Friday, October 28, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Monday, October 24, 2011

Simon Gurvets, Stuyvesant ‘12, sent me some shocking information. When I went to Stuyvesant High School, named for Peter Stuyvesant, the notoriously anti-Semitic Director-General of Nieuw Amsterdam, who lost his right leg to a cannonball in a battle for the island of Saint Martin in 1644, it was all boys. Therefore, all of our athletic teams were known as the Peglegs. Today, there has been a mad proliferation of team nicknames, as provided by Simon.

Baseball: Hitmen
Basketball: Runnin’ Rebels
Bowling: Pinheads
Cross-Country: Greyducks
Fencing: Untouchables
Football: Peglegs
Boys’ Golf: Eagles
Girls’ Golf: Birdies
Girls’ Gymnastics: Felines
Girls’ Handball: Furies
Boys’ Handball: Dragons
Boys’ Track: Hitmen
Girls’ Track: Hitmen
Boys’ Lacrosse: Peglegs
Girls’ Lacrosse: Huskies
Boys’ Soccer: Schoolers
Girls’ Soccer: Mimbas
Girls’ Softball: Renegades
Boys’ Swimming and Diving: Pirates
Girls’ Swimming and Diving: Penguins
Boys’ Tennis: Hitmen
Girls’ Tennis: Lobsters
Girls’ Volleyball: Vixens
Girls’ Volleyball Jr. Varsity: Warriors
Boys’ Volleyball: Men of Steel
Boys’ Wrestling: Spartans

Cui bono? Does the family tree of some member of the Stuyvesant athletic department include the manufacturer of t-shirts and sweatshirts? Almost every day, when I go to work, I get off the subway at Chambers Street and West Broadway, the nearest station to the current Stuyvesant building, further west on Chambers Street. As a result, I see dozens of kids wearing their respective Stuyvesant team shirts on their way to school. In addition to the disparate names, there seems to be anarchy in the color palette for the teams. We all know that Stuyvesant’s colors are blue (near-royal) and red, so what’s with the purple and green and maroon? I believe that, once we reform Wall Street, we need to bring discipline to Stuyvesant’s sports teams for the future of this country.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Upper West Side’s Power Couple spent the last two days at the Rhinecliff Hotel, a lovely inn, right on the Hudson River. Every one of its nine rooms has spectacular river views since only a small parking lot and railroad tracks separate it from the Hudson. Of course, this results in some interesting sound effects when the midnight special comes by at full throttle. It's like having a big set of trains in your basement. It made me want to break out the banjo and start singing "The Wabash Cannonball," "Casey Jones," and "City of New Orleans." Room 204's bathroom was the size of a Manhattan studio apartment. The kitchen and service were very good, as well. We had a Groupon deal and, under the circumstances, I recommend it very highly for a getaway with or without the colorful display of autumn leaves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tom Adcock, distinguished novelist and journalist, came by for lunch. Befitting this special occasion, we went to Jing Fong, 20 Elizabeth Street, probably large enough to seat most of our comrades occupying Wall Street. Because of the flow of stimulating conversation, I did not keep track of what we ate, but I estimate that we had about 10 different items even as we turned back many other ladies with their dim sum carts.

Then, a very curious New York thing happened. I mentioned my still-surprising involvement with West End Synagogue. Tom, of distinguished Irish-Catholic lineage, sort of froze as a memory came back to him. His wife, the lovely actress Kim Sykes, comes from New Orleans and had family who severely suffered from Hurricane Katrina. As I later pieced together the story, Kim's good friend Jonathan Sobel told his mother Eileen Sobel about Kim's family's plight. Eileen, a WES member, repeated the story to Yael Ridberg, then WES's rabbi, who arranged for a grant to the New Orleans folks that, according to Tom, proved very helpful in getting them back on their feet. Maybe because my New Orleans relatives seemed to have literally and figuratively weathered the storm pretty well, I feel the need to thank Kim's family for their courage, and Jonathan Sobel, Eileen Sobel and Yael Ridberg for their concern.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I’m so glad that I ignored common sense on this cold drizzly day and walked about a half mile for an initial visit to Thai Angel, 141 Grand Street. The food was excellent. I started with Bangkok beef soup ($4.75 small) to fight the chill. It had slices of beef in a dark, perfumed broth. Then, I had Pad Cee Eiw with chicken ($7.95), essentially chow fun, only the wide, flat noodles did not clump together. The portion was very large and delicious. The medium-sized place was deservedly busy, but service was efficient.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today, October 28, 2011, a clear, bright, chilly day, the new basketball court and a half, in the southern tip of Columbus Park, was finally in use. It may have opened earlier this week while I was away, but it was getting its workout today. Two park workers (“Parkies” to those raised in Brooklyn) were sweeping the court clear of autumn leaves, which will be an ongoing problem because of the trees along the Mulberry Street edge of the park. Without daily grooming at this time of year, wet leaves will pose a problem to players scampering up and down the court (and a personal injury lawyer’s delight).

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