Happy: July 2003 Archives

Mitchell's Home Delivery Service drops the NYTimes and Newsday (the latter is essential because it's more human and more Lefty than its big sister) in front of our door every morning (well, almost every morning). I'm pretty fussy, so there have been times when I had to call their office for one reason or another, but I've always been very impressed with the people at the other end, especially Maury.

I sometimes talk to Maury. Maury Gordon is actually the co-president of this scrappy little company, but not only does he know my account number by heart, he seems to know each of the carriers like sons and daughters, and he has actually delivered papers himself when some emergency or human failure meant there was no alternative. In our conversations Maury sounds like a Mensch.

I learned more about Mitchell's this week when the Daily News did a story on another aspect of the company's resourcefullness, and in doing so it filled in some of the blanks about its history. Now I had to look for more, and I found Mitchell's website. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised at the amazing diversity I found in the kind of people working at the top. Take a look for yourself at what I love about New York - Mitchell's included.

both go down here, but in the end Amy, the white knight on the left, was topped

We walked down to the Willamsburg shore yesterday afternoon and had a delirious good time as part of the 2003 Chunkathalon. By the organizersÂ’ [C.H.U.N.K. 666] own description, the event was "a series of death-defying bicycle contests that purge the group of weaker members while amusing the survivors." No attitude, no swagger, and as some cute sage said yesterday, "bikes are for fun."

There are dozens of annotated images in this gallery.

Bloggy has much more. Don't miss the [teabagging] item at the bottom of his post.

We ran into Tom Moody on the field of honor yesterday. Tom has his own report, with still more pictures.

See this site for a report, with pix, on last year's event.

Who needs Chelsea, when you have ambisexuality, who needs cars when you have bikes, and who needs a summer getaway when you have North 7th Street?

And so to Relish, for dinner.

Oh, now there are more images available, on the yeabikes site, including this, of Zach:

The tattoo reads, "ONE LESS CAR" - but more Zach is good.

Sunday, back on the river.

The chain link separates him from the batting machine, the strap is not a brassiere, but it sure is sexy, and bike shorts* seldom looked better.


Sorry he's a bit blurry, but we were both turning, I had only one arm on the handlebars, and both eyes behind the camera. It still seemed worthwhile.

I ran up along the west side of Manhattan on my bright-green shamefully under-utilized two-wheeler this afternoon. Along the way I spotted a delightful variety of approaches to the concept of urban transportation.





resting (sort of an exception to the transportation theme)

skateboarding (or with intentions - maybe he's kayaking))

wading, and then finally

bicycling, like meself, but looking very, very pretty, and waving to everyone along the way

And we can avoid the long plane trip!

Suggestion for celebrating the anniversary of the birth of the first state fully heir to the Enlightenment: Visit St.-Pierre and Miquelon next July 14, a collectivité territoriale, a part of metropolitan France, just off the southern coast of Newfoundland Island.

Years ago I had heard that bread was flown in each morning from Paris, to be sold at the same price as in the capital, just to maintain the strength of the islands' ties to the rest of the nation, since they are now the last relic of what was once a French empire which included most of North America.

After France lost Quebec [all of Canada] to the British during the Seven Years War, Paris managed some deft negotiating in 1763 to keep this sliver of its colonial empire to give its fishermen a safe haven.

During Prohibition, the archipelago became a way station for Canadian liquor smuggled into the United States. Virtually every basement was converted into a warehouse for bootleggers, and Al Capone set up shop at the Hotel Robert, where his straw hat still graces a small museum.

Capone came here to solve a problem. The wooden whiskey crates that were to be unloaded near Fire Island made too much noise when they knocked against each other, tipping off the feds. Capone decided to discard the crates for jute sacks and straw, leaving behind 350,000 cases a year here that stimulated an odd housing boom — one cabin outside town made completely of crates is still known as "Cutty Sark villa."

When the Volstead Act was repealed in 1933, truckers held a mock funeral.

Not much has happened here since, although the archipelago was the site of a World War II military landing that arguably spelled the beginning of the end for the Vichy government. On Christmas Eve 1941, Free French fighters aboard three corvettes and a submarine landed in St. Pierre without bloodshed. They held an election, and the people voted to boot out the local Vichy authorities.

[photo from C. Marciniak]

wegee summer

Weegee (Arthur Fellig), "Summer, Lower East Side" (1937)

Maybe the longer you're here the more likely New York will feel like a small town, but normally that means small in physical scale. What about the dimension of time? When we find really long-term survivors in our midst, our assumptions about the city's evanescent joys and sorrows fly out the window, and the years themselves are abreviated.

Linda Wolfe recently tripped over her own and her city's histories on a recent afternoon when she returned for the first time in 50 years to two old houses on East Broadway, nos. 185 and 187,* where she had lived one summer between college semesters.

She admits that she knew nothing of the nineteenth-century history of the neighborhood when she was there in 1953, although that of the 20th century was very much present.

After all, The Jewish Daily Forward building, with its columns, crowning clock and bas reliefs of the heroes of European socialism, was three doors over. The Educational Alliance, where assimilated uptown Jews once tutored their rough-edged newcomer cousins in English and social graces, was just across the near corner. The Garden Cafeteria, where aging Trotskyists and Stalinists sat chain-smoking and arguing the future, was on the far corner. These famed institutions were all still functioning. I had moved into the bleachers of history.
What she found when she returned put the last two centuries in a perspective denied most New Yorkers.


In Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" the title character operates an institute for children at 185-187 East Broadway. I wonder if Ms. Wolfe knows about this shared reference.

Found this straight guy thing on Mark Allen's site. The magic is that Sam Stern's photo comic should amuse just about all tastes.

Today at home, in Chelsea Gardens gardens.

I've wanted to point to MarkAllenCam.com for some time, but didn't know where to begin, or to end, a post which would do it justice. Still don't, so I'll be very brief.

I first saw Mark Allen in the heyday of ACT UP, noticed he was way cute, serious about activism, and even gay (not everyone was!) but I guess there's always been much more, not least an infectious playfullness, and a creative aesthetic beyond what he gives us to look at. You'll find a lot of it his site.

It's good to be cute, smart, creative and nice - also brave, clean and definitely irreverent.

In the wild, and I think in "conventional" households as well, Parakeets are expected to wake with the sun and retire as it gets dark. But our Sweet Pea (don't ask!) is a New York bird.

We may not usually be out late, but we eat late and are always late to bed. That means late to rise, and over the months since he flew through our window the bright-green winged one has accomodated himself to our schedule.

Yesterday I pointed out to Barry that the little guy never starts singing back to the birds in the garden, ignoring their early hours and their amazing volume, until we finally shuffle into the breakfast room where he sleeps. Even then he shows that he's no more a morning type than we are. He takes his time about jumping about or entering into any conversations.

And then at the end of the day he's usually ready to stay up chirping and playing with his imaginary friend in the cage mirror (also something like ourselves) until we turn the lights out, sometimes well after 2 in the morning, although I have to admit that eventually he stares at us from his perch with a sad look that seems to say, "can't we go to sleep yet?"

"We've made him nocturnal!", Barry replied to my bird-watching observations, but in a tone which sounded like real guilt.

Are we bad parents? Probably not. Sweet Pea seems at least as cheerful as we are, which is to say pretty to very, and that should count for something.



The caption for this picture from this week's Paris Menswear shows on the BBC site reads: "Strike the pose: Models at the Gaspard Yurkievich show"

Lots more guy stuff.

Reza is in Arkansas. Barry's first, startling, half-serious reaction to the news: "I hope they don't kill him." Mr. B is from Arkansas, and having escaped only 15 years ago, he may have good reason to imagine the worst.

The message from Dave Hyslop, who is following him across the country:

Am siting in a little internet cafe in Fort Smith, AR with Reza. He ran into Fort Smith this evening. This makes five states he's completed with Arkansas up next.

Hope to be in Little Rock by the morning of July 5th. A cousin of mine lives in Little Rock so we may drive in to see her the night of the 4th and attend a fireworks party...not sure yet.

Reza in Little Rock on the 4th of July. Now that sounds like a party worth a trip!

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

previous archive: Happy: June 2003

next archiveHappy: August 2003