Exploring East New York

I hope to be able to write about East New York (ENY), and a friend drove me around the neighborhood yesterday. More about that on another day, but he also drove me to Houdini’s grave (in Queens, but close to ENY). I thought a message to his wife was engraved on his headstone, but I googled it and it turns out I remembered the story wrong. The message I remembered was actually a secret code he would communicate to her after his death. If she got it, it would be proof of life after death.

But I noticed there wasn’t a death date for her on the tombstone. That’s because she’s buried elsewhere. He is buried in a Jewish cemetery and she is buried in a Catholic cemetery, so perhaps it was religious thing. Further proof humanity is nuts. Like having relationships isn’t tricky enough. Let’s come up with ways to make it even more challenging!

This is why I’m not a professional photographer.

I walked up to Central Park and over to Bloomingdales and back, taking pictures of the Christmas decorations along the way. But when I got home they all looked terrible. I looked at my camera and the ISO was jacked all the way up (making the pictures very grainy) and the quality was set at a very low-res. I have no idea how these settings got there, but this has happened before, and the worst time was when I was at the beginning of my professional life.

I once wanted to be a photographer and through a friend and incredible luck I got two assignments at the New York Times. Which I botched, due to taking pictures with the wrong settings. It was humiliating. And I made my friend look bad. Twice. He was conducting the interviews and was without pictures to accompany the articles. I still cringe thinking about it. (The subjects were Rueben Blades and Willem Dafoe.) Oh God.

This is one tiny part of why I love writing books. I have plenty of time to go over my work and correct any mistakes. Here are a few shots anyway. In that middle one I was scrambling to get my camera up and ready to get a shot of the girl with the purple hair walking by the purple window. It’s not a great shot, but I made it in time, damnit!

My Life in TVs – Part 2

I got a new tv! The previous one, a VIZIO M43-C1 43-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED, was only four years old when it died on me. Very frustrating. After an intense search I bought a mid-priced tv, the 43 inch Sony X800H. But I wasn’t happy. So I decided to replace it with either a VERY expensive tv, or an INSANELY expensive tv. After much angsting and deliberating I went with VERY. It’s a 49 inch Sony X950H.

This is a case where getting this new tv took a village, or rather, the top floor of people in my building. My next door neighbor on my right, Beth, drove me and my rejected tv back to P.C. Richards, then waited in the car until they processed that return. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the TV I wanted in stock, so she waited in the car some more while I ran across the street to Best Buy to see if they had one. The closest store where they had one was in Brooklyn so she then drove me to Brooklyn, waited some more while they got my tv, and they she drove us back and helped me carry it up five flights of stairs. Beth is, as you can see, a saint. We’ve lived on this floor for the past … 30 years? Something like that.

Then, my next door neighbor on the left, Eamon, came over and mounted it to the wall for me. I’ve known Eamon since he was a little boy! He grew up into a very nice young man and great neighbor, and this isn’t the first time he’s come over to do something handy for me. Here he is, installing the wall mount. I got a full-motion mount so I could turn it as needed.

And here is my new, and VERY expensive tv (and Bleecker in the chair). I love it. The picture is gorgeous. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the increased size but I love that too.

Holiday Cleaning 2020 Day Two

Yesterday I started my yearly Holiday Cleaning (it’s like spring cleaning only it’s in the winter). It’s actually less work than usual this year because of the pandemic, of course. Since March I’ve had a lot more time on my hands to complete projects and there’s not a lot left to do to spruce up the place.

But one of the things I did was clean the prisms I have hanging in the window, then I lowered them to catch the light better. This was a good move. It’s fairyland over here now!

Let’s Finish the Job in Georgia

“Georgia, home to John Lewis, is now the ultimate battlefield …” I’ve been wondering what I can do to help Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff win their senate races. I just watched Robert Reich’s latest video and he made suggestions (the quote came from him). I am not supporting these candidates simply because they are democrats. If you go to their websites to donate to their campaigns, read about who they are and what they intend to do. They are decent people who are going to help the people of Georgia. Then compare what you learn to the republicans candidates, who parroted Trump’s claims that COVID was nothing to worry about, and then turned around and began making millions of dollars worth of stock trades, beginning the same day Congress received a briefing about the virus! Perdue even invested in DuPont, a company which manufactures PPE.

People in Georgia have until December 7th to register, and 17 year olds who will turn 18 by January 5th can register and vote. Do you know anyone in Georgia? Contact them. Especially if they have high school age children.

He also suggested donating to Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff and to these organizations:

Fair Fight Action
The New Georgia Project
Black Voters Matter Fund

You can have your donation split evenly between the two candidates and Fair Fight Action by going here, and then you can also donate to The New Georgia Project and Black Voters Matter separately.

Please pass this information on!

I walked by this building yesterday and wondered how it was possible I’d never noticed it before. It needs some work, but it’s so charming, isn’t it? Those windows! I think this picture fits in this post because the building is blue.