Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Evening in Soho: Hudson Square Music and Wine Festival presents Dave Davies at City Winery

Monday Morning in Locust Valley: Locust Valley Memorial Day Parade

This Memorial Day at 9 AM, we were standing by the Boys and Girls Club on Forest Avenue in Locust Valley watching the North Shore town's annual Memorial Day parade.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Night in Williamsburg: Twin Cyster, Sediment Club, Cellular Chaos and Adam Markowitz (of the Dreebs) at Death By Audio

(Videos courtesy Marc Edwards)

Late Sunday Afternoon in Laurelton: Visiting Family at Montefiore Cemetery

 On our way from the beach, we stopped at old Montefiore Cemetery in Springfield Gardens to see the graves of our Shapiro relatives for the first time since we went there and other New York cemeteries in the mid-1970s after Roots on TV got everyone, not just African-Americans, interested in finding their ancestors.

Sunday Afternoon in Broad Channel: The View West from Broad Channel

Driving off the Rockaways peninsula, we stopped off at a car rest and fishing site in Broad Channel for a while, to check out the beach and Jamaica Bay across from Kennedy Airport.  
The A train trestle looked fine from a distance and service to Far Rockaway is promised to start again this Thursday for the first time since Superstorm Sandy. Floodwaters from Sandy washed out 1,500 feet of track, destroyed miles of signal, power and communication wires, and completely flooded subway stations.  Debris removal from the track beds alone, which included removal of a boat that washed onto the beds, took four weeks, so it's been a long recovery, but hopefully Rockaway residents and beachgoers can soon take the A train to the ocean again.

Sunday Afternoon in Rockaway Park: The Boardwalk and Beach Are Not Quite Ready Yet at Beach 106th Street

Despite Superstorm Sandy's devastation to the Rockaways in general and to the destroyed boardwalk in particular, the city said the beaches here, as in other parts of New York, would be open this Memorial Day weekend.
On the first nice day of the unseasonably cool weekend, we were in Rockaway Park, putting the car right in front of our Grandpa Nat's and Grandma Sylvia's apartment building at One Beach 105th Street, facing where Grandpa Nat had the front parking lot space closest to Shore Front Parkway and  the beach (he paid extra for it, but the corrosion of the seawater just ate away at the right side of his Buick Century; by 1980, we were driving around North Miami Beach with more rust than paint on one side) -- and just across from Dayton Towers West,
where we lived in our Grandpa Herb's and Grandma Ethel's apartment, both when they were still alive and living there, and in 1991 by ourselves after Grandma Ethel had gone into a Woodmere adult health-related facility.
We took this weird curved (temporary?) concrete ramp past a lot of construction up to a short concrete (temporary?) boardwalk by the Beach 106th Street concession building, still not open for business but painted a wonderfully bright yellow-green.

The "steps" going down to the beach -- which was wide and clean and as beautiful as ever -- also seemed to serve as places to sit, like benches on the bleachers.

The parks department people taking a break on the steps told us this was all technically off-limits but they kindly allowed us to stay to take some pics.
We're grateful we got to see that the beach and boardwalk in Rockaway Park will be ready soon: not quite the way we remember it from our childhood going back sixty years, but a newer, more interesting, and hopefully sturdier kind of beachfront and boardwalk experience for generations of New Yorkers to come.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Morning in Bay Shore: Rainy Morning at the Fire Island Ferry Terminal

It was a quiet, rainy morning when we got to the Fire Island ferry terminal in Bay Shore today.  But we liked the scene, so different from the bustling crowds on hot, sunny weekend summer days.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday Night on the Upper East Side: Kaizers Orchestra at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Louis Strick, RIP

We were saddened to learn today of the passing of Louis Strick, a really wonderful multi-talented and generous man who gave us our start as an author by publishing our first collection of short stories in hardcover back in 1979.  He was an intelligent, warm, funny, astute person whose wide-ranging interests and gift for friendship made him someone we will always admire greatly.  (Our book Autumn in Brooklyn is dedicated to him.)  We used to talk fondly about Midwood High School, which he graduated from exactly twenty-five years before us, in the first graduating class. 

We loved hearing his stories about Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, John Ashbery, and other writers he knew.  As his colleague from Meridian Books, the legendary editor Aaron Asher, once said, "Louis Strick was a guy who loved books and publishing and fiction" (Kenneth C. Davis, Two-Bit Culture: The Paperbacking of America 296).

Our mom was a calligrapher, as were some of our friends, and Louis Strick more than almost anyone was responsible for the flowering of calligraphy in mid-century America. (See this 1974 New Yorker "Talk of the Town" piece called "Everyman's Art.")  He had an incredible career and a rich life.

Here is the obituary from Westport Now:

Louis Strick, a 32-year Westport resident, died May 12 at the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Fairfield following a brief illness. He was 87.

Strick was raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Rosalind and Charles Strick. Growing up near Ebbets Field, he was an ardent fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  In 1940, he became a member of the first class of Midwood High School.

Strick went on to attend Cornell University. His college education was interrupted by World War II, and at age 19 he served as a staff sergeant in occupied Italy.  After the war, Strick completed his undergraduate studies and went on to Columbia Universirty to pursue a Master’s in economics. 

He then wrote a weekly column on the stock market for the Journal of Commerce.  Next he worked as a financial analyst for the investor Fred Stafford.  In the late 1950s, he purchased H.M. Storms, a manufacturer of ink ribbons; their primary customer would become the National Cash Register Co.

During this period, Strick bought a radio station in St. Louis.  WAMV was the first American station to play the hit song “Volare.” In the early 1960s, Strick co-founded a pioneering quality paperback line, Meridian, publishing Philip Roth among others. After selling H.M. Storms, he acquired Artone Ink, whose distinctive bottle featured the letter “a” in the form of an ink drip, an idea of Strick’s that was designed by Push Pin Studios and gave rise to a popular typeface.

In the late 1960’s Strick began importing calligraphic art supplies, distributed through his Pentalic Company.  By making special nibs, pens and instruction books widely available, Strick spearheaded a revival of the calligraphic movement in America;. He also established the Calligraphy Workshop, a school on lower Fifth Avenue.

In the late 1970’s, Strick purchased the Taplinger Publishing Company, bringing out works of literary fiction as well as volumes on modern art, reflecting two of his passions. 

Strick himself was an artist who focused on collage; several of his pieces were exhibited in juried shows in Westport where he lived with Elizabeth for 32 years.

He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Elizabeth, his three children, Ivy, Wesley and Charlotte, a stepson, Simon, seven grandchildren, and two younger brothers, Walter and Stanley. 
We will miss him a great deal and offer our deep sympathies to his family, especially to our friends Wesley, who was the editor of our first book, and to Ivy, who designed the book's beautiful cover.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Afternoon in Riverside Park: Alexa Babakhanian's "Chiaroscuro for two moving toy pianos" at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

(Video courtesy Alexa Babakhanian)
1. Chiaroscuro for two moving toy pianos.Shot in Riverside park. Featuring Stephanie Sleeper, Dance/Choreographer, Taka Kigawa and Giovanni Koll. May 12th, 2013. Produced, Directed and Edited by Alexa Babakhanian.

2. Excerpts from " runs my thought." for Gagaku Instruments, voice, piano, electric guitar and percussion, dance and theater. Featuring Takeshi Sasamoto, Ryuteki, Mayumi Miyata, Sho, Hitomi Nakamura, Hichiriki, Sumie Kaneko, Koto, Oren Fader, Electric Guitar, Yuval Edoot, Percussion, Sahoko sato, Mezzo Soprano, Alexa Babakhanian, Piano, Stephanie Sleeper, Dance/Choreography, Melissa Maxwell, Actor/Oration, Carl C. Bettendorf, Conductor. March 10th, 2013 at St. Mark's on the Bowery.

3. "There Was a Child Went Forth" based on Walt Whitman's Poem. formultiple keyboards-performers ages:1-18, 65-99. Featuring: Lee Legett, Grace Babakhanian, Janet Wolf, Joseph Lovullo, Michael Boyle, Hermi, Tina Ekstrom, Lila Cheung, Annie Mcveigh, Sam Matlovsky and Jake Matlovsky, Yue Fang, Alexa Babakhanian and Eten Babakhanian. June 21, 2013 MMNY outside the Calvary Church on Gramercy Park.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A 19-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From May, 1971 | Thought Catalog

A 19-Year-Old’s Diary Entries From May, 1971 | Thought Catalog

Monday Afternoon in Bayville: Stehli Beach

We spent a wonderful time this afternoon at beautiful Stehli Beach in Bayville.  It's still not quite warm enough for someone who's spent winters in Florida and Phoenix but it's getting there, and today we can see the promise of summer.