In this city, the price of real estate adjusts the way one uses both public and private space.
Our private space (home) feels less diminutive when we consider it to be an extended remix of our skin rather than a composition of rooms dedicated to various household functions. I don’t paint the walls of our co-op, I moisturize them.
And our public space, Central Park, becomes, in all its unabletobeoverstated glory, our back yard. A good Manhattan rule of thumb: if you can get from your place to the Park before the mug of coffee in your hand cools beyond palatability, claim it and use it for as much of your regular recreation as possible rather than pay for private outdoor space. It’s really a rather grand alternative.
On Saturday, fueled by a C-generated brunch graced by Joe, Jeff,Jimbo and our house guest, Peter, we do just that, in the good company of the bloggerati gathered, as is customary, on Bear Hill.
Before we push chairs away from that table, let’s take a moment to contemplate this photo of Peter (see the July GQ for his profile as the world’s pre-eminent divorce lawyer for soured gay couplings) and his nipploaf, from the camera of Jeff. (On Saturday night, the sly Peter, having decided to mock the hunger for stories that inflicts our lot, would spin out a fabulous tale of having been picked up at Gym Bar and helicoptered to the Hamptons by an Indian named Rasheed. Unwilling to doubt even the most absurd constructs, we all wondered if perhaps it had actually happened. He had us hooked for a while. It won’t work a second time.
Clockwise from the upper left:
Joe brought a boom box, tuned to pick up the music being pumped out by the DJ at the roller skaters’ rink a few yards away, and giving our gathering an amplification boost.
Jimbo, whose salutatory gesture is a bipolar combination of Eva Peron and Nancy Reagan, held great expectations for Xanadu, the musical, for which he had tickets. Rarely do I meet someone whose references elude me entirely, but that is delightfully the case with Jimbo. In life, we’ve both watched things and read things and remembered things, but never the same things. Even his mythological references which are rooted more in the claymational soils of the American Indian contain no cognate for me, dwelling as I do within the Greco-Roman temples. However, gardening (I happened to have stored on my camera a pic of a diploid hemerocallis called “Russian Rhapsody” - think baby pictures - ) and the complexities of threesomes provided a Rosetta Stone.
George, who, upon demand, delivered himself of one delightfully grotesque story about a hook-up with someone who was wearing adult diapers. Our questions involved the concept of Scotch-Guarding. Unlike Peter’s story, this one was unfortunately historic.
The shirtless and recumbent Aaron who is still vexed by his own proposed choice between two months in Rome and two months on Fire Island next summer. I’m up for either.
C, who brought the purple Frisbee which we shared triangularly with Chris. (I throw it with my left hand. Why?)
Damien The Responsible, who had to leave early to put in some work hours.
Chris, who confessed his need for a cupcake after every three drinks in life.
Jeff, who is not yet a doctor even though Joe refers to him as Doctor Jeff. What can we do, powerless as we are to rein in the supporting characters we have all become in that world? Mercifully, Benevolent.Is.Our.God.
Peter, wheels turning under Mack Truck cap, who would receive serious demerits for the helicopter story, later performed an assignation on the roof of TheEagle that even the French judges among us scored highly.
Andrew, of Williamsburg, whom I feel I’ve known in another life or maybe just two months ago.
Mark, of DC, survivor of a harrowing fall in the wilds of Hawaii, seems in this photo to be clutching his crotch, the task of which most anyone in attendance would have relieved him had he asked, should any of the whispering on the farther borders of the blankets be tested and I saw no reason to doubt their weight. (Send in the SentenceStructurePolice if you will, you know what I’m saying.)
Russ, of DC, whose podcast/blog is entertaining and practical. I reminded him of a vintage (in blog-years) post in which he reminded the men of the world that, in a bar, you are mostly judged by those parts that are visible in a crowd: not much below the chest. Therefore, one need cultivate only “bar muscles”: those of the chest and shoulders, and that this can be accomplished via the simple and classic push-up. How many of us have sadly abandoned the push-up? Return to it, and your chest and shoulders will rise to greet you as did the father of the prodigal son. The attractive Russ is now threatening to revive the “dip”. I’d be willing to play the Gravitron in that video.
Later, as we strolled out of our back yard, we passed through a dazzling gathering of hula hoop fanatics. Here are the star turns, first of Miss Natalie and then, of the amazing Miss Alison.
It’s always something in this town, and one grows so jaded that when a brigade of bagpipers had earlier passed our group on Bear Hill and added counterpoint to the Baptist choir that held the band shell, I could not even be bothered to raise the camera.
And then there was Sunday. We attended the “Sea Tea” aboard the “Queen of Hearts” accompanied by Joe and Chris. The twenty-five dollar admission fee benefited some worthy cause and also provided a summery buffet consisting of chicken, rice, eggplant and several porn stars. This particular excursion was organized by a redheaded impressario named Will Clark who also delivers a weekly Bingo event similarly garnished with porn stars. Here we find Will handing a raffle prize to a vacationing tonsured Irish monk. It’s a copy of “Black Inches” which I am told is a collection of poetry by Maya Angelou celebrating the struggles of, and measurable progress made by her people.
Truth to tell (and maybe it was the Dramamine that C and I had taken before this cruise) we would have been just as happy to have been on one of the ordinary editions of “Sea Tea” that do not involve dancer-gobbling guests, but the spectacle was trainwreckarresting and reminded me of the parts of “Suddenly Last Summer” in which Sebastian is set upon by the urchins. I wanted to run to the DJ booth and use my Liz Taylor voice to scream “Please! Please! Play something by ‘Flock of Seagulls’ “.
The table centerpieces consisted of lollipops, condoms, and lube disclosing the benefiting organization
At a table next to ours was the legendary, mysterious and gracious Rollerina about whom I do not know enough. (Even Wikipedia contains very little about this Studio 54 regular rumored to be a Wall Street stock broker or banker by day.) (Also in this photo, not to be outdone, is Ruth Draper who, throughout the evening, like a parrot on speed, kept chirping “I love it! Aren’t doctors wonderful? Miss Honey!”)
As we approached Lady Liberty, with the boat getting us as close as you can possibly get on the water, the DJ played the classic ‘Everybody’s Free (to feel good)” by Rozala and the overlapping references included even those who were too preoccupied to notice her passage. As I clutched the railing and raised a drink in salute, I felt I had finally shared my grandparents’ experience of approaching the new world via Ellis Island. Right. And, I took the one pic I'll probably ever take of what certainly should have been included in the newly revamped list of seven wonders of the world.