Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category.

Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation

Events, Lily's notes, Uncategorized

The evening before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,  the giant balloons which fly during the parade the next day, are inflated on West 81st Street and West 77th Street which are streets surrounding the Museum of Natural History, this happens  between  Central Park West and Columbus Avenues from about 4 to about 8 pm.

The balloons are held down by sand bags as crews of workers fill the balloons. This becomes a family street party. Vendors sell small balloons and food, there is absolutely no parking nearby unless you come very very very early in the day, and ¨driving by¨to see this is absolutely not an option.

Try to come early, at about 4 or 5 pm because it does become very crowded, but it is fun. Bundle up it will be cold.

Attention Suburbanites. Vehicle traffic crawls along Columbus Avenue and you will see nothing from your car, plan to come into town early, visit the museum, and stay for the balloons and you will not be frustrated but have a good time instead and please do not try to drive down Columbus Avenue between 4 and 9 pm.

Comments Off

After the Lipstick Smears*

Lily's notes, Uncategorized

After this coming election our society will have many profound changes and since I am optimistic, I believe these will be clearly positive changes. I would like us to consider the following very positive possibility:

One unexpected effect of their campaign may be that after being repulsed by an unqualified, uneducated  Palin on the public stage, when an accomplished, capable woman does come forward for public office in the future, the voters may accept her with  more respect than in the past.  Just try to imagine that she will be judged by her accomplishments and talents and not by her gender or gender roles.

Yes, I do mean that she could be treated with more respect than Hillary received and perhaps the future female candidate will receive much less derision for being a strong person. 

Perhaps the public will have had not only enough of the extreme right wing and the mess they have made of America, but the votes for the very capable and positive ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, may turn out also to be a vote against derision and abasement based on color, and surprisingly, even the gender issue will have been advanced.

We are on the verge of a possitive new chapter.

Barack Obama should consider Hillary for an important role in the new administration based on her qualifications, ability and support in America.

It would be a very welcome step in a new future.

* NYCGuy suggested that this post, originally titled “After The Lipstick Fades”, might be better called After “The Lipstick Smears”, considering the behavior of Sarah Palin during this campaign…he is right! Thanks, NYCGuy.

Comments Off

These Days of Awe

Lily's notes, Uncategorized

The Days of Awe are,  thankfully, not another US government military project, and they are not an advertising campaign for “Fashion Week”. The 10 days between the Jewish New Year, Rosh ha-Shanah and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, are called the Days of Awe. This is a time for introspection, apologizing to those we have hurt and “paying our debts”, both financially and personally. The purpose of this is to be able to be personally “renewed”, free of past mistakes, ready for a positive future.

This year, these days have also been a reminder of the fragility of personal finances and of the fragile nature of truth in public discourse. Yes, I am referring to the presidential campaign and McCain/Palin’s desperate descent into lies and fabrications meant to work up a deep fear of “otherness”, that is at the core, completely racist.

Shame on them.

So far, the people of America have not bought into this and I hope that they do not during the next short weeks to the election.

I wish there was a constitutional way we could start the transition to the new government before January 20. 

We neeed renewal and change so deeply.

Comments Off

Van Gogh at MoMA, 535 West End Ave, and the “Unseen”

Art, Lily's notes, Literary event, Theater, Uncategorized

Update: The building crews have been at work on 535 West End Avenue (see previous postings) and there is now visible construction above street level.

Can’t help but wonder how will they sell these $14 Million  dollar apartments during this economic downturn and crisis?

Perhaps they will have to redo their plans and make more apartments that are smaller than 10 bedrooms with 7 baths…time will tell.


The new Van Gogh and the Colors of the Night exhibit now at the MoMA is a lesson in the beauty and skill of painting- like notes from one painter to all others. The show has a small number of works and is in small galleries, and although I saw it at a member’s preview, it was still crowded. But go, and have some patience, it is so worthwhile. 

Each  inch of canvas seems alive. The incredible emotion and color of his work are still, and always, so moving. It is there until January 5, 2009.

If you are not a MoMA member, order your tickets on line in advance and you will be able to see the show on the day of your visit, otherwise you need to get a special timed ticket when you enter the museum and you can not be sure to get in to this special exhibit.


Put this on your go see list:

on Sun, Oct 5, 3 pm

Performing Arts: Sin: A Staged Reading

Starring Academy-Award winning actor F. Murray Abraham
Based on a work by Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer and adapted by Mark Altman from The Unseen. Directed by Robert Kalfin.

A hilarious and moving tale of devilish deeds by a master storyteller who has dwelt in both the old world and in modernity. Co-sponsored with Highbrow Entertainment.

Sun, Oct 5, 3 pm at the JCC of Manhattan

Comments Off

9/11, Seven Years Later

Lily's notes, Uncategorized

This date is always a sad day in NYC and a difficult day of painful memory and so much loss.

I always think of how we felt on September 10, 2001. That evening we were with a happy group of a dozen friends in a favorite neighborhood restaurant, Fred’s on Columbus Avenue, and we laughed and lingered over dinner. Fred ’s is named after a dog, and it’s motto is “Come, Sit, Stay”- we did.  An old friend was in town and at about 11pm we dropped her off to catch the train back to Boston. We were happy and light-hearted and safe.

The next day our world profoundly changed.

I do not want to write at this time about the specific people we lost, the exact events of the day or following days and not about our government or politics.

Each year just before September 11, just before the official events,  a small circle of friends has gone to the WTC site together to remember quietly together. Today, on the 11th,  I listened to the names, especially for certain names, and then joined up with a friend to do errands and try normal life.

Both presidential candidates were in town and a convoy made up of police cars, probably a secret service bus (?), and an ambulance (just in case, I guess) passed us by on crowded 57th Street with spinning lights and sirens blaring… perhaps it was them… someone in the crowd waiting for the light said, “boy, do I feel safe”, and the NYers in the crowd laughed.

It was a beautiful, crisp clear morning.


Comments Off

The New Arrivals, Obama and the Future

Lily's notes, Uncategorized

As I write this, NYers are about to exit the city in huge numbers for the Labor Day Weekend and tourists have been streaming into the city for the weekend. Where do the NYers go?  To the great beaches of Long Island and Jersey, to the countryside north and west of the city and all over the country and world.

But something much larger happens at this time of year. Many people move into the city to live at this time of year. Some come to attend the universities and other specialty schools, and others to start new chapters of their lives. The city has a history of accepting new comers, of course, and the idea of re-inventing oneself for a totally new direction life is considered exiting but quite normal.

My friend who owns West Side Movers says that business is BOOMING. Since many people move into the city at this time, many leases are up at the end of August, also, families try to get settled in before the school year begins for their children. People are moving into upper Manhattan, Harlem and Brooklyn especially.

Next week the school year begins, people have returned from their summer vacations, myself included, and the focus on work intensifies.

The Fall is the most beautiful season in New York. Crisp clear air, trees will turn colors, perfect temperatures and the start of the “season”: new exhibits in the galleries and museums and the new schedule of concerts, etc. and for us personally, the Jewish High Holidays which is a  full month of holidays, not just a day or two,  starting the evening of September 29 with Rosh Ha- Shanah, the New Year.

This Fall will be dominated by the Presidential election. New York State is solidly in the Democratic camp supporting Barack Obama, and  NYers are very intensely watching the campaign.

My neighborhood is extreemly diverse demographically, ethnically, in income, and by age but my election district generally votes about 92% Democratic.  Senator Pat Moynihan once said that this is the only neighborhood with it’s own foreign policy. Very clever.

The bars and clubs here had the convention on their screens instead of the usual sports or gossip and this is the topic everywhere. The interest started during the primaries has remained very high.

This is truly seen as the most crucial election for the direction of our country, this is not just some kind of rhetoric but there is a great deal of anxiety over the election. People express over and over again the terrible damage done to our country and constitution by GW Bush and his presidency and how we must win this election and start the repairs.

People also express how they believe America is resilient enough to do these repairs.

Comments Off

A Visit to the Martin Guitar Factory

Events, Lily's notes, Uncategorized

We drove 90 miles west from Manahattan to Nazareth, Pa in to visit the CF Martin Guitar Factory. Our mission was to pick up the custom made guitar which was made for one in our group, meet the people who used their considerable skills to create the guitar, and to take the tour of the factory. If you are a musician, especially a guitarist, you know why this is a type of pilgrimage and  you would appreciate how this is an extremely exciting event. We had waited eight months for the guitar to created. Over 60 skilled craftspeople worked on it. Only about 30 custom made guitars are produced by Martin each year, and about 200 regular instruments each week.

We were greeted by Dan, the wirey and warm and charming head of the custom department and he took us through the large building which is divided into sections and cubby work stations, into the section of the factory devoted to custom production. 

Dan put the case on the table and our guitarist opened and saw his new instrument for the first time. Love, love at first sight and love, love at first play. A new instrument actually improves with time which is amazing to consider since this guitar has such a rich tone and is so responsive. The guitarist’s signature and date of birth are in-laid on the head and neck of his new guitar.

Then we took the tour of the factory. We started at the beginning, we passed the many different woods which are used in guitar making, ready to be cut , shaped and glued, and finished into an instrument. We passed through all of the different stages of the process.

On tour at Martin Factory

The most moving aspect were the workers. The majority seemed to be women, although there were plenty of men as well. All focused on the particular skill. Making bridges, shaving interior braces, bending the pieces for the sides, assembling and gluing pieces, gluing in the carefully cut slivers of Mother-of-Pearl for decoration, sanding, finishing, etc.  Some looked up for a moment as we passed and smiled. The last people in the process test the guitars by playing them. This is their job…to play guitars all day…it is considered the best of all of the jobs. The factory is one of the two largest employers in Nazareth and some families have worked for generation at this factory.

Worker in Martin FactoryPhotos of famous guitarists holding their Martin’s line the factory walls, and the tour ends at a display of guitars that visitors may play and try out.

The factory building has a museum on the history of guitar making and the history of Martin guitars. There is also a shop selling lots of Martin paraphanalia but no guitars which are only sold through dealers and not directly from the factory. 

It is wonderful to see that skill and craft still exist, and that such a wonderful pleasure-giving instrument is made of a precious natural material, wood. The Martin factory believes that many woods used in guitar making will not be available in just a few years and they are developing instruments made of composite materials…

The Martin Guitar and the Martin Guitar Factory are an American treasure.


1 Comment

The Waterfalls exhibit on the East River


The Waterfallsexhibit on the East River consists of four artist-made artificial waterfalls on the East River. It is a  work by the artist Olafur Eliasson and is the largest public art installation since the Gates marched and waved through Central Park and attracted many thousands of viewers. Olafur Eliasson’s work is also currently on exhibit at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) and PS1.

Link for The Daily Plant of the New York Park Department information is here. This links to photos of the construction of the waterfalls and the waterfalls in the evening.

Niagara Falls  lit at nightThe spectacular New York waterfalls that are upstate in Niagara  are dramatically, enormously larger and louder than the really lovely East River installation, so these waterfalls, as large as they are, are a bit like a painting of real waterfalls…a representation of waterfalls, made of metal and diverted naturally flowing river water, and therefore a large collage of the idea of waterfalls. Nice!.

One Waterfall is under the very beloved Brooklyn Bridge, a masterpiece in it’s own right.

Hopefully many people will go to the river to enjoy this exhibit- certainly on July 4 when the fireworks take over the river,  many more thousands of people will enjoy the Eliasson’s waterrfalls and hopefully the TV media will include some shots.

Bronx River WaterfallsAlso: For those  of you not very familiar with New York geology, the  East River is actually a tidal canal and does not have any natural waterfalls…does have lots of water traffic, birdlife and underwater life. The only natural waterfalls I know of in New York City are in the Bronx Zoo on the Bronx River.



Comments Off

Andy Statman Trio back in the Charles Street Shul


The Charles Street Shul, also known as Congregation Derech Amuno is located at 53 Charles St at West 4th in the Village, and they will again host the Andy Statman Trio -Andy on clarinet and mandolin, Jim Whitney on bass and Larry Eagle on drums and percussion. They will appear on Thursday May 22nd at 8:30. And thereafter, perhaps.

This historic, small synagogue has hosted the Andy Statman Trio for about 5 years.

If you haven’t been there before, you can expect absolutely transporting klezmer and blueglass by Brilliant Andy Statman, (my official title for him), and his trio in a warm, charming, real and unique setting, that is: a completely non-commercial setting.

This means that the time schedule isn’t so perfect, so if you arrive a bit early give a hand and help set up the chairs,  and check the performance dates as well on Andy’s website.

See my archive entry for a detailed discription and a photo of the outside of the little shul. Also, links.

If you attend, please let me know how it was since I will not be there tomorow. I will  be at a different concert of Sephardi and Mizrachi music, see my “upcoming events” for details. 

I will hear the Andy Statman Trio on a different evening.

Comments Off
Newer Posts »