he walks very slowly and with a limp. Poor old guy. Plus, I feel bad for bringing The Devil into his life (aka Bleecker).

I feel bad about Bleecker because he only eats dry food, which everyone says is bad, and I haven’t been aggressive enough about getting him on wet food.

Miles Swum So Far in City Lap Swim Contest: 24 + 73 laps. I do not feel bad about that!

And here he is, The Devil himself, in a rare quiet moment.

Bleecker, aka The Devil

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When did putting yourself in a cage become a thing?

July 24th, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

These rooftop patios/enclosures/cages started popping up a year or two ago. There was one on the roof of the building next to me and now there are three. A couple of things. Maybe it feels cosy and safe to be inside one, but from the outside, it looks like you are in a cage.

When I came up to the roof on the 4th of July to watch fireworks, there were a bunch of people in the enclosure closest to the camera, aka enclosure 1 in the picture below. I don’t think you really get the idea from this angle. Maybe if you imagine a group of people in enclosure 2. I swear to God, the way they were huddled in there, looking out, they looked just like animals in a zoo on display.

And now that the enclosures/patios are right up next to each other, it’s just kinda silly. What is the point?

Rooftop patios, enclosures, New York City

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A Great Lecture about Singing by Dr. David Mennicke

July 23rd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Dr. Mennicke is the Chair of the Music Department at Concordia University. The title of his talk is: When in our music God is glorified: Trinitarian Reflections on Music, Faith and Learning. It may sound like a very religious topic for my blog, considering the fact that I am an agnostic. But I always talk about how sacred music creates a beautiful middle ground which can be occupied by people of faith and people like me, a place where we can discover and inhabit our common spirit.

Dr. Mennicke makes some of the same points, but from a different angle, and he also has a lot of other good points. I’m happy to post his talk here because the world needs to be reminded that these beautiful middle grounds exist, and that people who think differently can occupy them together—literally and not figuratively in harmony—and create something that transcends even the beauty of the music. Dr. Mennicke also can be very funny, as you will see, and there is some incredibly gorgeous music by Heinrich Schütz in his talk!

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My Cat Finney has Diabetes

July 22nd, 2014 Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Which sucks. My vet believes he got it from being on steroids so we’re going to try to reverse it by weaning him mostly off them. It’s a balancing act that doesn’t usually work so much, she warned. He also has a UTI. So, poor Finney all around. I’m going to hope for the best.

Miles Swum So Far in City Lap Swim Contest: 16 + 51 laps.

This is looking down into one of the courtyards behind my building. I just thought it was such a sweet family scene. Mom and kid and a wading pool!

Backyard, New York City

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