Happy Five-O to Amy and Lib!!

There are SO many things I remember about June 1st 1959, all of which I know I’ve said before, but what’s a big day for but for saying them again? (: There was breakfast in the Providence Hospital cafeteria (all those nuns!), for instance, but the most memorable thing for me was sitting next to Beah on the couch and her asking me if I’d like to have a sister and my saying yes, yes, and her telling me I had TWO!! I felt like the luckiest sister in the world — and still do!!

Amy and Lib on jungle gym, date unknown

Amy and Lib on jungle gym, date unknown

Here’s a great picture of the birthday girls; looks like when this was taken they were just about the age of the people they’re so devoted to today: their lucky kindergarten students! And I guess we know which one is Lib (if we couldn’t figure it out otherwise): the one with her hand to her eye!

Happy Birthday; have a wonderful day!!

New York City Five Boro Bike Tour May 3, 2009

New York City Five Boro Bike Tour.  May 3, 2009

Martha, Lib and I and 29,997 other bicyclists toured the five boros of New York City.  We left Martha’s apartment at 7:00am.  A few other bicyclists were on the road as we traveled by bike towards Battery Park.  As we arrived closer to the start line, hundreds more joined us.  When we rode  to 6th Ave. (The Avenue of the Americas), we were among 30,000 riders.  It was like a start of a “fun run” with bikes.  One of the things we enjoy most about “fun runs” is being a part of a culture.  It is a culture of recreation, fitness and being a part of a great event.  The New York City Five Boro Bike Tour was a great event!  As the day progressed, the streets of New York and all of us bicyclists were soaked with rain.  This did not dampen the spirit of the great ride.  As we passed the starting line, the song New York New York by Frank Sinatra, was playing over the loud speaker.  Two phrases became a theme for the ride for us:  

“I want to be a part of it New York New York”

“Right through the very heart of it New York New York”

It was a thrill to be a part of it and ride in the very heart of New York New York!



Lib and Martha at the start of the ride.

Lib and Martha at the start of the ride.

The Triboro Bridge and Manhattan.

The Triboro Bridge and Manhattan.


Lib in a crowd at a rest stop in Queens.

Lib in a crowd at a rest stop in Queens.

Washington Square Park — new and improved!

Washington Square Park reopening 5/19/09

Washington Square Park reopening 5/19/09

This past Tuesday (5/19) was a perfect May day here–sunshine, 70-something, low humidity–and it was all the more perfect because Washington Square Park emerged all sparkling and green after 18 months of renovation. Well, the west side emerged; now it will be the east side’s turn to be closed off for renovation! In the meantime, we have new walkways with granite paving stones (in the place of wavy and blistered blacktop), new lighting, new grass and plantings, new benches and tables — on and on! Most of all, there’s a new fountain, which, unlike the old one, is centered on the Arch. The whole project of taking out the old fountain to put in a new, centered one had been much derided by neighborhood activists; as Tuesday’s New York Times article put it, “Would the fountain in Washington Square Park lose something by being a little less off-kilter?” As I meandered through the park Tuesday afternoon (having been alerted by Arcadia from across the country that it was reopened; she’d seen the NYTs article!), everyone looked utterly charmed and bedazzled by the new fountain and the rest of the new park too! The headline of the NYTs article was “Greenwich Village Has Its Backyard Again” — make that living room, ballroom, and theatre too! See photo here, and more in “snap shot alley”!

super soup: Zuppa Arcidossana

Arcidosso Italy

Arcidosso Italy

A few weeks ago, Arcadia wrote me about a fabulous soup that she and Rodney had been making, after seeing the recipe in the New York Times. It’s called Zuppa Arcidossana, after the Tuscan town of of Arcidossa (pictured here); I tried it, and it is fabuloso and really easy and quick to make! Honest to goodness, it took less time to make than a salad.

Here’s the recipe (for 4 servings but count on people wanting two servings each!):
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
1 cup 1/2-inch-diced carrots
1 large onion, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and black pepper
1 cup stale bread (use coarse, country-style bread), cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 pound spinach, trimmed, washed and roughly chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup ricotta salata, cut in 1/2-inch cubes (feta may be substituted)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley, optional.

1. Put oil in a large pot or deep skillet and brown sausage over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When sausage is cooked through and leaving brown bits in pan, add carrots, onion and garlic, and continue to cook until vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Add bread to pan and stir for a minute or two; add spinach and continue cooking just until it wilts, a couple of minutes.

3. Add about 2 cups water and stir to loosen any remaining brown bits from pan. This is more of a stew than a soup, but there should be some broth, so add another cup of water if necessary. When broth is consistency of thin gravy, ladle stew into serving bowls and top with cheese and some freshly chopped parsley if you have it. Serve immediately.

printer friendly version here!

5/7/9: A Very Odd Day

A story in this morning’s San Francisco Chronicle (“Math buffs awed by Odd Day”) points out that today, 5/7/09, “is one of only six this century that will feature three consecutive odd numbers”; wow! Come to think of it, today is already the third of the six: 1/3/05, 3/5/07, 5/7/09, 7/9/11, 9/11/13, and 11/13/15. Maybe this Odd Day is extra awesome, though, since tomorrow is Mike’s birthday (happy birthday Mike)! The same Gordon is promoting the joy of Odd Day by offering a prize of $579 “to those who celebrate the date with the most zeal or who get the most people involved in an Odd Celebration” (see more about the contest here)!

I’m not going to enter Gordon’s contest, but in honor of Odd Day, I offer the following news items from Leslie; first, this YouTube recording of a “flash mob” at the central train station in Antwerp:

And then this story about a funny little boy in Leslie’s neighborhood (from April 21):

There’s a cute little hapless boy on the street — he’s always falling on his bike or falling into some other catastrophe. Today I walked by the house and his backpack and some mail was strewn all over the sidewalk, and there he was in the car (on the street) with the windows open, thanks god. (It’s 80 again.)

‘Scuse me’ he said. He’s like 4. ‘Could you help me? There’s a bee.’ It was in the grass near the curb so he couldn’t get out of the car. So I killed it for him. What a cute kid.

‘Thank you’ he said, very forlornly. ‘I hate bees.’

Happy Odd Day!

Bonnard and beyond . . .

The best thing about living in NYC is how people come to visit, and then a person gets to discover all kinds of new things about the city and take advantage of it in all kinds of ways she’s not in the habit of doing. Like for instance, couple weeks ago Arcadia came to visit! Here’s a round-up of all the places we went and things we did:

The first afternoon she was here (after a night flight and making her way to my house on the subway) we took a long walk all over relatively uncharted territory on the lower eastside: from 7 Washington Square North we headed down (south) Thompson and left (east) on Prince, and discovered McNally Jackson Bookstore between Lafayette and Mulberry; then we kept going east, all the way to Norwich Street to walk by the Angel Orensanz Foundation (a storied building where I’d recently attended a program on the Library of Dust); then we turned north and discovered Pinisi Bakery on 4th street between 1st and 2nd Avenues, where we bought cupcakes for dinner (for dessert for dinner, that is!); then we tacked back south to Houston to the new Whole Foods there for more provisions; then we headed north again to search for a certain chocolate shop one of Arcadia’s bosses had heard of–one that sold gold-leaf covered chocolate buddhas! We knew the shop was called Bond Street Chocolate, so we searched Bond Street (only a few blocks long) diligently from one end to the other, getting drawn, in the process, into the fun John Derian shop, where the shopkeeper told us that Bond Street Chocolate is on 4th Street, luckily only a few blocks away! After visiting there and acquiring one of the aforementioned chocolate buddhas (and a few other chocolates!) for Arcadia’s boss, that was enough exploring for one day! Arcadia went out to see one of her Bard friends in the evening while I got ready for class.

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