9-29-11 – Ritual

Rituals are important. Nowadays it’s hip not to be married. I’m not interested in being hip.

John Lennon

Rituals – we all have them. Some are ordained by religion or government, some we develop naturally within our lives.  The human mind seems to insist on ritual to help frame our existence, to sooth us with their repetitive nature, an anchor in our lives.

Why else do a million or so people freeze their rear ends off for hours: penned like sheep in little areas proscribed by police; with not a bathroom available; in Times Square to watch a ball slide down a pole as they chant, 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, then blow a horn or kiss for the New Year?  Why else do millions of other people in different time zones celebrate their own ritual and watch them on TV?

I saw a different kind of New Year’s ritual yesterday.


Tashlikh is part of the Rosh Hashanah observance.


9-28-11 Epic Collapse(s)

Nope, I am not talking about Rick Perry.

I am not talking about the stock market.

I am not even talking about the debut of The Chew.

3 words: Red Sox; Braves.  Once upon a time both teams were from Boston…

Between these two teams they lost a 19.5 game lead as of 8/25 and managed to not make even these diluted playoffs.


My Boston/New England relatives are NOT happy tonight…

For the first time in a long while I did not make it to the river today.  Other, more important issues, required my complete attention.  The picture above is one that I have shot over and over again. This is, so far, the best iteration.

As I am sure I have quoted before…”Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. – Samuel Beckett

Centerfield-John Fogerty

And to all those who celebrate: Happy Rosh Hashanah

9-26-11 Strange Mercy (Don’t Fence Me In)

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can’t look at hobbles and I can’t stand fences
Don’t fence me in.

Cole Porter

It seems like every 14 days I am being drawn back to this place. The combination of old New York, the river, the barrier preventing me from touching what I want, and the rebuilt skyline across the river keep drawing me.  While I was shooting yesterday I had my headphones on (something I never do when I shoot the river).  I was listening to St. Vincent‘s new album “Strange Mercy”.  The whole album is great but I am particularly enjoying: Cruel; Chloe in the Afternoon; Surgeon; Year of the Tiger.

(I wonder what she would sound like if she had taken the name Beth Israel?)

9-25-11 Return Of No Drama Sunday (Dine Out Irene)

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
Just to proved that it really existed.
People take pictures of each other,
And the moment to last them for ever,
Of the time when they mattered to someone.
Picture of me when I was just three,
Sucking my thumb by the old oak tree.
Oh how I love things as they used to be,
Don’t show me no more, please.

Ray Davies

Today was “Dine Out Irene” day in New York. Participating restaurants will donate up to 10% of their revenue for the day to help farmers devastated by Irene.  There is a companion effort called “Dine In Irene”  organized by GrowNYC and Bloggers Without Borders that will occur all week. Katherine and I ate a very late lunch at the Uptown Fatty Crab and then I took a walk up the river while she subwayed it on home.  The shots below were the last two I took for the day. Abigail and I disagree on which of these pictures I should use.

What do you think?

Photograph-Ringo and The Roundheads -2009

9-24-11 We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

The Spider And The Fly

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the spider to the fly;
“‘Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

“I’m sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high.
Well you rest upon my little bed?” said the spider to the fly.
“There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest a while, I’ll snugly tuck you in!”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly, “for I’ve often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!”

Said the cunning spider to the fly: “Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I’ve always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that’s nice;
I’m sure you’re very welcome – will you please to take a slice?”
“Oh no, no,” said the little fly; “kind sir, that cannot be:
I’ve heard what’s in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!”

“Sweet creature!” said the spider, “you’re witty and you’re wise;
How handsome are your gauzy wings; how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlor shelf;
If you’d step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.”
“I thank you, gentle sir,” she said, “for what you’re pleased to say,
And, bidding you good morning now, I’ll call another day.”

The spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready to dine upon the fly;
Then came out to his door again and merrily did sing:
“Come hither, hither, pretty fly, with pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple; there’s a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!”

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer grew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes and green and purple hue,
Thinking only of her crested head. Poor, foolish thing! at last
Up jumped the cunning spider, and fiercely held her fast;
He dragged her up his winding stair, into the dismal den –
Within his little parlor – but she ne’er came out again!

And now, dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words I pray you ne’er give heed;
Unto an evil counselor close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale of the spider and the fly.

Mary Howitt

9-23-11 Urge For Going 5:04 AM

I’ll ply the fire with kindling and pull the blankets to my chin
And I’ll lock the vagrant winter out and bolt my wandering in
I’d like to call back summertime and have her stay just another month or so
She’s got the urge for going and I guess she’ll have to go

And she get the urge for going when meadow grass is turning brown
All her empires are falling down
Winter’s closing in-

Joni Mitchell

I first heard the Tom Rush version in 1968 on WBZ, Boston and my memory tells me that the next morning I grabbed all the available change I had, hopped on the subway to Cambridge, went to Harvard Square to The Coop (Harvard Coop – don’t remember who was the member in my family but someone was) and bought both his “The Circle Game” album and Joni Mitchell’s”Song To A Seagull“.  This is probably a “found” memory, rather than a factual one but I like it and I am sticking with it.

Today was the Autumnal Equinox and it was an appropriately rainy, gloomy, gray day. The problem with that is that the ground in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is already saturated and even small amounts of rain are causing local flooding.

9-22-11 Remember Summer?

Nobody on the road,
nobody on the beach.
I feel it in the air,
the summers out of reach

– Don Henley/Mike Campbell

Steps from River to Walkway at 100th Street (give or take)

I have no idea what this photo shoot is about but she must have run up and down those stairs at least 5 times after I arrived and they had clearly been working for a while…

9-21-11 Man On The Moon

The other night I tripped a nice continental drift divide. Mount St. Edelite.
Leonard Bernstein. Leonid Brezhnev, Lenny Bruce and Lester Bangs.
Birthday party, cheesecake, jelly bean, boom! You symbiotic, patriotic,
slam, but neck, right? Right.

It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it.
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine…fine…

I Feel Fine

9-20-11 Follow The Windsong

Oh play me a blue song and fade down the light
I’m sad as a proud man can be sad tonight
Just let me dream on, oh just let me sway
While the sweet violins and the saxophones play

Richard Thompson