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Thursday Doors:  Lost and Found

I am collecting photos of doors.  Sometimes my eyes and camera are subject to amnesia and repeat earlier photos, as if I had lost the map to my previous tours of the neighborhood.

Sometimes I can’t locate the photo of a door I remember—is it missing?  or am I evading the fact that occasionally I can’t distinguish what I’ve seen from what I’ve imagined?

No matter.  Like the fool I will keep stepping over the cliff, the one that falls into more photos of more doors.

lost and then
found again—the door
between time

The Schinasi Mansion is located on Riverside Drive at 107th Street in Manhattan. I lived nearby for many years, and the rumor was that it was owned by a Columbia University professor, although it always looked as if no one lived there. When the house was listed for sale in 2011, I viewed the listing with its floor plan and interior photos with interest.

The doors are imposing, but not exciting. But the mansion has an interesting history and its own Wikipedia page. After being a private residence for the Schinasi family, it has been a finishing school, a daycare center, and a coed residential center for Columbia/Barnard students. Hans Smit, a Columbia professor, bought the mansion from the university in 1979. He restored the house and used it for hosting events, and sold it to Mark Schwartz, a vice chairman at Goldman Sachs in 2013.

The architect was William Tuthill, who also designed Carnegie Hall.

My haibun is a loose intepretation and response to Maxine Chernoff’s “Lost and Found” for Laura at dVerse. I used it to accompany this week’s Thursday Doors because these are doors I’ve photographed multiple times without exactly remembering it. I did not do the mansion itself, however, until a few weeks ago when it was quiet and I could stand in the street without fear of being run down to get the entire house in my lens.

And it’s true that sometimes I can’t remember the source of an image or experience I have in my mind–did it happen? did I read about it somewhere? did someone tell me about it? or did it happen in a dream? I wonder if it would be possible to photograph a dream door…

You can join in Thursday doors here.

Church Doors and more

vesper bells—echos
bowed over the door–
luminous

murmured, luminous–
whispered echos
permeate the door

the bethel door
cast in echos–
sacred, luminous

behind the echos the door waits, bathed in light—luminous

Holy Trinity Church has wonderful doors–above is a close up of one of the three main entrances. But the rectory doors are also beautiful–and the gate to the parish center, and the side door too.

One of the homeless men waiting for the parish center to open particularly wanted me to photo the statue inside. So I did.

My poem is a tritina, a form I haven’t attempted in a long time, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where Willow Willers provided the synonym words, twilight and hue.

In other (excellent!) news, Nina drove into the city for a visit and lunch–we haven’t seen each other since January 2020. She brought me a wonderful pot of succulents, which I put by the window in my workspace. What a treat, on all counts. She promises to post something soon.

And here are some of the flowers now blooming in Riverside Park. It’s still quite warm, and they seem to like it.

You can join in Thursday doors here.

Autumn door and more

I noticed this intriguing door on one of my recent walks. I wonder what it’s going to become inside? I’ll keep an eye on it.

Everything around here is still green. I was reading that some people think the delayed autumn foliage is due to (what else) climate change. We are still having most days in the 70s in NYC–not normal for October at all.

There’s just a hint of color here and there.

Jimsonweed update–photos from 9/19, 9/26, and last weekend.

open seed pod
it flowered again
just remnants left

The parks department had been hard at work, clearing small growth next to trees and walkways. I hope they were wearing gloves! At any rate, they seem to have left some seeds, so I’ll have to watch next spring to see if something sprouts anew.

And this little dino was left out in the trash looking forlorn. Sometimes the sanitation people decorate their trucks with stuffed animals they find in the garbage on their routes. Perhaps that was what happened to him.

You can find more Thursday doors here.

October 2021

fallen leaves
the crunch of footsteps
clear blue sky

reflecting the rain
changeable skywind spatters
colors patterned light

full moon of autumn appears
leaves too soon amidst hopes of endless harvest
fragments linger, gold glittering

stars remember every invisible map
imprinted on the approaching dark
paradigm

earth saturated with bonfires and bones

Two haiku and a sevenling for October and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme, suggested by Franci Hoffman, the harvest moon. The photos are of September’s full moon traveling across the southern sky outside my window. In the first one, it’s half reflected on the window pane.

The artwork is the first page, front and back, of a handmade paper journal I bought on Etsy. I bought three, one each for myself and my sisters-in-law, as we all have great intentions to do art journals–and hopefully this will get us going. I painted the page, and stitched over the front with a technique I’ve been wanting to try. Since the color bled through the paper, I did a small autumn grid on the back.

Happy October!

My Manhattan (with doors)

I spent my childhood in Ohio and Maryland,
but for most of my life I’ve lived in Manhattan.

The name comes from the language of the Lenape people,
recorded in the ledger of Henry Hudson’s ship, Half Moon, in 1609:  Manna-hata.

“the place where they gather wood to make bows”–
the Lenape valued the hickory trees of Manhattan.

My first residence was a dorm room on West 27th Street;
My first job was in a clothing store on Lexington Avenue.

The Number 1, the 42nd Street Shuttle, and the Number 6–
those were my first subway lines in Manhattan.

My work offices were mostly in the Garment Center on Broadway,
but one was on the Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan.

When I freelanced most of my clients were located between 34th Street and 42nd Street–
but I also worked for people in the West Village, on the Lower East Side, and in Soho in Manhattan.

I have lived on or near West 21st, 27th, 82nd, 95th, 111th, 113th, 135th, 152nd, and 162nd Streets,
and on Bank Street, Hudson Street, Broadway, and West End Avenue in Manhattan.

Clinton Street was where I lived in Brooklyn–
but it didn’t take me long to return to Manhattan.

The Garment District, the West Village, Chelsea, the Upper West Side, Morningside Heights, Harlem, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights—
those are the regional names of the places I’ve lived in Manhattan.

I have always wondered if my Dutch ancestors, the Van Lents, lived in New Amsterdam–
or if I am the first descendant on my mother’s side to reside in Manhattan

Sherry at earthweal asked us to consider the names “of the places most beloved to us.” I don’t think she was thinking of cities, or of numbers as names, but Manhattan island is, and has been, my home, where my history resides, for 50 years now. And many of its names are numbers.

For Thursday doors, I could only find photos of the front doors of 3 of my residences. I took the top one recently–it’s my first uptown apartment, a Columbia University building, where I moved during a transition period in my life. A former roommate, then a Columbia grad student, lived there with her roommate and a rotating series of friends and boyfriends.

Here’s the inside of the apartment door where I spent the early lockdown of the pandemic. Not very appealing. But my windows looked out on the subway and a playground and Broadway. Noisy but light.

Here’s the inside door of my apartment now–much more to my liking, even though you walk right into the kitchen. And I also have lots of light, my top priority in a living space.

My poem was inspired by Natasha Trethewey’s wonderful ghazal “Miscegenation”.

And you can join in Thursday doors here.

in the absence of words (phantom doors)

an enclosure without an opening–
doorways poised between
not-here and not-there

bones left as signs, portents–
bordering a journey
of invisibility

not memories—those are too real

Visitor to Germantown

Merril Smith provided the above image prompt, by Benton Spruance, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday this week. I’ve written another sevenling poem in response.

I’ve been collecting what I call phantom doors and windows for awhile now, and Spruance’s image of 30s home foreclosure fits well with these haunted spaces.

Is something being kept in or something left out?

You can join in Thursday doors here.

halfway (Thursday doors and more)

mark not words, but boundaries–
you call them kindred
because they verge on your dreams

waves of receding
spirits returning like stars,
still and glittering

naked and exposed inside the lens of your life

My first sevenling poem, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge with synonyms for family and peace.

I took the above photo on Broadway, somewhere in the 80s I think. If you look closely you can see my headless figure.

This door belongs to a Con Ed substation at 110th and Amsterdam. The building itself is unmemorable, but I like the design of the door.

I spotted these flowers a few weeks ago when walking in Riverside Park. I had never seen what I thought to be an oak tree flowering before.

I could not figure out its identity until this weekend I saw it had seed pods. They were instantly identifiable online–jimson weed.

A toxic member of the nightshade family, although it does have medicinal and hallucinogenic uses. Evidently animals know to steer clear, but humans fall prey to its effects on a regular basis, not always accidentally.

And I wanted to share the view of the tower of light taken from my window Saturday night.

You can join in Thursday doors here.

Thursday Doors: Oasis

Just a piece of earth surrounded by walkways, tables with chairs and benches, buildings.  A dorm, a student center under renovation, classrooms, a hedge.

Always there are birds.  Hopeful begging sparrows, robins searching the grass even in snow, starlings flashing yellow beaks, the red of cardinals and the screech of blue jays.  A mockingbird that serenades for nearly half an hour one morning.  A nuthatch on the trunk of the tree.  A flicker, often heard but never seen.  A hawk overhead, and Crow, always loudly demanding attention.  New birds we can’t get close enough to identify clearly.  We look at photos online and argue about what is closest to what we thought we saw.

Students wander past, occasionally sit for awhile.  Children and dogs play on the lawn.  But often it’s just the three of us—two coffees, one tea.  We walk from uptown and downtown to meet for a few hours together on a sleepy college campus, with the sky above and the sounds of the city fading far away.

ambient green—re
turning voices gather un
der branches soon bare

The top photo is of the doors of a Columbia University dorm that sits on one side of the place my daughters and I often meet. Obviously not built recently…

Also written for Brendan at earthweal who asked us to consider how nature and humans can adapt to each other to provide places for both to thrive.

You can join in Thursday doors here.

An Expedition for Thursday Doors

walking walking
looking for doors looking
for ways to connect
one with another–
walking and looking
for the one door that becomes the center,
the pivot that marks where I turn around

walking walking
should I retrace my path?
or sit for awhile
and consider how
I came to be here,
thinking of all the doors I haven’t seen–
they are not lost—just waiting to be found

I photographed this mansion on Riverside Drive awhile ago, but my front views were not very good, so I made a special trip back to photograph the front again.

You can’t get close to the front, but the side, on West 89th Street, is very accessible–you can even drive into the doorway.

Built by Isaac Rice, an attorney and investor, in the early 1900s, in 1907 it was sold to cigarette manufacturer Solomon Schinasi, and then to a Yeshiva in 1954. There was a huge battle in 1980 over whether it should be landmarked or sold to a developer who would have knocked it down and built another highrise–Landmarks won out, and it remains a cash-strapped school.

My poem, for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday theme expedition, provided by Donna Matthews, is a duodora. You can read about the form here.

Read more about the Rice Mansion here and here.

And see more Thursday Doors here. Although Dan is on vacation this week, there are lots of previous posts to peruse.

Thursday Doors: House on West End Avenue

I’ve always liked this house on West End Ave. The entrance is on the side.

I couldn’t get a straight on angle to photo the door. It has nice details on the top and in the surrounding arch.

And here’s some flowers I saw while walking along Columbus Avenue.

You can see more doors and join in here.