Recently in New York Category

On the evening of a foggy day

| No Comments | No TrackBacks

the little leaves on one of the plants turned a green so pale that i am not even sure the poor thing is still alive.
what is it like to die as a plant? do the dreams of growth just evaporate? does the skin stop to itch? what kind of senses do plants have anyway?
the little ones. the gigantic trees.
they do have intelligence. don't they?

the fog was beautiful this morning. trillions of little water droplets between here and the horizon. some suspended. all moving.
the same water that has been around for billions of years.
so good to see it in ever new constellations.

i stepped outside and looked at the roof of the next building. the raccoons living in the garbage shaft had assembled a stone garden on the silver surface.
near the emergency ladder a small bottle made it look as if at least one of the animals were a drinker. perhaps it was. i would not be surprised.
the little guys behaved rather humanly when out and about early in the morning and late in the evening.
they probably still did that. except that the days were much shorter now. so the actions were less obvious.
tracks in the snow were actually proof that the raccoons still lived in the building not so long ago.

i am slowly moving books and notes and layers of information from one room to some other room. wish i were able to let go of things easier.
maybe if i knew that they could help someone?
not sure how this is best done.

here is it. the end of the year. it is in sight. just a few more days. snow. rain. sunshine.
not sure the little plant will make it.
eventually i will probably end up with many jade plants. each slightly different, even though they are actually just taken from the same donor.
and that plant was likely taken from some other.
i hope tomorrow will be incredibly foggy.
there is a certain pleasure in being able to stand outside in the cold and to know that the inside is warm and calm and allows to have a thought.
as simple as that thought might be.

this is not a book with empty pages.

managed to not say a word to the guy sitting next to me on the plane. even though we appeared to be the same age, we seemed to read the same magazines, and even ordered the same food.
well, i watched "wickie der wikinger" right after "kojak" while he held his iphone close enough to his face to leave smear marks on the screen. with his eyelashes. it was some art movie. mostly blue pictures of people doing something.
it was not my seat anyway. i was supposed to sit two rows back, in a seat i had booked months in advance. but there was this father who wanted to sit next to his sons.
"i speak three languages" said one of the boys, maybe 8, instead of a hello, when i was exchanging my opened blanket for the one that had not been used yet.
"oh that's nice, what are the languages?" " i speak english, german, and french."
"das ist ja sehr schön, dann haben wir zwei sprachen gemeinsam" "ja"
i was a bit upset that we did not have three languages in common. today.
perhaps the boy will end up learning polish at some point in his life, or perhaps i will finally be forced to learn french.
that charles V quote i recently read somewhere made me smile... I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.
he should have probably mixed it up now and then. and would he have used other languages had he not suffered from the habsburg jaw?

we are back in new york. the snow flurries are turning the palette of the brooklyn i can see out of the window now into something that one would probably use a pencil to describe, perhaps some dirtied sienna? a true lead pencil?
it appears to be cold enough for the flakes to actually bounce of each other as they land. they do not feel they should be come one cover of snow yet. right now they want to be new year flakes.

we travelled a bit too quickly in the last few weeks. it is so tempting to just jump on a train to go to a place that is so close and yet so different than the current location. köln is now about an hour away from frankfurt? really? that's pretty much the length of my daily commute today.

what is it like to express anything in more than 140 characters? how many facebook friends does it take to make one who will actually save one's life when it is threatened? not just like or comment on one's fall. or just retweet it.

jetlag can be a beautiful thing. and now i am even 5 minutes early.

the plastic bird was not enough. now a fine black mesh is wrapped around several pots and places on the balcony. some monster had arrived to put pig back with eons. there were bits and pieces of bits and pieces all over the floor. had a visitor tried to make me hate them? were the gifts of guano expressions of love?
i was not very good at reading the signs.
not sure the mesh will do anything. if it will not work, the next step is going to be the purchase of a bucket of toothpicks.

walking to mr. suds later in the afternoon, i noticed a pigeon that looked as if half of it were glued to the middle of the ocean parkway service road. the bird must have broken a wing and perhaps more and was now trying to take off, in heart breaking slow motion, maybe at a wave a second.
almost wanted another car to arrive and free it of pain right there. or was i supposed to break its neck?
was this somehow connected to how much i had hated pigeons just a few minutes prior?
i imagined that the best outcome of this would be one of the cats living around the building finding the pigeon, killing it gently and then feeding it to its young.

when i walked past the spot a few minutes later, that seemed exactly what i saw about to happen. a not very large female cat was carrying the freshly killed pigeon in its teeth. the cat had to walk almost upright because of her front legs being almost too short to carry the large bird without letting it touch the ground. the pigeon, with its iridescent belly facing forward, had its wings wide open, together the animals looked like a griffin, or some other yet to be described mythical animal.

looked down on my neighbours balcony. the mother pigeon was still sitting on the nest she had made in one of my neighbour's flower boxes. next to her was a small open eggshell. i at first thought that some other animal had taken the content of the egg and that the mother was sitting there traumatized. an odd thought but probably conditioned by my experience of seeing a pigeon killed just minutes prior. when i looked again and from a different angle, i could clearly see a yellowish, naked, freshly hatched thing under the mother's belly moving slowly.
it looked as if it were two little birds even. but i think it was just one.

then i noticed a second nest on my neighbours balcony, in a larger, round pot. what just a few days ago appeared to be a lucky accident now seemed to be a breeding ground for birds right under my nose. my feelings for pigeons was split back into pigs and eons.

quite a circle of emotions for a simple gray sunday, maybe as gray as the underwing of a pigeon in flight.

carved a grain of rice to resemble a man and then attached a large price tag to the mini sculpture. the tag was made out of that expanding material that turns into a dinosaur and then a t-shirt, when thrown into a bucket of warm water. and so i threw it into a bathtub. took a car service to work today, since it was sunday and all. it was a nice town car, the windows were tinted, there was a little tree dangling from the seat in front of me. the scent of strawberries emitted from a paper fir. there is something very special about it. i felt somehow very comfortable in this car. the driver was friendly. the grey leather seats were soft and the dark felt on the inside of the roof made it feel like a club on wheels. then there was the cockroach richt next to me head. it was so close, it was almost where i wanted to rest my head. i attacked it, it fell onto the seat next to me, it was now looking for a dark and safe place. fast. that safe place seemed to be under me, right where my safety belt was attached to the bottom of the seat. it began to rush towards me. i killed it. i killed it with the announcement of the new rules for potential dog owners in my building. dogs were going to be allowed now. one dog per apartment. up to 20% of the apartments would be allowed to have dogs. the building could now house almost 50 dogs? i am not sure. the paper was yellow. the remains of the bug still moved when i wrapped them into the paper and then stuck them into the blue plastic bag in which my sunday paper arrived this morning. i wondered why the paper arrived in the bag, at first. i used to get the times before and it would not arrive unsorted in a blue plastic bag. then i realized that my paper is probably delivered by a person who also throws them onto the porches of the victorian houses in ditmas park. my paper was protected, so it could be thrown against my door even in the heaviest of rain. it never rains in my hallway. though who knows. i brought the camera with me today. i wanted to go to the gardens of rockefeller center. it was open house new york weekend. and beautiful weather. but i missed the 12-4 window. the gardens are open to the public for two hours per year, i think. i just sat here in the office. i am happy to be here. maybe not as happy as i would be at home, but i am happy. i am very fortunate to be working with some incredible people. smart, creative, nice folks too. so the office does not hurt as much as an office usually would. (and i can write this here because none of them will ever read this.) carved a grain of rice to resemble a palace and then attached a large piece of cow hide to the mini sculpture. the hide was made out of imitation hide, the one that surrounds the tofu cows. it is about time i take a vacation. soon, my friends, soon.
the rain was rather heavy when we arrived at the house on 18th street. it was supposed to be a brunch of sorts, in an old house. the building was from before 1850 and there was only one bell at the door, promising a grand inside. and it was wonderful indeed. it was sweet and the people were incredibly nice and the food was rather relaxed and good and the conversations were witty and good. and it felt as if all the continents were there. and "googlability" was not an issue today. there were very beautiful flower pots filled with moss. they were destroyed in freezers. the painting over one of the mantels looked like a very sweet procession rendered in silver. elephants. riders. a temple. the children ate their food on benches in the living room. we gathered near the kitchen and looked at catalogues. it was a wonderful time. really. and it felt good to be there. very much so. and i hope we will return to the place. for more. the rain stopped. there were projections of the flowers onto the walls of the smaller room near the kitchen. like mary temple pieces. (oh, her work is so wonderful.) the moss was incredibly soft. what a day, what a day. and we were told that the houses here were built for three sisters. and i believe every word. i later was told that the owner of the house was the inventor of the brain drainage system I had touched by accident on one of the children I had worked with in 1995. really? was this the man who came up with the idea of putting these elaborate life saving devices into the skulls of the children i worked with? i want to ask more about it. amazing. and he also understood the bear. i think he did. that was a good moment. a good moment indeed. how nice it feels to have the feeling of being in the right place with the right people at the right time. wonderful. indeed. and i am currently working on some drawings for the new album by "the highway sound"... and i have almost all of them done now. and it took a while. and it took tens of bad drawings to get to the ones that work. for me at least. zodee is baking downstairs. the sun is gone west now. i will maybe think about that strange dream i had last night. what a series of moments in time. i think i will now freeze my flower pots.

The strike is ON.

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
Let's just hope nobody gets hurt. Let's just hope there will be no injuries. There was no such thing as telecommuting last time the city was hit by a Subway shutdown. Now I can write this here (whatever "this here" is) and publish it worldwide without having to walk anywhere, take any transportation, even be attached to any physical cable that would connect me to anything. Today is going to be a test for those who are able to telecommute. And most hurt will be those who rely on the very affordable trains to get to work and who's work really requires their physical presence. Many of them are not the best paid people in this city, I think? Were this Poland 1981, the entire country would probably shut down to show solidarity with the WTU workers. We would probably be in the 3rd week of strikes now, with electricity down and water only available for a few. Hmm, but Poland 1981 was a very different place. (And Poland 1981 was the place we fled.) It is too early in the morning to write a coherent post. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope good things come from this. Somehow. (And I think some will.)
It is just so incredibly fascinating to listen in on other people's conversations. They are such various kinds of conversations too. It is so tempting, so tempting to eat slowly at lunch and to follow that fascinating stuff. The tables are much closer to each other here in New York and when one picks the right restaurant, at the right time, the exchanges at the neighboring table can be quite entertaining. I recently learned that the semiconductor market was about to rise by about 20%. Then at another table, somebody was discussing that big announcement being finalized, about that very important new development for Lehman Brothers. One girlfriend was happy for another, as she had finally found the right man who managed to fullfil her various sexual desires. There were many, now all fulfilled. His wife liked that stuff as much. Things were going really well there, especially when all three of them were in the same bed, or so she felt. At a different table, a daughter recently asked her father if it was okay for fish to swim motionlessly on the surface of the water. An assistant in a different restaurant complained to her girlfriend that her boss was really strict about a gift policy and required all gifts from a vendor to be returned. Needless to say, our storyteller managed to eat all the chocolate and bypass the policy. One of the best conversations was that one recently in a midtown restaurant, there were two men, their accents somehow foreign, their knowledge of literature really beyond anything I will ever achieve. The lunch was a friendly testing of the waters. The gentleman with the French accent ended up paying. I though that the man with the other accent was the person out of town, but he mentioned NYU several times. Now that's certainly here. But he might have travelled. The conversation had started innocently enough. It was about books and articles and papers. Names were exchanged like soft strokes on cheeks between lovers. This man liked this name, the other one admired the third. The conversation felt a bit like a dance, a slow one, the bodies not moving. They were talking about books and soon they were talking about those who write them. There was a man who had written a great novel in the 30's and has since only given lectures on time as river and life as a clearly temporary dream. Then there was that Brazilian writer who was very interesting, who's wife however was a really serious piece of work. The story started with the couple coming over from Rio on a first class flight, and staying in an NYU apartment overlooking Washington Square Park. They must have arrived on a Friday, as the wife called our man with the unknown accent on Sunday at midnight, requesting a cleaning service for her husband's underwear. He had only brought two pairs of briefs, now both were soiled, he did not want to leave the apartment and she certainly was not going to wash his things. A maid had to be hired to wash this man's underwear. On a Sunday. Perhaps. The stories went further and further. The man with the unknown accent apparently must have been quite attractive when younger, as this one pianist had performed an entire concerto in Carnegie Hall, staring at him only. A very interesting picture somehow. Oh, the special times. Then the conversation turned to the baron. Intellectuals, so continued the conversation, hated to meet other people, as social gatherings were more than a waste of time, they were seen as hurtful to the fragile creative process. Enter the baron. He knew that the only way to attract the best people was not to actually organize anything, but to simply have an open house. And so the great minds would just some over to watch the news together, very casually, while he, dressed up in various robes or dresses, would treat them as if they were his naughty, naughty little pets. He knew all about them. He was powerful and eccentric. His wife was a great collector of photographs. Oh, and he was so very brutal to his lovers. He was a bit of a sadist really. Something the man with the unknown accent seemed to actually enjoy. He did not like that the baron tossed one of his boy toys aside, once he had found out that the young man had aids. The tossing happened too late, so it seemed. The baron eventually died of the disease. Oh, but the time spent with him early on in Bruxelles was oh so enjoyable. The man with the perhaps French accent seemed to agree. The time spent with the Baron in Bruxelles was indeed wonderful. And so the two men discovered, right at the table next to me, that they had had relationships to the same influential Baron Phillippe in Bruxelles. Both seemed to have had a wonderful time. His anorexic daughter was also an interesting character, both men agreed. She had been sent to a boot camp in the States, where she would be forced to eat, more than that, they stuffed her like a goose. Upon her return to Bruxelles, she organized a great party for all of her friends. Shortly after the party, apparently a good bye party, she committed suicide. Oh, yes, a party, the conversation then continued, there was one coming up, a New Yorker party. It looked like only one of the gentlemen was invited, even though he had written maybe ten or so pieces for the magazine. The man with the French accent went on to tell what he seemed to feel was a very impressive story of his boss having to gather 26 million dollars for their institution every year. This hunt for money somehow turned him into a very particular kind of a machine. Having to ask for more than 70 thousand dollars every day of the year somehow must have a very particular influence on a man. The cheque was picked up by the man who's boss needed to rise large amounts of money and who had met the baron through his family as a young and innocent boy. The other gentleman was very thankful. He was a writer, certainly, at least this was what he managed to imply. Had I known more about the field entered by the two characters, I could perhaps follow the literary trails of their conversation. I have not only no good knowledge of international literature but also a pathetic memory for names. And so I was left with a small forest of images. The forces, the dirt, the strange hidden experiences of people long dead. I saw the pianist look from the stage, I saw the wife of the writer talk about the soiled underwear, the daughter force-fed somewhere in a block cabin in upstate new york. There was the wife of the baron, her photography collection. There was their living room the walls covered in large images resembling a forest. The baron making dirty jokes about his wife in her absence. The jokes being trapped in French (which I do not understand.) There was the writer, whom both of the men were thinking of as a pathetic figure, who spent the rest of his life talking about life as a dream, and time as a river... and maybe this cliche was a bit of a key to their conversation and my being there. I was no more to them than a dead dog by their river. To me they were two strange birds, discussing the life of dolphins. They might have seen some, somewhere, but what did they really know about the depths of the depths of the sea? Oh, and it is morally inexcusable to listen in on other people's conversations. Unless I do it. Then it is legal and noble and good. Had I not listened, we would have all missed a somehow important pieces of nameless arrangements of stories about people we do not know. Stuff like that is what saves lives, I hear. For years now. Tomorrow we will talk about the beauty and importance of stealing.

nothing in particular really...

| No Comments
It was a bit of a blade-runner moment last night when I walked to the train from 8th avenue to Rockefeller Center. There is a borded up building right next to the theater where crowds of tourists gather each night to watch yet another interpretation of Chicago, the "hello Berthold Brecht why didn't you think of black patten leather(?)" musical. In an odd corner where one of the entrances must have been was a man dressed in torn grey fabric. Not only was his clothing consist of a monochrome set of rugs, his face was also covered with some sort of greyish camouflage substance. His hair was arranged in greasy strings. I would have probably not even noticed he was there, were there not this blueish glow illuminating his face. He was watching a movie on a portable DVD player. And I did not take a picture. And it sounds unbelievable. And it was somehow very amazing. And the searchlights on the top of the rock keep looking for birds to fry. And i took the local train home tonight, just so I can watch brooklyn from the highest station in the system. And it was as great as every time I take the F. The house is so calm and quiet tonight. I am now just waiting for the refrigerator to finish it's compression job, so I can listen to the air passing through the open windows. It takes a good while to be ready to actually draw. (I hope I can make it before midnight.)
Hmm, how can I put it mildly... the phone is an amazing device. It is much faster than email and it makes things possible I forgot were possible. Today was amazing. I "called" Herman Miller today, as I was very interested in sitting on a sofa. It was not just any sofa, it was that pretty amazing Goetz Sofa a contemporary classic designed by Mark Goetz, (the man behind Tz Design) for Herman Miller. The sofa is a bit like a mix of that Eames Lounge Chair, as it uses plywood for its frame but it also has some of those le Corbusier Petit Confort ideas, with the support being on the outside and the cushions being completely loose, simply held together by the structure of the design. (The Goetz sofa has some other brilliant qualities that are completely new and really brilliant. It is so incredibly precise that it would have been simply impossible to build before there were computer controlled saws. I mean, it is so precisely built, no human could possibly build it.) So I called Herman Miller. And I was expecting to get one of those "your call is very important to us" messages. Instead I got a human voice. I told my story. I really wanted to try out this amazing sofa, I have heard great things about it, it looks great, but I can not find a place where I could actually sit on it. I mean, is it comfortable or just a concept? The woman on the other end was surprisingly helpful (there had been no warning that our conversation were to be recorded.) She suggested several places of which I knew that they did not carry the sofa. We walked in our conversation from places in Midtown all the way to Carroll Gardens. No, the sofa was nowhere to be found. I finally made a jokingly suggestion that maybe Mark Goetz, the man who invented and designed the sofa would probably know where there was one to sit on. The woman at Herman Miller agreed. Not only that, she also just gave me a phone number. "Why don't you give them a call. I bet they know where the sofa is in New York City." "I can not call them. That is as if I called the Eamses to find out about a chair." "I bet you will just get to speak with the receptionist." We both laughed. Yes, those TzDesign people would know where I could sit on the sofa. The receptionist would know. So I called. And I did not get the receptionist. And it happened to be Mark Goetz' privat number. Nice. Here I was calling the only living designer who has his sofa sold by Herman Miller. And I get to talk to him in person. So, where can I sit on that Goetz Sofa? Mark Goetz was incredibly friendly, especially considering that I was a stranger calling about a sofa and where I might be able to sit on it. He agreed that it was difficult to find a sofa out in the wild of New York. "They happen to sell out very quickly," he admitted. "It looks like the design really rocks," I said. I mean, it does. Goetz remembered that there was a Herman Miller showroom on Madison Avenue, between 60th and 61st street. He actually even called information to get me the number(!)... wow. I thanked him for the amazing design (on which I yet had to sit.) He told me that Herman Miller had a version of the sofa on display which was covered in Paul Smith fabric. It apparently looked rather cool. (The man was really incredibly friendly.) So I called the showroom. Again an amazingly friendly person answered. I should just come by, just visit. Yes, they had the sofa on the floor. I jumped in a cab. It was late in the day and the streets were quite clogged. I arrived at the entrance a bit late, actually far too late for the doorman of the building. He just looked at me as if I wanted to enter a temple after sunset. I was not welcomed here. I called the showroom number. Again the friendly woman answered. She had been waiting for my arrival, and it was okay that I was a bit late, she knew I would be a little late. She called the concierge who just turned into a very different person. He made me sign in and I was allowed to enter. On the 12th floor of 660 Madison Avenue, I entered a place I had not even known existed. Here they were all the pieces I somehow knew from books and Highbrow Furniture dot com The objects here were somehow very special. Two of the Time Life Executive Chairs stood there, made out of Pony Fur, for example. (I do not think I have ever seen anything made out of Pony Fur up to this point in my life. The friendly woman walked with me to the back of the showroom. Here it was, that Goetz Sofa in Paul Smith fabric and it looked much friendlier and much more elegant than I had expected. I was offered some Pellegrino and I was just left alone with the object. Did I just call and did they keep the place open just so I can check the feeling of a sofa? I mean was this some sort of daydream or something? Did three phone calls just bring me into this amazing place? The sofa was incredible by the way. A walnut shell held together some very well crafted grey cushions. Nothing was attached here, the pieces just naturally knew where they belonged. I sat on the piece, I spread myself as comfortably as possible, I relaxed. I removed all of the cushions, one by one, I examined the quality. I checked the walnut edge. Admired the inhumanly precise cuts on the walnut veneer. Amazing stuff. I was given samples. I was given some more good advice. I was given some pointers about objects not available for sale. (Some crazy Eames Table I did not know ever existed, for example.) I left the place and walked onto Madison a little drunk from all the unexpected experiences. And I definitely did not manage to describe them all correctly. It was a really great evening. What surprises. How powerful of a tool is that phone. How amazingly friendly can people be. I am totally getting that sofa now. Seriously. It is the good stuff. All around. (Oh, and I will get it from HighBrow.)

Predictable. Perhaps?

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
the sake was served in a wine glass. "it is the only glass we have", the waitress said. I did not believe a word. Masumi was the name of the sake. I believed that. It was delicious. I pulled out a little notebook and wrote for a few pages. It was a bit like writing here, except that it was for nobody to read. Not even for myself really, as I can barely decipher my own writing just a few minutes after writing. Before going to the Japanese restaurant, i spent several minutes protecting a young sparrow from foot traffic near Rockefeller Center. The bird was relatively young, it was relatively weak. It was interested in the crumbs on the floor and it was careless and not very focussed. I had seen a similar bird a few years ago, jumping about on 22nd street, until a passer by in high heels stepped on it, breaking one of its wings in a very horrendous way. The woman did not even notice she had stepped on the little guy. It was not a nice thing to see. I do not remember what happened after this moment, as it is the last I remember of it. Today i stood around the sparrow, maybe a foot or so away from him, blocking the foot traffic. The little guy did not know what I wanted from him. He hopped around, ate some things off the floor. "It is a bird." A passer by obviously thought I was crazy. It was a bird. Yes, amazing how it was one. Amazing how it was able to fly away after all. The man who put me into the compartment of crazy new yorkers certainly did not fly anywhere tonight. Having a sake from a wine glass was a bit odd. Writing into a little book and then adding little illustrations on the margin felt incredibly good. Especially after a very busy, though very productive day. Oh, and i caught myself writing about a place I never had a chance to visit. Maybe not yet. Have you ever stared at the sky near a lake, in an orchard, in high grass? And have you ever noticed the clouds there, how they are the expression of the lake being near by? The sake was really very good. A tiny amount in a wine glass. Somehow unexpected.

t.ax.i

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
This is worth an entry. I just had the slowest taxi ride of my life. The cabby managed to hit every red light and I could swear that he stopped at green lights as well. It took me almost an hour to get home. It usually takes less than a half hour by cab, this is why i took one, since the train takes 45 minutes or so. This is insane. It was actually hardly surprising that at the end of the ride, when i asked the driver to "pull over on the left hand side, at the end of the block, right under that big yellow sign," he almost immediately pulled over to the right, turned the lights on, assuming we were done. It is about 90F in new york right now, with humidity being somewhere near 100%... I guess we are all really boiled here... or steamed?... fried?... oh boy. --- update--- let's blame the shallow nature of this entry on the very heat which caused me to write it. The house has a cool zone right now, which i keep cool, and the rest is just left to the raging elements. i had to take down the smoke detector, just so i can put it under a blanket when it goes off again because i take a shower and push humidity beyond the invisible 99%. yes, really, once one pushes the water density in the air to the point that there is a rainfall in the apartment, the smoke detector goes off and one has to dig it under something... it is like playing with tiny versions of the elements. hmm... will need to get up now. i actually had a bunch of taxi dreams. they were all somehow funny enough that my stomach is now tense from all the laughing. hi.

any time

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
"please help me, I have horrible chest pain" the man was looking at me as if I had a pack of nitroglycerine tablets in my pocket. I was in the emergency room area of Bellevue Hospital in New York City and it was just me and this man with chest pains. It was quiet and empty and a bit surreal. I eventually went to get a security officer who opened the door for me and for this pre-heart attack patient. I was also let into the emergency area. Some of the patients here were assisted by police officers. A man with amazing deformations to his head was sleeping against the wall, his wrists bound by handcuffs behind his back. A lady was not doing so very well in one of the corners. Her entire family seemed to be there with her. One of the younger women was spread across her chest. The doctors looked as if we were in a television series. I was sent from station to station until I was told that I was not supposed to be in this part of the hospital at all. And so I left, and went left and left and towards a desk somewhere half a mile away, where I was given a laminated piece of paper with a number on it, so I could visit my friend on the 10th floor. And I did not get to see him today. But I will go again tomorrow. I got to see his pulse though. It was 130 when I arrived, it went up to 131 as I was leaving. I wish him only the best. He is one of the strongest guys I know. He is going to be okay. Though it is probably going to take some time... The only good thing about him being in intensive care is that I can visit him at any time. And now that I know that, I think I will.

bOOm

| 4 Comments
Miranda July wore this yellow dress we had seen somewhere else, on her, on some website perhaps or was it in the print media... or maybe we had not seen it ever, it just seemed very fitting on this summery day and her. Her "R" pronunciation was pretty darn close to what Terrence McKenna sounded like when he spoke to us a few years ago, well, more than ten years ago, in Germany. And so Miranda July had to be from Berkley perhaps, or at least from the westcoast. (and she is.) We had actually expected to see that new movie of hers, the one to come out soon: Me and You and everyone we know but instead she showed us some of her past performances and pieces and showed us Learning to Love you more and me and everyone we know (Okay, I just extended the name of the site, okay?) and even read a pretty nice short story which somehow incredibly matched the yellow dress and the expectation of seeing a different movie and the scenes from that other piece and then also the other one which we... Okay, some of the things we saw were a bit confusing. In a good way, certainly, in a good and different way and... There were little snacks served afterwards in the new, actually completely new IFC centre... And the night was very hot and it was time to go home and it was dark and we ended up in a new thai place, where the waiter sold us tap water as if it were the greatest thing since the invention of the spandex full body bunny suit... The couple at the table on the other side of the buddha was talking about their favorite types in gyms. The guy from Sydney was really into the chunky types... "solid, and yet not sculpted". The New Yorker added that he liked them with their chests waxed. They both agreed on something I did not quite hear and then left, into the very hot and humid night. And the food was great and the desert menu had rorschach tests all over it, but only because previous visitors must have cried out of joy or maybe because at the time the desert menu was given to us we were drinking so much water, just to balance the effects of the delicious spicy food. That night I dreamt of finding a secret passage into an elongated temple outside of the building here, except that the marble floor, framed by columns and a far away painted ceiling reached all the way to a pier to which attached was a giant black ship in full sail. The air appeared liquid around it, swaying it, making it fade into a milky sky. I was not really supposed to be there and so i walked down to the beach where there was a slight mixup about my shoes. I waited until the evening to find my way back to the building, and by that time the fountains were turned on and the food was being served. And I ate some of it. Taking several trains to various places this morning left me enough time to mix and match some of the interviews in BOMB. I felt a bit like a chimp boy, just playfully pretending that I was reading, while the sentence I remember most was not written in the magazine in my hand but on the t-shirt of a man sitting not far from me on the Q. "Trust me, I'm a doctor." In a bag attached to his jeans were two drum sticks and attached to a chain a whole selection of keys, some of them clearly for a drum. The chair next to me is smiling. Perhaps because it was shampooed last friday. A service somebody here must have requested for me. How very decadent. Starbucks has ¢50 refills on coffee... (¢54 with tax) and I think I will now go and get one of those...

Out of town for a few days...

| 1 Comment | 1 TrackBack
I will be out of town for a few days. Have a great week.

It tasted like chicken...

since i did not really want to go to korea town for lunch, and because the weather was just really quite nice, i walked down broadway, past stores filled with little beads and panties and other items somehow related to items nobody wants to admit to wearing. I think it was on 31st street that i realized that there was no turning back. I would need to find food here, I had venture too far from the service oriented city though still not far enough to be able to smell the flowers. And this was exactly the place where I saw the street vendor. Well, actually, I smelled the vendor first. Okay, maybe not the vendor... the deliciously fragrant food. It was one of the larger hot plate cars with two middle eastern operators. The smell was just this perfectly sour, spicy, fatty cloud, one that can just pull anyone by their nostrils and guide them straight to the simmering source. The meat preparation man was explaining the difference between lamb, beef and chicken to a bystander who might have been interested about all this stuff three minutes prior. I was not sure what my next steps would be but then I surprisingly saw my hungry self order some chicken and rice and a salad and... that was it. The money guy asked for five dollars and opened a hatch in the cart, the hatch to the wet and cold part of the food making machine. "Is it five dollars, or is it five dollars for me?" I was not sure if I was being charged a first timer european tourist look special price. "Here:" the man pointed to the waters and sodas. "It is free." Okay, that was fair. I got a free plastic fork (a $500 value at this location) as well, and some napkins (paper, light duty). No bag. Bags are for bridge and tunnel... (wait, I am bridge?... nah...) I took the tray all the way to Madison Square, where I devoured my super meal right across the street from the Pentagram office. The weather was perfect, my bench let me see some odd, yet not threatening people. And with each bite of the chicken and rice, I thought to myself how wonderful this meal tasted and how I would have to to do exactly this each and every day of the summer. The food was just so delicious... so perfectly spiced, so well cooked, so deliciously mouth watering... Maybe ten minutes later, and hours and hours after that... my opinion turned to the opposite... I felt like a chicken, plucked alive, hanging upside down, on a conveyor belt. Then sliced by a guy who has no access to a bathroom, and yet access to a very heavy bottle of fat and possibly monosodium glutamate. I wanted to do something to cleanse my system of the chemistry experiment. It had to be something that went far beyond the water I drank. It could have been some special ritual at this point. Something that would also shield me from that urge to fall asleep to just let go, to pass on into a different set of dimensions. Oh boy... I am not made for any kind of drugs. Apparently not even the ones that taste like chicken.

just have it.

| 7 Comments | No TrackBacks
the tulips on the table next to me have almost rubbery looking leaves, there are twists and turns in them and once open, these reveal much smaller leaves that look like feathers on a singing bird. i pressed some button too many times recently and now I have a pile of fabric swatches sent to me from crate and barrel. the order confirmation screen looked like an error message, and so i kept pressing again and again and again... i received five or so envelopes. nice. it will take a long time before i manage to get a sofa. (and it has nothing to do with the swatches.) i only use tables and chairs and books and computers. there are no sofas or televisions in my house. and i do not miss television, though maybe not having the flickering screen somehow makes me less chatty. i also stopped building conversations that depend on anticipation and procrastination... there are so many incredible shows at the new york museums these days, I have no idea why I could possibly still be sitting at home... have a wonderful day. well, it already is a wonderful day... just have it.

9

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
in this city for 9 years today... and what do I see?... (so tired... will need to describe things later...)

the slow way home...

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
It was good to take the slow way home today, after picking up yet another bag with the remnants of my recent existence. I had forgotten the dignity camouflage, and so I looked certainly like a contemporary Dickens character, a half frozen man with a slowly tearing trash bag, wrapped in several jackets, patched summer shoes, hailing a cab. "my shift is almost over, like at five, I will not take you to Brooklyn." The driver had one functioning eye and so I did not want to challenge him and remind him that we still had an hour to go and that it really was not that bad of a trip. So I took the subway. (Look at me saving some thirty dollars.) The train was packed, at least down to Macy*s. Knowledgeable midwestern fathers explaining to their pink families how it was possible to transfer for free seemed to be the theme of the day. Then, across the east river, maybe around Borough (boro) Hall, a challenged guy entered the car, shaking his bag of potato chips and asking for "change for the n*gga!" He was one of the pretty bad sort: the spitting, shouting, in your face kind of guy; though not as well articulated as that foot stomper who likes to target wall street types and their tourist look-a-likes, one at a time, for several stops sometimes. (He tends to call them something like "Corporate American Scum" (or pigs or shit, or whatever is his flavor of the day), it seems to work when repeated over and over again, while stumping the ground, and hitting it really hard with that used up, long, wooden stick.) The guy today was younger, he just shouted: "I hate you: America" and that he wanted "Bin Laden to blow up the world" so he can watch (huh?)... this always intertwined with "change for the n*gga."... and some wild shaking of the chip bag. We did not even shake our heads. He eventually got bored and switched trains at Atlantic Avenue. (the shouter-stumper guy would usually spit at the glass... the guy today left in a quiet way.) Switch to the cold above ground... It took a pretty long time for the bus to arrive. I tried to wait on the best melted area in the snow on flatbush avenue. The bus connection is usually a good one, except that the busses arrive maybe every 30 minutes or so in the afternoon. The light was magnificent, the setting sun bathed the soon to be demolished buildings in a golden, warm mix of colors. I got to think about the different effects of the biting cold on the human body. The trash bag between my feet wanted to become friends with some of the ones discarded in front of the check cashing place. I eventually made it home, unwrapped my brown time capsule, pulled out an old scarf, which felt rather warm and soft, discovered the pair of boots which my friend Christian once bought me for $10 or so, as well as that other pair, which my father found in the street about 22 years ago and which still fit me and still work as my best walking boots. (Yes, they were free and made for walking.) I wonder why my bag contained the fungus infested version of "Holy water of Jordan." I really have not much to do with that... maybe it is somehow related to the series of slides I found in that other bag. "Mount Sinai 1969", there was one picture taken of children dancing on a burned out Soviet tank. An overnight package arrived from Tokyo, and the content was a great series of amazing little gifts from Japan and the old Communist China, paper cutouts of Chairman Mao from 1969, as well as graphic guides for Communist murals and worker battle signs. It makes sense that there must have been centralized guides for that stuff. Now I own several and they are amazing! (And that Calendar really rocks as well!) I think I am going to go to sleep now. Have been feeling weak for weeks now. Can that voodoo person please pull out the needles out of my doll now, please? The moon is a smiling, dark observer low over the skyline of the city. It is so beautifully cold outside. The ice on the steps of the entrance to my home is harmless. Such a harmless version of water... When we are born, we are 80% water. When we are ready to retire, we are 50% water... we lose two cups of water daily just by breathing... ... It is nice to stop breathing sometimes... and just to listen... the pounding of the heart... the flow of air around the house... and out of the jet engines of airplanes ready to land... I will go and take a nap now... and then I will draw... I will. I have to. This is what I am actually here for. Or so I really hope.

1in24...

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
Well, maybe about NOW would be the time to add an entry to this semi dead space. Things have been more active here than the Parisian rush hour and so there is a slight blockage, several entries that wait to be written. But... there is a great project, currently under way, I was invited to participate and I am on it. Lia invited me to be one of the 24 New Yorkers who create the content in her group MoBlog of 48 hours city madness. You can visit the site, there are some people in this who have much better phones than I do, and better websites, and stuff... The site is: 24in48.org and it is a pretty wild place. It made me try a toasted everything bagel with eggs and cheese, for example... Those who were upset with me because I have not posted a decent picture here for a while, can now see almost every one of my moves on that site... seriously.

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
There are places in New York that feel as if they were the refuge for the spirit of the city. This is where New York still feels like it should, where the stores are owned by people, where the customers are people too... where things still happen as if New York were the tiniest, friendliest little multimillion metropolis. Cozy indeed. Walked from Grand Army Plaza all the way to the terrace area and it felt very nice. It felt very human size. Very real. -- Eveline in the diner on 7th avenue had breakfast with her friend. Eveline needed a device to hear her very loud voice and her white walking stick showed clearly that she was blind. But Eveline was funny. She wore a t-shirt, very much stretched in certain places, that just said: Stay in Touch... with braille subtitles. As if it were a t-shirt for the blind. Well, yes. Her friend could barely see through his incredibly heavy glasses. Eveline paid. The bill in her hand folded in a special way to mark the denomination. -- It was so incredibly cold and windy today. It will get worse... I just know it... Yes, it just gets really cold in New York.

bck

| 6 Comments | No TrackBacks
The past week was much more demanding than I had anticipated. I thought to maybe have time to explore some of San Francisco while there, but no, most of the time was spent in a conference room, coming up with ideas, throwing them at people in the room. The project was very nice but it really demanded to much of my thinking and feeling that i was not able to write anything here at all. Amazing. I still got to see some of San Francisco, of course. I have the feeling that the city is far too polite for my taste. Maybe it was because I spent my days and nights in midtown, but I always had the feeling as if the streets were far too wide and the buildings really a backdrop. I do not think I will be moving to San Francisco any time soon. Even though the weather looks tempting and some of the friendliest people I know live there. I am glad to be back in New York... though it might take some time for my brain to arrive here as well. I hear the thinking never takes the plane... it always walks... (but maybe only to Mecca?) On a different note... Spam activity to this site has increased to levels that are barely acceptable. I am not sure if it is only me, or if everybody around here also gets hit by the strangest comment spam. I have blacklist and I use IP banning... but still, my log looks like a crazy battlefield.
He stood on the platform for a little while, staring at the back lights of the train disappearing into the tunnel. The flow of warm air dragged by the last car gave him a last pat on the back, there was a screech generated by metal wheels on metal tracks, then something called silence: The noise of the air conditioning, the whispers of a couple passing by, the sound of a metal buckle hitting another metal buckle, step after step after step. Somebody was wearing one of those buckled leather jackets. Those who had arrived with the train were now leaving the station. He looked at his hands. At the very tip of his indexfinger was a black circle. A black circle drawn with dust. Just minutes ago he used the train window to draw a circle onto his index finger. A gigantic train, several cars, packed with people, now moving farther and farther away from him had been used to be a special device to draw a tiny circle of dust onto his finger. The circle was not perfect, of course. It was actually only approximately a circle. But wow. Tons of steel, people, glass, engines, electricity, light, a schedule. A tiny, shy ring of dust. Wow... He opened the palm of his other hand and tried to draw a little heart. It almost worked. Meanwhile, a few stations away, the outside of the train rushed by at the same speed, with the same noise, on the same schedule. The train utterly unimpressed by the dust given away by the window. Completely ignorant to the shape shape on the window where a layer of dust had been replaced by a thinnest layer of water repellent DNA carrying material. One could, maybe, from a very specific angle, from a very particular seat, in this very particular last car of the train. One could maybe see a very specific message now. The train would soon leave the tunnel. Then the light of the city would play in special ways with the symbol on the glass... If it rained, the water of the rain would avoid the shape. There would be twirls and drops and other constellation of water, but the shape itself would remain untouched. He sat down in the wrong end of the platform and waited for the train going into the opposite direction. Soon he and the circle on his index finger would rush through a tunnel, made out of other intentions, by people long gone, who might somehow be contained in the water that will not enter the symbol, at least not for a little while. At least not for a little while... It would be perceived as dumb if he licked the ring off his index finger. Yet on the other hand it was completely normal for him to inhale the exactly same kind of dust, day in day out, in a much less meaningful way. Why is that?

not today, but here...

...

.today

| 1 Comment

well watered...

| 2 Comments
There is a wall of pouring rain outside of the window. The city appears to be trapped in the midst of a waterfall. Are these the remnants of hurricane Ivan? A manhole cover on the north west corner of 96th and Broadway is repeating a spinning dance on a white fountain of sea-foam, flying off the ground for several inches, again and again and again. A father and his bright yellow colored child are observing this urban geyser from what looks from here like a stupidly close distance. I guess if the rain were worse, they would be the perfect self elected victims of the storm. The rain is a bit more quiet now. Street furniture seems to be back in its resting place. It might be a good idea to just go back to sleep. Dreams are best when there is a rushing steam and rolling thunder outside...

Things are amazing... things.

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
There was no lunch today. Around lunch time, I was sitting across the table from a very fast speaking, smart, tripple alpha guy (no, not alone). He made one of those double twirls in the air with his index fingers asking:"Where is my lunch?" After the day had entered the atmosphere, pulled by some gravity of maybe time, I sat down in a nice leather-and-chrome chair by the giant window and stared at the Empire State Building. It illuminated the dense cloud around it in a Rosh Hashanah blue. The iPod billboard over Herald Square was as yellow and black as the Nikon billboard before it in that same spot. I wanted to take a picture of the Empire State Building. The reflections of the bright lights inside made the landmark appear as if it also were sitting here, right behind me, insignificant: a projection onto a space below the lowered office ceiling. I held up some black presentation board to lock myself out of this reflection game, I wanted to pretend I was outside. It almost worked. Then it was just me, leaning onto the glass, holding my hand as if I wanted to protect the flame of a giant candle from going off. "Good luck with whatever you are attempting to do there, Sir," said the guy at my credit card security department, when I called them again to announce that I had decided to buy yet another handsome little piece of art. I have no idea what I am attempting to do. I read in the Nokia press release (it was for their new nokia.com/art website,) that art is one of the oldest forms of connecting people. I am sorry... I actually think I am in love. The framer called me to tell me that I should maybe try to make a new appointment with him next week. My feeling is that what he was telling me in his Japanese politeness was that he is never going to speak with me again. But I did not have lunch today. There was no time for leaving the man with twirling fingers and to run out to chelsea... oh it does not matter. I had an apple. I am allergic to apples, but I had one anyway. (I think I am actually allergic to the chemicals on and under the apple's skin.) It was around 9pm, after I had managed to reply to the emails that burned little holes into my inbox. I had the apple in one of the nicer kitchens. The fruit was one of the free apples, sent in by a vendor, just to announce that their technology now also works on... macintosh. I managed not to cut myself when splitting the thing in to what my grandfather used to call "little soldiers". I completely forgot about the blade when cleaning it. The blade never forgets that it is a really sharp thing. My thumb will now not forget the sharpness of the blade either. It was in the same kitchen where just yesterday boiling water burst out of one of those especially labeled faucets, straight onto my left hand. (Oh and I did not drop the cup.) I only burned two fingers. It was nice to keep them in ice for an hour or so. No blisters. And I would like to be somewhere far away from here right now. I would really love to just forget all of the above. I would really like to just even forget time differences and just be there. My eyes would probably be half closed. And it would be really beautiful and warm. And it would be perfectly beautiful. And maybe it would be windy. And maybe the sky would be gigantic. Maybe we would be closer to it. Yes definitely. "It's so warm down there, like butter cream. So warm..." the train was pulling into the station as I barely managed to get onto page 9 of the book I now decided to read to somehow glue together that open chest cavity of mine. There was no lunch today. And why would I even complain. Things are amazing. Things are amazing... things. Thoughts are beautiful... thoughts.
Sometimes there are little imprints of birds in the concrete of the sidewalk. A winged friend must have landed when the pavement was being poured and so the documented walk pattern is there. Sometimes it is just one step. Sometimes a bird took an extended walk on the soft stones. There were leaves in the pavement yesterday. Memories of leaves. The otherwise very flat concrete was interrupted by far superior indentations. They were probably ahorn leaves. They might have fallen into these places several years ago. Now they were a reminder of autumn. What a favorite season it is. And it is here again. The fall. The fall is back. My favorite season, somehow starting with the ninth month, every year. Here at least. Yesterday felt like autumn. There was a certain scent in the air. The evening was a beautiful one. There were puppets on stage. The grass was man made. There were suitcases. Three puppeteers helped to move objects in ways that made them appear alive and beyond. I am not sure I was able to follow the entire play completely. But maybe that's not a bad thing either. Maybe it is not a bad thing. Other things mattered so much more. And they were so much more beautiful than even the most perfect looking puppets. Autumn is here. Soon the trees will glow in most incredible colors. Soon the sky will become a dense blanket again. It will embrace the skyscrapers, the smaller houses, the trees, us. I am looking forward to this. A season of beauty. I want to bury myself in it. Completely. I want to dive into it. The great time of the year.
It is not like I had been one of those who had run up the stairs. And I also had not been one of those who had run from the smoke, the dust. I also was not there to see the events in person. I was preparing for a meeting in midtown. I saw the events on television. I stayed where I was. Well, at least my body did. I do not think anybody's spirit remained in the old place. And so I did not go to ground zero today, my body did not. I looked at the sky, until the sun set, the lights went on, not very far from here. Not very far at all.
The sky is the deepest of blues right now. In the building across broadway only one window is lit. A man with a funny walk just entered the subway station. A couple in posh trainings outfits just crossed 96th street. And a few blocks from here, a helicopter keeps hovering, obviously with the engine on, a loud annoying kerosine burning shouting self-important machine. Wait till the sun comes out. It will show this guy who on earth has more staying power. I am not here to wait for the outcome of this. The next hour at least will be spent on levitating through birch forests, where the air is so sweet and heavy that all living things swim in it and push their way from tree to tree with closed eyes, peacefully. And without making the tiniest of sounds.
My eyes looked a bit as if they had been collecting the memories of my dreams in their neat little pockets over night. The dreams must have been big, the pockets were bulging. No it did not feel in any way nice and I could barely see it as well, both eyes swollen, the left one asking to be scratched and rubbed and moved, right there, right then, a lot. Allergy season is back, I guess, and I must have not noticed it until the morning, when after a night of rubbing my face against the pillow cover, the histamines really kicked in hard. Behind a wall of water outside of the window, there were large groups of human mushrooms, open umbrellas, many, many, grouped neatly around the entrances of the subway station. I had never seen the "Pharmacy" neon sign giggle, but it seemed to do just that this time. The P lit up so rarely. The "ha" "ha" again and again. The rest of the sign was clearly broken. "ha" "ha" "Pha" "Pha" "ha" "ha" "har" "har" "har"... The umbrellas were more and more. The water poured like a straight stream from a giant bucket held over the city. The faint voice of an announcer could be heard from between the rushing water. The eye-drops which I hoped to be able to use, expired in March of beautiful 2003 (or was it 2008?, no 2003). Rubbing the left eye made it even wilder, more demanding, it asked for more, greedy eye, blackmailing me with the blurriest version of the "ha" "ha" "har" "har" "har"... of the unreachable Pharmacy sign. The trains were not running at all. A woman in soaked clothes and with streaks of black mascara over her face announced to anybody who happened to be in the lobby of the building that there was no service. None at all. I asked about the other trains, the lines running near Central Park. And nobody knew an answer. (I just assumed that those who went to check, never came back to tell otherwise.) More blurred versions of wet people. A businessman wore a now cheap looking shapeless suit over a transparent because very wet shirt. A wet dog gave up shaking off his fur. In the background somewhere was were the piercing cries of a frustrated child. It took a little while to get to Central Park. Streams of water from all possible directions made the walk of a few blocks a dodging adventure. The station of the C line was packed up to the stairs. It seemed as if a whole village of New Yorker editors preferred to take this particular stop. Yes there were also those with black streaks on their quiet faces, but the majority appeared to be in their 50's, dressed for the office and rather curious and cautious, incredibly eloquent, sarcastic. They were not ready to spend their $2 on a gamble either. There was a packed crowd, but all of it on the free side of the turnstiles. The token booth clerk was calm. She explained over and over again that trains were running sporadically. She also explained that she was probably not really the one who should "file a complaint with the MTA" and that the straphangers, were the better ones to do that. (Complain about what, about the unexpected monstrous rain?) An express train unexpectedly arrived. It was packed and it was going uptown. The token booth clerk still recommended that the crowd take this one to 125th street, just to get the express train down to their desired destination. And so they did. There was a push and a pull and the mass of commuter-cattle squeezed themselves and others through the turnstiles. And when my great moment came. My metrocard implied: "Insufficient fare". The train was gone, the crowds were not. I managed to get myself to a vending machine, which reluctantly gave me a new metro card. (It at first rejected all possible forms of payment: wet cash, wet and wiped credit cards.) I managed to get in at last. I went to the local train platform. The crowd there would never possibly fit into a single train. I tried to stay near to the wall. Tried to avoid the possibility to end up on the tracks. A woman in an incredibly wet t-shirt explained to a very attentive businessman how far she had already traveled on this particular morning. I finally found my spot near the very end of the platform. Not far from a mother with two little kids, both of them with the supernatural powers to express the frustration of all of us here by screaming on top of their lungs. No, a train was not about to arrive any time soon. It did not matter how many times a blurry silhouette leaned over the yellow platform edge to look into the tunnel from which the possibly completely overcrowded Subway was supposed to emerge. I waited for probably 15 minutes. It must have been definitely less than 18, as just seconds after I made the decision to leave the station, and made my way to the outside of the turnstiles, where a new mob of highly educated people was asking the same questions... well... As soon as I got out of the paid waiting zone, a train arrived. The clerk explained again that all should take this local train uptown, I was pushed into the turnstile, swiped my card and it explained: "Just Used." And so I walked. It was relatively easy and it was something active and hopeful. The water was not all that bad. The crowds on Central Park West were also relatively civil. I walked. It was not too bad at all. I walked for miles. The further I walked towards midtown, the fancier the old lobbies became of the old apartment buildings became, the better dressed the concierges were, the nicer was the fabric on some umbrellas. There was a giant crowd around the American Museum of Natural History. I imagined the fossils trapped in the walls of the station downstairs. I imagined them breaking free after the station had been flooded. Maybe they could swim to the ever rising surface. Maybe they would then dive between the skyscrapers, a man made, concrete, coral reef. Fancy looking guests at the Trump building on Columbus Circle used their free golden trump-rellas, designed to match the Donald approved, Ivana invented decor. (I imagined the dinosaurs from the museum's subway station enjoy these particular people as an especially delicious little snack.) It took me about an hour and a half to get from 95th street all the way to Herald Square. A wet midtown smelled like various wet body parts of various species. It was as if all those trashy scents had been locked in, only to come free if one just added some water. I was not the last one to arrive at the office. Many others had been trapped in tunnels, or on bridges in steamy little cars. I looked out the window for a few moments. The blurry mushrooms down in the street had mostly black tops. I never bought new eye drops. The dinosaurs never broke free. Maybe next time.
Gems after gems after gems after gems. As if the lights had been turned on for the very first time, the Met was glowing with brilliance yesterday. The rooms were the same, the objects were the same, the time was the same, but finally, finally the tiny splinters came forward and rushed to welcome the visitors. No death this time. More the record of life. The colors, the colors. They were not those faded-over-centuries ones, this time they were time travelers, telling stories of burned glazes, of cows eating nothing but mango leaves, and layers upon layers of the incredibly dangerous urushiol. Was it a cloud, was it a mystic something into which the freshly combed lion was pushing his claws? What did the horse without a neck do in a painting that had the clear traces of photoshop tennis? How and why did a giant piece of furniture appear in a world created for smaller things? How come the stones did not even need a date? How brilliant, how brilliant, how wonderful to see that the most elaborate clothing is often the best camouflage. How incredible to see a tiny painting of fire that manages to sting the eye. How incredible to see worlds again for the first time. Oh, I want to go, I want to go, I want to see the giant scissors of Hans Christian Andersen cut tiny mirrored ballerinas and swans, out of blotting paper. I want to see the projections of shadows imagine to be moving groups in a shadowy world. Where is that room in which it is allowed to use magnifying glasses. Yesterday's visit to the Metropolitan Museum was spectacular. No pickles.
The syren that woke me up, just does not want to stop. It just keeps going on and on and on. All I hear now is the syren and a courageous bird, from across the street, pitching in his 2... Now there are some trucks. The syren sounds as if it were... oh it just stopped... now it is the regular new york sound mix. The light of the rising sun completely painted the hills of the New Jersey water edge in orange and yellow and gold. The Columbia house across the street pretends to be a bright rubber toy as well. Now some drivers not far away from here try to add to their shouted insults by honking a whole sound palette of horns. A woman with a stunning skull shape and no visible hair emerged from the subway dressed in a completely black outfit, so monochromatic in fact that through my still almost sleeping eyes all I thought to see was a well shaped shadow. The pigeons on the sidewalk move around in what appears like giant undisturbed flock. The bright light sign on the subway entrance keeps bravely advertising the 1012 Olympics to me and me alone, it seems, as there is not a person in sight, for the few seconds at least. I can hear the cleaning truck brush the edge of broadway. It might be the perfect time to go brush my sleepy teeth. And maybe it is also time to take something against that raging pain in my throat. Good morning, fly by helicopter... Does nothing never happen?
We are expecting some heavy dreams tonight. I just managed to eat far too late and far too crazy. At least for this time of night. There will be some very heavy dreaming tonight. Hope I will get out in one piece on the other side. The taco truck on 96th street and Broadway has just some of the best tasting mexican food around. At least in this neighborhood. A good sign might also be that I get my order last, after all of the Mexican workers and writers and families are done with ordering and receiving theirs. I guess this is okay. It is okay. A couple next to me was really getting upset with the slowness of their order. One of the guys was really "kinda pissed, that they were, like, growing their own rice in that truck." His boyfriend was more down to earth. He managed to calm him down. They kissed. For a long and intense kind of time. A German sounding guy in his 40's with probably one of the cutest puppies to live on this island, insisted on ordering his complex food wishes in Spanish. He did not care that nobody understood what he meant or barely. It was okay... at least to him it was. At 10PM there were three Mexican kids making up games running around the truck, playing with the cutest ever puppy. The girl really wanted to play "follow the leader." Nobody else wanted to play that. I got the beverage from that almost 24-hour supermarket. I was one of three customers maybe, which might explain why most of the staff were outside as well, on their cellphones. Some swinging around their heavy keys. Some just doing some heavy lifting of their giant pants. I am now done with my dinner. The piece of lime was so plump it almost exploded all over me as I barely pushed it into that bottle of corona. I am getting ready for some very heavy dreams tonight. My stomach just punched itself. Here we go. Have a very good and incredibly calm night...

relatively on top of things

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
"Now that's a giant lamp," he said, sitting across from the pretty girl who would not stop telling him about the world: China and India were declared to be trouble. Once they were to "grow up" and started demanding things, they would become trouble, she explained. They would want vegetables and watches and cars and we would not be able to keep up with that giant demand. "There are really dark times ahead of us." She was not so worried about Africa though. Africa was a country that was just so ridiculously behind. She really meant it. He understood. He put one hand on the giant paperback he had brought with him and the other, just casually on her knee. The top one. "I like this bar" he said, "I would not mind coming back here." "You know, when I read the daVinci code, I mean it might be a cheesy novel, but there is so much truth in it, I mean how are you supposed to believe that there is this guy who never has any sex and even tells you to never have any. I mean this is totally ridiculous." "Do you think this giant lamp makes the room bigger, or smaller?", he said. "Mirrors make a room look bigger." "I have two mirrors." "Where, across from each other?..." "no, like this...", he created an angle with his hands... "where is your apartment?..." "in the west village..." "i am tired..." "let's get out of here..." and the giant lamp glowed on over the purple pool table where everybody happened to be a winner... but that really depended on the point of view...
so glad to be able to upload images again. So it was the server after all... so glad... : )

Split seconds of thick air.

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
The air has the quality of translucent cotton, spread thin between the buildings, suspended, floating. The pigeons on the corner were flocking like sheep just moments ago, until it was time for humans to take their place on the sidewalk. Now the birds are lazily playing flight on the iron grill of an ever working air conditioner on the roof of the bank across Broadway. We are all expecting rain today.

Did he even have eyebrows?

| No Comments | 1 TrackBack
Somebody related to charlie brown's teacher reminded all of those waiting for the uptown local train to report any suspicious objects or persons to ghuaghuaawa waghawawa. What was a suspicious object, the huge black trash bag left behind on the platform?, the month old cell phone on the tracks? And what kind of person? A terrorist with a camera? Or tourists with two cameras? Better watch out... they flash. I had just managed to open the little bag containing some incredibly potent vitamine C. It was a gift. I was supposed to mix it with water and drink... The thing had some really strange graphics on it and it was called something witty like "emergen-C"... 1000% of vitamine C... the 500% of some vitamine B complex came for free, it seemed... (or emergen-B would just not have made as much sense.) Oh, and I did not bring any water. Hmm, though I am three quarters of water, does that count? I remembered eating these orange flavored powders in Poland. I did not even know then that one should dissolve them outside of the body. I remember using a glas of water for the first time, more as a science project than anything. And I remember the resulting taste being a horrible disappointment... Orange or lemon or whatever vitamine powder was supposed to be dissolved on the tongue. And there was even a good technique for that... so I poured a tiny hill of the potent yellow powder onto the palm of my hand, looked at the little clumps, the differences in color... (which ones were the vitamine C?)... and i just threw that little mountain into my mouth. It was a bit like looking up into the sky and being amazed about something really incredible and at the same time throwing that surprise thing into the open mouth. It was a good and familiar sensation. The taste was a tiny bit too strong, at first, the powder clearly turned into some sort of magic substance... the vitamines returned to the hydrated reality with a fizz phoenix-B... no still not a good name for this. I was able to repeat the careful pouring of the powder and throwing it into my mouth several times. I still had a little bit left, when the train arrived. And this was when I got into the last car and this was when the best seats available were right across from this giant of a man. He was really big. He was almost enormous, maybe 8 feet tall? or 10, or 12? Funny thing how memory sometimes works. He could have been in his 20's perhaps. Though the expression in his face appeared to be maybe twelve or thirteen thousand years old. He might have been wearing nikes, his giant jeans and some layers of white t-shirts and also some sort of a hat, but boy, this was no ordinary man. Did he even have eyebrows? He had some sort of sculpted area around his eyes... Oh, and his eyes... he clearly was a hungry hunter. It felt that if a chicken happened to run across the subway car, he would have jumped up to simply bite of its head. Silly of me to sit across such a man, holding on to my little, almost empty, emergen-C... but I did. I tried to see if there was any movement on the other side of the aisle. Was this body of a man moving? Was it moving towards me? Was I maybe dressed up as a chicken? Things looked okay and relatively peaceful. He sat there, observing, something. Did he see some sort of prey none of us could see? His head was sunk, deep in that giant hill of his shoulders. His forearms rested on an almost inflated looking lap. My feeling for this guy was probably simply amplified, because I had just poured some 800% of the daily dosage of vitamine C into my body minutes prior to entering the train... And so I simply made one last little mountain, on my right hand, looked at it again, and in one move that other kids would use to throw in a bunch of m&m's I moved my hand towards my mouth quickly, and almost closed my eyes and... there was that powder hitting the inside of my mouth, turning into another tingling sensation and there it was, maybe just a few millimeters from my face, just swinging by, making a bit of a chilling wind, in an incredible speed, a giant foot in a nike sneaker. All I saw was the bottom of a blue sole. White swoosh... Size 18?... I was not sure quite sure what, but he just did it... the man clearly was a superb example of a killer kicker. In the split second it took me to move my hand towards my mouth, he managed to not only balance his entire giant body in some unpredicted way, he also threw a serious kick towards my face. A giant kick. A killer. And I think the reason why he happened to miss me was because that throwing of the vitamine powder made me move my head and body back... I did not say anything. I simply got up slowly... walked away... It was not until I sat down where all the other people were sitting that I realized that there was a considerable distance between the giant man and everybody else. I must have been distracted when I entered the car to not notice that... Did he even have eyebrows?... not that it really matters... ...
A little winged friend is jumping through the leaves right next to me on the north side of Bryant Park. Cars are behind me, loud talking men in front of me. Subways below me, trees above me. There are teeth in my mouth and they are cleaner now than they have been for months. I am still a bit confused, but right now I am the person that is built around the teeth in a mouth that is shut in a head that knows it is late, in a body that is very hungry, sitting on a little folding chair in a park, more than surrounded by darting little birds, in midtown on the island of manhattan in this big city... and so on... Will need to rush now... but I am not really leaving anyway... (There are about seven birds sitting around me now. Do I look like a baked good?... Okay... we are up to 12... hmm... hmm... CHIRP!)
The cab was one of those with no partition. The cabs without partition scare me by now. Could the driver just reach into a pocket, grab a knife and stab me with a kitchen knife while using the other hand to maneuver his yellow vehicle through the canyons of manhattan? A with partition could not do that. A cabby without a partition could. Oh and the partition is also a nice place for stickers and marker tags. Not that I ever stick or tag, but it is nice to discover that there are forms of creative life out there... and daring. So the cab had the map of Manhattan stuck to the ceiling, or "Himmel" (sky and heaven and ceiling in a car are one and the same word in German... and I wonder why...) What does that mean when the map is attached to the ceiling... how does that work? The intelligence test in this involves too many layers for me. Oh, and the music was blasting out of the speakers. And the music sounded very suspiciously like The 7th Symphony by Shostakovich... named after another city no longer named after a man who most likely died of syphilis... On the dashboard of the car was tucked in the picture of another genius who died of unknown causes at the age of 35, ... WAM (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart...) "What is the name of the piece you are playing?" I asked the cabbie to start a conversation about death and music and driving a cab without a partition. "It is Strauss, and I don't know the name of this piece. It is something... something about his life!" The music really did not sound anything like Strauss... and so I tried to ask again. "It sounds a bit dark, doesn't it?" "Yeah, it really depends how Strauss sees his life, I guess?" And then he began to sing and whistle... and for the first few minutes I assumed that he was whistling in joy and anticipation of the music to come. But not a single one of the melody fragments he uttered had anything to do with the amazing music I was enjoying... What added to the whole confusion was the cabbies driving style. He changed lanes almost as if we and the other cars were dancing, the avenue our shining, moving ballroom, the metal skins of our cars glittery gowns reflecting the electrified candlelight of the big city... "So I hear you are from Vienna?" The dental hygienist asked me out of nowhere this morning... "Oh ho, hy heh hroh hohhangh... guh i highegh ih herhaghy hor horghyh heygh." "Oh, where in Germany?" she asked. Layers upon layers upon layers upon layers...
Barely got the bus on that friday night when not a single taxi cab seemed available on 8th avenue. I could have walked to the subway and waited, but the bus was just there, ready to go, and so was I. On the very last seats was a couple, maybe in their 50's speaking the clacking and knocking dialect that might have originated among African bushmen. They were large people, both of them. I know too little about the origins of any language that might contain these distinctive sounds to make any further assumptions here. On the other side of the bus, across from me, on the seats that are usually folded up when a wheelchair is brought in, were two kids and what I assumed must have been their mothers. The boy looked like maybe 13, he was a bit on the heavy side (okay, very much so,) he was wearing a black adidas trainings suit that looked as if he had worn it for a few very long days (and nights). A seat away from him, and closer to the two women, was a girl. She looked maybe a bit younger than him, she was all skin and bones, her face appeared to be carved out of very light wood and then rolled through some material that gave her that very temporary but very acne-ish look. I tried to imagine what she might look like without all the little additional detail in her face and what I saw was a very gentle, serious, maybe a bit afraid person with blue eyes, a medium sized nose and barely any lips. Her ears had each several odd earrings pierced through them. It was good to see that she managed to be a bit of a rebell. I saw that she was incredibly thin, so much so that I could not even see what she was wearing, as her body was completely obstructed by a gigantic Duane Reade plastic bag. (DR is a pharmacy chain in New York.) The girl and the boy where whispering to each other, rolling their eyes from time to time. They were probably talking about the two women, who looked like sisters, or a lesbian couple of mothers. One of the women asked the girl for some water and the giant DR bag actually also contained a started bottle of dassani. The women were talking. One of them was now holding on to her new dassani water and the other one was somehow using a straw to sip on what must have been her yoghurt. Both women were maybe blond maybe in their mid thirties... "Look at all the trash!, did you see all that trash there?" The woman with the water pointed out to the girl. We were just going around columbus circle and the touristy four was clearly having their last exciting ride of a packed exciting day. The boy did not even react anymore. "Look, look, all the yellow cabs!" I wondered why this would have been something she would find so exciting this late at night while sitting on the bus. The driver announced the upcoming stop. It sounded like "hyghy hyt hmytt..." "WHAT?" That was the first thing we all heard from the yoghurt sipping lady. The kids were embarrassed. The boy was the only one who answered.. "mom, shh..." "I did not hear what he said, what the hell did he say?" She shouted. "The next stop will be 66th street." I made the mistake to answer, of course. Eight tired touristy eyes looked at me as if I were their dinner. "The next stop will be 66th street.", I repeated. Talking worked with wild animals... maybe tourists could be calmed this way too? The entire bus was now staring at me. The bushmen-sounding people in the back seat went quiet, the man who looked like the illustration of a writer looked at me, somebody in one of the front seats cared enough to turn around and see who I was. Somewhere all the way in the front of the bus was a mirror reflecting the two very angry eyes of a busdriver. It was as if I were the sole creator of these four visitors, as if I had been the ventriloquist who made the yoghurt lady scream. "WE ARE FROM O HI YO." the water lady spelled out the name of her state for me as if I were a little monkey. "In O Hi Yo we have grass," her fingers made a movement that was supposed to show me what she meant with this exotic word, "and gar-dens." No hand movement here. "You guys have none of this here." I was not sure how this was in any way related to what just had happened but clearly the four were now expecting a fun and witty answer. "Well, we have that here too. I promise." (Okay, that was really lame.) They stared. "If you have time, you should take the A train to 190th street and take a walk towards the cloisters." I really surprised myself how I dared to suggest something so unexpected and incredibly complicated to these people. The writer guy from the front of the bus looked at me as if I had just sent these four gentle souls into certain death in a piranha pond. "A CLOister?" Something was not quite right with the yoghurt lady. "Yes, Rockefeller build this cloister in trenton Park, in the north part of Manhattan. It looks as if it were a real medieval structure, but it is not... it is really a nice and quiet place with gardens... It is a satellite of the Metropolitan... mu..se...hmm..." It was as if I could see all of my words flying out of my mouth and straight over their heads and then bursting into little pieces on the bus window behind them. The writer guy hated me so very much right now. "Like a medieval FAIR? That is so cool. We have one of those in our town and it is SOO COOL. It is like knights and horses and..." That yoghurt that lady was having was some very quickly spinning stuff... "Are you from New York?" The lady with the water bottle reacted to the part of my description she managed to remember. I told her that I was not born here, but that I had lived here for a while now. (I did not want to use the term "New Yorker" at this point of the embarrassment as I did not want the writer guy to throw something else at me, beyond his continuos lethal stare.) "have you ever been to Ohio?" (She said it as if Ohio were the other 99% of the country.) I lied that I had never been there, but that I was not even sure, as I had crossed the country more than once. (Which was not a lie.) "That sounds like an adventure. We are here for adventure. And we want to show the kids New York. We are going to show them Liberty tomorrow." The waterlady liked the sound of the word adventure. She made it sound as if the word were a description of itself. "Do you have kids?" The yoghurt lady tore off the lid of her yoghurt cup, pulled out a giant bottle of Bud and refilled the little plastic container that then immediately went back to looking like an innocent little health drink with a straw. I did not even get to answer... she continued. "Kids steal the BEST YEARS out of yer life. They just STEAL the best years. And it doesn't even matter if they are yours or not. Even when you just adopt them. Even then. Kids just really mess it all up." (She used a different word for mess.) The kids had obviously heard this one before, and clearly more than once. "We came here to show the kids something. We both have been here before once. That was in 1998. Back then we were just like two dumb girls on the town. We had a lot of fun. So now we are back. My son is 15 and her daughter is gonne turn 13 on Saturday..." "Tomorrow..." whispered the girl from behind the bag, staring at the floor. "I'm telling you. Kids just take out the fun of it all. They tear out the best years of yer life." I was supposed to answer now. I was supposed to lift my imaginary glass, and shout something back as a toast. It felt as if the floor were littered with carnage. The bus felt like a deep pit filled with some smelly psycho carnage. "Well, haven't we all been children at some point in out lives?" (I really wasn't able to give any better answer..." "Next stoh heghenhy nigh hthreet." Said the bus driver. "Next stop seventy night street," I said to the kids. I found out that the Ohio-four were returning to their hotel on 94th street. I offered them to just leave the bus with me and not worry so much about missing their stop. The boy mentioned something about "many" and "streets"... I saw all the beautiful places that usually made the ride home so pleasant, pass by in the window behind him, unnoticed. The writer, in his black suit and white shirt, left the bus on 86th street. He adjusted his large black glasses and looked at me as if he wanted to let me know that he was far from finished with me. I made sure not to miss "our" stop on 93rd street, a block away from the Ohian's hotel. The kids managed to convince their mothers that it was okay to leave the bus with me, as I would probably not really mug them. The more sober mother was holding on to a piece of paper:"96th street, 96th Street..." It was clearly a set of instructions given by a hotel clerk who wanted to make things as simple as possible for himself. It took a few seconds until they realized that they were in fact where they were supposed to be... and so they thanked God... well, the sober mother did, rather loudly. I waved to the kids. "How do you?... " I did not finish this one... "Enjoy New York!, Enjoy your stay. And Happy Birthday." I said... The girls face now looked like a carved apology for the moments on the bus. I passed the shoe shine guy walking back to his station. He was out of character and so he ignored my greeting. The one legged lady in the pink nike suit was still trying to get some money into her cup. The Cuban Chinese place behind her was closed for the night. The lobsters in the tank had to wait yet another day for their death. A conservative looking guy in a yarmulke stepped into the elevator with me and asked me to press the button for his floor. He was clearly breaking several rules of his very openly displayed religion by doing so. And so he became the first one of my Jewish neighbors I ever asked if he felt that his request was "legal." (I did not want to use "kosher"; I am just a goy, not his rabbi.) "It is legal enough for me," he said, "besides, it's been an awfully long day." I pressed the button, making a little light bulb go on behind the number nine. Once I had stepped out of the elevator, I could see him, out of the corner of my eye, pressing that button, again and again and again... It had been a rather long ride home, for sure.

...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Maybe twenty or so police cars drove up 8th avenue. And somebody in the street just said "they are going to screw in a light bulb." The rain is not too heavy. The night is not too dark. My face must have looked grim enough for the guy on the corner not to ask me for money but just to wish me a good evening. The window open, the street is half here on the bed with me. the tires make a sound as if they were pulling off a band aid of the asphalt. It is a good time to just call it a day. I will now turn off the lights and imagine what it would be like if I did not know that it is a bus outside or a train, or even that it is raining. What if each one of the sounds were a completely new a very first time event. Will I be able to imagine unshapely gigantic machines? Will the soundtrack call for animals? Maybe there will be some major tectonic movement? Enough for now. Sleep. (as a name. not as a command.)
Waited on the corner for the seconds to happen and they did, one by one they did, just as promised, they were subtracted from the day one by one, just like that. And nobody noticed. There they went, there they went. The sun spun out of the sky and behind the buildings. And the two women that were very deep in their conversation about "her". Were still in a conversation about "her" (who was a "total bitch", apparently), as they were buying the hair product. The woman with the blonded hair could barely hold on to the conditioner bottle, as she was trying to balance it in one hand, as her other hand was very much wrapped around a giant (venti) cup of coffee. And the security guy stared at the heavy kid looking at spiderman action figures. The security guy was dressed nicely in nylon and crisp colors and with his joystick he remotely controlled the camera over the kid's head. There was one spiderman action figure, then, the other one was apparently not good enough... another one. "You are in charge here." A little man just wanted to become friends with the security guy. "Well, not really in charge..." said the security guy, meaning... "Yes, I am, and I am going to show you how I can use this joystick to spy on kids that might steal action figures." I felt sorry for the security guy. He was powerful and yet he had not been given a chair. I also wondered if I could outrun him. Or what would I do to outrun him? What could I possibly take and run from the pharmacy? Maybe a vibrating razor? That would be exciting. The Vibrating razor might be one of the more exciting inventions of our time. I think the vibrating beer would be nice too. Or the vibrating pants. Well, the vibrating razor can turn anything into a vibrating device. I have not bought one yet. My cashier had serious problems with his back. He made it crack several times while I was looking for the right amount of cash to pay. Oh, and the woman at starbucks maybe made my day by testing the cream dispensers on her hand. They did not work properly. She really made a sweet white mess... Tripple espresso con panna... the brew tastes so horrible, it should probably be just served on the rocks. And I remember the night when the chief copywriter took me down to the fancy bar of the ritz carlton in Atlanta and made me drink some really old drink that had spent most of my life in an oak barrel. And the seconds just keep leaving the day. And I am back in front of this screen, and there is paper in front of me, And there will soon be a pen in my hand. And it will be okay. The day is a good one. And the evening is good too. The cloud on the weather widget looks nothing like the sky outside. I was sent a mail today that was an insult from the first word to the last. But I also received several mails that were just beautiful and kind. And so each second counts. (and why are they even called seconds?... why not "firsts", or "lasts"?)...
A very fragile looking jogger with a white plastic bag attached to her left arm just crossed 96th street. She passed by a woman in an aqua colored sari. Both of them moved in a synchronized trott, echoing the long distance clapping of the red hands of the street light. Clap, clap, clap, has replaced the don't walk, don't walk, don't walk. On the island between the landes on broadway, a couple is watching the thin traffic going downtown. I can only see their backs from here, but just the movements of their heads and upper bodies tell so much about their unhappiness... He scans the surroundings now and then, then moves his body-weight over to her and kisses her, on neck, or mouth, or shoulder, or whatever she lets him kiss between the long pulls from her decoratively held cigarette. She now even moved the little white stick to her right hand, to the side where he sits. A few inches of a tabacco stuffed impenetrable barrier for him. The bird like minimal ticks of her large head are a real contrast to his fluid, drunk moves of white shirt and neck. Another man who shares the bench with them just asked the woman for a cigarette, I guess. The "boyfriend" replied, she just pointed the smoking stick at both and turned her head away as if in disgust. A very tiny old woman in a completely pink outfit spent the last five minutes or so pulling herself up the stairs of the 96th street subway station. Her movements looked even older than her, and it was as if she listened to their transmission from a very far away place. Slow is a word too short to describe this incredibly difficult timing of her motion. Two men in matching uniforms marked the concrete pavement of the north west corner with a bright green hose and are now turning it into a shiny, reflective, wet plane. It is time to begin my day as well... though I feel very much reminded of a Franz Kafka quote, which makes me actually want to stay and listen to the subtle vibrations of the explosion unfolding in front of me in relaxed slow motion. "It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet." Or something like that... Good morning....
Happy fourth of July, dear American friends. Today might be a good day to take a good look at This Interesting Document and I think it might be important to read past the first paragraphs. Those who get a little deeper into the text will discover some really exciting stuff, I promise. I wanted to upload some pictures of some flags and other things that would go well with this day today. Unfortunately the backbone of my site here is a bit broken and it looks like I will not be able to upload images for a little while. I do not want to write too much about it, as it is really bad form to go on and on about the guts of one's website... but hey, maybe today is a good day to announce that I am also one of the founding members of something somehow semi historic... Yes, my friends, there this this thing called VC200 and when you look at this page and scroll down to Number 71... yeah... Proof that I paypalled $200... And because the service is for life... I will probably transfer this site over to the other server in the next ten years or so... When I finally was upset enough yesterday to backup all of the text from this portion of the site, and then I opened the site in Word, just to see if I could maybe print the thing and maybe hang it on the wall... the word document, containing all the comments as well, for all fairness, was about 2900 pages strong. I thought that was pretty insane. Those who (for some unexplainable reason) like to return to this site, probably know that a large portion of these pages is completely original content, as I do not have the brainpower to sound really smart and sarcastic about such important things like that Google policies, or iChat bugs or what Flash should have been and yet never will be. I tend to be distracted by silly stuff, like the setting sun, or falling in love with a view. But for thousands of pages? My feeling is that I will never ever get to read this thing again. Much too big of a book. Oh, did I mention that the export did not include a single picture? So again, happy fourth of July, dear American friends. The rest of the world have a happy Sunday. I would like to say so much more right now, but I think I will just take my time... Okay, even if the functionality to upload pictures with a thumbnail is broken, here are some photographs... This guy must be one of the workers at the Chinese restaurant here on 96th street. He is a smoker, and he is also apparently a ballpoint-pen tattoo artist. I really like that flower he is drawing on his forearm. Isn't it beautiful? I wish I had more pictures of this guy. I don't. One thing one might forget very easily it that Streetlights do not only provide, well, light in the evenings, but also a tiny piece of shade during the day. This is not really the theme of the image here, but still an interesting thing to consider. This Lamppost was my very own solar eclipse. Not the best and greatest one. But here I am posting an image of it. Oh, and then there is this picture of the flag, which somehow works in connection with both of the above pictures, I think, somehow, in some ways. Again, have a happy holiday. Don't injure yourself celebrating.
My neck is burning. It will probably turn red as soon as I arrive home, I will be an Upper Westside Redneck. I could be there in 20 minutes. I will probably stay here a little longer, It feels pleasant to keep myself in the shade of this Linden tree. Not only does its bark look like camouflage. The shade from its leaves turns everything around it into camouflage colors as well. It is such a pleasant thought to find myself in the visual microclimate of a living thing. Trees are wild and living, determined, ambitious, focused, brilliant, brainless, but only because they are strong enough and alive enough to not have to escape from predators. I guess if we were all trees, none of us needed a brain really and we would just create microenvironments and be kind enough to offer those lower, brain driven creatures shelter and food and well, camouflage. The West Side highway is just a few feet from here. I can hear it almost too well. A police car just drove by. I just imagined two policemen in a speeding limousine, one of them playing with the siren settings. Two intelligent, guided players on their shortest path to preventing somebody from not playing by the rules. A boy is throwing water bombs high in the air, to make them burst on the concrete of the playground. The little water filled balloons look like those old pineapple hand grenades. They are green and have areas of slightly thicker rubber, they are a cute and soft version of those metal studs made to fly through the air propelled by the explosive charge, designed to inflict injuries. Were the boy throwing real grenades, we would all be hit by pieces of steel. The entire family is laughing. Were these real, they would all be bleeding. His two small brothers are incredibly impressed by his amazing skill to throw the balloons high enough in the air so they actually come down with enough speed to burst. The smallest of the boys tries to somehow achieve a similar level of coolness by throwing his bubble gun into the air. The plastic toy hits the ground again and again and I am expecting it to lose some parts. It does not. The little boy finds one of the balloons that failed to burst and he throws it in the air around me... even this toy fails to break when thrown by him. Maybe there is some sort of secret knowledge involved here? Could this boy have the super power of not being able to destroy anything he touches? I imagine him as an older, very unsuccessful superhero. Trying to escape all the things he fails to break. Not far from here, to my right, between the highway, and me two teenagers on swings move back and forth like the pendulums of a biological clock. They move in a synchronized rhythm, seeing each other for seconds at a time, I can only see the girls face. I can see how serious she becomes when looking at the boy. I can see how her face is embraced by a smile when she moves beyond the moment of visibility She is wearing a black top, one that she must have bought some time ago and a long, flowing, light, green dress. The guy is wearing a slacker hat. His t-shirt bulges at his belly, his pants seem several sizes too big. A white shirt is wrapped around his waist and it makes me think he might be one of the more proper Jewish boys of the neighborhood. His face comes with its own camouflage. He might be older than I think. The girl has had enough of the swinging. She slowly gets off the seat and walks towards the water rushing out of the four corners of the center of this concrete covered playground. Her friend follows her quietly... They both stare at a little girl riding her tricycle around the water-sprinklers in nothing but her diaper. It looks as if her older siblings had brought her here. One of her older brothers is using her for his water-gun target practice. She seems to love it more than he does. It looks like shooting at her is just part of this boring afternoon for him. The swings, from which the couple just walked away are now completely refilled with kids. I remember that first time when I found out how to make the swing work. I then also remember the stitched together chin of my cousin, at my grandfathers funeral. I was told that she had found a way to swing all around the top pole I imagined her moments of weightlessness. It took me a while to file this story into the drawer of untruths invented by my mother to keep me from making some dangerous mistakes. Some of the scenarios sounded scarier than others. I am sure she would have told me to never speak to a strange looking stranger sitting all by himself by the chess tables of the playground in riverside park. Yes, he would probably be typing on some intriguing looking device, but this whole setup would be just there to lure me in, his car, left with the engine on would be parked just behind the trees. Some security ladies, two of them, in a electric car, are looking at me suspiciously. I am actually glad they at least pretend to care. (The time they spent alone in that "for park employees only" bathroom makes me think they might care more about other things. Make up? I'll keep walking. The chess-table is made out of really cheap concrete, now weathered and old; the little sharp edged stones are cutting into my arms, leaving strange patterns. Yes, they do look oddly familiar in the context of a playground. The teenage couple is still there, though they are done observing the play of the kids in the water. The girl just fixed her glasses. She then fixed her bra in a very awkward way. She moves so much slower than he does. She reached out into the water of the sprinklers and with her wet hand strokes the lower layers of her hair, her neck. He walks ahead... The sun just moved behind a cloud for a few moments. We are all in a patch of a much larger camouflage. I will keep going now I will be home in probably twenty minutes. My typewriter is turned back into a pocket-storyteller and I walk on, more trees, more paths, more patches of shade and direct sunlight Like very, very, very brief days and nights Oh, and my neck is not burning anymore. I will probably be just fine. Just had to stop for a moment and look around. Maybe not even that. Should I have just played chess? And lost against myself?..
There is this one gentleman in the office, who seems to never wash his hands. He wears a suit, his hair looks great. He is a handsome guy, but whenever I see him, I remember this one time he came out of the stall, and then out of the door, and then today again... I use the towel to touch the doorknob for a while now... for obvious reasons. So when I went to get a coffee today, around four pm or so. The man in the nice suit, who does not seem to want to wash his hands happened to also go out of the building to get a smoke. I do not feel so bad now, at least. The smoke probably kills a good percentage of the bacteria he leaves on his hands. (The cigarette will be a really good one to blame, once he happens to somehow injure himself via his bad hygiene...) One of the ashtrays outside of the building was smoking too. One of the cigarettes must have set some thrown out receipt on fire, and so there was a general smell of burning paper in the air. And yes, some smoke. I went to get the coffee. There is a little place across 8th avenue, and their coffee is not so bad, even though they do not have Moby Dick symbols on their paper cups. (They also give me two cups every time, and then these cups make very nice building blocks for paper sculptures.) As I was returning to the office, back on the same path, there is was, obviously, the ashtray, now much more smokey. People standing around, staring, smoking their cigarettes. The smoke somehow heavy actually. A security guard, in his day-glow vest and his walkietalkie was calling the fire department. For help. I could hear the syrens, the firehouse is not very far... He kept them very well informed: "Yes, we have heavy smoke here, heavy smoke." This was not heavy smoke, it was a bunch of paper really happy to be finally on fire. I walked up to the ashtray, took off the lid of my coffee cup and slowly poured some of my java onto the little flames, extinguishing them instantly. "...yes, we had a representative sent here and he put coffee on top of the fire, extinguishi...." I heard the security guy speak into his device, as I walked into the building through the new york airlock called revolving door... I actually thought that I had spilled most of my coffee on the fire, but as it turned out, it was not all that bad. Oh, and I do not think that the security guy is a bad person. He was probably not allowed to touch an extinguisher, or do anything by himself. So I don't blame him. And neither do I blame the man who does not wash his hands. It is a bit lame that I would write about such a silly incident here, I know... Good thing nobody got hurt.
The man arrived late. He brought a large Coach bag with him. He looked shy and somehow old compared to her, he was a balding 50 year old. She was maybe 25. He brought little presents for the kids. They struggled a bit with their little Coach branded packages but had soon layers and layers of tissue paper torn to little pieces. The girl's present was a watermelon keychain. The boy received a flat chrome whistle. He was allowed to blow it once. Softly. Not sure if anybody in the restaurant even noticed. It was more of a whistle for someone taking evening walks in a park. The girls keychain appeared to be more of an accessory for someone's imaginary beach house... The mother soon had a rather large brown bag in front of her on the table. Inside was a good sized saddle bag, pink, suede, a branded tag attached. It looked very much like the tan saddle bag she already had on her lap. It was the winner. She checked the tissue paper inside of the bag, just to find a receipt. The item was returnable? There were many wows and ahs and encouragements to say thanks and general happiness. The boy had to go to the bathroom and the man walked to the bathroom with the boy. . they returned after just a few minutes and the man whispered something to the mother. She nodded. Fitting dishes arrived for all. The man spent the rest of the meal either silent, or shy, or on the phone... outside of the restaurant. And I do not know more... as I have to leave them behind now, to go back to the office... So how might the story continue? Or is there a piece of story at all?... Or where was the beginning of the story? How did these unequal partners meet? Where? Was this one of their beautiful moments? Or were these ahead or behind them?... I think ahead... but it is all a very wild speculation... Next to the restaurant is a launderette. An older woman is sitting in front of one of he washing machines, her head sunk deep between her shoulders, both of her middle fingest pressed firmly against the glass on the machine door. She looks as if she were playing slots at a casino. My feeling is she will win. Outside of the OTB are lines of old men, some in wheelchairs, one with his visiting nurse, I guess. They seem to be waiting for some sort of results. One of the men is clenching to a little book filled with tables of numbers.
Just walked through the park a little bit. It is a perfect evening for that.I just wandered in, on Columbus Circle and just kept slowing down since. The pain enveloped runners slowly turned into blurs, the bicyclists as well. I wandered by the Sheeps meadow, and on to the lake. I was slow enough by then to actually see school of fish in the murky water, then the sparrow pretending to be a water bird. And the turtles. They were the colorful alien heads, sticking their nostrils out of the wet green. Taking pictures did not really make sense the batteries are dying anyway, it seems. Then there was the family of raccoons. A mother, perhaps and two little ones, high in the tree above me. Right there in the middle of the park. They slowly crawled down the trunk of the tree, as if it were covered with special raccoon glue, and then the mother dove in first into one of the large ast holes, very high about the street level. Her legs stuck out of the hole for a while and they were folded in a way as if she were a calf about to be born by the tree. Some of the onlookers on the path below wanted to count the animals. Some of them saw three, some saw up to five. It was somehow about the numbers. I just kept walking, until I found this bench here, right outside of the ramble, a very different kind of wild place. I would not really want to be here after dark, but I know that many like to. It is a famous meeting place, and no buildings can be seen from here, and so no windows have a view of what happens here after dark, I will keep moving, I am not very far from home now. Just always wanted to be able to write directly in the park. And it is quite pleasant actually. Once a peaceful place is found, it is possible to write little notes outside. I somehow thought that it could be a bit too distracting, but it works... maybe... maybe I am just in a bubble of an illusion. Maybe the things written here will turn into worthless dust as soon as they enter the context of a website... but maybe that's okay as well. The words here are mere hints, little pointing arrows towards experiences I can not really translate into language anyway... And that is not a bad thing either, I guess... A little woman is playing with her giant dog, right here behind me on he meadow that seems to have a bald spot, right in the middle of it. A couple, holding hands, just walked by, talking about "Karen's dog", and how different he was... and maybe he was not... The lanterns just went on. I should really keep walking now. Just keep walking... The woman and the giant dog are walking into the ramble.
"So when did you come to New York?" It was strange to see a man with longer white hair walk on the jogging track around 66th street in Central Park. He was wearing a black suit, he had his glasses on, he was smiling. He looked incredibly familiar. He was somebody I should have recognized immediately, but I did not. It appeared that the joggers who slowed down their pace, so he could talk with them knew exactly who he was. Their body language was subtle but respectful. The man was smiling, asking simple questions... It took me a few minutes. Oh, it was Frank Gehry. I think it was him. And if it was not... then it was a man who reminded me that Central Park is a simple background for people sometimes. Saw Jose Carreras on a bench in the lower part of the park once, and he looked afraid of being recognized. I might have looked wild on this particular day? Kofi Annan was engaged in a very clear conversation with who I think was his wife... Oh, and then there were all the other visitors, who happened to have rather interesting lives. But I do not know their names and I never will... and I do not quite understand why some of the runners in the park push themselves to the point where their body looks very, very tortured... I tend to mix up things...

The missing Sarah Fox...

| 33 Comments | 1 TrackBack
Is she back? Is she okay? Are things allright? There are so many of these printouts all over the city... all of new york might be looking for Sarah Fox... hmm... not sure if this is going to be in any way helpful, but here is the posting from my deli down the block... -- update: this entry is now slowly turning into a place where those who remember Sarah like to leave their little virtual notes. I do not know why most of the search engines point towards this entry here. I had written one after I was contacted by a friend of Sarah's family (here)... But maybe it is a good thing that the search engines are pointing towards here. Here I did not yet know who or where Sarah was. Here we were all still hopeful that she was somewhere in the city, maybe distracted, but certainly not really lost. Until the murderer(s?) of Sarah are found, it is quite possible that this humble entry on my blog is going to appear as one of the top search results for her name. And maybe this is a good place for friends and friends of friends to leave messages. This here is a very quiet corner of the web. So yes, maybe it is good.

a weekend in slow motion...

| 3 Comments

Hey Mr. May.

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Why wouldn't the weather be perfect?, it is May first, the first of May, the grand day, oh what a day... also the day on which, among other important things, the borders came down. The borders which we had to cross in some strange way in the summer of 1981... well, the borders are now gone. Janek was always able to read between the lines: "They showed this guy on television who received a certificate for being the first person to cross the inner European border. Except, if the borders are gone... he could really not have crossed it, could he? Oh, and they renumbered all the tramway lines here. What used to be 41 is now 31 and 31a. And the police made a little stand and whoever wanted could have their fingerprints taken, just for fun." Some things change, and thus they stay the same. I hear that Poles will not really be allowed to just leave their country and look for work in Germany. And the Euro is actually also more of an alternative...for now... not really the full blown new currency... and what else... oh, apparently some Germans were now learning Polish. So highly interesting. Oh, and Ukraine may be next, they say... probably before Turkey... (Which is technically not completely European... now is it?) The Salvation Army store really did not smell right. It was really packed... An older lady was showing off her little "t-mobile sidekick", checking if the air was clear behind her, or if somebody was trying to spy on the sites she was surfing on that freshly donated green sofa. A man emptied an entire bag of carb-crumbs onto the landscaped area of broadway. (Hello rats.) I was offered clearly raw fish in a French restaurant... Oh, and also accidentally helped this incredibly talented upper westsider with her toy decorated carriage.. "That car matches your shirt." A guy pointing towards a little honda civic picked the wrong line to impress his first date in front of the building here. "Hey, how's it going?" somebody else on the floor here has a new boyfriend... which also solves the mystery of the strange marks in the carpet... they must have been caused by his hairy hands dragged as he walked like a slightly drunk silverback... Oh, and I do not believe that FAMILY stands for "Father And Mother I Love You"... (as seriously suggested in a recent piece of spam...) I do believe that what is here now is the real spring.

it's not easy being green...

She is so much bigger than she appears to be in these pictures... of course...

Ratatat...

It was like trying to squeeze myself into a somewhat tight body, in which all of the organs appeared to be of the same kind and have escaped from exactitudes. Two of the pieces of the body seemed to have found their way onto the little stage and one of them was making strange sounds into the microphone. The other one was in the background, holding a bass. What followed felt as if we all had Group Sex with Super Mario Brothers, Yoshi and the little mushroom people... Okay, the music was actually pretty enchanting... (really had to check if the guys were real or made out of pixels though...) I also had to check twice if I maybe found myself in an instrumental secret track of some of the Stroke recordings... maybe?... The group performing was Ratatat and the location was the opening ceremony... down in SoHo... I was on a list, though nobody asked me for my name or anything for that matter... and I was invited through I somehow ended up not knowing anybody in the tightly packed room. A few bars later I was ready to talk to just about anybody, maybe... met two guys who prepared some indy500 broadcast snippets, a lady who read a book about serial killers on her cli (she made sure to point out that there was a major difference between those and mass murderers, who strike more at random.) The students on the train were visiting from Toulouse. Criminology was the topic here... A special custom Torta from the mexican truck down on 96th was a good next step for the evening... which then continued late into the night with some really incredibly dreamy ideas and things... But we would not want to describe everything here... Oh, I think I like Ratatat... -- Update: Wow, check this out! (what a brilliant little idea!)

the dark sleeper car...

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
Not only was the last car of the 1/9 train going uptown packed, it was without any light and had no ventilation. On 5 seats in the best area of the car was a body, a huge man, spread out, his pants pulled down just enough to reveal his entire hairy behind. He snored very loudly. He snored so loudly that I could hear his snore as the train was in motion, packed with commuters, the last car of quiet darkness. It was not a bad thing all together, of course. Taking pictures outside was possible without any unnecessary reflections... and taking pictures inside was somewhat possible, however only in the stations... (can you spot the man?) Oh, he woke up at some point, btw... and asked for the time. SOmebody just told him the time... and he continued his good sleep.

and one more reflection...

| 2 Comments
Yet another reflection I was just reminded of... This time it is from a very man made "lake" not very far from here... under the surface are some rare treasures... but aren't there always? Everything appears clean and rather perfectly collected... things appear to be completely still. And maybe they are... maybe this is one of the differences? This one is from a series... a series of man made enclosed surfaces...
the reflection of the city in the reservoir reminded me of this different kind of reflection. I thought i had taken the picture in 2000, but I am notso sure anymore. I like the different organization of lights here... I like how the lights of the buildings appear to be organized in a much simpler way than those on the glowing trees. The reflective surface appears groups some of them... It would obviously not be possible to take this picture again now. At the time when I took it, I was somehow convinced that it was not a shot worth taking twice... hmm...

Good Friday, nice walk...

| 1 Comment
It is rather silly to write now, after sunset, about a simple walk I took at sunrise. Well, maybe it is not silly at all... maybe I am just not in the possession of the right mindset to write something good about it... (why am I posting then... oh boy...) I somehow do not seem to be very good at stitching pictures together. The little panorama below was actually much wider... oh well... Yes, the sunrise is a very beautiful series of moments to experience outside. It always seems to be this way. The image below "were" taken at the north east corner of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, facing South West... To the right is the Upper Westside... The Center is Columbus Circle, Hell's Kitchen... further to the left... Midtown... the buildings on the left are on 5th Avenue... What a strange little post...

It's hip to be scared!

| 5 Comments
yey, so cool. Check out some of the new "wild posted" posters around New York City. This flashlight, these pliers, the dust mask (not pictured), the heavy walking boots (not pictured.) Nice cross-processing job on these photographs. Pretty looking, clean, clear design. Don't we all wish that people in the World Trade Center had been equipped with these cool looking utensils? Thaaat's what was missing! Oh yeah! Cool looking posters for Ready.gov all over New York City, check. So if fear looks so cool, what does happiness look like and joy? Oops... it was here before, then gone, now here again... A little template to generate your own mini poster. We all know that we will probably need pliers and a flash light. But what about the pet, the comics, the happy meals? Make sure to have those ready too... make your own little reminder and post it here or at home or on your website. I guess this is what these posters are intended for? A friend art director here suggested that we print out pictures of our favorite objects we do not want to miss and paste them into the posters all over the city... I would never do that... but I think the idea is rather nice... isn't it?

heavy dreams...

por qu?

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
The lady who always arrives here at 7PM to empty my office waste basket just walked by. She was on the phone again, so her head was clearly in a different location. She must have bought a headset recently, she used to hold on to the phone with her shoulder. She spoke Spanish, at a level I could not really understand, but she cried and kept repeating certain words... Oh, she cried so bitterly, so horribly... This made me wish she were here, not there, where somebody was hurting her, right in front of me. She tried to hold back the tears and she waved off my offer to somehow help... but barely out of sight, she was crying again... oh this is just breaking my heart.

recent change of weather...

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
Things have changed rather rapidly here in New York. We went from Spring like temperatures just a few days ago to frosty needles falling out of the sky... Obviously such events are very temporary... but it is still fun to watch how helpless we are when it comes to that weather thing. (And thank God it is this way...)

Illusion of stillness...

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
After shooting a few pictures in Sapporo (the restaurant, not the city) over lunch, thought that it might be fun to just hint how loud the scene actually was... the photographs come out so serene, they are definitely a reflection of how I feel shooting them... but the environment is just pretty wild there (in the restaurant, I do not know about the city.)... So it is a nice contrast... and maybe an illustration as to how a photograph can with full intention create an image that is such a specifically tiny piece of reality and so much selected and adjusted and intended, that it becomes a little reality onto itself... oh, and the wood is printed, of course...

subtle motions...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
A man in a washed out light blue jean outfit and a large rimmed cowboy hat is sorting the portions of the bulldog, the sunday version of the New York Times. He is inside of the Chase Manhattan branch, here on Broadway and 96th. Rite Aid is not open yet, the pharmacy is ready for easter, the window packed with bunnies, colorful sugar eggs, adult size diapers, and water purifying filters under a parade of photographs of people professionally holding their chins. I have the feeling that I can traust them as pharmacists even though I can not read what the messages are that were printed onto the posters in a point size that cuts into the heads. The beggar wrapped in layers and layers of dark clothing that looks soiled even from here, has so far made a single dollar. It looks like he will need to wait there a little longer. The foot traffic is just not heavy enough right now and those walking by seem to completely ignore him. The flashing sign over the open entrance of the Subway station is rotating commercials for an LG cellphone, The New York Times Job Market, and "Britney Spears' true love" (which includes close up of air being blown over somebody's pink-colored silk lingerie, very flowy on the hips.) The beggar just had another transaction. It was a long one, with a kid, the outcome appears to be rather small change. Oh, there, a group of people just gave the man a whole bunch of something... It is below freezing. The pharmacy just opened. The people who entered it looked nothing like those on the message heavy posters. Some truck is backing up not far away from here. The cowboy seems to be taking a break from sorting his Newspapers. Time to take a short walk outside. The plant I am filming now just waved its leaves as they untangled... as if I did not know that everything was in motion...

174?...

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
They were all facing in the same direction. They shared the address. They had a similar view of the outside world. They used the same trains, they drank the same water, the same sun was there for them. When it would rain, all of their windows would become wet. They could all see the same clouds. None of them was able to see the stars at night, but there were signs, messages, exciting things to see... They were all right next to each other. They would find their places every single morning. They would use the same elevators to get to their little rooms... And yet their minds were working on the opposite ends of a spectrum at times. So close to each other... and yet so very different at times. Maybe if their windows touched, maybe they possibly shared some of the experiences... but a floor? Two floors? Seven floors? 13 floors apart? How many of them knew which office was empty? How many of them knew that they happened to like their assigned plant in the exactly same position as somebody else? What were the chances that they would ever find out?... Is there a larger mind that can penetrate concrete and steel? Could there be patterns of synchronized emotions and thinking that would be very clear if observed from the outside, yet completely hidden from those actually thinking? What if their thoughts were synchronized into patterns, without them being aware of it... in a sense they were... all facing in the same direction. Sharing the address. Having similar views of the outside world. Using the same trains, drinking the same water, lowering their shades to hide from the same sun. Looking at the same clouds. Could there be a mind making them glow from the outside? Were they influencing each other from the inside? Would a tragedy in one window ripple through the floors? Was there a possible glowing that radiated beyond the walls of one little unit into others? Did they sense the empty floors? Or were the empty floors filled with an energy seeping through the cracks, through ceilings and carpets? Was this where they would wait for the next wave to move in and to pick them up? At least those who would allow it to happen? What were the patterns? What were the patterns... Did the macro patterns of this structure penetrate the emotional texture of those thinking within it? What is the distance from which the similarities of particles become more apparent than their differences? Is there such a distance for everything? And I guess distance is not just physical... and yes, more than time? BMG_6x13xa_IMG_7970.jpg

about now...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
and there are moments when I would actually like to be in an airport and wait for a flight and be ready for it, the first flight ever, looking at a giant plane that will take me away to a place I have never seen before and it will be a place which I will not really see until years later when I remember the things I have failed to see because I was young enough to assume that I know much more than I did. and I will look back at that time and i will realize that the further i go into life, the more beautiful it becomes, the more incredible it becomes and that looking back, all events appear to be aligned on a string, one string that somehow made sense... the string put there by my passion, the desire to go on board of a plane for the very first time and to fly to a place which I have never seen before, a place which I... and... it is time to get ready for a great weekend... armory show is on... is anybody going?...

...a morning

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
At first the city looked as if were filled with something golden that was in between air and water. Then a cover of clouds opened and revealed a very softly blueish sky. Now there is a parade of clouds in various shades of white, moving up the hudson, as if they were giant water tankers, mountains of steam, in majestic motion... It would be silly to pull out the camera now... what could it possibly see?

into the light...

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
The giant pulls out his own guiding light, two large arrays of mirrors, stored on the roof, there only to make the faade brighter at night. The hanging curtain wall looks like train tracks, parallel ones, for trains of thought going into different areas of the heavens. Some of them will go straight into the light, the reflected light, from the mirrors that are there to make the giant less scary at night. Others will probably just go for the moon, maybe some star, maybe even miss any of that... and even though it will appear as less... it might be that just for now.
An old man on the subway this morning, read a paperback about the golden proportions... next to him, a rather affluent looking woman with a hardcover book about the ultimate friendship... Next to her, a woman in her 50's, reading about Filippo Brunelleschi. All three showed very subtle reactions to their texts... The old man had a certain amount of cynicism in him, though he seemed very interested in whatever he was looking for in the index (which happened to be in the back of the book.) The woman reading about the ultimate friendship looked at the pages as if the book were are a little puppy, performing cute little tricks. She was really enjoying whatever she was reading, but it was more in a way as if her son had written it. It appeared as if there were little messages written to her by her beloved son. She seemed to experience little ripples of joy... The black and white portrait of a very lonely looking man on the back cover of the book looked nothing like her, but it was a nice idea to let her have a little more connection to the text. The Brunelleschi lady appeared to be a reading machine. She did not really move her body at all, the pages in the book just slowly passed by her, as if they were the quarter mile markers on a straight highway, somewhere far in the west... Brunelleschi was staring from a cutout in the paperback cover, towards the lonely looking man who knew all about the ultime friendship... A mother rolled a stroller with her son into the subway car. I moved to the side, so she could sit next to me and comfortably attend to her probably 2 year old... The child was completely still, but the mother replied to a somehow unspoken request and gave him his ridiculously colorful, covered watercup. He just held on to it, as if his hands were sensing the various frequencies of color. The boy had large, completely blue eyes... he looked at the world around him as if he were a very old creator, a traveler through bodies, somehow amazed as to what has been done to all of his inventions since his last incarnation. In his slow and thorough scan through the subway car, he found me... he found my eyes... he stared into them with such insanely unbearable intensity that I had to almost immediately look away, to avoid what seemed a complete download of all my ever recorded memories. This boy was not an average child. This boy was clearly a very old soul, just re-gaining speed, re-awakening, he was on his way right past the people on this train, he was on his way past that old man on the seat behind him, trying to find mistakes in the divine proportions, he was going to pass right through that ultimate kind of friendship, the way this boy looked, he was going straight for Filippo Brunelleschi and who knows, beyond?... The boy tried to get into my brain a few more times. I never managed to stand his stare for more than just a few harsh seconds... When he was not looking, I noticed that his right hand was already picking on the cuticles of his left fingers... his brain probably hungry for just any kind of stimulation... My stop saved me... I managed to avoid the stare when leaving the subway car... I wished the mother a great day... she thanked me in a way that made me believe that she knew quite exactly what was happening here... I wonder what the boy will really end up doing... he certainly planted himself in a very stimulating place... ...

a change of pace...

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks
It is so much warmer now, so much sunnier here in New York, we might soon be able to see smiles on the faces of people and their pets. The light is so bright, that even reflections in the windows of Times Square were strong enough to be mistaken for reality by the camera's light meter. And so looked for locations that would allow me to mix layers of reality without the involvement of photoshop... layers upon layers upon layers of realities, moving by quickly, all at the same time, semi transparent, going somewhere, liquid almost, all here at the same time... : )

Lost in trans(fer)lation.

| 2 Comments
Location is somewhere between the 79th street station and the 72nd street station on a 1/9 train going downtown. The train is packed. I have a seat. A woman next to me, she is probably in her 50's is holding an unidentifiable newspaper, she looks educated, slightly confused. Woman: "Where I can best transfer to the F?" Witold:"I think there is a transfer point on on 14th street. (Map.)" Woman:"I can't transfer earlier?" Witold:"Well, the trains are about a block apart, and even on 14th street you will have to walk for about a block, just underground. This would be your earliest free transfer point." Woman:"How about 34th Street?" Witold:"I don't think you can transfer there, the two lines stay about a block apart at all times." Woman:"How about 42nd Street?" Witold:"The F is a block away from the 1/9 and 2/3. At 42nd Street, the F stops at Bryant Park, while the 2/3 goes to Times Square." Woman:"And I can't transfer there?" Witold:"Well, you will have to leave the station, walk for a block and then reenter the station and pay another fare." Woman:"This does not matter to me, I have a monthly Metro Card, you know one of those that are good for a month." Witold:"Oh, good for you." Woman:"Besides, I really hate to walk underground." Witold:"Okay, I understand." Woman, looking out the window on 72nd street.:"I'll get out here, so I can take it express." Witold:"Have a nice day... just get out on 42nd street and walk eastwards..." Woman:"I know." Witold:"..." Please stand clear the closing doors...

just fine...

| 1 Comment | No TrackBacks
"He is fine," she said, "this is how he shows that he is very happy." Looking at the picture now, the animal shown here looks like a freshly engineered invention, a seal-like concrete crawler with a very flexible backup leg system. It was a warmer day in New York, it was finally possible to walk outside without the fear of getting frost bitten... it could have been the day on which we all could have rolled on the chewing gum marked pavement of the city. It did not happen, of course, and so there is still hope that it might happen today... or maybe later this week... or maybe never. Humans are such boring creatures sometimes...

FDR and beyond...

| 11 Comments | No TrackBacks
FDR feels like a videogame tonight. The pieces of London under the wheels of our cab make the ride feel like flying a Spitfire through a heavy storm at night. My pilot has a conversation with the base. I am making sure we will not be followed by any one of the other fighters. We are flying really low, to avoid serious trouble, radar and such nasty stuff. We are fighter 2N12 he is Rahman Saipur. Our landing flaps are a little rusty and so whenever we slow down, there is a screeching sound: metal on metal. Will we make it to the home base? Did Rahman make sure we have enough fuel? I am trying to make look over his shoulder, just briefly, don't want to distract him. We will soon fly through the park. There will be tunnels and bare shadows of trees. We will fly very closely between old stone walls. They will be so close I will be almost able to touch them... so close... My pilot is the best. He will bring us home safely. The machine might be howling as if it were a slightly injured horse, but I know we will make it... Go Rahman, go... It will be 15.70 +50, because it is a night by night... How does one properly tip a pilot?
My watch was about five minutes ahead of everybody else's at first (I mean here). Then I made it fifteen minutes, then something in the proximity of thirty. Then I was not sure about the actual difference between my time and the time on the wrists of people who wanted to meet with me. I started missing meetings by hours, some did not really appear on my radar. Some things just never happened... at least according to my time perception... Many of my best friends are not in my time zone anyway. Was I calling at 12, 12:30?... Was it AM or PM?... It appeared I would always wake them up. But even in New York, in the street, it felt very nice to be somehow around 12:30 while everybody else was just going through their high noon high. And how nice did it feel to arrive at a store that was supposed to be closed for 20 minutes already and the security guard would just wave me in as if I were some time traveling VIP. How nice. Same thing with movie tickets. I would barely make it (according to my watch), and there were still minutes in the real time to spare. The 30 minute thing on the watch was a bit of a blessing for somebody who might sometimes arrive a little late. (I am sorry, I tend to do that at times.) It was on Friday when I had to adjust my clock to be in real time. I had to be at certain places at a very particular and very specific time, there were too many people waiting for me. I could not leave one location too late, not arrive at another one too early. Setting my watch to the real time felt just like a simple turn of a little hand, but... I think my conclusion now, on Sunday is: I do not like this "real time" thing... The New York Saturday in real time was just horrible. There were lines and masses of (I guess gentiles) everywhere I went. The bank was a mess, the subway was just packed. Two guys next to me even had a discussion about "Flatland" and how time, yes time, was the third dimension for its protagonists, the flatlanders... "So she just took one of the guys out of that prison, by taking him through time and then setting him down at a completely different place. How cool is that. Imagine somebody traveled through time to take you out of here and put you down at a completely different location." (For the rest of the ride we all experienced two Columbia Students performing "deep thought simulation." I really wished some sphere had taken me out of that train car, right there, right then.) Strand books was even worse than the subway "either somebody is going to move forward or back, over here!" (Yes, imagine this sentence screamed with a heavy New York accent.) Some of the shoppers were barely visible behind their piles of yellowish paperbacks and other special semi rare classics. The only quiet island in the entire store seemed to be the table with the title "erotic books." Who would want to be caught looking at some bare skin now in the age of war. The Photography Books section was packed as tightly as a roll of film. A man who looked as if he has just escaped from an early episode of "Colombo" was standing next to a man dressed up in a Strand-can-I-help-you blue apron looking at the last copy of "New York 1960" as if it were a victim of a homicide. The man:"Do you have a copy of this book?, I mean, do you have a copy of this, beyond the copy here? I mean, do you have a non display copy?" As I was leaving the store, picking up my bag (it was #25) somebody asked for the rare book department. "It is out the door and then right and up the stairs on the second floor," said one of the bag check guys... and then to his friend: "I saw Jane Fonda's workout in rare books yesterday. Apparently it's rare." St.Marks books did not seem to have anything new on their greatest and finest new arrival table. There was a new believer on the shelf, but I did not feel like standing for it in line. Sunrise Market was the next logical stop for me, their timeless offerings could maybe save me from the curse of being trapped in real time. Yet, no, my favorite Ponzu product has been probably discontinued, they were out of my favorite kind of natto and I did not even go so far as to try and explore anything new (no time). Again, so many people, all in one place, I was a bit afraid someone might panic. (Perhaps even I might be the one?) In front of the elevator (sunrise is on the second floor), a guy with a Russian accent received a call from what must have been his broker. "A one bedroom with an alcove for twenty eight hundred? Oh, this is far too much! No way... let me think about it." He held the phone away from his ear and stared blankly in the air for about five new york seconds. "Okay, can we see it? Okay, maybe in 10 minutes?" His female companion, who might have been from Japan, judging by the context of the entire conversation, asked very shy and pretty brilliant questions. "Don't you think $2800 is too much?" Our Russian boyfriend must have continued his phone conversation in some other dimension because his answer was: "Oh, it is not so much, besides, it is probably negotiable." ("You are holding a phone my friend, not a gun," was my silly thought...) Her second question was even better: "What is an alcove?" "Oh, from what I know, it is some extra space, almost like a room, you know, private." He clearly had it all very wrong. "It is something, like, 1200 square feet." (This is when I knew that they would be soon looking at some deep east village basement.) I took the bus uptown, I could not handle the masses of strangely bizarre real time people. I spread myself out all the way in the back of the articulated bus, right under that huge star-spangled window sticker. The trip went up third avenue, for maybe an hour or so of wild Manhattan traffic adventures. Whatever I had done on that back seat, I would like to reenact it at some later time. I was like that Erotic Book Section at strand. All by myself, on the back seat, eating some hot japanese green peas out of a bag. (Oh, and some buckwheat tea as well... can you imagine?) The bus was packed, but not for me. Some of the riders glanced into my direction from time to time. I did not smell, I did not scream... maybe the entire back side of the bus was some sort of time portal, invisible to all the other New Yorklanders? We eventually arrived at east 96th... The sun was slowly setting... I could not handle waiting for the bus on 96th street and cut down on my transit time, by hailing a regular yellow cab. It was not until we were already in motion when I realized that I had left a group of people waiting for the bus. I could have taken at least two of them with me, maybe the oldest, or the nicest, just to get them quickly across the park... but I failed to think about this at that time. The cab was taking me into the time ahead of their time. I was back on my way to setting my watch at least three minutes ahead... Yes, I was paying for it, just the idea of it was $2.50... but it was somehow okay, my excruciating excursion into the world of real time had been quite rough. My first stop on the west side was the previously packed bank (from one of the previous entries), now completely deserted, I had arrived. Then there was a little package for me downstairs. (Issue 13 of Parkett Magazine, one I was missing, since 1987) I think I was back on target, somehow a survivor... I made it, made it through the day. I know this might sound incredibly silly, and very narrow minded... but somehow the photograph below reminded me that maybe some of us are just supposed to have their watches set about five minutes ahead... while others... probably should not try such "experiments...", ever in their predetermined lives... Oh, and please let me know if I can take you, carry you through time... and then set you down at a completely different place... I think I found a hint of a possible way... though it is still all very experimental.

$7,975.85

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks
The Coin Arcade at the Commerce Bank branch down the block is a real blessing to all the homeless guys and me. It does not charge some exorbitant percentage as those coin* machines used to charge and they are very much made for kids, so the interface is fun and happy. A cartoon girl asked me if I would like to estimate how much money I have with me, and if I manage to guess it within $1.99, then there will be a little present for me (yeah, a Commerce Bank Logo savings bank, I guess...) The amount I estimated was $7,975.85. Okay, I had not estimated the amount, it was when the estimated amount appeared on the screen that I noticed that the machine had a 2.5 year old operator, well, she might have been 3.5. Her father was about my age and he just remained in the background to whack me over the head if I said anything not appropriate to his precious daughter. Well, not really, I thought it was somehow cute. The cartoon girl was really impressed that I had so many coins. That was before I even put a single one into the machine. The little girl, at her child interface at the hight of my knees was obviously pushing all possible buttons... (All huge and on this happy little touch screen.) I had brought my change in a fabric bag this time, I've learned my lesson from having layers of zip-locks explode on me and coins en masse fly all over the place... The girl (the real one) was really very impressed by the actual coins I was throwing into the machine. "Where do you get the many money?" she asked... I explained to her that it was really easy and that it involved a little plastic piggie-bank. I actually collect my coins in little banks that are shaped after mailboxes of Great Britain (the pillar) and Canada, but I think such details would have probably freaked all of us out. (There is also this ornate Japanese tin cookie jar, my previous wealthy neighbor had donated to 73rd street about 7 years ago... but this really does not matter, does it?) I had to tell the girl not to try to grab the falling coins. (I had to tell her, not her cheerful beta dad.) I was lucky enough to get my little cashworth printout before my little helper got her little hands on it... Not sure she understood completely what was actually happening there... with that little piece of paper popping out at a child appropriate height, me looking at it and just going away waving to her and her silly dad. The line at the bank was simply ridiculous... it was not worth the wait, really, oh and of course we did not win the prize.

the newer jersey

| 4 Comments | 1 TrackBack
Yes, I know, I don't get out of the island much. There is just not enough time, and maybe there is not enough car and there is not enough reason to leave. So I stay, in the city, which is probably worse than what most of the New Yorkers do, who at least cross a bridge a day... (No actual data was used to make this statement, it is pure speculation of the author...) I had to go across the Hudson (which I think is a fjord, at least here, west of Manhattan), for a press check. It is funny how this would still be called press check, as there are no printing presses involved, just gigantic ink jet printers and some vast amounts of vinyl. Oh, and those "happy vapours." (I am afraid if I spit, it will be in CMYK.) Oh, and the printer has this huge statue of a green lady holding the torch, just around the corner... though I have the feeling she stands on her own little island, which she leaves even less often than I leave Manhattan... And not sure she has ever even seen New Jersey, but that's a completely different story, of course.

Chewing gum on my sofa.

| 6 Comments | No TrackBacks
this one is short. somebody must have spit out their chewing gum in the cab i just took home, because it was on the seat of my jeans and now on the sofa. well, for a while it was on both, the jeans and the sofa. i managed to get it out of the sofa up to a certain degree, but it still smells like very well chewed strawberry chemical bubble gum. and the jeans are just covered with the sticky stuff. They are quite seriously soiled, my friends. How many pieces of gum are floating around the streets of New York? How many of them per square foot stick to the walkways? Why did somebody have to leave their chewing gum (it is pink) on the seat of the cab I chose to take home? At least it is not as bad as 1994 when I must have sat in a puddle of some unknown chemical, which then slowly but surely completely dissolved the back of my pants. Yes, yes it did. Fun...
What does "limit intake" mean... does it mean that I am not allowed to drink certain beverages while under the influence of my freshly prescribed antibiotica? I wonder. I am not sure whom I could ask. I now drink mostly water and this new and excellent PomPom juice, the stuff that comes in this very cute double round bottle... (or tripple round when larger.) We are hanging in there... I just woke up again to take another look at all the beverages which I will need to limit for some time... but it is still the weekend... and I managed to survive a very odd week... Oh, and I went to take a look at New York's new vertical shopping experience. The AOL... ahem... Time Warner Center reminds me of some other place that had this similar feeling of being just too designed to work properly. The choice of stores in this new fancy mall is a really strange mix that will really excite bizzarro European tourists who will want to take a fresh look at what they could have had at home, except with some odd unfamiliar twist. Some of the stores on the first floor have upstairs departments. These are true tourist traps... it was just me, three overly eager because freshly hired sales people, and some kid that really wanted to buy some of the decoration... well that was at the cole haan store... at Boss, one of the sales women, already had an entire war laid out against that other worker, whom she, in a conversation with the "accomplice", (also called listener, or potential future backstabber) referred to as "she." ("She thinks she will just tell us what to do? Well, let me tell you something, I am going to do it, but she should know that she is not my boss and I am not going to do this forever...")... Fascinating... (I really wished these intelligent minds had some actual work to do, poor idling brains...) There is an upstairs. It takes about a minute or so to get to the upstairs by escalator. There is borders and dean and deluca inside of borders, and I think that D&D sells those little Starbucks Frappuchinos, which makes the corporate russian doll about as perfect as they get. Borders was packed with customers of whom some were really on a mission. They really wanted to know where everything was. I am not just making this up, I happened to pick up my email close to one of the information stations. About four customers wanted to know about the coding system and if Poetry really was next to, or behind Classic literature, and if it were not a better idea if they were integrated. I looked at some very strange gift ideas. There was a leather patted box which at first did not want to open. Once forced open, it revealed a whole series of little leather frames, all clinging to the inside of the box with very powerful magnets. It looked like a tool for those who want to stare at their Orkut network even when there is no electricity or even gravity... Is this how we are preparing for future mars missions?... Child proof Magnetic Orkut Network simulation boxes?.... Wait a second... child proof?... Hmm... There were a few more floors in the Time Warner Mall on Columbus circle... Somewhere on floor three were the architectural models of what the center could have looked like... and where it now was, compared to the more expensive areas of the neighborhood. An older couple clearly lacked the vocabulary to describe anything they saw in the glass box in front of them: "This is the staue out there in the front. And this id that trumpf building here. Is this the park?" (Yes, Donald Trumpf would have been proud.) Two friends were admiring the evolution of the design, presented as little wooden volume models. "What is this? Is this what they wanted to make it like? That looks so regular." And the other one:"This!, this is the one they built." Hmm... The top floor of the shopping experience was flooded into a bluish glow. The ceiling illumination made this top floor the most interesting one. It was dark, the musak was least intrusive, there was a cash machine, not a single security guard in sight... Oh, this is going to be an exciting place to visit... just give it a few years... give it some time... hmm... Oh... and then there is the basement... According to Pat Kiernan, the best anchor of New York 1, the lower level of the Time Warner shopping mall contains the largest food mart in the city... Hmm... let's say, below 72nd street... and... size is not everything... I guess some of the food was indeed organic... there was a smell of rotting something in some areas of the admittedly large supermarket... I passed on the $6.99/pound salad bar, just bought myself a little juice and followed the large hand drawn signs indicating the location of the cash registers. About 30 or so of them were cashing in at full speed, and yet there was still a long winding line to pay for those large green Salad bar bowls... I found myself in a scenario that was a mix of some well organized femin prevention initiative by the UN, mixed with immigration procedures at JFK after the arrival of a flight from hmm... Paris? Two very authoritative agents almost pushed the slightly frightened yuppies towards some cashier lines, shouting out numbers "22 is free! Go to 29! Over there, over there..." I got to pay for my juice at cashier #16. "This is like Yuppie Ellis Island." The cashier did not think that this was even remotely funny... Oh well... There is no subway connection indoors from the Time Warner Mall... I guess the subway system is not as cool as it used to be a hundred years ago... One has to step outside, find some old entrance, and still descent into that chewing gum plastered world, one that is under constant construction, especially at the Columbus Circle stop... The Subway might be smelly and not very well lit... but it somehow felt very refreshing after that exotic wood paneled virtual reality shopping experience... Cost for visit:"$2.99 for a little B-Vitamine Juice..." The subway still give me more bang for the buck... Oh, and one would think that the entire place had WiFi... you know... because this is (ahem, used to be officially) the AOL center... The WiFi signal at Borders was rather faint... oh.. and it came from T-Mobile... which makes me think that there was a real Starbucks lurking somewhere... I just really did not see it all... or did I see enough? (Oh, I will be back there, with one of those green bowls, believe me...)
When in Krakw, make sure to be in the Basilica of the Virgin Mary here shortly before noon. Sit still inside of the main ship of the church and wait for the muted distant trumpet sounds (the Hejnau Mariacki) from the tower of the very building to announce that it is indeed 12pm. Two nuns will enter, and they will open the Altar, a Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss) pentaptic, gothic masterpiece. Even now, more than 500 years after its creation, the glow of the altar is a powerful one. The contrast between the two states of the artwork is stunning. I wonder why I had to think about the panels of the Veit Stoss altar, when visiting the control room of one of the giant signs on Times Square the contemporary open air cathedral of commerce... How dare I to compare a carved wooden masterpiece that took 12 years to become reality and cost as much as the entire annual budget of the city of Krakw, to a giant, ever re-animated 13-custom-screen-assemblage of pixels on the outside of a building representing the power of News Media? What made me be silly enough to somehow connect a carved and painted masterpiece portraying the "Assumption of the Virgin" (Once a virgin, always a virgin, Mary?) to one of the largest information displays in the world, busy pumping information animated to look as if it were descending from the skies into the main ship of Times Square? Could both of these altars be possible entry points into the understanding of the perception of reality by those who were contemporaries of Veit Stoss, at the verge of the renaissance... and us, now, here, in this post ...(and I just do not know a good term here) world?... What is it really that we trust most, and celebrate most and believe in most? How important are the old symbols and their meaning compared to the last minute information, the breaking news, the real time data, flowing straight from the bottoms of our screens into our perception of what we call now? How relevant is it to us what happened 1000 years ago, compared to what happened 100 years ago, compared to 10 years ago, compared to 1 year ago, compared to an hour ago, compared to 20, 10 minutes ago, compared to now, compared to the predictions of what will happen this year, the next year, and... How will we be looked at by those who will come after us... ...or wait... will they really care, or even know?... ; ) (Hmm... looks like I am sitting in front of my own little altar right now... and there... look... somebody already bit the little fruit... now what does that all mean?)...

counting...

| 2 Comments | No TrackBacks

Walking out of the building and into the cold, I wondered how many faces of New Yorkers I get to see every day. By the time I left the building I was up to 7 or so, then there were so many more, looking at me, not at me, would printed faces count? Would I only count faces?, people?, the experiences of seeing a person?
A large fire truck was going west on 96th street. Should I just count the Firefighters I saw? Or what about the man who was driving the large ConEd truck, with two giant spools of cable, going uptown on Broadway.
The truck had a green light, the Fire Engine slowed down a little I think... the driver of the druck hit the brakes, both vehicles were coming closer and closer to each other slowly. The cab of the truck was as high as the side of the fire engine, the fire engine was almost out of the intersection. Their distance was maybe 10 feet, 5 feet, 3 feet... inches... the truck would stop, the truck would stop, the truck would stop, or so I hoped, or so I hoped...
what followed was the impact. Giants crushing into each other. I wondered how many tons of material just hit each other. Slow, yet hard.
The fire truck kept going. It stopped a few yards after the intersection.
The ConEd truck would stay a while. Well, it was not exactly a truck anymore.

Did I take any pictures of the event? I did not. Did I run up to the accident to see how badly the driver of the truck was injured? No, I did not. Did I stay a while to wait for help to arrive? No. Call help? No.

Not only did I not slow down to see anything that had just happened, I even had to jot it down not to forget it, so it seemed. The situation was just not one in which I could have been of any help, really, seriously, no? The fire truck was okay, they clearly had already called for help. The situation was completely clear. There was no wrong doing. This was a very clear accident...
I hope the truck driver came out okay.

What struck me as odd was that I somehow immediately forgot about the event. There was this accident that I just watched in full daylight. There, a major change to somebody's life had just taken place... and my head just almost erased it all quickly and efficiently... until much later in the day, when I suddenly remembered that yes, this was what happened...
and now again.
I do not think I will be counting people or faces... not any time soon... so strange.

brr...

| 3 Comments

so there I was, pushing up a window somebody had opened, in a cab speeding up 10th avenue. they probably had not left the window open on purpose anyway. It just did not want to close... eventually it did, a window now marked with desperate streaks from my hands... moving up the slippery glass. The driver told me that he liked it to be a little cool in the car, as he did not want to fall asleep. He was almost done with his 12 hour shift.
I have spoken too much tonight... I have exhausted the amount of words I can produce per day. I shall now sleep... and dream of a warm place, where there is not a razor sharp blasting wind in my face and on my hands and even under the jacket... brrr...

just ducks...

| 2 Comments

It took around 30 minutes to get around the reservoir this morning. Oh, I did not run, I walked, dressed like the regular me, not a striped or dayglo sport version of me.

I made sure to quickly pass by the two insanely serious business people who almost sexually excited each other by moving their venti red cups and saying things like: "... and I made sure to let him know that he will be the carrier of the message, and so he will have to take responsibility for it..."
I knew I was far enough when I actually was able to hear the nuts break between the teeth of squirrels on a nearby tree. They were probably not nuts, of course, but I just do not know enough.

I stopped on the south side of the man made lake to watch a very strange behaviour of some of the many ducks on the water. A group of 25 or so, swam in three tiny concentric circles, their bodies rubbing on each other, sometimes making one of the birds a bit upset. New ducks, often couples, were approaching to join the highly complex water dance. It looked as if there were some under water carousel, three tightly spinning disks, and the birds stood on them, turning in opposite directions. I saw great precision in the moves of the group. It was all very peculiar.
I had no camera to record the little cosmic event and I had to keep moving, as I did not want the high charged business meeting to catch up with me again.
I passed the South East Calvert Vaux gate house. A whole collection of pictures of Alberto Arroyo were on display in one of the windows...

The equivalent of a heavy diesel truck jogged slowly by me, and I was able to stay behind the man, in his giant wind shadow, keeping a good tempo for a really good while.
It was not until an older lady looked at me in a very suspicious way that I decided to slow down a little. It must have looked as if I were the heavily sweating man's trainer, with my little moleskin book, open from time to time, while walking at full speed behind him.
The north side of the reservoir was where the Canadian Geese stared at some floating trash and at each other; then the hundreds of seagulls, another major bird-event.
I left the track, left the reservoir, returned to 96th street...
and I wondered what the strange dance of the ducks might have possibly have meant.
I imagined the mars probe finding concentric circles inscribed into the red soil of the planet. I imagined how important such a discovery would be for mankind... and I wondered how many ducks perform such incredible dances on the waters of the lakes of this planet... every day...
there were other things that danced in tight concentric circles in my head, of course... and then one of the thoughts was...
... what if the messenger does not even know of the message?...

8

| 2 Comments

It was a much colder day eight years ago. I had been picked up from the airport with a sign that called me Andy. The elevator to the office made some very dangerous sounds. I moved into a Brazilian hotel just yards away from Times Square. I had been looking forward to this day with such high expectations, I had completely forgotten to think much further, or about the consequences.
It is exactly 8 years ago that I arrived in New York for good.
Looking back at that day, I realize that I had made some really daring decisions; I am glad I did.
It was a much colder day eight years ago...
I feel really lucky to still be here...

monkeys...

| 4 Comments
There were many visitors at the bronx zoo today. It was a perfect day for families to make the trip, and so they did: the nuclear ones, the critical mass ones, the strangely radioactive clusters of sorts, packs, herds, swarms, bunches. My favorite people today might have been the concerned single mothers, some of their children taught to glow with a shy curiosity, there were whispered questions like: "how many primate species were extinct since 1901, mom?" and the answers, mostly also whispered: "I think we should keep going honey, it looks like this gentleman is trying to take some pictures." (meaning:"scary, scary, perv-alert!!!")... All I really wanted, was to be nearby when one of the animals happened to have that famous glimpse of awareness: "oh, my God, I am the last of my kind and yet I am trapped in a little, ridiculously painted terrarium with some dangerously psychotic bunch and nobody understands my language, or even my name, which is certainly not 'happy'." We all have these moments sometimes, don't we, so why shouldn't a walrus have them, or a "white-faced saki" or an "australian palm-cockatoo". (Imagine being one of the most intelligent species on the planet and be trapped in a box labeled "palm-cockatoo"... scary thought, isn't it?) I was that guy today, unshaven, quiet, alone, armed with a small camera, who sat in front of a bird cage for hours and stared at a near extinct, australian palm cockatoo until the animal calmed down, stopped screaming and biting (a plastic-tree), began to behave as if I were somehow interesting, positioned itself on one of the faux tree trunks and waved with one leg whenever i moved my right hand. Some imagined communication between two very odd species. (This is when a boy walked up to me and asked me if I had that sort of camera that could 'penetrate glass', just when his father fired another supercharged flash on the other side of the room, setting off what sounded like "new york car alarm for four toucans." I explained to the boy that the best way to "penetrate glass", was to turn off the flash on the camera... and to wait... cockatoo was still waving.) And I did not really bother with "tiger mountain" btw. and "kongo" was just a really short stop... children pounding against the glass, using both fists, about 15 grownups watching... three of them gorillas... A perfect day to visit the zoo. "did you get them, did you get them?" a lady asked me when she saw me holding the camera in the direction of a swarm of birds... "it all takes time... not yet..." she did not actually wait for the answer... It was a perfect day to visit the zoo and without fail, most of the screaming and shouting visitors seemed to be packed into a building simply called: "monkeys."

jewelboxed

The outside looks like the inside of a jewel box. The sky has a velvety quality to it, the layer of clouds looks very soft over the sharp edged city. The windows of the buildings around here are illuminated and decorated in a way that makes them appear like precious glittering objects. It is interesting to realize that they are actually more than that. Each one of the lights around here seems to indicate that somebody's day is not quite over... And these here are not offices. These are not necessarily people working. I can see several families from here, still playing with their kids... in one of the windows of the columbia house, somebody appears to be treated like a guest. There are many windows shimmering in a very bluish light... it is quite clear what is not happening there...
It is interesting to see how some quite natural human daytime activities have been pushed out of the day (which is reserved for focused work) and into the time when one would naturally want to sleep? It is certainly nothing new that humans attempt to carve more hours out of the day... I just wonder how the quality of perception changes in a day...
Silly thoughts... should be sleeping myself right now...

Salty...

| 2 Comments

Read the following with the heaviest New Yuoak accent you can possibly simulate. Here is a brief version of a cuonvasation behind me at de regise at 11pm on a saturday nite...

Old Lady with a shrill voice (to really, really tired looking old man in his 70's holding a 50 bag of peanuts):"You can have those, but only if you want them for the office. If you want them for the office, you can have them, because I don't want to see you eating them on the couch."
(She handles the sausage shaped pack in one hand, far away from her body as if it were filled with some funny, yet dangerous jelly. The peanuts move in their dusty greasy world visible through a clear area in the plastic pack. She looks at the ingredients list in a way as if she were wearing bifocal lenses. She is not wearing any glasses.)
"You are not going to eat these at home. You gotta take them to the office. Take them for the office. But take only one, you don't need two. One is enough. For the office. You can eat them when you have a break. They're peanuts. What's in there?. Yes. For the office. Or do you want the orange ones? Are they different? Take the yellow ones. They are peanuts. You can eat them."
(She inspects a yellow variety first. Then the orange pack, then the yellow one again. Her monologue continues for several minutes. She finally settles, puts one yellow pack of unsalted nuts on top of their produce. The man never replies. He looks very much as if he were very familiar with the woman's behaviour.)
I pay and am about to leave the register, when the man uses the distraction to quickly pull out three more bags of "orange" and "yellow" peanuts from the snack shelf. He deposits them silently at the front of their rather large pile of food. The old lady appears upset, like a mother who just lost a battle for snacks to her two year old child.)
A tall, odd looking customer behind the couple (smiling at the old man):"You like nuts?"
Old man (his eyes looking quickly for some answer on the ingredient list of the small orange pack of salted peanuts...): "I need the salt."

Next please...

back to new word/k city

It is good to be back. It is good to be back, it is good to be back. If I repeat it often enough I will hopefully truly and honestly believe it. Words are a powerful thing, words are a very powerful thing, words are a really powerful thing.
Well, it is actually good to be back. I hope that I will open one of the drawers in the bedroom and there it will be, my brain, waiting for me, cool, focused, glowing in a bright orange color... possibly pulsating, and I will open that flap on the back of my head, plop in that brain and then we will just need to find a nice electric outlet to get the thinking going again... and then the posts here will become longer and maybe a little more exciting as well...
I sometimes imagine my brain as a little dried fruit, brownish, darkish, tiny, de-cored.
My father would often announce at the dinner table that his was like a completely smooth plastic like surface... so we both don't really mean it, of course.
It is good to be back, it is good to be back. I have to yet find the words to describe how different it feels to look at New York now, after having spent days in a crazily saturated, yet incredibly relaxed place... (at least for me it was.)
I can really feel that the thoughts are spinning faster by the minute... now I just really need to put them together onto a little string... and we will have a little thought neckless...
Oh, and then the brain, and then the outlet...
I shall work on this one...
(And don't think that I have not written anything about Art Basel Miami Beach... because I have, but it was so bad that I decided to reedit it...)

soon, soon...

| 4 Comments

It was much colder now. The wind was very strong and somehow unpredictable. They were really glad to have finally found a shelter. Staying together, closely, they were waiting for that last jump. The final mission. Soon they would be traveling, under watchful eyes, carried on silver wings, by thousands of horses. Some would probably find their destination on the other side of the country, some were destined to go all the way, much further than one could ever imagine. Protecting, holding on. All over night. All over night...
Soon, soon...

such a perfect day...

| 2 Comments

Just recently found this little card on the subway platform here. It is a collection of answers to some questions we do not know. It is a really nice little card, as it helps to imagine a person thinking about these answers, somebody else asking questions... it is a very oddly recorded side of a conversation. Now the mind of the one who finds the note desperately wants to complete the dialogue, make it whole again... it is a nice one...
Try it...

hello g-bird...

a police helicopter has been making its rounds over 100th street, maybe 98th. the bright spotlight is pointed directly at a building on this side of broadway, so i can not see if there is any further police activity. just the sound of this loud machine observing the neighborhood at a low altitude does not feel quite right...
sometimes it would be nice to be in a more quiet place... (now)

the fall

| 2 Comments

It was a bit cooler today. A very fine mist of water seemed to fall onto the city in incredible slowmotion. What would have been unbearable humidity in the summer months, now, cool, appeared like the exactly right thing to happen. It is fall, after all. The leaves are moving from the branches onto the grass, onto the pavement, onto the streets. Their colors are now so much more vibrant, surprising, shouting. The colors are as saturated as the bright colors used by humans to announce most special events.
I left the subway on 50th Street at around 9:30. There were masses of people in the street, rushing. We were in the center of midtown after all. This is the place where a high percentage of the thinking actually makes it to the presses, to the billboards, back onto the street, back into the heads of those who were here with me, and far far beyond...
There was a very fragile little object, right by the yellow strip painted onto the sidewalk to mark the entrance to a parking garage.
It was a wing of a bird, maybe a sparrow, ripped out at the socket, right there, with the leaves, itself like a leaf. So perfect... so frighteningly beautiful
I managed to not imagine the story of how it got there and what happened to the rest of the certainly small animal... I tried to imagine that whatever happened here was painless and quick and unexpected.
Now this wing felt like the most peaceful little piece of the city. And yet bold powerful... just arrived at the end of its story.
Just fallen... for now... it was that time of year...
Icarus was still high above us, probably, holding back his tears...

please do not perform surgery...

They will open the faade, they will expose the guts. Holes will be cut, marble will be thrown away, views will be created, adjustments will make her look like the others, more like the others? Does she need to look like the others? Really... can she be just left alone?
as mentioned before...
please... please... too late...

why_IMG_2936x.jpg

who, when?...

| 1 Comment

Early in the morning on 96th Street and Central Park West...

And about 5 minutes later, down on the subway plattform...

Why am I thinking that there will be a bazaar on November 15th? What does it really mean to live richly?...

parrot fish panic

| 3 Comments

There is a pet store just two blocks or so away from here, the basement filled with a little zoo. I love to visit their basement... as I did today...
A parrot at the entrance to the basement keept saying "hello" in the voices of several very friendly old ladies. Some mini crickets trapped in the terrarium with three really cute looking little lizards, committed suicide in a petri dish filled with water. A turtle was just teasing itself with the idea that it could possibly overcome the 4 inch wooden barrier of its sand filled box and walk towards the darkness of the relatively hot room.
The are aquariums everywhere, large salt water tanks with pretty neurotic fish. Had nemo landed in one of these mini-worlds, his story would have probably been a memoir containing thousands of pages. Quite obviously lot happens in these tanks, their inhabitants being healthy, active, insane fish.
One of the animals that especially caught my attention, was this yellowish parrot fish. He was a pretty crazy guy with one really dangerous looking, white, beak-like tooth. (A bit as if the fish were a parrot in a fish costume.) The animal kept pacing inside of the tank. I managed to catch just a few glimpses of the tail-fin here, maybe a swoosh of color here. What a wild child... (He was probably scared... I hope he will find a larger home soon...)

Lord Randall the Bulldog

| 1 Comment

They are all over Central Park. Plaques with names of loved ones who passed away, who used to sit on these benches, those who used to pass by underneath these trees. One could imagine ghosts coming back to these places late at night, when the park is that scary place where living humans should not sit around.
Not all of these metal plates deal with loss and with loved ones who passed on to the other kind of Central Park.
My favorite inscription in the Park does not even celebrate a human being. In a really good spot, right behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, right near Cleopatra's Needle... one can find the following plaque:

In celebration of the extraordinary life of
Lord Randall the Bulldog
and all other canine companions
who pass this way

Woof... Tell all your canine companions... Lord Randall says hello.... : )

Heroin

| 2 Comments

It is as if he really wanted to fall over. He tried, he wanted to just roll forward, at least his body wanted to... but it was oddly impossible. Not sure what really the perception of this person is in this particular moment, but this notion of almost falling over, almost rolling forward, this almost toppling over is one of the signs of a heroin high. At least to the outside world... this looks like a seriously tragic moment... not sure what was going on in the head of this man, across the street from the Cooper Union this evening... for him it was certainly not the night of the panther... hmm... such a sad image really...

The favorite bum.

| 1 Comment

As I was crossing 6th street, one of those active beggars was starting a better and better optimized conversation with anybody who would or would not want to listen.

Beggar (to a man whom he seemed to know): "Hello, good evening Sir, I am your favorite Bum!"
British looking guy (walking briskly):Yes, you certainly are.
Beggar: No, I'm not.

Brilliant ... no?... I smiled...

(night of the panther)

| 2 Comments

Well, I could not resist, I had to go see the "Night of the Panther" down in SoHo, on Prince and Greene, at the Apple Store. I thought that I would maybe just walk in, get some sort of t-shirt or something. I never got in. There was a line outside of the store, all the way around the corner, half way to Houston street. Impressive. A couple and an older man from Poland were discussing what they should do with this line. "Za chlebem" (they are lined up for bread) I said... And the lady laughed. She was old enough to remember.
These people here were lined up to either get Panther, of which there was enough, certainly, everywhere, or maybe to get 10% off anything in the store after the purchase of panther. Wow... that's crazy talk...
I did not get in. I walked away from this.
Maybe next year... or in several years... three years... that will make it os 10.6... hmm... "Montecore"?...

Celebrity class...

| 3 Comments

She did have an interesting profile. He was trying so hard to impress her. He obviously had brought her to this place, he was the one making all the special comments about his incredibly deep knowledge of Japan. He was supposedly really good in sounding like a Japanese person speaking English. When in Japan, he was asked by one of his Japanese friends to speak to an American friend of his friend over the phone. He had chosen to pretend to speak his special American-Japanese English. The person on the other end of the phone did not want to believe he was American, so he claimed proudly. I did not want to believe I was seeing this man say such dumb things to this woman, whom he clearly was trying to impress.
He continued with observations like the following: "when the Japanese say "Hi", they not always mean 'yes', they sometimes just mean "yes I hear you, but I am not agreeing with you..." (yes?... I was not aware this was a country specific behaviour... well, for him it appeared to be this way at least...)
I felt a little sorry for her. She was maybe 36, he was probably 45. She somehow hinted that she was an actress, the topics somehow revolved around the business. She spoke about this really great "script doctor", she knew. He would always be called in to heal scripts, add those brilliant lines. "How do you like them apples." he interrupted her with an example of a well doctored line. He laughed...
I really felt a little sorry for her, at least till the moment when she pulled out a Chase Manhattan Bank cheque, to show him that she got paid less and less the more often they have "Law and Order" reruns... oh, so she was indeed an actress, one that might have played some role in a television show?... They began talking about various accents. Well, he tried to speak with a South African accent.
I had my own little conversations with the waiter. He told me about "that business friend" (I am still not sure whom he meant, to be quite honest, since he was extremely discreet about any details of "my friends" companions), whom I had brought for lunch a few days ago. Apparently he showed up twice since, and ordered whatever I happened to order (yes, in my absence). I did not quite want to believe it. "Yes, he asked me to have whatever you had last time you were here, Witold san." This felt a bit bizzarre.
As I was leaving, the entire staff of the restaurant came out to say good bye. I really like going there, I like to not even have to place an order anymore, they somehow know what I should eat on any given day. It really is good...
As I was leaving, I caught the glimpse of a stare coming from the table with the actress and the guy who had been working so intensively to impress her... They were trying so hard to put me into one of their little boxes filled with names movie scenes and television snippets... they had this look on their faces as if they both had seen me before... they wanted me to just do something, anything that would allow them to place me into some compartment containing those they knew and respected. They had to know me, how else could anybody explain such commotion upon my leaving the restaurant?...
I just smiled...
yes?... hi?

Subway hijacking

When some of us recently looked at the new accessories for the iPod, somebody had the idea to use the iTrip thing (this transmitter that somehow is able to hijack FM frequencies to take over the IP system of a subway train to blast some of that... well, what could we possibly blast?... Some music...
Imagine that? It would be like audio graffiti like having the full train as a blaster... yeah...
We then decided that the Subway trains in New York are most likely to use a wired system... oh and if I can not decide what to blast now... what would I blast if I actually could?... (Though I have been listening to the Strokes a lot recently... oh well...
So tonight... somebody actually managed to hijack the sound system on my train home... now that was pretty exciting... and what did they blast?...
Their transmission was not very long... it was obviously two individuals... the first one just said: "Everybody on this train is gay!" (he had a rather freshly rented manly voice) the other person asked a question: "wanna lick my ba**s?" hmm... Sounds like a clear proof that having the power to do something does not really mean that one has the ability to do that thing right...
Hmm, and that was just on a train... imagine somebody took over an entire country... just a thought...
(the conductor warned that he would take the train out of service... and yet he did not... oh well...)

Early American?

| 2 Comments

Even though I worked in the building for years, I was never allowed into some rooms. I could have probably asked, I would have probably been allowed to enter, maybe even to take pictures. (Though I would have taken the wrong ones anyway, for sure.)
Yesterday was different, it was better. I could hide in a crowd of hundreds maybe, snooping around the Masonic Temple on 23rd and 6th Avenue. It was one of the locations which New Yorkers were allowed to visit, thanks to OHNY.org.
It was fascinating to discover that the roof, on which I had locked myself out just a few years ago, was now almost open to the public, equipped with a protective railing, and yet surrounded by a slightly crippled view.
The sky was basically exactly the way it decided to be when the door locked shut on a drizzly afternoon some four years ago or so. But that's a completely different story. (I might have even told it here, maybe even several times?)
One of my favorite rooms in the building was one on the 6th floor of the building, a very beautiful meeting room, narrow, lined with antique book-cases, Mahogany paneling, an incredibly ornate ceiling, and with a much larger than life statue of George Washington, in a material far too golden.
The ceiling in this room is decorated with symbols that look like straight from a book about South American pre Columbian cultures.
It was interesting to be allowed to enter the room and to see the reactions of visitors to the statue, the books in the (at first closed) book cases, the really unexpectedly ornate ceiling.
It was clear that the statue was of George Washington, but why under a South Americanesque sky?
The answer to this question was a real surprise, and so incredibly fitting as an anecdote for today: The team of experts who renovated the incredibly ornate and saturated rooms of the Masonic Temple in Manhattan had been brought in from Peru. When instructed to use "Old American Symbols" for the room with the large George Washington statue, they certainly did not think of "America" as in: "United States of America", they thought of the continent, the place that was here before even the Santa Maria, the Pinta and the Nia arrived, bringing glass pearls, syphilis, liquor and... well, Christopher . This here used to be a home to people a long time before , long before Amerigo Vespucci, long before it became "America".
One has to thank the Masons that they did not have this stroke of brilliance on the side of the renovation team "corrected".
I shot a few pictures in the amazing interior on the 6th floor. I think my favorite image is the one below, and the more I look at it, the more it feels like the right one to look at today.
The couple across from me, on one of the leather sofas, in front of those Mahogany (?) paneled walls, their feet on a persian carpet with floral motivs, wearing Puma sneakers, levi's jeans (?), she sporting an italian knock-off(?) gucci bag, are staring at a ceiling that is populated with pre columbian symbols. The ethnicity of the couple places them somehow here, they are obviously the children of generations of various streams of people who came to America long before and also after the arrival of . I do not want to make too many assumptions about the origin of their genes...
Though they both do look like the future of this continent, don't they?

minefield of encapsulated love

| 2 Comments

The salvation army store down 96th, near west end avenue is a small place, and somehow beautiful too. Parked outside, from Monday through Saturday is a large truck, two workers stuffing its back as tightly as only possible, flinging the bags with clothing towards the transparent ceiling, building a soft mountain of worn out love. The truck does not have to go far, I think, there is this main Salvation army building on 46th Street, a huge operation, this is where the clothes are washed, some starched and equipped with various colors of tags, to be sold back for amounts between $2 and maybe $7... (This is the place where I sometimes get my most sophisticated of shirts, those with most elaborately constructed collars and mother of pearl buttons so thick that they barely fit through the hand sewn button holes... not all the stuff is of this quality, but some actually is... )
The store here is much smaller. One does not just walk into it, one barely fits through the entrance, as there are large boxes with clothing and some very oddly constructed office on one side and this wide glass island for the sales person on the other. The feeling of going in there is a bit of a crawling back into a warm place, like one that we normally have to leave for good.
There are shelves with books, and glasses and small home appliances on the ground floor, smelling of acid and dust and tape recorder oil. Much of what is sold in this tiny portion of the store seems to have been born in places that supply companies with objects designed to extend their gigantic international brands. One finds drinking glasses celebrating some walk for some cure, sponsored by somebody who's name has been inflated and then boiled down to be just massively designed initials. Some of the books are brittle, vertical piles of dry brown paper, filled with words which have not been seen by a human eye for years. Some titles are intriguing though, of course, some of the books do not stay here for long, this section of the store tends to be packed with those looking for "love and lust" and "power of politics" not the free catalogues and instruction manuals that linger rather embarrassed in piles bending the shelves in the corners of this literary labyrinth.
Above the book area is the clothing paradise, a half floor, a gallery, a location with a view. One has to walk up stairs, another passage way, this one decorated with bleached out posters of sunsets, puppies, kittens and some other quite incredible art related objects made by the human kind. The upstairs can't help but smell like oily flakes of old shed skin, like cut fingernails, like the inside of a forgotten laundry hamper. All of the clothing here is clean and beautifully organized, it just appears that the fabric of some pieces does not want to let go of the memories of some of its probably long gone owners. Some of the clothing really looks and feels like somebody's skin. Some pieces feel like something that was not only picked out with a very focused love (and be it self-love) but then witnessed love and passion, and views and sights and locations we will probably never even know of. Some of the jackets must have been to weddings, some to funerals, some were not allowed to the last one, were later discovered by those left behind, thrown into bags, thrown onto the back of that truck outside, taken to 46th street... and then...
It is one thing to look at this clothing and to imagine its future, but it can definitely be a very inspiring activity to browse through the layers of fabric and to imagine its past. Some shirts are so worn out that they will never find another owner, or who would like to have their neck surrounded by a large yellow stain left behind by what must have been slowly sucked in sweat? Is the tiny brown speck on the back of this Christian Dior shirt really blood that does not want to go away because it knows some secret nobody cares about anymore? Why is only one french cuff on this quite interesting multicolored shirt worn out so badly as if it had spent its life polishing a heavily ticking watch?... and where is this watch now, to present the other part of the story?
Some shirts have initials stitched onto their cuffs, some still have their emergency buttons. Some shirts have nothing but their collar stapled ticket, in some bright color, at this point meaning "buy me at half price."
The clothing floor also has its "unwanted and never used" area, of course, here we find mostly t-shirts promoting some bizzarre places and events, designed by either incredibly frustrated designers or those who were trying to find the cutting edge in some completely, hideously wrong places.

I did not go upstairs yesterday, only to the third area of the store, the very back, the living room, the machine room, the gathering of large objects. This is where sofas meet cabinets meet tables meet computers.
The manager moved one shy macintosh LC to the side, so I could spread out what used to be my most trusted equipment for years. I came here twice the load was really major, Macintosh desktops tend to have a metal gut and CTR monitors are built to stand their ground as well. I managed to organize all the equipment into two computer scenarios as complete as I could only imagine. I really imagined. I hoped that there would be a glowing moment, right when the person who connects all the cables finds out that the intentions here were good, that the equipment was not thrown out but prepared and adjusted, massaged so it can run like a well trained athlete for another ten years or so.
I bought a laser printer in the GoodWill store on 79th street once and had exactly this experience. Not only was the laser writer select in an incredibly good shape, somebody had actually equipped it with a new toner cartridge, one that I never even got to change, because of its quite spectacular capacity. It was amazing to see that the salvation army store can be a bit like the anti eBay, where features of equipment are hidden, not searchable, an encapsulated surprise. There was no paypal here, no pretty doctored pictures, no blinking ads for Spam Killer. This was real people, not traffic, a mix as diverse as on the subway, not on the server, looking for real things, not clicking on underlined blue links.
As much as the clothing on the upper floor was able to reveal some and hide some of its stories, so did the computer equipment here. The mouse pointers on these machines have been to places, have moved tons of pixels, have touched OK and SEND and OPEN so many times... the l, the o, the v and the e keys have been pressed on these keyboards in full intent, from the heart, so many times. The mouse buttons had a smooth surface in some places, stroked softly between the millions of clicks, and drags and clicks...
An older lady looked at the machines as if they were the one single answer to hundreds of her years of silent questions. She wanted to "learn all this". She wanted to "know if she will be able to". She wanted to know if the equipment was "good". She then wanted to know if she would be able to "record DVDs", and I had to say that she would not be able to do just that... but that CDs would record just fine. This was the moment when another lady walked by, not even looking at us through her heavy glasses. Her statement was dry, shared in a very monotonous voice: this was all old stuff and that there are new computers at CompUSA. Hmm... oh well... : )
An older gentleman, of whom I at first thought as one of the people employed at the store kept asking me if the machines were those "Macintosh" computers. And yes, they were, even after the fifth time he asked.
He then told me that he was "not yet experienced enough to work on a Macintosh", that he was looking for a "PC for now"... I did not really know what to say to that...
I wonder if the macs found their new owners yesterday. Maybe I can walk by the store on Monday, if its open, maybe connect all the cables, maybe set up the systems, turn them on... Maybe I will just find out that somebody only bought the power cables, that it was all they needed, for now...
I will then go upstairs and find little stains on shirts, or browse through the brittle yellow pages of an old romance novel, looking for a good sentence to make me smile... and there certainly will be many that will...

From crickets to a beast...

| 3 Comments

The building here is relatively new. Some of the little design artefacts still remind of what was cool in the 80's. The oddly rough, pink, vertical window blinds are definitely one of the suspects, as is the very strange carpeting in the halls, green and plum... and did I ever mention the lush dark plum elevator doors... oh, and my apartment door is also vintage-pink... (on the outside only, of course.)
The large windows here make plants go nuts. The lightly built walls would be probably really a problem if my neighbors were more interested in activities that make any kind of sound...
Oh, the sounds... there was this chirping, romantic meadow sound in the bathroom for months now. The subtle whisper of some simulated brook added to the atmosphere of serenity... and made me be even more thankful for that airport card in my PowerBook and the dimmer I installed upon move-in...
Where there is a meadow and pinkish doors, there usually lurks some beast... and yes, there is one here, one of the elevators... It must have been incidentally placed on top of some sort of burial ground, because, oh boy, it is cursed, and scary and bad. I remember this one time when it claimed to bring me to the 8th floor... but instead opened its doors on 16... not after making some serious jumps and jolts... scary stuff to experience when inside of an elevator... the display showed 8 when the door opened... it then quickly corrected the number to be 16... a flaw in the matrix perhaps?
I think the entire building is tilting actually. Not only were all frames hung on the same odd angle when I came home last night, there was also this random roaring sound. It was pretty much exactly like the sound of an airplane toilet flushing... that "stand back, or I am gonna get'ya" kind of sound...
It was loud, random, annoying...
It is not less scary now that I know what it is... It is the elevator scraping the walls of its shaft... every time it goes down, it scrapes something between the 8th and the 7th floor...
I took the elevator this morning... first up... to the 16th floor, just to see what happens... and it sounded like dracula's coffin...
On the way down, between the 8th and the 7th... a scraping sound and then a really heavy vibration, as if we were entering the earth's atmosphere again...
This can't be good.
I know there was an earthquake in Japan yesterday, but why is the building here tilted now?
The other elevators were shut down yesterday, so now there is only the "cursed scraper" going up and down its dark and angled shaft.
It might be time to look for a place where there are no odd cracks in the walls and no ceiling that appears to be pushing down the wall paint... but only in some places...
I hear of miracles happening up the hudson river... anyone, anyone?
Or what about Amsterdam? At least there are those hooks outside on all the houses... hmm...

$18/hour parking...

Parking in Amsterdam, at least in the street, in Jordan, where I stayed, was 2 an hour. And the parking meter was actually quite clever. With a little yellow button, I could select the parking modus first... regular parking 2/h, parking from 19:00-23:00 6,- parking for the whole day... 26 (or something like that.) It was a bit of an annoying feature that the parking meter did not accept credit cards or bills, only Euro coins, but this was very easily fixable even for me... I simply bought some stamps at the next supermarket (in a machine...) and the change was enough for the first night. The next day, all of the accumulated change pretty much made up the amount necessary for the parking spot.
The owner of the bed and breakfast felt sorry that the pricing was so high... 2/hour... seriously... I told him that parking in New York can be in the $18 range in some places... hmm... as soon as the words left my mouth, this sounded like a really wrong price tag... $18/hour?... now that is pretty outrageous, isn't it?... how did I come up with that?... maybe it was the 18% tax on top of the parking charges?... Maybe what I thought of were some numbers I saw on the side of some 5th Avenue building?... I mean, I do not have a car here... how should I know?...
Oh, Paris,... a completely different system btw... there are these pre-paid cards... parking is also 2/hour... except one is only allowed to stay for 2 hours in some places and the cards one can buy start at 5... the system is basically built so there are cards left with stuff (cash) left on them... An old trick to collect crumbs or change from between the sofa pillows... works well for paris parking meters...
I had calculated that I would need about 12 hours of parking... this made me buy cards for 30 (they can be purchased from Tabac stores) I ended up parking in a spot that actually accepted the cards for a mere 2 hours... (longer, except the night is free...) and so I basically paid my 15 ($18?) per hour... here we go... Paris got me...
Oh, and why am I even writing this down here?... On my way to lunch today, there was a parking meter... I checked the price... $2/hour... cheaper than Amsterdam!... : )

September 11th 2003

| 2 Comments

A friend described his feeling about today in an interesting way.
"When you lose somebody very close to you in your family and the anniversary of their death comes back to remind you of the event, you carry this burden with you all day long. You take it with you when you get your coffee in the morning, when you ride the train, when you go to work, in the evening, you will reflect. There is this sadness inside of you, this memory of a very different reality, sealed inside of you. Nobody, except for you knows why you are sad, not many will pay attention. Unless, of course, you run into somebody who also had a relationship to the same loved one. If you meet on this anniversary, you will probably not even talk about what happened. You will not say anything in particular about it, not mention the living times, the moment of loss... it will be all there, in both of you, both of you will be aware that the other one knows... and whatever conversation happens on that day, will happen on the plattform of this knowledge. Yet it will be a shared, hidden awareness...
Today, everybody in the city shares this experience of loss. Everybody on the subway knows what happened, why everybody else appears today the way they do, everyone knows exactly where they were when it happened, they all have lost a bit of their world... today... we all know... and we just continue..."
It was interesting that he said it, because, of course, I knew exactly what he was talking about, just as he described it... and so we both continued to talk about something completely different...
I imagined the ghosts of all those who died on September 11th 2001 come back... maybe with the ghosts of those who died because of what happened since...
And I imagined that these spirits would probably somehow wish for exactly this kind of mourning. One that is not debilitating, one that does not stop the world every year, not one that uses the date as an excuse to destroy more lives.
Hmm...but that's a very different story...

a bomb?

| 6 Comments

People are pouring out of the 1/9 2/3 subway station on 96th street. Traffic has been completely diverted from this block. There is police everywhere. A man in a green protective suit just walked up broadway, alone, towards the branch of CitiBank on the north east corner of the intersection...
Let's hope all will be okay.
A journalist is just being escorted further away from the corner. It is almost quiet now... no cars, no people... just the far sounds of the city and many fire engines...

spaceman_03.JPG

(update...) nothing really happened, of course... hmm...

A Bonsai Pretzeltree

| 6 Comments

Scavenging for food is one of the normal activities of office humans. Some of the more important meetings involving more important people tend to include breakfast or lunch or other special snacks. One can either be part of such a meeting, be more daring and pretend to be part of such a meeting, or one can just wait for the large animals to complete their meal and then rush in and scavenge for whatever is left. Office workers pack sandwiches into paper cups and carry them secretly into their cubicles or offices or devour them right there, off the plates, sometimes mixing the wraps with the wilted salad, the cold coffee, the gluey pasta and sometimes almost transparent cheese.
Such free food is free of any calories or sugars, or saturated fats. Such found post meeting food also does not need to be refrigerated.
Kings used to employ professional tasters to see if their food was in any way poisoned. Food after meetings must be such tested food and thus completely save to eat. (Unless the meeting room is littered with bodies, of course.)
I recently saw two workers in a meeting room in the afternoon, eating roast beef and tuna sandwiches left over from a long early morning meeting. One of the workers boasted that he had survived several years in China and that even if the food we was eating now had obviously not been refrigerated for more than four hours, the Chinese bacteria in his so experienced stomach would easily kill all the germs that might have anything to do with the not refrigerated "meeting food". Hmm...
Am I immune to this irresistible call of preowned and certified meeting food? Certainly not. I have had my share of meeting pasta... had some cold black coffee (there was no milk or sugar left.)... some melted brie...(the crackers were almost crunchy.)
Today my catch was just a cup of mini-pretzels. Inside of the cup however was a real gem. We all know that pretzels do not grow on trees, of course, but what I found today, between the little fish and some low fat potato chips was a genuine, a real, a little... bonsai pretzel tree.
It is not very large, that little bonsai pretzel tree. I would say that it is about 7 centimeters, perhaps? It is a little flat, there is a short stem, some roots, and the crown already bears three genuine little mini pretzels. I carefully planted the tree in a large paper cup, and instead of soil I chose paper napkins. I will need to give it some silica, so it does not suck in moisture, with its sprinkled salt. For now it is in a good place covered with one of the transparent one way orange juice cups, for protection.
I know the little tree will never grow, no matter what I'll do with it, but it is truly a masterpiece created by some slightly flawed manufacturing process over at the meeting-pretzel plant. It was dark when I found the little tree, but I shot some mini portraits, hope you'll enjoy these...
1) A total view with coffee cup and cover.
2) Pretzel tree, close-up
Do you have a bonsai anything? (And please do not provide a link to that bonsai kitten site...)

Hector?

| 1 Comment

It was in the afternoon and I was on my way to the 14th Street 2/3 train, when I heard the music coming from St. Francis Xavier Church. It was a good New York moment, I walked right into it. The beautiful space was attracting more and more visitors who appeared to be drawn in by the strange sounds of a rather synthetic sounding organ played by somebody in the front of the church. I found a spot somewhere near a large fan, the sound quality was not quite as good, but the air was at least moving. It was a sunny day and for some reason the church was rather warm inside.
I expected a concert, I thought I was holding the program. I began drawing little pieces and fragments of what surrounded me. The church is too really beautiful, the colors of the stonework feel muted, slightly yellowish. Looking at a large number of people positioned in this vessel of stone somehow made me feel warm and included. It was really a very odd feeling. It really was a good place somehow, this minute, right there, waiting for the concert?...
It is Sunday, of course, what I walked into was the afternoon mass, it was one that was about to include a confirmation.
As the ceremony began, the entire congregation rose and we were advised to introduce ourselves to those around us. "Hello, my name is Witold Riedel..." was my line to the very friendly looking gentleman in front of me. (The line did not quite work, he really thought my name was Vito... okay, it did not really matter...) Right next to me, we were divided by a little wooden separator, was a guy maybe in his early 20's, seemingly as surprised to introduce himself to me as I was.
Behind me was a rather eccentric couple. I might be wrong, but I remembered her being maybe in her 50's, with large hair, white... not quite sure. Her husband, lover, friend, looked like a toned down version of John Lasseter, sans the Hawaiian shirt... yet with...
a rather large parrot on his shoulder. Was I supposed to shake the parrot's hand? I wanted. "His name is Hector, the man said."
"Heeghar," whispered the parrot...
"Hello, my name is Witold Riedel." (guess who said that...)
With the parrot watching my back, "All are welcome" sung by all, had a very extended meaning.
I did not stay for the mass. I did not stay for the entire experience. I escaped after just a few minutes. I was not ready for an institutionalized conversation with God... through music? yes, through architecture? yes, through an encounter of a parrot?, certainly... orchestrated (beautifully and skillfully...) not quite...
Other little things that happened just a few minutes later, somehow made me believe that it was a really good thing that I had left that church.
They were all good things, but giving them away here would be no fun now, would it?...

luxury ride

| 2 Comments

while I was asleep, the driver took me via Madison, not on the way, of course, or was I dreaming?...
It is nice to be able to drink wine and still come home safely...
good night...

a lazy seagull

| 6 Comments

Not sure I have ever seen a lazy looking seagull before, but the one that just drifted by the window, slowly, barely moving her wings, taking a right on 96th street, then coming back, taking a left on 96th street.....
She looked very much like a lazy yet serious kind of seagull, cruising not higher than the 6th floor perhaps, between the buildings of Manhattan... looking for something very different than food... (I guess...)
Hmm... I think I remember meeting serious seagulls at Lake Tahoe, last year...
But that was earlier in the morning, by a lake, it was a group of them, and I spent some time with them being as considerate as I could be with my 50's clicking machine. Let me see if I can find one of the pictures... yes... here:
(And I am thinking more of the guy in the background, as he looked a bit surprised by something moving next to him in the water...)

Pop goes the ...

| 5 Comments

The ice cream truck played its nerve wrecking song in front of the laundry place on the corner. There were no children buying any ice cream however. A group of maybe twenty or so young men stood between the laundry place and the truck, obstructing the passage. They were discussing something loudly, they seemed like two groups, even though the discussion seemed to happen between two of the men. They were the ones at the centre of a pack of friends, both had their supporters, observers, witnesses with them. Not sure how long the argument had been evolving, but it really felt as if something was about to happen, right there, within the next 30 seconds or so.
They were louder and louder, the words became more serrated more like sounds...
and there it was,
the first punch. Every person in both parties now started to scream something, at the same time, louder, louder...
What happened next took about four seconds. The guy who had been punched grabbed the attacker by the collar of his flashy trainings jacket, spun around with him, as if they both were about to perform a wild dance, he then smashed both of them against the large launderette window.
This was not a movie, these were not paid stuntmen, this was not a scripted moment...
This is when the large window burst.
It was not one of those slow motion motorcycle scenes in which a person in a leather jacket rides through a shower of little pieces of security glass.
The window broke more like a sheet of thin ice, large pieces, obviously sharp edges, the top portion of the glass caved in behind the two young men.
It really was as if both of them had been thrown into a bucket of cold water. All of them, the entire group went silent, surprised?...
One brave bystander pulled both fighters out of where they had landed in the launderette. Both groups moved out of the way, away from the scene, now shouting something else...
The ice cream truck never stopped playing this annoying song...
The owner of the laundry place might have been the one who called the police. Their syrens sounded after about 10 minutes... it was too far now to see what happened next...

good morning

| 4 Comments

Sixty eight degrees Fahrenheit (or about nineteen Celsius) is pretty much the nicest temperature one could hope for on a morning in New York. Things tend to get a bit extreme here, as we all know. It might be bad to walk straight into what feels like the humid mouth of a dog in the summer time, but freezing even under layers and layers of various garments in January might be worse.
The Subway still felt a bit toasty, not crowded, it appears that many New Yorkers are making this one an especially long weekend.
Those who rode the subway with me today were like little books of human character speculation.
There was the forty-something gentleman with a Leon Trotsky beard and some rather peculiar medical condition that made him look beyond the kind of potent any man might ever want to be. He rested a gaming magazine on that area, there, as if it were his favorite reading pillow. He sometimes scratched his head of freshly dyed jet black hair. (Something was telling me that he had to hide this magazine from his mother...)
The last page of the gamer publication screamed at all of us announcing that he could be the winner of a Million Dollars. I just imagined how he would decide to invest this king of cash, or if his mom would make these kinds of decisions, and how he would react if he in fact won...
Next to him was a lady in her sixties maybe, she could have been 80, perhaps older. I do not quite remember now what she looked like, she was the kind that used her makeup as if it were skin colored stucco. Then there were the jewels.
Large gem stones, dark, larger than life.
To her right was a gentleman of probably 70, his head barely covered with any hair, his neck very much like a human sized version of a water-turtle's neck.
His shirt was far too open. He seemed refined, interested, guided by what he saw, not by what he thought to see. After a few minutes he pulled out a little inconspicuous book. I could not see the author's names, the title was quite clear... "Geriatric Psychiatry".. I tried to avoid eye contact.
His neighbor was dressed in a shirt that seemed to be made out of the finest checkered cotton table cloth. His hair looked like something on the head of a 15 year old Swedish soccer player, except that he was maybe 40... He stroked over the top layer of his hair as if to make sure the velcro stuck to his scalp.
Something made me think that he could have been British. I do not quite remember what else he wore, but his features, his demeanor, it all pointed to some place where princes like to spend their time hunting foxes and other little animals.
The lady next to me had her ripe summer-picnic-banana ready, it was on top of some tupperware, inside of a rather old Bergdorf Goodman bag. Her fisherman pants matched the checkers of the English gentleman, except they were the salmon and white, not blue.
In front of us, at least for the last few stops, a man from somewhere in South America (what a wild guess). His too tight black pants seemed to attempt to befriend that Bergdorf Goodman traveler. His body appeared as if it were a soft and air filled dough, spilling just about wherever it could in ways permitted by his outfit. The Canary yellow tennis shirt met his pants in a place that was incredibly confined by a thin, shiny, leather belt. Even his sunglasses, placed around his neck, not on top of his shiny, shiny hair, were seemingly cutting into a soft mass of a body. The man with a soft outside and possibly a hard core also wore one of those pieces of clothing not visible to the human eye... a rather heavy cologne. It spilled freely all over the subway car, spread out and tickled all of the somehow tired strap hangers. Whenever the doors opened, there would be a new mix of fragrance. I was quite glad to finally reach my destination. As I was leaving the car, I noticed an incredibly beautiful African American woman, deep in the corner of the car. I only had a split second to see her, so I could not imagine any story as the ones that for me surrounded all the other characters.
Outside of the station the weather was still the perfect seventy degrees. The skies are blue and clear here in New York, I think I might need a little coffee...

flashing the sun

| 3 Comments

There was not a single cloud in the sky over Manhattan, or over the river, or over New Jersey and the hills and somehow the entire rest of the continent. At least it seemed this way. The view turned slowly, just the way it always does, for years now, though it is less and less a view and more and more of a round trip between windows of offices and hotel rooms, condos.
There is still a relative wide sliver of a vista left facing New Jersey, which is in the west from there. It is the not so developed place where the sun sets. The large, orange, glowing sun. The large star behind layers and layers of glass. First there were the windows, of course, the serious strong windows, as they have to be on the 48th floor. Then there were these slightly curved sheets of glass, right by the tables, a barrier of sorts, preventing the guests even if beyond drunk, or angry about the $6.50 charge for non hotel guests, preventing them from just falling into the wrong direction, breaking something after the fall. Perhaps the neck?
As the nearly empty view turned its vacant seats towards the sinking orange sun, a whole group of serious photographers came forward to show the magnificent event to their very smart looking cameras. There was the Danish couple, both men agreeing on the little previews flashing between the graphic interface of their large lensed range finder camera, a quiet woman with a large black SLR, snuck between the chairs as if the sun were an incredibly rare, shy bird. The batteries in her camera must have been super fresh, as she flashed the sun with such powerful bursts of light, over and over and over again... I wonder how much of the actual sunset will make it onto her film.
She was the most professional looking one of the many who were just there, flashing the glass barrier.
In the bathroom, the concierge was very hesitant to offer a paper towel to the chef, who came here in his large white hat. It was good to see that the food professional used his towel and not his hands to open the bathroom door.
Outside by the elevators, a group of tourists from Switzerland contemplated about the great advantages of having numbered streets in a city like New York. The subway system did not seem to be as clear to them however. One lady admitted having been lost... several times. She now made it a habit to study the map very well before leaving the house. She did not want to appear as a tourist, of course.
I knew she was one before I even saw her. (Gell?)
About 44 floors below, the carpets and the music could have been ripped out and imported from a las vegas casino. Twirling leaves and rectangles in complimentary colors intertwined to a maddening composition, amplified by the castrated muzac pumped through the omnipresent hidden speakers.
It was a bit of a psychedelic experience, only healed by a slow escape through the hidden and prohibited fire emergency exit. There it was, an oasis with unpretentious lighting and no disturbing music. So beautifully calm.
So good to just stay there. Calm. More than calm. Happy. A short break in a successful escape from organized madness...
Then the door on the ground floor... "I Heart New York" T-Shirts for just $7.99, thousands of tourists, again, all drunk on the lights and sounds and ultimately themselves.
Such different spaces, right next to each other... so good, so incredibly good...
And the sun? It is now busy setting over the Hollywood sign... will it come back for more?... I bet.
Will there be photographers flashing at it? Most certainly yes.

B-way & 93rd End of Free

Verizon wanted my money, T-Mobile wanted my money. I happened to have a username and password for T-Mobile... from back in the day, when I tested the access point in the Starbucks, just across half Broadway from me... So I am back, I am paying for not even a frapuccino... the connection is incredibly fast.
(Wasted on my typing here.)
I am on one of the benches that are placed on center lane of Broadway, above the subway tracks, on every street. I a, facing south. With me on the bench a gentleman reading a printout and a man who appears to be slightly dazed, half asleep. Could this be his corner?
Across 93rd Street, a group of five gentlemen, they are having lively conversations.
Cars are rushing past us. Uptown downtown.
Advent Lutheran Church invites: "Come Share Spirit."
I could not log in on West End Avenue. Users seem to use passwords wherever I tried. Are they experts? Do they know what they are doing?
Am I insane for writing here, connected to a paypoint, when I should just walk two more blocks, go home and post from my own desk?
It is just so much fun to sit outside, to watch the city turn dark, punctured by yellow rectangles. It is fun to listen to tiny pieces of conversations...
Five more minutes please...

Riverside Drive & 90th

| 2 Comments

It was a very brisk walk down by the river. The sun set now, I think, just a few minutes ago it could be seen behind high buildings on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.
I assumed that the Boat Community on 79th Street would have an open WiFi channel, but not yet. I had to walk up to Riverside Drive, and happen to be on 90th street... the Signal is very strong, the access point is just a default setting of a linksys router. My favorites.
A security officer with a radio walked just past me. There will be thunderstorms in the near future. He also gets the best reception here on the corner.
I would have liked a bench, but this fire hydrant is just fine for now.
The officer is moving on.
I am breathing in this fragrant evening air. The trees around here are just turning into black silhuettes. There is a singing sound from chirping insects. Cars make noise too, of course, somewhere over the river was the distant whisper of a helicopter.
But this is a very quiet corner here, well groomed plants hug, no kiss the pre war apartment building. There are perfectly manicured flowers here too. The street is patched in many ways but still manages to look quite elegant.
(I saw geese by the river. They were enjoying their grass... A monarch butterfly swam through air towards the monstrous Trump condominiums.)
Some joggers are returning from their evening rounds by the water. The cars have all their lights on now...
I will now continue my walk...
Next Stop... West End Avenue... ? (perhaps)

important guy

| 5 Comments

A souped up, white BMW 7 just pulled up to the building entrance here. The licence plates look as if they were not even American, the windows are all dark. Behind the main car, a large dark van. (Bodyguards.)
The "important guy" got out od the BMW and walked smoothly like a dressed up cat into the skyscraper. He was sporting a white trainings outfit with large blue and yellow triangles. (Enyce.)
Two bodyguards got out of the van and followed him... in a good distance.
The cars are still parked there, their lights on... the "important guy" brought back a woman, a few friends, they are talking. She is using her cellphone.
We are all relaxed here, the weather is perfect, there is a light breeze. The light has this soft shimmering quality to it. If I could live off air, I would probably like it prepared exactly this way. Soft scents from nearby restaurants mixed with other natural and designed fragrances. Perfect temperature.
I will now close my PowerBook and take a good walk... wanna come?

A golden night...

| 3 Comments | 1 TrackBack

"What did you do last night?"
I took a cab from east harlem and the cabbie looked like one of the friendlier guys somewhere from the Caribbean.
"Last night? What I did last night? Oh it was a good night, last night! You know I rent the cab and it is $150 for the 12 hour shift, so do you know how much I made on top of that? I mean I drive a cab for 12 years now, and I drive the cab only two days a week. So yesterday, I had to go. Many drivers went back to the garage, because there was really bad traffic and they were scared. You know, we cabbies do not like traffic. This is why you will never see a cabbie go slow. We want to pick up and drop off and pick up and drop off, and fast. This is the only way we can make money. So many went back to the garage, but I had to go. Do you know how much I made after rent and the gas?"
He pulled out a bundle of money, some pieces of paper...
"Here, CitiBank, I made a deposit today. Look: $1020. I made more than a thousand bucks!"
He showed me the yellow deposit slip. (It was for $1020.)
"The traffic was really bad. Really bad, in the beginning. The first customer, to get from downtown to FDR, it was 1.5 hours! Just for 7 blocks. Really bad. The first four hours were really bad. But after that! It was good. Those people in Connecticut have money, I kept going to Connecticut. Round trips. Any price I gave them, they pay. This one guy gave me $200 and then a $100 check! One hundred dollars tip! Crazy money. Another one: I had six people in the cab. Four in the back, two in the front. We went to Westchester. It was a good night. And after 10 hours, most cabbies were out of fuel. They were just on the side of the road. Waving... but I was not out of fuel, because I knew that there was electricity in Connecticut, so I took a guy to Connecticut and refueled. I went through the entire night.
I could have maybe went longer, but I needed my 8 hours of sleep. This was a really good, good night."
What a man...
Another cabbie told me a different angle of the story, he had stayed at home. Because he lives in Brooklyn, he would have not made it into the city anyway. He said that most of his friends who drove last night made $800-$1000 but that was only because they were charging pretty much illegal flat-rates. He was very strongly against those increased fares. ... of course...

fresh?

| 7 Comments

The weather is quite beautiful outside, warm, sunny, warm... just like the inside of the refrigerators in the bodega on 95th and Amsterdam. A little foot thermometer points really deeply into "SPOILAGE"... (It is the large yellow zone.)
I bought a few of the drinks that never spoil. Sugar water with artificial flavoring, some of the better stuff money can buy right now. As I am paying I notice that the counter is still filled with Ice Cream and other little perishable sweet gems...
"Too bad you will have to throw these all out now."
"Oh no, these good. Funny, many people ask about the ice cream."
"Hmm, interesting...", I did not want to argue with her on this one... "How was the night here?"
"I was not here, the boss was here, protecting the store, with another guy. Next door they smashed in the window at the jeweler at 5:30."
"5:30am?" I imagined a group of well prepared attackers who singled out the store after a night of searching for the most vulnerable spot...
"5:30 PM, daytime, they did not wait for no night."
"Wow." Now I imagined a bunch of drunk guys with a brick.
"The owner shot his gun, they ran like crazy."
"Glad nothing worse happened."
"I can see in your eye, you do not believe me with the ice cream."
"Well, I don't quite trust it."
"We checked the milk, we checked the juices. It is all good. Maybe because we run 24 hours. Always run..."... she paused.... "But I will not drink the milk either."
"No Milk, no eggs..."
"No eggs, no? Oh no, I had an egg sandwich today..."
"It will be fine... it will be allright..."

The pawn shop next door has indeed a smashed in window.
Duct tape holds together a constructed barrier on which somebody wrote "DON'T TOUCH"...
Otherwise, things look like any regular summer Saturday (more quiet than a Friday.)... It is odd to know that all thermometers are pointing to "SPOILAGE" all over the city... and I also wonder when it will be safe to buy ice cream again...
(Maybe it never was...)

Power back on...

| 3 Comments

Woke up at 6am, because of a dream that the light was back on. It was not. About an hour later, the Dunkin Donuts sign across Broadway was showing off its "open24hours" again. There were four policemen in front of the shop, tapping each other on the backs.
Looks like things are almost back in order.
My cable connection is not working yet. (And yes, the local TV station appears to be still down.)...
Let's hope everybody else is okay as well...

will we see the stars?

| 3 Comments

it is so incredibly dark here in new york. Outside there is a whistling of the police directing traffic to red candle light. at least they look like candles. There is a mass of people walking mostly uptown. Laughter, whistles, bus sounds, conversations. Police. It is a different city tonight. The sounds are very different. I thought that this was pretty much what Y2K was supposed to be like. Nothing is really working... no ATMs, no cash registers, nothing that needs refrigeration will survive the night.

When I had lunch at a japanese restaurant today, there had been just a new delivery of tuna. Half a fish, an entire huge muscle, it seemed, so incredibly fresh... so incredible. The chefs were debating how to place some of the important cuts...
It will be rotten tomorrow... it will be gone.

JUst made a huge dinner, with whatever I thought could go bad in the refrigerator. It was a good candle light dinner...
the battery power is running out on my powerbook... I will need to stop posting now...
Good night... let's hope the night will be quiet and peaceful...
oh, and New Jersey has Power...
The sky might be too muggy to see the stars tonight, but the lights in New Jersey, certainly look as far away and as fantastic tonight...

power out

| 5 Comments

managed to get home... the server in Texas is obviously up, Earthlink is also working, so is the phone, so I can post here. Will see if I can post more later (have very limited battery time).

So far, the lights just went dead at about 4:30... I began my walk home about an hour later. Not I am here, safely. Towels with water are cooling things down.
All seems calm so far.
Candles are in place...
waiting for the night.

a candle in the tree

| 5 Comments

When I finally sat down to have lunch at around 6:30PM, I was greeted by a very friendly hostess with the dinner menue. Pigalle is a little disneyesqe French restaurant on the corner of 6th avenue and 48th street and despite being a 24 hour simulation environment, the food they serve there is actually not half bad. (At least the 2.5 dishes I have tried out so far.)
I was given a seat right next to the window, behind the little pulpit of the quite possibly Russian reservations-hostess. (Not the one who handed me the menue)
I smiled thinking she might be of Russian descent, since Pigalle could be seen as a Bistro, or a little place that sounds so french but actually has a Russian name.
I think it was during the 1814 occupation of Paris and the Cossacks, who obviously must have spoken Russian that "Bistro" was born. "Bystro", means "quick"... so I guess the soldiers demanded faster service... Or maybe some restaurants advertised with their fast service?...(Fast Food?) The word supposedly made it into French dictionaries by 1884... pretty "bistro" if you consider what the French call "video recorders" or even "computers", not really incredibly new inventions, these days.
"You appear to be in a hurry, Sir?", the waitress was actually very nice to me. I would have loved to have a glass of red wine with my dish, but ended up drinking an "Olof Palme", which the waitress suggested as an alcohol free alternative, without knowing who Olof Palme was, only what it was: lemonade topped with a layer of ice tea. Why this drink is named after the hero of Swedish social democracy is beyond me, but it was quite good, especially since it is to be drunk with a straw. (Pick your layer and hmm...)
It was not really dark outside, but because it was "dinner time", my table was given a little candle in a glass. (Third hostess?) It was one of those tiny white ones, nothing really exciting in itself... at least not until I looked out the window.
I was again incredibly lucky to sit in the perfect spot to have the illusion that the reflection of my little table-light was burning inside of the tree trunk of the Acacia tree outside of the restaurant.
Had I filmed it, or taken a picture of it, it would have looked very kitschy, but because I saw it with my eyes, and because it was coincidence that had composed the image for me, the situation was one of those really brilliant perfectly private miracles.
There it was. The little dancing flame in the tree trunk. And because we were still in New York, and it was still 8th Avenue at 6:30, there was a good amount of foot traffic between the window and the tree. The reflection of the flame jumped from tree to tourist with strange camera, to woman on cell phone, writing down numbers, to man in a yellow t-shirt, waiting for woman with cellphone to give him her matches, to a woman waiting for somebody. Unsuccessfully...
Back to tree... there it burned and waved, quietly...
My dinner arrived promptly and because I was in a hurry, the main dish was on the table in front of me much faster than usual.
I could write an entire story about the staff trying to prepare a take out order in a way as if it were the very first time in the history of the restaurant. (Except that they kept repeating that it was "exactly the same order as last time...") So it must have been at least the second time in the history of Pigalle...

I was in quite excruciating pain the entire evening. Maybe the drink I was given to taste actually had a name only related to Olof Palme? Maybe the little flame was a reminder of something that will happen...
Maybe it was just another harsh day... this I actually know for sure...

adaptations

| 8 Comments

People who tend to use their left hands more than their left side of the brain tend to have difficulties with language. I guess this must be right. I barely manage to solve the crossword puzzle in the monday New York Times... Tuesday?, I looked at all the hints and just smiled. I do not think I got one right. I am looking forward to tomorrow. Who knows, maybe my brain will find it impossible to solve any one of these progressively more difficult puzzles until hmm... not really. I wonder if there could be a cross word puzzle for lefties. I wonder how it would work.
A moth was hiding on the subway window. The animal was holding on to the inside of the glass. It looked like three square inches of beautifully natural bark, right behind the heads of commuters. A beautiful, somehow scary animal. Asleep?
The woman who obstructed my view of the moth, was pretending that she had to pick something up. Maybe she was just trying to see what stations we were passing. She was doing so even when there were no stations to look for, very odd. On the inside of her wrist was the tattoo of a blueish star. It looked more like fashion than meaning. As she was leaving the car, she glanced at me with a strangely promising smile, as if she were taking away some toy, for now, but definitely promised to bring it back.
I just wanted to see the moth.
One of the Posters advertising a university had a picture of a clearly well educated stock photography model saying something like: "If it wasn't for this and this university..."... somebody crossed out the "wasn't" with a ball point pen and wrote "weren't"... this made me smile...
A woman next to me was clearly making somebody very unhappy by complaining loudly in Arabic. Her voice was so penetrating that I expected her sitting right next to me, not two seats down, next to her completely silent, worn out husband. He did not say a word, all he had left was his quiet stare.
The woman right next to me was actually holding the copy of today's cross word puzzle. It was the same Puzzle which made me smile about my inability to solve it in any way, except by maybe connecting the numbers.
She was filling out the squares as if they were the address section of some sort of order form. She glanced up from the paper to maybe think about the exact address or the exact name of the street, but it was not a pondering, it was a short nibble on the back of her permanent black pen. She must have been so bored by the simplicity of the hints that she chose to fill in the squares in a pattern. The words in the center were first, then the ink spread intelligently into the corners of the little black and white mosaic. I had to leave the train, but in the short period in which I was able to observe her, she must have solved at least 7 of those wicked little questions.
Impressive. The woman was maybe in her late 40s had no star tattoos on her wrists, she had however reddish hair, she wore very fine glasses...
How many different New Yorks are there really and is what we call the city a multiplication of all the abilities or just a mere lowest common denominator?
I guess it really depends... hmm...

tongue...

| 2 Comments

The girl on the 6 train stuck out her tongue. I was already outside of the train. The doors were already closing. She stared at me and stuck out her tongue. And because she was so close to the window, her tongue turned into a pink shape on in the glass. She licked it.
I smiled back.
Her mother did not see her...
the train began to move.

thoughts don't count?...

| 7 Comments

There was an incredibly angry man at the diner yesterday. He was maybe 40, tall, was wearing black rimmed glasses, a checkered shirt, khaki shorts. His short blond hair made him look even more like a low ranked military guy.
He was one of the very clean people. His legs were even shaven. He was incredibly angry. He was angry with the waiter. He was angry with the busboy, he was definitely angry with the chef. He would get up in the middle of his meal and just stare with this bitter freezing expression into the direction of the kitchen. He was really saturated with negative energy.
When a little boy in the booth behind him kept jumping on the seat, he actually got up from his chair and told the boy to be quiet, pointing at the face of the boy. I have maybe seen parents talking harshly to their children, but having a tall military guy go loud and serious with a pointing finger towards a 4 year old... this was new. The boy cried. The parents carried him out of the place. A mother in the both not far away used this opportunity to teach her daughter that it was very important to behave...
Should there have rather been somebody to tell the angry lonely guy to behave? Should somebody have scooped him up and just carried him outside and told him that pointing and instructing other people's children is not the right thing to do, especially not in family diners?... I thought I should have said something... I was a bit too shocked to say anything. (The man finished his meal, btw. He made sure to tell the waiter that the "food was awful" and that he would "complain to the manager"...)
Oh well...
On the train this morning, an older lady was clipping the most exotic coupons out of the paper. She looked as if she actually wanted to just have a slow morning?... I really wanted to invite her to have breakfast with me... but it was only a thought. I have not managed to actually say anything...
Hmm...
The first homeless man on the train had the nicest shoes on I have ever seen on a homeless man. They were brand new light suede shoes. He was a fast talker, he collected some cash.
The second homeless man, who was collecting money so his "wife could put a warm meal on the table tonight", had also quite nice sandals on.
The third Homeless man, who ended up not getting any change at all, was wearing very old black sneakers. The man was missing his right leg. Somebody had written a large red 64 on his prothesis, which gave it the look of a borrowed item. He did not say a word... He just shook his dirty paper cup.
I thought about giving him something and then I did not... next time?
Another useless thought?
There were two homeless guys on 86th and Broadway. One of them managed to get a spot in a building niche. The other man was just right there, his shirt off, on his back, his eyes closed, his mouth open. He looked like the "The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb" 1521-2 by Hans Holbein... What did I do?...
Nothing...
Do thoughts really count? Life certainly rewards actions... But thoughts alone?...
Did it matter at all that I was in all these places and that I saw all this?
I did not change a thing? I have not helped in any one of the situations. I was just a somehow useless "neutral" observer... Not very happy about it...
Not very happy...

we're floating in space...

| 6 Comments

a white space it is. If I did not know that there is a New Jersey across the river, if I did not know that Manhattan is resting firmly on solid ground, I could probably assume that we are on an airship today, floating in a milky white sky.
It is raining again. As it has been and as it will be...
Indeed...

ants and earthworm...

The ground by the walk way was completely covered with their tiny moving bodies. An area maybe the size of my hand was just a pulsating mass of ants. I wonder what they were doing there. I thought that maybe the colony was on the move. Or maybe they were working as a cooling mechanism for their sun exposed location?
A few yeards further, on the same path, a little earth worm, ready to give up. I have not touched one of those since I was probably 8. It barely moved. It was so overheated, on this hopeless concrete walkway. Once I placed it in the shade of the much cooler grass, it began to be more active again...
I am obviously not in the city today. (and this computer does not have a spellchecker, so please be kind...

Gravity.

| 1 Comment

It was really difficult to get out of bed in the morning. It felt as if I were twice my silly weight. Then the shower, the water, it did not want to play with me. I had to hug the wall in order to get wet.
Forgot the power supply at home. Bought a delicious, very spongy Chocolatechip-Banana Muffin (yeah baby!).
Saw a lady in the subway who had such horrible water in her legs, that it looked as if her ankles were bags with water stuck into much too small shoes.
Food fell out of my chopsticks at lunch time.
At the table not very far, a whole vase filled with flowers and water fell to the floor.
I was expecting that it would rain today.
It is pouring.
I think it is a day with increased gravity...

instant upgrade

It was a family from out of town. Two oddly shaped men, a beautiful mother with a sleeping child in a carriage and a very annoyed daughter. They looked very lost and i could not resist to ask them if I could help them in any way.
The younger man asked me if I knew of any pizza places in the area and because we were on the corner of 49th and 7th, I told him about the closest pizza place just one block away. I leaned back against my wall. He thanked me, returned to talk to the others. I then heard him say:
"This man just told me that there is a fantastic pizza place just a block from here."
Fantastic pizza place? I never said that. In fact, the one I pointed out was not even the one I was thinking of.
Imagine I had told the man (the true story) that the pizza place was inside of what was supposed to be the first theme restaurant by David Copperfield* ... Hmm... New York is such a fun packed place...

hey there

| 1 Comment

The single mother looked really overwhelmed, still somehow collected, tired, maybe a bit annoyed. She had to activate the turnstile to let the token-booth clerk open the special entry door to the subway. Her reason for the special entry was a two year old boy with a pacifier in his mouth, on a very flimsy little carriage. The child looked as if it had cried through the night.
I helped them both down the stairs. 18 steps then 6 steps, down into the smelly pit underneath the tracks.
They both were heading downtown, so I was able to help them up the 25 or so stairs up to the platform.
This was the first time that I looked at the boy. He was staring at me as if I were a really scary 20 foot man. His pacifier looked to huge right in the middle of his barely awake face.
"Hey there." I said...
"Hey there!" He answered with the exactly same intonation. It was so perfectly funny that all three of us started laughing. He turned to his mother and they were both as happy as if he had just invented two very new words.
The mother thanked me and I thanked the mother. This was a perfect start of a good day.
I still smiled when a few stations later, a fancy mother with her overstuffed baby parked her McLaren folding carriage across the train-car from me.
The boy was curious. I was still happy. The mother looked at me as if I were a predator ready to snap. She even took the little guy out of his luxury vehicle and held him as much facing away from me as only possible, laughing at him, and sending lethal looks towards me. It did not work, the boy still laughed in my direction. She had to grab his face, point it towards hers and make some semi cute sounds in her invented toddler talk.
I did not want to worry the mother more and just walked away to stand by one of the doors... Hmm... such different points of view...

ny butterflies

| 2 Comments

There was a white butterfly in the depth of the subway station on 96th street. I was on the way down, she was on the way up. Between her and me was a shirtless man on some controlled substance. We did not meet in person, neither of us did.
As I was leaving the cab on Astor Place and 9th street, another little monarch butterfly almost landed on my forehead. We both were a bit scared of each other. She had to rest on the scaffolding of the white brick condo to calm down. Do butterflies get adrenaline rushes? She did not want to talk to me. She flew away. She missed her cab-fare.
The third pretty insect was suspended in mid air above that little viewing garden with the ridiculously shaped fence (it is a beautiful fence, it is).
She was far too high for me to even see it clearly.
It is good to see butterflies in the city.

McSweeney's 11

| 2 Comments

This entry is just a marker that McSweeney's issue 11 arrived today. It is a beautiful pleather bound book with many secret messages on its cover. I am sure I will spend days and nights reading the cover alone.
The issue actually comes with a DVD and I think there are some really stunning little pieces on the DVD. Glad McSweeney's found out that I barely ever get past the first 5 pages or so in every issue. Adding a DVD will open the other pages to me. Well, I always read every word in the Lawrence Weschler pieces. (He appears to be a generally cool guy... I hope he will smile when he reads this...)
Issue 11 of McSweeney's contains pieces by people (and yes they are real, I just saw them on DVD) like Tom Bissell (he plays banjo, I think), A.G.Pasquella, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Alison Smith, Brent Hoff, Sean Warren (very cool guy, it seems), Stephen Elliott, Dough Dorst, Lawrence Weschler (!), Benjamin Lytal, David Means, Daphne Beal (what a fantastic interview on that DVD, with her husband on the left hand side...and some maps in the background... and she sings in Nepali too! oh my God!), Samantha Hunt, Robert Olmstead, Joyce Carol Oates and Denis Johnson.
(How is that for name-dropping.)
My issue also contains some pretty good little drawings by a Witold Riedel, but this could have something to do with me still holding a fountain pen in my teeth.
Did I ever mention that I am one of the lucky people who managed to get a lifetime subscription to the miraculous world of McSweeney's?
Yeah... I just hope they will not really start hating me when issue 50 comes out and they still have to send it for me as promised... will they then start to somehow "get rid of me?"...
They would never do that, I don't think. I hear they are all really nice people over at Timothy McSweeney's...
I hope to eventually expand on this entry and maybe provide more than just names. Even though they are pretty names, aren't they?
--
update: The DVD contains a "director commentary" by Francis Ford Coppola. I laughed so hard that my stomach hurts. (Francis F. Coppola was obviously not the director of the piece on the DVD and was only provided with an almost muted version of the tape, which leads to the probably best director commentary I have seen on any DVD so far. Fantastic.)

hey little buddy

| 4 Comments

There are rodents in the New York City subway system. The rodentocide notices attached to the poles between the tracks on most subway station are hung really high for a good reason. Nobody would want them to be eaten by the mice and rats that live on the tracks below.
I tend to go all the way to the end of the 50th street station when waiting for the 1/9 train to go uptown. I want the last door of the last car to stop right in front of me. There are always seats available and this is also the car where the performers count their money, where the homeless travel with their mobile homes. My favorite car.
The area on the end of the platform is a bit narrow. What appears to be a trash collection room has been added here some time ago, leaving the platform to be maybe 20 inches or so. I was the only person waiting there, right next to an almost eaten chicken bone.
The shadow that jumped out from around the corner, straight from under the door of the trash room was not large, maybe 10 inches or so. It was a fat, almost anthrazit colored animal.
"Hey buddy" was what I heard myself say, as I almost jumped off the platform.
The animal must have been as surprised as I was, as it ran really quickly towards the little service ladder at the end of the platform and then jumped onto the tracks. I lost a bit of orientation. When I looked down onto the tracks again, there it was again, the 10 inch rat, a young buddy, rushing to get to a perfectly sized pipe opening.
As soon as he disappeared in it, the tracks to the left of me lit up reflecting the heads of the oncoming train. I was glad that I had not accidentally jumped off the platform...
I have seen more courageous subway rats in the past. One time a cat sized rodent terrorized several straphangers on the 96th street station. The animal was very courageous, very territorial... it was also pretty late at night...
Hmm, it all sounds much worse than it was...
really... (Oh, and please forgive me, but i kicked the chicken bone down onto the tracks, so little buddy does not have to risk his life to climb up that emergency ladder onto the platform again... at least not for a day or two...)

diving observations

| 1 Comment

imagine diving into a day on one end, then making some desperate strokes, maybe some little grasps for air, and then coming out all wet and exhausted on the other end. this is how today felt. well, some of the gasps of air were incredibly fresh and invigorating, but most of the day had the shape of a tunnel with no windows, just two little s at the end(?) of the tunnel, coming closer and closer.
So here we are. I will need to catch up with drawings again. It is not easy to draw inside of a tunnel, you know...

Oh, there were actually some really incredible moments today. One of the moments involved the fantasy of a library. It was quite a mouth watering experience and it was one of the fantasies that are like a little spark that can set an entire barn of ideas on fire. (it would really not make sense to explain it any further.)

A different moment was in the subway (again). I was on the local train, going downtown, when I noticed that every single person in the car was really holding on to some-thing. It was a very simple but incredibly interesting revelation.
It all started with this couple, at a door away from me. They were having a conversation and the man kept touching and grabbing this one sly bulging spot on the woman's lower back. She was wearing a very tight top, so it was all right there, her two symmetric soft spots on her back, his hand on one of them, moving, as if to hypnotise the little animal under the skintight fabric. It seemed to work. The woman was holding on to his pocket.
Next to them was a younger African American woman, holding on to a story hidden on the pages of a rather pretty book. She was probably on page 120 of 350, still a while to go. I was not sure in her case if she was holding on to the book, or if the author of the book (not pictured here) was actually holding her by the edge of her attention, using a thin string called "the plot"...
An older lady next to this reader was holding on to her groceries. A mother was holding on to her child. The child was holding on to a toy, well one of her hands was holding on to the toy. The child was looking to the fast moving outside of the train, the depth of the dark subway tunnel. Or was the child looking at her own reflection?, looking at the aging glass, the glass that reflects the future looks of anybody who dares to stare.
Next to the child was a big guy. He was also African American, he could have been seven feet tall and very heavy as well. His training pants had a large 97 embroided on the leg. He was holding on to a spiral book, and a ballpoint pen. He was writing poetry, I guess. His face was so incredibly serious.
By the door stood a woman, she must have been Italian? She was holding on to Vogue Uomo, a rather thin edition. She did not consuming the magazine, she was devouring it...
The train door opened and several passengers entered and certain left. A very tall woman with short blond hair walked in. She was wearing a gents shirt and a pin stripe skirt that barely covered her rather well shaped knees.
She sat down between the woman with the book and the mother with groceries, child and toy. She pulled out her Blackberry, one of those little portable email devices. I did not really pay attention to her but when I happened to glance in her direction again, the device in her hand had transformed itself into a passionate and yet very kind lover. He was there kissing her face, he was there playing with her hair. He even unbuttoned her shirt a bit and was about to kiss her neck.
It was an incredible scene. There she was, still holding a little piece of technology, and yet the expression on her face, the laughter, the glow in her eyes were so intimate, so warm, so loving. It really felt as if the Blackberry were her lover. Seeing her there, being touched intimately by little words on a tiny screen, somehow really made my day.
It somehow made me happy to see that it was possible for love to crawl through the strangest cracks and to find its way into the oddest places.
It also reminded me of my library fantasy earlier in the day. (It involved books and hidden traveling messages, to give away a tiny bit.)
There was a circle, a surface, a boat?... I was still diving, but it was not inside of a tunnel... for a moment there was no tunnel, there was no need for windows, there was just an ocean... filled with messages, exactly like the one that went straight into this woman's heart.
It felt nice and warm... almost healing.
It was again time for me to leave the train.
The touching couple left the train with me.
They took a different exit.
I was in a tunnel again...
still here...
oh well...
glad I remembered those people holding on to... things?... Not really, I guess.

books on shelves...

| 3 Comments

People who do not read sort their few books by size or color. My sorted my mother's books that she had laid out on the floor when writing her master thesis in pedagogics back in Poland. Can you imagine how happy she was, finding her books organized by size, not by ideas? I was little, but I understood very well why she cried.
My mom and I later built a wall of books in the doorway of my dad's darkroom. It was great fun building this thing. Mom was okay that we left the books there, once the wall collapsed.
I remember discovering that out neighbor had layers of books on her shelves. They were deep shelves and she layered books behind books. How was anybody supposed to remember that there was anything behind that first visible layer on the shelf?
We had a whole closet that was just books and books and more books. These seemed to be the titles my parents did not need. (This is where I discovered my first art book, somewhere high up, after building another tower out of maybe three or four chairs.)
I have an entire attic of books at my parents' house in Germany. Boxes and boxes of books.
My little library in New York is actually organized by size and color. I also have several layers of books on my shelves. Does this mean that I do not read perhaps? Hardly. The layout of the apartment only allows me to have a limited amount of shelf-space. In order to shoe-horn the maximum amount of titles, they need to be sorted by size. Then there are the books which can be sacrificed to the power of the incredible sun. Some titles do not mind to be exposed to . Some others would greatly suffer.
Then there are those books I do not want to be reminded of ever buying, like Music to Move the Stars. So now I also have layers, like the neighbor in Poland...
Why did I write all this down, this is pretty embarrassing...
Next entry will be more fun, I'll try...

4+1 arrest

Four cops in shorts have captured a tall guy in a t-shirt right outside of McDonalds across Broadway. They do not seem to have a car, so they are killing time with a joyful conversation. He has his handcuffs on, he is not going anywhere. One of the policemen just finished going through the wallet of the captured guy. Glad he is done, he kept dropping stuff on the floor.
Everybody is just standing around now. The guy in handcuffs is just leaning against the wall in the alcove which is his temporary three wall prison.
Kids are fooling around outside of Mickie D's. Still no Police car in sight to pick up the 2am catch. The shortest cop must be telling a big time joke, his arms waving around and clapping like a little boy's.
He is now swinging his stick, he's making funny moves, he is hilarious. The other guys are pretty mellow.
The kids are leaving now. I wonder why there's no police car in sight. There are usually three here... maybe it is a busy night?

2:11 update. Policeman 5 arrives by foot. Now car 2789 also made it to the scene. Six men in black uniforms and one captured kid now. The shortest policeman is actually a woman?
Everybody looks still pretty relaxed. One cop went to get something to eat, another cop is going to get some money from the ATM. The kid is stepping from one foot to the other...
2:17 The cops are now talking to some sort of security guy. One cop stayed with the arrested kid. The kid is peeking out of his alcove, looking over the waving papers in the hand of the security guy.
Everybody is hanging out again... it is 74degrees out there. A nice and mellow night.
2:20 ATM cop is now talking to the captured guy. The kid is saying something, then trying to turn around. I think the cop just read something to the kid. Kid does not look happy...
ATM cop eneterd the alcove and is now talking to the kid, who is more than a head taller. They seem to be having a real discusion.
2:23 discussion is done. They are back to mellow standing around.
2:24 one of the policemen is using his cellphone. He is walking around with it.
2:25 they are taking the kid into the car. He will be riding in the back seat, of course. Four officers are going with him.
2:26 car 2789 has left the block.
All that is left is the MacDonald neon sign of a burger a shake and fries disappearing in a constant animation.
And there are people in the street, of course and cars. But they probably don't know about what happened, or the police, or that really tall kid.

barely any changes

| 1 Comment

Workers are dismantling the scaffolding around the Columbia House, across Broadway and 96th street. The sounds of their hammers hitting the layers of wood over the heads of pedestrians arrive here with a s delay there it is again, that speed of sound. The planks that used to secure the workers from falling off the protective roof are already gone, their floor is next. Soon there will be only a skeleton of metal rods, then just the dirty imprints on the sidewalk, then just a memory. There will be the memory of the fire on that very scaffolding almost a year ago, there will be memories of the shade on the sidewalk on Broadway.
The trees will continue to avoid the scaffold in their memory, growing around a then invisible obstacle for the next few years.
In the lobby of the building in which I am writing this there are framed reproductions of photographs of the neighborhood. There is a picture of the subway being dug, which was about 100 years ago, there is a photograph of a tabacco shop on the corner that used to be a place called Fowadwhen I moved here and probably many other places before that and which is now a pretty generic and not very well designed branch of Washington Mutual, another bank (there are three of them here now). The entrance to the subway, which I enter every morning used to be an ornate structure that would now be a landmark, if it only had survived. Symphony Space across Broadway, used to be a food mart...
This city really feels like a living river. New Yorkers being the water in it, shaping and grinding the stones as we go along. This very water helps plants of imagination grow on the banks that are now everywhere in the world. There are floods of information, there are ripples and waves and mists and downpours of rain. But as much as the waters of the Hudson travel to the ocean and back and evaporate, as much does the very idea of New York flow and evolve and invent itself with at least 8 Million thoughts per New York Minute... Oh wait, there is a little (and it is tiny) book called something just like that.

not believing my eyes...

| 1 Comment

As I was leaving the building, I could have sworn that the mother and daughter were giving each other a far more than motherly kiss. Did I see a tongue? I could have sworn I did. The mother was maybe 60, the daughter 25?, pregnant. I do not think I should believe my eyes.
The almost invisible man in the subway station below had handcuffs on. I saw them very clearly. They were the strong metal kind, binding his wrists behind his back. He was surrounded by a group of overweight undercover cops. One of them, a lady in a skin tight jersey, wore white rubber gloves. She kept repeating something to an officer in uniform rushing out of the station. "Just one more glove, just one more glove!" This could not be. She did not really say that, did she?...
"So you just picked that stuff up?" The undercover cop was now questioning the very thinly man, the poor chap looked as if heroin were on his best friends list.
On the hot platform a man dressed almost completely in black was cursing at his invisible partner. He looked very dangerous with his yellow tie. I tried to not get into the same car with him. He looked as if he belonged to the woman I saw on the platform last night. She also was arguing with the shadows. She rolled her eyes, waved her arms, threw back her head. Was this a delayed, disconnected scene? It was just me, connecting too many dots.
It took a long while for my slow train to arrive. Three express trains went by before finally the s of my number one train appeared in the distance of the subway tunnel.
The car was packed. A tall blonde woman with a striking flower tattoo on her back gave out a little barking sound. She looked like a body double of some b-line celebrity straight from the Hamptons. She did not really bark, of course. She just carried a Chihuahua size dog on a pink leash in a special bag. If dogs came in egg-shells, this one would be just freshly hatched. It was the most perfect set of huge brown eyes with gigantic ears. The skin of the animal looked so soft as if it were velvet, not fur. Maybe there was no fur at all. Just a perfect little guy. And he or she hardly behaved like a dog. It was more of a little interested monkey. The old man with red flaky skin gave it a little touch on it's curious nose. The dog immediately started lo lick the face of its owner. Once done with licking the face, the little head curled into the neck of the woman, as if she were the monkey mother. We all stared. One man with a very ornate tie did not pay attention at all. He was reading a guide to birds of prey. I imagined how each one of the pictures he was looking at showed natural enemies of the little baby on the woman's shoulder. The dog wanted to say hello to all of us, it seemed. There were smiles. The older man had a smirk on his face, as if it had been him who got to lick the woman's face.
A younger man leaning by the door decided that it was time to say something clever. "So what do you get more, the Taco Bell jokes, or legally blonde jokes?" She actually replied: "Oh, totally the legally blonde jokes. I live in Chelsea and..." the doors opened, it was my station... I had to leave the train...

wash it...

| 1 Comment

The "mobile washunit truck" could really use a wash. Sometimes, at night, it stops at the entrance of the 96th street station and somebody pretends they are cleaning the station. I do not believe any work gets actually done. The station is like a kaleidoscope of smells we do not like our bodies to produce. On cooler days, there is a smell that reminds me of a not very well brushed tooth. On hotter days, like these days, the smell gets more of that "under arm pit flavor" or even some of that other unblogable kind of stuff. It is so intense and rich and kind of creamy, like evian, except for the nostrils. Maybe the washunit delivers? It is a nice little white truck with a dark blue stripe. Dirty yet nice. I can see from here that the workers are just hanging out... right next to the police men, who love to just stop cars for fun. (Now that's a completely other story.)

how you doin'?

| 2 Comments

"When do you close?... Oh, you never close?... You're open 24 hours?"
Tourists get really excited when they find out that the city really never sleeps.
The guy behind the counter speaks like the Korean version of Sean Connery.
Love this guy.
"hooow yoo dooin'"
"how yo doiin?"
"hoow yu doin?"
I only walked out of the bodega as the flower-guys (the guys who sell the flowers) were teaching each other the street "hello".
Just steps away the shoe-shine-guy who happens to live in the special housing across the street on 95th, was using the same old trick of which I still do not know the ending.
"I bet, I can tell you exactly where you got those shoes and when you got them there. And if I am wrong, I will give you a shine for free...:
Two tourists were staring at him as if he told them that he knows how to turn shoe strings into snakes.
On the corner of 95th and Broadway, two huge Cadillac Escalade pickup trucks were used as oversized DVD players. The doors open, some strange looking movie on the dashboard display. The brothers are here almost every night to pick up some food at Nueva Victoria, the Cuban Chinese place with a tank full of lobsters in the window. Some say that Broadway up here is like any road in New Jersey, a repeating sequence of fast food joints and pharmacies and shops. But I still love my neighborhood. Hey, it is home...
(Note to self... do not drink and blog)

almost morning again

The policeman on the corner of 96th street is fanning himself with an empty water bottle, as he is leaning against the entrance to the subway. The green 24 hour globe over him looks like his very private sun. A large black and white face just a few yards from him "flew American for $89", great.
A white plastic bag filled with hot air is dreaming of being a tumble weed, as it is rolling up Broadway. It is hot and humid outside and the sun will soon return to make the city sweat a little more. A lot more.

Almost there

| 1 Comment

The city is waiting for the arrival of colors. There are grey clouds over a de-saturated Manhattan. The houses look as if somebody washed them with fresh concrete. The water around the island almost black.
I can see a tiny piece of a deep orange glow in one of the windows on the other side of the Hudson River. It is a reflection of the trusty sun, it will be here soon, it is just finishing up on the other side of the world.
In just a few minutes from now there will be a dance of hues and an explosion of reds and yellows and blues and all of the others in-between. Right now the colors are still asleep, they are resting, oh, except for that taxi-cab yellow, that never tired 24/7 worker bee.

... the sun never really came out... it was a pretty rainy morning...

watching the sound

| 2 Comments

Instead of dancing or even listening to the music, I sat on one of the plastic chairs and looked at the Sound. It was a beautiful wedding in Port Jefferson, the location was a really remote country club, high on a hill on the north coast of Long Island. There was a fun crowd and happy music and dance (and the food was quite excellent as well). I was glad that there was also the possibility to just get out onto the deck and to watch the hundreds of boats on the water between Long Island and Connecticut.
It feels as if my ability to express myself coherently is still on that deck, now staring at the stars. I somehow can not write much more now. Please forgive.
Congratulations to Ilana and Matt.

better coverage

| 1 Comment

It was thursday evening when it occurred to me really. I was in a cab going just a few blocks from Astor place (this is where the Cooper Union is) to a restaurant on first Avenue and 6th, when I had to look up the address of the place in an email which happened to be on my PowerBook. I pulled out the computer to check on that address when I realized that the little street we were going through had full blown WiFi coverage. We are talking really good signal. I not only was able to check on that email I wanted to check anyway, I also just picked up a few more messages from the server. The name of the hotspot was Alex.
So it was just natural that I kept my PowerBook open during another taxi ride, this time all the way from the lower east side to the place where I just fell asleep, which was probably around 34th Street and 2nd avenue. But even during that time, we entered and left several areas of really good "Airport", or "Wifi" coverage. Just like that. Windows of coverage would open and close as we moved uptown, with typical taxi speed, with the cabbie making his jokes to an invisible friend on his cell-phone.
Oh, and there are clearly more open hotspots downtown, where the streets are tighter and where people might be more willing to share their bandwidth.
It is very similar in my building. I have a neighbor here who has an open hotspot and offers really good cable modem coverage. Further up, on the roof, there are three Penthouse WiFi spots, but they are all closed and private.
I will need to leave a note in the elevator, perhaps, once I will be able to spend more time at home.
Wait, I think wrote about this before. Well, almost.
nycwireless.net is a good source for free WiFi nodes in the New York region, btw.
Hmm... soon there will be reports about areas without coverage, I guess. ; )

Subway and again...

| 9 Comments

Not quite sure which one was worse. The guy yesterday?, or the guy today. The guy yesterday was quiet, soft bodied, home grown. He might have been around 40 or so, but his mom was obviously still feeding him the good stuff and lots of it. He looked healthy, well groomed and had clothing that must have been selected for him, not so much by him. "Are you done with that paper?" He spoke with the volume usually reserved for the classic: "Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is ***** I am homeless and I am hungry." It was that voice that is produced by the throat, not by the chest. "Are you done with it?" He stood by the door that lead to the other car and was asking one of the strap hangers who had his paper rolled into a stick. The man did not reply at first but after having been asked three times, he just replied that he still needed the paper for later. "And you!?" The voice was now directed at another paper-reader. This one did not answer at all. "I need some paper, because I am kinda bored and I feel like cleaning!" I did not quite believe that he really said that. It was then that I noticed his "weapon". He was holding a plastic bottle with some unnaturally colored liquid. Oh, it was window cleaner. He was looking for some paper because he wanted to wash the windows of this express train going downtown on a Sunday evening. Great.
He then proceded to spray the glass on the doors anyway. So he did not have any paper to spread the goods, he was just spraying now. He had this look on his face that four year old boys have when they smash a vase with a hammer, just to see if mom will yell.
Mom did not yell. At least not at first. A tiny African American woman in the corner took on the part of our mom. "Stop spraying the windows", she shouted, "I have allergies to that stuff."
"It is highly concentrated!", was his answer.
We were going at full speed, the car was shaking, he moved away from the door and slowly walked towards the lady. I was worried that we would have to save her from the bottle of this insane man. "It is concentrated." he repeated. He now just stood there, in front of her. Watching her.
She remained calm. As if there were no 40 year old obsessed man standing in front of her. It almost felt as if she had seen this one before.
At the next station, our window washer simply changed trains. (Would somebody give him a paper?, so he would be "less bored?" who knows.)

The guy today was just clearly on crack. He stormed through the door as if we all lived in an action movie and he were that little guy from the machine room who runs into the cabin to announce that the engines are burning... except that he did not scream that the engines are burning. "YO MOTHERF*CKERS, IT IS YOR TURN NOW, YO'RE ALL F*CKED!, ALL OF YOU" He stormed into the car. He was a very muscular male, wearing a white tanktop and just a full blown package of rage on his face. He was ready to kill. His steps through that car were as big as they could be for his size. He held on to the metal bars to gain some additional momentum. He hit my leg as he was swinging by. It did not really matter... I kept drawing...
We were in the last car. The place was not quite packed, but there were no seats available. I was just drawing. I did not really see him, as I did not want to be "that guy" who wants to save a subway car filled with people form a crazy crackhead. So he picked the sleeping guy in the corner. He chose the guy in a perfectly matching red trainings outfit, a giant of a man. A sleeping giant.
"YO!, YO'RE F*CKED!, YO'RE F*CKED!"...
The giant just got up and left the car. He walked the entire length of the car and just left. No word spoken, no other action. He just left. All seven feet of him.
Our supercharged crackmaster expected anything but this, I guess. He just screamed some unrecognizable words as he swung out of that car and out through that door.
Just a few seconds later, the little girl across from me was telling her dad that this man had hit her knee and hit hit the tassels on her skirt as well. She said that if he had just torn of one of them, she would have "kicked his ass."
About 2 seconds later my adrenaline kicked in, my hand started shaking. And there was my stop.

Could this be mine?

| 5 Comments

"Could this be yours, Sir?" a man on the subway gave me a credit card this morning. The card had indeed my name on it. It was actually one of the cards I carry with me... Yes it was my Credit Card, as were the other cards and forms of identification now spilled over the floor next to my seat on the 1 train going downtown. The cards must have slipped out of my pocket and had this friendly gentleman not noticed what had happened, you would be reading the journal entry of a very sad man right now.
I was very nervous, of course, this was not a good thing to happen. I failed to offer the man my seat. When I was leaving the train and thanked him again, he seemed rather irritated.
Last time my information was stolen was in Toronto in 1995. Somebody had read the numbers off my MCI calling card. I did not notice anything until I received the bill. Somebody had managed to place nine or so parallel calls of two hours each to China. Quite remarkable. I never had to pay the several thousand dollar heavy bill.
The adventure today will make me think again about maybe using some sort of a wallet... I have a few, but they make my pants look as if I were incredibly excited to have credit cards. I am not. No wallet for me?

Two men lost?

They were probably a and his own . Two men with belts attached at the equators of their bodies. They were standing in front of the theater on 49th street and Broadway, waiting for "Chicago" to let in the ticket holders.
The younger man had a new toy. It was a GPS gadget. He pointed at the screen as I was walking past them. He was the young expert. The older man was his fascinated one man audience.
"See, we are in New York."
Who would have thought?

and suddenly

| 1 Comment

The sounds of the city are different this morning. There is a louder background humming of air-conditioners. The birds across broadway must have invested in an amplifier for their morning concerts. Motorcyclists race up and down broadway. Helicopters fly micro formations over the hudson river. It feels as if the did not only come from the sun, but from every air molecule between here and everywhere. What a glorious morning.

wet york city

The rain is incredibly heavy in the city right now. The sewers can not keep up with the amount of water and so Manhattan is like Venice during high tides.
My clothing is as wet as if I had fallen into the canale grande. I can not imagine what it would have been like had I not worn a jacket and had an umbrella with me.
What a fantastic way to get a good, classic cold. : ) Hello June...

do you see what I see?

| 7 Comments

I found this sealed webcam in the recycling room on my floor a few months ago. Somebody got it for free with their broadband service, I think. The person must have a mac, because the camera only works with windows compatible drivers. (I really hoped it would just work with my PowerBook...)
I tried installing it on the little vaio I have here, but Logitech was trying to push me into some "special" deal. I was supposed become part of some sort of cool comunity (that looked suspiciously like the folks I see all the time on the first pages of search results on stock photography sites.)
So I kept the little plastic eyeball under the bed so it could collect something less glamorous than images of my surrounding (dust.)
I reconnected the wires yesterday...
I looked for some friendlier software solution than the "free" one... (wait they called it "FREE!", which I begin to suspect must really mean something else.)
I am currently running the "CoffeeCup WebCam 3.5 Trial" I have some 'free' days left of the shareware.
I pointed the camera at myself at first, of course (wouldn't you?). I then noticed that I had not shaved for a while and that my favorite Sbritt t-shirt shows that I have been wearing it for a while.
So I pointed the cam at the corner of 96th and Broadway, since I have been describing events on that corner so many times.
The image quality is pretty miserable, but you can probably see the various players of the corner, at least architectonically speaking.
I am very likely to turn off the camera soonish. I will probably end up pointing it at myself as well (of course...). Right now the image below is actually a live feed, updated every 15 seconds. (It does not update for you, you might have to refresh the page.)
As you can see, it is raining in New York. There are barely any people in the street. Click here for Legend.

webcam.jpg

Raccoon.

First there was the unexpected waterfall, just steps away from South. The area from which the water was coming from is a wildlife refuge right in the midst of southern . I had no idea it existed and I have lived here for 7.5 years now. And then there was the even bigger surprise. To the left, by the walkway, right behind the benches... a Raccoon. A serious and pretty animal. He or she was a good 3.5 feet tall. The fur in the back was a bit thinner than on the rest of the body, which might either mean that it was an older animal or that it is time to get rid of that wintery fur. But wait, a raccoon?, right there? right in the South of Central Park? Impressive. Was he a loner? A lost animal? Was he like the Coyote that made it to the park in 1999? Or maybe like that wild turkey that seems to be spending some sort of fleet week vacation on Manhattan's Westside?
It appears that there is a real Raccoon population in the 150 year old Central Park. There are supposedly 40 or so animals there, right in the midst of Manhattan. What a good surprise. Isn't it?
This particular individual appeared to be comfortable with people (not to the degree where one would expect rabies, of course.)
A raccoon, what a perfect New Yorker. ; )

not 24/7

| 1 Comment

"You should not use your brain to think. If you got paid for your brain thinkin' you would be broken." (not a typo) The Gristedes on 96th street has a new boss. It also has a piece of cardboard glued over the sign outside. Open [cardboard] hours. This used to be a 24 hour place. Now they close at 1am and open again at 6am... Hmm. The little shop on the corner here will remain a 24/7 place. I wonder how long this new boss will remain the leader he thinks he is at this good old supermarket. The way he spoke to a girl who helped him break down boxes just did not seem right. "In fact, if your brain were there for thinking, they would not have hired you..." He felt smart and unstoppable, but she really did not like this last one. "Okay, enough," she said "there is a line and you better not cross it, okay?"
"My brain is going places where it should not." was his very serious answer...
Wow, the pressure must be truly unbearable when thoughts dive this deep.
The woman at the cash register asked me if I wanted my six bags delivered. I explained that I live practically across the corner... which was a combination of around the corner and across the street, but a really bad one.
Could it be the air in that place that turned all of us into grammatically and behaviour challenged New Yorkers?
It must have been the same air that made me put the equivalent of my body weight into the shopping cart and later in my hands. I will probably at least not become dehydrated in the next [cardboard] hours or so. (Got some of that vitaminized water as well. It is professional grade... oh boy...I am such an opposite of an athlete)

Better than fiction...

| 1 Comment

A wonderful article in the times this morning, describing the sightings of a Wild Turkey in Manhattan, just a few blocks from here on the Upper West Side.
How much do I wish that all roofs in Manhattan were turned into little parks, just like the rooftops of Rockefeller Center, perhaps?
Read the entire article by Thomas J. Lueck here.

just a sun-day

The entire city was painted white by this fog. I can not see further than two blocks from here. It is as if Manhattan were built inside of a cloud.
A cook and a delivery-man wrestled on the sidewalk in front of their restaurant on 98th street. The cook won twice, smashing the other guy to the chewing gum marked pavement. One time the defeated man fell on his back, the other time the cook ended up on top of the other man, who seemingly kissed the pavement. They were both laughing. It was a very realistic looking game. Two old women commented on the scene in Portugese. They were half a block away. It is possible that they were commenting on something else.
More stores are closing on Broadway. There will be yet another bank a block away from here.
The shoe store on 93rd had my now severely fixed up camper-shoes for a relatively good price. I asked the salesman to bring me a Black size 43. He came back after about 10 minutes. "I do not have a 43. I have a 44 in a different color." He opened the box containing something that looked nothing like what I actually almost considered to buy. As I was leaving the store, another salesman tried to convince me that the shoes I wanted only existed in a different size and in a different color, if at all.
I have to work on an urgent project. I will now just listen to some music and dive into my productivity suit(e).
Wish I had slept better. Three hours are just really not enough. And even the time spent resting was a strange concoction of bizzarre dreams involving hostile international office takeovers and incredible architectonic landscapes.
Later will be here sooner than I would like it to be. And thus I must do something now.

thngz

| 1 Comment

"Shukrye." I am not quite sure where the owners of the deli on 95th and Amsterdam are from, but I know that they speak Arabic to each other. So maybe because it was so late, or maybe because the man behind the counter was not sure how much to charge me and then opted for the friendlier amount, I wanted to test the waters and thus, I thanked, using the only word I know in Arabic, which happens to be "thank you".. "Shukrye." (I also think I might know "khat, khat", but that means "faster" to camels, so I do not think this would have been a good one to test.) The man behind the counter looked me as if I were a puppy that just performed a really cute trick for the very first time. "You speak with a Pakistani accent," he said with a big smile, his head on an angle. Who would have thought my one word Arabic would place me this quickly on the map. Great. He went on to explain that in Arabic the word I was looking for is "Shukran." (With a short "ran") Excellent. Now I will need to slowly find out where the man is from. But is was late and I had to go. "Khat, khat" I went back to my "Bayt." Just remembered that this means home in Arabic... hmm.)

Free voice...

| 2 Comments

And there it was. The voice was out in the open. All of it was gone, mouth still ajar. The things were now said. There was no going back, the words have been spoken. The damage was done, the seed was planted, the journey had begun. The voice was out. It was out in the open.
Somewhere on 6th Avenue and probably 23rd street. But actually, all over town.

sNYow

| 1 Comment

Over night the city dove into a swarm of trillions of tiny supreme particles. There is a parade of these white creatures outside the window. They fly by in intelligent patterns, observe the city for moments, from the sky, by skyscraper roofs, from the side of the water towers, from the place just outside my window, from the awnings of shops, from eye level, of a grown up, a child, a dressed up park avenue dog. They travel on cabs and busses. They fly by on the s of a police car with the syren on. Some daring ones decide to cling to the hair of lovers and immediately turn into drops of water, ready to evaporate on skin and turn into new flakes of snow soon, very soon.

Brrrrrrrrrr...

| 11 Comments

It is cold in New York this morning. I alternated my eyes to prevent them from freezing while walking from 7th avenue to the 8th. One block. I seemed to be the only person out there. I was not, of course, but when it gets really cold, the body just pulls everything back and tries to keep a warm core.
It took a half hour or so for me to realize that I was in the office and that I should probably start taking off my jackets.
Yes, I am wearing layers. Even now. Layers of gloves, layers of jackets...
Slowly warming up. Very slowly.
Let's not even talk about the barely working heat in my apartment.

coldbrr.gif

black cloud

| 5 Comments

this one building on Westend Avenue must have an illegal incinerator. Sometimes during the day a short burst of black smoke just climbs from behind the water tower and within seconds can not be connected to any building. It is 4:15 now and the building is seriously blasting a black cloud over Broadway and 96th. The pollution is so bad that the buildings around here almost disappear behind a wall of smelly darkness. This has been going on for minutes. Wow.

Mr. Cableguy

| 2 Comments

The cable guy came fully equipped. He was motivated and very interested and professional... until I told him that I had to "switch to cable service because my dsl company went out of business." "It did?," he replied, "no wonder I am having so much trouble."
Hmm. Now that was a very strange answer. I tried to somehow clarify. "Oh, not all dsl services are out of business, only direcTV send me this letter..."
He was on a roll: "Oh, sh*t, direcTV went out of business?, no wonder I am having so much trouble."
"No, not all of direcTV... just the dsl unit..."
He was still very motivated and excited about the installation. Then he really wanted to get to the cable outlet that happens to be behind one of the 8 foot tall bookshelves. I tried to explain to him that it might not be possible to just move it.
I am glad he ended up screwing something into the other cable outlet in the living-room. (I wonder what it was.)
He then asked me if my computer was a G2. I had to sign that my floppy drive was not damaged by the installation.
Once he left there was some trouble with my airport-cable modem-network setup, but if you are able to read this, then I am up and running at pretty nice speeds, live from anywhere around the apartment.
The sun is setting already and it is cold out there. No wonder I was having so much trouble. (or not.)

Some company...

| 4 Comments

It was a bit like opening a window on a trans atlantic f a few minutes after take off. The pressure difference between the cozy lobby of Worldwide Plaza and the furious outside of 49th street made it almost impossible to open the door at first. And then it just sucked me out into the cold winter night at 3am.
I positioned myself on the corner of 8th Avenue and tried to stop one of the little s on top of the many cabs traveling uptown.
A white Chevrolet pulled up in front of me and a woman in her 20?s rolled down the window. There were two of them sitting in the car and I assumed that they were lost and about to ask me for directions. "Would you like some company tonight"?
I must have looked very surprised, because they smiled in a very non-seductive way just a few seconds later. They really caught me off guard. I did not expect anything like this and not there and not at this time and at all, ever.
A cab stopped for me and the little car sped off towards uptown, the window rolling up as part of the vehicle motion.
I jumped into the back seat of the cab and did not even say the destination. "They just asked me...", the driver did not understand the context, of course, and I was not about to explain. I asked to be brought to Amsterdam and 95th, the easier corner to get to from where we were.
In the middle of the cab divider a 12" LCD lit up with a message informing me that the driver did not know anything about what about to appear on on the screen, so he would not be distracted by the upcoming programming. I felt as if a leftover passenger from a previous ride leaned over to me and assured me that what was about to happen would be a thing completely between the two of us.
The monitor became very bright and began showing me some really cheesy logo animations. These were followed by a bad commercial about FAO Schwarz. "Look Jim, I can use this pen for drawing, but when I blow into it, look what happens." (She blows a heart onto a piece of paper.)
"These are not your average soap bubbles, these are actually stackable!"
Great. I was told that a certain law-firm is ready to help me with all my law-suit needs.
After this, the system told me that it was targeting the young affluent New Yorkers and that I should consider using this most innovative communication channel for advertising. A barely dressed woman pointed to a URL, which made me go to their site this morning. It is i love taxi tv dot com.
I do not think I even like taxi tv. Especially not this late at night. But who knows. Maybe it is a really good idea, just with the right programming. Maybe the two ladies just wanted to drive me around town and show me animated funnies in the back seat of their chevrolet?
Of course not, but I like imagining a pretty harmless world.

What is more New Yorker than Zagat and...

the New Yorker, of course... oh and, of course, relationships. Noah Baumbach brings them all together in his current Shouts and Murmurs piece. It is the Zagat history of his last relationship. The next piece could be a play with a similar theme, based on New York real estate ads. (I am not kidding, this would really be a nice piece to write, no?)...

...

| 3 Comments

... a year...

September 11 a year after.

A Full band of Bag pipers just walked by the window walking slowly towards ground zero. They started their march at 1AM in the Bronx.
They were accompanied by several fire trucks, a flag bearer, and hundreds of people.

Free Broadway show.

A screaming lady, high on something strong just walked up the block. She had her walkman on and screamed and then pulled her skirt up in front of some tourists. She then walked a bit further up the block just to bend over, pull up her skirt again, make some very rotating movements with her rear end. She is now gone, further uptown, her screams were swallowed by the sounds of Broadway. A true Broadway show.

"A smart, witty follow-up."-- Paul Clinton, CNN

Tremble, he will do it again, live!

| 1 Comment

The readers of this blog certainly know tremble.com, the great site not called a blog by the one and only Todd Levin. Wouldnt it be nice to see the real, real Todd Levin in real reality? You could see him speak, finally attach a voice to those words on his site. Maybe even hear something you never read. Well, now you can. Todd will be performing in the historic and sexy Gershwin Hotel. Todd will not be alone. You will have the chance to see other real people as well. The lineup includes real people like: Jon Fisch, Jon Corbett, Becky Donahue, Ophira Eisenberg, Marta Ravin, Todd Levin (yes, him!), Sean Conroy and Bryan Olsen. The show will be hosted by Allison Castillo. Do you know all of them?, good, then you know also what to expect. You do not know them at all?, excellent, it is time to get out of the house and see some real people perform in a real hotel in a real city, not just these websites, all day, all night...
So you are ready to come to the city and see these performers perform things you might not have ever seen before?, Would you like to know where and when and how much? The hard facts are here:

********************************************
The (historic & sexy) Gershwin Hotel
7 east 27th St. (5th & Madison Avenues, both famous for various reasons)
Thursday, June 20th 2002 (this week, this month, this year)
10pm $5 BYOB (go for the water, or how about a carrot-orange juice?)

********************************************

I will be there, just in case you wanted to know that too.

The unstoppable corn-cabby

| 1 Comment

I had to go from 49th street to 25th street to pick up a framing job at Minegawa Art lines. The place is on 11th avenue, I was on 8th avenue, so a cab seemed like the fastest way to get from A to B. (8-11/49-25) There is even a cab lane on 49th street, so I just stood there and hailed a cab from 8th Avenue. A cab drew by and stopped about 100 yards behind me, a bit as if we were on a highway and I were a hitchhiker. I got in, told the cabby the directions and waited for us to go. The tape went on, reminding me buckle up if I wanted to go for the gold medal, I buckled up, cabby pressed the taximeter, a red 2.00 lit up on the display and he opened his door. He leaned out and looked, as it seemed, under the cab. For a good New York 10 seconds or so. He then closed the door and asked me where I wanted to go.
we can still go to 25th and 11th avenue if you want. Is everything OK out there?. I said with a full smile, because it was quite funny So he presses the taximeter button again, realizes that he must have pressed it some time ago, looks at me, as if I had pressed it somehow secretly while he was not looking, and off we go. He took a good route 11th avenue. The ride was a few minutes, so I could take a look at the man behind the wheel. He was a heavy man in his late 30s. Probably somewhere from the Bahamas? He was listening to this frightening radio station. The monotone voice on the radio seemed to come from another dimension and the things that the voice was saying were all about God, and how God will be good to us, but not really, only under certain circumstances. Es followed a song. We arrived on 25th street, I told him to pull over to the left and gave him $6. I asked for the receipt. He took the money, slowed down, but kept driving. I saw my destination go by, we were turning the corner. I leaned into his compartment. It is fine, you can stop right here, on the left, if you dont mind? Could you just stop?. It is corn, he answered, showing me a half chewed off piece of corn. That is very nice, but we are here, you can stop, let me out, I just gave you the money too, by the way...
He was quite surprised. He looked at his other hand. He was holding the money. (He drove using the corn hand.) We stopped. We were in the middle of 24th street block. He had stopped so abruptly, that the cars behind us barely made it. I heard the sound of tires and many, many curses. He gave me some of his receipts. I wished him good luck. Boy, he needed good luck today. Hope he is fine and got some sleep by now. It was not looking good. The corn did not help.
(It was probably his third shift in a row, poor guy.)

Almost Satan by accident

| 2 Comments

Almost forgot the funniest quote of the conversation between the three. The woman from DC said the strangest thing:
"And so I almost signed my email with Satan, by accident, several times now."
"So your name is Sarah?"
"Yeah, and the R is next to T and the H and N are pretty close too. So yeah, several times now."
Wow. It looks so scary written out. It was actually really funny, when she said it with a nasal voice, eating her green curry chicken loudly, her mouth somehow never shutting completely. It must have been the allergies. It was really funny. How come I can not make it as funny as it was?

Taking the 1 train.

| 2 Comments

Just added this blog to nyc bloggers. A very nice concept that sorts New York bloggers by their closest Subway Stations. How appropriate. I am closest to the 96th Street station of the 1/2/3. I can see the entrance as I am writing this. If you are in New York and have a blog, add yourself. (And let us know about your closest Subway stop.)

New York Tokyo

And what will happen this weekend? (ahem, starting tonight?) What is the shortest distance between New York and Tokyo? Tom (from London) sent me the following link:NEWYORK-TOKYO MUSIC FESTIVAL. Just the site is really pretty. I do not know any of the Japanese artists (do know some of the americans), but this event does sound fascinating, doesnt it?

He says he is looking for an internship, but lets be honest, this guy might be a student, but he can make stuff look pretty sweet. Somebody should be able to use these skills in an interesting project for a paying client. Robert has skills. Lets find him a job people!
Take a look at his site:aurikom - robert lenne - portfolio.
I know that we all think that the times are not as bright as they used to be, but there must be a desk somewhere for this guy. I would see this as a win win situation. Give him a chance and then report back. I would love to hear part two of this obvious success story about to unfold. (Thank you for the link, Jess!)

Schindlers artfulness.

I have been observing some movement across the street. There is a large truck and a crane and two strangely angled, huge, wrapped packages. They look like straight out of Christos dreams. Good thing that there is a URL on everything these days. So now I can be sure that what is being threaded into the entrance of the bank across the street is a set of two Schindler escalators. I guess they are the Schindler 9300 kind, guessing from the size of the packages and the building. How exciting it that.
Crazy that they ship these things in one piece.
You should see how they thread them through these narrow doors... Oh wait, I am taking pictures. So you will see. Soon. What am I, digital?
-------
It is 9:44, a second truck just arrived. Even more Schindlers gifts. These packages are huge.

Sunset again.

the sky just turned dark blue and brown. another spectacular sunset over the east coast, ladies and gentlemen. We are enjoying a beautiful, beautiful sunset. Oh, and the moon is really cool too. Just FYI. ; )

It is impossible to scan a diamond. I put it on the scanner, and it just turns into this white flash of light. Impossible.
I have found many things in the streets of New York. I found a wallet once. With $300 in cash and all the papers and several credit cards. I found the owner too, with a bit more effort, and gave it right back to her. She pulled out $40 out of the very wallet I gave her and paid me the finders fee. I thought that was very nice.
I found a fur hat once in Times Square. It was in the middle of the night, I was cold. The streets were almost empty. What can I tell you. A nice hat.
I found a jar full of pennies, which a homeless person must have dumped out of frustration, down in TriBeCa. Free Coffee. (I rolled them up first.)
Two days ago: a diamond. At least two, maybe three carat. Big. Cold.
It was just there, in the gutter, on West End Avenue and 93rd street.
Diamonds have this fire. You look into the face of a diamond and it just lights up. No electricity needed. It just goes *bam*. It only goes bam in one direction though. Each diamond is actually one of two twins. Diamonds represent macroscopically what they are microscopically. They look like large carbon molecules. So these objects need to be cut in the middle before they can be further prepared. Not sure what the proper term for that is. The diamond then gets all the facets, all the faces, all of them in the appropiate angles to capture the light, to make the diamond glow. In one direction. Towards its missing twin.
So when the diamond lay there in the gutter, it was face down, not glowing at all. Just a tiny, tiny bit. I walked by it at first. Did not notice it, except from the corner of my eye. I walked back, looked down and yes, there it was, this little white cone. I picked it up and wow: shining little star in the palm of my hand. Millions of years under extreme pressure made this one glow so bright. What was I supposed to do? There was no phone number on this it. It did not come with a drivers license. Even throwing it into the postal box would probably not be the solution. I carried it home. It was cold, it was big. It was a New York City Street Diamond.
I own a Swiss army knife, one with a magnifying glass. Good enough to give the Diamond a nice inspection. It was a bit like in a movie. It was me and the Diamond of 93rd street. We had a little talk. We looked each other in the eye. The Diamond told me she was Glass. A nice big Glass diamond. Bright and shiny, but a bit hurt from the fall into the gutter, tiny scratches on one side. Glass. A diamond is forever. Glass lasts 15 minutes.
I tried to scan my Diamond in, so I can show it here in the blog. It does not want to be scanned. It is cut well enough to shine right back into the scanner and to make bright digital streaks. Oh well. Nice piece of Glass.
Just out of fun. In a corner of the scanner area, I pressed the corner of my Glass diamond against the scanner glass. My Glass Diamond, angry as she was, left a deep, tiny scratch. Very interesting. We will need to have another talk.

Hiyashi and Imaginary Forces

| 3 Comments

The summer is officially back in Manhattan. Hiyashi is available at Sapporo in Midtown. Sapporo is one of those restaurants that are not easy to find online. The place is located on 49th street and 7th avenue. They do not accept credit cards. They only sell Hiyashi during the summer season.
Hiyashi are cold, square noodles with various toppings in a cold sour soup that needs to be mixed with spicy Japanese mustard before consumption. We used to eat Hiyashi a lot when our office was downtown. There was this great little noodle shop just south of the world trade center. It did not even have an English name, I think. The people who worked there were super nice. Mayumi was one of them. She was on the subway when the plane hit the world trade center. The train had stopped and then just like the other trains pulled back, but stayed in the tunnel. She later told me that she was stuck in the train for quite a while, while all the horrible things were happening above ground.
Sapporo is usually very crowded during lunch time, so I was happy to get a real table seat. Their Hiyashi is not quite as good as downtown used to be, but it is still good.
One other advantage of eating at Sapporo is getting this extra minute waiting for the on seventh avenue, staring at the Great Sign on 745 Seventh Avenue, designed by imaginaryforces. Quite a wild experience in itself. Twirling saving banks, shaking hands, bridges and sunsets. Things that one might somehow associate with money.
Crossing the street the other way, allows to look at the reflection of the sign in the polished and still stunning 750 7th Avenue, which I like to call the finger pointing back at God. But thats just me.
I am going off topic again. Time for a completely different post.

A tree goes to brooklyn

| 1 Comment

David Crawford had bought a tree for the office. Our office had no plants and he brought the first plant. It was this four foot tall corn plant tree. (I will need to investigate the real name.) David eventually left the company and left the tree for me to water. When the company moved to the Woolworth building, I took it home. It had grown just sly, but we got some serious looks on the subway, the tree and me, yes, even New Yorkers react to others sometimes. I tried to treat the tree well and it grew quite substantially. Today was the day to pass it on. You have to read the adventures of Eric "the Redd" Feliciano, as he picked up the tree from here, which is on 95th street and Broadway, to bring it home to Brooklyn. read the story!.

Two great white herons just flew by.

| 3 Comments

It is easy to forget sometimes that New York City is quite a birders paradise. It must be the parks or maybe the location of the city on the route of many migrating birds. Just minutes ago two majestic Great White Herons flew by my window here, choosing a path low between the buildings to fly towards their fishing grounds somewhere west from here. The Hudson?, New Jersey?, River Side Park? The event was a reminder that time flows at different speeds for each one of us. They slowly plowed through the air as if it were a barely viscose liquid, while just a few meters below there was another jam of New Yorkers at the entrance of the 96th street subway station and the traffic police woman barely managed to redirect traffic at the busy intersection. It is a crisp morning today and the shadow of the American flag on the faade of the building across the street flickers nervously in the strong west wind.
(the birds might actually have been two Great Egrets, but their size and speed made me imagine they were the much larger herons. What do I know? )

So incredibly close...

My view is not the worst one in New York. There is the river, peeking from between buildings, there is the happy and active 96th Street crossing the world famous Broadway.
There are people with much better views, of course. Landmark views. Imagine the view below... (From a friend's apartment on the 44th floor on 44th street...) Yes, this is the Chrysler Building. It is not even across the street, it is on the same block.
Do you see the cars on the facade?... I am not sure these are even visible from street level... Wow...
(Thank you for letting me shoot this one, Augustine.)


(Click to enlarge.)

Sexaholix one more time

| 1 Comment

Last time I saw the show it was a bit lower on broadway, somewhere in the theater district. It was a birthday present... last year. It was not quite as funny as when I saw it from really far away from the really cheap seats in a small theater on 43rd street. This time it was all close up and on television and much closer than I wanted to be. And in the beautiful beacon theater on 74th street. I used to live on 73rd street, just around the corner. Sexaholix was funny, what amazes me though is the perfection, the precision with which such a show happens. Everything was exactly the same as it was when I saw it in person. No new jokes, no new inventions or additions, no substractions or shortcuts. Everything timed perfecty, exactly the same. Except that the guy and his girlfriend are not together anymore and that he is probably much bigger now...(financially, for sure, no?) how many shows has it been since last year December?, and now the bigger theater. Now this is success. I guess. How does it feel for him, telling all these love stories again and again, even though the truth is moving farther and farther away from him. I could imagine that he enters a tunnel at the beginning of the performance and just rides that train, until he comes out the other end, with the audience standing up for another ovation, the moment better than anything ever, for a stage performer. It is like this quote at the beginning of Trainspotting, I bet... and I am not going to say what it is, as this blog is blocked on many browsers already and probably can not be viewed in any American library. If not now, soon.
What happened today?, where was I?... let me think... just a second.

Cranes

Two white cranes just flew in from the west, probably heading towards . Beautiful.

Water shortage

There is a Water shortage in New York City , which means that businesses should not use large amounts of water to wash the sidewalks. (See: Drought Management Plan) This means that the 24 hour Dunkin Donuts across the street needs to wait until there is no Police in sight, like now, at 4:40 in the morning, to wash their sidewalk. What do they care, a smelly sidewalk equals fewer customers (at least human ones), which is worse than no water. (I stopped showering more than a month ago, just to save water for New York City. Whos the bravest now?... Just kidding.) One other thing just occured to me, looking at the man in front of Dunkin Donuts washing the sidewalk before sunrise. The pile of trash in front of the 24 hour Dunkin Donuts is less than half the size of the trash pile in front of McDonalds next door, which is not even 24 hours. It might be that McDonalds get much more business, but I have the feeling that they are producing much more trash in general. Hmm. There is the bad, and then there is the pretty ugly...

Jan Demczur

| No TrackBacks

Jan Demczur saved himself and five others by using a squeegee to cut through a sheet rock wall and get himself and the others out of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th. The device has now been donated to the Smithsonian. I am looking at the name, and I could bet that Jan Demczur speaks Polish. He probably thinks Polish too. I remember the most disappointing thing about escaping to the west as a child in 1981 was that in Germany there was a tool or toy for everything. One needed to be creative in Poland. One needed to buy the right tool in the west.

update (4/8/05): Here is indeed Jan Demczur in his own words.

Another spectacular sunset over Manhattan.

This kid across the street

This kid across the street watches Elmo... all day long. It must be a fairly young child. The televisoon set is across Broadway, but Elmo is full screen most of the time. A big, jumpy red man. I can not hear the voice... yes, definitely Elmo... again. Bigger than life. Even the tickled kind.

Chase Manhattan Bank Interior


Chase Manhattan Bank Interior 909 Third Avenue

Inside the Post Office


Inside the Post Office on 909 Third Avenue (Max O. Urbahn & Associates in collaboration with Emery Roth & Sons, 1967), East Fifty-fourth to East Fifty-fifth Street.
Read more about it in New York 1960, Architecture and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial by Robert A.M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman. (Page 428)

Latin Quarter, across Broadway is

Latin Quarter, across Broadway is going to be converted into a Chase Manhattan Bank. So they say. There is a scaffold around the two story building. The green vinyl covers will soon be replaced by new windows. I hope the sign will not be as flashy as the McDonalds Neon sign, with the self eating burger, soda and fries.
The Hudson river does not care about these tiny changes. Its salty waters will be here long, long after the final merger of Banks and Fast-food franchise. Broadway might still be Broadway then, the path from the south tip of Manhattan, all the way to ... Hmm... Where exactly?...

a single oval cloud crossed

a single oval cloud crossed the sky before sunrise in new york.

spectacular clouds over manhattan.
manhattan under spectacular clouds

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the New York category.

nerdy is the previous category.

Newark is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

OpenID accepted here Learn more about OpenID
Powered by Movable Type 4.25