Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy Places

Monday, April 21, 2014
As a followup to last week’s report on our Passover seders, Steve North, Stuyvesant ‘58, CCNY ‘62 and distinguished trial attorney, writes "Before the opera last Wednesday, Sue (wife) and I went to Rosa Mexicana (west side) for a pre theatre dinner (we avoid bread and pasta and ‘do the best we can’). To our surprise, they had a full printed Passover Menu insert with Mexican flavored matzoh ball soup, charosis, brisket etc. It was quite good and much appreciated."

Lately, I have been spending more time on Memory Lane than on the streets adjoining the Palazzo di Gotthelf. Now, it’s the 50th anniversary of the New York’s World’s Fair, as the New York Times abundantly reminds us.

As I think back, it strikes me that I visited the fair only once, even though it was only a little over 4 miles away, point-to-point, from my parent’s home in Woodhaven to the fair grounds, 5 miles if driving. There were two main reasons for my near-miss of the event. First, you couldn’t get there from there. The relatively short distance between those two locations was unnavigable by public transportation, that is by any reasonable use of public transportation. As best as I can reconstruct my 1964 travel options, it would have taken one bus, two trains and a long walk to cover the distance. Of course, I had no car then, the exploding Dodge sedan having come and gone. Second, by 1964, I had effectively relocated to Ithaca, New York as a graduate student. My visits to the City were few and far between, most often occasioned by major family events. So, the transportation challenge rarely presented itself.

My one visit, in the summer of 1964, was in the company of John Langley Stanley, my roommate and friend of blessed memory. John borrowed a car from his family in Westchester, picked me up in Queens, and drove us to the World’s Fair. I remember Michelangelo’s Pietà on display, an extraordinary gesture by Rome. Viewing was controlled by standing on a walkway that slowly moved past the statue that either was illuminated by a blue light or sat in front of a blue backdrop.

There was lot of Walt Disney at this World’s Fair. We saw the animatronic (a word and design created by Disney) Lincoln delivering a robotic Gettysburg Address. I admit that I was entertained by Disney’s "It’s A Small World," a ride through a pavilion populated by an international array of cavorting animatronic children, who blessedly did not have to be fed or taken to the potty.  We no doubt saw more, but my only other extant memory is the Löwenbräu pavilion, where John and I sat drinking beer for several hours, assuming the role of scholars-in-residence. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Melanie L. provided this bit of cartography.

Click to enlarge

If you can’t stop laughing after examining this map, read the following: And our poor ain’t doing so well either. On the other hand, for "well-off families, the United States still has easily the world’s most prosperous major economy."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
No bread, noodles, rice for 8 days. I must have lost 50 pounds, but I’ll return to fighting weight soon enough, I imagine. I started my return to rotundness at Jr. Sushi, 86A West Broadway, a tiny, new joint. Almost half the floor space is taken up by a sushi bar, cash register and prep area. Eight two-tops blanket the remaining space, forcing you into balletic moves in order to get across the room. Not seeing any gefilte fish on the glossy, laminated, picture menu, I ordered the deluxe sushi platter ($22.95), containing 10 pieces of tuna, salmon and yellowtail sushi, and a tuna roll, cut into six pieces. Everything tasted fresh. Because of the tight quarters and busy turnover, I did not dawdle although I was equipped with both the New Yorker and the Sunday Times Magazine. I consider the library function a very important part of my lunch time and I probably won't go back to Jr. Sushi during normal eating hours.

Thursday, April 24, 2014
I hastened from the courthouse at noon in order to meet Michael Ratner on the subway platform at Grand Central on the way to the Mets game, starting at 1 PM. Since I spent the whole morning conducting case conferences, lunch wasn’t on the menu. However, the baseball game was nourishing, in its own way. The Mets won 4-1, beating St. Louis, last year’s World Series Champions, in 3 out of 4 games. The seats, which I have for 17 of my 20-game plan, offer excellent sight lines. They are also entirely shaded, good news for hot summer days, but bad news on a day with gusty winds up to 35 MPH, resulting in temperatures at least 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the field. While the scoreboard said 61 degrees, I sat in my top coat over a coat and tie, with a fleece scarf and gloves on, never quite getting warm. 

Friday, April 25, 2014
Tonight, America’s Favorite Epidemiologist is taking a finalist in her My Best Husband contest to the Four Seasons, 99 East 52nd Street, for dinner, in honor of his recent birthday. The Four Seasons is thought to be her lucky companion’s favorite restaurant, and speculation is rife that he will order their roast duck, unmatched in any cuisine. Since he is a man of few words, we will only be able to imagine his delight in the food and the company.

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