Monday, August 30, 2004
This was the day to join with hundreds of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers to march past the site of the Republican National Convention. We felt the need to be part of the great throng of humanity who would demonstrate to the world that there are two Americas. On the one hand, the America of Bush and his fossilized agglomeration of trillionaires, oil barons, dogmatic fundamentalists, plunderers, warmongers and earth-despoilers. On the other hand - the America of decent and ordinary people who reject the values of the Republicans and proudly hold up an image of another nation - an America based on human values; not one poisoned by our society's mindless consumerism, racism, and macho "bring 'em on" bravado. We wanted to be part of that great peace march, holding our banners to proclaim our desire for peace, brotherhood, friendship and respect for our planet's environment. This was the day to show the world that which the media wants to hide - that this Administration is illegitimate and that it emphatically does not represent us or our city, state and country.
If you were not there then you cannot possibly understand how uplifitng and heartening an event this was. I'm sorry for those people who through fear, apathy, indifference or pessimism chose to stay home or leave town. I've been in hundreds of demonstrations dating back to the 60's. But I have to say that, given the critical nature of the moment we're in today, this was the most important and certainly one of the largest I've ever participated in.
For the hundreds of thousands who marched there was a deep understanding of the moment. Fear and intimidation, used without shame by the Administration and the Bloomberg apparatus and aided by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, only helped fuel people's anger and determination to protest. It seems that the facade, used by Bush to cover his lies and reactionary policies, is cracking. More and more, people are seeing through it. The color-coded terror alerts, the militarization of our society, the machine-gun toting cops in our streets, the dispatching of the FBI to intimidate activists - these are not actions designed to make us safer; they are nothing more than the Bush re-election campaing in action. And why not? Bush & Co. have nothing else to campaign on. He certainly cannot run for reelection on his record. A record of three continuous years of job losses (the last President to preside over three straight years of job losses was Herbert Hoover on the eve of the Great Depression), increasing repression and attacks on the Bill of Rights, growing poverty, homelessness and hunger, assaults on the enviornment, onslaughts against a woman's right to choose, appointments of racist judges to the highest courts in the land -- and much more.
And so we marched. It was a great day. It was a memorable day. It was either the culmination that will lead to the defeat of Bush on November 2nd. Or it was the opening shot in what will be four more years of struggle: of growing protests and demands to turn our country around from the path of disaster that he will take us down if re-"elected". Hopefully, the former. I'sn't that what we all hope for? That on November 3, 2004 we can return to the streets again. This time in joyful celebration that we have rid ourselves and the world of this terrible threat to our continued existence.
Carol, Doreen and Stacey on the Sheepshead Bay station as we headed into
the city to meet with other friends.
Marching with Brooklyn Parents For Peace, we headed to Seventh
Avenue and 14th Street where we would join the march proper.
Lori, Stacey and Carol. It was very, very hot and
we had to wait over an hour before setting off.
There were so many people that it was hard to get going.
Banners were hung in hundreds of apartments as we marched up 7th Avenue.
The spirit of the day was palpable and very heartening. It seemed that
just about all of NYC was out on the streets with us.
Hundreds of thousands made their way up Seventh Avenue.
Hundreds of flag-draped coffins were carried as a symbol of those
who have given their lives. "Bush Lied - Thousands Died" - a common sign
that was carried.
Peter, Michael and Stacey as we passed Madison Square Garden.
My friends, Ted and Kamal, at Madison Square Garden.
To see the rest of my photos, just click here.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
My nephew Kris is in town from Germany. Kris is a dancer and has been working with a state dance troupe in the city of Manheim. At the same time, Mike is here from Nashville. So it was decided that we'd all get together at Wo Hop on Mott Street. When the families were younger, Wo Hop was a regular dining spot. Michael was weaned on Wo Hop chow, eating from his car seat propped on a chair. And Dani grew up on Cantonese crab!
Tonight it was just Kris, Mike and Corey, Stacey, Alexis, Lee and me. As usual, we ordered more than we could possibly eat ... but then we finished it anyway - it was so good.
Kris, Corey and Mike and Wo Hop.
Lee, Alexis and Stacey.
Me and my nephew.
After dinner on Mott Street.
Stacey and Alexis in front of a historic Chinatown location.
You've heard of this place, no?
This is a critical week in our fair city. The Republican scalawags are invading. But the people (10% of all New Yorkers are planning to join the demonstrations) are not in a hospitable mood. We will let them know forthwith and forthrightly that we reject the Bush agenda of greed, war, hate and lies.
We started the week of protest by joining 20,000 others in a march across the Brooklyn Bridge to support a woman's right to choose. Despite the horrible heat and humidity the spirit was ebullient. There were so many more people than expected that it took us an hour or so to leave the park in Cadman Plaza and up onto that beautiful bridge. The stairway is very narrow, accommodating only two persons at a time. The bottleneck make the going very slow.
20,000 demanding women's rights gathered in the park at the
Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Finally -- up on the bridge and marching. The spirit was exciting!
A beautiful day. A beautiful cause. A beautiful bridge.
Heading to Manhattan with our message. Bush are you listening??
When we reached Manhattan we joined the rally in City Hall Park. There was a sea of people united behind the idea that a woman should have the right to make decisions about her own body and not defer to the mores of rich, white, older men and their fundamentalist backers.
We called Mike on our cell phone - he was in the Village. He walked down Broadway. We walked up. We met for dumplings on Mosco Street in a shop that sells nothing but dumplings. The "shop" was one step up from a pushcart but the dumplings were delicious. From there we headed back to Brooklyn. We would be back in Manhattan shortly, though. My nephew, Kris, was in from Germany. We were out for dinner at Wo Hop with Lee and Alexis, Kris, Mike and Corey - sort of a mini family reunion.
Tomorrow's the big day - the big kahuna of demonstrations. We're meeting lots of friends at 8th Street and 6th Avenue at 11. See you there!
After the march we met Mike and picked up some dumplings on Mosco Street in Chinatown.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
Stacey, Mike and I drove up to Groton, Connecticut to visit and spend the day with Danielle. It's a tedious three hours each way on grinding Interstate 95 - not your pleasant drive in the country. Stacey drove, Mike hooked his laptop to my Treo 600 smartphone so he could surf while we drove, I read the Times in the back seat and off we went.
When we got there we hung out at Dani's house for a while watching some old family video tapes. What a treat. Movies of Thanksgiving celebrations at my mom and dad's house in 1983 and '84. Lots of those people are gone now and the ones who are still here looked much younger than they do today (including me). The movies entranced us and brought us back to long ago times and we watched them for an hour or so. But finally, hunger caught up and we drove into Mystic for lunch at a nice seafood restaurant.
Danielle and Mike and S&P Oyster Co. in Mystic.
Mike, Brooklyn, Dani and Annie (Annapolis) in front of the house.
After lunch we went for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery - a new ice cream store that we discovered while in Florida. Little did we know that Dani had one for us to visit in Connecticut also. The gimmick here is the mixing of the ice cream (right before you) with your choice of "fixin's" such as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, sprinkles, roasted almonds, etc. The mixing is done by the Cold Stone personnel on a cold marble slab, thus the name. It was not bad. Actually, it was pretty good.
We left Dani and the dogs at about seven and arrived back in Brooklyn (after a tedious drive) after ten. It had been a nice family reunion. And I miss my daughter already.
I'm glad Mike is home - even if only for a few days.
Michael's home! It's been a long time...since Thanksgiving actually. We picked him up at the airport in Islip (a much less expensive flight). Then we drove to Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights to sign a lease on our new apartment. That's right folks - your read it first here. Our buyer's got a mortgage and we've been out looking for a new place to live ... after 26 years on West End Avenue in Manhattan Beach.
We found a beautiful apartment on Underhill Avenue in the Prospect Heights section of downtown Brooklyn. A neighborhood that's been on the way "up" over the last few years. "Up" refers to gentrification and very high rents. That's the way it looks anyhow. A few years ago you couldn't give these places away. Now they sell for millions and rent for thousands. Wealthier folks moving in. Poor folks being pushed out. That's capitalism...ain't it grand??
Mike in front of what might be our new apartment on Underhill Avenue.
Mike and Mom on the stoop.
It's so nice having Mike around. He living in Nashville is not conducive to seeing our son as often as we'd like. And so these are very rewarding visits. We decided we would drive up to Mystic, Connecticut tomorrow (Friday) and be a whole family once again. That's where Dani is (and her two dogs). More on that in my next blog.
Jenna and Noah's house was lovely - when we got there her dad, Terry, was working on some project. They've done a lot of work on this sweet little corner house over the last two years that they've had it but they're already looking to sell. A corner house has no backyard and that's what they want.
Stacey holds baby Sophie while adoring mom looks on.
Say hello to Sophie.
It's been a long time since I held a small babe like this in my arms.
Here's the whole family: Sophie, Jenna and Noah Shapiro!
Mother and daughter -- beautiful.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
I got an urgent call last night from my friend Ray Whelan. Ray works for the Barbaro For Congress campaign. Would I meet Frank, Liz and Ray at Cooper Union tomorrow morning at 8:30. It seems there would be a photo opportunity with Frank meeting John Kerry. Senator Kerry would be speaking in the Great Hall of Cooper Union - in the same hall that, in 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke as a candidate. It's said that Lincoln's speech propelled him into the White House.
Stacey and I awoke early and boarded the B train for Manhattan. When we reached Cooper Union there were our friends. And about 2000 other people, some with the tickets needed for entrance, others without. It was 8:40. Little did we know that Senator Kerry, with his busy schedule, would not arrive until noon! But meantime, there was plenty to see. Major Owens, the dynamic Congressman from Brooklyn, approached Frank to say hello and chat awhile. Sonny Hall, the Inernational President of the Transport Workers Union stopped to give Frank a warm embrace and greetings. Many others who knew Frank from his years of public service stopped to reminisce.
Many people stopped by to say hello.
Representative Major Owens greets the next Congressman from the 13th CD.
Sonny Hall, International President of the Transport Workers
Union, talking with Frank Barbaro outside Cooper Union.
Inside it was more of the same - a wonderful crowd of Black and white with lots of labor representation, Democratic activists and just plain supporters. Gerry Nadler, the progressive Representative from the West Side of Manhattan, stopped to talk to Frank. Later he introduced elected officials sitting in the audience. When he introduced Frank the audience responded with, (what I thought was), greater enthusiasm than anyone else. He's greatly respected for his 26 years in the Assembly as a staunchly progressive and principled legislator.
Representative Gerrold Nadler poses with Frank for my camera.
Frank rises to a very enthusiastic applause when introduced by Gerry Nadler.
And then the man that we were all waiting for finally arrived. First, George Campbell Jr., the president of Cooper Union, welcomed all and reminded us of the history that was represented in this hall: not only Lincoln's historic speech but four other campaigning presidents had given speeches there. The founding conventions of the NAACP and the Red Cross took place here and many other important events in the formation of a more humane New York City were held at Cooper Union. It truly has been a crucible of democracy in our city and country. After those remarks President Campbell introduced John Kerry.
Kerry gave an impassioned speech which very clearly, in my opinion, set out a very distinct and opposite view from those of the current occupiers of the White House. He pointed out that Bush and Company have go to use "fear and smear" because they dare not address the real issues on which they have failed so miserably: jobs, health care, the environment. To be balanced, he still has not opposed the war on Iraq (a big mistake I believe) but said he could pursue it in a "smarter" fashion. How do you smarten a failed and tainted policy? The Bush diktat of endless war and naked aggression should be rejected not corrected.
Cooper Union President, George Campbell Jr., introduces the next President, John Kerry.
John Kerry at Cooper Union speaking from the very same podium
that Abraham Lincoln used in 1860. Lincoln went on to win the
White House. Hopefully, Kerry will follow in his footsteps.
John Kerry greets Frank after his speech. "Good luck on your campaign. "
Truth be told, John Kerry sounded and looked Presidential.
Are there weaknesses in his positions? Well, yes.
Is he 1000%, or more, preferential to four more dangerous years of the Bush gang? Hell, yes!
There should be no question or doubt on that whatsoever.
And so I say -- All out to elect John Kerry for President! That should be the goal of every progressive, every American who cherishes our democracy and wants to preserve it. Nothing less than that is at stake on November 2nd.
Click the photo above to go to SMUGMUG and see more photos
from today's Cooper Union event.
Be there....this is the time to march as no other time before!
P.S. - While you're at it - make sure you march against the Bushies this Sunday.
DON'T BE CONFUSED - THE MARCH IS LEGAL AND PERMITTED!
Remember, despite the court rulings against the rally (which was scheduled for after the march in Central Park), the march, itself, is legal and permitted! The march gathers at 10 am on Sunday, August 29th at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street (and takes off up Seventh Avenue at noon). Click here for more details on Sunday's march.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Now she is our last cat. Misty and Baby, the latter being our original, unadopted cat) died last year at grand old ages. Pumpkin is now reckoned to be about 10.
She has many nicknames. There's her real name, Pumpkin and then various variations on that theme: Pumpky, Pumpy and Pump. There's Fluffy (which she responded to when we found her so that might, indeed, be her original name). I have also referred to her as Walking Rug which she resembles. A visiting cousin calls her Tiffany or Tiffy, for short.
But her latest moniker, given by me, is Furry Mither. This has to be pronounced with a Scottish brogue as "mither" is Scottish for "mother." Click here for a pronunciation guide. There is no why or wherefore to that appellation except we saw a very funny William Gilbert (as in Gilbert and Sullivan) play recently, called Engaged which used that phrase in a most comical way. I find I obsessively grab hold of words and use them over and over (to the great distress of people around me). And so Mither or the fuller title, Furry Mither is Pumpkin's new handle.
Yesterday we found a cardboard box wholesaler in Red Hook and brought home 100 boxes, flattened. They are standing, on edge, on our front porch. These are to be used in packing for our impending move. For those of you who are not familiar with the peccadilloes and vicissitude of felines, they have various and sundry locations where they like to hang. They will then suddenly and without any reason that we mere hunans can fathom, change these venues every now and then -- we not know when or why. The Furry Mither, as cats wont to do, has now made a stack of these boxes her new favorite hangout.
The Furry Mither has now adopted the cardboard box stack as her new perch.
The Furry Mither on her new favorite spot.
The stadium is adjacent to the ferry terminal on Richmond Terrace. The view from the bleachers is awesome - the harbor and the Manhattan skyline. Occasionally a freighter would pass by, seemingly touching the ball park which lies next to Arthur Kill - the entrance to the sprawling shipyards of Bayonne and Newark.
The game itself was as baseball can be most times: boring. The Staten Island team seemed to be the more talented, with many more hits that the Cyclones. By the time we left, in the 6th inning, they were ahead by one run, 1 - 0.
The stadium is perched on the edge of the harbor.
Beyond the outfield - NY harbor and a distant Manhattan skyline.
Stacey, Elizabath and Bob off of first base.
Dinner was nice. Bay Street runs along the coast of Staten Island from the Ferry down to the Verrazano Bridge. It's a cute street with lots of potential - low-rise with a mix of homes, stores, antique shops, bars and restaurants. Seedy in spots and running through some very poor neighborhoods, it's a place to explore if you have sights that extend beyond Manhattan.
Aesop's Tables bills itself as a French bistro and, indeed, it's a pleasant surprise inside (and a lovely garden, but too hot tonight to enjoy). The food was quite good.
Who'd have thunk? A pleasant dinner after a baseball game in Staten Island.
After the game - dinner at Aesop's Tables on Bay Street in Staten Island.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
Saturday night was to be the reason we came to Florida. But, as mentioned, my uncle was not up to snuff and wouldn't be joining us for the dinner celebration that Peter had planned. Neither would my Aunt Bea. She didn't want to leave him alone. So the four of us met Peter and his ex-wife's cousin, David, at JB's Restaurant in Deerfield Beach. It was a lovely Floridian night - quite warm but not too hot to sit outside adjacent to the beach. What a pretty sight - the water, the blue sky fading to dark blue as the sun set. Very romantic. The restaurant was beautiful and the food, excellent.
David, Peter and Stacey at JB's in Deefield Beach.
The restaurant was right on the beach. Beautiful! And great food too.
Lee and Alexis at JB's in the fading sunlight.
After the dinner we drove (minus David who had other plans) over to Bea and Walters - just a few minutes away. Peter brought a birthday cake and we sung happy birthday to my uncle. The cake and the company seemed to perk him up and it was a bittersweet moment.
Aunt Bea speaking to Dani who called with greetings from Connecticut.
Stacey arranging the flowers we brought for the birthday uncle and aunt.
Bea, Peter and Walter (and the cake).