Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend

80th Street and 3rd Avenue. 1:10 PM. Photo: DPC.
Monday, March 19, 2012. Coolish, sorta sunny-ish weekend in New York with temperatures in the 50s.

Saturday was St. Patrick's Day. St. Patrick's Day in New York always looks the same to me. It's kind of a throwback to another sensibility, one that's left the collective unconscious.

Spring flowers for sale outside Eli's on 80th and Third Avenue.
My father was a Brooklyn born Irishman. First generation, born at the beginning of the last century. They had a certain way of talking, a New York-ese. An accent you don't hear anymore. It still had a smidge of the brogue of their Fathers.

It had a lotta gentle-but-gruff, tough guy in it too. The "tough" is often mainly bluff; life gave my father a very hard time, and it wasn't so easy, as we later learned.

But the day itself is one of glory. The arriving Irish were the lowest of the low when they began their great emigration mid-19th century from that starving green land of poetry to the land of plenty.

They were considered scum here. Yes, that is the word, one I would never use to refer to the human condition. They knew how people felt about them; and they did whatever they could to progress.

A generation or two later, the Fightin' Irish had made their mark, and had made it to the top. Fully true blue American. One of the third generation became President of the United States.
But in the meantime, for a lot of them, it was with pride, the wearing of the blue. The Irish in New York (and elsewhere too) were the cops. That meant a lot of things but it also meant they protected the neighborhoods. I mean: your kid was safe on the street. Because New York was a city of neighborhoods. Not high class but middle to poor. The fightin' Irish looked after the city. By now that may be mainly myth or fable, but there was great truth to it also.

I'm not crazy about the day. It reminds me of the hard times of my father's life, and the association often leaves me in one of those Irish moods (aka funk) that probably produced some of the greatest poetry in the language, (although not at this desk). As well as headaches and ulcers. Nevertheless I do enjoy having a look at the get-ups and watching the day unfold. I asked a cabdriver what he thought of it. "Drunk," he said, shaking his head. I had to laugh.
I went out to the Park yesterday afternoon with the digital to see what the flowers had done in the past week. Some of the forsythia is in bloom and others are just about ready to burst. The yellow tape you see on the fence is left from the storm last year that brought down a lot of trees including one that fell on this fence. It looks like the Park could use some fence restoration.

It was a hazy grey-sunny day, but warm enough in the Sun. Many people were out for their Sunday in the Park, and many children and young people were using the playground and sports facilities.
Life in those Palm Beaches. If you've been following Augustus Mayhew's NYSD reports on Texas billionaire John Goodman's trial in Palm Beach, today's segment is like watching "Dynasty" or "Dallas," but instead the real reality – the kind you don't see on reality TV.

Plus, reality comedy.
This past Friday at the Friar's Club, they celebrated Jerry Lewis' 86th birthday. Patrick McMullan was there with his camera. When I saw them, two things: I'd forgot about Jerry Lewis. And two, just one look at him made me laugh.
I first saw him when I was a kid going to the movies some Saturday afternoon matinee at the Strand Theater. (Dean) Martin and Lewis were the hottest comedy team on radio and television and nightclubs. In the '50s they were pulling down $30,000 a week at the Copa. Multiple that figure by 35 or 40 and you get the picture if it were today. Eventually the two went off on their own and Martin became a bigger star away from Lewis.

But Lewis was always just funny. A nut. These photos got me laughing. Jerry Lewis all these years later still makes me laugh  just seeing him. Born in Newark, started out as a kid working the Borscht Belt with his father and mother. That was his patrimony and it stood him in good stead all these years. A funny funny man, still.
Remember me to St. Patrick. At Doubles on Friday night it  was all 'Green Energy' at the  IRISH YOU WERE BEER Junior Party.

The committee co-chairs were: Christopher Breck, Michael Gilbane, Nick Papanicolaou, Tatiana G. Perkin and John Royall, who encouraged their many friends – such as Alexandra Papanicolaou, Hunter Hulshizer, Harrison LeFrak, Alexis Van Der Mije, Avery Broadbent Doyle, Tim Taft, Frasier Maloney, Melissa Condie, Sherry Pryor, Scott and Keith Merrill and many more -- to join them for a pre-Paddy's Day celebration with Kegs of Irish Beers, Fish and Chips, mini Angus Burgers, yummy desserts, and lots of dancing. And so they did.
Edward Shaheen and Alexandra Papanicolaou. Mikhil Gilbane, Mark Hull, and Leslie Hull.
Robert Maloney, Fraser Maloney, and Charles Manice.
Calypso Lawrence and Stephen Sherrill. Juliana Starbuck.
Lee Denslow, Scott J Merrill, Corey Briskin, Maria Victoria Barba, Anna Wiltamuth, and Allyson Culligan.
Julie Laumont, Taylor Lorenz, Robert Martin, John Wehrle, Laura Laumont, Michael Witter, and Sherry Pryor.
Lila Warburton. Tatiana Perkin, Wendy Carduner, and Mark Hull.
Keith Merrill and Christina Connor.
John Dalsheim, Chris Breck, Diego Urrutia, and Justin Weiss.
Steph Rand, Lila Warburton, Kristin Pisarcik, Marla Woodfort, and Ali Eddy.
Scott J Merrill and Allyson Culligan. Coery Briskin and Allyson Culligan.
Kevin Connolly, Aliza Ameer, Caroline Woodruff, Rebecca Collora, Chris Rodday, Hannah Parker, and Kerry Shannon.
Nick Papanicolaou, Corina Gugler, and Andrew Heffernan.
Alexis Vander Mije, Alexis Bodenheimer, and Joanna Lee.
Darin White Eydenberg, Anna Safir, Erin Warlan, Kate Monk, and Deanna Landivar-Ruiz.
Tim Taft and Suzi Tipton.

Photographs by Patrick McMullan (Jerry Lewis); Annie Watt (Doubles).

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