Nine Snaps and Then Three More

The first 8–all recent–photos were thrown up in random order by forces ruling technology. I thought of protesting, of diligently rearranging them according to some structure of chronology or location then decided that was just the voice of my New England schooling and it’s incessant demand for order. The last three though, I made sure to arrange so as to support my little bit of narration. Richie and I were both 23 in 1965 when I, mourning the death of my dad, dropped out of grad school and moved to New York to become a starving poet. Richie owned half a bar, a joint called The Annex on Avenue B between 10th and 11th, which was annexed to nothing beyond the whole incredible ethos of the East Village as it emerged from the Lower East Side.

When I checked “The Annex” in my blog look up, it produced four more entries:

Whatever, here’s some brief respite from concerns of pandemic, race, religious, political and gender hatreds.

Enjoy!

 

 

Outside MoMA

 

Under 103rd and Broadway

 

Amsterdam & 79th

 

Viewing the Alice Neel show at the Met Museum

 

Broadway at 125th

 

125th west of Broadway

 

125th west of Broadway

 

The Highline crossing 10th Avenue around 30th Street

 

Grafitto on the A train platform under 8th & 34th subway

*   *   *

And now the “Three More.” Think of these as a short story and, having done so, feel free to create your own plot. Should you actually do so, please continue feeling free and submit your creation as a comment. Rest assured it will be printed.

RSG, who in 1965 lived across East 11th Street, remarkably near Avenue B, from the Free Public Baths of the City of New York.

The very baths referenced in the caption above.

 

Richie V, the man who in 1965 gave the man who lived across from those

Baths his very first job in New York City and who now lives in the

self-same building occupied in 1965 by  the (I love this word!) self-same RSG.

Enable AMP!

WordPress has changed my world by changing the editing software I’ve been using since 2006. On top of that they’ve informed me that I’m about to use up my 3 gigs of free space and suggest I start paying them to continue being able to post Welcome! I’m trying hard to not believe that all this is not tied into COVID-19 or the right to carry an AK-47 into Dunkin’ Donuts or even the election of a Democrat President or the UCONN Women’s basketball schedule. Whatever and beliefs notwithstanding, I’ve figured out how to create and post using the new format and have applied for Federal funding to meet the $4 per month debt I’m about to incur. Let this be my close-to-last insight of 2020: It all works outpretty much.

As for “Enable AMP,” I’ve no idea what AMP is, but I am now in position to engage or disable it as I choose.

And now the pictures!

#2 train socially isolated

Amsterdam Avenue in the rain

 

Henri’s rooftop on West 86th Street

Chelsea Piers

The Met empty enough to see the artwork

Halloween

Smoke break on E. 43rd near UN

Central Park pond

Amsterdam & 76th

Ghost in the subway

Living room shelf

The Highline

Dave

                                            Mr. Plow & Mr. Sun

 

 

 

From the Highline

And an afterthought: Some one of you who‘re reading this actually know what AMP stands for. Please use the “comments” section to tell me. Obviously it doesn’t enable me to get the desired spacing between the last snap and it’s caption.

Those of you who don’t know what it stands for, here’s your chance to get funny.

Published in: on December 6, 2020 at 3:38 pm  Comments (11)  

Phone Snaps!

Overlook & W 184thWest 184th & Overlook Terrace

02-WP_20140131_009South of Chinatown

First snow fantasyFirst Snow

10-WP_20140222_003Family

5th Av in the 50'sFifth Avenue in the 50’s

From Noho StarNoho

03-WP_20140201_003George Washington Bridge

04-14-WP_20140203_088Central Park

New-York Historical SocietyNew-York Historical Society

W 86th & Amsterdam Av from a busFrom the bus

Published in: on March 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm  Comments (13)  

Later That Night…

This makes much more sense if you’ve read the blog entry called Mind, New Mind, Another Mind Altogether which is just below this one. 

This is about me and my dad.  This is the last picture I have of him.

He’s standing in front of the produce section of the Grand Union Supermarket in Bloomfield, Connecticut.  Dad kept this job, commuting a couple of hours a day on city busses to and from our flat in Hartford until it was time for him to retire, check into the hospital, live for a while with cancer and then die just before I would be graduated from college and come home wanting and needing to tell him I knew nothing and would he please explain to me what it meant to be a man and where one found the courage to be that.

Now it’s 48 years later.  It’s evening in the Chan Hall, Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Pine Bush, NY.  I’ve had dinner, rested, sat in silent meditation for a while, exercised, sat silently again and now it’s time for walking meditation.  I stand, this time not at all anticipating pains in my hip and feet, not at all feeling anger toward anyone, no fear of death or self-hatred for fearing death.  Just standing up to begin walking meditation.  A quick thought, “Is this me?” comes and goes faster than I can tell it.  We begin to walk at “normal walking” pace.  Something is happening.

No more than 10 steps into walking meditation I am aware of an intense presence at my immediate left.  It is entirely too soon for anyone to be passing me.  I look again.  The space is clearly empty–but it’s not.  There is someone next to me.  Invisible to me as well as to the others, he is my father.  Yes, unmistakably my father.  Without hesitation I reach out my left hand and feel him take it.  Hand in hand we walk in meditation around the Chan Hall for the next 15 minutes.  I talk.  He listens, assuring me all the while that he hears clearly, heart to heart, all I say and don’t say.

I tell him I love him and miss him.  Softly he lets me know that’s not all I want to say.

“Go ahead,” he urges.  “Go ahead.”  I tell him how I hate that he died when I needed him most, that–yeah, I know it was cancer and he didn’t choose it–still he abandoned me, left me to a fear and hopelessness that resulted in 20 years of terror covered over by alcohol, pot and cocaine.

“Yes,” he says.  “But there’s more.  Tell me more.”

“Yes,” I say.  “There is more.”

“Say it,” he encourages without emotion.

“I’ll say it,” my voice growling now.  “Don’t worry, I’ll say it.” My mouth twists and quivers.  My voice chokes, cracks dry.  I clear my throat.  “Even when you were there you WEREN’T there!”  I’m scared now, scared to continue and scared to stop.  “You were at work or eating dinner or reading the Hartford Times or asleep in the easy chair in front of the TV.  On weekends you’d spend Saturdays walking around on Main Street meeting and greeting all your buddies or up in the pool room doing the same damn’ thing.  On Sundays you’d be at Grandma’s or watching a ball game with Uncle Jack or playing rummy or some such shit.  You never had time for me.  You never listened to me or asked me anything about my life.  You never taught me anything.”

I felt his eyes lower.  His hand grew warmer in mine and almost tense, as if he were struggling not to speak.  I started to feel guilty and wanted to take back what I’d said.  But that, of course, was impossible.  Words uttered in silence are not retractable.  Nothing now but silence enveloping us, uniting us.  And then an image so clear of my hand in his, the year perhaps 1950, my fingers still sticky from late night ice cream as we walked home in the chill night air from the bus stop after a Hartford Chiefs night game at Bulkeley Stadium…

…the image of him standing alert at the edge of the water as a friend of his taught me to swim…

…of him in the cafeteria of West Middle School being an assistant Cub Scout leader when he was too tired to stand after a day of work on his feet…

…the image of us in the refrigerated room below the Hartford Market where he would make fancy baskets of fruit to be given as gifts to folks going on cruises or dying in hospitals, him telling me he worked hard so I wouldn’t have to…

…of him sitting on the couch, my mother’s sleeping head on his shoulder when I returned after midnight from my first high school party…

…an image of him walking into the Wooster pool room while I was trying to show everybody there just how cool I was and beating my ass at game after game after game of 8 ball…

…of me all IvyLeagued up and home from my fancy-assed college for the weekend, him telling me to phone my grandmother just to say hello…

For fifteen minutes we walked, me talking and him listening, him making me feel safe and heard.  Tears falling inward, clearing the path so obscured for those 48 years.  Him, I think, feeling a father’s courage to be a father, to hear the truth knowing it will lead to the deeper truth, and, for the two of us, the joy of love flowing freely again.

Published in: on June 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Comments (16)  

I am not “The Bicyclist”

Judy: Are you riding these days?  Interested in joining me tomorrow?

Goldberg: I won’t be available until 2.  Does that work for you? 

Judy: Probably not but I will let you know if that changes.

*   *   *   *   *

Now that I’m finally getting older, I’m beginning to actually realize it when life lessons get handed to me on an unmistakable platter.  In the past few months I’ve been simultaneously blessed and challenged and delighted and rocked with unmistakable insights into what’s real. This is another part of that story.

And this was how this started: a simple exchange of emails between me and a bike-riding partner since maybe 1986.  The unusuality of it:  I didn’t respond with my usual and unequivocal

“Yes, yes, o yes.  We can ride.  I must ride.  Whatever…whenever…oh yes, just say when and I don’t care where and I’ll be there because (ta dum!) I am The Bicyclist!

Already something was going on.  Only I didn’t know it.  I just figured,

Hey!  I’ve got something to do around noon.  Either she waits or she doesn’t.  Either way–with her or alone–I’ll  still ride, ’cause I am The Bicyclist.

OK, so wearing my non-bike-riding civvies, I get on my beaten, blue Ross commuter bike and spin slowly up Amsterdam Avenue to 96th Street and my meditation group.  I’d not been there for three weeks now because of a trip to Israel (more about that, you can be sure, later), the land where life got handed to me several times, and I   was truly looking forward to reuniting with some remarkable folks engaged in a remarkable practice.  Still, the back of mind was filled with images of me in my bicyclist suit, sitting astride my bright red Klein road bike (bright red) riding perhaps across the George Washington Bridge, onto the road we cyclists call (incorrectly) River Road and north.  Remember, I am The Bicyclist.

 I’m not going to give you all the  intermediary details.  I hate it when people do that to me–I’m a ‘Punch Line’ kinda guy–and even if you’re one of those folks who thrives on details, I ‘m willing to risk your wrath here.  The meditation starts.  It’s the Shaking Meditation in the tradition of Ratu Bagus

http://www.ratubagus.com/English/Bio+Energy+Meditation

that I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  Loud, rhythmic music, quiet individual mantra-chanting to bring the mind back to focus whenever it drifts off to things like being The Bicyclist, some groaning and laughter and, above all, rapid full-body shaking all dedicated to whatever I can conceive of that has vastly more power than I do.  In my case that’s God.

OK, so here I am shaking and mantrasizing and suddenly–out of absolute and proverbial Nowhere–the thought leaps into my head:

I am NOT “The Bicyclist!”

Huh?

     I’m not?

          I’m not!

               What?

                                     I’m really not.  I’m just a guy who, along with doing countless other things on a regular basis,  rides a bike.  It’s not who I am.  It’s–at most–just one thing I do.  It’s not my identity, and I am certainly not somehow more worthy and successful when I ride a bike and less worthy and a failure if I don’t.  I’m just someone who sometimes rides and sometimes doesn’t.  In fact, I’ve just put a halt to receiving far too frequent emails labeling me a “Legend of the New York Cycle Club” in an effort to get me to attend a club reunion for which I’d already bought my ticket a month ago.  I’m not  him.  I’m just me.

O, flippin’ wow!

This truth realized causes the root question to arise:

What identities do I subscribe to?  How much of  how I see myself is based on trying to live up to certain stereotypes or, for the psychoscholars among us, archetypes that have been planted in my head over the years?  How much joy, misery, frustration and self-congratulation arise from my living up to or failing to live up to these sets?

And, of course, me being me, I suspect I’m not alone in this, so I turn it to you:

What identities do you subscribe to?  Who do you tell yourself you are?  What does it cost/profit you to believe it?

*     *     *     *     *

Published in: on June 6, 2011 at 9:51 am  Comments (7)  
Tags: ,

Here We Are!

Thanksgiving is past.  Canadians wearing multiple layers of ever so warm clothing are already installing themselves and their ever so fragrant evergreens:

(with thanks to Wikipedia)

on street corners throughout our city.  And soon enough this

will look like this:

then this:

and, if we’re truly lucky, eventually this:

Bobbie grew up with Christmas as the central holiday for her family.  With the Goldberg clan it was always Thanksgiving.  Now, as our lives have coalesced, Thanksgiving-to-Christmas for us has evolved into one wonderfully long Family Holiday.

The folks in the collage above are our family at this moment, the people we hold closer, the ones we’ve allowed to know us beyond the scope of just acquaintances. They are the  harvest of our lives.

Here’s hoping that this time for you is one of  gratitude for the ongoing harvest of your life and of awe at the movement of the seasons into the promise of new life to come.

 

Published in: on November 27, 2010 at 7:40 am  Comments (3)