watertowerpower

As this week is National Self Indulgence Awareness Week, I thought I’d take the time to switch gears and talk about a good cause.  The Water Tank Project (hey they’re really called Water Towers, but to each his own) kicks off at the beginning of August to raise awareness about many of our worlds regions’ inability to get access to fresh water.  It’s the first ever initiative by a New York City non-profit organization called Word Above the Street.

Dozens of well known and lesser known artists will take to New York’s rooftops to adorn (in some cases gaudily) New York’s watertowers (yes, spell-check, to me it’s one word).  They will perch themselves up there with my watertower buddies 5 to 15 stories up.  Hopefully they will treat them well and make them pretty as they are also my own symbolic artistic  inspirations.

Why are they doing this?  I mean, Bloomberg’s gone, I thought there weren’t going to be any more public art projects!   I’ll paint you a little picture of my own but you should also go here:

http://www.thewatertankproject.org/

Next time you’re walking through Chelsea and you’ve only half emptied the nearly frozen $1 Poland Spring bottle you bought from the water guy (and now he thinks you’re a tourist); look up and see a beautifully adorned watertower.  Then think about the millions of people in the world struggling to get access to the fresh water we take for granted every day.  Maybe you won’t pitch the remainder in a non-recycling trash bin.  Just finish it and find a recycling bin.  And a bathroom.

Also, that iced coffee you just threw out had water in it too.

I wish I was in New York next month because I not only love fresh water, I love New York’s watertowers, they’re like my babies.  Grudgingly (not really), I approve of this project because it’s for a good cause.

But, hey artists,  you’d best put them back the way they were when you’re all done.  Like your fellow artist Christo says, “If you pack it in you gotta pack it out.”

I’ve taken a kind of ownership of New York’s watertowers, they’re all mine.  It just….makes me kind of uncomfortable to have so many people’s attention focused on them.  Because of that I’m going to need them back by September.  OK?   Thank you.  Well, maybe Andy Goldsworthy can leave his up there.

 

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Memories of Hollywood

It was good to be back on the train, it always has been. I started off in the morning with all the other rush hour people. Another good thing; I knew my way around so I automatically fit in.  It’s important to me to fit in in a place where I used to live. And I lived in New York a long time. I mean, who wants to come off like a tourist?  But I wasn’t going to work, technically I was being a tourist.  When I’m in my old homes I guess appearances are everything; it was just a minor example of my recasting myself, if only for that day.

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NY Ephemera #2

Sometimes when you’re sitting on the subway train there’s nothing to do but stare at the ads.  Remember these ubiquitous ones from the 80’s, glossy yellow squares that said “Pregnant?  We can help!”?  I was an art student then and I collected them for kicks.  You used to be able to pry ads out of the subway cars, even the 24”X36” ones at shoulder level.  I’d find myself on the D or N Train about 1 o’clock in the morning, alone, and take what I could.  The only things that were secured were system maps.

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6 Train Turnaround

During all of my visits the last dozen years or so, there was something I just had to see in New York, but for various reasons, couldn’t.  One thing that always held me back was the sight of NYPD officers in the subway; wearing Kevlar and toting automatic weapons in those queasy years after 9/11.  Another hold back was from fear of detection and a possible fine by Transit Authority officials.

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NY Ephemera #1

In New York now it’s easier than ever to find out about things you’d been curious about for years.  Intrigued by palimpsests, I’ve always wondered about those old F.M. Ring painted ads about a dozen stories up on several old buildings in the Twenties.  I assumed they were many decades old but failed to notice until my last visit that there was no telephone exchange name, like CH5-4565.  The ads must be no older than the Sixties, probably late Sixties because there are 7-digit numbers painted there.

Faded a bit, but how old?

Faded a bit, but how old?

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The 26th Street Flea

There was a flea market that assembled itself outside the gates of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn some Sundays.  The trouble was, it only convened on “some Sundays,” it was unreliable.  It didn’t matter much anyways, I and my art student friends were usually broke; and the stuff they offered wasn’t worth much.  It was all new stuff, and to me that really was worthless.  I figured flea markets should only sell old stuff.

This flea had come a long way from the early days a century before when upholstered furniture for sale had to (by law) be brought outside the city limits of Paris, to stop the infestation and spread of fleas.  The only thing I remember buying at the Pratt Gate was a red pillow with little pineapples all over it.  My girlfriend Isabelle bought a matching one.

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18 Arhans, and Others like It

My friend Susan has been a vegan for decades.  She’s invested a lot of time finding the healthiest, tastiest vegan cuisine in New York.  When I was in the City, sometimes I’d come along for the sampling of cuisine, sometimes not.

Knowing about my burgeoning interest in Buddhist Meditation, she brought me along one day in 2004 during one of my mad-dash visits to New York from the Pacific Northwest.  She said there was a place I had to try, that it was run by a Buddhist Nun.

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Requiem for Two Boots

Twenty years ago tonight I had my last drink ever at my favorite watering hole and hangout, Two Boots Restaurant and Bar in Brooklyn.  I was there (as if I ever needed an excuse) to attend the screening, the World Premiere, if you will, of a 90 minute long silent movie comedy called “The Schenectady Massacre.”  It was based on a real historic event, a 17th Century massacre at a fort in upstate New York.  It had been filmed on location back in February.

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Find Yourself

I love being tracked.  I know people nowadays have concerns about the NSA snooping into their business and whatnot; civil liberties: blah blah blah; but I just look at all that as a sign that somebody somewhere cares.  It’s comforting to me.  I realize this attitude may come about as a result of negligent parenting, but I try not to dwell on the whos or whys too much.

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Hey New York, Quit Changing So Fast!

I haven’t lived in New York since 1999.  But I’m still a New Yorker, there’s no doubt about that!  It’s like being a Marine, once one; always one.  But I’ll admit something here, I’ve lost track.  And for that I’m very concerned.  I haven’t been there for years now and it’s changed so much, and well….. what will I do?!

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