Monday, May 19, 2014

Spending time with Eve..

  "When you bring consciousness to anything, things begin to shift.”     
                                                                                                                        Eve Ensler

Eve at the NYPL
Funny, the last couple of weeks I’ve been “spending time” with Eve Ensler again, which is always powerful and moving.  The NYPL had a discussion series with authors, Books at Noon, and Eve was the final author for the season.  From the NYPL website: “Eve Ensler is an author and award-winning playwright.  Her theatrical works include The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body, and Necessary Targets. She’s also written a political memoir, Insecure at Last, and I Am An Emotional Creature which she has adapted for the stage.  Ensler is the founder of V-day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls.”   This amazing woman never fails to move me.  I bought two copies of her most recent memoir, In the Body of the World, A memoir of Cancer and Connection.   (Sorry Katie, as I read your copy while eating lunch at the Bryant Park CafĂ©, the bartender dumped water all over it, and my phone!.  And, I’ve been dragging it all over the city reading it, often with tears in my eyes.  Your copy will be “gently used.”)
Deepak Homebase
Eve & Christine
I feel honored and privileged to help VDay in any small way that I can, so I jumped at the opportunity when the Communications & Special Events Director asked if I could help out at a very special event at ABC Carpet and Home, which has a gorgeous event space, Deepak Homebase.  From VDay : “Eve Ensler will be sitting down with our dear friend and colleague, V-Day Congo Director/Director of City of Joy Christine Schuler Deschryver for a special RISE4JUSTICE event and reception at ABC Carpet & Home in NYC.  Christine is traveling in from Bukavu, DRC for this one-night only evening and all of us at V-Day encourage you to attend.  The conversation will be a unique opportunity to hear directly from Christine about the situation facing women and girls in Congo, and the work being done on the ground to end the violence.”   It was a very special night, and my heart sang when one of’s associates said it was like a mini-reunion of VDay!  (I invited a very special Lady to crash with me as she comes down from NH to be a part of any and everything VDay.  It was like having a pajama party!)
Mixed in with Vday activities, of course, many explorations have been thoroughly enjoyed, especially with the glorious spring I am so grateful for.  One of my favs from the Food Film Festival has been organizing Burger Week in NYC for 3 years.  My Library Friend and I had fun at the Cinco de Mayo Burger Feast at The Bar Room.  (She then came to my Sojourn for Monday music.  She understands my love for it!)
After spending most of an afternoon reading Eve Ensler’s memoir in Bryant Park, I headed to the Tribeca Cinemas downtown for a very special Food Film Festival screening of George Motz’ Hamburger America.  The 10th anniversary of the film that started the whole concept and celebration of the Food Film Festival!

The Food Bank of NYC very graciously hosted a thank you event at Frames, a cool bowling facility near Penn Station, for people who played at the Wine and Food Festival last October.  It was wonderful to connect and really get to know one of my other event leads.  She shared a lot and gave me great information and food for thought on my next steps professionally.

Seen while training!
But, I can put the nightmare of sending resumes into the black hole of the internet behind me for now, as I have a job!  I got it just as I thought I would, by the “networking” I’ve done in all my interesting volunteer experiences here.  I worked with this great young guy at both the Food Film Festival here in NYC and Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation recently, we knew we should talk.  We met Downtown near Battery Park at a great new Mexican restaurant El Vez, to discuss and “seal the deal.”  Having been brought up by a Man who has “saved lives his whole life” Mitch saw an opportunity to meld his love of working in the food industry with health care education (CPR, First Aid, etc.).  I am joining his endeavors at Initiatecare ( , part time to start, but it’s got great growth potential and have even started my training.
Mother’s Day weekend, celebrating my new job, and simply me, I treated myself to my all-time favorite “Les Miserables.”  I don’t think I will ever tire of that show.  My Ladies were together in Boston, doing a massive purge and clean of Katie’s home.  So, I managed to keep myself busy, and celebrate my Motherhood for me.  On Mother’s Day, I met a dear friend of my Landlady’s for a play, which unfortunately was simply awful.  We left at intermission (something I’ve never done before)  The day was salvaged by a lovely brunch at B-Bar & Grill on the Bowery.  Ending the day with a perfect long walk, with some reading thrown in, through Central Park on a magnificent early evening was the perfect cap to a very nice Mother’s Day. 

The Writing RoomKristi and I celebrated the next night by sharing a great dinner at The Writing Room, which is the sight of the infamous Elaine’s. FromWikipedia: “Established in 1963, Elaine's is famed both for the writers and other prominent New Yorkers such as Woody Allen, William J. Bratton, Mia Farrow, Clay Felker, Helen Frankenthaler, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, Peter Maas, Robert Motherwell, Chris Noth, George Plimpton, Mario Puzo, Sally Quinn, Mark Simone, Gay Talese, Tom Wolfe, and Sidney Zion, who had been regulars over the years, and for its late chain-smoking namesake and proprietress Elaine Kaufman, who ran the restaurant for over four decades. Visitors included Leonard Bernstein, Michael Caine, Kirk Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Mick Jagger, Willie Nelson, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Luciano Pavarotti, Elaine Stritch, Eli Wallach, and Willie Nelson, among others.  The restaurant was noted for its Oscar night, where celebrities and visiting Hollywood stars congregated to watch the Academy Awards ceremony. The quirky owner, Elaine Kaufman, was known for not mincing her words, for booting less-favored customers to seat new arrivals, and for forbidding hamburgers in her establishment. She was once arrested after a physical altercation with a visiting Texan. Elaine also once had a cat fight with the actress Tara Tyson and then claimed that the thespian had set her ablaze with a lit cigarette.”   We had a wonderful dinner in the back room that looks like a big library in a private home.  When Kristi opened a book on the bookcase next to her about Strawberry Fields in Central Park, a postcard signed by Yoko Ono fell out!  We then walked to Sojourn, for you guessed it, Monday night music with Keren and her Sugar Daddies.
Dizzy Gillespie's
On a “typical evening” recently I joined some of my Salonistas (International Women Artist Salon/IWAS) at the home/studio of an interesting and gracious Nadine, a watercolorist, now retired theatre professor.  From there I finally got to Dizzy Gillespie’s Coca Cola Jazz Club at the Time Warner with my Landlady’s Friend, again.  Delicious cup  of chicken gumbo to go along with great music in homage to Eartha Kitt.  Finally, meeting my Sojourn Friends at Prohibition for some more music from Keren and her Sugardaddies!  Not bad for a Thursday night (a little different from my Thursday evenings alone in Milton!)
Not wasting a precious moment, before heading to Sunset Park and Industrial City for the second night with Rooftop Films, I went to the closing day of an exhibit at Blain Di Donna Gallery at the Carlysle Hotel, Warhol: Jackie. It was amazing, and yes, very moving. I will never stop getting excited by how many landmarks are within walking distance of my Hx3! Simply unable to walk by without going in, I did treat myself to a lovely glass of wine at the Bemelman Bar. I then spent some time in my Park (Central) reading, being, and watching one of the largest birds I had ever seen entertain a crowd by eating his lunch, an animal of some sort. (Missing my previous heaven on earth so much it hurts, especially right now, as it’s the time of year I would have started going up every weekend, this was a special treat for my soul..nature in my city!)
Fatted calf in the courtyard

Although marred by torrential downpours, I feel like summer has begun as Rooftop Films just had a very successful opening weekend!  Spending time at Industrial City, a major sponsor of Roof this summer, was fun and amazing to see the growth of the area since last summer.  Not on a rooftop on opening night due to the rains, but the huge warehouse space is great.  And, Saturday the “Secret Party Cove” was a real treat (filled with feral cats!).  Once again spending great evenings with special people at really cool venues (getting a great upper body workout moving chairs..), the summer is unofficially off to a great start.  Watch for Obvious Child, it was truly wonderful!  "Uproarious and refreshingly honest" –Variety  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday in the Park (Madison)

“By its nature, the metropolis provides what otherwise could be given only by traveling; namely, the strange.”                                                            Jane Jacobs

“People” always ask how I learn of the various and interesting things I find to do as I adventure around my new home town.  Simple, I read!  One of my absolute go-to’s is Timeout.  The website has been on my favorites toolbar for years, and somehow, literally magically, the magazine started getting delivered to the apartment last fall.  Even though I subscribe to the online version of the NYTimes; I hardly ever read it.  I do read my Timeout faithfully!  This week there was an advert about Jane’s Walk NYC.  Upon further investigation, I quickly realized it was something I wanted to explore.  (I love when “native” New Yorkers are amazed by the things I teach them!  It happened on this walk.)  
From it's website
The Municipal Art Society is New York’s leading organization dedicated to creating a more livable city. For 120 years, MAS—a nonprofit membership organization—has been committed to promoting New York City’s economic vitality, cultural vibrancy, environmental sustainability and social diversity. Working to protect the best of New York’s existing landscape, from landmarks and historic districts to public open spaces, MAS encourages visionary design, planning and architecture that promote resilience and the livability of New York.” (borrowed from the MASNYC website).

Jane's Walk NYC
Also from the MASNYC website: “On Saturday and Sunday, May 3 & 4, thousands of New Yorkers will take their eyes to the streets for Jane’s Walk NYC: 100+ free guided walks throughout NYC.  Jane’s Walks take place in over 100 cities around the world. Unique, and different from traditional tours, Jane’s Walks are “walking conversations”, bringing together diverse participants and viewpoints.”
From the Internet
“Jane Jacobs was an urban writer and activist who championed new, community-based approaches to planning for over 40 years. Her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, became perhaps the most influential American text about the inner workings and failings of cities, inspiring generations of urban planners and activists.”  (From the Project for Public Spaces website).
This was the walk I joined on Saturday May 3: “Madison Square Park/Flatiron: Reorder Your Senses to the City as Living Laboratory.  Join Mary Miss/City as Living Laboratory and renowned game designer Josh Debonis in an exploration of the Madison Park and the Flatiron neighborhood through an experimental game of chance operations and playful directives that will draw you through the environment, its history, landmarks, flora and fauna, the iconic and the invisible – all cooked up by a team of experts: historian, Miriam Berman, naturalist, Gabriel Willow, Flatiron expert Scott Lamkin, architect, Juliett Spertus, and others.”  (From the Jane’s Walk website.)

What an enjoyable couple of hours I spent with lovely, interesting people on a beautiful spring afternoon!  I have made it perfectly clear, I think, how I feel about “my” park, Central Park.  But, to literally “play” in a park with strangers was such a treat.  How often do we give ourselves that opportunity as ”grownups”?  My group took advantage of two of the play packets and discovered many interesting things about Madison Square Park, and its environs, that we normally would never have known!

Some of the pictures to go along with the game prompts:    
  Find an interesting rock or stick and take an interesting picture with it
Meeting place: Williard Seward

This picture worked for a couple of prompts.  We learned some interesting tidbits about this tree, the London plane tree (Platanus × acerifolia).  From Wikipedia: According to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation the symbol of that organization is a cross between the leaf of the London plane and a maple leaf. It is prominently featured on signs and buildings in public parks across the city. The tree is on the NYC Parks Department's list of restricted use species for street tree planting because it constitutes more than 10% of all street trees.

Count cabs and take a picture of the 25th one. (It took about 10 minutes.)


This was our own prompt: make your own game piece: We decided to take pictures of celebrating People (2 different weddings!)


This one was tough, but we did it! (And we salivated as there was a great food market going on!)

               From Wikipedia:  Worth Square: At the northern end of Madison Square, on an island bordered by Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, stands an obelisk, designed by James G. Batterson[10] which was erected in 1857 over the tomb of General William Jenkins Worth, who served in the Seminole Wars and the Mexican War,[1] and for whom Fort Worth, Texas was named, as well as Worth Street in lower Manhattan.[11] The city's Parks Department designated the area immediately around the monument as a parklet called General Worth Square.[12] Worth's monument was one of the first to be erected in a city park since the statue of George III was removed from Bowling Green in 1776,[13] and is the only monument in the city except for Grant's Tomb that doubles as a mausoleum.

adult male (breeding)

One of my charming teammates is an avid birder.  As we were discussing our fun time, he looked up into a tree and excitedly pointed out a sweet little bird, a warbler, that normally lives in Virginia, but has been seen here in recent years.  He tweeted the find, and said that soon more birders would be arriving!  (Another little tidbit about a neighbor:  Chelsea Clinton lives in one of the buildings border the Park!  How do people know this?!)

On Sunday afternoon, I continued the theme a bit and went down to Hester Street Fair for Jane’s Birthday Party!  Walking along Canal Street in Chinatown to get there, I picked up a couple of things I “needed.”  Will I ever learn?  I bought a “Seiko” watch that doesn’t work!  (I may invest in a battery to see if that helps.)   But the Fair was fun, and I had a light dinner of chicken satay from Aux Epices for $4.  Delicious!