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A friend had occasion to give us some free tickets, thought we'd get a kick out of Pupppetry of the Penis, The Ancient Australian Art of Genital Origami, which has somehow made its way to Theater Row on 42th Street after being a hit all over the world. They call it Dick Tricks, put on by two very ordinary looking guys, nude, twisting their testicles into baby birds, pelicans, snails, wind sails and such.
The contortions are picked up by video cam and projected to a huge screen as the two joke their way through a set of thirty or so dick tricks while a sold-out house watches the show and cheers them along, lots of young women, couples, people from the suburbs. It's all straight-forward, only a couple of lewd references, something your grandmother would enjoy if the objects being manipulated weren't what they are.
A book with step by step instructions is available after the show for $20. "Can you believe we found a publisher for it?" said one of the guys.
Just to mention, the warmup for the show was a (dressed) woman. She had a heavy British or Australian accent so I didn't understand much of what she was saying, other than "I don't have a penis."
'twas a pretty dumb yet somewhat entertaining evening ...
The kaleidoscope of cultures that is the City never ceases to amaze. I'm a perpetual tourist finding new sights even as I walk streets I've walked many times before.
Just a few blocks up Second Avenue from my place, past Lhasa and Siam Square, around the corner from Szechuan Exotic Chinese Food and the Korean grocery flower stand, is perhaps the largest concentration of Indian restaurants this side of Asia. It's part of that crazy quilt of ethnicities that is the East Village, predating most of today's popular ethnic food joints.
The first Indian restaurant opened in the 60's, not really Indian but Pakistani. Not too many people knew the difference (if there is a difference,) so it became Little India. Judging by the names on the awnings, the owners aren't eager to fight that misconception. The first two were opened by feuding brothers (so the legend goes,) uncles and more distant relatives followed, opening their own restaurants, filling the block with popular and inexpensive places to eat, perfect for the Hippies living in the area at the time. Over the years the word got out, so now tourists by the busload head for this New York City neighborhood.
Some places cost a bit more than others and there are slight variations in the menus and flavors, but not enough to dispel the rumor that there is one central kitchen in the middle of the block, serving all restaurants. In any case, it's still the cheapest place in the City to get a tasty multi-course dinner.
Nestled in these tastes from the Indian subcontinent are a few representatives of other cultures, equally at home in the neighborhood. Right across the street from Sonali is a Synagogue, built when the area was a center of Jewish life before WWII; and should you need to check your email, one of the City's few remaining Internet cafes is still in operation a few of blocks away.
That was the 90's, it looks much different now. The City made many restaurants take down their colorful unlicensed signs and awnings. There are only a few Indian restaurants left, replaced by other ethnics, other cultures, other tastes.
Don't know if I like those sidewalk sheds they came up with for the age of Covid, nor the bicycle rental racks on the corner.
A friend of ours had visited the island off Puerto Rico, extolling emerald seas and rustic cabins. I researched and found the place, the owner mentioned exercising most mornings by swimming to a smaller island off shore from the beach. Our friend had flown in (too expensive, for us,) but there was a ferry, the place was rustic. Rustic cabins on the beach I was thinking, I can deal with that. So, after visiting relatives in Puerto Rico, we take a ferry from Fejardo to Vieques.
The sun is setting in emerald seas below as our taxi races up an endless narrow road into a thickening bush. We come to a sudden stop around a corner, facing a stallion acting as crossing guard for his entourage of mares, some obviously very pregnant. Driver explains they breed like rabbits here; fences on Vieques exist only to keep out horses, cars and doors stay unlocked. We keep on climbing, the paved road turns into an eroded dirt path up a steep hillside, we bounce around a lot. Roomie looks puzzled, this is no way to get to rustic cabins on the beach?
New Dawn "covered by flowers, was built for outdoor living by women participating in carpentry courses in '86-'87. The decor is pure tropics, bold Guatemalan textiles, woven palm lamp shades and numerous windows open to the trade winds." That of course requires the use of mosquito netting at night and, in general, I am not fond of sitting on a commode with a boldly-patterned curtain inches in front of me, reaching down just to my knees, though I don't mind the open-air showers behind similar curtains. There are a few cabins and tent platforms dotting five landscaped acres. The tour ends outside our very airy second-story room of the main house with a dramatic "... and this is our veranda."
It's a grand vista of tropical hillsides dropping to the ocean way below, inlets shimmer under sunset salmon skies, hammocks sway in the breeze. We settle down during dinner on a wide open first floor, watching two tattooed women from Maine doing the cooking, but Roomie doesn't recover until the following morning when we go snorkeling through a reef busy with tropical fish, just 15 minutes or so by car to the beach. At night, in hammocks on the veranda, we argue about which star is which and add an extra day to our stay after discovering the flight to San Juan is only $45 and takes less than half an hour across the ocean blue.
... oh ... an ex-New Yorker who owns the Bali Llama Boutiques in both tiny towns on Vieques is setting up her home page with a local ISP, and New Dawn is for sale. I'll be on my way just as soon as I can raise the money.
Never was able to raise the money, but found some fading photos. New Hope and hammock, Greenbeach and Sunbeach below.
OMG. I visited NYC in December 2001. Ground zero was still smoking.
Did you see it happen?
I heard sirens and saw people downstairs gathering on the street, went down to see what was happening just when the second plane hit.
These pix are from my living room windows.
Oh, I can't imagine what that was like for you -- and everybody else of course.
I visited there (did I already tell you this?) on December 27, 2001. Ground zero was still smoking. Yes, I think I did tell you this.
I had written a poem about it. I laminated it and left it in front of the church where people were putting pictures and things. About 6 months later, a lady called me at work. She said she had been on her way to work in the towers and had to stop on her way to pick up something. When she came out of the store, the first plane hit.
She said she walked past the memorial every day and crossed the street because she refused to look at the things people left there because she hated seeing people standing there taking pictures and smiling.
I had my friend take a picture of me, but I had to turn my back to the camera cuz I couldn't smile.
The day she finally went over to see what was there, she saw my poem. She managed to track me down so she could call me and let me know that my poem changed her whole perspective. She realized that the whole country was there in spirit and were devastated by what happened.
This is the same trip where I had my picture taken overlooking the Hudson River Valley -- my profile picture.