Happy: November 2003 Archives

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The British show Bush what they think of him


In contrast to the few dozen people who were in Baghdad's Fardus Square [now called "Freedom Square"] earlier this year when Americans toppled Saddam Hussein's statue, today's event in Trafalgar Square was cheered by as many people who could fit into the area. That crowd still represented only a portion of the total of more than 100,000 or so demonstrators marching in the streets of London today. Curiously, almost all of them represented the disrespected American thug's putative ally.


[image from Yahoo News, AP Photo/ John D. McHugh]

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Mary Jo and John, calling home, somewhere near the Statue of Liberty




In fact it was a totally delightful visit with my niece and her young son that so distracted both of us this weekend. [Witness the lack of posts since Friday, other than the images which reflected some of our itinerary.]

Barry and I did manage to visit some pretty elemental tourist sites. And by the way, there's a good reason for the popularity of those icons; most citizen New Yorkers don't give themselves leave to enjoy them until they find themselves eagerly ushering their out-of-town guests around a great city. But actually the greater pleasures of these few days were the delights and intellectual stimulation, provided by both Mary Jo and, yeah, John.

On the Number 9 trip uptown from South Ferry on Saturday after his first full day in New York, John, who is still eight, asked me, "do people here think it makes sense?" Of course as a resident I was still feeling protective of the city I love, so I assumed he was asking why people would want to live here, when he was really only asking whether we thought our subway network was at all rational. John is a student and fan of the world's urban rail transit systems and while memorizing the routes he had understandably found our own somewhat lacking in logic.

This morning he and his mother tried to visit the New York Stock Exchange. It was the last item on John's list of must-do's for his visit, but after a half dozen phone calls from their hotel they established definitively that not a single one of the New York stock or commodity exchanges now permitted the public to visit their premises, and the excuse was September 11. John was disappointed but also properly exasperated with the lack of ingenuity among the guardians of the sites of our financial wizardry. He told Mary Jo, "It's been two years! You'd think they would have figured it out by now."

Their fallback choice was the Museum of Natural History, where they have figured it out.

We're both really looking forward to John's next visit, and I think he is too.

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the new, temporary WTC PATH terminus, still behind chain link fencing on November 13th, 2003


The path is about to be reopened.

On November 23rd a PATH train will be pulling up at the site of the World Trade Center, the first in over two years. It will be the very same train of eight cars which pulled out of the station on September 11, 2001, minutes after the Towers were hit, rescuing all of its passengers.

The image shows that the identifying sign is still being assembled.

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I'm old enough to have been able easily to maintain, like most of my contemporaries, an indifference to the Victorian aesthetic at best, and usually a strong abhorence even of the charms and beauties fashion now allows most of us to accept so easily. One of my old prejudices was against what I thought of as fussy hothouse or parlor plants. They seemed entirely alien to clean modernism or even European classical art and architecture. They were thus to be automatically avoided, along with the gaudy glazed pots in which they were set, many of which are of course now virtually priceless.

The image above is a of a Rex Begonia, and it's there because I've finally surrendered, in frustration and ultimately in affection.

The total shade of the environment on which the small roof garden outside our apartment windows must depend doesn't seem to encourage most local plant species, so I have begun to depend instead upon the resourcefulness of generations of Victorian gardners.

One of this year's summer guests, welcomed only reluctantly, was this gorgeous Begonia, which seems to have thrived while hanging from our high breakfast room air conditioner. Until a few days ago I had expected I'd have to discard it with the first frost. In a last minute reprieve I can't really account for, the plant was removed from its hanging apparatus and set into an Art D├ęco porcelain cache pot. It now adorns our not-quite-Victorian parlor, where this intimate portrait was completed this afternoon.

Perhaps one of the arguments in the favor of its survival, if not of its acquisition in the first place (from the Union Square greenmarket, natch), was its subspecies name, "Rex". I think of my fabulous friend Rex Wasserman every time I look at the exotic thing. Were he around today however, even Rex himself would admit that the plant is easier to live with.

But not such damn good company.

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Totally unscary jack-o-lantern - except that it's a self-portrait.



This page is an archive of entries in the Happy category from November 2003.

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