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

Archive for August, 2013

Photo of the week: TIJUANA + TOURISM + TEQUILA!

el Campanario Shop: Ave Revolucion No. 952, Tijuana, Mexico

el Campanario Shop: Ave Revolucion No. 952, Tijuana, Mexico

Photo of the week: TIJUANA + TOURISM + TEQUILA! – I spent the last few days in one of my favorite fun places in the world = Tijuana, Mexico! It’s is a photographer’s feast of colors, architecture, stark contrasts and vibrant life. Wednesday was spent walking the streets from 9am till 9pm with camera in hand!  I just got back home and am exhausted and exhilarated from having such a good time, eating superb meals, photographing and shopping. I took well over 1,000 photos between San Diego and Mexico. There are many blogs with many stories to come (including one about the dog who wanted to go to church!) about this much maligned city. I’m thinking of starting a “Tijuana Tuesday” blog to tell the stories of this curious and fascinating place, the people and their daily lives.

Oh, btw – this is my new friend Carlos with whom I shared tequila shots – why not . . . it was noon 🙂 !


Brooklyn Bridge 1980

Brooklyn Bridge 1980

Mondays on Memory Lane – MY DAILY WALK OVER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE IN 1980 – In the spring of 1980 I moved into the newly rennovated Brooklyn Eagle Warehouse at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I was 24 years old and shared the 1,200 square foot apartment for a mere $700 a month, $350 each…yes $350! The Brooklyn Waterfront was still undeveloped and actually dangerous at night.

Eagle Warehouse

Eagle Warehouse

Eagle entrance at night

Eagle entrance at night

DUMBO didn’t exist, what did exist was a dumping ground for unwanted animals, dead animals and an occasional dead human being. In 1983, I got a job at Dancker, Sellew & Douglas Design Firm on the 102nd floor of the World Trade Center. Each morning, to save to cost of the .75¢ subway fare, I headed out over then 100 year old Brooklyn Bridge by foot towards Manhattan, across the steps of City Hall (there was no security in those days), through unrenovated downtown Manhattan, to the Trade Center South Tower elevators which carried me up to my desk on the 102nd floor in the clouds. How much more of a quintessential New York daily routine could one have?! It was a wonderful time.

The view from my desk at World Trade, south tower

The view from my desk at World Trade, south tower




Photo of the day: I HAVE A DREAM


Photo of the day: I HAVE A DREAM – 50 years  and still dreaming . . .



Photo of the day: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A GIANT OIL SPILL? – apparently use paper towels. Seen today at the corner of Astor Place and Broadway, these men had just finished delivering oil to the David Barton Gym when they were a little too eager to remove the nozel from building’s underground connection which resulted in a big oil spill on the side walk. They looked at it bewildered not knowing what to do . . . until one of the workers found the solution = paper towels!

Photo of the day: HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL


Photo of the day: HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL – When I saw this homeless woman on the front steps of a 42nd Street Church, reading a book with the title “Zadie Smith On Beauty” I  thought, ‘now there’s positive thinking!’ But – it turns out the book is a smoldering novel of bi-racial love and the clash between liberal and conservative academic values in the United States! A good page turner always intrigues and passes the time:)
On Beauty is a 2005 novel by British author Zadie Smith. It takes its title from an essay by Elaine Scarry (On Beauty and Being Just). The story follows the lives of a mixed-race British/American family living in the United States. On Beauty addresses ethnic and cultural differences in both the USA and the UK, the nature of beauty, . A short article in the Guardian has described it as a “transatlantic comic saga.”

Photo of the day: GATEWAY TO LIBERTY


Photo of the day: GATEWAY TO LIBERTY – When in Paris – you have to go to see the Eiffel Tower. When in New York – you have to go to see the Statue of Liberty. Every portion of the grounds are a treat for the eye! Whether you have crown access tickets (sold out till November 2013) or pedestal/museum access or just tour the grounds, it is an experience you won’t forget.
  If you have access passes to the pedestal you will see the lobby yields many treasures, such as this awe inspiring view from the second floor balcony.
The Statue of Liberty exhibit, which opened in July 1986 and is located on the second floor in the pedestal of the Statue, traces the history and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty through museum objects, photographs, prints, videos and oral histories. In addition to historical artifacts and descriptive text, full scale replicas of the Statue’s face and foot are also on display. The main historical sections include: From Idea to Image, Fabricating the Statue, Stretching Technology, Fundraising in France, The Pedestal, Fundraising in America, and Complete at Last. The next area focuses on the symbolism of Liberty with sections titled Mother of Exiles, Becoming the Statue of America, Century of Souvenirs, The Image Exploited and The Statue in Popular Culture.


1a New_York_theme_big_apple_cake_with_Statue_of_Liberty

Photo of the day: IT’S MY BLOG’S 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! 
I hope all of you have and are enjoying sharing my New York with me through my camera’s lens and my memories! 356 posts! Thank you all! If you like this blog please share it with your friends.
My book (3 of them!) is still in the works ! !
(Like’s are a wonderful feeling  )

Photo of the day: ACTIVISM IS BEAUTIFUL !



Photo of the day: ACTIVISM IS BEAUTIFUL FOR CYNTHIA NIXON, HARRY BELAFONTE AND SUSAN SARANDON – Since we have lived under the greedy dictatorship of Mayor Bloomberg and councilwoman Christine Quinn – we have lost TWELVE, possibly 14 hospital since they have been in office for the last 12 years!! St. John’s hospital on Queens Blvd, where I was born – closed. St. Vincent’s Hospital, founded in 1849, took in the only survivors of the Titanic in 1912. It was at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in Greenwich Village, was first in line to take in the 9/11 victims and lastly took in the passengers from ‘the miracle on the Hudson’ in 2009.

With the voracious greedy appetite and financial payoffs from the real estate Goliaths, the Rudin family, Quinn eased the hospital into becoming luxury condos. She tore down the hospital, the church and the 911 memorial with it so that all memory is gone!
Mayor Bloomberg who acts as the ĂĽber nanny in not allowing 16 oz sodas to be consumed by New Yorkers, controls what New Yorkers eat under the guise of being concerned for our health, has looked the other way as 12-14 hospital have been shut, turned into condos or are not admitting new patients. This is the reality of our mayor – the city of Bloombergistan.
Councilwoman Christine Quinn wields single handed power to control our laws and see to it that Bloomberg gets his way, if, as a fellow councilmember you vote against her, the funding for your district is cut off or reduced. I could go on.
There is one mayoral candidate who has been at all the protests, getting arrested and is speaking up for the inequality of the Bloomberg greedy years – Bill DeBlasio. In the last few months we have literally been in danger of loosing one hospital a week! This genocide of the middle class is alarming. If New York City were to have another hurricane Sandy or another terror attack – where are the ambulances and hospitals for us to go to?! This is a ticking time bomb. There are some who have the passion to speak out and say ‘enough is enough.’ These are the wonderful New Yorkers such as Cynthia Nixon, Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and mayoral candidate Bill DeBlassio.
On Monday August 19, we all rallied outside the remains of St. Vincent’s hospital in hopes that under a new leadership, the rape of our citizens and it’s hospitals will stop.


When Cynthia Nixon speaks - Susan Sarandon listens!

When Cynthia Nixon speaks – Susan Sarandon listens!























Photo of the day: HARRY BELAFONTE AND BILL DeBLASIO FIGHT FOR OUR HOSPITALS – Today at 12 noon there was a rally held to stem the epidemic of hospitals closing at the rate of one every few weeks. The rally was held across the street from the biggest scandal in NYC’s history, the recently demolished St. Vincent’s Hospital. The powerhouse of stars to speak out in this crisis were fellow New Yorkers Harry Belafonte, Susan Sarandon,  Chirlane McCray (DeBlasio’s wife) and Cynthia Nixon. More photos to follow.



Photo of the day: WONDER WHEEL GOT TO GO ‘ROUND ~

What goes up must come down

Wonder wheel got to go ’round

Talkin’ ’bout your troubles it’s a cryin’ sin

Ride a painted pony let the Wonder wheel spin

You got no money and you got no home

Wonder wheel all alone

Talkin’ ’bout your troubles and you never learn

Ride a painted pony let the Wonder wheel turn

Did you find the directing sign on the

Straight and narrow highway

Would you mind a reflecting sign

Just let it shine within your mind

And show you the colors that are real

Someone is waiting just for you

Wonder wheel, spinnin’ true

lyrics by Blood, Sweat and Tears 1968

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Coney Island Wonder Wheel is a 45.7-metre (150 ft) tall eccentric Ferris wheel located at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City, US.

Eccentric wheels differ from conventional Ferris wheels in that some of the passenger cars are not fixed directly to the rim of the wheel, but instead slide on rails between the hub and the rim as the wheel rotates.

Built in 1918 and opened in 1920 by the Eccentric Ferris Wheel Company, Wonder Wheel has 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, each able to carry 6 people, giving a total capacity of 144 passengers. 16 of the cars slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates, the remainder are fixed to the rim. The whole wheel weighs 200 tons.

The only time the wheel stopped while not under the control of the operator was during the New York City blackout of 1977 on July 13, 1977. Wonder Wheel operates on electricity, however, the passengers were not stuck on the wheel, as the owners cranked the wheel around to get them off.

Photo of the day: CROWN HEIGHTS


Photo of the day: CROWN HEIGHTS – From 265 feet (80.77 meters) above ground, there are 25 windows in the crown of the Statue of Liberty, some of which are open slightly giving you the opportunity to try to take the most amazing photographs of the iconic symbol of freedom. The seven spikes in her crown, just above the windows, represent the seven seas. To look out of these windows, one can truly use the expression “breathtaking.”
Crown tickets are usually sold out months in advance (till October 2013), but if can plan your trip in advance, reserve a ticket and take a lifetime climb and experience this magnificent ‘breathtaking’ view!

Photo of the day: COME INSIDE


Photo of the day: COME INSIDE – Take it to mean whatever you want, but this mural ad certainly draws your attention for the Station Restaurant & Bar at 166 North 7th Street and Bedford Avenue in hotter than hot Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Just take the “L” train to the Bedford Avenue stop.
Located at the heart of the bustling Williamsburg scene at Bedford Avenue, Station brings the feel of an old-world European train station café and restaurant in a contemporary setting. Amazing dining and drinking in a casual atmosphere, serving a premier selection of curated foods in a comfortable and friendly environment where guests are old friends. The food is Bistro Cuisine on vacation in Brooklyn, an eclectic mix of cultures and flavors emerging from the traditions of Europe.
Come to Brooklyn where old world New York still thrives!
STATION: 166 N. 7th Street Brooklyn, NY 11211. Tel: 718-599-1596

STATION: 166 N. 7th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211. Tel: 718-599-1596

Vintage photo of the day: WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?

Where were you

Vintage Photo of the day: WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT? – Today is the 10 year anniversary of the 2003 massive, long lasting blackout.
The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage that occurred throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario  on Thursday, August 14, 2003, just before 4:10 p.m. EDT. While some power was restored by 11 p.m., many did not get power back until two days later.At the time, it was the second most widespread blackout in history,  after the 1999 southern Brazil blackout. The blackout affected an estimated 10 million people in Ontario and 45 million people in eight U.S. states.
But, in 2006 Queens was hit by the worst blackout in NYC history, it lasted five days during a scorching heat wave. Sunnyside, Queens where I live, was effected the longest out of any neighborhood in the city and our power remained out for an entire week. Two dogs died on my block from heat exhaustion. My mother slept sitting upright by the window. No food was to be bought or had. Water was being handed out by the red cross. Mayor Bloomberg deemed to go to Queens not until the 5th day.
Where were ~you~ when the lights went out?
The film: Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? is a 1968  comedy film with Doris Day, directed by Hy Averback. It is set in New York City during the infamous Northeast Blackout of 1965, in which 25 million people scattered throughout seven states lost electricity for several hours
2006 Queens black out 5 days long: http://gothamist.com/2006/07/21/queens_fights_t.php

Photo of the day: “THEY’RE HAVING A 2 FOR 1 SALE!”


Photo of the day: “THEY’RE HAVING A 2 FOR 1 SALE!” – Sometimes people just go overboard at these BOGO (Buy one, get one) sales! Seems whatever it was they were selling – he was more interest in the “2” and the “1” !



Photo of the day: “THEY GAVE ME A FUCKING CHIHUAHUA?!”The classic Bette Midler joke…

Two women go for a walk with their dogs one day.

One had a Doberman; The other a Chihuahua.

“Look, there’s a bar open. Let’s go in. Have a drink,”
Doberwoman said.

“We can’t. We’ve got dogs,” Chihuahuawoman said.

“Just watch me. Do as I do,” Doberwoman said.

She put on her D&G shades, Walked boldly to the door
Where a bouncer said, “Sorry lady. No dogs. It’s the law.”

“You don’t understand!” Doberwoman said, “This is my seeing-eye dog.”

“A Doberman?” The bouncer asked.

“Yes, they’re using them now. They’re very good!”
Doberwoman said.

The bouncer shrugged And opened the door. Across the street,

Chihuahuawoman thought Convincing bouncer Chihuahua was seeing-eye dog may be a stretch But whatheheck—

Wearing her DKNY shades Strolled warily to the door— “Oops!” The bouncer said,

“No pets. Sorry.” “You don’t understand,” Chihuahuawoman said, “This is my seeing-eye dog.”

“A Chihuahua?” the bouncer asked Shaking his head.

“A Chihuahua??” Wailed Chihuahuawoman. “THEY GAVE ME A FUCKING CHIHUAHUA?!?!?”


Mondays on Memory Lane: I REMEMBER SUBWAYS WHEN . . .


Mondays on Memory Lane: I REMEMBER SUBWAYS WHEN . . .  – They had rattan seats – when the rattan came loose, it would pinch you in the ass – all you needed was a nickel and a dime to ride the subway, 15¢ – they gave out paper transfers – porcelain handles that squeaked – the subways were so noisy you had to wait till the next stop so that you could talk – they had vending machines on the platforms: assorted gums like Chicklets for 1¢, Dole orange juice machines with separate spigots for water and juice concentrate – there was still a Miss Subways – there were large paper ads shellacked onto the walls instead of the peel and stick kind today – the stations were dimly lit with simple household light bulbs – we still had token booth attendants – those thick wooden turnstiles – there was a dusty/musty smell in all the stations – garbage was piled high on the tracks – ladies wore white gloves on the subways (this helped keep your fingers from not getting black from reading The New York Times) – all businessmen read their cleverly triple vertically folded NY Times, it was an art – there were wonderful square cardboard ads on the car walls advertising the movies with a show at Radio City Music Hall – when (I Love) Lucy got the loving cub stuck on her head and takes the subway disguised as a beekeeper – there were no musical performers on the trains – that vertical emergency brake pole that was on one end in every car, that would clank as the train rattled – trains shook, rattled and rolled – going from car to car while the trains sped through the tunnels was really dangerous and scary – men gave ladies their seats – porcelain ceiling fans – those teeny tiny tokens! – you could open the windows at your desire – the conductor changing the route signs at the end of every station – you got dressed nicely simply because you were taking the New York City subway, wondering if you might sit next to an actual ‘miss Subways!’ . . .
Radio City movie & show - 1974 subway ad

Radio City movie & show – 1974 subway ad

Photo of the day: THE MAGIC SUBWAY RIDE . . .


Photo of the day: AND FOR MY NEXT TRICK . . .: New York City has the most free entertainment you can imagine, above ground and below. In addition to the thousands of street performers on our sidewalks and parks, there are hundreds more in the subways. The MTA (Mass Transit Authority) holds auditions for musicians so they can sing at designated regular spots and hopefully gain some recognition like my friend Alice Tan Ridley who went from performing in Times Square’s main station to appearing on America’s Got Talent TV show and she now has a successful concert schedule and CD!
Now you know you are a “real” New Yawka when you come to know the schedules of the subway performers on your subway line. That’s a real New Yawka! “Oh it 4:30, it’s time for the lady mariachi band!”. We have such performers as The Saw Lady who plays musical saw, pianists, opera singers, tap dancers, belly dancers, jazz musicians, contortionists, flutists, accordion players and my personal favorite ‘Lady Charisma’ – a Brazilian melodica player who only seems to know a few chords from one song,  AntĂ´nio Carlos Jobim’s “The Girl From Ipanema”. Lady Charisma’s schedule is about 10:30/11:00 pm  on my Flushing bound  #7 train line and I always have $1 ready for her.
The Saw Lady - Natalia Paruz

The Saw Lady – Natalia Paruz

So it was with great pleasure, while boarding the #5 train at 149th Street & The Grand Concourse in the Bronx, that I came encountered this magician with this wonderfully korny ‘magician’s carriage’ adorned with gold tattered fringe.  His pulled a white dove out of his hat. Did the usual handkerchief trick and made this bunny rabbit appear and disappear to the applause of the riders on the train. God I ♥ NY !
Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.
Rocky: Again?
Bullwinkle: Presto!

Photo of the day: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!

Coney Island, summer 2013

Coney Island, summer 2013

Photo of the day: DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY!  – the lifeguard is on duty, HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYBODY !
(Did you ever stop to think: A lifeguard’s vocation is his vacation.)


The four letter stand off

The four letter stand off


FUCK BXDA NYPD +PBA stands for: Fuck the Bronx District Attorney, the New York Police Department and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association.

A NYPD officer won’t be charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed Bronx teen Ramarley Graham, a grand jury voted Wednesday met by the cheers of police officers in the courtroom while the family sat there in shock. This adds to the growing list of unarmed youths of color like Trayvon Martin, killed by the police or ‘police wannabe’s’.

ABC reports the jury decided there wasn’t enough evidence to re-indict officer Richard Haste in the death of 18-year-old Ramarley Graham. Haste had been indicted by a different grand jury last year, but a judge threw out that indictment, citing a ‘mistake’ by the assistant district attorney.

Cops chased Graham into his grandmother’s Bronx apartment in February of 2012. They did not have a warrant to enter the apartment.

We're tired of hearing: "We thought he had a gun."

We’re tired of hearing: “We thought he had a gun.”

Acting on incorrect information that Graham was carrying a gun, Haste shot and killed the teen while he was attempting to flush marijuana down the toilet.

The family of the slain teen was quick to condemn the jury’s decision and headed down the Grand Concourse in The Bronx yesterday.

All races, all colors, all ages.

All races, all colors, all ages.

One lone protestor decided to take matters into her own hands and stood defiantly at in the intersection of 149th Street and Grand Concourse, not letting the busy rush hour traffic or police cars move. When she felt her stance, defiance and message had been heard loud and clear – she moved on.


MTA yards, on the waterfront, Long Island City, Queens

MTA yards, on the waterfront, Long Island City, Queens

Photo of the day: GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION – Sometimes when you are seeking an answer to “what to do” with that question that has been weighing heavily on your mind, sometimes the answer is right in front of you –  don’t waiver, forge straight forward!



Photo of the day: SUNNYSIDE AUGUST SUNSET – photographed on my way home approx. 7:45pm. Empire State Building on the horizon.


Mondays on Memory Lane: MARILYN DEAD (murdered) August 5, 1962


Mondays on Memory Lane: MARILYN DEAD (murdered) August 5, 1962 – The glaring headline sent shock waves around the world, that the world’s most beloved blonde sex symbol had “committed suicide.” I can still remember that Friday summer’s morning in August, as a six year old boy was visiting his local grocery store with his grandmother, when suddenly a woman rushed into the store waving a newspaper over her head yelling something. The next thing I remember is the grocery store becoming absolutely silent. I didn’t understand at all what was going on, I had never witnessed anything like this. I remember I tugged on “Oma’s” skirt and asked her what had happened, I clearly recall her saying to me in a hushed tone “a beautiful woman has died.” We left in silence, the people around us were transfixed on the newspaper, many crying.

Today Marilyn would have been 87 years old, the same age as my mother. I wonder, what would she have been like? A woman’s libber? A dramatic actress? A recluse? We will never know. I choose to think she would be happy, having found love again with Joe DiMaggio (they were seeing each other again, seen walking hand in hand on the beach), outspoken, not face lifted and a beautiful graceful wise old woman. I wish that for her.
“How sad that the universal symbol of love and sex appeal died so alone.” No, she didn’t die alone – she was murdered, there were many people there that night. There is all the proof in the world that has conveniently been suppressed to keep the Kennedy’s reputation clean and clear. How intense that America’s ‘Camelot’ first family would be tied to the murder of the most famous woman of all time.
New York Daily News, August 5, 1962

New York Daily News, August 5, 1962

Marilyn knew too much. She was seeing John F. Kennedy who had to end the affair for obvious reasons and passed her on to Bobby Kennedy. When Bobby wouldn’t return her calls anymore she made a pest of herself at the White House and the Kennedy household. How is it, that during the night she died, all of her phone records magically disappeared? No one  has the power to do that – except the White House. Weeks before her murder, her house was broken into. What was stolen? Jewels? Furs? Her bra? Memorabilia? No – the  infamous diary that she foolishly kept. Not wanting to be considered the dumb blonde, after her visits with the Kennedy’s and political figures, she would jot down notes of what she had overheard. She would study those notes so as to sound ‘intelligent’ at the next gathering. This was at the volatile time of the Cuban missile crisis which undoubtedly MM overheard details of. She simply was “a piece of meat” (Marilyn’s own words) who knew too much.
It is said she was depressed for being fired from her unfinished film “Something’s Got To Give” – not true, Dean Martin refused to continue filming unless MM was rehired, and she was. It is said she was loveless, as I said, she was seeing DiMaggio again. She was also living for the future, she had made plans to go furniture shopping in Mexico for her Spanish style home – a depressed person does not plan to buy furniture. She was known to be and said to be by her maid, Eunice Murray, a slob and would sleep rebelliously in dirty sheets for weeks and that the bed had not been made. Magically that night, new sheets appeared.
Anyone who knew her or had even seen her, saw and knew she couldn’t take pills without lots of water – there was no glass found in her room. How did she take all those pills?? The medication she is supposed to have overdosed with, leaves you dying cramped up, her body was found smooth. If she did take all the pills – where were they? The autopsy to this day shows only tea and toast in her stomach, that which her neighbor saw her eat. Her autopsy also, originally hundreds of pages long, mysteriously disappeared and was replaced with the greatly abbreviated version that exists today. The detective on the scene said he had never seen such a fishy fake set up as her bedroom death scene, but he never confessed this until shortly before he died.
So how did she die? Poisonous injection and suppository. MM wanted to get attention, having been rejected by both Kennedy’s. So, she had planned a press conference for that following Monday August 8th and was going to innocently leak some of the political scoop she had overheard, so as to get the brother’s attention. (Some old newspaper records still exist of the press conference she was to have had.) Oddly she was gone Friday night. Peter Lawford was sent with MM’s psychiatrist Ralph Greenson to quiet her up. The doctor knew exactly what drugs she had been prescribed and knew exactly what drugs would lethally interact with them. That drug was injected into her arm pits – one needle mark in each armpit  is indicated in the autopsy report, her colon was discolored from the poison inserted into her.
Time has very conveniently been the best cover up of the most sensational murder of all time. People fearful of reprisal kept quiet, or confessed when it was too late. The afterlife must be one helluva an interesting place when all those guilty souls have to meet. Hundreds of books have been written about her, more so than any other woman in history. I own about 300 of those books and have read about half of them. It fascinates me endlessly! As a college student, I had to write a term paper on ‘a controversial subject’ – I chose her murder, which, at the time, was still very, very hush-hush and just rumored about. In 1969, there was only one book that existed about the subject, Fred Lawrence Guiles’s ”Norma Jean: The Life of Marilyn Monroe,” which was translated into 14 languages. It was followed by Bob Slatzer’s 1974 book “The Life and Curious Death of Marilyn Monroe”, I devoured them both and determinedly wrote my term paper for which I begrudgingly got an “A”.
Macy's American Icon banner, summer 2013

Macy’s American Icon banner, summer 2013

To this day she remains the eternal blonde. The eternal symbol of American sex appeal. The eternal love goddess. The epitome of ‘blonde’. The eternal American success story, from orphanage to the goddess of Hollywood. What person today doesn’t recognize that luminous face? She will radiate eternally. RIP.
Hauntingly beautiful, Norma Jeane Baker windswept

Hauntingly beautiful, Norma Jeane Baker windswept



Photo of the day: “GREY GARDENS” BIG AND LITTLE EDIE ARE BACK IN GRAND CENTRAL – One of the most riveting, entertaining and yet sadly disturbing documentaries in the last 50 years is the story of Little and Big Edie in “Grey Gardens”
Grey Gardens film scene

Grey Gardens film scene

Grey Gardens 1975 film program

Grey Gardens 1975 film program

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895–1977), known as “Big Edie”, and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917–2002), known as “Little Edie”, were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at Grey Gardens for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation. The house was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by “Big Edie” and her husband Phelan Beale. After Phelan left his wife, “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” lived there for more than 50 years. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist

Little and Big Edie

Little and Big Edie

In the fall of 1971 and throughout 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called “raids”) by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their home, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.

Grey Gardens  film scene

Grey Gardens film scene

Albert and David Maysles became interested in their story and received permission to film a documentary about the women, which was released in 1976 to wide critical acclaim. Their direct cinema technique left the women to tell their own stories. The film went on to become an award wining Broadway Musical staring Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson; and then award wining film with  Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

After Big Edie died in 1977, Little Edie was forced to put Grey Gardens on the market. Edie was distraught when she found that most of the prospective buyers wanted nothing more than to demolish the home and build a brand new one on the beachfront lot; never one to waiver, Little Edie refused to sell the home to anyone that did not promise to restore the mansion to its former glory. Ben Bradlee, the former executive editor of The Washington Post, and his wife, the writer Sally Quinn, made that promise and bought Grey Gardens from Little Edie in 1979.

The home was fully restored, the gorgeous gardens were brought back to life, and a swimming pool was added. The home now hosts many parties and charity events yearly and has been featured in several architectural and home dĂ©cor magazines. In the June 2003 issue of Town and Country, Sally Quinn says that her real estate agent initially tried to discourage her from buying the home; however, Little Edie was the ultimate salesman declaring, “All it needs is a coat of paint!”

So, it was to my great delight and surprise that perhaps “Big” and “Little Edie” aren’t really gone, they are just living in a grander home – Grand Central Terminal! I spotted the pair while rushing home and immediately was fascinated at the resemblance and fell in love with them.

The 'Edies' in discussion

The ‘Edies’ in discussion

Mother and daughter luggage

Mother and daughter luggage

Details/similarities to observe: They are homeless, the doubled Duane Reade bags are always a clue. They are enjoying some drinks people had left behind on other tables. Their luggage/belongings closely guarded nearby. Despite their homeless situation they are in good spirits and ‘impeccably’ dressed, oddly similar to the Beales. ‘Big Edie’ has the scarf over her head, matching all in black, the black nylons hide the swollen bandaged ankles, the diamond studded shoes make her feel pretty. ‘Little Edie’ matches mom in all black, with head band to match. Daughter dotes on mom looking lovingly into her over made face. Their desperate situation hasn’t robbed them of their grande style and their elegance, they are in their own world. I only wish that I had the time to sit nearby and overhear their conversation. I will look for them on my next visit to Grand Central ‘Gardens’…


The documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WE7E4Flp8p4

The musical  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdh8EoYoAoM


Grey Gardens today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwuSFj7wMg

Grey Gardens 2013 Manhattan Mini Storage's subway ad

Grey Gardens 2013 Manhattan Mini Storage’s subway ad