Showing posts with label Friends and Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friends and Family. Show all posts

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricanes



Good riddance and farewell Irma, especially in the destructive wake of Harvey.

Now as I write this Jose is threatening our boat in Connecticut with Maria on its heels likely to impact the same islands devastated by Irma (adding Puerto Rico as a direct Category 4 hit).

We’ll pay for a “Wall” to alienate good neighbors such as Mexico but refuse to take global warming seriously.  Why not treat THAT as an urgent matter, especially for future generations?  No, global warming didn’t “cause” Harvey or Irma, but the severity of storms will only increase in the future without shrinking the carbon footprint of our seriously overpopulated planet.  There is more than three times the number of people on this planet than when I was born!  Malthus was right about the geometric growth of population, but food shortage will not be the only offset.  There are solutions, if only we had the wisdom to listen to our scientists.  But I digress.  Back to the storm itself.

The day before the hurricane would begin to affect Florida we were due to fly out of the White Plains airport via Jet Blue, returning to home after spending a month on our boat in Connecticut.  Man makes plans and fate laughs.

As the storm was ramping up, with more and more dire warnings of a potentially Category 5 storm threatening Florida, we, too, became obsessed with the Weather Channel, watching every twist and turn of the spaghetti models.  Ka-ching, ka-ching for the Weather Channel, with, ultimately, their reporters waist-deep in water, leaning into the wind with their microphones for the enjoyment of their audience.  This is what reporting has become in the age of reality TV.

Early on it seemed to have a path that Floyd followed in 1999 and Mathew last year.  If so, it would track close off shore up the east coast of Florida and we thought to ourselves best be home before as that Saturday flight would be cancelled and flights would be more difficult to obtain later.  I had a monthly car rental from Avis to return to the White Plains airport, one of those special monthly deals for which they wanted to charge me a fortune on a per diem basis if I kept it more than the appointed time.  Funny the things you consider in the light of an impending weather event that could change your life.  Avis is truly Ka-ching oriented with subpar customer service and dirty automobiles.  Never again, Avis. 

So on the day after we changed our reservations to return on Thursday, the models shifted to a direct track over the east coast of Florida.  Looking at the maps it appeared to have a bulls-eye on our house!  Did we want to be in the house during a Category 4 or 5 storm?  If we were younger, perhaps I would have said, bring it on.  Not so anymore.  This is especially the case given the images of Houston’s bout with Hurricane Harvey.  Such devastation and heartbreaking scenes.

As we were making a donation to the Red Cross for Harvey, we contacted Jet Blue again (knowing it was hurricane season, I had presciently bought their Jet Blue Flex tickets, which enabled me to change without penalty).  As we were to fly out of a small airport (HPN) to PBI, there were a limited number of seats available for their Tues., Weds. or Thurs. flights.  I figured the hurricane would be gone by Tues, but thinking of the logistics of rearranging planes and flight crews, selected Weds. which, as it turned out, was the first day they did indeed resume flights to PBI.  Just dumb luck.

Now we just had to wait it out on our boat, hoping still the storm would pass out to sea, not wishing it on the west coast of Florida, but with every update, that’s where it seemed to be moving.  When we decided to move to Florida 18 years ago, we of course knew of the hurricane dangers (but most of the damage I witnessed during my life was from storms that visited Connecticut or Long Island, such as Carol, Gloria, and Sandy).  We had been in our house in Florida for Hurricanes Jean and Wilma, the latter being the worse although damage was limited.

Most of the really life threatening effects of hurricanes is from storm surge and not wind, and yet we live on the water.  But the water has never gone over our seawall.  We purposely bought on the east coast of Florida because the continental shelf drops off into deep water near the shore and storm surge is less of a threat than on the west coast as the Gulf of Mexico is shallow. 

Several years ago, with our mortgage paid off, we had the option of dropping the otherwise mandatory portion of our insurance covering windstorm damage from a hurricane.  By then, there was only one state sponsored insurance company that would cover homes near the water, Citizens, and their rates became usurious, with enormous deductibles.  We could pay all those premiums for years and years and probably not need it so instead we set aside those premiums for retrofitting our home for “the really big one. “

Irma seemed to be it.  The first significant investment after banking those premiums was a new roof using top of the line underlayment in combination with the 3M Polyset roofing tile attachment system which is guaranteed for 20 years.  Roofs which were peeled off during Hurricane Charlie using conventional nails, screws, and mortar (as was our previous roof), were unscathed using the 3M system, so we went for the best.  At the same time we replaced the east facing corrugated steel window panels with clear Lexan panels so there could be some light during a hurricane if we should be in the house (we were in the complete dark during Wilma).  

Next year we replaced all north and south facing windows with heavy duty hurricane impact windows and installed a generator to run the essentials (not a whole house gen as we rarely lose power and not for a long time).  This has its own circuit breaker box and I just plug in a 30 amp line, exactly the same kind as we use on the boat in Connecticut.

Then the next year, the big expense, installing electric roll down shutters across the length of our water-facing porch and therefore not needing those heavy panels on the four sliding glass doors that open to the porch.  That also tied down the roof to the cement foundation with the supports for the roll downs.

Last year we completed the retrofit by replacing the two sets of French double doors that open out to our pool patio with the heaviest impact doors made.  Each of the four doors must weigh hundreds of pounds each.  It took four men to carry one and all day to install.

At the same time I fabricated and had installed a brace for our garage door, although the door itself is hurricane rated.  The brace was to be used only for the most extreme storm as it is tied into the cement floor with anchors and attaches to the rafters of the attic which provides additional strength to both the roof and garage door.  Given the dire forecasts, we asked our house minder to put up that brace.

And, so, we waited out the storm, fairly confident about our house, but we worried about our community and friends who had sheltered in place.

Meanwhile, life goes on.  I had to return that monthly rental car to Avis, and picked up a less expensive weekly rental, which by the time we were half way back to the boat from the airport I finally noticed a light flashing “check tire pressure.”  Cars have gone electronic and usually this means the pressure is a little off so I made a mental note to get air at a filling station.  By the time we got back to the marina, I looked at the tires.  All seemed to be fully inflated, until we saw the mother of all nails in the right rear.  It was situated in such a way that it looked like it was there for a long time, a perfect plug, but did I want to take a chance it would hold?  No.  So I called Avis and tried to do a local swap at one of their nearby offices, but no, I had to drive all the way back to the airport.  “Ka-ching!” Avis cried out again.

So all the way back to the airport and then had to deal with a surly, clearly unmotivated check in person in the lot before having to go back to the desk.  They gave me another car which was low on windshield fluid and was just unclean, but by that time I was in the lot, and needed the car for only a few days, so we drove back to the marina, not happy campers.

I had had it with driving, the anxiety of the encroaching hurricane, the uncertainty of whether it would be a direct hit, and that night we were to celebrate our son’s birthday with he and his fiancĂ©e, Tracie. They kindly offered to drive us to the restaurant which was not exactly around the corner, in Cannondale, CT, a special place called “The Schoolhouse” – actually an old school house.  But the best part is Jonathan drove and used all the back roads of verdant Connecticut, winding hills up and down, past places I hadn’t seen in years and years, arriving at the restaurant as if there was not a care in the world.  We were all together, Jon, Tracie, Ann, and myself, as the requisite selfie shows. 

The menu was even printed just for us, welcoming the “Hales” which is our restaurant reservation name, much easier to give the name “Hale” than my real surname.

The Schoolhouse is a “farm to table” restaurant and a relaxing, enjoyable experience.  What a break from all the anxiety.

Back to the boat for the next few days, to prepare for our trip home, wondering whether the storm will leave the community intact.  With every hour, its track moved further and further west, seemingly to put the west coast of Florida in the cross hairs of a potential massive tidal surge, which would have been the worst of all possible outcomes.

Meanwhile, knowing there was nothing more I could do for our own house, I tried to read Richard Russo’s short story / novella collection, Trajectory.  Hard to give it the attention it so richly deserves, while tracking a storm on my phone on and off, and wondering whether there would be a flight on Weds. as we had scheduled.  Russo, along with Anne Tyler, are our best mature storytellers, sharing so much in common, our very own modern day Jane Austens, their idiosyncratic characters crying out for love, fearing their social awkwardness, dealing with money and health problems, but mostly with their fractured relationships.

In fact the story “Voice,” concerns a retired Jane Austen scholar, Nate, who is inveigled by his older brother, Julian, to go on a group tour to Italy.  Their relationship reverts to one of their childhood, meanwhile competing for the same woman.  In general, the collection is infused with Russo’s gift of humor.  Perhaps the funniest novel I ever read is his Straight Man.  The latter is laugh out loud, but one can get a sense of his more subtle gift of humor and characterization from this paragraph from “Voice.”  A modern day Jane Austen would be proud of him:

At any rate, as the two women approach, weaving through the crowd, Nate knows he's on his own. The plain one arrives first, thrusting her hand out, much as a man would, and announcing that her name is Evelyn, or, if he prefers, Eve. Nate, wondering why on earth he should have a preference, takes the proffered and pretends delight to be met. Eve's hair is cut sensibly short for a woman her age – early 60s, Nate figures, though he's never been much good I guessing women's ages – and she's wearing something like a tracksuit, except nicer and maybe even expensive. The general impression she conveys is of a woman who once upon a time cared about how much she presented herself to men but woke up one morning, said fuck it and was immediately happier. She is also, Nate fears, one of those women who is confident she knows what's in the best interest of others. Seeing someone who obviously prefers to be left alone, she's all the more determined to include him in whatever awful group activities she's contemplating. The word she probably uses to describe whatever she has in mind is fun. It won't be, of that Nate's certain.

Russo deals with my own concern with Group travel:   Nate studies the daily travel schedule, trying to square it with the people he met.  A few appear fit enough, but others strike him as medical emergencies waiting to happen. Both humpbacked Bernard and the orange-haired, chain-smoking women who stop to catch her breath…are genuine heart-attack candidates. Then there’s the extremely elderly couple who, when at rest, lean into each other should to shoulder, forming the letter A; if either were to move quickly, a broken hip would be the likely result for the other.

Russo’s humor camouflages the flip side, aging, illness, death and even his own writing skills.  In the story “Intervention” Ray, a middle aged real estate agent is facing a crisis, having a cancerous tumor.  He thinks about his father’s death:  But he must also have been proud of his father, or why would he be emulating him now it hadn't been a conscious decision – I'll do this the way my father did it – when he was informed about his own tumor. He simply concluded, as his father must've done, that he wasn't special, that there was no reason such a thing shouldn't happen to him. Like his father, he hadn't protested that he was too young, or that he had been cheated, or that life is unfair, or that he deserved an exemption.

In “Milton and Marcus,” Ryan, a writer in desperate need of a job is invited to try screen writing again.  He has his doubts about rejoining the Hollywood game and even more so about his skills:
Over the years we kind of stayed in touch, and when I had a new book out, Wendy always called to congratulate me. I think he must've known that my work had lost a good deal of its vitality by then. Each book sold fewer copies than the one before, and while the critics remained mostly respectful many reviews seem to agree that my earlier works had felt far more urgent than the later ones. The sad truth is that some writers have less fuel in the tank then others, and when the vehicle begins to shudder, you do well to pull over to the side of the road and look for alternative transportation which is what I did.

But if I had to pick but one phrase as central to this collection, it is:
The thing about confidences – the unsolicited opening of the heart – is that they invite reciprocity, even when it’s not a good idea….Russo offers “the unsolicited opening of the heart” in Trajectory.  

And so with the completion of the novel came the passing of Irma, the devastation on the west coast of Florida, but thankfully less than they thought it would be, although the Florida Keys was not so spared. So, upon our scheduled return to our home, we wondered what we would find.  Except for some minor landscaping damage, one could hardly tell our home had been hit by the storm.  We were among the lucky ones.

But we also returned to the sad news that Ann’s cousin Saul had died.  He had had a massive stroke two weeks before the storm, and his three “kids” were determined to form a vigil by his bedside with his wife of 55 years, Lynda.  They moved him to hospice when he was declared brain dead.  And there they sat through the storm, Saul fighting death for days and days without food or water.  The family was finally able to hold his funeral in Boca which naturally we attended.  This is a very close family, children and grandchildren, and they stood with their mother at the Mausoleum where the service was held and then the interment.

The Mausoleum itself is on two floors with multiple crypt levels for bodies.  Ann and I have never been to one.  It is a massive marble structure which we have never seen, as well as the procession, the casket being raised on an elevated platform after being wrapped in a clear plastic tarp, and then inserted in a cubicle for two, an instrument being used to push the casket all the way in the back of the cubicle, leaving room for his wife when she ultimately passes.  We all sadly watched this.

It is otherworldly and I could not help but think of homeless victims of Harvey and Irma, or people who lost their lives, who could have been protected in shelters such as this fortress.  And believe me; this building will outlast any structure in Florida.  It is not my place to pass judgment on the need for placing our remains in such edifices.  If it gives families comfort, so be it, but when one thinks of the resources being used to protect the dead while the living need so much, it gives me pause.  For us there will be cremation and the scattering of our ashes to the rising waters.
Shorefront Park, Norwalk CT


Monday, July 31, 2017

NY, NY, It’s a Wonderful Town



The Bronx may be up and the Battery down, but for us our week in New York City, other than theater (see previous entry) was about seeing family, friends, and a nostalgic stroll (walk /Uber / cab / subway) down memory lane.  I was born in NYC (actually Queens which any true New Yorker would dismiss as Manhattan to them is THE City).  I lived in Richmond Hill until my teenage years, although began working in Manhattan as a 14 year old for my father’s photography business during the summers, and continued to work there through high school and early college years.  Married in my senior year in college, I became a Brooklynite, living first in downtown Brooklyn and then Park Slope.  I wrote about my nostalgic return to Brooklyn last year.

After my divorce in the late 60s, I moved to West 85th Street, my first official residence in Manhattan (although when separated from my first wife, I lived with a friend in his East Village apartment).  After Ann and I were married, I moved into her one bedroom apartment on West 63rd Street.

Since I started with geography, I’m taking our trip out of order, continuing the geographic tour.  The last day before we left (Friday) it was forecast to be another 95 degree day – think it was the fourth in a row over 90.  Ann said she’d rather stay and rest that day and get started on the preliminary packing for our return flight the next morning, so I had a sudden urge to make the most of that morning, before the temperature soared, by walking our old West side neighborhoods.  After all, as an ex-New Yorker I had confidence that I could recapture that pace – the one that perfectly syncs with the changing traffic lights as one walks north or south (doesn’t work for cross town), so at about 10 AM I set off from 54th and 7th Avenue to my ultimate destination:  my old West side apartment, a third floor walk up at 66 West 85th Street. 

My improvised plan was to first go up Central Park West to the apartment which Ann moved into in the early 60’s, the one I moved into when we got married in 1970.  And so I set off.

I crossed Columbus Circle and went up Central Park West and made a left on 63rd and there behind a lot of scaffolding was our first apartment at 33 West 63rd St.  Then I went over to Columbus and then began another 20 plus walk up to 85th Street.  The change in nearly 50 years was remarkable, so gentrified, with boutique shops, markets, restaurants.  I went into a Duane Reade to buy a bottle of water and to use their restroom.  But I forgot: NYC is not hospitable to providing restrooms so I walked further to a local boutique coffee shop and bought a bottle of Perrier and there was a restroom.  Tragedy averted. 

Decided to take a brief rest there and watch the world go by.  Outside I saw a young woman handing out leaflets, talking to people, trying to get them to sign an electronic petition, so after having my drink, I emerged and talked to her.  She was urging people to sign onto an effort to curb an environmental issue in the neighborhood.  I explained that I was from Florida and the last time I lived here, only a block away now, was nearly a half a century ago.  I might as well have been from Mars, but she still urged me to sign as there was also a national dimension.  So I did, and we briefly chatted about the now beautiful west side and the long term threats to the environment given Washington’s current leadership.

So, I walked on, saw the entrance to my old apartment on West 85th St. and looked down the street towards Central Park West, so inviting now.  Sigh, if we could only live in this area again.

But I was only half way through my journey as I wanted to walk down Amsterdam now which had also changed dramatically.   At 79th and I turned east as I wanted to see another apartment Ann lived in before moving to 63rd Street.  She shared an apartment with another woman at 172 West 79th.  It is still there, a stately prewar building.  And actually, when Ann first moved to the city in 1959, her first apartment was a furnished room in a beautifully restored old brownstone at 39 West 69th (which I did not visit), but she has fond memories of living there and watching some scenes from the movie The Apartment being filmed on the street at the time.

I turned south back onto Columbus.  Opposite Lincoln Center (Ann watched it being built just across the street from where she lived) is a restaurant, P.J. Clarke's, to which we used to go almost a half century ago when it was called “O’Neill’s Balloon”.  Strange name for a restaurant, yes?  Well, it was originally “O’Neill’s Saloon” and the story goes that NYC at the time prohibited using “Saloon” so they just changed the “S” to a “B” and squeezed in an additional “l”.  A NYC expedient solution, indeed.

Also, 63rd Street at Lincoln Center has a secondary name, “George Balanchine Way” and there is a back story concerning this.  Most of our Connecticut years were on Ridge Road in Weston.  It was there that the great ballerina, Tanaquil Le Clercq lived, the ex wife of Balanchine. He built a wheelchair ramp for her at that home as she was tragically stricken with polio in 1956.  He finally left her for his last wife but she was always considered his muse.  We never saw her while living there.  Most homes were much hidden from the road.

Ann and I took another nostalgic walking tour earlier in the week.  We wanted to see the old building where we both worked and where we first met at 111 5th Avenue.  I have even deeper roots in that general lower Fifth avenue area, so I’ll describe our visit in the order of our trip that day.   

First stop was 100 5th Avenue.  My father’s photography business, Hagelstein Brothers, occupied the very top floor of the building for about 60 years (my grandfather before him) and from about 1936 to 1980 he commuted there from Richmond Hill, Queens, with his brother, my Uncle Phil, (except for the War years).  From about 1956, when I was only 14, to when I was 20, I worked there each summer, riding to work in the back of their small van, sitting among the props, from our home, to Woodhaven Blvd., to the Long Island Expressway and then through the Queens Midtown tunnel, down Park Avenue, to 100 5th Avenue. 

My first job was as a delivery boy, delivering proofs to customers all over New York, usually by subway, so I got to know the city fairly well, almost as if I lived in Manhattan rather than Queens.  That entire lower 5th Avenue has a special place in my reflective psyche.

So there it was, the same entrance I had gone in and out of a thousand times, the building looking the same, but, as everything else in the area, gentrified, boutique shops replacing the old coffee shops and industrial equipment stores.  From there we walked down to 14th Street toward Union Square.  When I was first married we (ex-wife) lived in Brooklyn and the subway stop left me off at Union Square.  It was there that I was the only New Yorker who has ever received a J-walking ticket.  I was crossing with a mob of people but the cop signaled me over.  I remember writing a letter to the Mayor at the time, John Lindsey, as it was the principle of the matter, not the violation.  I’m still patiently waiting for a reply.:-)

In any case, Union Square is now a lush park, and I wanted to find a Union Square diner which I clearly remember going to on several occasions in the mid 1960’s.  It was the go-to place if a large group of us were going out from the office.  I usually had a very inexpensive hero sandwich with Jim Mafchir who was a close friend and colleague.  He actually showed me the ropes of publishing production work and when I first separated from my wife, lived with him briefly in his East Village apartment.  About ten years ago we reconnected with him in Sante Fe, NM.

One of those luncheons at the coffee shop included a gal I didn’t know well, Ann, who would become my wife years later.  So, for the purposes of this visit, I wanted to see what boutique shop might have replaced it.  To our shock, the old Chase Coffee shop on Union Square is still there.  Changed ownership 28 years ago, and the layout is different, but it is still a traditional NYC coffee shop so naturally, that is where we had to have lunch and retread footsteps from another lifetime, when we hardly knew one another.  In this selfie, you can see “Coffee Shop” over my left shoulder.


From there we forged on to 111 5th Avenue where I worked from 1964 to 1969 and Ann worked from 1965 to 1971.  Funny how we went in and out of those elevators so many times, and never fully appreciated the fine workmanship of them and the lobby.  We finally did on this, our final visit.


Then, we went north on 5th Avenue and we looked for a restaurant we used to go to after work on the west side of the street.  Gone.  Up to 23rd Street.  Jim and I used to go to some of the bars on that street and have an Irish lunch.  They’re pretty much gone.  The Flatiron building of course still stands majestically at the intersection of 5th and Broadway.

Another building I had to see was the Met Life in front of Madison Square Park as I had two connections with that building.  My grandfather (on my mother’s side) worked there and later in my publishing career, we rented space there for Praeger Publishers which we had bought from CBS, so I used to visit regularly.  Every time I entered the building I had to sign in and get a pass which I used to just sometimes stick on the inside of my brief case.  Even though that was more than 20 years ago, I not only still use that briefcase, but the passes still remain.  Why I haven’t removed them, I have no idea. Maybe it was for this moment.

Finally, one more destination in this area, and that was 28 West 23rd Street, a building I used to regularly visit to attend board meetings of our then parent company, Williamhouse Regency from 1970 to 1976.  Therefore, you might say, much of my working career is tethered to that area.

 From there, we had intended to Uber up 6th Avenue to our hotel but as all of lower to even upper Manhattan, traffic was at a standstill and it was beastly hot by then too, we took the easy way, the 6th Avenue Subway, and thus back in a flash.  “The people ride in a hole in the ground. New York, New York, it's a wonderful town!”

Earlier in the week we had a date to lunch with Ann’s niece Regina and her two children, nearly adults, Forrest, and Serena.  We had agreed to meet at the Grill in the Standard Hotel right near the southern entrance to the High Line and there we had lunch, their menu very creative, the waiter fun, and the ambiance, trendy, reflective of its roots in the meatpacking district.

After catching up with the activities of the now grownup “kids” and a relaxing lunch, we all walked the entire length of the High Line from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street. The High Line was built on an elevated freight line that was supposed to be demolished.  Instead, it has become an example of how such industrial space can become an integral part of a beautiful city, affording views, cultural art, and community spirit.  It brings back a little of old New York, combining it with the sensibilities of modern times, with its street art and architecture of new buildings.

Although some very good and old favorite NYC restaurants were another go to feature of our trip, I’ll only mention one, and that is the legendary Le Bernardin.  We’ve been there before, not often of course, but we made it a point to go to this very exceptional restaurant and there we celebrated being together with Jonathan and Tracie.


Speaking of whom, we also spent the day with them, the Sunday after we arrived, we taking the New Haven railroad to South Norwalk where they picked us up and we went immediately to our boat where they had a lunch waiting for us.  It seemed odd to be there as a one-day visitor, but we’ll be back later in the summer to stay there. 

Naturally, while there we had to get out on the water, that day perhaps being the best day of the week, taking our little runabout to visit friends on their boats.  Finally back to our ‘Swept Away’ to read the New York Times and then Jonathan and Tracy prepared a feast for dinner, king crab legs and sous vide T-bone steak and, unexpectedly, a neighboring boat had just returned from a fishing tournament so there was fresh mahi mahi to grill as well.  That night they returned us to NYC as they both had to drive back for work.

We were going to go to the lower east side on Thursday but it was supposed to be in the mid 90s with high humidity and being outside would probably kill us so we "settled" for a day at MOMA before the theatre that night.

I ended up taking about 100 photographs and I managed to cover all five floors and we had a lovely lunch in their restaurant.

Instead of posting everything, I’m including a few that felt very personal to me, especially in this chaotic political era.  So many of the MOMA’s collection presents other similar times, ones that we’ve lived through, such as in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaked NSA documents, one can appreciate the following:

Simon Denny’s “Modded Server-Rack Display with Some Interpretations of David Darchicourt Designs for NSA Defense Intelligence.”

 Or Kara Walker’s “40 Acres of Mules” where  “characters play out repulsive dramas of racial and gender bigotry
”.

There was an entire exhibit “Why Pictures Now” devoted to the iconoclastic Louise Lawler.  When asked to submit a picture of herself for a 1990 issue of Artscribe magazine, she submitted one of Meryl Streep, “acknowledging MOMA’s role in presenting artists as celebrities.”

Robert Rauschenberg’s work really captures the zeitgeist of not only the turbulent 60s, but also anticipates the unrest of today.  

 His “Signs” (1970) warns about the “Danger lies in forgetting."  Indeed, 1960's political foment reminds one of today's world.  

His “Stop Side Early Winter Glut” (1987) is an environmental warning and a warning of spiritual ruination.  “It’s a time of glut.  Green is rampant…I simply want to present people with their ruins.”

As an ex New Yorker I viscerally responded to his “Estate” (1963)

Mobs of people were photographing Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” (1889) which haunts.


Personally, I’d like to have this one hanging over my piano (in addition to “Rebecca” which presently hangs there):  Picasso “Three Musicians” (1921).

So, this entry and my prior one summarizes one very intense week.  If it was not for the unbearable heat, and crowds, we'd still be dreaming of living there again.  I think we've abandoned that dream, although we’ll be back to the city where we have deep roots.  The exciting multiculturalism and the juxtaposition of where new architecture meets the old still speak to us.