I Miss my Pigeons

I used to feed pigeons on the roof of my building, but I had to stop due to landlord complaints, and the expense. The pigeons would wait for me every day and it broke my heart when I knew they’d be waiting in vain. Sob. I took this picture of a pigeon on my roof a couple of weeks ago and I thought I had already posted it. I love it because it looks like a painting.

I’m very late at promoting these events!!

I’ve got two book events coming up, both in very lovely settings. One is tomorrow. TOMORROW. It will take place in the Merchant’s House Museum garden as long as it doesn’t rain! The other one is on Monday, July 16, at Brooklyn’s Books Beneath the Bridge series in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. My reading there is sponsored by Freebird Books. Thank you so much, Freebird Books!

A detail from a drawing of prisoners on Blackwell’s Island.

Manhattan Samba

The band I played with for many years, Manhattan Samba, played out on a pier near where I live. I went down and shot some film of them, and I’m going to edit it later in the week. This is a screenshot. It was a lovely evening and I envied their playing out in the sun and sea air!

Manhattan Samba, New York City, 2018

Fireworks From My Roof

I don’t know why, but every year I feel less and less inclined to go up to my roof to watch the fireworks.  Who am I?? The first time I saw fireworks was out in a great big field on a farm on Long Island, and I was completely spellbound, of course. After that night it became my life mission to see fireworks, and to get as close as possible.

The pinnacle for me was the 1983 centennial for the Brooklyn Bridge. I was able to wend my way practically right up against the Manhattan side of the bridge and it was simply glorious. I wonder if there’s a video of it somewhere. Found one! This gives a glimpse of how astounding it was. And I was this close. I’ll never forget it. What happened to me??

Maybe the problem is I watch them from a distance now. Except every year I say next year I will go back to going up close and every year I have to make myself climb one flight of stairs! I do it for the photographs. I still love taking pictures.

Fourth of July Fireworks, New York City, 2018

Fourth of July Fireworks, New York City, 2018

Johnny the Horse

This is Johnny the Horse, an inmate of the Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island who’d been there since he was a young boy and who believed himself a horse.

With an unraveled rope functioning as a tail, he’d paw the ground like a horse, and deliver packages around the Island while hitched to a crude wooden soapbox style cart pictured here.

Johnny never wanted to leave Blackwell’s, where he slept in a stable at night, and when he was told he was being transferred to Ward’s Island in 1895 he was distraught.

All the patients of the Lunatic Asylum were being transferred elsewhere, but Reverend William Glenney French, the episcopal missionary on Blackwell’s, wrote a letter on Johnny’s behalf, asking that he be allowed to remain, in the only home he’d ever known. When Johnny was told that he was going to be able to stay on Blackwell’s, “he neighed loudly and then started off on a dead run with his wagon around the Island, and did not stop until he had gone around twice.”

Sadly, he was later transferred to the Asylum for the Insane on Ward’s Island and after that to the Central Islip State Hospital. I could find no record of him after that, but presumably he died there.