Sunday blue(skies)

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Off duty. Photo: JH.

Monday, September 21, 2020. A beautiful, sunny weekend in New York with temps in the mid- to high-60s and into the low-50s in late evening, as we move overnight into the first day of Autumn. Sunday was the perfect version of the new season.

Walking the dog(s). As there are four little ones, rescued, intended to be Shih Tzus. Only one of them now is the Shih Tzu, and that’s Ray. He’s almost 16. Four years ago he came from a kill shelter in South Carolina via ARF. He must have had a one owner life because he’s perfectly trained and orderly, and is an adorable pup.

Little Ray.

The other three — Tobey, Rosemary and Willie — were intended to be Shih Tzus but got mixed up in the pick-up; all half to a third Ray’s age, and not that friendly with the boy.  He’s another generation, and we know about that. I think it’s probably because he’s still a new kid on the block. 

So when they eat, His Nibs takes his in the bedroom. He’s so smart that when he hears me chopping up what will be his main meal of the day, and he’s been snoozing in the living room, he goes into the bedroom and waits patiently. He also prefers having the door closed while he’s eating. Saves on dealing with the marauders amidst. The other three are in the kitchen with me, waiting impatiently. You could get the impression they don’t get much to eat, although anytime I am in the kitchen they can give that impression. Sometimes I break down and pull out a few treats.

Tobey, Willie and Rosemary. I know they’re thinking there’s something in my camera that I can give them to chomp on….no?

Anyway, I only meant to discuss Sunday, the beautiful almost-Autumn day in New York. And that was about taking the gang out for their walks and seeing the world outside our little canine cave of 24-7 Love. There are two shifts: One for Ray and One for Rosemary and her swain. That’s the longer one.

Ray is very organized in his seniority. Out the door, a sniff along the way to the first post for the lift-a-leg. He pees longer than any dog I’ve ever had. It’s like … he holds it until whenever! Then there are a few sniffs (somebody must know what they are sniffing for). Rosemary rarely sniffs. She also often stops to sit every now and then. A pat on the head usually gets her back up on all fours.

The “walks” are usually as brief as possible: one-two-and-we’re-thru. It’s getting to the one-two that takes time, so they get a longer walk. And on a beautiful day, such as a Sunday, still a day of rest for some of us; it can be a pleasure for old, impatient Dave.

It was chilly Sunday morning when I opened the door to the terrace (and my modest little garden that runs about six months). The flowers aren’t flowering well this year. I also don’t get as much Sun until mid-afternoon. I took this photo because I wanted to remind myself of the greenery of the leaves on the trees just outside my windows, and soon to depart from their mother forever.
Walking Ray who wasn’t moving much but waiting for the right moment to take care of business, I saw this boid strolling in search of anything on the pavement of East End Avenue. He/she looks rather chic, the black and white baby. I admire the pigeons. They work day and night just to get the detritus off the streets. And they pay attention to what’s going on. Probably because they don’t have cellphones.
Right here Ray and I turn around to head home two blocks away. It was about 2:30 p.m. and the sun was bright but there was an occasional gusty breeze adding a chill that looks like it was illustrated by the shadows of the trees on the sidewalk and in the shadows on the canopy of the building. It was very peaceful and refreshing.
The impatiens are really blooming in front of the building.
Another building’s exterior has begonias in bloom.
I moved into the neighborhood in the early ’90s, staying at first with a generous friend on Gracie Square before moving to my apartment on the avenue. When I first arrived, the block in this photo consisted of the corner building and the rest of the block was lined with four five-story, early 20th-century walk-up apartment buildings. The ground floor of each building housed some kind of a small business — a deli, a pizza parlor, an ice cream shop, etc. In the early 2000s, a developer acquired the properties and began emptying them out of the families and businesses and razing them. The low building in this photo is the only one still standing. The story at the time was that one of its long time tenants, a much older woman, refused to move as well as accept any financial arrangement. The case was dragging on the developer’s plans to build a large luxury condo building (which it is today) to the point where the longtime tenant was allowed to stay and the building’s apartments were renovated, and brought up to date, and are fully occupied.
This past Friday 9/18, looking south from East 83rd Street and the East River toward the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge/59th Street Bridge. It was a very bright, sunny day, but masked by the smoked-in air that traveled from the West Coast fires and moved through and over the Atlantic.
And here is a shot taken in the same location Saturday noontime with the same bright sun and no West Coast smoke moving through.
A favorite weekend view when walking the d’s along the river promenade, looking across at Roosevelt Island. I lend my imagination to the pleasure and luxury of being on any one of those boats, from the tugs on up to the sailing yachts. The sight of them calms the consciousness in these peculiar times.
Meanwhile, back at reality on the day-to-day weekend in an emerging New York, Saturday night I had to go down to Sette Mezzo to a birthday dinner for an old and close friend. On the block of Lexington between 70th and 71st Streets there are several restaurants as well as delis/pizza and sandwich shops. The restaurants are all out in the streets. But there are also signs of what has happened. No need to explain. For me these are photographs of change, evidence of change. The motorized scooters are the rage for getting around town. Younger men and women making it an alternative to a bus or a taxi. This shop has just moved in, taking over space given up by a previous retailer who lost to the lockdown.
Next door was French Sole, a tiny shoe store that was home to the world’s largest collection of ballet flats for over 25 years. Prosperous place lost to the lockdown and the changing times and changing costumes. Their message, however, is what struck me: We Are Better Together. This piece of natural wisdom is lost on a lot of us these days.
Saturday night, 6:45. Well, here I am, first to arrive and Sette is just getting started. Within another 15 or 20 minutes it will be full up. There are about, I think 18 or 20 tables stretched alongside the sidewalk and on the pavement of the roadway/parking lane. The waiters — great waiters at Sette — are wearing masks. The diners are not. Our table was against the “wall” of the roadway, so there is frequent traffic zipping past including the tractor trailers, motorcycles, bicycles and scooters. Although Lexington Avenue after sundown quiets down considerably. What intrigues me about sidewalk dining — which is not primitive but not indoor convenient in many ways, not to mention the weather — is how it has taken New York by storm and people love it. It’s even kind of exciting just to be together on the same plot of land. The “neighbor” in us is truly evident.

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