Notes about new york

November 30, 2010 permalink

Mystery of the Red Bees

Could the tastiest nectar, even close by the hives, compete with the charms of a liquid so abundant, so vibrant and so cloyingly sweet? Perhaps the conundrum raises another disturbing question: If the bees cannot resist those three qualities, what hope do the rest of us have?

From the New York Times, The Mystery of the Red Bees of Red Hook: urban honeybees in Brooklyn are hitting up the local maraschino cherry factory, turning their bodies fluorescent and their honey into a cough syrup-like concoction.

July 7, 2010 permalink


From an Op-Ed in Monday’s New York Times about a frustrated search for the existence of the “real” Nighthawks diner painted by Hopper:

Over the past years, I’ve watched bakeries, luncheonettes, cobbler shops and much more come tumbling down at an alarming rate, making space for condos and office towers. Now the discovery that the “Nighthawks” diner never existed, except as a collage inside Hopper’s imagination, feels like yet another terrible demolition, though no bricks have fallen.

It seems the longer you live in New York, the more you love a city that has vanished. For those of us well versed in the art of loving what is lost, it’s an easy leap to missing something that was never really there.

To me, it’s quite the opposite: Hopper was delivering to us an entire city’s electric nightlife collapsed into one tidy, incredibly lonely painting, and that is far more interesting than any image of a specific, real diner. Why mourn the non-existence of a restaurant when the sadness and predation that Hopper reflects in us still exists in every large city, at no risk of demolition?

March 6, 2010 permalink

Uncle Fester Laughing in Theater

The New York Times has up a nice review of the new Charles Addams exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York:

The city street is dark and deserted. The buildings are empty. There are no witnesses. A lone man carrying a briefcase, after a long day at the office perhaps, approaches a subway staircase. Out of the subterranean gloom, a giant human hand protrudes, its index finger beckoning the office worker, inviting him into the depths. His eyes are wide with astonishment, his face showing the hint of a grin, as if the bizarre, illicit invitation were not entirely unwelcome.  […]

Above is my personal favorite Addams cartoon, perhaps one of my favorite cartoons of all time. His drawings are often cited as finding their humor and inspiration in the macabre — I think their lasting appeal comes more from his ability to find joy in laughing at and rejecting the bleakness of modern life.

January 10, 2009 permalink

In a Sense New York New York Was Legally No

In a sense, New York / New York was “legally” no longer a condensed Manhattan. Nor was it a movie set (that would have been a different suit altogether). It was essentially a souvenir of the kind that you dropped in your beach bag; but now ballooned out into a monument the size of a casino/hotel. It stood in memoriam to tourists not quite remembering which building went where. It was a monument to condensed memorabilia.

Norman M. Klein, in The Electronic Baroque: 1955-2050. From The Vatican to Vegas, 2004 p346.