walking tour of jc art / stop #21
Fighter for Hire. Handwritten sign taped up in window, north side of street between Summit and Central. Best viewed from sidewalk, or from middle of the street; sign is some 12 or 15 feet above street level. In the tradition of personal-experience-purveyor Marina Abramovic, or perhaps shape-shifter Cindy Sherman. Block handwriting in black marker itemizes the services the fighter will provide:...
the northeast regional
bedbuggery, part 5
So where was I? Oh yes. January, 2009. We’d been exterminated twice and were still getting bit. I had a row of bites along my extremely pregnant belly. It was pathetic. I was pathetic. One night I had to go out to the grocery store. It was sleeting, and the only parking spot was at the far corner of the lot. Feeling like the broad side of a bus, I exited past the bored gaze of the lot...
bedbuggery, part 4.
Read past episodes here: part 1. part 2. part 3. For the last couple of months, the sofa in our TV room had been the most comfortable place for me to sleep, which meant that the bugs had discovered me in there, and were finding my shoulders and neck a delightfully reliable source for a meal. We were even getting bit when we hung out there in the evenings, so my husband decreed it...
and now a word from what we wish was our sponsor
We interrupt this bedbug miniseries to bring you a report from a recent Barney’s Warehouse Sale. The next semiannual sale begins this Thursday August 19th in Manhattan. The Barney’s Warehouse Sale reminds me of what the Galapagos Islands would be if the Galapagos Islands were a giant high-end discount sale: harshly lit, unwelcoming, and teeming with specimens that the pressures of survival...
bedbuggery, part 2.
Read part 1 here. So we had bedbugs. This being the greater NYC metropolitan area, we had a rudimentary understanding of what that meant, as a prerequisite for modern urban living, like knowing how to handle drunks on the train. But the actual world of bedbug infestation and its potential solutions was far more tortured and disorienting than we had imagined, a science in its chaotic...
Part I. In December of 2008 I was eight and a half months pregnant with my first baby, and I was feeling pretty good. My husband and I had finally gotten the nursery painted, I had finished the last of my freelance writing assignments, and I was spending my days in the kitchen making homemade candies for Christmas presents. I had an old family fudge recipe and a peppermint recipe from an 1879...
walking tour of jc art / stop #27
Torino Lighting Design, on Hwy 139, north side, between Concord and Baldwin. Best viewed from the median, through the heat mirages, traffic. latitude 40.732902, longitude -74.053764 On Highway 139, which connects the morass of roads by the Holland Tunnel to the aneurysm of roads by the Pulaski Skyway. Halfway along this bleak catwalk of transmission repair places, eroding concrete, garbage...
street style paper doll: god bless america
Exchanging pleasantries for the holiday weekend with the lady in the center window at the P.O. on Central Ave. Sleeveless denim vest entirely beadazzled in silver studs. Double-skull totem on the back of wheelchair, cigarettes clenched in teeth; large one says “HELL” on the side. Hula-girl bobble dolls on the back.
hot: the antidote
Tucked among the heat mirages on the Saharan reaches of lower Newark Ave is a place you will shortly want to visit: Nha Trang Market, between Second and First streets, south side of the avenue. The market is a dim and pungent collection of a great many things southeast Asian, efficiently racked to the ceiling and along the narrow aisles, expansive in both breadth (the spice section) and depth (a...
jc art walking tour / stop #25
latitude: 40.735566 longitude: -74.046017 On the north side of the American Self-Storage building, just past stop # 24. Best viewed from across the street. Next to the fire escape, the remains of some liquid arc across the brick, some thirty feet off the ground. A well-deployed mouthful of chaw? Someone tripping with a cup of coffee? Protagonist long gone; stain lingers (as stains will),...
street style paper doll: Jerramiah Healy and the...
The times I have seen Jerramiah Healy around town he has been wearing this golf shirt. Black, with white trim at collar and sleeves. Once was in the spring, when he pulled over on Central, just south of the reservoir, and dashed into the deli there. Once was in the dead of winter, the night before New Year’s Eve at Casa Dante on Newark Ave, where he was tucking into a large plate of...
jc art walking tour / stop #24
latitude: 40.735247 longitude: -74.045641 On the right side of Hoboken Ave at Eighteenth St, where it curves around the American Storage building & heads up the hill to the 139. Best approached and viewed on foot. Small topographic anomaly, piece of what appears to be mattress or sofa stuffing, curled on itself in repose. Somewhat flattened, bedraggled with exposure to time, elements,...
the farming report
Leo, outstanding in his field My neighbor, whom I will call Leo, is 98 years old. I know that summer is coming when he retires his down vest, which has a little window in the pocket that frames a picture of his wife and granddaughter, and begins to work in his garden. For the last 65 years or so he has been growing tomatoes in his backyard, and he has gotten so expert at it that the native...
street style paper doll: here's to you, ma
Escorting a woman of a certain age down the boulevard by St Pete’s, on Mother’s Day. All-white three-piece suit, white shoes; dapper to the max. Out-Tom-Wolfe-ing Tom Wolfe.
the weekly meal: Dosa Hut
the order window at Dosa Hut The dosa, a kind of giant pancake made from a batter of rice and lentils and wrapped around a filling, is a South Indian dish with a long pedigree; mention is made of it in poetry that predates the birth of Christ. Reading the dosa menu at Dosa Hut, at 777 Newark Avenue, is like tracing the family tree: Here are the matriarchs, Plain Dosa, Masala Dosa (a potato and...
the nicest man in shoe business
Jimmy of Bob’s Shoe Repair The man who runs Bob’s Shoe Repair, on Jersey Avenue between Newark Ave and Columbus Drive, is a really nice guy. His name is Jimmy, and he is so nice, and runs his business with such a magnanimous disregard for policy — how much a customer must put down as a deposit, when a payment is due, how many of those little adhesive heel pads a customer can...
street style paper doll: too-cool-for-school and...
Jaywalking on Newark Ave near Nha Trang Place. Perfect little moto jacket, leggings, neckerchief, hair. Cool! Butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth.
the weekly meal: QBA lunch truck
QBA Cuban Kitchen After a dank stretch of days like a defrosting freezer, yesterday was lunch-truck weather, all bracing ocean breezes and incandescent sun, and down in the one of the Lunch Truck Districts — the block of Hudson between York and Grand — the sidewalk was cheek-by-jowl with the lunchtime office crowd, open-jacketed and bare-legged in the sunshine. Lines were longest at...
field notes: vacuum-cleaner tetherball
Impromptu, cutthroat session of that most demanding game at the corner of Manhattan and Kennedy just after school let out, by two talented athletes. Shots to the head, hail-Mary heaves, screaming cord-whips. Winner: unclear. Provenance of vacuum unknown; abandoned at curb when the final whistle blew.
the toughest job on the West Side or, Kennedy...
Sultan, Jersey City School Traffic Guard The corner on which Sultan works, where Highway 139 doglegs through Kennedy Boulevard and dumps onto the Pulaski Skyway, is a most unpleasant place to walk. Traffic in all directions is desperate and unceasing, a five-lane cataract of jitney buses, city buses, commuters gunning for the Turnpike, battered delivery vans full of sausage and drywall and...
street style paper doll: old man in argyle
Drifting along Central Ave on a windy weekday morning, dodging the big men with little dogs, the babies cellophaned inside their double-decker strollers.
street style paper doll: girl in hot pink
Spotted on the corner of Franklin and Central, by the Stop & Shop, strolling with an elderly lady around noon on the first really fine day of the year. The pink made it nice, but the glasses made it nicer.
stop #4, walking tour of jc art: looking into the...
Monumental installation on the south side of Columbus Drive near Grove Street. Behind a chain-link fence draped in green netting (a few holes at face level allow for viewing) in the space where a building or two used to be, is a minor masterpiece, a sort of anti-Urs Fischer, the Swiss artist who excavated the floor of a gallery with a bulldozer for the 2007 work “You.” In that piece,...
field notes: our municipal bird
As winter wanes, last chance for unobstructed views of our municipal bird, fluttering among the branches and chain-links. Other habitats:
der spring is sprung
It’s 65 degrees: people gunning their cars up and down the side streets, basketball courts, the flavor-ice guy, dogs. Kid about fourteen or fifteen comes bombing through Pershing Park with his buddies, hits an open patch of grass and floats up in the air, flips over, hits the ground, keeps running.