Friday, May 29, 2009

The Mp3 Experiment 6 - on Roosevelt Island

One has to take cues from one's children these days, and so when Jake e-mailed me about something he was planning to do on - of all places! - Roosevelt Island last Saturday, well, I just had to check it out. He told me to check out this website first: I did.

What to expect? We were all supposed to wear either a red, green, yellow, or blue shirt; we had to download some mysterious mp3 file - "Don't listen to it until it's time!" - and be on Roosevelt Island within a rather large green area on the map ... and then ... at exactly 4pm (our watches should have been synchronized exactly to the world clock on the website) and only then do we push the button on our iPod - and then follow directions! (Stephanie and Jake are above.)

"Hello, I'm Steve."

We weren't supposed to take pictures, because there will be pictures taken by various cameramen around the island - and I couldn't take pictures anyway because my camera was my iPhone and it was already occupied as an iPod sending me "Steve's" directions. "Turn to your left and wave, then right, then above you - wave!"

The island was really just us, although there were a few "normal" people there; mostly us red/blue/yellow/green people. "Sit down and stretch. You will have a lot to do, and we won't want you not to be loose and ready. As you're sitting, touch one sole of your feet with the other - stretch your groin. We want all our groins well stretched." No kidding!

Then - it was almost an hour of "then" following "then"! - we all square danced! With anyone, everyone - whoever was close by - or not close! Some seemed to run across the neighboring basketball court to swirl around with a desirable stranger! Whew!

Yes, Steve was looking out for us. "Now, you've probably tired yourself out a little, so it's time for a 15 second power nap. Lie down, and start napping." We did. Very nice people all around, napping for ... ah 15 seconds only.

We didn't do too many wacky things for a while except listen as we all walked down toward the southern end of the island, below the old hospital's ruins. We were listening to the story of Peters and the wolf - yes, all the boys were named Peter in this story - by way of preparation for our battle with the wolf - finally! - when most of us got inflatable bats or hammers and, after a brief red and blue against green and yellow (I think?! I didn't get my bat!), "Steve" told us all to gang up on the wolf! Yes, the wolf was coming up from the bottom of the island - and my colored (sic) friends beat him up right in front of me.

Then - that was it! Beautiful day, so we went back up whence we came, and had a beer - a pitcher of beer!
All in all we had a good time - but really! This was sort of amazing! The Official Video of this hasn't been released yet - or at least I haven't found it. Maybe it will sneak up on me ....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

June 7 - Come Along for a Spring Walk!

Yes, I've changed the date from the 24th to June 7th - but, still: it's time! It's time for a walk through our neighborhood - even for those of you for whom this particular neighborhood isn't home - no problem! It's only $15 per person, and we're going for a walk on Sunday, May 24, and see what a neighborhood can be.

It's the first Public Tour of the spring season for RunTour/Goodhart Tours, and it is a very simple walk ... perhaps not even a mile long - but it may take time! Yes, there are things to see, people to meet, and even things to do along this little walk. And this little walk will be along the varying neighborhood of East 78th St., from the East River all the way to Central Park.

We shall meet at Beanocchio's, have a jolt of caffeine - or not! to each his or her own! - and then stroll down to the East River and the great complex known now as the Cherokee apartments (see above right). Then we'll stroll down East 78th Street all the way to the end - and to Central Park. There will be a lot to talk about, and alot to see, and even some unusual things to see and certainly a lot of new people to talk to about - about what? You never know!

We'll see some buildings for which I have a personal fondness, and even one with which I have a connection even though I was never there when the connection existed (see the building to the right).

But we will no doubt see much that's new to all of us - even me, for you know, things change all the time in this big city.

We will eventually find our way to the end and to our entry into the great Central Park. We will see one of the greatest blocks, certainly of East 78th Street, just before we enter. We will check out the grandest building on the block, and hear the stories of one great family and one great fortune that has managed to endure. The building is just below:

So, let me know if you'd like to come: it's only $15 per person. E-mail me at, or call me at 917-921-9273, before Saturday, June 6, and I'll put you on the Master List - and I'll expect you at Beano's at 10!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Neighborhoods Do Change, You Know

Well, there it is on Prince Street, the site of the Vesuvio Bakery, with signs on the window telling us that they have finally closed. Was it the rent? Did one of the principals die, or move away? Is this another example of the family business for which no more family was available to carry on?

Last night, some of you may recall, there was a segment on 60 Minutes about the oldest family run company in the world: Antinori Winery in Italy. Since 1385, the same family. But, however, there was a moment there when the paterfamilias felt that, since he had no male heirs, the future of the company was in doubt. He sold part of the company - 40%, I believe - to Whitbread, the British brewer. That wasn't a good thing, and it didn't work out.

He did have three daughters, and, surprise surprise! They love the winery, and loved being farmers (and they take helicopters to their vines!), so he bought the Whitbread share back.

Well, it seems Vesuvio's wasn't able to do that ... what if they had asked Sr Antonori? The latest news I could find was in the New York Times, but maybe you know something more?

My lesson for everyone: talk to people! Ask questions!