Thursday, October 4, 2012
I’m moving to LA in January so I’m going to try to actually journal these last few months as a New Yorker and Upper East Sider.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Church of St. Ignatius Loyola on Park Avenue.
So, in case you didn’t know, I make jewelry (www.rebeccaschiffmanjewelry.com) and my new “Upper East Side Collection” is based on architectural ornament in the neighborhood. I’m running a Kickstarter campaign to get enough pre-orders to be able to pay for some equipment, materials and promotional costs. There are only 7 days left. Please check out my Kickstarter video and page.
Building photos taken by Brandon Perlman on medium format film. Some guy at 1021 Park Avenue, possible the super, threatened to call the police while we were taking a photo from across the street on the Park Avenue median.
Jewelry photos by Evan Miller.
There’s a tin my family has been using to keep sewing pins in for 20 years.Â It originally held black currant pastilles – one of my favorite tastes as a kid.Â Seeing the tin the other day I became determined to find the pastilles once again.Â I googled the brand Allenbury’s, which seems to have changed to Grether’s.
Googling “Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles New York” yielded some fancy pharmacies such as Thompson Chemists, New London Pharmacy, and my local, Zitomer!Â Also a website, www.pastillesforless.com.Â (Really?)
I can’t remember going into Zitomer for at least fifteen years but lately keep noticing the giant “Zittles” sign in the second floor window- sounds like a Yiddish nickname but also makes me think of zits.
Just a note of caution- when I asked the lady behind the counter for Grether’s Black Currant Pastilles she handed me the sugar-free kind without noticing- luckily I was paying attention- I damn sure was for $9 and some change for a 110g tin. (The 110g tin is no cheaper on the Pastilles for Less site which claims to be “Your DISCOUNT site for Grether’s Pastilles!”
The 110g tin contains 44 pastilles, or 22 servings.Â It’s been three days and I have one pastille left.Â Yikes, this could become an expensive habit.
In other fancy pharmacy news, Boghen Pharmacy on Park Ave and 88th (One of the few Park Avenue store fronts) has tasty meds!
Below “Tasty Meds” it reads “We flavor kids medicines!”
The 63rd Annual Park Avenue Christmas Tree Lighting took place tonight outside of The Brick Presbyterian Church on 91st Street. Having somehow never attended or even bumped into one of these ceremonies in my twenty-five years here, I never realized that the trees along the Park Avenue meridian are actually all “Christmas Trees.” Will I look at them a little differently now? Maybe. It’s one of those Platonic/ontological mysteries.
Right now there is a different kind of flower but I usually remember tulips.
I have a system for walking from point A to point B in Manhattan – its goals are to save time and distance. However, I recently implemented an exception to my usual rules.
In the old days, when I would approach a corner of Park Avenue and see that the light had already read “Walk” for several seconds, I would get a sudden mild panic wondering “Should I run to make it across?” Or more specifically, should I embarrass myself with my slow girly jog and possibly lose a slipper and have to scamper to put it back on and then sprint the remaining feet while impatient cars inch forward waiting for me to get out of the way?
But I forced a new habit upon myself – it does rub against my New Yorker grain but the habit is this:
If I am not in a big hurry – as I approach the corner of Park Avenue, I accept the fact that if I continue without running I risk the possibility of getting stuck on the meridian. I do continue, and I cherish this possibility. I look forward to it.
On the meridian, I can look at the flowers, notice the effort that went into planting them – wow, someone constantly replants the flowers all along Park Avenue. I can look at the cars go by. It’s also the perfect place to stop and tie your shoe – or find the metrocard, phone, or key that you accidentally dropped loose into your giant, unorganized tote bag.
Whenever I mention the building I grew up in, I invariably get, “Oooh, that’s the building with the flag” or “that’s a fucking big flag on that building.” It is. After September 11 and the proliferation of stars and stripes running up Park Avenue, any building without a flag was suspect in its lack of, shall we say, support. On an average, there were ten flags per city block. I grew up in 1088 Park off Eighty-Eighth Street. It hung up a flag the size of, lets say, all the other flags on the block put together. Upon my estimation, the flag measures seven by eleven feet. In fact, it may be size of my bedroom. Exact measurements are not subject to release by the superintendent at this time. It hangs above the green awning in a large circular window. When the other flags slowly came down after a sufficient mourning time, 1088′s flag remained prominently. A flag that size on an apartment building is always garish. The German flag is not even that large atop the Reichstag. However, with the onset of the Iraq war and the political climate in America become more of a farce, the flag has become, to put it as some inhabitants of the building might say, “in poor taste”. I write this to say there are some stirring of moans and groans behind the flag. Not everyone is pleased.
How did our building get the biggest damn flag on the block? Insider
information tries to explain it like this . . . Mostly to blame is the chairman of the building’s board, who makes decisions of this sort. “The chairman is a man from Texas.” Ohhh. “He served in the army intelligence in Vietnam.” There you go. I can imagine the sentiment of some board members. “He feels so strongly, why argue?” Or, “I’ve had a long day, I need a drink.” Or, “Enough is enough, let him have his flag.” Maybe the inhabitants just don’t realize that other people really notice. Although with a message that size hanging on the front door, that may be too lenient. To be fair, recently the flag is not raised all the time, but on specific American holidays, such as July Fourth. Maybe as Operation Iraqi Liberation or Freedom or whatever becomes a bigger mess and flagrant violations of law by the government are reported in the newspaper daily, the flag was a little too embarrassed to be paraded all the time.
So, at least there is some comfort in knowing that controversy exists. That not everyone in the building, probably very few, in fact, are American patriots who love the flying of this flag. The majority probably disapproves. But, I suppose the thesis of this is that flag is a metaphor for how people are acting in this country right now. They may not like the flag, and there are some that whine about it, but people are too “fill in the blank” to get together and take it down.