Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Archive for May, 2013



Photo of the day: I’VE BEEN ACCEPTED INTO THE QUEENS “INVINCIBLE SUMMER” ART FAIR ! – This photo called “Winter’s Sun” of a polar bear bather taking a dip in the winter’s ocean on Coney Island got me accepted into the art show and fair. The fair is a juried exhibition for which hundreds entered and 50 were selected one of them is ME. The exhibition grants me the right then to also be in the art fair, which is an art sale to be held at Queen of Angels parish hall on June 9th from 1pm to 5pm. A formal invitation will be announced here! Please come and “meet and greet (and catch up with) the artist!’
The on-going exhibit will be held right down the street from me in my hood at the Claret Wine Bar, June 11 – July 9.
Sunday, June 9, 1-5pm: Art Fair – Queen of Angels Parish, 44-04 Skillman Ave, Sunnyside, NY 11104, Phone: (718) 392-0011
Tuesday, June 11, time tba:  Exhibit opening night party. Claret Wine Bar, 4602 Skillman Avenue/corner 46th Street, Sunnyside . Queens . 718-937-7411   http://www.claretwinebar.com/
A N D – – – all good things come in three’s. I will have my own exhibit of 12 – 14 works at The Brogue Bar and Restaurant in mid June!! https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Brogue/113474548686125
My photography web site: http://hansvonrittern.com/
I truly hope you will join me there! STAY TUNED  ! ! !
WebSAorg2013 a



Photo of the day: ROCK CENTERED – Following the incredible public response to Ugo Rondinone’s Human Nature public art display at Rockefeller Center, the exhibition has been extended by one month and will remain on view through July 7! Transforming Rockefeller Center Plaza between 49th and 50th Streets, Rondinone’s nine colossal stone figures stand like ancient sentries in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Their immovable legs are gates through which visitors pass (and where they often pose for photos!) and their primal 16- to 20-foot-tall forms stand in stark contrast to the modern buildings that surround them. Some say they look like human figures…I say they look like stacked rocks – art is in the eye of the beholder. (And no, you can’t climb to ‘the top of the rock’).
Share your images of the exhibition using the hashtag #UgoNYC or upload your images to PublicArtFund.org, where they will live as part of their exhibition archive!
This exhibition is presented by Nespresso and organized by Public Art Fund and Tishman Speyer.



Photo of the day: MRS. HIGGINBOTTOM GOES FOR A WALK– Every morning about half past ten, Mrs. Higginbottom will put on her sensible shoes in preparation for her daily constitutional. A raincoat is always necessary since one never knows when it might rain. Her favorite burgundy hat is just right for the light morning drizzle, a folding umbrella is in her shoulder bag should the weather get more inclement. The shoulder bag contains the necessities of her walk: a good book, the morning papers, some tea biscuits and a handkerchief of lace. With a sense of coordination she wore her burgundy blouse to match the hat today, and in a last minute frivolous moment, she decided to add the leopard print scarf given to her by Maurice. Maurice’s memories always give her comfort, in the rain one needs comfort.
10:15am promptly she leaves her flat. Whilst walking one must always be sure to ward off the purse snatchers, so Mrs. Higginbottom always grasps her handbag steadily in front of her. She is ever ready – for the rain, her memories of Maurice and her walk amongst the downtown purse snatchers. Walk on Mrs. Higginbottom, walk on. 



Photo of the day: INVASION OF THE BIKE SNATCHERS – According to the Napoleonic dictatorship of Mayor Bloomberg, New York City can be made in to a country village of happy bicyclists that will not interfere with this bustling city. These bike share racks are an under the table deal arranged between Bloomberg and Janette Sadik-Khan, the transportation commissioner and Citibank. Ms. Kahn is assured a rosey retirement thanks to this delusional deal. Citibank floods the city with it’s peddling meddling logos and and Ms. Kahn will rest even more comfortably.
The docking stations, they claim, were organized with the neighbor leaders, the neighborhoods remember no such meetings. Instead they have replaced much, much needed parking spaces, loading and unloading zones in this city of millions of commercial establishments, tour bus stops, and have even been placed in front of private residences blocking cabs and most urgently – ambulances. The ambulances will be needed since the bikes carry no helmet requirements.
Many of these ‘day trippers’ have no regards for the rules of the road and ride against traffic, on the sidewalks and come barreling through the traffic lights. The bikes have no substantial racks to carry your belongings and I would like to know how this will replace public transportation in the sleet, rain and snow storms to come.
Go up 6th Avenue! I have in private tours all weekend. The trucks are TRIPLE parked because of those damned bike lanes with no one in them! Garbage trucks can’t get close to the curb either. Try navigating your bus or car around triple parked garbage trucks! But the most egregious placement of the bike racks is the deliberate elimination of public art spaces. Emperor Bloomberg is clearly wearing no clothes.

Mondays on Memory Lane: Richard Skipper weaves a magical evening with Tommy Tune

TOMMY TUNE 5-23-13

Mondays on Memory Lane: Richard Skipper weaves a magical evening with Tommy Tune – On Thursday night, May 23rd, 2013, Richard Skipper hosted an extraordinary evening of intimate conversation with nine time Tony winner Tommy Tune at Queensborough Community College. The evening was a rare privilege for all. First and foremost for Richard, since it was Tommy himself who had requested him for the interview. Secondly for all of us lucky enough to be in the audience. To see this talented icon of Broadway theater open up to Richard’s questions and reminisce freely was an exciting treat. We’ve all seen Tommy Tune dance and perform, but a shared moment like this is irreplaceable. Richard knows his theater history, combined with both their friendships with legend Carol Channing – their bond made for an insightful conversation. Tommy shared lessons learned from luminaries such as Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Carol, Michael Bennett, Lucie Arnaz, Honey Coles and his perfect pairing with Twiggy in the film “The Boyfriend” and the hit Broadway show “My One and Only”.
Tommy Tune reflects

Tommy Tune reflects

Tommy Tune doing the letter "H" from the song "You Gotta Have Heart"

Tommy Tune doing the letter “H” from the song “You Gotta Have Heart”

At age 74, Tommy has a youthful energy that comes from the love of his craft. He simply radiates joy. The audience was riveted by the insight and advice Tommy gave, many times reinforcing that our own uniqueness should drive our determination to forge forward and take chances and leaps of faith. Richard steered the ‘conversation’ masterfully. In ending the evening Richard with his usual warm charm, asked the audience to participate in asking questions of Tommy which added to the bond that had been created with both Tommy’s and Richard’s fans.  It was an evening not to be forgotten, thank you Richard!
"What Becomes A Legend Most?" 1994 ad poster

“What Becomes A Legend Most?” 1994 ad


Tommy Tune and Richard Skipper saying good night

Tommy Tune and Richard Skipper saying good night



Photo of the day: 4,000+ SOLDIERS LOST IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN  – On Memorial Day weekend, I always take my guests to Marble Collegiate Church on Fifth Avenue and 29th Street, which since 2006 has honored the fallen soldiers of these wars. Every Sunday yellow ribbons are added to the ever growing sea of yellows ribbons on their cast iron fence surrounding the church. Look at the white name tags and see all their names, but more movingly – see all their ages: 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26. . . a tragic loss of young lives.  
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale served as senior minister from 1932-1984 here, preaching ‘the power of positive thinking’. Under his ministry Marble’s influence reached national levels and became known as “America’s Hometown Church.” On November 19, 1961, Lucille Ball married her second husband Gary Morton in the church. On March 16, 2002 Liza Minnelli married gay David Gest in a freak $4 million dollar wedding ceremony. In the wedding party were Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Ross.
This church has seen a lot of history since being built in 1852, but today the most stark historical reminder is offered by this church with these yellow ribbons. Let’s think positively that this church won’t have to add many more names in the future, enough is enough.


Photo of the day: SPIDERMAN UNMASKED – There’s a story here, but it’s gone down the drain. I was walking down Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village when I seemed to be the only one who noticed something was awry in the gutters of New York. Has one of our superheroes been unmasked? Or, has one of the many ‘Spidermen’ in Times Square lost his mask on the way home? Is the mask part of someone’s Halloween discards? Somewhere there is a Spiderman unmasked. I wondered who it could be as I walked on, leaving the mask for the street sweeper to whisk away.

Photo of the day: CONNECTIVITY


Photo of the day: CONNECTIVITY



Photo of the day: GAY HATE CRIMES IN GREENWICH VILLAGE UP 70% IN 2013: What used to be a ‘village’ of all people of all colors and all persuasions is being lost by the rapid gentrification due to real estate greed. Still, if you are gay, the Village is your traditional home, where you are supposed to walk hand in hand with your lover and feel proud and safe about it. The rainbow flags are everywhere in preparation for Gay Pride day.
But – it is also a place to go ‘fag hunting’. Recently 29 fatal or near fatal hate crimes have been reported in the area. That is a 70% spike from last year. Some attribute it to a fluke, others to the gaining rights and the mainstreaming of gays that makes a small scared ignorant minority seek out their homophobic rage.
Those two factions met Sunday might as Mark Carson (32) was walking with his friend and was approached by Elliot Morales (33) taunting him, asking if he was a “gay wrestler.” Mark at first avoided the confrontation and kept walking, but the killer raced ahead and hunted Mark down. Confronted a second time, Mark was shot in the face and died almost instantly. As Elliot Morales was being restrained on a sidewalk, he laughed and boasted: ‘I shot him in the face.’
A memorial march was held, and a memorial continues to grow on the spot of the incident. The location happens to be the main intersection of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street, site of the former Barnes & Noble. This happens to be a main stop (to wait for traffic) as the miles long gay pride day parade waits to jubilantly enter the narrow winding and historic Christopher Street and pass by the Stonewall Inn, the site of the start of the gay rights movement. All of this is in frighteningly too close a proximity. Rather than hooting and hollering this year, I hope there will be silence on the part of the marchers as the parade passes by Mark Carson’s site.
As of Wednesday, May 22, today, five more gay hate crimes have been reported.



Photo of the day: ROOF COLLAPSE IN GREENWICH VILLAGE – Residents said it sounded like a car crash, next came the sound of fire engine sirens from everywhere. A row of four 125 year old buildings on a stretch of Bleecker Street between Grove and Barrow Street had the wooden and tin cornice suddenly come crashing down this afternoon around 2:30 pm. Luckily no one was seriously hurt. Firemen had to tear down the loose pieces and secure the rest of the cornice. As firemen inspected the roof it was now visibly obvious how rotted with age the wooden and tin cornice is. The firemen of ladder company 9/nine told me the roof is safe and secure, it is the cornice that will have the eliminated. Residents inside the buildings and stores were evacuated till the buildings can be declared as safe. The popular A.O.C. Restaurant at 314 Bleecker has also been affected by this. One of the residents of 312 Bleecker was a stunned expectant mother and her son who had to find a place to stay till they can safely return. Ironically one of the tenants was in the process of moving out, talk about omens! And speaking of omens….a gypsy fortune teller around the corner named ‘Clair Voyant’ oddly didn’t see it coming . . .



Mondays on Memory Lane: 1981-2103 ONE NIGHT ONLY AT THE RITZ WITH HOLLY WOODLAWN – Thirty three years ago I saw advertised in the local underground magazines that Andy Warhol’s outrageous transgender star Holly Woodlawn was to appear in Terrence McNally’s play ‘The Ritz” co-starring then infamous gay porn star Cal Culver better known as Casey Donovan. The show was at Xenon Disco, the strong competition to Studio 54 at the time. Xenon (as Studio 54 was) was also inside an old Broadway theater with huge pinball bumpers that came down from the ceiling that you had to bump with your hip so that alarm bells would go off, part of the current ‘the bump’ dance craze.

‘The Ritz’ was based on Bette Midler’s 1971 unusual meteoric rise to fame in the gay bathhouse ‘The Continental Baths’ owned by Steve Ostrow in the Ansonia Hotel. The Broadway play garnered Rita Moreno (as third rate Puerto Rican actress wannabe ‘Googie Gomez’) a Tony award and her role was reprised in the hilarious 1976 film.
The fact that Holly Woodlawn, herself Puerto Rican, certainly not ‘third rate’ but campy as hell, was performing in this play had me immediately buy tickets for the first night of previews (I couldn’t wait for opening night!). The show was a perfect fit for Holly and she was hilarious. After the show we danced the night away, in the early morning hours, on my way out of the disco I tore this poster off the wall – unbeknownst to me at the time, the show opened and closed that same night due to lack of funding.
For those of you too young to know who Holly is, but the name still sounds familiar, singer Lou Reed refers to Holly Woodlawn in his iconic song “Walk on the Wild Side,” in the opening lyric “Holly came from Miami, Florida.” Her antics and connections to a now much revered Andy Warhol past are legendary. I seem to be the only one who remembers that when iconic 1960’s/70’s music club Trude Heller’s at 418 6th Avenue (SE corner of 9th Street and 6th Avenue) started placing hand prints of the famous performers on their sidewalk, Holly placed her ass prints in the side walk. The block was framed and hung on the side of the club.
AIDS and changing tastes wiped out this entire glorious and glamorous era and the people and it’s clubs simply disappeared. But there is one of the few tough survivors – Holly Woodlawn. I was stunned and excited to receive a notice that she was going to make a super rare appearance at the Laurie Beecham Theater (Joan Rivers’ fav hangout) on Friday, May 17. I bought a ticket immediately and sat 2nd row. I brought with me my theater posters of Holly’s shows such as ‘The Neon Woman’, Women Behind Bars’ – both starring drag legend Divine. But my ultimate treasure is the one night only appearance of ‘The Ritz’. The posters caused quite a stir amongst her fans and old friends, taking pictures of them with their iPhones. Then 7:30 came, the lights were lowered and out she came, thirty three years after I had seen her – Holly.
 Holly Woodlawn 1 night only
She is the embodiment of a survivor! Now battling near crippling spinal stenosis, it was heartwarming yet hard to watch her cheerfully be helped on stage by two of her friends. “I am home!” she cried. Now 66, nothing else had changed, the sly wink, the double entendres, the off-the-wall humor, and above all, the immense amount of love streaming between her and her audience. She is sharp as a tact. Funny, irreverent, reflective and above all determined to have a good time. It was a mutual love fest. With no disrespect meant to either women but Holly has sort of morphed into long gone comedian Totie Fields. It was endearing. After the show she was helped from the stage in her wheel chair and her long time friends such as actress Brenda Bergman and fans surged towards her, some wanting autographs, some a photo and some just to recall one of the incredible Warhol days with her. She was able to sign only one autograph and she chose my ultra rare poster, “I can’t do it so well you know, Hans is your name? You know I am part German too,” she said with a determined smile. I was left speechless as I watched her struggle to lovingly sign my poster in hot pink ink. In that moment I was transported back to that first night of previews of “The Ritz”, I could hear “You’ll be swell, you’ll be great! Gonna have the whole world on a plate.” Holly Woodlawn does have the whole world on her plate – and I was lucky enough to be at her feast!
 DSC_6538 - Copy
“The Ritz” The farce is set in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan, where unsuspecting heterosexual Cleveland businessman Gaetano Proclo has taken refuge from his homicidal mobster brother-in-law, Carmine Vespucci. There Gaetano stumbles across an assortment of oddball characters, including a rabid chubby chaser, go-go boys, a squeaky-voiced detective and Googie Gomez, a third-rate Puerto Rican entertainer with visions of Broadway glory who mistakes him for a famous producer and whom he mistakes for a man in drag. Further complications arise when Gaetano’s wife Vivian tracks him down and jumps to all the wrong conclusions about his sexual preferences.
The Continental Baths’ amazing star studded history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Baths

Photo of the day: SEPARATE MEETINGS


Photo of the day: SEPARATE MEETINGS – The New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, a place where people come to study and research. Some people come to marvel at the magnificent architecture. Some come to see the excellent exhibits. Some come here for meetings. Some meetings are
very business like . . . other meetings are private.

Photo of the day: THE WHOLE BALL OF WAX


Photo of the day: THE WHOLE BALL OF WAX – When you are a daily New York subway rider, you come to know ‘the regulars’ on your train. That man who always folds The New York Times so precisely when reading it’s almost an art, the Russian woman who loves wearing leopard patterns, the Indian man who listens to Bollywood soundtracks so loud on his iPhone ear bugs – you can hear it clearly three seats away, the girl who seems to think the subway is her bathroom and meticulously applies her makeup stroke by calculated stroke, the snoring businessman who prefers to wear gray suits. But then there are the other “irregulars”: ‘Lady Karisma’ a woman who wears emerald green sequins, plays a melodica and announces the history of Brazilian music before she sings Antonio Carlos Jobim’s ‘The Girl From Ipanema” off key, the kid selling candy “for my high school team”, the air head folk singer who singing on the minority laden 7 train is just so, so out of place, the crazy lady from 46th Street who wears totally mis-matched clothes with a preference for lace gloves and veils, eats bags of sunflower seeds and very busily talks to herself – but don’t touch her, she gets testy.
But this being New York…there is always something new to surprise me in this never ending stream of a free show. The other day I was crammed onto a #4 uptown train during rush hour and had barely any room to move my head to look around. As I glance to the left, the lady with the big oversized bee-keeper-like mauve hat did catch my attention. She was terribly engrossed in working on something with her hands. There was also a strange odor coming from her way. Not offensive – just not a recognizable smell. Ok, curiosity getting the better of me, I inched closer. The smell was of the wax she was kneading. There she was – making an old fashion shoe out of candle wax, yes you read that right. A shoe…out of wax. She had a cardboard box of dirty, presumably found candle stubs that she was breaking pieces off of in order to add and mold them very meticulously to her shoe. By the way, the matching shoe was in the box. I tried getting a look at her face but the mauve bee-keeper hat prevented that. She studied the shoe, turned it from all angles in order to apply the next piece of dirty wax just right. I watched her with fascination. As the train pulled into 42nd Street and I got off the train, I just wondered ‘what does one do with a pair of wax shoes?!’

Photos of the day: ♫♪ ON THE 20th CENTURY LIMITED TRAIN ♫♪

20th CENTURY LIMITED collage

Photos of the day: ♫♪ ON THE 20th CENTURY LIMITED ♫♪ – The 20th Century Limited was an express passenger train operated by the New York Central Railroad from 1902 to 1967, during which time it would become known as a “National Institution” and the “Most Famous Train in the World”. In the year of its last run,The New York Times said that it “…was known to railroad buffs for 65 years as the world’s greatest train”. The train traveled between Grand Central Terminal in New York City and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago along the railroad’s famed “Water Level Route”.
From February 1978 to March 1979, “On The Twentieth Century” was a big, splashy art deco Broadway musical starring none other than Imogene Coca, John Cullum and Madeline Kahn. Imogene stopped the show as Letitia Primrose with her rousing song “Repent!”.
"On The Twentieth Century" 1978 Broadway cast lp

“On The Twentieth Century” 1978 Broadway cast lp

Last weekend May 11-12, 2013, the extravagant 20th Century Limited made a much sought after reappearance at the Centennial Grand Central Terminal Train Show. The crowds were twice what the police expected. It was a two to three hour wait to see the ‘Limited’ alone, but it was worth it! The New York police made the very unpopular decision to shut the show down early to handle the overflow crowds. I was literally the last person to make it in line to see the famed art deco train at 1:00pm. Phew! The upside of that was, since I was the last, the Grand Central volunteers were so happy to see I was the last one – I got a private tour! I was dizzy with euphoria as prying eyes outside were looking in wondering ‘who is that guy?!”.
In the stainless steel operational kitchen.

In the stainless steel operational kitchen.

To experience this treasure from the past all alone is incredible. The sleek art deco fluid designs, the wonderful mint green art deco colors, the big deco furniture, the sheer elegance of every detail is exquisite. It was sensory overload. These were the days when travel was a luxury and an exciting experience you got dressed in your best for. Ladies with hat boxes, men with top hats and ties, children with their nannies in tow. I saw the whole train. The private dining room, the main dining room, the art deco bar, the sitting room, the sleeping quarters for the crew, the luxurious suites, the deco bathrooms, the all stainless steel kitchen-still operational. The best feature of all is the elegant high style art deco observation car in the back, shaped like a bullet. Wandering through the train James Bond’s intrigue with the adjoining rooms in “From Russia With Love” came to mind. Marilyn Monroe in her upper sleeping berth of “Some Like It Hot”, the romantic and thrilling memories were everywhere. I was told the most oft asked question asked upon seeing the sleeping berths was “Where’s Marilyn?”. The train is privately owned and you can rent it for $14,000 a weekend to travel the scenic rails of America. Get 20 of your best friends together, dress in your vintage best and it’s worth it! ALL ABOARD !
The owner, way in the back of  'Star Trak Inc.', finally taking a rest in his domain.

The owner, way in the back of ‘Star Trak Inc.’, finally taking a rest in his domain.

YouTube documentary to the glamorous red carpet train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjKHW8XkU9w



Photo of the day: GRAND CENTRAL TERMINAL IS 100 YEARS AND 100 DAYS OLD TODAY – In the 1968 the city wanted to tear it down. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stepped in and fought for it’s protection: 
“Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? Americans care about their past, but for short term gain they ignore it and tear down everything that matters. Maybe… this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won’t all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes.”
Sadly enough, her statement is even more true today in the Mayor Bloomberg/Councilwoman Christine Quinn administration than it ever has been. One half million people a day wonder at the awe of this magnificent saved building. With the greed that is so prevalent in our city today, with buildings being torn down left and right in favor of monsterous soul-less glass boxes – how many buildings are we to loose?…
Visit Grant Central’s web site for their calendar of centennial events: http://www.grandcentralterminal.com/events
Marilyn Grand Central



Mondays on Memory Lane: MY OFFICE VIEWS FROM THE 102nd FLOOR OF WORLD TRADE CENTER SOUTH TOWER – With the advent of the spire topping off and finishing the new World Trade Center Tower, I will tell you what it was like to work in the original towers. In 1983 I got a job on the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center, the south tower. I was senior project manager of a commercial design firm named Dancker, Sellew & Douglas. I worked there with my dear friend Helene Bernicoff. My desk was right near the tall floor to celing windows. It was incredible.

On my first day to work – I was late! I am German, Germans are never late! But I was. You see, I had calculated the exact amount of time it took to take the subway from Rego Park, Queens to the Trade Center. What I had not calculated on was the vertical traveling time. That took an additional 12-15 minutes. By the time you found an express elevator in the rush hour that had room to take you to floors 50 and 100, then, transferred to the local elevator which took you to floors 101 – 110. . . it was 12 to 15 minutes vertical traveling time! To transfer from a “local” to an “express” was something one usually does with trains and buses, not elevators, it was surreal. Then you had to un-pop your ears every morning as you arrived at your desk. (There were 198 elevators in total).
My view was north. I could see the whole of Manhattan, the Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building, Central Park and far into New Jersey. My friends relied on me for weather forecasts. If the radio said it was a sunny afternoon for the park, I would contradict the radio and say, ‘No, no, I see a big dark weather pattern coming in the from the north or the south’. It was fun.
Northeast view from the original World Trade Center Tower. Woolworth Tower below.

Northeast view from the original World Trade Center Tower. Woolworth Tower below.

On stormy days the building would sway in the wind, it had to of course. The girls would complain and say they were getting sea sick…no they weren’t, they just wanted to go home to watch their soap operas. There were 12 lobby elevators which expressly took you to the higher floors, twelve of them. Each was the size of a cattle car – huge! On very stormy days, only the outer corner elevators would be operational because we were told the center 10 car cables were not stable enough to handle the swaying…great to know. Once inside the elevator, even the biggest loudmouth shut up. There was always this “silence” in the elevators.
The elevator banks at the World Trade Center

The elevator banks at the World Trade Center

On those stormy days you had to learn to balance yourself. No, not walking – in the toilet. You see, the water in the bathroom bowl swayed the way it does on a ship in stormy high seas. If you weren’t careful, you’d get a wet bottom.
Since we were a design firm, we had many colored markers at our desks. What we would do, is to attach one of the markers from the ceiling with a string and hang it so the tip would touch a piece of paper on our desk. We would watch the marker make the same pattern on the paper over and over again as the building swayed. As the wind shifted, so did the design on the paper. I wish I had kept on of those papers, but it was a novelty taken for granted in those days. There was always ‘white noise’ in the background, the hum/buzz of the air ventilation systems, it was like being on an eight hour airplane ride daily. To work in the clouds – a memory I will never forget and always treasure.


THREE MOMS collage

Photo  of the day: THREE FIERCELY INDEPENDENT  WOMEN: My three ‘moms’. Each woman went against the society of her times and lived her life as she saw fit, not as society dictated. I am these three women. If you love me – you love them.
Anny Cornelius: My theatricality, musicality, passion, humor and style. Against all dictates of the day, she refused marriage offers from royalty and fine suitors and ‘married’ her opera career to wind up singing Carmen at The Berlin Opera.
Amahlie (Jaehne) Von Rittern: Divorced her husband to raise her child as she saw fit. Later gave up her concert pianist career and country to come to America (not knowing the language) to help raise me. My appreciation of music, love, compassion and sense of art and balance come from her.  
Ursula Von Rittern: Divorced her husband to raise me on her own. Refused alimony in the 1950’s and did it all by herself. She went from selling vacuum cleaners to California residents in the early morning on the telephone to finally breaking through the sexist glass ceiling of the 1970’s and 80’s and wound up in a corner office, assistant to the CEO of Manufacturer’s Hanover Bank. My liberal views, determination and hard work ethic come from her. 
I am these three women.
Hard Working.

In the works is a family history of four generations of independent women who all raised their children on their own against all odds, through two World Wars, traveled around the globe, sacrificed, fought sexism and society’s morals. Mom is 87 and currently writing the book. Stay tuned . . .



Photo of the day: DISTURBING AIRPLANE PHOTO OF FINISHED WORLD TRADE CENTER – Friday May 10th, 2013 marked the final topping of the new World Trade Center with the last top portion of the spire being put in place. The finished symbolic height 1,776 feet. 1776 the year of the birth of our country. The Twin Towers were 110 floors high, this new tower is 111 floors high. While photographing the new spire on it’s monumental day, I happened to catch this disturbing image as a jet airliner passed by.


Photo of the day: NOT YOUR AVERAGE NIGHT AT CARNEGIE HALL – So you thought Carnegie Hall is quiet and reserved for it’s classical music concerts…well you’re wrong. This sell out house was cheering on the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with their red state colors and were there to see one of the most exciting singers around Storm Large. Having front row center seats added to my excitement!
Storm sang Kurt Weill’s “The Seven Deadly Sins” made famous by Weill’s wife Lotte Lenya. Storm was in top form singing and acting the part with her trademark deep gut passion.    The concert broadcast live over classical music station WQXR consisted of
  • RACHMANINOFF Caprice bohémien, Op. 12
  • RACHMANINOFF Isle of the Dead
  • WEILL The Seven Deadly Sins with Storm Large
  • RAVEL La valse
Storm Large takes her bow to thunderous applause with conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Storm Large takes her bow to thunderous applause with conductor Leonard Slatkin.

Carnegie Hall built by Andrew Carnegie for his wife in 1891 because she said she had no decent place to listen to music in New York, is one of the few concert halls in the world that is acoustically perfect. It has had some of the greatest voices of all time and some of the most iconic concerts have been recorded here. Imagine sitting where Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Shirley Bassey, James Gang, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jessye Norman, Maria Callas, Edith Piaf have appeared! It is one of the musical treasures of the world.



Photo of the day: MEET BETTE MIDLER IN PERSON MAY 9, AT KORVETTE DEPT. STORE – 36 years ago! May 9, 1977. It was a Monday afternoon, I am sure I played hooky from college, and I got there early and got in line with all my Bette Midler memorabilia which she gladly signed (in those days, stars did that!). It was the advent of Bette’s much anticipated ‘Live At Last’ 2lp record set. To capture the escence of 1970’s bawdy Bette – you need to hear her live, up till then there had been only three studio recordings of her. The ‘Live’ record album became one of the most quoted and mimicked in every drag queen’s act in those days. “Hello Cleve-land!”
Red head Bette was in true camp mode and kibitzed with everyone. Dig the groovy 1970’s graphics in the background of the smaller photo. Doesn’t her assistant look like ‘Laurie Partridge’?? I stayed a while and took some photos of the, then, rising superstar. On the way out of the old Korvettes Department Store – I grabbed this sign with the photo, right out of the standing sign holder and raced for the door. Today the sign is one of the few artifacts left of the long gone (then one of the first) discount department store Korvettes located at 575 Fifth Avenue/47th Street, to the consternation of SAKS Fifth Avenue, which was just two blocks up on the swanky avenue.
Eugene Ferkauf, owner of E. J. Korvette department store, standing outside by storefront on Fifth Avenue

Eugene Ferkauf, owner of E. J. Korvette department store, standing outside by storefront on Fifth Avenue

(The store used both spellings: KORVETTE and KORVETTES.)
See Bette perform ‘Live’:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO7CTclJ8B4
Now today, 36 years later, you can see blonde Bette on Broadway in the play “I’ll Eat You Last.”


M & __

Photo of the day: M & __ – The giant sassy Ms. Green M&M was caught scandalously naked at the Broadway and 50th Street mega candy store yesterday with her shell down, exposing her . . . chocolate! Thanks to this cavalier gentlemen from Spectrum Broadway Signs, she was left only a short while feeling a slight breeze under her missing shell. Ms. Green M&M looks on sheepishly and her chocolate friends look over their shoulders as our man from Spectrum retrieves the green lady’s coat, thus proving the days of chivalry are not dead.

Photo of the day: WAITING FOR THE BUS

Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus

Photo of the day: WAITING – for the M101 bus on Third Avenue, voted the 2012 “Schleppie of the Year”. The M101 was given the Schleppie Award as the city’s least reliable bus, more than a quarter arrive bunched together or with major gaps. The average wait time of 8 minutes is a non reality. When the bus does arrive, it can move as slowly as 3.9 mph (miles per hour) – that is slower than an amusement park bumper car. I watched this man for ten minutes . . . he gave up and decided to walk instead. I ♥ NY.


DREAM collage

Mondays on Memory Lane: CARRIE BRADSHAW DIDN’T LIKE MY BIRTHDAY GIFT – I haven’t written down one of my dreams in years, but this crazy one happened to me yesterday afternoon.
It begins ~ I am giving a tour on a double decker bus on a lovely day in New York. During lunchtime I remember that I have to go to an actors audition and hurry there. In hurrying there my touring guide clothes morph in to casual clothes and I arrive at the audition which seems to look like an office I had once worked in.  I say a few lines and get the part but I am told that is not enough, I need to get more people to come to the audition. I hesitate but tell the man I think I can get my group of friends to come. He tells me he is pleased with that and the part is mine if the others will accept the parts too.
I rush home to an/my apartment which astoundingly looks like the apartment from the TV series “The Odd Couple” except it is empty. No furniture, nothing on the walls. I hurriedly walk around the apartment looking for a telephone to call my friends for the audition and stumble into a room filled with vintage 1970’s electronic equipment, all of which is playing. A fancy stereo turntable, an old fashioned TV, an old clunky VCR and a music DJ’s soundboard – all of them interconnected by thick cable wires. (Kind of like in the ‘Saw’ movies.) I am confused why they have all been left on and disconnect them one by one and leave the old telephone connected and call my friends, only to be reminded by them that I have to attend of their birthday party’s in a few hours.
Being in the empty apartment, I have no gift and head out the long corridor and out the door to an outlet store. In the store I am met by an over ambitious sales person trying to make a sale and my sales resistance seems to have weakened, I find my self telling him that it needs to be a “Sex and the City” themed gift. He anxiously shows me an array of show related items but I say they are not good enough or unique enough. I remember saying I needed four of the same gift (which makes no sense since the party seemed to be for one person.) The salesperson shows me this strange tall iron box which looks like a periscope kids used to play with, equipped with mirror and all. I am fascinated by it and told it is a very rare one of a kind piece. Satisfied with the provenance, I buy it and 2 similar gifts and also a fourth separate gift.
I rush to the party and the home of my ‘friends’ has the atmosphere of a nice California villa but inside was a New York City bar. At the bar sat my four friends  very happy to see me – ‘the girls’ Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Samantha Jones and Charlotte York – the cast from “Sex and the City” (the later years). Upon seeing me they rush to greet me and I proudly reveal my birthday gift for the birthday girl which turns out to be Carrie/Sarah Jessica Parker. I tell her that I also got her the parts at the audition which she isn’t so pleased about but I have the audacity to say to her “hey, but at least you’ll be working in something you know!” She accepts the idea but is instantly distracted by the gift. At first she is thrilled with excitement which then turns to horror. “Omg, do you realize what this is? Do yo know who made this?!” Dumfounded, I thought ‘great’, I bought a rare art treasure for the elite Carrie.
“No! This has been made by an ancient American Indian tribe, this is from a tribal ritual. I can’t keep this! It is cursed! You have to return it!” Disappointed, I take the art piece back staring at it. In the meantime, Miranda Hobbes loves her gift and Samantha is filled with joy at her gift (which I don’t know what it is) and she gives me a great big kiss. Charlotte just seems to be lost in the background. Carrie’s upset voice reemerges “you have to return this, do you realize what this is?!”
Downtrodden I leave the party with the rejected gift in hand and all of a sudden I  am laying on an outdoor staircase in the sun, sunning myself with the ‘art’ salesman, telling the salesman, “Carrie didn’t like her gift, but she will reluctantly appear on the show.”
The next voice I hear is that of Perry Mason and I wake up in a familiar bed. I have fallen asleep watching retro television programs while in a pizza haze after a long days work.
The moral of this story: “Don’t eat four slices of pizza after having had no breakfast – you pass out in a pizza food haze in front of your TV and wind of buying bad gifts for Carrie Bradshaw. “