Jack Beal Mosaics – Times Square

New York City, ever an adventure in art, culture, and life itself, came to the fore in the 41st IRT subway (7th Avenue). The much-admired Jack Beal (1931 – 2013) mosaics have, no doubt, been photographed many, many times. I had to have my own images of The Onset of Winter and The Return of Spring. The murals depict the Greek myth of Persephone, the goddess of spring. Kidnapped by Hades, she was forced to live in the underground for half of the year. Demeter, her mother and goddess of harvest, asked Zeus to intervene. Long story – Persephone and her mother were reunited for half of the year. Thus, earth has six months of springtime and summer.

 

 

Sunny Puerto Rico

A week of sun and fun in Puerto Rico – when I lived in New York, I’d take 3-day weekend trips to San Juan. Lutece on the Beach, a favorite guest house in Ocean Park, is now just a picture on a postcard. Condo towers, hotels, and gated communities are the new normal. Still, the charm remains in historic Old San Juan, Luquillo, El Yunque, and La Perla. If you haven’t been to the island, I say, go and enjoy! We rented a car from Alamo and got right into stampedes of wild drivers. For all the recklessness, I never saw a collision.

Our first destination and reason to visit was the Arecibo Observatory. The internet has all the facts about the world’s second largest single-dish radio telescope. Nearby on PR-10 is Cueva Ventana with two small dry caves and guided tours. On the eastern end of the island is beautiful Luquillo Beach. We went back to El Yunque, a rain forest with hiking trails, waterfalls, and a zipline. The road down the back side of the mountain is still being repaired. Remember Hurricane Maria?

We stopped for a seafood lunch at Ernestina’s in Luquillo. Then on to lovely road that skirts the beach to Loiza. On a gorgeous Sunday people spread out on the beach, under trees, and in the water. We met a woman who after living in Miami for eight years has returned to the island. She’s happy with her decision. Life is good!

Old San Juan, another favorite place to explore. We scheduled a 2-hour walking tour with David Rodriquez (recommend). Since the Harmony of the Seas (6,000+ passengers) was docked in the harbor, streets were crowded with tourists. Ships stay for a day and sail on. Those tourist dollars sure help the economy. We had the rental car and slithered it through the narrow street of La Perla, and visited the cemetery. A 75 cent ferry drive takes passengers from the harbor over to Catano. We wanted to take a bus from Catano to Bayamon, but let that idea pass. The interior bus the windows were opaque – what was that all about? No view, no bus ride.

Explore Puerto Rico – the islands of Vieques and Culebra. So much to see and, indeed, tourist dollars will help the economy.  Enjoy the photos!

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Windy Day

Tucson – November 13. All through the night an east wind battered chimes, shook the potted petunias silly, and snapped tree branches from their trunks. In early morning at Abby-walking time, I buffeted the wind with a jacket and an Annie Hall hat pulled down over my ears. A great day for sailing! Except, I don’t live anywhere near the sea. Let me share some images with you to show the beauty of wind, rain, and sky. You can almost smell the fresh, clear air.

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Robert Louis Stevenson:

O wind, a-blowing all day long. O wind, that sings so loud a song.

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New York City – Images.3

Here are a few signs that span amusing and practical to philosophical and sad. Each image is a message, a micro-story, in the big, bold City of New York. On my way by taxi from LaGuardia Airport to the city, I heeded the warning – do not assault the driver. Jorge was a lovely man who immigrated from the island of Jamaica years ago. Why would anyone want to harm him or any other driver?

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TeeShirts.2                                                         Tee Shirts – Little Italy

LittleItaly.Menu                                                                     Menu – Little Italy

RatsNYC                                                                    More Cats, Please

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Saddest of All, Asleep on 7th Avenue

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New York City – Images.2

Construction and teardowns are constant activies in the city. Sky high and stiletto thin hotels and apartment buildings welcome the wealthy.  Older neighborhoods along 14th Street and into the Meat Packing District are being dismantled brick by brick. ‘Way back when, my one-bedroom apartment on E. 18th Street between 2nd and 3rd rented for $240/month. Richard’s two bedroom, 2-bath at Quaker Ridge (21st & 3rd), now a condominium, sells for $1 million. As apartment buildings are demolished in low-income neighborhoods tenants struggle to find affordable housing. No matter its flaws, New York City is fabulous!

A friend recommended the Salisbury Hotel, an older hotel on 57th between 6th and 7th Avenues. Excellent choice as the hotel has large rooms — our room had two closets, all the amenities, including a safe that locked with a key. Great neighborhood with a Duane Reed on one corner, restaurants, and a subway entrance on 7th Avenue.

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57thSt.4

142 W. 57th Street

HighLineView

View from the High Line

WaterTower

View from the Whitney Museum of American Art

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West 14th Street & Ninth Avenue

LittleItaly

Little Italy

Molly's

Molly’s (Originally named Molly Malone’s)

 

Sailboat

WaterTaxi

Views from the Staten Island Ferry

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New York City – Images.1

I love New York City, no doubt about that! As a little girl, my merchant seaman father often took me into the city. He hung out on the docks and at the seaman’s hall. We’d have lunch at Horn and Hardart’s Automat. I loved choosing food displayed behind little glass windows.  I worked in the city, lived in the city, and met Richard’s at Molly Malone’s, a neighborhood bar on Third Avenue. I’m happy in the hustle and knocked myself out for five great days in September. These images are from that trip.

My cell phone camera is too easy to use. The images may not be Nikon sharp, and that’s how it goes. I like street photography — see something, press the shutter button! The moment will not repeat itself. New York City – Images.1 is about anonymous people who caught my eye.

Carneg.1
Debut at Carnegie Hall

Without.A.Home

Homeless on 7th Avenue

Balloon.3                                                                 Mylar Balloon

 

SanG.Festival

San Gennaro Festival, Little Italy

 

BlackShoes.3

Black Shoes – Staten Island Ferry

Chinatown

Delivery in Chinatown

At.Rest At rest in a subway

Vendor                                                             Sabrett Vendor

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Carlos – Part 4

 

 

 

Part 4 of Carlos’ story from the book “A Snowball’s Chance.” 

High school dropouts tell their stories.

Arrests and Probation

I’m on probation because I was drunk and got caught with a gun. A couple of nights before the arrest someone had broke into my house. Normally, I don’t ever have to carry a gun. I’ve got someone with me riding shotgun. After the guy broke into my house, I began to carry my good old .40-caliber.

Amelia, the kids, and me went to a family function at the Casino Ballroom. When we walked in there were a couple of girls I had messed with. They called out my name and my wife said, “Who the hell are those bitches?” I’ve always been up front about myself. I’ve never hid anything from my wife. She knows I was messing around with other women. She knows I was on the street hustling. But it’s like if you love me, then you are going to be with me. I told her, “This is the way you met me. This is the way I am. If you don’t like it, go and kick rocks. I’ll find someone else.”

I hadn’t seen the girls in a long time. That didn’t make it any easier on my wife. We had a couple of drinks. I was drinking Coke with Mexican brandy. She kept going off about it. I got to a point and said, “You know what? Grab the kids. We are going to leave.” We left and I got off at the Circle K. I told her, “You take the kids home.” I had a cousin that lived across the street. I was going to go to his house. She took off. I walked into the Circle K.

I was wearing a see-through shirt, and I had my gun with me. I grabbed a twelve-pack and went to pay for it. The guy didn’t want to sell it to me. He smelled alcohol on my breath and said, “Sir, I can’t sell to you.”

“What the hell is wrong with you? Don’t let this little six-dollar-an-hour job get to you. Man, I’ve got enough money to buy half of this store. Are you going to sell me this twelve-pack? You know what? Take this and shove it up your ass. I’ll just go to the next store.” I walked out and there were police cars in the parking lot. A security guard in the store called the cops. I had enough time that when I had seen the cars, I took the pistol and threw it. They asked me what was going on. “Nothing, I just came to buy some beer.”

One of the officers had arrested me when I was younger. He remembered that I was a convicted felon. He said, “You are not supposed to have a gun.” They booked me into the Pima County Jail. That night they charged me with prohibited possession. The next day I woke up with the biggest headache and the biggest hangover.  When I went to court, the judge read off three counts of attempted armed robbery, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and prohibited possession. That’s six felonies! Three of them are Class 3s, and three of them are Class 2s. Class 1 is the highest you can get—it’s like a murder.

I’m in the jail cell. I said, “God, what did I get myself into?” That was the point where I made myself a promise. I was done. I can’t live like this anymore. Not only was I putting my wife through a lot, I was putting my kids through too much stuff. I have five kids to think about.

I had my own lawyer—someone I used in another case. The way I got my money to begin with was not right. If I wasn’t careful enough to set money aside,  then I would never be able to afford a lawyer. I would have been represented by the state, and I would be in prison for a long, long time. My first plea bargain was seven to twenty-one years. I turned it down and they came at me with five to ten years. “What are you guys talking about? I didn’t rob anybody. I didn’t hit anybody.”

My third plea bargain was under the bracket they were supposed to give me. It was below the bracket two to five years. I was still fighting it. My lawyer met with the prosecutor. They reached an agreement and gave me “probation available.” I went to my sentencing. The judge gave me four months in the county jail and four years of probation. The first year started off as intensive probation. If I violate, I go to prison. They could aggravate my sentence and give me the max—twenty-one years.

My probation officer is wonderful. I look at him like a father figure, as an uncle. He is understanding, and I’m blessed to have an officer like him. The worst part of intensive probation is that I have to have approval for everything. If I want to go somewhere with my kids or go out with my wife, I have to get approval. Yet, if it wasn’t for intensive probation and what I’ve gone through, I would not be the person I am now. I wouldn’t have so much hunger for success.

The last time I was locked up was a turning point. I knew that my daughter was looking at me. That’s a feeling I never want to have again. Seeing her come to visit, and I was behind that glass. Her expression nearly killed me.