Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Life in New York City: Lord Chaos Is Smiling Down on Us
Foto by tgw, "Photographing Stars," New York City, 2009
I hadn't been on the roof of my building in a couple of weeks so yesterday morning early back I ventured up there to check out the progress of the hotel construction next door. When I got to the exit onto the roof, there was a sign on the door that had never been there before. It said, "Warning, Tenants Are Not Allowed on the Roof." Whaaaaa? I opened the door and started onto the roof. Suddenly a light went on, a bright fucking light that lit up the whole roof and then some. What the fuck? And the landlord was doing something up there to boot--there was evidence of workers having been up there, and there were new pipes up there that hadn't been there before sticking up out of the roof . Son of a bitch things do change in the twinkling of an eye.
That hath depressed me. My photography is something personal to me. It's not meant to be professional. What does it mean to be a professional? I suppose it means you earn money from whatever it is you know how to do better than anyone else in whatever business it is you're a professional in. That's the Capitalist definition of a professional. My photography is my eye device that searches scenes I live through every day and have for 27 years now, a lifetime, for deviations, variations, distortions, naked sketches I can manipulate through computer applications, opened-wide-shutter ovals of vision of the unfamiliar in the familiar--and especially the changing faces of the skies.
When I walk down streets I've walked down so many damn times, I look for things along the way I've never noticed before--whether it be something brand new on the scene or whether it be the preservation of the oldest of scenes. I know my neighborhood streets pretty thoroughly. I know the buildings along those streets by heart. I can distinguish the beauties from the monstrosities. Modern architects don't impress me. I can draw a cereal box, put windows in it, put a front door in it, put a penthouse atop it, and there you have a new building for one of my familiar streets. I chose roofs from which to view my neighborhood, which, by the bye, runs from Fifth Avenue on the East over to 6th Avenue on the West, then from West 26th South coming back North to West 34th. Most of what I enjoy in life is contained within that block of blocks. I do venture outside my zone sometimes; like last night I went over to Third Avenue--a totally different world to my world. I was over that way to have dinner at the Moonstruck Diner; I hadn't been there in many a moon. Ironically on a night when I decided I wanted to eat at the Moonstruck as I walked up the hill to Park Avenue, I looked up--and, I'll be a damn wolf, there it was, a full moon--and I stared at that moon and, damn right, I felt like howling--for that brief moment in the moonlight there was nothing bothering me to growl about.
What had changed along this venture over to Third Avenue that caught my photographic attention? The first thing that caught that eye, my oval of vision, was something about the Tibetan restaurant on Lexington and 31st. It caught my eye and held it as I figured what was wrong with this scene. Then it hit me, the Tibetans had painted over the mural that used to adorn the bricks of that restaurant's north wall, a mural showing what I supposed was the Dalai Lama floating heavenward on rather Himalayan clouds, everything jeweled and sparkling with blue and pink paints, a floating vision painted by some visionary divine Buddhist who perhaps was also an artist with Tibetan food. Now that mural is gone; painted over with a tacky reddish brown paint.
Then, as I approached the Moonstruck Diner, I noticed a "something missing" in the approaching scene, something missing over on the northeast corner of 31st and Third. Damn. That site was once an old-fashioned neighborhood drugstore--with an old-fashioned neon drugstore sign hanging out over its entrance--you know, with a mortar and pestle illuminated over the drugstore's name. The drugstore is no more. The drugstore floor of the building had been gutted and in its place was a newly constructed store front, its new plate glass windows filled with huge FOR LEASE signs.
At the Moonstruck I had grilled pork chops, two of them, with broccoli and mashed spuds, chicken and rice soup, a salad, and ice tea: $21.90. The same meal used to cost me under $20 and that included a couple of Heinekens only a few years ago. The pork chops now are $17.98 by themselves. It's getting expensive here in Gotham.
Our billionaire mayor has unfortunately bought his way back into office (the election's today) for 4 more years (he's spending 100 million dollars to get himself illegally elected to an illegal third term). Jesus Christ, we lucky New York Citians can now look forward to higher rents, higher tolls and fares, more and more hi-rise luxury hotels and condos, more Disneyfying of Times Square and the Theater District, more streets disrupted by Bloomberg and his addiction to malls, more Trump Cities, more destroying of old neighborhoods through gentrification, the Whitening of Harlem, the ridding Manhattan of the poor, all Blacks, and all Latinos, and the moving out of Chinese and Southeast Asians from Midtown--establishing New York City as a tourist trap; as a playground for the children of the rich; as a place where the Middle Class are all supposedly millionaires. [How disgusting is it to see Al "the Bore" Gore, a fucking Dumbocrat, saying he finds our billionaire mayor a champion of creating a green society--Whaaaa? I'm hollering at the television, "Gore, you sorry bastard, why have you let that little billionaire prick buy your endorsement; why are you a Dumbocrat backing this little Repugnican fool who's claiming, like Unka Joe LIEberman, he's an Independent. Hey Billionaire Bloomie campaigned in Queens the other day with Rudi Guiliani, his hero. He hung with Rudi even after Rudi started intimating that he had been tough on crime and had lowered the crime rate in NYC because he knew who was the cause of most crime in the Apple, "those people," as Rudi so nicely calls Blacks and Latinos.
I was surprised to read today that nearly half the people living in Manhattan--and I found this hard to believe--live alone. I went around apartment-to-apartment on my floor--my nextdoor neighbor lives alone; across the hall is a couple; nextdoor on the left is a couple with a baby; in the next apartment is another couple with a baby; the next 5 apartments on the floor, however, contain loners. So let's see, on my floor are 7 loners and 3 couples. So loners on my floor outnumber the couples better than 2 to 1.
Half of Manhattanites are in the same living-alone boat as I'm in--flying solo in this handicapping city. Flying solo is easier here really than most places. You're on your own here; able to be as libertarian as you wanna be; a place where you can live and let live and nobody gives a shit, except maybe Homeland Security, the NYPD, the FBI, and the CIA.
I've lived by the dude to the east of me for the full 27 years I've lived here and I've been in his apartment one time. That's it. Fuck him. And I say that with respect; he's the best neighbor I've ever had, though to some he's a menace, a pest--I mean you're liable to hear him coming home around three in the morning mumbling and grumbling to himself, letting loose the F word frequently, especially when he's trying to get in his apartment--his door sticks all the time--and when it sticks no matter the hour he starts to really let fly the F word, F words stacked on F words--no fucking shit. God, I love that word FUCK. What a word! Come on. Think about it. Even I hesitate to throw it around in public! When I'm with my cohorts the F word is one of the most used parts of our speech; when I'm with the Boyz, every other word is the F word. I never, due to my romantic and Southern-gent(i)leman nature, use the F word on first dates with women.
Like one time I dated this Jamaican-American babe--oh what a beauty she was, too. I'd go to these West Indian (that's what they call themselves) parties in Brooklyn with this woman and holy jesus the stares I got from the Jamaican men. "Wha'de Hell, dis White boy wi'dah Jam gal?" But anyway, I mean, let me tell you folks, this woman was the epitome to me of a "good" woman. A woman so elegant you didn't dare say the F word in her presence. Plus, I never heard her use the F word since I'd met her and been dating her--at least three months. My thing was, every Friday night after work I would go to her apartment on Clarkson over in the heart of West Indian Brooklyn where we would spend the weekend together. Even in making love, I restricted my signs of getting off on the deed through ululations and not understandable English. Her response was always like the screaming of a butterfly.
So this one time, after work Friday, I dutifully trucked over to Brooklyn to make it with my Jamaican babe. When I got to her place, she let me in, I immediately noticed she had company. "Wolfie, this is my sister from Kingston...you remember her." Howdy-do said I to this sister from Kingston who I had met one time on a quick trip to Kingston with my woman--the family lived actually in the mountains above Kingston--from her family home's front porch you could see the whole of Kingstontown and the harbor and the rolling off in the sparkling distance of the Caribbean Sea. Along with the sister was this girlfriend from across the hall, a truly lusciously beautiful Chinese-Jamaican woman who was a top fashion model.
The girls were warmed up. They were drinking Planter's Punches made with 151 rum, so they were lightheaded, all smiles, dressed as casually as my libido could take--showing a lot of that rich, velvety Jamaican woman skin--with loosely haltered breasts--and Jamaican women back then were proud of their breasts. How shocked was immoral me when in Kingston with her attending a celebration of Jamaican Independence Day in the soccer stadium out onto the field pranced and danced hundreds of young Jam girls representing their African heritage by being dressed in traditional African dress, which meant short wrap-around skirts--and NO TOPS! Holy Christ on the Highest Cross, here were hundreds of young girls baring their breasts to the world--I mean I never took in so many jiggling breasts in my immoral life as I did that afternoon in Kingston! My Jamaican lady laughed at my obvious delight but embarrassment, too. She mocked me; "We have beautiful breasts. We like to show our breasts. What do you find frightening about a woman's breasts so exposed? You like my breasts, don't you? I used to walk around home as a girl topless--my sisters, too. You American men are so childish. Did you not get your mother's teat when you were a baby?"
Anyway, here I was in this apartment with these three Jamaican women who I considered the highest kind of classy women, women you had to respect since they had so much dignity in their styles. I had brought some steaks with me and some shrimpers, so I started cooking and the sister from Kingston suddenly said, "Let's call Cat'reen...." And the girls up and ran into the back bedroom to call this Cat'reen (Katherine) whoever she was. I started cooking and watching my lady's big-screen teevee (yep, we had 'em back in those days) when I started hearing a lot of laughter and babbling coming from the bedroom where her phone was. It got louder and louder. With the curiosity of a cat, I moseyed over by her closed bedroom door so I could hear them better. Whoaaa. The first thing I clearly heard was one of them saying, "Who the fuck does she think she is, girl?" And I distinctly heard my lady reply, "I know. She's a fucking bitch." "Fuck yes she is, the fucking bitch," another voice chimed in.
I never heard such a flinging around of the F word from a bunch of women like that in my immoral life. It thrilled me. I got a hard on listening to these otherwise elegant women talking about this fucking thing and that fucking thing. I opened the door and peeped in on them--just as I did, the sister said, "He can't fuck for shit." My kind of women. They all would have made even Jamaican sailors blush.
Who Told You That?
If anybody reads this blog--who knows? (Google G-mail has fucked up my comments)--they know I said only a few weeks back not to trust the stock market zooming suddenly up to 10,000 again. I've always said that whatever the President or the Sec'y of the Treasury or Eric Holder or Hillary Clinton or Uncle Joe Biden says turn it around--it's backwards talk, don't you see? So when Timmy Geithner said last week that "the recession is over," read that to really mean, "The recession has just started." And remember when J.P. Morgan-Chase and Goldman-Sachs announced big profits only a couple of weeks ago--blah, blah, blah, baloney--and The Growler printed Robert Reich explaining how these government bail-out schemes were the reason the market was bouncing back up so high so fastly, having nothing to do with the economy on a comeback. I wrote at the time that you should keep a sharp eye out for banks to start failing again. So how delighted was I to hear on yesterday morning's news that CIT, the lending arm of CitiBank, the bank side of CitiGroup, was going bankrupt. Then just now I read where the judge who handled the GM bankruptcy is going to be the judge on this case, too. So look out, folks, We the People are going to be bailing this bunch of crooks out soon--they're too big to fail and remember Obama's out to save those crooked sons of bitches who he says are too big to fail.
How god-damn pissed off am I at President Obama! Damn fucking pissed off. That son of a bitch. He had a chance to lead this country back to greatness and what the fuck is he doing? Just the opposite. Continuing the policies and stupidities of George W. Bush. Continuing his war policies, continuing his spying on Americans, continuing to say who's spying on who can't be revealed due to National Security. Obama continues to preach the information we're gathering from these illegal spying techniques that G.W. Bush enacted by executive order has kept this country safe from another 9/11.
The debt! Shouldn't we be concerned about the debt? That's what got Bill Clinton elected--the national debt that George Herbert W (for Wimp) "Pappy" Bush got us into (Pappy was recently heard to say that the policies of Ronnie Raygun Reagan were wacko). People were concerned about the debt to the point they kicked the Repugnicans out of office for the first time since Ronnie Raygun our grade-B actor and Alzheimer's poster boy president had inflicted his stupidities on us and had thrown our country into the well of debt.
I remember also Bill Clinton holding up a little card about as big as a Social Security card and saying, "You see this little card, it's a National Healthcare Card, and everybody in the USA is soon going to have one of these cards...."
It would be hilarious watching these inept fools trying to deal with a chaotic situation if it wasn't so deadly serious. A chaotic situation that can only be solved by a total restructuring of our total economy--a restructuring of our banking and financial system--a restructuring of our election process--even a restructuring of our outmoded Constitution and the amendments we've attached to it over the years. We need a REVOLUTION...
How ri-god-damn-diculous of me to have any hopes of anything happening in this country except more chaos, more driving down of wages and the dollar, letting us drift more and more into a Third World status, ruling us more Fascistically, more repressively, more invasively, and more correctively all enforced with more and harsher punishments.
Woe unto us. Plus, I wouldn't get one of those swine flu shots if I were you. Remember when Bill Clinton was going to force all of us to get flu shots? Does anybody remember that?
How quickly I can't seem to fucking forget.
for The Daily Growler