Summer got a slow start here. In June it rained 25 out of 30 days. Last night it went down to 50 degrees again. Both tomato plants are yellowing. I've gotten two tomatoes off one plant, and only one from the other.
The only thing growing is the grass, which I have to cut every six days.
Sunday we went down to Washington Square Park in NYC. I spent the afternoon there with my boys, while the girls with their mother shopped in SOHO.
The boys and I watched a juggler who spoke French in the children's park. He would do seven balls at a time, and shout, Voila! We got a popsicle called the Maxi-Rocket from a vendor. They cost two dollars each, one for each boy. The bathroom at the park was a scandal. Not just smelly, but SORDID. The doors had been taken off the stalls to prevent liaisons so you had to poop in the open with strange men milling about. When I say strange, I mean like Wimpy of the old Popeye series after having had a lobotomy strange. None of the three of us could handle this, so we went to a McDonald's over on Lafayette Street. We needed some privacy. However, the doors had also been taken off the stalls there. There was a single toilet with a line of oddball men speaking unknown tongues waiting to use it, while stroking their beards. So we walked over to the IFC movie theatre and went down into the weird basement there, but it was so weird that still none of us could function. The light was an off-green, and there was a hum in the silence.
The bathroom situation in NYC has always been abysmal but it appears to be reaching a crisis point.
We went back to the fountain in Washington Square Park, and waded through the water. There was a crisis of another kind forty odd years ago when Robert Moses changed the fountain from a purely ornamental one to a wading pool. Jane Jacobs among others fought Moses over this because they didn't like anything that Robert Moses did whether it was run the Long Island Parkway through a town, or whether he was about to pick his nose. It got to the point that anything Robert Moses did was considered wrong. He was the George W. Bush of his day. But I think it was nice to wade in the pool, and I thought Moses had many good ideas. A lot of other kids and adults thought so, too, as we waded about, pleasantly cool on a 90 degree day.
At the end of playing in the park, I saw a very odd but friendly looking man who was selling his paintings. His name was Arthur Robins. He has a website called ArthurRobins.com. It said that he had free psychic advice. I was interested in the psychic advice more than the paintings, but ended up flipping through the paintings. Some were more subtle than others. At just that point my wife emerged from shopping and said, "I want this painting!"
It was called "The Pain of the Cross" and was a shocking depiction from above of Christ on the Cross screaming at the point of death. It was more than what I wanted to live with. Arthur Robins, who was a tie-dyed blond waif of 58 years of age, was surprised at my wife's choice. We whittled him down to 30 dollars and bought the painting. He was a born-again Christian. I asked him how do I know how to get a better situation in publishing and he said to get a better relationship with Christ, and just ask him anything you want. That was his free advice! It seemed to me to be a bait and switch of sorts, as it meant he didn't have to do any of the heavy lifting. Plus, I'm not sure that Christ is really involved in the consulting business for finding a big publisher for my novels. Especially insofar as all the big publishers are violently anti-Christian.
Later, we went up to Central Park and threw a frisbee on the lawn for a half hour. Many people screamed that no one should ever be able to walk or play on the grass of Central Park, and that it was designed as a purely decorative park, for the eyes alone to enjoy, as that was the original intent of Olmsted and Vaux. Again Robert Moses stepped in and said, let's have a little recreation. And there is now softball, whiffle ball, cricket, croquet, and many other ballgames in progress all over the park. Robert Moses wasn't all bad. We always pretend that someone is either all good or all bad, and Moses has definitely become the guy that has led the Victorian aesthetics back into a Babylonian capture on many scorecards. But I'd say he did some good and some bad. Moses also tried to block Shakespeare in the Park, and that was the nicest thing I did all summer that I didn't do with my family.
I like the park better with sporty activities, but then I loved Shakespeare esp. without any contemporary political accretions, which is exactly what I got in this summer's Twelfth Night.
Then, walking by the Rambles bathroom, some of us finally managed to poop. There were still doors on the stalls, but I don't know to whom this decision was owed. It was a good decision. Some of us have a little shame when pooping. What a relief! Renewed, we could then toss the frisbee for another hour within a stone's throw of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while a gentle sunset faded through the Victorian trees and people came and went thinking of cold potato soup Michelangelo beeswax fax the frisbees to Hoboken.
Going home was the fastest yet. 2.2 hours. I googled GW Bridge and also Palisades Parkway. You have to go over the lower bridge (there is also an upper deck), as it is ONLY the lower bridge that communicates directly to the Palisades Parkway. Then went all the way up to the Bear Mountain turnabout before getting on the Long Mountain Parkway over to Harriman, from which I caught Route 17 up to Roscoe.
You can look up ROADS on Wikipedia, and it will tell you the history of specific parkways, and tell you about their controversies and easiest connecting points. Why hadn't I thought of that years ago? Wikipedia is like a genie that's been let out of the bottle if you can just ask the right questions.