Driving the East River Drive. Every risk, shimmering.


It was Tuesday. Yes, Autumn. Yes, New York City. But it certainly didn’t look or feel anything like this. Add 5,000 cars.  And move the map to the FDR, the East River Drive.

I’m one hour and 20 minutes on the road and Waze is signaling that I’m still 30 minutes away. 1:50 for a 0:45 min ride. And now, the crush of the morning rush.  My lower back is stiff.  There’s a nagging kink in my neck. And, I can’t settle. I shift left, then right. I grab my water bottle, take a pull. Tap my fingers on the console.  I glance at my watch. I’m going to be late. Didn’t count on this delay. I push the pace. DK won’t be late.

If you’ve never driven the East Side Highway, think Daytona 500 with a crudely straightened 3-lane track.  Three lanes made for 2.5.  Traffic, sardines, tightly packed. There’s zero room for a slip, no room for wandering. Hugging your left shoulder is a 4-foot cement girder offering a bumper car cushion. Drains (sink holes) are distributed every 1000 feet to release rain water.  Off your right shoulder, another car – open your window and finger brush the door panel.  You grip the wheel, white knuckles, and Glare, eyes panning up front, left, right and down (especially down to avoid the abyss) and then back again. The Gotham Death March.  I push the pace with the cabbies, we dart in and out, looking to gain one car length, maybe two.

SiriusXM is spinning 70s on 7. [Read more…]

Turn it.


There is a tendency in the West to be convinced of the badness of human nature… It is essential that we be convinced of the goodness of human nature, and we must act as though people are good. We have no reason to think that they are bad. […]

I noticed in New York, where the traffic is so bad and the air is so bad … you get into a taxi and very frequently the poor taxi driver is just beside himself with irritation. And one day I got into one and the driver began talking a blue streak, accusing absolutely everyone of being wrong. You know he was full of irritation about everything, and I simply remained quiet. I did not answer his questions, I did not enter into a conversation, and very shortly the driver began changing his ideas and simply through my being silent he began, before I got out of the car, saying rather nice things about the world around him.

~ John Cage, in Richard Kostelanetz’s Conversing with Cage


“So I decided to start bowing to everyone who crossed my path.  Just a little teeny bow of my head.  Just enough to remind myself not to be a jerk, since no matter who I’m talking to, whether it’s a child, or a principal, or a gas station attendant, or a frenemy, or Craig, it’s GOD I’m talking to. And as I bow, I say Namaste, God in me recognizes and honors God in you. I just think Namaste in my head, like the way Orthodox Jews wear a yarmulke to remind themselves that they are living under the hand of God.  Or how Muslims pray five times a day to remind themselves of whom they serve.  The world and the people in it are so beautiful when you are awake.  And so the bowing and the silent Nameste is just a little practice to remind myself what’s real.  What an amazing life I’m leading and what a gift the people I meet are to me. I know all of this might sound a little nuts, but I have decided that I am just over worrying about that.  Robin P. Williams said, “You’re only given a spark of madness.  You mustn’t lose it.”  And maybe the world needs some crazy love.  So I am embracing my spark of madness.  Fanning it, even.  And I’m bowing.  And something’s happening because of it.  It’s working.  I’m starting to see God everywhere.

~ Glennon Doyle Melton,  Carry On, Warrior:  The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life

Catching Metro-North.


6:13 pm.
Madison Square Garden to Grand Central.
10 blocks North — 3 blocks East.
22 minutes to the 6:35 pm New Haven Line.
Rush hour. On foot.

Doable? Let’s go.

Street Vendors.
Food cart. Pita. Gyros.
Bus tour hawkers.
Three abreast.
Black Cars.
Red lights.
Bumbin’Jostlin’ (Sorry!)
Walk signs.
Don’t walk.
Soft spring breeze.
Pungent marinating garbage.
Zig. Zag.
City Buses.
Car horns.

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Foot Soldiers


“Finding unexpected beauty in the hands of shoe shiners”

This hand: German Orellana, 55, Ecuador.
Photographs by Christopher Griffith.

Don’t miss photos of 15 other NYC shoe shiners in The New York Times Magazine: Shoe Shine Slideshow

Find Your Beach


Here’s English author Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books with an essay titled Find Your Beach:

[…] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

This woman is genius and can write.  Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach

Notes: Find her award winning book on Amazon here: White TeethPortrait of Zadie Smith: oprah.com. Bio at Wiki here: Zadie Smith 

Driving. Running on Empty.

photography,taxi,david Bradford,black and white,new york, new york city
I get a late jump. Need to drive to the City. I look down at my gas gauge. It’s bobbing on the wrong side of 1/4. Storm expected by mid-afternoon. I can’t be caught on freeway without petrol. I cuss. I should have filled up on the ride home last night. I clench my teeth: WHY do I repeat this scenario?  Again and again. I glance down at my watch, and hope for light traffic. I can’t be late. Not today. I pull into a Mobil Service Station.

A late edition Ford Explorer pulls up. Mid-30’s? Pharma Sales? Office Manager?  Her make-up, black dress and heels…all poorly camouflaging weariness.  Her shoulders are slumped.

Today’s Look: Fatigue. Single Mom? Poor night’s sleep? Did you need to drop Jimmy off at daycare?

$’s whirring on the pump meter. $4.47 a gallon. “Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shooting for some food, and up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude (Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.)” I digress. $63.47 and still guzzling. Beast is insatiable.

She puts the pump back in the holster, gives the gas cap an extra twist and trudges back into her car, heels clopping on the asphalt.

You couldn’t have put more than $15 in the tank. Money tight? Stretched into big house, one size too large? 

Traffic is flowing. GPS flashing a clear runway to Triborough Bridge. Making good time.

You picked out the dress with your Mother. Your Father cried as he walked you down the aisle. Bridesmaids, flower girls, quaint church. Pachelbel’s Canon in D. A beautiful spring day in May. Church Bells singing. Hope springs eternal. [Read more…]


illustration, sketch, black and white, simple figure, woman figure

It’s Monday, October 29th.  The day that Hurricane Sandy hit the Tri-State Region.

I’m scrolling down the new WordPress posts for bloggers I follow.  My fingers sliding clumsily on the touch pad. Scrolling. Scrolling. (Cursing because I haven’t figured out this d*mn touch pad. I miss the eraser thing in the middle of keyboard.  Getting old.  Hating change.  Big clumsy fingers. I slide fingers in wrong direction and I’m taken to another website.  I lose my place.  Need to start back at the top.  Grrrrrrr. Can this be so difficult pal? )

My eyes flitting from post to post.  Scanning images and topics of interest.

My eyes land on the image on the left.  I freeze.  (What is it about this image?  I can feel its soothing effects.  The ‘Work’ clutch now slipping from OVERDRIVE to neutral.)

A few lines.  Black lines.  White background.  A simple image. A simple, beautiful human image.  (Let’s not get too carried away.  It’s certainly not that simple.  And nothing I could ever draw.)

I found it to be startling.

[Read more…]

Hurricane Sandy: After Landfall – More Shock and Awe


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Hurricane Sandy In 50 Photos

50 photos of Hurricane Sandy

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frankenstorm, Hurricane Sandy, rain, storm, New York City

Source: TheDailyWhatFrankenstorm Is Coming of the Day: True story. While we wait, here’s the Hurricane Sandy meme watch.

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