Photo of the day: THREE FACES OF GRIEF – Three mothers, three dead sons. Today at the Justice For Eric Garner Rally on Staten Island, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, the mothers of three slain boys made a surprise and very powerful appearance. Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown’s mother (right) barely able to speak through her tears, Kadiatou Diallo (center), the mother of 22-year-old Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo, who died in a hail of 41 NYPD bullets in 1999, and the mother of Ramarley Graham (left) an unarmed 18-year-old shot and killed by NYC police in 2012.
They spoke in support of Eric Garner and accountability the police must take for brutal unjustified shootings that have become common place in this country like the old Jim Crow south. Name after name from the last two decades, including Trayvon Martin and Eleanor Bumpers were read off, it sent a chill through me. These are gestapo Nazi racial murders like that of Berlin 1939. There are taser guns, tear gas and mace – none used, shooting point blank is out and out murder. (Whatever happened to ‘shoot to maim and stop’?) Yet no Teflon police (or George Zimmerman) are in jail.
Choke-hold victim Eric Garner’s entire family was present: Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s widow and Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr and their children. To see so many faces of grief on one stage has left me shaken and is something I will not forget.
Photo of the day: NEVER FORGET – Never let this glory fade. Happy Memorial Day.
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”.
Bye Bye Bloomie
Kiss your rich ass goodbye;
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you go and die?
All the gloom is gone away;
I won’t cry Bloomie,
DeBlassio is here to save the day.
I’ll miss your mean Grinch grins,
As tho’ it’s kicking me in the shins;
And each and ev’ry night,
I’ll thank God faithfully!
Bye Bye Bloomie,
Why don’t you take Quinn with you too;
Bye Bye Bloomie
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared,
Guess you never cared!
Bye Bye Bloomie
Hope the Bermuda triangle’s got you now!
I’ll try Bloomie
To forget some how
No more destroying
Neighborhoods we’ve grown to love
No more lying
When you twist those zoning laws
Your graft and your payola ways
Your super-duper rich class
There’s nothing left to say
You can all kiss my ASS!
Bye Bye Bloomie
Ta ta oh sweetie-pie
Bye Bye Bloomie
Time for you to die
Time for you to die
Time to say goodbye
The true Bloomie at DeBlassio’s inauguration
Photo of the day: HANS’ PERSON OF THE YEAR – WHO WILL IT BE? In 2010 I chose my Glasgow guest Bethany Martin
for turning me on to Facebook – and look to where it has led!, 834 friends later!
In 2011 I chose my then new friend Paul Ker
who had been a total… stranger, friended me on Facebook because he liked my photos and volunteered his time to help me choose my new camera and equipment which resulted in the photos you see.
For 2012 I broke with tradition from choosing a Facebook ‘friend’ and chose my mom, for supporting me through some rough times in early 2012. I am doubly blessed! I have a loving ‘family of friends’ here on my blog and on Facebook. Some of you I have never even met and I feel so close to and owe so many of you a nice long phone call. But you are “there”, showing me love and support when I need it, for that I thank you all greatly. Thank you und vielen Dank! But when we are lucky enough to always have a loving mother to turn to, we are the most lucky person in the world. Isn’t true…we always turn to mom. So for all the comfort and support and the security of knowing no matter how awful it got and gets, she would be and is there . . . mom was the 2012 Person of the Year.
This year again I will choose a person that had the most affect or influence on my life in 2013. I’ve met so many wonderful people and have had so many amazing incredible experiences, but I will choose one. Which one of the absolutely terrific people in my life will it be? STAY TUNED 🙂 !
Photo of the day: BELIEVE IN THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS – Believe in flying reindeer, believe in wishes coming true, believe that a sleigh can fly, believe that there is a wondrous place at the North Pole (not a factory in China), believe that Santa can deliver toys to all the boys and girls in one magical night, believe that he knows if you’ve been good or bad, believe that all things are possible, believe in love, believe in miracles and above all, believe in yourself.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE !
Foto des Tages: GLAUBEN SIE AN DIE MAGIE VON WEIHNACHTEN – Glauben an fliegende Renntiere, glauben an sich erfüllende Wünsche, glauben, dass ein Schlitten fliegen kann, glauben, dass es einen erstaunlichen Platz am Nordpol (nicht eine Fabrik in China) gibt, glauben, dass der Weihnachtsman Spielsachen an alle Jungen und Mädchen in einer magischer Nacht liefern kann, glauben, dass er weiß ob Sie artig oder bös gewesen sind, glauben Sie, dass alle Dinge möglich sind, glauben an der Liebe, an Wunder und vor allem glauben, an sich selbst glauben. FRÖHLICHES WEIHNACHTEN ALLE!
Photo of the day: HOW ARE YOU BRINGING HOME YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE? – Despite the fact that you see endless traffic in New York City, most New Yorkers don’t have cars nor even know how to drive. (I didn’t learn till my move to Tucson, Arizona at age 38.) The cars you see are from the far reaches of the outer boroughs, from tourists and rentals.
So we have to be a little more inventive when we bring home our Christmas trees. I have seen Christmas trees rolled home on skateboards, pushed in shopping carts, taken on the subway (a 7 footer!), by sleds in the snow, in taxi cabs and even in baby carriages. So, how are you bringing home your Christmas tree?
Mine came home via mom’s mint green Floridian shopping cart
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things.
Dreamy desserts with bright colored berries,
Nuns back and forth on Staten Island ferries,
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
(I think this nun’s name might be Maria)
Photo of the day: THANKSGIVING WINTER STORM IS COMING, HAVE YOU DONATED TO YOUR LOCAL HOMELESS SHELTER OR FOOD BANK? – A nasty nor-easter storm is barreling up the coast. High winds, rains and snow expected. While we rush to get our last minute Thanksgiving trimmings and desserts for the table – New York City’s homeless population is at it’s highest since the great depression! Under the greedy dictatorship of emperor mayor Bloomberg the “let them eat cake/go to the theatah” era is at it’s worst.
As you are rushing to run your errands before the storm arrives, deciding pumpkin or apple pie, others decide which is the least moldy. As you see that homeless person in the subway station, can you look in their hollow eye and do nothing? Give them your coffee, a muffin, an apple, a dollar, a pair of gloves or a scarf. If not, take a few extra minutes at home to donate on line to The Red Cross, your local food bank or homeless shelter. The time it took to read this post, is the same time it takes to donate to those who have fallen on hard times. Remember: There but for the grace of God go I . . . it could be you one day. Stay warm.
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.
Photo of the future: VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE DeBLASIO! – GO out there and vote! I want a real human being in City Hall. A man whose family looks like the rest of us. A man with feelings and a heart. Not ice in his veins. I don’t care if all his promises can’t be reached, or if he will screw up and falter – I want a mensch, a human being I can approach and relate to. I want my city back! I got rid of Christine Quinn, one of the most cold calculating, selfish, power mad, destructive politicians of modern times, lets make sure MTA-thief Joe Lohta losses by a huge margin!
YOU can make history and get rid of the elite detached nanny-rule of this Bloomberg tyranny. In my born and raised 57 years as a New Yorker I have never seen a mayor do as much to destroy and harm my beloved city as bastard Bloomberg. We have NEVER lost as many long time established stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, historical neighborhoods and places and business places as with his greedy rule of allowing quadruple rent increases to squeeze (in some cases) 100 year old businesses out of business so he could build yet another mirror glass ivory tower for his billionaire friends. He has done more damage than 9/11 and hurricane Sandy combined, both of which we are rebuilding from. You cannot rebuild from the onslaught over priced glass ivory towers, the destruction of historic neighborhoods, the squeezing out of the middle class, the invasion of chain stores in even the most historical of neighborhoods, the racial and socioeconomic division of this city, the genocide of the middle class as what has occurred in the last 12 years of Bloombergistan.
Bloomberg is a thief. Oddly enough he went from being the 18th richest man in the country to 10th richest man as the zoning laws, historic district laws and street patterns changed and Citi-bikes have invaded and devoured our city. All those deals went into his back pocket. The zoning commission is working around the clock to cram through all of Bloomberg’s excessive destructive plans such as encircling Grand Central Terminal and the iconic Chrysler building with glass super towers!
I am tired of the little dwarf who is about as much a part of the rest of us as a cold rock from outer space. His Napoleonic syndrome of dominant power over every little aspect of New York went too far.
DON’T “ASS-U-ME” DeBlassio will win or win big: May I remind you , that is how bastard Bloomberg got this third term because of the anger and apathy that let everyone assume he would win his bought third term. Apathy and laziness looses you your city. VOTE! – Take 15 extra minutes before or after work, take the dog on a voting walk, turn off the TV, grab a warm coat, take your children with you and let them know they are a part of something great, take someone you love and share this exhilarating chance, but most of all, know that this vote is one of the most crucial votes you will cast in the last 100 years of this city’s glorious history and certainly determine our next 100 years.
HELP SAVE NEW YORK – VOTE BILL DeBLASIO ! ! !
IN THE 2009 PRIMARY ELECTION – 11% OF NYers VOTED !
IN THE 2009 MAYORAL ELECTION ONLY 26% OF NYers VOTED!
YO HAVE NO RIGHT TO UTTER EVEN A WORD ABOUT POLITICS IF YOU DO NOT VOTE TODAY!
VOTE – OR PUT UP!
V O T E ! V O T E ! V O T E !
ANYBODY BUT QUINN !
(deBlasio happens to be my choice)
I‘M HERE, I‘M OK ! THANK YOU to all those concerned posts that I didn’t ignore but simply couldn’t answer. After Xmas there was frightening health news for my mom and lots and lots of additional disappointments and bad news all at once and I just emotionally shut off. I had absolutely no desire to photograph or to speak to anyone. I couldn’t feel. I actually also couldn’t find the words, me speechless = rare. I am now slowly grappling how to put it all into words and come back to Facebook and blogging.
Some said “just start posting/blogging again with no explanation,” but I felt after so many of us have shared our lives for so long I should explain…
So here goes: 2012 was one of the most unpleasant years of my life. Two horrible (Gray Line & On Board Tours) jobs and financial disappointments, a struggle with my photography/book and then a culmination of awakenings from watching the news just brought me to an emotional shut-down.
I did launch my blog, that was absolutely wonderful! My photography web site by now has had over 6,700 hits, but no photographs sold. I have been told over and over by good friends of mine like Paul Ker, “No one buys photos anymore.” A very depressing reality, but that a book is the way to go. The answer was to create a book with the photos and the stories behind them but the people who offered to help were phonies and the computer program needed to self publish and print the book in (sadly) China or India is so confusing, I couldn’t learn it since my brain was already on overload. So I tried to concentrate on the book by years end, but then my printer isn’t good enough and to top it off, both my camera and lens fell, broke and cost me an expensive repair I wasn’t counting on.
I had wanted to do a 2012 year’s end blog and researching for it led me to be more and more distressed of what is happening to my beloved New York City. 2012 was a record year of losses of iconic stores, lounges, restaurants, mom and pop places, Tiles for America, hotels, buildings, etc., that were wiped out due to the greedy under-the-table real estate dealings of mayor Mike Bloomberg and evil councilwoman Christine Quinn. Zoning variances have become the norm. Quaint neighborhoods are now collections of glass boxes and look and feel like strip malls. Harlem is 60% white, Greenwich Village is now nothing but yuppies, European hipster-wannabees and chain stores. It depresses me to visit many of my once beloved neighborhoods, to give tours in them is a farce. Hospitals and schools are being torn down to make room for luxury condos. (The hospital I was born in is now closed and boarded up.) If councilwoman Christine Quinn were to become mayor it will be the end of New York City permanently as we know it. A depressing way to enter 2013.
It seemed every day I wanted to write the blog or post a photo – another news story hit of yet another demolition or closing, they were coming almost daily. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Political news added to my depressed feelings – I simply cannot take this damned bickering in Washington DC anymore. I am a staunch Democrat, but I am open enough to say – when we have a Republican president the country should be run by republicans and when we have a Democrat, things should go their way = an ultimate test to see who can fuck it up better or make the country better – ultimate proof. But this daily bickering, stalling and impasses has had me say ENOUGH! I used to be a MSNBC Rachel Maddow addict, I cannot take her anymore, she is brilliant, her research team is one of the best, but if the daily results are the same thing over and over “stalled, denied, fighting, bickering, more mass shootings” why bother to watch the news?? It is the exact same thing every day. So…I shut down news and Facebook wise. I discovered two great cable TV stations called METV and AntennaTV which show all the old shows, so I escape to see Mary Richards and Rhoda, Oscar and Felix (just to hear that theme song cheers me up!), Leave It To Beaver=my favorite, Dick Van Dyke, Jeannie and of course the divine Aunt Clara and wonderfully wicked Endora on Bewitched. If god forbid something happens to the president, or another hurricane is headed this way – I’ll know about it, otherwise, leave me alone and stress free.
Hurricane Sandy added to my already dreaded feeling of loss of NYC. To this day Battery Park is wiped out, The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island won’t open till July 4th, some Wall Street buildings are still on generators, South Street Seaport is ruined and now they are going to tear much of it down in favor of…….glass boxes. Lest we not forget the thousands and thousands in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn that FEMA has not helped, that are without daily necessities like hot water, toilets and grocery stores. It is disgraceful. Childhood shore communities are gone – but the mayor and councilwoman Christine Quinn want to build…MORE glass boxes in midtown Manhattan, it is their ultimate mantra “let them eat cake.” It is like living in Alice In Wonder/Greed-land and the emperor and empress are wearing no clothes.
Then shortly after Christmas I thought I was going to loose my mom. She has injured her hip by pulling a heavy box across the floor and that action, somehow caused the cartilage to slip out of place between the two main hip bones and she now has the bones grinding bone on bone which I am told is quite painful. We were told there are two answers: hip replacement surgery or really strong painkillers. Mom can’t even make it up one step much less bend, turn or kneel. So all of a sudden I had to be there all the time. The Von Ritterns live to be in their high 90’s. Mom being 87 wasn’t at all any concern, she is otherwise healthy as a horse except for slight high blood pressure. One day we were at her dinner table and she couldn’t get up and for the first time I saw this old feeble woman and that was what sent me into shock. This isn’t my mom! Could this be the end? This vibrant woman who stood hours on line to vote for Obama can’t even get out of her chair?
We visited endless doctors offering all sorts of surgeries and pills. Mom refused all. You see, we lost my grandmother/her mother due to hip surgery – she was under anesthesia so long, that the oxygen didn’t properly flow to the brain and she came out of it with instant senility. My grandmother’s sister, had a botched spinal surgery and was given mega doses of pain killers which caused her to loose her mind to the point of being senile as well. Both extremely vibrant women, gone due to back/spine surgeries and all those pills. Mom was instantly haunted and frightened by that and said “God dammit, I am going to be here a long time, I am not making a doctor richer with hip surgery and I am not poisoning my brain. I’ll just take Tylenol!” (Well…sooner or later we will need more than just Tylenol…)
I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because when I did, as a few of you know, I lost it and broke down. I might be loosing my only living relative, my only living connection to my childhood, my history and my past. So I just shut down/disconnected. To top it all off, I threw out my back helping her and I also got blurred vision, explained to me due to stress. But – you have to learn how to make the lemonade out of the lemons or think sharply and say ‘what message are we getting here?’. The answer was finally a book, for both of us!
Our family history is astounding. Fiercely independent women who traveled the seven seas on their own, great-great grand parents who owned a coffee plantation in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, grandmother/‘Oma’ and her sisters were opera singers for the Berlin Opera, surviving Germany in World War II, mom coming to America and starting a new life. It’s the German “Gone With The Wind”!
We realized we need to record this legacy. Mom being viewed as forever young would come to haunt us if she were suddenly ill one day and not capable to record our history. NOW is the time for us as I research the Von Ritterns. Since she can mainly just “sit” – I have set her up in a comfortable office space in her kitchen and soon the great autobiography will begin. As for me, a book is the way to go. A $9.99 paperback in perfect carriable size &/or E-book, that anyone visiting New York would say “this is truly the real New York“.
So mom and I are settling into a new pattern of me helping her daily as well as trying to run my household (such as it is), photographing, walking Noel her dog and of course feeding Oscar my pet squirrel on time. With spring having arrived and many of my touring regulars visiting, I am slowly ‘making a mental comeback‘. Two people responsible are two very dear friends Lynn Benton Black and Pamela Martin Hughes who gave me wonderful loving insight and support on our recent tour.
Most importantly I want you all to know, I wasn’t trying to be mysterious or rude or diss-ing anyone. I just needed to be thoroughly alone to think and reassess. I couldn’t even think about “photos/blog of the day” (it seemed so trivial) when I thought I would loose mom suddenly – my brain just did an instant disconnect from all else. Please know I am very heartened by all the kind posts of concern here. I read all your posts and treasure you all.
So – I’m going to try to juggle it all: Touring, mom, me, Facebook, socializing, photographing, our books, blogging (it‘s a lot). On Facebook I’m going to start a new feature called ‘Mondays on Memory Lane’. I may not have a P.O.T.D. (Photo of the Day) every single day yet, and some photos may be a few months old, but – – – hey, I’m making a comeback ♥ !