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?!’
ENJOYING THE LAST WARM DAYS OF WINTER WITH VERA: Yesterday was one of those last early warm December days you could find a comfortable chair in the park and close your eyes and drift back to summer memories of years gone by.
I took advantage of the warmth and made myself comfortable, as I did, I was intrigued by the woman sitting nearby, I sensed she has a bright spirit by the accessories she was wearing. A purple crinkle fabric handbag and a classic Vera scarf to go with her elegant black velvet jacket. Remember Vera deigns? How chic they were in the 1960’s with the little lady bug logo? Bright splashes of bold colors on bold flowers and bold waves of the paint brush swirled delicately about. Marilyn Monroe was a fan of Vera scarves.
I had to photograph her. What resulted . . . is this picture of peaceful elegant serenity. Beautiful expressive scarf, beautiful expressive hands, beautiful expressive face. Ageing gracefully has always been an art.
THIRTEEN DOWN WAS A BITCH: Part of her morning routine is to secure a warm sunny chair and table early in Bryant Park, to settle in her belongings and to do her crossword puzzles. She is one of the regular homeless faces I recognize in the park. One never knows what brings you to such a point and what story lurks behind that sleepy face next to you. She being an avid cross word puzzler makes me curious what her past was -secretary, business executive, wife, teacher, accountant, clerk – I wonder?
Bryant Park is situated right behind the huge public library here in Manhattan filled daily with avid readers. The advantage is they discard their daily newspapers in the nearby trash bins. So her morning routine begins – find a spot, find the daily papers, find the crossword puzzles, tear them out of the paper and then start with #1 across. Being homeless, you never are assured to find the next days paper to find out if you’ve solved them all correctly or not, but it whiles away the hours.
#1 across was the easiest, it always is, likewise for #1 down. #2 across follows easily.
#7 across required some thought. #11 down she wasn’t sure of the spelling.
Solving #22 down made the others fall into place. #39 across could be one of two names. But . . . #13 down – was a bitch, so, she decides to take a nap.
FRIED EGG OR A PURPLE WIG – IT’S ALL THE SAME: (From Bette Midler’s 1977 “Live At Last” album)
“I was walking down 42nd street one day, I wasn’t workin’42nd street I was walkin 42nd street. And this amazing thing happened to me. It was July it was about 98 degrees. It was hot, hot for New York You know and I was walking east and this humungous person was coming west. And she had this big blue house dress on peppered all over with little white daisies. She was almost bald but sitting on top of her head, forehead you know on her forehead was this fried egg. Which I thought was really unusual. Because in New York City the ladies with the fried eggs on their heads don’t generally come out until September or October you know. Here was this lady this demented lady with a little fried egg on her head in the middle of July. God what a sight and ever, ever since I saw that lady not one day goes by that I don’t think of her and I say to myself “Oh God, don’t let me wake up tomorrow and want to put a fried egg on my head. Oh God. “Then I say real fast I say ” Oh God, If by chance I should wind up with a fried egg on my head”;cause sometimes you can’t help those things you know, you can’t. I say to myself “don’t let anybody notice.”And then I say real fast after that “if they do notice that I’m carrying something that, that’s not quite right and they want to talk about it, let ’em talk about it but don’t let ’em talk so I can hear I don’t want to hear it.” Cause the truth about fried eggs, you can call it a fried egg, you can call it anything you like, but everybody gets one, some people wear ’em on the outside, some people they wear ’em on the inside.”
YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO . . . : Wear a mini skirt, fish net stockings, black leather knee high boots and to try to figure out how to use your iPhone !
UP DO: You can never have too many bobby pins!
CHOOSING MEAT: Some people are adept at hunting in the forest, some people are adept at fishing in the sea, some people are adept at trolling for Perdue chickens in the aisles of the local supermarket.