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.




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.

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

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!”


     I’m not?

          I’m not!


                                     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: ,

Something Different


It started a little more than a week ago with this, Bobbie reading AARP Magazine.  Quickly it progressed to this:

—– Original Message —–
From: “Richard Goldberg” <>
Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 9:58:33 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Something different

This is not to notify you of a blog posting.  Rather it is an invitation to you to participate in writing a blog entry.

Here’s the challenge: Write your autobiography in 6 words–no more or less.

Send them to me by reply email.  I’ll collect them and publish them in the blog–without comment.  If you want to be posted anonymously, say so and I will do so.  Otherwise I’ll identify you as you choose to be known.

This is not a contest.  It’s just something to think about for a minute and then do.  You’ve got a week to reply.  Deadline is June 30th.

Here are two that have already been submitted:

“Kim, Dave, Mike
Tom, Richard, Nurse.”
“Last chapter yet to be written.”

I look forward to reading yours.


Here are your replies roughly in the order received.  Thank you.


Don’t move
That’s it
Got it!

“emerged, awake, soon asleep, no matter”
(just) mark

–anon please

Alix  always wanted to be beautiful.
–Alix Lorance

a happy being being happy being
–Christy Wang

Family, children, grandchildren, relatives, students, friends.
–Dorothy Quirk

I arrived, I saw, I parented!
–George Kaplan

Blessed with family, children, loves.  grateful

“Life lessons for irreversible mistakes? Fair.”                                                                     –Jack Beaton


My life story line is introspective.
–Karen Kaminski

Married (twice), skiing musically with kids.
–Jim Kimenker

pretty good thus far: still breathing.
–David Mintz

Fifty years, nothing more than this.
–Anonymously please

friend, father, teacher, musician, recovering addict.
–Terry McGovern

Watching for glimpses of the sun.
–Nadia Huntley

“without: sight, scent, sound, touch, -hollow.”
–You may sign my moniker to the above—DW

I came, I putzed, I left.
–Fred Rosenberg


“Will the fortune teller be right”
–Mary Smith

“never say you are too old.”
–David Straite

“I am always at the beginning…”
–Sheldon Blitstein: Quoting the Buddha on his 80th birthday

work hard & keep going
–Norm Cagin

wife, mother, sister, daughter, student, love
–Connie Kaminski

amazing, underachieving, grateful, adventurous, and everchanging!!
–Luis Rosa

Born, educated, drugged, friend, jailed, recovery.
–Juan Dones

Born. Grew. Aged. Not dead. Yet.
–Bill Kinloch

Miracles continue to happen to me.
–Evelyn Tirado

i don’t know where i will be in the future?
–Eman Evans

Six word autobiography: too arbitrary, short.
–John Craig

Woman, Wife, Musician, Cyclist, Humanist, Friend.
–Joan Harper


Married. Happy father. To be continued.
–Ezra Beaton

bill’s smile seen on dead raccoon!
–Bill Miller

Kim, David, Mike, Tom, Richard, Nurse.
–Bobbie Goldberg

Wow! It really isn’t  about me.

Mostly learning experience at times enlightening.
–Olga Stebeleva

creative chaos broadcasts green heart’s smile

Me, Mom, Dad, Deb, David, Bill
—And —-
I am, I am, I am
–Denise Connors

person, soldier, engineer, husband, father, grandfather
–Ron Kaminski

Always learning, sometimes growing, rarely satisfied.                                  –Wayne Wright

Sometime confused and wet, but happy!          — Dan Monahan

Once Sierra Leone refugee living happily!           –Yandouba Monahan

Always learning, sometimes growing, rarely satisfied.  Kim Calcasola

Still loosing hair and gaining weight.        –Jim McAslan

I came, I saw, I conquered.          –Lew Brown


Published in: on July 1, 2009 at 8:50 am  Comments (3)