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

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My tea with Margo Feiden

There are two Margos that I adore, Margo Channing (fictional) from “All About Eve” and Margo Feiden (larger than life), of the Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd. and curator of the legendary caricaturist Al Hirschfeld’s collection.

To paraphrase Addison DeWitt from “All About Eve,” ‘To those of you who do not read, attend the theater, attend art gallery openings or know anything of the world in which we live – it is perhaps necessary to introduce Margo Feiden. Her native habitat is the art world and the theater – in it she has toiled for 70 years. She is essential to the art world and the theater.’

MARGO FEIDEN

Margo Feiden

I myself am a native New Yorker, born 1955, NYC tour guide today, who since childhood followed and revered Al Hirschfeld’s imaginative drawings that so precisely capture an artist’s voice, personality and movement with the stroke of a pen. I had always hoped that I one day I would get to meet him. That day came on March 21st, 2001 at a benefit performance at The Martin Beck Theater (now ‘The Al Hirschfeld’) of “Nothing Like A Dame,” featuring the who’s who of legendary ladies of the theater. He signed my Playbill and I gently touched the hand of genius as he etched that famous boxed signature.

Hirschfeld sadly passed away on January 20, 2003 in his sleep, just five months short of his 100th birthday.

June 22nd, 2011 Doyle’s Auction Galleries held an auction of his estate, one of the many things I bought was his shoulder bag which still has his handwritten name tag attached, written in his trademark squared signature.

November 14th, 2013 Henri Bendel’s Department store on Fifth Avenue celebrated Christmas with a tribute to Hirschfeld, filling their window with three dimensional figures of his drawings. Inside the store, a figure of Charlie Chaplin sat in the atrium, high up in a tree overseeing all the goings on – it was magical! Helping to create the displays and attending the event was the divine Margo Feiden herself. I showed Chris Fiore the president of Bendel’s my Hirschfeld bag, “I’m going to take you to Margo!” he said. (Shades of ‘All About Eve’!) She welcomed me with open arms and warmth. There I was, after 49 years of collecting Hirschfeld, sitting with Margo Feiden, holding hands and telling her my Hirschfeld stories.

BENDEL HIRSCHFELD CHRISTMAS WINDOW

Henri Bendel’s Hirschfeld Christmas window November 14, 2013

DSC_3383A

Charlie Chaplin observes the proceedings at Bendel’s 

Six years later in June of this year, I am contacted by Margo, it was her secretary on the phone, “Is this Hans Von Rittern? I have Miss Feiden on the line, is this a good time for you take the call?” There was that unmistakable voice, she has never forgotten me and would I come to tea? My heart stopped. Tea with Margo in her Stanford White townhouse – I gladly said ‘yes’! It was arranged for Friday, June 14th, 4:00pm.

June 14th, at precisely 4:00pm, I rang the bell. I was greeted by her personal assistant who took me up the steep staircase to the main floor ballroom, I was in awe. There are the huge leaded glass windows Stanford White designed, the fireplace and all the moldings exactly intact to this day. The walls are filled with Hirschfeld art and . . . sitting in a chair by the sofa is Charlie Chaplin, the sculpture from the Bendel’s Christmas show. On the cocktail table was an assortment of teas and cookies awaiting me. IMG_9782

Six years later, Charlie awaits me in Margo’s ballroom

I was shown the bins of drawings, the hallway filled with iconic images we have all seen over the decades – there they were – in person.

Next to the hallway is ‘the front office’ where two of her staff were busy on the phones. It is filled all the way up to the high ceiling with Hirschfelds that are now part of the American landscape. There was Marilyn, Ella, Bogey, both Hepburns, Sinatra, the Beatles and above the fireplace Margo Feiden’s Hirschfeld portrait. I was agog.

IMG_9780A

‘The Ballroom’ 

Giddily her assistant asked if I would like to go down the cast-iron spiral staircase to the ground floor – down we went. A treasure trove of more Hirschfeld art and the lovingly curated collection of Margo’s glass and antique collection, meticulously displayed in shadow boxes and old wooden display cases. You could see the passion and care that has been put into these collections.

We arrived back in the Ballroom and still no Margo. ‘Hmmm,” I thought, ‘maybe this was just to be a tour of the townhouse.’ I stood there turning about marveling at the stupendous Ballroom chandelier, when suddenly, her assistant invited me to, “See the upstairs”. Gulp. We ascended the grand sweeping staircase from the Ballroom, the stairwell filled frame to frame with jaw-dropping art. All the way up to The Deck we went, where presiding over the residential court is a centuries old tree filled with the songs of birds, not a city noise could be heard. Oh the stories this tree could tell.

We stood there for a while and I wondered, ‘Where is the mysterious Margo? Am I to meet her at all?’ After some time we descended back down the magnificent staircase to arrive again in the Ballroom. At about 5:00 pm, it was announced, “Miss Feiden will be ready to receive you now, please have a seat.” I sat on the sofa next to Charlie and waited anxiously.

Then, suddenly, Margo appeared, poised midway, posed gracefully on the sweeping staircase, attired in one of her trademark quilted hats and jackets, hand painted sneakers and a ponytail almost down to her knees, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

Staircase

The sweeping Ballroom staircase

I sat there stunned. ‘Hans, get up…say something!’ I thought. I answered as I rose, ”You know how to make quite an entrance, don’t you?!” We spent the next four and a half hours talking about our lives.

It turns out Margo is an avid reader of my blog “In The Wit Of An Eye” and was concerned that she no longer saw me posting my stories. She suggested telling me some of her own stories to get me to write again.

I explained I had stopped writing the blog in 2014 in order to write the life story of my mother Ursula Von Rittern and three generations of the independent women in my family, a telling of how they survived two world wars in Germany in a book entitled, “Last Train Out of Berlin.” My mother Ursula was 88 at the time, and I felt time was fleeting, so by age 90, we had finished the book and even received a complimentary letter from Meryl Streep after she had been handed a copy of the manuscript by me personally. (At age 93, Ursula and I are are still looking for a publisher.)

MOM COVER 2 DARKER!

Margo started to tell me parts of her life story and presented me with rare clippings and mementos of her amazing life, shown here. To know Margo is to receive a history lesson of New York City and it’s art scene.

In 1961 at the young age of 16, Margo Feiden then ‘Margo Eden,’ was the youngest person ever to produce and direct a musical version of “Peter Pan.” This was at the 41st Street Theater in the Wurlitzer Building. Her unique vision was to produce it with mostly high school age actors to fit the parts accurately. These were young professionals from the revered High School of Performing Arts. The fact that the High School of Performing Arts permitted their students to miss school in order to rehearse and perform in her production of Peter Pan, shows the importance they attached to Margo’s production. History was being made.

Here is a rare New York Times Broadway A – Z listing showing the “Peter Pan” production, but let your head spin to see who else Margo was on the boards with at the time: Henry Fonda in “Critic’s Choice,” Carol Channing (later in life to become Margo’s close friend) in “Showgirl.” Ironically Mary Martin was appearing five blocks away at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in “The Sound of Music” and Cyril Richard the original Captain Hook was appearing in a production on 45th street. As well as Patty Duke in “The Miracle Worker,” Lucille Ball in “Wildcat,” Richard Burton & Julie Andrews, Elsa Lanchester, Phil Silvers, Zero Mostel, Tammy Grimes, Maurice Evans…the listings go on. As you can see it was a time on Broadway never ever to be again.

1.Peter Pan-NYT-April 1, 1961

The New York Times Broadway A - Z listing, April 1, 1961

The following year, Margo had penned “Out, Brief Candle,” a three act play about dope addiction. Featuring 30 actors, it centered around ‘Bob’ whose life long dream of becoming a surgeon is destroyed by his heroin addiction. In 1963 Margo prophetically returned to the 41st Street Theater where she directed and produced the play herself.

She was heralded in the ‘teen magazines’ of the day, Hi-Teen 11/1962 and Teen Time 01/1963 as “News maker” and “Teen of the Month.”

2.HI-TEEN Magazine-Jan 1963-Pg 22

High Teen Magazine,  November 1962

3.Teen Time Magazine-Nov 1962-Pg 32 (1)

4.Teen Time Magazine-Nov 1962-Pg 33

Teen Time Magazine,  January 1963

At age 17, now known as a child prodigy of the Broadway theater, Margo became the agent, as well as producer, director and publicist of Kuda Bux, a Pakistani mystic and mentalist performer who could read and see despite being heavily blindfolded. They appeared on stage and television together.

Oh, did I mention she is a licensed pilot? Has gone camel racing in the desert? So it is also no surprise, that Margo also happens to be a member of MENSA, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world, open to those people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized IQ test.

In 1969, Margo opened her first art gallery, but she had no art to display. So her girlfriend, who just so happened to be iconic photographer Diane Arbus, suggested they exhibit her work. Margo told me, “In the morning within an hour, I had rented myself an art gallery but had no artwork, by midnight, Diane and I had finished hanging her work.”

Also ahead of her time, on December 10, 1995, Margo became the first person ever to hold an art auction on the World Wide Web, when she auctioned five Hirschfeld works on the Internet to benefit New York City Meals-on-Wheels (god bless her).

We talked and talked about the wonderful and even curious stories she has to tell. It was now 9:30pm, the summer sky was casting it’s dark hues into the ballroom, it was time to end my delightful tea with my fellow Sagittarius Margo. Perhaps I will tell some more of her stories here. My favorite (so far!) is of the fateful meeting of Hirschfeld and Charlie Chaplin in 1932. I teared up as I sat on the sofa listening to Margo tell the tale, gazing into those sparkling blue eyes of hers. Thank you dear Margo.

This November 19th, 2019, is the 50th anniversary of the Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd. Margo is penning her memoirs to follow hopefully thereafter. I dare think it shall be Auntie Mame, er ah, Margo telling tales that will keep us captivated!

I hope you will also stay tuned for more stories from me as well, especially hopefully one day, my book, ”Last Train Out of Berlin” – – – Berlin, March 21st, 1945: A charismatic opera singer receives secretive warning that Berlin is doomed by advancing Russian forces and that there is one last train out of Berlin leaving in four hours. A true story that spans three continents and three generations.

STAY TUNED . . .

https://www.alhirschfeld.com/ 

(with a special nod

to my extra-special line editor…you know who you are!😉)

 


TEST – I’m coming back with exciting stories

Testing 1 2 3

It’s been so long I have forgotten how to post :O WRITER'S BLOCK


To do list for July 4th, 2015

MAILBOX

To do list for July 4th: Make sure the social security payment has arrived.
Write the rent check.
Pay the electric bill.
Pay the phone bill.
Pay the insurance bill.
Write sister Adelia a letter.
Put on my pretty blue skirt.
Make sure there is no garbage in the mailbox at Times Square.
Mail the rent, bills and letter.

PHOTO OF THE DAY: GERMANY 2014 WORLD SOCCER CHAMPIONS

GERMAN FLAG

PHOTO OF THE DAY: GERMANY 2014 WORLD SOCCER CHAMPIONS – JAWOHL ! ! !


Image

Photo of the day: Gay Pride means – never being too old to wear your hair up

GAY PRIDE HAIR


Photo of the day: BABY JANE HUDSON LIVES!

BABY JANE HUDSON

Photo of the day: BABY JANE HUDSON LIVES! – Walking along Abingdon Square in Greenwich Village I came across that unmistakable shock of white unkempt damaged hair, tiny little old lady frame and the dark sunglasses to hide behind. There she was, listening to big band music outside of Injera Restaurant. Perhaps she was humming her favorite tune….”I’ve written a Letter to Daddy…”
(For those of you too young, the reference is the scenery chewing performance by Bette Davis as a fading demented film star in the 1962 film “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?”)
Injera Restaurant for Ehtiopian Fusion food with a flair: http://injeranyc.com/

Photo of the day: FRIDAY THE 13th SPECIAL $31 TATTOOS

TATTOO

Photo of the day: FRIDAY THE 13th SPECIAL $31 TATTOOS – Rushing along St. Mark’s Place this past Friday, I came across this colorful tranquil scene in the window of Whatever Tattoo. It reminded me immediately of the many old master paintings of reclining nudes I have seen in museums and books. This handsome tall hunk was just in the perfect classic pose, eyes closed, so peaceful and at rest while getting a giant tattoo on his back.
Now some people if they suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) they stay indoors, away from ladders, avoid making decisions and all possible harm – others go to tattoo parlors. I think though, that this tattoo will cost more than the $31 advertised Friday the 13th special.
Modigliani's 'Reclining Nude' 1917

Modigliani’s ‘Reclining Nude’ 1917

17 St. Mark’s Pl, New York, NY 10003 (212) 777-2430

Photo of the day: HARVEY FIERSTEIN AND HANS SEE “CASA VALENTINA” TOGETHER

Harvey Fierstein & Hans Von Rittern and Casa Susanna/Valentina

Harvey Fierstein & Hans Von Rittern and Casa Susanna/Valentina

Photo of the day: HARVEY FIERSTEIN AND HANS SEE “CASA VALENTINA” TOGETHER – well….kinda…
Harvey came to see his show last night and I was sitting right near him.
THE SHOW IS FUCKING BRILLIANT! It is based on a cult book “Casa Susanna” which contains flea market find photos of women in the Catskills in 1962 – the women were men. Not drag queens, but men who simply had the desire to express their feminine side on the weekend and go on doing ordinary household chores leading an ordinary life for two days…as a ‘ordinary’ woman. All were married with children. It is not sensationalist Fierstein drag. It is a dramedy of social mores and sexual politics of the sixties,
To be very honest – I didn’t want to see this play. I thought,’who are you to further expose what was to have been private?”
My mother has always said to me, “please destroy all family pictures if there is no one left in your family. I don’t want to wind up in some flea market and have total stranger pawing over my photos and doing god knows what with them.” I sadly agree. So I felt, who is Harvey to do this – how is he to know what really these people were about and what went on, sorry theater fans, this is how I felt. Yet the book haunted and fascinated me of the sadness yet sensation of this secret world revealed. Reluctantly I bought the cheapest discount ticket possible. I brought my treasured copy of the book along with me.
Almost full house. Curtain rises. I am sitting there with arms folded, negative Nancy. ‘Ok, what did you do with this?’ After 5 minutes I was riveted. The visuals, the acting – breathtaking. I abandoned all doubt and negativity and realized I was watching something intensely personal and brilliant. Half way though act one, I kept thinking to myself, ‘where and how did Harvey come up with this, how did this come out of his head?’ Each actor is cast to perfection for the part. I flipped through my book trying to guess who was who. After a while it didn’t seem to matter, there were real people onstage.
It’s story is of intrigue, mystery, politics, raw emotions, sharp wit, great humor, 1960’s sexual politics, being exposed, homophobia, buried secrets, gut wrenching moments, great sets, superb lighting. Mare Winningham and Reed Birney are FUCKING BRILLIANT! Birney channels Margo Channing/All About Eve yet does not imitate her, it is her fiery essence – it is riveting sheer brilliance at what a strong determined (calculating) woman he portrays. He should have won the damn Tony award he was nominated for as best actor in a play. Mare’s voice projects to the upper balcony even in her most quiet sad moments – that’s technique! (They were not micked.) John Collum is everyone’s grandmother of the period.

The setting is the Chevalier d’Eon, a Catskills resort where button-down married men from the city can slip into something more comfortable for the weekend. This sanctuary is run by George (Patrick Page) and his infinitely accommodating wife, Rita (Mare Winningham). And if the place is a bit run down, for its guests it remains “our own Garden of Eden.” But Harvey being the brilliant Harvey, he has set a serpent loose in their garden of Eden, and you are hooked.

During intermission I asked to buy the poster. The head usher saw I was carrying the book. He tells me several of the men are still alive and the man who took the photos actually had come to see the play! I come further to find out, that of the men/women who are still alive, Harvey (I think) felt it his duty (and privilege) to interview them. So some of the mystery was gone, but yet all the more heightened. Who are they and what has become of them?! I was obsessed with the fact that the usher knew what the photographer of most of the photos looks like! I am even more energized for act two for now I know how much more ‘real’ the story is and I was watching also a history lesson unfold.

As I am waiting for the curtain to go up, coming up my aisle is an unmistakable figure of man – it’s the playwright himself Harvey Fierstein! He sat 1 row across from me! I had to go over to him to ask to sign my poster. “He’s got the book,” he growled to his friend. I grabbed his wrist and kept babbling “it’s brilliant! It’s brilliant’! Hans tongue tied = not often. Back to my seat. I now watched the show and out of the corner of the eye watched this Broadway royalty watching his own show. Surreal. He laughed at the jokes, was stoned faced at the serious moments, just like the rest of us.

Harvey's reactoin to Jonathan Groff (blue t-shirt) being there

Harvey’s reactoin to Jonathan Groff (blue t-shirt) being there

After the show I ran to the stage door and got the cast to sign the poster. Glee star Jonathan Groff was there, a girl next to me nearly died. Harvey was saying goodnight and I asked if I could have my picture taken with him and the book since he had made it come alive along with preserving gay history. “Sure with the book!” We hugged and the guy I gave my camera to couldn’t figure out how it works. Harvey growled, “Heterosexuals! They can’t even figure out how to work a camera.” We all laughed and that is the moment captured in this wonderful moment. I am still on cloud nine.

Casa Susanna

Casa Susanna

The ladies who lunch

The ladies who lunch

GO SEE THE PLAY – it has a limited run and is closing June 29. Tickets sometimes available 50% off at TKTS nightly.

CASA web site: http://www.manhattantheatreclub.com/2013-2014-season/casa-valentina/

New York Times review: http://online.wsj.com/articles/like-earlier-hot-spots-williamsburg-adds-gloss-1402620838

Cast signed poster

Cast signed poster


Photo of the day: OLD TIMER’S NAVY SALUTE

SALUTE

Photo of the day: OLD TIMER’S NAVY SALUTE – Yesterday in Bryant Park, the navy serenaded lunch time picnickers with a rousing concert. At the end of the concert, the conductor asked audience members from each branch of the military to stand up and be recognized. This old timer still gave the perfect proud navy salute.
The Navy Band Northeast Pops Ensemble and the U.S. Fleet Forces Band featured a wide variety of musical styles including traditional concert band literature, pop, Jazz and patriotic favorites.

Under the direction of Lt. Cmdr. Carl Gerhard, Navy Band Northeast is one of 13 official bands of the United States Navy worldwide, and is comprised of 45 professional Navy musicians, many of whom are from the New York metropolitan area and welcomed a chance to perform in front of the hometown crowd.


Photo of the day: GRAFFITI ASCENSION, 5 POINTZ PAINTING BY CHRISTIAN CORTES

GRAFFITI ASCENSION - CORTES

Photo of the day: GRAFFITI ASCENSION, PAINTING BY CHRISTIAN CORTES – This painting is my mother’s favorite at the current ‘White Wash” exhibit. This powerful, haunting and emotional piece best describes artist Christian Cortes’ feelings of the destruction of 5 Pointz. Many of our visitors to the gallery seem to mesmerized by it and agree.
Christian Cortes is a Visual Artist working in New York City. He’s a freelance illustrator and a painter. Christian has worked mostly within the music and fashion industries. His commercial work is a mixture of hand drawn and computer illustrated techniques. Although Christian’s work can seem very clean and polished, he likes to keep a sense of the hand done techniques still present within his pieces. His gallery painting style developed out of his graffiti background. Christian has been exploring combinations of graffiti typography with surrealism, abstraction, South American iconography and New York culture.

If you would like to hire Christian Cortes for a commercial job or commission him for a custom project, he can be contacted at Christian@cortescreates.com. Please make sure to state clearly the details and budget of the project.

If you would like to see more expressions by great artists on canvas and in photographs (mine included) this weekend – come to the Jeffrey Leder Gallery this weekend and view the brilliant art by artists: Auks, Cortes, Hans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Meres One,  Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad, all brilliantly curated by Marie Cecile Flageul!
The Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, L.I.C.
#7/G subway stop. One block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 Moma. Admission is free, open 12-6.
Leder Gallery: http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php

Christian Cortes: http://cortescreates.com/


Photo of the day: DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES

Photo of the day: DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES – It’s all in what you see…this moment caught yesterday on Ellis Island.


Photo of the day: YOU CAN’T WHITEWASH US! “WHITEWASH” EXHIBIT HUGE SUCCESS!

"WHITEWASH" featured artists group photo: "FIVE POINTZ!"

“WHITEWASH” featured artists group photo: “FIVE POINTZ!”

Photo of the day: 12 ARTISTS PROVE – YOU CAN’T WHITEWASH US! – I sold 3 pieces right away! ! People from all walks of life, from all over town and from around the world came to see the great works of artists who had painted at the (now destroyed) graffiti mecca 5 Pointz and the photographers who captured it. Every major web site and paper in town is covering the exhibit and getting radio and TV coverage as well. It was jam packed last night with mixed feeling of sadness, closure and perseverance. Artists Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Just One, Meres, Orestes Gonzalez, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad, Hunt Rodriguez and myself proved ART IS FOREVER !
Many more photos to come. $20 catalog signed by me available.
Come see the exhibit till June 8 at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery: 2137 45th Road, 1/2 block away from the #7 & G Court Street subway station. http://www.jeffreyledergallery.com/whitewash.php
DSC_5315

Photos of the day! 5 POINTZ “WHITEWASH” GRAND OPENING TONIGHT! Come meet Hans 6-9pm

meres hans photos correct

Photo event of the day!: “WHITEWASH” OPENING TONIGHT! – Saturday April 5, 6-9pm. Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Sixteen of Hans’ photos are on display along with the great artists Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Meres One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem, Shiro, See TF, Topaz and Zimad.

It is a mourning yet celebration of the perseverance of art! Curated with passion by Marie Cecile Flageul. COME JOIN US! I hope to see all my friends there 🙂 It’s “the” art event of the season!
(I might be hanging out mostly upstairs where mom can sit by my photos.)

Leder Gallery: 2135 45th Road, on the street of the Court Street #7 and G subway station.

I block away from 5 Pointz and PS1 MOMA.
Jeffrey Leder Galler 2137 45th Road, LII.C.
Click here for more photos and directional map. CU 2NiTE ! ! ! !
LEDER MAP

Photos of the day: ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE WHITEWASH

twas night before

Photos of the weekend: WHITEWASH – Jeffrey Leder Gallery, 2137 45th Road a few steps away from the #7 train Court Street Station, April 5, 6-9pm. All my friends are invited to celebrate! http://www.timeout.com/newyork/art/5-pointz-is-backon-gallery-walls-at-least?fb_action_ids=4088797314782&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_ref=.Uz620EaI39U.like&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582 — at Jeffrey Leder Gallery.


Photo of the day: SHANNON POT AT 5 POINTZ SERVES IT’S LAST FROZEN DRINK

The Shannon Pot, 14 years at 45-16 Davis Street/Jackson Avenue

The Shannon Pot, 14 years at 45-16 Davis Street/Jackson Avenue

Photo of the day: SHANNON POT AT 5 POINTZ SERVES IT’S LAST FROZEN DRINK – Friday January 3rd, 2014, was yet another nail in the coffin of what was a vibrant neighborhood block. After the destructive whitewashing of the art work at 5 Pointz by greedy owner Gerry Wolkoff, it was also the final night of the neighborhood hangout bar The Shannon Pot.

The burst pipes added the final touch

The New Years Eve balloons were still hung...

The New Years Eve balloons were still hung…

The bar

The bar

♫♪ "Who's Zat Girl?" ♫♪

♫♪ “Who’s Zat Girl?” ♫♪

The extremely cold 10°F degree weather added to the morbid feeling in the air. Only a few of the die hard regulars showed up including Meres One and Marie Flageul to join co-owners Maureen and Salah for a final round of drinks. To my surprise, as I arrived I was greeted by water dripping down from the ceiling. The frigid temperatures had burst the pipes and was flooding the bar. The water had been shut off but it was still ‘raining’ inside the bar. The water from above had damaged the juke box with Meres’ disco favorites causing the sound to go from high to low every few seconds only adding to the eerie feel of the night.

Gin Sin shot $2.00

Gin Sin shot $2.00

Final shots

Final shots

So there we were, with our coats and jackets on in the cold bar and no water except for what was coming from the ceiling, which made for slippery dangerous last dance. Instead of dancing the walls were tagged, good times and future times were discussed as 14 years of Maureen’s and Salah’s ‘home’ were coming to an end. How to remove the wonderful old hand carved wood bar and all it’s contents were strategized. “They don’t do woodwork like this anymore” said Salah proudly. I looked behind the bar itself and at the ancient wall paper on the wall which seems to be of impressed plaster work painted gold. No one knows just the exact history of the bar but if these walls could talk, we would have 100 years of Long Island City history to tell. All the 5 Pointz events the had been held here, the celebrations of hip hop and street art add so much more history to this little Irish style pub. (My awesome surprise birthday was just celebrated here a few weeks ago.) Another beloved place gone in the era of mass destruction of New York’s past.
The loyal group

The loyal group

Maureen, Salah and friends

Maureen, Salah and friends

A final Shannon kiss

A final Shannon kiss

During the evening Marie stepped out for her usual cigarette, as she stood in front of the bar she observed a pigeon flying towards the building to seek refuge form the cold, and seconds before it could reach the building, it simply fell out of the sky succumbing to hypothermia. Marie’s mission was to rescue the bird. We got a box, lined it with tissue paper and gently placed it in the box. It did not even resist. We placed it in the back hoping it would warm up. (It was in desperate need of sleep as well.) Every so often we would check to see if Marie’s pigeon was reviving, it barely was, but towards the end of the night was fluffing itself up, a hopeful sign. As a final act of kindness, Meres and Marie took the pigeon to their garage to let it warm up and revive. Two days later it flew off to join the world again.

The last round

The last round

Giving Gerry the finger

Giving Gerry the finger

A bitter cold ending . . .

A bitter cold ending . . .

Keep on burnin'

Keep on burnin’

The man with a mission

The man with a mission

Meres and Marie and all the fantastic 5 Pointz crew are greatly symbolized by our little pigeon – we may be down, but with a little help from our friends – we are not out. Maureen and Salah will reopen at a new nearby location at 21-59 44th Drive, off of 21st Street soon. 5 Pointz will rise again like a phoenix (or our pigeon) and with the creative force of the artists and minds behind Meres and Marie, look out for a brighter and bolder future for Pointz! !

Final exit - (with the pigeon).

Final exit – (with the pigeon).

SHANNON POT©

MORE CELEBRATIONS TO COME !

MORE CELEBRATIONS TO COME !


Photo of the day: THERE ARE ANGELS IN NEW YORK

THERE ARE ANGELS IN NEW YORK

Photo of the day: THERE ARE ANGELS IN NEW YORK – You just have to know where to look for them, they are everywhere. Keep your heart and mind open and they will appear.
Can you figure out how I created this illusion with my camera?
(I was actually photographing a flying angel in Macy’s store Xmas window but the building across the street photographed stronger therefore making the angel appear – angelic. )

Photo of the day: WHAT HAS 72 LEGS AND MOVES WITH PRECISION?

rockettes radio city

Photo of the day: WHAT HAS 72 LEGS AND MOVES WITH PRECISION? – The New York Radio City Music Hall Rockettes ! !
The Christmas Spectacular is the single most popular show in New York at Christmastime. 5,931 seats available for each show!! Five shows a day!
There are two sets each of 36 dancers in each New York show. There are 80 Rockettes (4 understudies), and they split the casts into 40 and 40. On the days with five shows, one cast will do two shows, the other will do three. On six-show days they divide it by three and three. So they can get a break, during the week they give each other a day off. The most they would do is four shows in a day.
A little known fact, if you are from Missouri (ironically the “show me” state) – you can be proud! The group was founded in St. Louis, Missouri by Russell Markert in 1925, originally performing as the “Missouri Rockets.” Markert had been inspired by the John Tiller Girls in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922, and was convinced that “If I ever got a chance to get a group of American girls who would be taller and have longer legs and could do really complicated tap routines and eye-high kicks… they’d knock your socks off!” The group was brought to New York City by Samuel Roxy Rothafel to perform at his Roxy Theater and renamed the “Roxyettes.” When Rothafel left the Roxy Theatre to open Radio City Music Hall, the dance troupe followed and later became known as the Rockettes. The group performed as part of opening night at Radio City Music Hall on December 27, 1932. In 1936, the troupe won the grand prize at the “Paris Exposition de Dance”…the rest – is history !

Photo of the day: FLASH MOB SINGS HAPPY 103rd BIRTHDAY/THANKSGIVING TO ETHEL OF SUNNYSIDE ♫♪ !

ETHEL 103RD BIRTHDAY collage

Photo of the day: FLASH MOB SINGS HAPPY 103rd BIRTHDAY/THANKSGIVING TO ETHEL OF SUNNYSIDE ♫♪ ! – My neighbor and art patron Ethel Plimack celebrates her 103rd birthday today!! Thanksgiving + Hanukkah + 103 years! WOW! Fellow neighbor Patricia Dorfman and member of the Sunnyside Artist League organized a flash mob for 11:59am today when neighbors and their children appeared on Ethel’s doorstep and sang a special “Happy Birthday” to her! What a special day !

I CANNOT ADD MEDIA OR SELECT PREVIOUSLY USED TAGS, WORDPRESS IS DOWN/SUCKS


Photo of the day: CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAWN = MAYOR BILL (74%) DeBLASIO

DeBLASSIO WIN celebration

Photo of the day: CELEBRATING THE BEGINNING OF A NEW DAWN = MAYOR BILL (74%) DeBLASIO  – Last night in Chelsea’s Mustang Sally’s bar, dedicated animal rights activists, anti-Quinn and staunch pro DeBlasio supporters were uncharacteristically quiet as we listened to the uplifting speech given by our new mayor. Tears on the faces of the supporters glistened from the light of the 5 giant TV screens surrounding us, Bill’s voice filling the room. The 12 year reign of oppression, dictatorial rule and genocide of the middle class and our buildings and old establishments has finally ended. It may have been 10:30pm at night, but it was as if there was bright sunshine in the room, we were all beaming so much. We had done it!! We have all worked so passionately and hard, no one more hard than Donny Moss and Allie Feldman who started the ball rolling by getting rid of Christine Quinn with the help of animal rights groups. Our little rag tag group conquered with spirit and heart the billionaire dollars spent by the Koch brothers (sound Romney-like familiar??), the power of Bloomberg and the republican cash heavy war chests. Instead these grass roots groups and many more fought Goliath and won: NYCLASS, ABQ, Outer Boroughs Against Christine Quinn, Queers Against Quinn, Kittens Against Joe Lhota, Stopping NYC Horse Abuse, GoosewatchNYC, Bill DeBlasio for Mayor, and of course Donny Moss’s Defeat Christine Quinn. A landslide 74% victory, HA !
The dark, racist,  oppressive cloud over our lives and this city is being lifted. A ‘mensch’, a caring human being is taking over, with a heart and not ice in his monied veins.
I am so DAMN proud of each and every one of them, and my mom who even at age 87 went out and campaigned and handed out Anti Quinn, then pro DeBlasio flyers every day she left the house to go grocery shopping or walk the dog. She was known as the “you have to vote for Bill DeBlasio!” lady here in Queens. Well mom, Donny, Allie, Daniela Knoppik, Natasha, Brian and Jeanne Gari, Andy Sydor and ALL you wonderful friends and supporters = WE DID IT!
Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.

Mrs. DeBlasio, Cynthia Nixon, our next mayor Bill DeBlasio and Susan Sarandon.


Photo of the day: BOYCOTT BARILLA PASTA !

LADY TRAMP BARILLA©
Photo of the day: BOYCOTT BARILLA PASTA ! – Guido Barilla, president of century old pasta purveyors last week became the Anita Bryant of his time “I would never make a spot with a homosexual family,” Guido Barilla said on the Italy radio program La Zanzara (The Mosquito), according to Italian news agency ANSA. “Not out of a lack of respect but because I do not see it like they do. (My idea of) family is a classic family where the woman has a fundamental role.”
That bigoted small minded comment has caused an backlash spreading fear in the company’s accounting department as sales started to drop. At a open minded dinner table no longer will Russian Vodka and Italian Barilla pasta be served. This takes me back to 1977 when the right wing Christian Florida orange juice queen Anita Bryant declared her war on gays.
Anita_Bryant_Sucks_Oranges_button

In 1977,Dade County Florida, passed an ordinance that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Bryant led a highly publicized campaign to repeal the ordinance as the leader of a coalition named Save Our Children. The campaign was based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation. Bryant said:

“What these people really want, hidden behind obscure legal phrases, is the legal right to propose to our children that theirs is an acceptable alternate way of life. I will lead such a crusade to stop it as this country has not seen before.”

The campaign began an organized opposition to gay rights that spread across the nation. Jerry “I have sinned!” Falwell went to Miami to help her. Bryant made the following statements during the campaign: “As a mother, I know that homosexuals cannot biologically reproduce children; therefore, they must recruit our children” and “If gays are granted rights, next we’ll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters.”She also added that “All America and all the world will hear what the people have said, and with God’s continued help we will prevail in our fight to repeal similar laws throughout the nation.” Well . . . Anita suffered a backlash like none that had been seen before. Her many commercial endorsements ceased one by one. TV show and concert appearances were canceled. She was heckled and booed wherever she went including having a pie thrown in her face.

Anita Bryant

Anita Bryant

If you want to stop or hurt someone – you hit them in the pocketbook which is exactly what we did! Secretly sold at the time (1977) in head shops, were rings that had razor blades hidden in their design. So, in the days before store camera surveillance, you went to the orange juice section of the grocery store – and let your ring hand slide over allllll the orange juice cartons. No juice = no $ale. Stores terrified of further vandalism stopped carrying Florida orange juice. In the end, gays won. Anita suffered bankruptcy and divorce after divorce finally being reduced to selling religious sunglasses. Yes, you read that right, they had scripture on the inside stems.

So Mr. Guido Barilla . . . I may not still have my razor blade ring, but – I will gladly poke my finger through the cellophane of all you pasta boxes in the local supermarkets. The tactic was very effective the first time. Ready everyone: POKE!


Photo of the day: I HAVE A DREAM

I HAVE A DREAM

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

 


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

TWOFORONE

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: THE MAGIC SUBWAY RIDE . . .

MAGICIAN

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!
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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,  Antônio 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 !
MAGICIAN THANK YOU
Bullwinkle: Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.
Rocky: Again?
Bullwinkle: Presto!