Monday, October 8, 2018

Like a kid in a candy store

Handstanding on Madison Avenue 4 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, October 8, 2018. It is very warm as I write this at might on Sunday night.  78 degrees, and humid. So now we can complain about: whaaa?! October?! It’s sposta be Fall!?”  It’s not so bad. We’re lucky to have the weather we’re having considering so many others in many other places across the world.

It’s been a quiet holiday weekend in New York. Very quiet on Saturday, although on Sunday when I went over to Zabar's, I couldn’t find a parking place anywhere within five or six blocks.
Many of plants and flowers that were planted at the beginning of the summer and through the season up until today, are flourishing in this very moist autumn.
I’d gone over to Zabar's (I usually go on Saturdays or Fridays) because of the Sotheby’s London auction on Friday where someone bid $1.4 million on a Banksy painting. Do you know who I mean? Banksy?

If you hadn’t heard about it, right after the final gavel came down, everyone’s eyes turned to the painting hanging in its frame next to the podium, and almost immediately the work seemed to slip automatically out of the bottom of the frame, in shreds! Also, Banksy, it turned out, made a video that he posted on Instagram, showing it happening. Obviously he was in the room and must have remotely turned on the shredder which was built into the frame.
Aside from shocking, it was funny. There is no other word to describe it, except you could only think that this mystery “artist” Banksy has satirized a way of life but also the economics and art of our time — these days — with an authentic creation/piece of art that includes all aspects of our current culture in all its entire human frailty. Which is one way of putting it.

The reason I’d driven over to Zabar's was because, after hearing about the Banksy incident at Sotheby’s in London, I recalled that there was once a Banksy on the wall outside the Zabar’s luncheonette where I’ve often gone for a ham and cheese croissant and a cuppa coffee. I thought I’d get a photo of it to show you. And because the wall is on the 80th Street side of the building (between Broadway and West End Avenue), I figured I didn’t need a parking place, since I could shoot it from my car.
Zabar's Sunday morning. The luncheonette is under the first sign and the deli entrance is to the right of it.
However when I got to my perfect destination for the shot, I saw that the Banksy was not there, and the wall was covered with small billboards. I had been mistaken. The Banksy I was thinking of was on the wall of the building on the northeast corner of 79th Street and Broadway, which the Zabars happen to own. When I checked, it was there. Ifound this image of Saul Zabar standing next to it which was then protected by a Plexiglas cover.
Mr. Zabar with his Banksy. Photo: Tamara Beckwith.
On my way back to the East Side, I took 82nd Street to the 81st Street transverse and happened by this townhouse all decked out with a Halloween decoration. Halloween as you know is major non-holiday in America in terms of participation. Here in New York many residents get into it by decorating, often elaborately, their front entrances. For me it’s a reminder of that day, really night, when I was a kid and in our costumes, we’d all go out trick-or-treating in a group in the neighborhood.
The house on West 82nd Street ... could it be haunted ...?
My only costume that I remember was, once I went as a “ghost” with an old sheet over my head and two holes cut out so I could see where I was going. In retrospect it was not very creative, and frankly I as a kid what I was really interested in was the candy I was going to get, especially the chocolate bars that certain neighbors were handing out. That was pure gold. That was heaven. Coincidentally, it now occurs to me, that when I went away to college and was in a fraternity, my nickname was “Ghost.” I don’t know why; perhaps because I was so thin (and always showing up out of nowhere).
Along Madison Avenue in Carnegie Hill the florist have their merchandise including pumpkins, mushrooms, and crotons accompany the flowering plants getting read to bloom.

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