Six Happiness (Thursday Doors)

Her life was overflowing red,
painting absence into corners.
How much joy can one hold? she said–
it’s crossed over every border.
I can taste the good luck, the wealth–
like chili peppers—hot, untamed.
Mix it with longevity, health–

the Phoenix rises scarlet, flamed.

I’ve always been intrigued by this Six Happiness door, which belongs to an Asian Fusion restaurant, although I think the door is older than this iteration of Chinese Food. They have a pleasant outdoor dining space too.

It was only when doing research for this post that I discovered this is the back side of The Endicott, a co-op apartment building that was formerly a hotel. It takes up the entire block between 81st and 82nd street on Columbus Avenue.

The actual apartment entrance, on 81st Street, is imposing, but not as memorable as Six Happiness. Storefronts along Columbus Avenue include a Starbucks, a branch of the Strand Bookstore, a restaurant, and several clothing stores.

The Endicott Hotel was built in 1890. The architect was Edward L Angell, who designed the brownstones in my Juliet Balcony post. In the early 1900s, it served as a meeting place for “society” and the city’s Republican Party. Plagued by disasters, scandals, and money problems, it became a center for organized crime in the 1930s. The 60s and 70s saw its deterioration, along with much of the neighborhood, into a welfare hotel that was the scene of many violent crimes.

One positive note: it was also the site of the NY Dolls’ first public performance.

In the 1980s, again like many of the buildings on the Upper West Side, The Endicott was renovated and converted into luxury co-op apartments, as part of the re-gentrification of New York. It has since been landmarked, so the ornamentation and window guardians will be preserved.

The Endicott Hotel has its own Wikipedia page, if you want a more detailed history.

The poem is a Dizain for Muri’s W3 prompt, which asks us to write from the perspective of someone with synethesia.

I learn new things with every one of these posts. In Chinese culture, there are Five Happinesses–variously called, in the course of my research, good luck, joy, happiness, prosperity, wealth, harmony, longevity, good life, blessings, fertility, virtue, health, and peaceful death. And all things related to joy and happiness are associated with the color red, the most auspicious of Chinese colors. And also the color of the auspicious Phoenix and its fire.

The Sixth Happiness? –evidently, that’s the one you discover within yourself.

Visit Dan Antion, the host of Thursday Doors, here, to see more doors and add some of your own.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

63 responses to “Six Happiness (Thursday Doors)”

  1. Ingrid says :

    It is very interesting to dig into the history of buildings, isn’t it? The name called to mind associations with ‘The Inn of the Sixth Happiness’ of course!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Dan Antion says :

    This post has so much to love. The doors, your lovely poem, the other photos and the history. It seems silly for me to focus on a mundane point, but I didn’t know the Strand had other locations. I love wondering around in that bookstore.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. VJ says :

    Interesting. Nice to read that an old building has found new purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bikerchick57 says :

    Love your poem – it travels along so rythmically and with meaning that coincides so well with your post. Thanks for sharing the happiness of the door and renovated building.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. merrildsmith says :

    There’s so much in this post, Kerfe. I didn’t pick up that they poem was supposed to be from the point of view of someone with synesthesia, which I have a bit of and always assume every senses the world that way. 😊 Thank you for explaining the six happiness and the history of the building. I love the door and the details on the building and over the windows–and of course, the reflections.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Suzette Benjamin says :

    An very well done sharing. I enjoyed your poem’s journey and the link to the color red, to the seven happiness and to the phoenix rising. Quite inspiring!

    Your excellent details on the building’s history added glamor and stlye to its rich architecture, well captured in your photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Teagan Riordain Geneviene says :

    Kerfe, what a gorgeous post. I love all your photos, but your poem is the most beautiful of all. (And that’s from someone who is not a huge fan of any poetry.) The idea of the phoenix rising from its ashes has always resonated with me. Well done, my friend. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. neil reid says :

    Yes, as usual appreciate all the photo history. But more this time, the text in which you nested them – very enjoyable, provocative. The Sixth Sense merits a poem all by itself. And Red, yah, why Chinese wedding dresses are often red (not like here).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. D. Avery @shiftnshake says :

    I loved all of this, the photos and histories, and that poem. It’s full of life and… happiness!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Steven S. Wallace says :

    Great dizain and a cool post. Reminds me of the Monadnock Building in Chicago. Kinda bittersweet about gentrification. We like our cities to have an edge… too much though these buildings eventually fall down … money comes and fixes them up … preserves the history… but they’re not quite the same. — SSW

    Liked by 1 person

  11. msjadeli says :

    Happy Red the happinesses are blanketing your space, Kerfe. That’s a beautiful building with a rich history.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. murisopsis says :

    I’m enchanted by the poem and the context provided by the building and the restaurant! Excellent in every way!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SelmaMartin says :

    Inspirational. What a well rounded post. You have it all here. Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

  14. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    Interesting read about the building and it’s changes. Such a lovely poem too, Marta💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  15. robertawrites235681907 says :

    A great Thursday Doors post, Kerfe.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. writingwhatnots says :

    I loved reading the background to your poem Kerfe, the building that holds so much history, and the Chinese identifications of happiness. Would that we could all find our sixth level 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. D. Wallace Peach says :

    The building is beautiful. I’m so glad it was restored. A beautiful poem and photos, Kerfe. And a lovely bit of research into Six Happiness. It gave me a lovely smile.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. ben Alexander says :

    Ya know, this is fantastic (although I’m biased because I love spicy flavors!) – and – it makes me reflect upon how you splice poetry, photography and history together so smoothly… This is lovely!


    Liked by 1 person

  19. paeansunplugged says :

    I love how you evoked the colour red in the poem and it blends seamlessly with your wonderful post on the magnificent building.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. sunhesper says :

    You know, with my other (now mostly inner) Chinese life, this whole post has my number! 😉 Your poem, especially those two vivid opening lines, is tremendous.


  21. lesleyscoble says :

    Great poem and photos 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  22. JosieHolford says :

    Love finding out the stories of old buildings. And New York is staffed with such oddities and anecdotes. I suppose all cities are.
    there was a film that was much touted in my childhood “The Inn of the Sixth Happiness” which as I recall was rather sentimental and intended to be an inspirational and uplifting story of the missionary f Gladys Aylward. What fun to spot that lintel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Josie. I’m learning a lot about the city–and many other things–since starting to participate in Thurday doors. Always more to see–but you need to be looking.


  23. ben Alexander says :

    Hi, Kerfe!

    I just want to let you know that this week’s W3 prompt, hosted by the lovely, lovely Deepthy is now live 🙂

    W3 Prompt #22: Wea’ve Written Weekly

    Much love,

    Liked by 1 person

  24. ben Alexander says :

    Hi, Kerfe ❤

    I just want to let you know that this week's W3 prompt, hosted by Steven S. Wallace, is live!

    W3 Prompt #23: Wea’ve Written Weekly

    Much love!

    Liked by 1 person

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