Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Safe Harbor



South Street Seaport Pier 19 from the harbor Facing Wall Street

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Bridge to Tommorow



The Manhattan Bridge at Sunset. View across the East River to Brooklyn from Pike Slip.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Hidden Streams by Man Unknown



Since this came up in discussion on Autumn's Folly and since I didn't manage to make it to Central Park this week, monday or tuesday now it looks like *sigh*, a photo of Central Park's own waterfall.

adjunct Sultan Knish

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vayetzei Yaakov Mi'Beer Sheva - The Passing of Rabbi Joseph Singer

'And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba and went to Haran' - וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב, מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע; וַיֵּלֶךְ, חָרָנָה

Why, is the age old question asked, do we need to be told that he left Beer Sheva. It would be enough for us to know that he went to Haran. Is it not understood that in going to Haran, he also left Beer Sheva? Yet Rashi says that in telling us that he left Beer Sheva, it is telling us that when a Tzaddik leaves a city, panah hodah, panah zivah, panah hadrah, its crowning glory, its splendor goes out with him leaving the city more empty than ever.



On Erev Yom Kippur Rabbi Joseph Singer left New York City for the last time. Panah Hodah. Panah Zivah. Panah Hadrah.

Lama Neamar Tzaddik Nistar, why do we say a Tzaddik, a righteous man, is hidden. Ki Le'Anshei Haolam Hu Nistar Asher Lo Rotzu Li'Reot Otoi. For he is hidden from the people of the world who do not wish to see him.

Rabbi Joseph Singer was a refugee from Poland, he fled Nazis and Communists and wound up in New York in a narrow crumbling shul crammed between the adjoining buildings. Yet if you stepped inside the shul you found it surprisingly deep stretching far into the heart of the street. Amidst the narrow walls grew a temple of iron and wood, carpets and high walls and above it all shining lights. Of this temple Rabbi Joseph Singer was the High Priest once and his soul passed on before the avodah of Yom Kippur could begin, for surely nothing that he could have asked for on behalf of the Jewish people, could the Lord have denied him.

He rose each morning, early for his service, a stooped small man with traces of red still in his beard you could remember but not see, and descended downstairs to the small cramped basement room of the stanton street synagogue below the street, his frail body stepping down wooden stairs worn and smoothed by the passages of so many decades of feet. Downstairs an old sink stood before the plastered leaded glass door into the synagogue. Inside a thick pipe led to the boiler, hot water for the old men's tea hissed in the percolator, a black rotary dial phone sat beneath taped up scrawled notes of phone numbers of men who might make a minyan and next to it behind glass were the lit up names of the dead.

In time the old men would gather and with them one or two from the village, artists, burnouts, post-hippie hippies; to pray. On the other side of the bridge, the right side of the bridge and the subway tracks, is the Bialystoker Synagogue, grand, ornate and carpeted in red with room for thousands. Its Rabbi, was his third cousin. To Rabbi Yosef Singer though fell a humbler lot. The ancient worn wooden benches once attached to Singer sewing machines, the yellowed telephone pages resting on them, the tangled telephone wires, the old fridge and the massive steel fan spinning on. There was nothing ornate by him, only dignified by the dignity of age and long use. Some Rabbis, Some synagogues are ornamental. There was nothing ornamental about either Rabbi Joseph Singer or his shul. They were both old and worn and used every single day.

Lama Neamar Tzadik Nistar, Lefi She'Yekar Geduloto Nistar Min Haolam - Why do we call a Tzaddik hidden, because his precious worth is hidden from the world



Lama Neamar Tzadik Nistar, Lefi Shescharo Nistar Min Haolman - Why do we call a Tzaddik hidden, for his reward is hidden from the world.

Rabbi Joseph Singer will never be the subject of biographies or hagiographies. Pictures of him will never hang on walls, though they ought to. His Shiva is being held on Long Island far from the community he dedicated his life to. He came to America in the 30's leaving behind his home, leaving behind a world that the Nazis and Communists would soon engulf. He held down a dozen jobs, he rushed back and forth from community centers to his shul to his home. He worked to the bone for people who never gratefull for it, yet this did not trouble him in the least. He obtained donations of clothing for them, donations of food, he blessed them, he pleaded with them to come for a Minyan. He was angry at no man. He never said a cross word to anyone in his life.

The hippies and aging activists and yuppies he worked with found him charming, an aging artifact of Eastern Europe in a synagogue authentic to its aged bones. Some even wrote about him. They found the dimunitive man rushing about to serve them charming, they found his views less so. Woody Allen came to shoot a movie and wound up arguing with Rabbi Singer over the rights of Palestinian Arabs and Judaism. Woody Allen told Rabbi Singer that Judaism was a worn out fossil. Rabbi Singer told him that the Torah was eternal and without it the world count not endure and that it would endure forever.

Finally the yuppies and aging activists whom he could occasionally convince to come to shul and who thought he was a funny old fossil, drove him out of his own shul, slandered him, smeared his reputation in the hatefull organs of the initerant left, like the Village Voice. They drove out half the membership, repainted the inside, replaced some of the fixtures, threw a benefit concert with Neshama Carlebach, obtained trainee Rabbis from Yeshiva Chovevei Torah, leaning just this side of Reform Judaism, and still have trouble gathering a Minyan. They can be seen sometimes in the trendy rebranded Stanton Street Shul, hipsters with bow ties and checkered suits, a handfull of joking young men idling in front of the ancient building with the door open. The master has gone and the house is empty.

Lomo Tzaddik Nikra Nistar, Ki Hevlei Haolam Nistar Me'einav - Why is a Tzaddik called hidden, for the good things of the world are hidden from his eyes.



Rabbi Joseph Singer never saw much in the way of a reward from this world. His children became succesfull and married well but they all moved away from the old neighborhood. Though he helped tens of thousands, he was never considered a community leader in the way that the men whose hands were always greedily grasping were. A small thin man in a community whose leaders ran to fat. A man whose charity was not to be expressed in chinese auctions, fundraisers, dinners or social events but in the way he day after day spent his life working to help others without asking for anything in return.

Rabbi Singer sat humbly at the tables of great Rabbis never desiring anything more for himself. The man who worked all his life for others desired nothing more than to continue that labor and even that was denied him by the smug self-righteous yuppies who took over his shul and all the credit for the decades of work he had put into it. The man who had never taken anything for himself wound up smeared as a greedy thief and dragged into court by trust fund babies, directionless activists, children in their 30's and 40's still engaged in perpetual rebellion against whatever father figures they could find. They found one in Rabbi Joseph Singer.

I remember a poem taped to a wall in the Educational Alliance, where Rabbi Singer spent many hours, that ancient institution where Sholom Aleichem had once met Mark Twain, through which generations of immigrants had passed. It was typewritten but not remotely well written. The rhyme was crude and the style was childish and so was the love that seeped from it. But it had not been written by a child. Like Paul Cowan's, An Orphan in History, a book filled with warm rememberances of Rabbi Singer, it was a poem of love. I remember it as it hangs there taped with a single strip of scotch tape to a peeling wall. I remembered the browned paper, the newsprint, almost everything but the words. All but the last couplet. "When history finally calls it a day, Rabbi Singer will surely be remembered in a special way."

Some Rabbis give speeches, some deliver lectures. Many sit in offices all day. Rabbi Singer had no true office. His office was his community and he used no desk chair but his feet. There will be no biographies of him, nothing but the memory of those who knew him. Some Rabbis deliver lectures on casettes and write books, Rabbi Yosef Singer's life was the lecture. To see him was to understand how a righteous man lives, not in the sun of glory but in the quiet shade of the moon. Not to do for oneself but to do for others. To live humbly and to serve the Almighty and walk in his ways all the days of your life.

I have not been much to the Lower East Side in a long time and the poem is likely gone. Walls are repainted and old things regularly tossed out. Rabbi Joseph Singer was tossed out, forgotten but never by Him who decides the truth of history and spanned the orbit of the world. There are funerals to whom hundreds of thousands gather. To Rabbi Singer's funeral, at least one will come and as for Moshe our teacher, the Lord will gather him in.

Lama Tzaddik Nikra Nistar, Ki Hu Nistar Min Ha'Ayin Ve'Mevin La'Lev - Why is a Tzaddik called hidden for he is hidden eye from the eye yet known to the heart



Rabbi Yosef Singer's appeal was hidden like that of his shul. It was not the appeal of the senses, of the visually grand, the ostentatious, the outwardly respected. It was the appeal of the heart. The appeal of the nistar min ha'ayin, what is hidden from the eye, was Mevin La'Lev, revealed to the heart, to those who had a heart.

His appeal was not limited to Jews. He was stopped and greeted on the street by people from the neighborhood, blacks, puetro ricans and local artists. He would stop by for a few minutes of friendly conversation with the local priest. If you had a question he would answer it. If you needed help he would give it. If you wanted to know his beliefs, he would never be ashamed of them.

Often described as elfin by writers, he was never a plaster saint. He always had a ready joke, a laugh. His face was set not in stone but in a sort of dignified warmth always ready to spill over. He was quick to help and quick to smile, to offer encouragement, to share the comfort of his soul.
Succos is coming again and I remember him in the Succah, his wife Rebbetzin Singer bringing out the dishes she had cooked and the very Italian Chief of Detectives for the local precinct praising her cooking, saying that he had never encountered cooking like hers in any community. I remember the concentration on his face as he recited the bracha over the Lulav and Esrog, his entire body tightening like a spring aimed in the direction of his Creator.

I remember sunlight on an old man's face who somewhere never seemed old.

Lama Neamar Tzadik Nistar, Lefi She'Bizman Petiroto, Hodo Nistar Mimanu Ve'Nigleh Rak Le'Hakadosh Baruch Hu - Why is a Tzaddik called hidden, for on the hour of his death his glory is hidden from us and revealed only to the Holy One Blessed Be He

Like Moshe our teacher, Rabbi Joseph Singer suffered from a speech impediment. It was difficult to understand what he was saying much of the time. His speech sounded mumbled, he whispered, he pleaded when speaking.

Why was the speech of Moshe our teacher impeded, for had his speech been unimpeded then when he had pleaded for Israel his people, his request would have been so pure, God would have been unable to refuse him anything.

Another answer. Why was the speech of Moshe our teacher impeded, so that men might pay attention to his deeds not his words and to his words because of his deeds, rather than his deeds because of his words.

Rabbi Joseph Singer was not a speaker, he was a doer. He spoke much but he did far more. He was not to be seen delivering speeches but delivering packages. He was not to be seen accepting honors but honoring others with his presence. Va'yetzei, he has left us now, but the preciousness of the legacy he has left in the hearts of many, in the families he preserved, in the comfort he provided, in the basic necesitties he aided with, in the lives he changed is beyond the measure of any but He who dwells in the highest of heavens.

Let us but be remembered that we knew him.

Lama Tzaddik Nikra Nistar, Ki Im Tzidkato Nistar Min Ha'Anashim, Ein Davar Nistar Min Ha'Elohim - Why is a Tzaddik called hidden for though his righteousness may be hidden from men, nothing is hidden from God...


From Vayetzei Yaakov Mi'Beer Sheva - The Passing of Rabbi Yosef Singer

---------------Two more narratives of Rabbi Yosef Singer-------------------

* This one is from a visitor to his shul, at the Stanton Street Synagogue, Bnai Jacob Anschei Brzezan.

* This is from a man who encounted Rabbi Joseph on a visit to Poland

"Autumn In New York"

Friday, September 15, 2006

"Hero"



Balto the hero looks over his domain as Autumn approaches, ever on the alert.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My Tisha Bav



It is night, Erev Tisha Bav, and I am headed downtown. I heard Eicha at the Lincoln Square Synagogue, a modern space with curves and diagonals but now I am returning to a place I haven't visited for years. A place as far from modern as you can get. The Lower East Side.

The Lower East Side is where many of America's first Jewish immigrants came. The streets are still imprinted with the sound of Yiddish, with the footsteps of Jews hurrying to shul, with the rolling wheels of their pushcarts and the legacy of their souls. It is also a dying neighborhood whose children have left it for a thousand suburbs and towns. Like the Jerusalem that once was it sits abandoned waiting for its children who will never return.

There are rockets falling on Israel now and new ruins coming into being there but I cannot be in Israel now and so I return to our oldest home in America, to another ruin. The Williamsburg Bridge, ugliest and grimiest of Manhattan's downtown bridges is a shadowy bulk in the night. Stadium lights shine over the FDR Drive's baseball fields, though there is no one there and no game expected. The bleachers are empty and the untrodden green turf gleams eerily under the glare.

The Lower East Side was once home to millions of Jews but those Jews have long gone. It is still a unique community nonetheless, one where elderly men wear grey and plaid hats and the non-religious are as welcome in the Orthodox synagogues as the most devout. The current categories of the frum world, haredi, modern orthodox, chassidic melt here. Any shul you enter will have people from all these boxes and more. They are simply Lower East Side Jews and in the era of communities segregated by minchag, hashkafah and all that pettiness, they are a valuable treasure vanishing away.



Walled in one side by the river, the city in its infinite wisdom walled in it on two more sides by huge tracts of housing projects, one that is alone over 16 blocks long. In those projects any local cop could find his way blindfolded, so familiar were they were its interiors from domestic abuse, drug, suicide and shooting calls. They cut off the Lower East Side from the rest of Manhattan strangling it in a headlock of poverty and crime. Chinatown pressed in on the third side with sweatshops, tenements crowded with a dozen illegal immigrants to a room and resteurants with slaughtered pigs in the windows. The Jewish community receded to the co-ops which the Dinkins administration did their best to plant homeless people in.

Still the infinite wisdom of our authorities weren't done with the Jews of the Lower East Side yet. The congressional district for the Lower East Side was gerrymandered, sliced up, sectioned off along with pieces of Brooklyn and Queens into the city's only tri-borough congressional district. The congressman who had represented the Lower East Side was gone replaced with Nydia Velasquez heading a mostly hispanic district in which she couldn't possibly lose. Her website mentions her district as including Latinos, Chinese and Poles. As far as she is concerned the Jews of the Lower East Side are non-persons who do not exist.

Guliani time brought with it a new wave of developement, yuppies colonized the village and flowed upward bringing with them trendy stores, bars and boutiques. Chinatown wailed. The Latinos threatened action forming GOLES, Good Old Lower East Side (a vision of the neighborhood dating back to the 70's in which the Jews had no place.) The Jews as always remained silent. Their politicians as always served others leaving no one to speak for them. For the ordinary Jews and the ordinary people.



The wealth flowed in and real estate prices went up. There are now bars coating Clinton Street like ticks. There are a dozen healthfood stores, a thousand trendy fusion resteurants opening and closing by the month, their neon signs like fireflies winking in and out of the summer night. The prices went up. The real estate value went up and the bosses on the Lower East Side, the machers and the insiders heard, Sell, Sell, Sell. The co-ops privatized. Elderly men and religious families who had cheap apartments were suddenly being offered six figure sums for them. What could they do. They sold. They sold and the yuppies moved in. The co-ops have many Jews in them still but fewer and fewer of them are religious at all. The bikes are full of racks for the aging peter pans in shorts who pull down their own six figure salaries in the dot coms of Silicon Alley and the magazines of Fifth Avenue. And the Jewish Lower East Side is vanishing.

Ratner's where Jazz musicians, punk rockers, men from the garment district with last names like Shmulewitz and Horrockowitz and towards the end frum boys out of Mir and Chaim Berlin with starched white shirts and dates named Fraidy or Mindy, had dined in the quiet dignified opulence of red velvet served by elderly waiters who had seen a generation come and go, is now a Sleepy's mattress store. The lights out front which shone so many evenings on courting couples, on famous and infamous names, on saxaphonists and gangsters, on Rabbis and cutters shine on displays of foam matresses. Oi me haya lanu.



Mestiva Tiferet Yerushalayim where Rabbi Moshe Feinstein once walked between the marble plaques lining its interior is an oasis among the 99 cent stores and tenements of Chinatown where his son, Rav David Feinstein still delivers shiurim. Traditonally Jewish Essex and Orchard Streets are a strange fusion half-chinese, half-village. The Jewish bookstores are all but gone. A handfull of Jewish garment stores remain. The 2nd Avenue Deli is gone as well, Katz's exists but is non-Kosher. The Jewish community that now remains is in its synagogues. Many already gone.



The noble Pike Street synagogue like a temple of ancient days, its dignified grey masonry is befouled now with the leavings of the discount Chinese store downstairs and the idols of the Buddhist temple above. The Eldridge Street synagogue like something lifted from the streets of Seville, magically born on ships to be rescued from the mad priests of the Spanish Inquisition is half-museum now, but still it stands in all its roccoco grandeur.

Mysterious, the Greek synagogue endures. Chasam Sopher has a wealthy benefactor who comes to services in limousine. It is renovated from top to bottom with a garden on the side but lacks congregants. The Stanton Street synagogue experiments with liberalism obtaining its amateur Rabbis by the bushel from Rabbi Weiss' YCT. Magen Avraham is gone. Its roof caved in one friday night more than a decade and a half ago. Like foxes on the temple ruins, condominums stand there now. The Bialystoker gaudily painted on the inside still dominates the remaining Lower East Side with its red and gold like a calliope. By contrast Mestiva Tiferet Yerushalayim is all brown and dust and spiders make their home above, but Torah resounds there still over the worn cracked tile. And the Home of the Sages keeps its vigil, narrow and skinny, its peers out at Williamsburg Bridge where old men in black study the words of G-d on cushioned seats and the eternal flame burns in memory of all that was lost.



My way, circular and bewildered, takes me past all these and more. Takes me like a wandering drunk through the remnants of the Lower East Side. Takes me until unknowingly my feet lead the way to what once was the First Roumanian-American congregation, Shaarei Shamayim, the gates of heaven. It must have seemed very much like the gates of heaven once upon a time. A time when Moishe Oysher, Yossele Rosenblatt, Moishe Koussevitsky, Jan Peerce and Richard Tucker sang there, their operatic voices soaring high to the vast celling, its interior a palace impossible to describe. It perservered through the lean years, gathering its minyanim from the workers in Orchard Street's clothing trade.

Rabbi Yaakov Spiegel, a man who had he not been an Orthodox Jew and in good shape, could have passed for Santa Claus, kept it all going. Tall, always with a ready chuckle, the street was renamed after him. He died and his son took over and the roof once again, the roof always, fell in. The insurance company wouldn't pay to fix it and the Synagogue fell in. Of that vast palace of the King, the Creator of earth and heaven, of the synagogue named The Gates of Heaven, all that remains standing now is a single gate. Oi me haya lanu.

Rivington Street is now lined with trendy bars and the lamposts with trendy stickers advertising bands, clubs and causes. ! 'heart' Beirut stickers are glued on everywhere. The sort of trendy propoganda trendy people tend to deploy. The night congeals blue over the eastern horizon. Light, noise, laughter leaks out of the clubs and bars. It's the 20's all over again except the alcohol is legal, just not remotely cheap. It's the 20's without the Jews, the Jews are gone.



A wooden clumsy fence of boards is set around the remains of the demolished Roumanian American Congregation. There isn't even the rubble left inside. If there was a remaining Mikdash on the Lower East Side this was it. Now it is nothing but dust on the earth. No foxes roam there but perhaps mice. Around it the village continues to grow. The space will be bought up for condominums. The money paid will filter into the community chest as it tries to put on air of confidence and keep the Jewish community going. More shuls will surely fall. A national landmark dating back to 1858, Jewish soldiers prayed there once, Beit Medrash Hagadol is endangered. Developers want to build condos there too. It recently suffered a fire and teeters as always on the edge of time's knife.

Community Board 3 those wise authorities in cooperation with the city now have a new mandate to drastically limit development on the Lower East Side. Those good people are upset over all the bars and condominiums across the neighborhood. I am no great fan of these but I recognize that the alternative is housing projects, crack vials, muggings, murders, empty liquor bottles on every corner and homeless encampments. The bars serve yuppies. The bodegas served the sort of people who when they can't afford their malt liquor will cut your throat for it instead. The bodegas though are considered a part of the community, the bars are not. CB3 wants the Lower East Side to be a ghetto, not a Jewish ghetto of course but a ghetto ghetto. A place where people hopelessly collect and cash their welfare checks and walk among the rubble and trash to the soundtrack of screams, crying children and police sirens.

Ethnic groups who have barely been on the Lower East Side for three decades claim it as their exclusive territory. Latinos insist that the bars and village eateries are crowding out their hair salons and bodegas. Jews of course said nothing when the hair salons and bodegas crowded out our resteurants and book stores. That would have been racist. A Chinese civil rights organization shouts that Orchard Street is Chinese (part of the south since 1993 perhaps) and that any non-Chinese development is an occupation of their territory. Oddly photos of Orchard Street from 70 years back show yarmulkes by the pushcarts. Clearly an illusion of time.

Jews though make no claim on the Lower East Side but the emotional, threaten no one but only hold on to what little there is, as it dwindles away. There is no belligirence to be found. People make their plans while the real estate mavens profit from them, profit from the destruction of a neighborhood and put out cheery bulletins branding the Lower East Side as Loho and celebrating what they have wrought. The insiders who grabbed two apartments for themselves, smashed down the walls and called it a 'Break-Through' are profiting by selling those apartments for a million or more. The parasites rejoyce while new funeral notices appear daily on the walls.

I tear down an 'I 'heart' Beirut' sticker and wadding it up toss it up into the night over the wooden fence where the Roumanian-American Congregation once was. It falls back down to the sidewalk into the dirt and I go uptown returning home. Oi me haya lanu.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mourning for a Time to Come



Towards dusk the fireflies flicker in the garden sending coded messages to each other, tiny wisps tracing their mysterious imponderable circles. The green light on my camera glows steadily resembling them but they move too fast for pictures, their tiny lights going in and out before the ponderous flash of a digital camera can capture them.

It is August again.

Summer is New York City's shortest hurrah, a heavy thick blanket of heat clamped down on a city of concrete and steel, a city made more properly for winter than summer, more for snow scenes than the sight of sweating masses baking on grim grey streets. In summer the city itself seems to sweat people. Summer is a relief from cold, a release from long dark days that begin in the afternoon and carry on into the morning. A release from the strange twilight of weather that is neither warm nor cold that dominates the climate these days.

But summer itself is not a relief but a sort of pressure, an explosive decompression of temperatures in which we escape from the bleakness of winter into a raving madman's heat, a heat enclosed in steel and concrete walls, deprived of green pastures and rushing brooks and all the accompaniment of summer to frame except for the occasional grimy yellow beach, an afterthought sticking out from behind rows of malformed coney island, rockaway and brighton beach condominums.

The passing of the seasons is also the passing of time, the reminder that each thing we have is also doomed to pass away, that the things we look forward to like summer never meet our expectation and that finally we never appreciate it when it is worth having.

And so each passing of the seasons, each change bears within it a mourning for a time to come.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Bright But Faded Sunday Light



The Pope and the Alamo are gone. I miss the Alamo much more. This was not the Alamo of Davy Crocket and Bowie but a big black cube balanced impossibly on its edge and titled The Alamo. Like most modern art, there was undoubtedly some point behind it but no one cared much, least of all me. It was merely a part of the character of the place. Skaters and punks gathered around it, 15 year old boys falling off their skateboards and teenaged iowa girls trying to impress everyone with their purple mohawks before heading back for pizza at st marks.

The sign where the Alamo used to stand says it will return after renovation, no such sign was left behind with the pope which is probably just as well, as few people in their right minds could tolerate any more news on the pope. On the front pages of every paper he bleeds red and white, the color of his robes and pale face, he lies in his coffin and only the Metro dares to put the Yankees victory over the Red Sox on the front page. The Yankees winning is New York, taunting red sox fans is New York.

At Union Square before the statue of George Washington sword upraised, a protester screams FREEDOM, FREEDOM into his megaphone. He has a much smaller audience than the one surrounding five black kids doing headstands to rap music. "It only takes a little, just a little bit," their boombox appeals as dogs bark and tangle with each other in the fenced off dog park.

It is spring in New York again. Sunlight shines on the age whitened tombstones of New York City's Marble Cemetery. Catches the fierce eye of a blue and orange parrot gnawing at his plastic branch in the window of Wakiki Wally's and troubles a homeless man in army fatigues sleeping by a check cashing place with its neon sign all but burned out and flickering above his bowed head. Sunlight pierces the grimy windows of antiques stores touching old wood, gold and marble, copper and gilt surfaces and gravely polished tables prepeared for just this moment when they can be spread with a tablecloth of light.

Booksellers, battery sellers, pashminas, sweaters, ties; african men with handfulls of DVD's hawk their wares on the edge of the sidewalk dangerously close to the curb where speeding taxis nearly clip them and their ruptured cardboard boxes time and time again. Chinese delivery men flash by on bicyles, yuppies come home from work with white I-Pod's in their ears like snails and in the sunlight the grills of ice cream trucks show their stainless steel teeth.

The winter with its burden of snows, its high buttoned coats and forests of umbrellas is receding now, its memory melting in the warm light. Spring has come to New York again. Clothing is light and the mood is lighter. A 50 foot tall woman strides motionlessly from an advertisement wrapped across the face of the flatiron building. A crowd of men and women walk beneath her carrying briefcases and groceries, handbags and suitcases, envelopes and books; but mostly nothing at all except the light which also impossibly carries them home.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fly



The Bird that calls to us from on high
The Voice that leaps to throat in song
The vaster sweep of Sky and Cloud above
The Wind that calls to us below

The Dream embraces us and we lose
The Inhibitions of our Age and Youth
The weariness that held us once in chains
Is broken with a glad and ringing Song

Fear not the Vastness that calls to your Heart
Embrace that Strenght which sweeps through your Bones
The winter's Cold in which summer's dreams last died
Is Burned away by Spring's youthfull flame

Rejoyce arise, sweep away your Sorrows and your Woes
And renew once more this Summer's Sacred Vows
To Live, to Love and truly be Alive
The Cold is gone, open up your Heart
To the warm Touch of this Day's fleeting Art

Our Days are short, their warmth little numbered when
Come Cold and Barren winds to carry them all away
Open your Hands wide and feel the Warmth between your palms
Close them again and trap a piece of Summer inside
Throw out your Arms and raise them to the Sky
And letting go of the Earth let your Body Fly

Sunday, April 16, 2006

About New York Minute

This blog began as a project to share some of my photos with my friends and evolved into a sort of online photo journal that captures one man's view of New York. I have always enjoyed walking the long twilight streets of the city, finding the quiet lonely places, seeing the city in that single moment that will never come again because the lifeblood of New York is the velocity of change and the moment is always fleeting, never permanent, not even the heaviest stone and the toughest steel endure for very long in the atmosphere of New York's crushing pressures of commerce, decay and development.

This isn't a great big blog. It's just a frame for a few pictures I take walking to and fro over this small portion of the earth I call my home.