Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Only the past is perfect

Pug Hill, Central Park. 9:19 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017.  Sunny, sometimes cloudy from the masses of cumulus passing through, with temperatures in the mid-70s in New York and dipping the the mid- to lo-60s at night. The kind of weather that would define a perfect summer.

However, only the past is perfect. As to the future, the weatherman is forecasting a heat wave in this neck of the woods starting on Friday with humidity making a Real Feel of the 90s! Right through to the Fourth. I don’t really mind these “heat waves” because they come and go. I don’t have an A/C – or rather I didn’t until yesterday afternoon, or more specifically on Friday – and I’ve never wanted one. However, a friend of mine who looks after the dogs (I was going to say children but I caught myself) when I’m out of town, said she couldn’t take the humidity and neither could the dogs.
Looking west at sunset from 83rd and the East River at 7:45 p.m.
Okay, okay; common sense rushed in. So I went to PC Richards yesterday afternoon and got a 10,000 BTU. Just in case. I still don’t like the idea of having one because it will take up a substantial amount of window space and I like as much natural light as possible.

With my big sis Helen way back when in Massachusetts (circa 1945) without an A/C.
I’ve lived all my life without an A/C, including those childhood days in Massachusetts when they brought out a lot of fans in neighbors houses (I don’t think we had one).  As a result I don’t mind the heat. When it got really hot, we ran under the lawn sprinkler or the local kids pool in the nearby park. When I lived in California many years later, it could get very hot in August, right into the late night. If it was too uncomfortable trying to sleep, I’d get up and go out and sit in the pool for ten or fifteen minutes. Slept like a baby thereafter. Sounds like heaven just thinking about it.

Because it was a nice day yesterday, after purchasing the A/C, I walked back to my apartment. I stopped to look through the plastic window cut in the tall green plywood fence on the southwest corner of 83rd and East End where the Brearley School is building a new annex. Brearley had bought three old tenement buildings, torn them down, and for the past several months they've been digging a great square hole with a bulldozer, in which they are now in the process of beginning to build a foundation.  I watch this activity everyday from my terrace because it is fascinating to watch the complex activity build.

Watching the bulldozer/steam shovel on the new level floor, with the concrete walls being constructed fifteen or twenty feet below street level, I couldn’t help wondering how they get that big machine back up on the street when they’re finished. Moving on, I passed by one of the hardhats looking at some document on the corner. So I stopped and asked him: “How do you get that big steam shovel back up to street level when it’s finished?”
The construction site of the new annex to the Brearley School on the southwest corner of 83rd and East End. The yellow and black machine is the largest of the three shovels that dug the 20-foot-deep ground for the foundation.
I felt like a curious kid. Looking up from the document, he smiled and said, “well first of all, they don’t call them ‘steam shovels’ anymore,” and he laughed.

I laughed too, realizing how old fashioned I must have sounded. Old man, old fashioned. Then he explained the process. There are three of them operating. One large one – which did the major digging and is now positioned in the corner behind the fence (you can see its black top and yellow sides). That machine will lift the smaller ones out when they’re finished. Oh. I’m looking forward to watching that too.
Peering through a window in the green plywood wall at the ground with one of the smaller machines working.
Later in the afternoon, JH and I had our daily phone call to discuss tomorrow’s Diary. I happened to tell him about the “steam shovel” and what I’d learned. He in turn told me how when he was a kid, his favorite children’s book was “Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel” by Virginia Lee Burton. He then told me the story about Mike Mulligan and his trusty steam shovel and how when his job was done, the steam shovel wouldn’t be needed, would be cast aside, abandoned.

The impact of the animated image of the steam shovel made a deep impression on the little JH, concerned for the machine’s future happiness (productivity). The happy ending finds Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel on new and helpful tasks, and a happy camper.
Weekend coming up. If you’re up in Columbia County this weekend, My friend Eve Stuart is opening an exhibit of her photographs at The Joyce Goldstein Gallery in Chatham, New York this coming Saturday July 1. The exhibition focuses on Eve’s images that serve as portals between inside and out. Reality is waiting just beyond us, through a window or an open door.  There is a poignancy to Stuart’s photographs, a feeling for beauty and its impermanence.

23 1⁄2 x 17 1⁄2 inches
pigment print
Although there are no people in Stuart’s images, they are infused with emotion. The quiet, the reserved, the deep yet fleeting history. They give you a look into a world that melds both the past and the present.

The exhibition which runs through August 5th, features both c-prints, clear and fully saturated images, and Polaroid and emulsion transfers, in which the original subject seems to dematerialize before our eyes.

Trained at the Philadelphia Museum College of Art, the School of Visual Arts and the International Center for Photography in New York, Eve’s work has been shown solo exhibitions at the Edward Williams Gallery, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Hackensack, NJ; Ashawagh Hall and Walk Tall Gallery, both in East Hampton, NY and Pierre’s Restaurant in Bridgehampton, NY. Her group shows include the Detroit Museum of New Art, MI; Ivy Brown Gallery, NY; Rogue Space, NY; Richard Demato Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY; and foley&cox HOME, Hudson, NY.

Eve is a lifelong New Yorker (she went to Nightingale) and lives and works here, and in East Hampton.

The Joyce Goldstein Gallery is located at 16 Main Street, Chatham, NY and is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information visit www.joycegoldsteingallery.com.

For further information contact: Katharine T. Carter, ktc@ktcassoc.com, 212.533.9530, or to download a pdf of Eve's photography, click here.

Contact DPC here.