Summer of '18
There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
From yesterday to today, there's a distinct change of air. Gone is that oppressive humidity and stratospheric heat. It could flop back, mind you. But we know now that the autumn train is unstoppable.
At this turn of season, it doesn't matter how old I get: those back-to-school butterflies and the urges for a sharp new outfit impose themselves like some annual version of a circadian rhythm. Those togs -- usually woolen, preferably plaid, always crisp -- chafed on the child's body that had been in a bathing suit and sundresses for the prior three months. But it was a rite of passage to go back-to-school shopping with my mom, the way she might have gone to San Francisco's City of Paris for her own new fall uniform with her mom. And to come out the other end of the mini-spree with something that said: "Fall, I am freshly clad for you and you alone."
The best were the patent leather Mary Janes. You don't see a lot of Mary Janes anymore. And Crocs still haven't caught on to patent leather. But Birks have.
And speaking of Birks, we won't give up the sandals just yet; summer technically still has a few weeks to wage on. With the warmer planet, high temps test their welcome, but the change of light always rats fall out. You've noticed the sun rapidly falling from its zenith, you've seen the equinox tugging down at the night shade. Yet tomatoes and stone fruits still roll in fast and furious.
It's been several warm weeks since I last posted, but I've been out there watching. The neighborhood provides endless inspiration as a muse. I promise, there's lots more coming as time permits.
For those neighbors who've been traveling or grinding away at work, you may not know that our ginkgo warrior at W. 103rd Street and West End finally came down on August 17. Bettina B. watched this from her window wistfully -- "like an old friend dying without a proper send off," she said.
Old neighbors are sort of like that, too. You miss them and feel as if they're still here. Then someone moves into their old space and you get used to the new normal. Then one day you wake up and you are in the old guard in your building surrounded by new neighbors who don't remember Positively 104th Street or Au Petit Beurre. The Movie Place. The Metro. The Olympia. La Casita or La Tacita d'Oro. And you think warmly of the neighbors who have moved or pushed on to the great unknown.
Reminds me of a lyric:
I been meek
And hard like an oak
I seen pretty people disappear like smoke
Friends will arrive friends will disappear
If you want me honey baby
I'll be here.
~ Bob Dylan
It's not all wistfulness about the end of summer around here, rest assured. There are great things to look forward to. The New York Film Festival fires up in a few weeks and neighbor Manny Kirchheimer will be on the slate with Dream of a City. You can buy tickets starting on September 9.
And there's the yard sale put on by the W. 104th St. Block Association fast approaching on September 29, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Vendor tables are still available, but clear your Saturday and turn out. It's always fun. Plus with all the high holy days between now and then it will be here before you know it.
And last by not least, we have a primary coming up quickly. Thursday, September 13 is the day. You can find your polling place here.
Deep in December, you'll look back on mellow September. In the meantime, follow, follow, follow this blog for more.
My lagniappe today is a newly unearthed Pete Seeger demo. A piece of perfection, scratchy vinyl and all. (For those reading in an email subscription, simply click the link to hear the recording.)