It was the summer of 1950.
I had just been dropped off in Monticello, NY from my father’s pride and joy, his forest green 1947 Buick. I was venturing forth to find an elusive summer job. A pair of black waiter’s pants was draped over my arm. I was heading for an employment agency in Monticello, the queen city of the Borscht Belt.
It’s a sunny, mild morning at The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Queens. My friend Walter and I are here to walk the paths and view the ponds for avian life. We quickly start to notice small things.
Catbirds fly across a gravel path, land on bushes and disappear in the undergrowth. A male yellow warbler with red streaking on its breast lands on a tree as the leaves wave in a strong breeze. In a marsh that looks out to the Cross Bay Bridge, three male red-winged blackbirds rise from the grass and two chase each other. As they come close, their characteristic epaulets look more orange than red. I wonder if it isn’t the light and Walter wonders if they aren’t yet mature. Minutes later two pairs of Canada geese fly low overhead honking loudly. As they pass overhead their bulky bellies and long extended necks move toward the marsh and quickly are gone. These birds, commonplace on the ground, look bold in flight.
As we scan the local newspaper’s movie section, we see that all the movie houses have basically the same attractions. They have films for teenagers and some for the 6-to-10-year-old crowd. Usually, there’s nothing for the discretionary, discerning and discriminating group, those in their 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.
Last week as I looked for a sleeper Friday night film I spied a movie called Trishna. On further examination I read that it was the Thomas Hardy story of Tess of the D’Urbervilles transposed into modern India. The astonishing switch from Hardy’s fictional Wessex in Dorchester is truly amazing.
I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the Marc Chagall exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art for this week’s cover story. Chagall’s whimsical style may not be to everyone’s tastes, but he was definitely unique, and the optimism on display in many of his paintings is infectious. All this I expected, however I was surprised to discover how amateurish a lot of his figure drawing appeared to be.
Now, before I’m tarred and feathered by a wandering cabal of art historians, let me clarify what I mean. A lot of great artists were capable of drawing detailed, correctly proportioned figures and simply chose not to; Matisse immediately comes to mind. The fact that some of Chagall’s subjects don’t feature realistic anatomy doesn’t mean that the artist was incapable of drawing at a high level of realism, had he wanted to.
My 6-year-old grandson Lewis is very erudite and speaks remarkably well. He has been speaking in complete sentences since he was 3 years of age. Lorraine, my wife and his grandmother, tries to teach him “reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic.”
She recently asked him this most serious question: “Lewis, what is your favorite word?” Lewis thought for a few seconds and answered “Enthusiasm.” Lorraine shone with delight at his unexpected answer. After a short period, he asked her a question in return. “Grandma, what does enthusiasm mean?”
In response to Susan Lerner’s opinion piece in Newsday on July 3, entitled “Voters Are The Losers In Nassau Fight,” The League of Women Voters of Nassau County believes in many of the same principles Ms Lerner proposes. As a nonpartisan organization, the league has repeatedly spoken before the county legislature and to the temporary advisory redistricting commission for a fairer and more transparent process for redistricting than is currently being considered by this advisory commission.
The league believes first that the advisory commission should conduct hearings to receive input from residents about how the process should occur and suggestions on how district lines should be drawn. Then, after the commission creates proposed districts, there should be additional public hearings to discuss them. These hearings should be in all three towns and two cities in Nassau County and should occur at a variety of times (day and evening) and at multiple locations in order to accommodate as many people as possible. Equally important is that all meeting locations be handicapped-accessible.
At a recent Mets game at Citifield, the Mets were trailing by a score of 5-4 in the ninth inning to their avowed enemies from “the city of Brotherly love,” Philadelphia. The crowd then got into the action. Forty thousand Mets fans, egged on by the visuals and sounds coming from the scoreboard starting chanting, “Let’s go Mets!”
In addition, as the rally increased, the fans got out of their seats simultaneously and continued their incantation of “Let’s go Mets.” The cheering got louder and the opposing pitchers seemed to be affected by the mob’s desires. When David Wright blooped a winning Texas Leaguer in front of the Phillies right fielder, the crowd went berserk. It was a true New York moment. It reminded me of the old Madison Square Garden throng’s reaction at a Knicks game in the early 1970s. I was proud to be a New Yorker and the trip home was delightful. The multitudes had “willed” the victory.
This article is not about the world famous Broadway in Manhattan. It concerns the Broadway that runs through Syosset, Jericho and Hicksville. Some people call it Route 106 and 107.
As a resident of Hicksville-Westbury and then Jericho over the last 48 years, I feel qualified to speak about this Broadway phenomenon.
Warblers, tiny migrants, are flying across the path but quickly disappear. My wife spots one in a tall bush. Another woman also has her binoculars on it but I can’t locate the bird. After it flies, my wife tells me the little bird was black and white with a yellow head. The woman identifies it as a chestnut-sided warbler. It’s uncommon here, the first migrant of the morning and I missed it!
“A grasshopper walks into a bar and orders a drink. The bartender looks at him and says “You know we have a drink named after you.” The grasshopper replies, “You have a drink named Stanley?”
That is the kind of humor you will be subjected to in the new show on West 43rd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. Old Jews Telling Jokes is the name of the hilarious production.
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