Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Afternoon in Battery Park City: Witchhazel Blooming in Teardrop Park

Walking around Battery Park City on a sunny, if chilly, afternoon, we found a sign that spring is eventually coming: witchhazel in bloom in Teardrop Park.

Sunday Morning in Apache Junction: Snow in Our Backyard

It's very rare for it to snow in the Phoenix area, but this morning there was a sprinkling in the East Valley. Our brother Marc sent us these pics of our backyard.

And this pic, from near our house, was uploaded by Ziffen63 to Weather Underground.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Amazon reviewer calls Richard Grayson's THE BROOKLYN DIARIES "Possibly the worst book about Brooklyn ever published," says "A bore is starred"

An Amazon reviewer has given Richard Grayson's The Brooklyn Diaries a one star review:

A bore is starred

I would give this interminable book five stars as a soporific; try to get through of a few pages of any of the six volumes of this semi-literate diary of a 1970s Brooklyn nobody who somehow managed to get a few books published (it must have been easier back in the day) and you will fall asleep faster than you can say either "Ambien" or "Lunesta."

On the other hand, if you find the adolescent mumblings of a pretentious, neurotic twentysomething who's under the delusion he's a writer utterly fascinating, you will absolutely adore this boring boring boring endless book and its mundane crap about the author's odd and dopey friends and family and his so-what views on such events as the July 4, 1976 Bicentennial as seen from Brooklyn Heights, the trivia of the 1972 Democratic convention in Miami Beach, and a time when large dogs apparently walked onto New York City subway trains by themselves with few straphangers (besides the author) taking notice.

The book's most interesting discovery proved to be learning that in 1979 you could get a book of short stories published without having a discernible ounce of talent, style, or indeed, brains.

Possibly the worst book about Brooklyn ever published, this book would more aptly be titled "The Brooklyn Diarrhea." Unfortunately, the author in his dotage still lives in the borough, so we're likely to be punished with yet another thirty years of his diurnal dreck.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Afternoon in Tribeca: Parents and Kids in Washington Market Park

Winter returned soon after the springlike lull of Thursday and Friday, but despite the frigid weather on Sunday afternoon, little kids and their parents were out having fun at Washington Market Park, at the corner of Greenwich and Chambers Streets in Tribeca. It's especially popular with kids.

This semester our weekend teaching for the wonderful Borough of Manhattan Community College is on Sundays at the Chambers Street main building, which is between the park and Stuyvesant High School. Between our 12 noon-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-8 p.m. classes, we have an office hour and then a free hour at 4 p.m. when we usually go out to have an early dinner, and this afternoon We walked down the steps into the park. That's One World Trade Center going up in the background.

One boy was playing kickball with his mom, off camera view to the left.

This little girl seemed to be new to a two-wheeler but she was getting good. In a few seconds she was on the ground and needed her mom to right her, but she seemed sanguine and in another half-minute was telling us to get out of her way as she biked past.

There's a little train, like the one in East River State Park, and this mom was putting her kids on it.

And this dad was having a lot of fun on the playground equipment, delighting his kids by acting like a scary monster or something.

Snow is expected tonight. Spring is still one month -- four weeks -- away.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Afternoon in Williamsburg: Spring Fever in February at East River State Park

We lingered all morning in beautiful Long Beach, and after getting back to Brooklyn and having a late lunch at home, with sunny skies and a temperature of 67, we decided to walk over to the waterfront on this freakishly mild February day. A number of young people with early spring fever also were out there, enjoying East River State Park.

On our way out, we saw a pile of dirty snow, reminding us that tomorrow winter will return and will be here for another five weeks. Sigh.

Friday Morning in Long Beach: Breakfast on the Boardwalk

Early this morning we took the G train to Fulton Street and then, at the LIRR Atlantic Terminal at 7 a.m., we just managed to catch a train to Long Beach so we could have breakfast on the boardwalk on this short sunny and mild respite from a long, hard winter.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Afternoon in Williamsburg: Fire in Two Houses on Conselyea Street between Lorimer and Union

"Marone, it's always something," said one of our Conselyea Street neighbors this afternoon as we watched firefighters put out a blaze at two houses on the north side of the street a couple of houses down from Union Avenue. We were reading after 1 p.m. when we heard a lot of helicopters, but we didn't go outside for more than half an hour. There were lots of fire trucks down our block at the corner of Lorimer. Our 90yo neighbor asked us if we'd heard what was going on. We hadn't but after we walked to the next block, we saw the big fire.

There were firetrucks and firefighters everywhere. On Fox News it says that more than 100 firefighters have been sent to a three-alarm fire. Another neighbor told us one of the houses was 15 Conselyea.

By the time we got there, it appeared to be under control. We heard over a fire official's communication device that a wall in one of the buildings had collapsed, but nobody seemed panicked.

We heard people say, "Thank God no one was hurt," but at the corner of Union and Metropolitan we saw them load an injured firefighter from a gurney into one of the ambulances there. The intersection and basically all of Union Avenue were blocked with firetrucks, ambulances, police cars and other emergency vehicles.

"I feel sorry for the poor people in those houses," our old neighbor said. Marone, it's always something. In the last year this stretch of Conselyea Street has also seen part of the facade of our neighbors' house dangerously falling off (not so serious, it didn't stop them from selling the house for $1.15 million), and more tragically, a building collapse on another Monday afternoon and now this big fire.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Richard Grayson's HOW TO GET A NUN INTO BED now available at Amazon Kindle Store

Richard Grayson's HOW TO GET A NUN INTO BED (And How to Get Her Out When the Time Comes), is now available from its publisher, Art Pants Company, for 99 cents, from the Amazon Kindle Store. It is also available as a $6.99 Canarsie House paperback book at Lulu or as a free download.

From the promotional material for HOW TO GET A NUN INTO BED:
In this short, breezy book of expert advice, Richard Grayson -- a man who knows his way around a bedroom -- gives detailed, fail-free instructions on how to get a nun into bed (and how to get her out when the time comes). Follow Grayson's step-by-step tips and you'll soon be getting nuns into bed with ease -- and getting lots of pleasure and satisfaction out of it! For mature readers over 18 only!