Friday, February 24, 2017

The beginning of Spring?

A spring-like day in front of the Met. 1:30 PM. Photo: JH.
Friday, February 24, 2017. 65 degrees in New York and partly sunny, yesterday in New York. Yesterday morning taking the dogs through the park, I spotted the yellow blossoms of what I’m told is witch hazel at the park’s entrance. I photograph them every year as soon as I see them to mark the beginning of Spring. They are earlier this year as they were earlier last year than the year before. Unfortunately there was no sun out to brighten the blossoms which are quite beautiful.
The witch hazel in bloom in Carl Schurz Park yesterday. The beginning of Spring.
I also wanted to mention that this past Monday was the birthday of Gloria Vanderbilt who is now flourishing in what is her 94th year. For a long time I’ve been going around thinking her day was the 24th (today) and wanted to wish her a Happy Birthday. Then it occurred to me that maybe I’m wrong. So I looked it up. Aha! I was wrong. Gloria is possibly the most charismatic individual (man or woman) I have ever known. It’s a literary kind of charisma, as if you are in the presence of a character in a novel. Remarkable is one word for it. A Pleasure is another. So Happy Birthday Gloria, a remarkable pleasure to know you on this day and any day.
Figure in an interior (GVC) by Aaron Shikler, oil on canvas.
Next. I don’t write about politics for the simple reason that one’s personal politics is their right and to be respected. However, I found this item on Yves Smith’s and I found myself learning about another Remarkable woman who is indeed a Pleasure to know about. And that is Nina Turner, a former Ohio State Senator (a Dem). The piece was an article in : “Looking Back to Go Forward: A Conversation with Nina Turner.” Actually it’s not political but Common Sense, the kind that soothes the spirits. Here’s the link when you get a chance. Smart woman, plus wise ...
Nina Turner.
Next. The Second Avenue Subway opened. It is in my neighborhood. I hadn’t thought of taking it since it’s a (small) hike over to its station three blocks north and three city blocks and I’m often heading out last minute to make a date or appointment. However, I learned the other day that there is an entrance also on 83rd Street (which I am on the corner of on East End). I also learned that if I took the Second Avenue Subway, I could go to 55th Street and Seventh Avenue in one trip without transferring. 55th and Seventh is a block and a half from Michael’s restaurant.

The cab trip from my apartment to Michael’s can be arduous time-wise because of heavy midtown traffic, and expensive – all that time on the meter, easily twenty bucks. So it occurred to me it might be economically and even mentally wiser to take the subway if it was that good.
My average cab fare to Michael's.
Coincientally just as all this Common Sense was going on in my head, my phone rang and it turned out to be Jeff. He was calling to tell me that he was at 7th Ave. and 55thStreet and was about to take the new Q train (2nd Av. Subway) to East 96th and Second, and he heard it was a fast ride. I told him to call me when he got to 96th to give me an idea of how fast it was. I hung up the phone and five minutes or so later the phone rang and it was Jeff.

So Wednesday, I decided to test it out by going down to Michael’s. It was Wednesday but I didn’t have a lunch date. I figured I could have a burger at the bar and take it all in.

So I left my apartment at 1:10 and walked the three blocks to Second Avenue (about seven minutes). I already had the Metrocard. At 1:20 the Q train came along. At 1:26 it pulled into the 57th Street station (with an exit on 55th). At 1:35, having walked the city-wise block and a half, I entered Michael’s. Loreal and Joana were surprised to see me so I couldn’t resist trying to make them think I’d made a rez and they forgot to put it in the book. They didn’t fall for it (they’ve heard every line in the book). I sat at the Bar, had my cheeseburger/medium/rocquefort cheese; chatted with Steve and Danny, took in the room and returned to 55th and 7th and the Q train back up to Second and 83rd. I felt like a kid getting the thrill of a subway ride. Everything new, even the line.
My friend Schulenberg (Schulenberg’s Page) lived in this apartment house (man exiting) throughout the late ‘60s through the ‘90s. I took these photos originally to show him how his “old neighborhood” had changed.
He would have loved the new subway with its entrance just across the street on the corner.
I was surprised at how deep down the station is.
Still heading down.
At the entry level. That’s a Chuck Close portrait on the wall. Really nice touch.
The entrance.
Another Chuck Close.
Final steps to the platform.
Notice the tracks, the cleanest anyone will ever see them. One day they will be black from wear.
The car I was riding in. This is a very empty car for midday midweek. New. Great. Time between 83rd and  Second Avenue to 55th and Seventh Avenue: under 7 minutes (with 3 stops). Although on the ride back about 2:30 p.m., the cars were full. This is an ideal train for Upper East Siders to go quickly and smoothly to the Broadway theater district as well as downtown west side to Chelsea, SoHo and beyond.

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