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.
neither brave nor free–
our leaders bow down to Mammon,
cast life aside
Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you
lay your body down
Kiss—he still longed for
her smile, touch–
he thought it
lost, but it surfaced, wistful,
as a song of love
Long a musical fixture in Central Park, the Naumburg Bandshell was the site of John Lennon’s eulogy in 1980.
We were much much younger then…
In 1904 philanthropist Elkan Naumburg began funding free symphonic concerts in Central Park with picnics and waltzing under the stars. They were so popular that the crowds grew too large for the space; the original cast iron pagoda bandshell was razed, the grounds were paved over, and Naumburg’s nephew, William, designed a new limestone bandshell. It was completed in 1923, with 10,000 attending the symphonic dedication.
I was wandering around the park recently (actually on my way to an appointment on the East Side, but I got distracted) when I found myself in front of the bandshell. It looked forlorn without any performers on this grey windy day. A few other people stopped to take photos then went on their way.
The Bandshell has a rich history, including performances by Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, and the Grateful Dead, as well as numerous orchestral and operatic groups. Martin Luther King Jr and Fidel Castro both gave speeches here. It was nearly razed in 1992 after years of vandalism and neglect, but preservationists, spearheaded by Naumburg’s grandson, won a court battle to save it. Renovation was delayed by the city until 2003, when the Central Park Conservancy raised funds to restore it.
Summerstage began its free concerts here in 1986. Because the park was considered so unsafe at that time, the concerts were only given during the day. The large crowds resulting from its popularity caused it to relocate to Rumsey Playfield in 1990, where it remains. Sun Ra and his Arkestra and Ladysmith Black Mambazo were two of the original acts that performed.
My John Lennon-inspired shadorma is for Merril’s prompt at dVerse, where she has given us a selection of English rose names to use in our verse. I chose Julia’s Kiss. John said when he wrote his song he was thinking not only of his mother, Julia, but his wife, Yoko. Love is complex.
You can read more about the Naumburg Bandshell here and the gathering for John Lennon here. I unknowingly lived for a couple years right down the street from John and Yoko in the Village, before they moved into the Dakota, and once saw John in the subway, running to catch a train uptown.
And, as always, there are always more doors to see on Thursday Doors. Visit host Dan Antion here.
it’s the alone in
the dance that makes the never
knowing so complete
Amaya at dVerse asked us to consider music that brings us to tears. There are many candidates these days, but I chose Jackson Browne’s “For a Dancer” for it’s longevity and continued relevance in that department. People, places, things…they are always “dancing in and out of view”.
And a ghazal for the song as well.
In the quiet of a summer’s afternoon I think of you
in the absence that is always in this room I think of you
My mind plays tricks and mixes up the present and the past
in memories recalled and then exhumed I think of you
Bananas peaches lemons oranges strawberries and limes
in fruit that ripens and releases its perfume I think of you
I search for guidance in the symbols of mythologies and stars
in portents that appear like ghostly runes I think of you
The fiber spun and dyed the needle waiting in my hand
in threads that cross like patterns on a loom I think of you
Sometimes I seem to recognize a voice calling and turn
in the abbreviation of my nom de plume I think of you
Pay attention to the open skies.
Marianne Szlyk, at “the song is…” has posted 3 of my poems with accompanying artwork as part of her tribute to musicians born in the 50s. The Prince and Police-inspired work appeared on the blog, but the Stevie Wonder-inspired art and poem are new.
She also has some wonderful musical links at the bottom of the post (as she always does), and I’d just like to quote from Stevie, first from the song “As”, and then from his words, spoken before he sang that song at Aretha Franklin’s Homegoing service.
“Change your words into truths
And then change that truth into love”
“Let’s make LOVE great again”
Thanks, Marianne, for featuring my work, and for your continuing support of music, art, and words.
You can see the post here.
The task of
the basket: calling
together with messages
condensed into song.
plant wandering seeds,
the dropped lines
into fertilized pockets,
bringing roots to light.
Cut loose but
not lost. Walking on
Today would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s 100th birthday. I’m pleased to have my drawing and poem included in the anthology celebration “Ella @ 100” .
“The only thing better than singing is more singing.”
Happy Birthday Ella.
I have two pieces of art and a poem inspired by the great Nina Simone and her song “Wild is the Wind” on Marianne Szlyk’s musical blog “The song is…” You can see them here, along with a fun essay by Bill Cushing on not driving. Marianne has also included a link to the song, as well as a variety of other musical pleasures.
“The song is..” features a lot of interesting writing, art, and music, so take a look around while you’re there.
doves cry purple rain
as symbol or royalty
nothing compares 2