LATELY, I’VE BEEN RUNNING hither and yon and back again. In the five days since my last post, I put 450 miles on my car — from East Hampton, L.I., to Brooklyn (108 miles), down to Philly and back (150 total), and out to Long Island again today (another 108), plus side trips. And if you count subway miles — well, I’ve been on the Upper East and West Sides of Manhattan and in Brooklyn neighborhoods from Carroll Gardens to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
<- Colored Rhythm, Sonia Delaunay, 1946, Cooper-Hewitt
A few months ago, I could be heard telling people my life was “quiet with a capital Q.” It was, and even with my highly-developed tolerance for solitude and quietude, I was a little unnerved by it at times. When I began my dual-home lifestyle in earnest this spring, I found myself gardening to exhaustion here on Long Island, then going back to Brooklyn to relax. That program has now been discontinued.
Suddenly, there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week no matter where I am (and I haven’t even been doing any work work — I polished off the last of five magazine deadlines a week ago). I was reminded of one of my English friend Diana’s visits to New York, when she drew a grid, divided each day into boxes for morning, afternoon, and evening, and wrote an activity into each time slot.
Much of my recent busy-ness has revolved around the life-defining events that June will bring (graduations, baby showers, weddings). I’ve been to a Broadway show (Jerusalem: the hype about Mark Rylance is true), a museum (the Cooper-Hewitt, to catch the wonderful Sonia Delaunay show before it closed), a public garden (the Conservatory Garden in Central Park), and three new-to-me restaurants.
Tin City, a coffee shop/cafe on Lewis Avenue in Bed-Stuy
My new camera, a Canon S95, stayed in my bag most of the time. Taking pictures seemed too much like work. But occasionally, something compelled me to take it out for an airing, like the morning I met my cousin for a spot of house-shopping in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Love the awning — you don’t see many like that
A freestanding mansion on MacDonough Street in Bed-Stuy
Saraghina, a farmhouse-style place with a lovely garden on Lewis Avenue, Bed-Stuy
Front-yard greenery on MacDonough Street, Stuyvesant Heights Historic District
On Sunday, I zipped down to Philadelphia to consult with my son and his girlfriend about what to do with the somewhat bizarre 800-square-foot space that has just become vacant on the ground floor of their 1870s townhouse. At one time, there was an ice cream parlor/candy store there, but now the interior is as charmless as the outside is charming. There may be wainscotting and other details hidden by wall paneling, acoustical tile ceiling, and industrial carpeting, but we’re not going to find that out right now. The priority is to rent it as quickly as possible to someone who can use the space as-is: a CPA? Massage therapist? Art gallery? The location is prime Fishtown and the rent is cheap: $795/month. Spread the word!
There’s a vast disconnect between the vintage exterior, above, and the clean but commercial-looking interior, below (it’s still zoned as a store, by the way, and is also legal for living).
We had dinner at prolific Philly restauranteur Steve Starr’s newest, Frankford Hall, below, a beer garden set in an atrium constructed within the shell of an old brick industrial building. I think German food is the wurst, but who cares — it’s mostly about the beer.
Dig the funky two-tone paint job on the woodwork of the Fishtown building, below
Today I traversed the Isle of Long in the opposite direction, arriving back in Springs around 8PM. That’s Accabonac Harbor, below, as it looked last week. Not a bad place to be at all. Think I’ll stay awhile.