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January, 2007:

A Sign of the coming Gentrification…

So a few days ago we stopped into our local Taqueria for some food to go, and while we were waiting, we saw, not one, not two, but three anglos in the taqueiria as well. Stephanie and i have both taken it as an omen of the coming Gentrification (although we also have taken into account the possibility that they were doing exactly the same.

The downside of it was that they looked not so much from the Neighborhood as from Park Hill, which is already pretty damned gentrified. Still, it was slightly encouraging….

A Musical About a House In Disrepair

Stephanie’s Dad & Step-mom are in town (attending a large convention), and they took us to see one of the new musicals. The show was called Grey Gardens— it’s a musical story about an eccentric woman Edith Bouvier Beale and her eccentric daughter Little Edie “Body Beautiful” Beale, They were related to Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who makes an appearance as a 10 year old girl in this production (it’s not the actual Jackie O, of course, but a facsimile.

The two Edie’s live in a big beautiful house in the Hampton’s.

The House had seen great times in the 40’s, when the first act is set, and it’s a beautiful old place. But in 1973 (when the second act is set)the place is falling apart, set upon by racoons, and fleas, and just about to fall into the ground. (you know, kind of like our house!– especially with the fleas!)

The acting is uniformly excellent. It’s a weird choice to turn into a musical, because it’s not a happy ending, and it’s more like it should have been a play with a few songs (the Bouvier’s are notorious living room singers!) Nevertheless, I can recommend it, especially if you are a fan of the Kennedy’s, or are perhaps interested in this kind of history.

It’s based on a famous documentary, called Grey Gardens, or
The Beales of Grey Gardens.

Before the show we ate a restaurant called Havana Central a great Cuban Restaurant. It’s right in Times Square, and they also have a Union Square location. I had this amazing corn on the cob with cheese and garlic, and a fantastic rack of Cuban ribs. Very delicious. We ended our meal with a Three Leche cake shared among everybody. I have to say that the one we had at our local bakery was better. Still, Havana Central is a good place to go!

The Season of Confounded Resolutions.

The Holidays and Bright Night and January and Life have knocked out a lot of the wind beneath our blogs sails– I am going to make a more concerted effort to write more often. Of course, it is the season of confounded resolutions.

In the meantime, here’s the book that I wish our blog had morphed into and the book I wish I’d written (although with a clown focus of course, and moving all the action from Cleveland to Yonkers. And maybe a little less romantic or something) Still, this guy writes very eloquently, and honestly, and I think our readers (that means you) will enjoy this book.


“I had the key in my pocket…. The old brick house on the shady suburban street was ours.”

In the summer of 2001, Michael and Donna Ruhlman purchased a century-old house in one of Cleveland’s oldest suburbs. Its main systems having deteriorated over the decades, and its floor plan seeming incompatible with contemporary lives, they set out to make it their own.

House is Ruhlman’s description of the events that followed this emotional rather than practical decision, and in recounting the story of his family’s life in intimate and compelling detail, he explores questions that swirl around our country’s often contradictory domestic impulses.

We are a land of itinerants in love with the idea of home, the truth and sentimentality of it intertwining so tightly they are almost indistinguishable. What does a house and home mean anymore to us generally in this country? Why do we idealize it? Why do we long for a home of our own? What is the source of and reason for this longing, which runs counter to the American spirit of renewal and reinvention, the open road, flight?

These opposing thrusts, the yearning for permanent home place and the increasingly common need to relocate, make us a confused culture on some levels. Are we depleting ourselves by moving so frequently, by raising out families in a series of homes and unconnected places? How are these forces shaping our landscape, and how does the family home, in that changing landscape, shape the life of a family? What is the place of a house in the evolution of a marriage? What exactly does a house mean? How and why does the quest for a house compel us to act in such a seemingly irrational manner.

With a novelistic attention to detail and story and a journalistic compulsion to record actual events, House is as entertaining as it is informative.


Just to get something clear…

I’ve been making my trek back and forth to Providence for the last couple of weeks, getting Bright Night ready (and now doing all the necessary clean up for the festival) I often stop at the Stop-n-shop for Gas, but usually I pay by credit card. This time, I decided to pay by cash—. Fortunately, I had plenty of quarters!

I’m really just imagining the circumstances that forced the creation of that sign. Is that a common complaint? “Hey, I put the money down, and it blew away. Hey it’s not my fault. Hey, once I lay it down, it’s as if I’ve paid it. If you don’t pick it up in time, it’s not my fault. Yeah, it was a 20. I don’t know, somewhere over there.”

Anyway, I chuckled, I took a picture, I shared it with you.

Enough said!

Yonkers Recycling Schedule

Hi everybody– Just to let you know that the Yonkers Recycling schedule for 2007 is now available, so if you happened to be relying on this image (versus the cityofyonkers.com pdf, then this is the one you should be looking at.

Click the image to make it larger.