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

Archive for February, 2014

Photo of the day: THE COLD IS SO HARD ON THE KNEES

1am, Macy's and 34th Street

1am, Macy’s and 34th Street

Photo of the day: THE COLD IS SO HARD ON THE KNEES – It was 11°F (-11.67°C) last night in New York City, with wind chills 10-15° degrees colder. To most of us that didn’t matter in our warm beds. Last year the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system surpassed 50,000+ people for the first time since modern homelessness emerged three decades ago. That grim milestone includes more than 21,000 homeless children. More children and adults are homeless now in New York City than at any time since the Great Depression.

 

Thanks to despicable billionaire mayor Bloomberg New York City’s record homeless shelter population continues to grow at an alarming rate – up 19% percent in the past year alone. And this does not even include the thousands of New Yorkers still displaced by Hurricane Sandy, many of whom comprise extremely low-income households.

In total the homeless shelter population under billionaire mayor Bloomberg rose by a staggering 61% percent and the number of homeless families has increased 73% percent. During Mayor Bloomberg’s tenure, New York City homelessness has increased both in absolute numbers and at a higher rate than under previous mayors Koch, Dinkins, or Giuliani. One can only hope our new Mayor DeBlassio and our new administration can rectify these horrific numbers.

Please donate to your local charities.

 


Postcard story of the Week – MYSTERY STAIRWAY STALKER HAUNTS WRITER

STAIRWAY MAN collage©

Postcard story of the Week – MYSTERY STAIRWAY STALKER HAUNTS WRITER

Description: Looking up Broadway from the Times Building, New York

September 01, 6:30pm, 1937

To: Mr. G. O. Moon

  State Office Building, G20,

Columbus, Ohio

Yesterday upon the stair I saw a man who wasn’t there.

I saw him again there today. I wish he’d go away.

WHD 

Is the writer being stalked in the dimly lit stairwells of the 1930’s and reaching out for help or . . . Is it actually a little known poem turned into a Glenn Miller swing song. We will never know, but hopefully it was the latter.

–  The words come from “Antigonish”,  an 1899 poem by American educator and poet Hughes Mearns. It is also known as “The Little Man Who Wasn’t There“, and was a hit song under that title.

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there.
He wasn’t there again today,
I wish, I wish he’d go away…

When I came home last night at three,
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall,
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Last night I saw upon the stair,
A little man who wasn’t there,
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away…

– But it wasn’t until July 12, 1939 that a  recording of the song by the Glenn Miller Orchestra with vocals by Tex Beneke became an 11-week hit on Your Hit Parade reaching #7.

– So, is ‘WHD’ part of the Glenn Miller band trying out lyrics in as early as 1937? Or is ‘WHD’ just a very learned poetry aficionado?

– Mr. G.O. Moon’s State Office Building in Columbus, Ohio was demolished in 1970 for the sake of better views of a taller office tower.

– ‘WHD’ ironically went on to be the call letters of America’s first ‘top 40’ radio station in Kansas City, Missouri. An innovative and well-financed entrepreneur, Todd Storz, came from Omaha to purchase ‘WHD’ and came up with the pioneering concept of playing only ‘top 40’ music hits, therefore changing American radio forever to this day.

– The song itself was used in many movies (especially spooky ones) and has  been recorded by many other artists (even heavy metal bands) up to this day as well.

– The postcard itself is a 1930 view of Broadway. Your clues: two signs advertising two hit movies of the year 1930. “A Woman Surrenders” starring Basil Rathbone and Conrad Nagel. And the hugely successful Howard Hughes film “Hell’s Angels” starring blonde bombshell Jean Harlow. It was one of the first ‘talkie’ films.

So, postcard hunting turns out to be a pretty fun mystery, insightful and learning experience!

Hear the Glenn Miller song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0woVmAdWbw0


Photo of the day: HANS’ EXHIBIT ANNOUNCEMENT at GOLD COAST ARTS CENTER! – March 16, Sunday, 3-6pm !

EXHIBIT HANS VON RITTERN

Photo of the day: HANS’ EXHIBIT ANNOUNCEMENT at GOLD COAST ARTS CENTER!March 16, Sunday, 3-6pm. I will be one of the photographers on exhibit for the “Pho-to-graffs” show – celebrating images of Hip Hop, Graffiti and Urban Culture. I am most honored and very excited to be asked to be a part of this show! Please come and join me to celebrate my fellow artists, friends and me for this colorful explosion! I hope to see you there 🙂
The Gold Coast Arts Center is in Great Neck Long Island, just a 15 minute $22. round trip  away from Manhattan by LIRR. Heck, it takes you longer to get to Brooklyn! COME JOIN US!
The exhibit runs from March 16 to April 27, 2014.
Visiting Gold Coast

Directions

The Great Neck Arts Center is located in Great Neck at 113 Middle Neck Road. Our entrance is through the rear of the building in the northwest corner of the outdoor Maple Drive parking lot (see map). Please note – you cannot enter the Arts Center from Middle Neck Road – you must use the Maple Drive parking lot entrance.

If heading east on Long Island Expressway, take exit 33 and turn north on Lakeville Road. Crossing Northern Blvd. Lakeville Road becomes South Middle Neck Road, then Middle Neck Road. Continue into town, turn right at the 8th traffic light onto Maple Drive. Make your first left into the outdoor Maple Drive parking lot. Entrance to GNAC is in the northwest corner of the lot.

Parking

Pay parking is available in the Village of Great Neck Plaza parking outdoor lot on Maple Drive and in a covered garage across the street. Additional parking is available on the street (hourly and metered). http://www.greatneckplaza.net

Public Transit

The Great Neck Arts Center is served by Nassau County bus line N24 and is accessible from midtown Manhattan via the Long Island Railroad Port Washington Line. http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/lirr

COME SEE MY PHOTOS ON DISPLAY! ALL  AVAILABLE FOR SALE.

COME SEE MY PHOTOS ON DISPLAY! ALL AVAILABLE FOR SALE.


Photo of the day: BEATLES INFLUENCED 1973 POETRY “SUNRISES”

SUNRISES - Copy

Photo of the day: SUNRISES – Part of Mondays on Memory Lane, a few weeks ago I found my junior high school poetry project from 1973 (see Jan. 20, 2014 post for the story) called “Reflections on My World“. There are twelve poems, here is the fourth “Sunrises” heavily influenced by listening to the awesome Beatles 1969 song “Because” on my  ’Abbey Road’ album over and over again with my giant headphones on in my room.

 SUNRISES

Isn’t the earth beautiful?

Just sitting here alone

getting high.

That beautiful sunrise,

isn’t it beautiful?

The sunrise, reaching,

so far and wide,

Into so many lands –

Waking all the lands of God.

Isn’t is beautiful?

I wish it could last

forever.

Just sitting here,

getting high.

“Because”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrixmRyTyao


Photo of the day: STEEL MAGNOLIAS

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

Photo of the day: STEEL MAGNOLIAS – In a city of concrete, steel and rust, surprising flowers bloom.
To quote Aretha’s song, “It’s growing in the street, right up through the concrete, but soft sweet and dreamy.”

Photo of the day: MEET MAYOR BILL DeBLASIO !

HANS AND BILL DEBLASIO-EDT

Photo of the day: MEET THE MAYOR! – The mayor’s office finally released the official photos the lucky few of us had taken with him inside Gracie Mansion on January 5th this year. This Federal Style mansion was built in 1799 as a private home and since 1942 was used as the official residence of all of New York’s mayors. The symbolism being allowed back inside was huge since the mayor’s residence had been closed off to the public for the past 20 years. Mayor Giuliani wasn’t allowed to live there since he wasn’t married (yes you read that right.) Elitist Bloomberg refused to lower himself to live in the ‘people’s house’ choosing his luxe double town home instead. Finally on  this day, Gracie Mansion belonged to the people of New York again. I was one of the few 5,000 lucky ticket holders who gladly waited in line for the rare opportunity – see my post of January 6, 2014. Whether you like Bill DeBlasio or not (he’s already in some hot messes), it was still pretty damn cool to be inside this restored historic house and to be able to put my arms around New York’s mayor and say “thank you”.

Photos of the day: STAY TUNED FOR GALLERY EXHIBIT NEWS!

1A HANS GALLERY NEWS

Photos of the day: STAY TUNED FOR GALLERY EXHIBIT NEWS!
I have been accepted into one if not two upcoming gallery exhibits!
Stay tuned for the details.

Postcard story of the Week – A DARK AND GLOOMY DAY IN 1906

GLOOMY collage

Postcard story of the Week – A DARK AND GLOOMY DAY IN 1906

Description: 9054. A subway station in New York. 

November 20, 8pm, 1906

To: Miss Mary Ostrander*

Home Farm

Wallkill, N.Y.

This is a dark and gloomy day,

Lisa

*Today there is a Ostrander Elementary School – 137 Viola Avenue – Wallkill, NY 12589.

The subway station is from the Wall Street area.  Note: the .5 cent subway fare was on the honor system – you came down the stairs, bought a ticket and then handed it to the clerk.

Having checked weather patterns for November 1906 Manhattan, it was an unusually rainy month. So, is Lisa’s “gloom” referring to the weather or is the dank and dark subway station representative of some sort of sad news?


Photo of the day: PIGEON TOED

PIGEON TOED

Photo of the day: PIGEON TOED

Photo of the day: AS THE WORLD still TURNS with EILEEN FULTON

Neal Hetherington (Habitat for Humanity), Colleen Zenk, Eileen Fulton, Richard Skipper

Neal Hetherington (Habitat for Humanity), Colleen Zenk, Eileen Fulton, Richard Skipper

Photo of the day: AS THE WORLD still TURNS with EILEEN FULTON – Sometimes being a bitch pays off, just ask Eileen Fulton! – Before there was Erica Kane/Susan Lucci on All My Children, Amanda Woodward/Heather Locklear on Melrose Place, Abby Ewing/Donna Mills on Knotts Landing and certainly Alexis Carrington/Joan Collins on Dynasty – – there was Lisa Grimaldi/Eileen Fulton in 1960 on the classic TV soap opera “As The World Turns“. Being a bitch certainly offers job security, Eileen played the roll for fifty, yes fifty years!

Soap classic

Soap classic

On February 16, 2014 Sunday night, Richard Skipper: entertainer, charity fundraiser, Carol Channing’s champion and a well loved friend and historian of the entertainment community, hosted an evening’s conversation with soap opera legend Eileen Fulton at New York’s Metropolitan Room. One of many celebrity interviews in the ‘Richard Skipper Celebrates…’ series. A charity event with all proceeds going to president Jimmy Carter’s ‘Habitat for Humanity’ at the request of Eileen herself.

Host Richard Skipper

Host Richard Skipper

Richard’s warm and listening manner lets his guests free flow with the room and the audience loves it. Eileen’s zesty charm took over the room immediately. She looked absolutely stunning with her blonde curls tossed on top of her head, wearing black feathers and diamonds just as a soap opera queen should! So how do you get a job that lasts 50 years? You bang down doors. No…I mean that literally.

On a hot summer’s day in 1960, Eileen was treading the pavement going from agents office to agents office. After her bluff did not work at the William Morris agency that “I have an appointment with Mr. William Morris”, she went on to the next name on her list, William McCaffrey. When knocking on the door yielded no results, she knocked/pounded a little harder therefore knocking the door off it’s hinges (well…it WAS being repaired and so therefore loose). That accidental stunt landed Eileen her first agent. Shortly thereafter she  landed the role of Lisa Grimaldi ‘for just a few episodes’ on ATWT. Her Asheville, North Carolina sweetness connected with the viewers but not with Eileen. Eileen didn’t like being the ‘good girl’ Lisa Grimaldi – too boring. So she schemed to spice things up. When not allowed to change the plots or staging directions, she changed her character simply by using her voice. She said the same sweet dialog “but as I said it, I thought the nastiest dirtiest thoughts and the words just came out differently – with a whole new meaning. It was live television, what could they do?” she recounted to Richard with a sly grin. The rest is television history.

Eileen Fulton speaks her mind

Eileen Fulton speaks her mind

Eileen’s determination is also show business legend. At one point Eileen held down three acting rolls at once. ATWT soap filming live, then 3 matinees of “Whose Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?” and then evening performances of “The Fantastiks”. She had a speed record of getting from the CBS Grand Central Broadcasting studio to the Billy Rose Theater (now the Nederlander) on West 41st street in five minutes. Talk about determination! It’s a feat of determination that Elaine Stritch still talks about in her act today. Why did she stop? “I was exhausted!”.

Die hard fan Kevin Campbell meets Colleen Zenk

Die hard fan Kevin Campbell meets Colleen Zenk

Over the decades CBS tried to replace Eileen’s character of Lisa with another actress,  but the viewers would not have it. “You can’t lie to the audience” Eileen passionately insists.  Lisa/Eileen’s audience was so wrapped up in the nastiness of the character, Eileen was slapped by a Chanel wearing patron at SAKS Fifth Avenue and she also had to hire body guards because people simply couldn’t separate real life from fiction as they would try to slug her in the street. Well, Eileen slugged herself all the way to the banks with 5 lp recordings and two autobiographies under her belt, night club acts, movie rolls as well as many murder mystery novels to her credit as well.

Soap aficionado  Peggy Eason and husband meet their idol

Soap aficionado Peggy Eason and husband meet their idol

Sunday night under Richard’s loving guidance, two passions in acting came to light. Eileen strongly feels you can’t fake emotions and don’t glorify violence against women even in jest. When a scene came up that her character was to be taken across her husband’s knee and spanked, she refused to play the scene insisting to her directors “that’s abuse whether you realize it or not.” Eileen got her way and kept a high standard on the show for a long time.

ATWT 2001 cast

ATWT 2001 cast

Any ironies in her life? Yes. As a child she was fascinated that ivory soap bars would float on the water in the tub, “just like a piece of wedding cake.” Being left alone in the tub one afternoon as a child, her mother returned to find little Eileen had bitten away the edges of the tasting looking soap bar as she ‘foamed from the mouth.’ “Isn’t it ironic that for fifty years I had Procter and Gamble/Ivory Soap as my sponsor?!” she laughed.

Any grudges or unhappy memories? Yes, one. Eileen is not a great fan of Carol Burnett. There’s a grudge there. Seems Eileen came up with the idea of the comedic take-off on Carol’s show “As the Stomach Turns” yet she was never once asked to appear. But when Carol did the comedic take-off of “Sunset Boulevard/Norma Desmond”, Gloria Swanson was asked to appear. “I think it was jealousy” Eileen still quickly insists.

"As The Stomach Turns"

“As The Stomach Turns”

Eileen has played through fifty years of history, fashion fads, political turmoils and every heinous plot you can think of on TV soaps but on September 17, 2010, the “World” no longer turned to the heartbreak of the legions of fans of “As The World Turns.” All the more reason this rare intimate night with this TV icon was such a treat thanks to Richard Skipper.

'As The World Turns' stars Colleen Zenk and Eileen Fulton with Richard Skipper

‘As The World Turns’ stars Colleen Zenk and Eileen Fulton with Richard Skipper

Richard doesn’t just “read the book” as some interviewers may do, he gets to really know his guests and hence the magic of the evening is born. Many of her fans and also former cast member Colleen Zenk who played Barbara Ryan from 1978 till 2010 where in the audience. When asked during the question and answer part of the show if she still recalled her full legal show name, Eileen shouted: “Of course! I was married eight times, divorced three times and widowed four times. I’m Lisa Miller Hughes Eldridge Shea Colman McColl Mitchell Grimaldi Chedwyn!” (Take that Alexis Carrington!)

I had the surreal pleasure of having dinner with Eileen! (Thats me seated right next to her.)

I had the surreal pleasure of having dinner with Eileen! (Thats me seated right next to her.)

Richard Skipper’s web site: http://www.richardskipper.com/index.html