Scenes, Day One in New York

Filed under:It's My Life,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on June 12, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

Walking through Manhattan on a sunny day:

That’s 77th St. east of Broadway, on the way to Central Park, where apparently you can fish, which would please my mother no end:

What pleases me is being able to get so many places you want to go in Manhattan by walking. I didn’t step in a cab or a subway the first day, although later in the afternoon I got living proof that normal people are able and allowed to drive in Manhattan when I rode with PetiteDov and her oh-so-preppy boyfriend from the Met to an Italian restaurant, the Trattoria, which is such a common name that you must have a location, but the exact location of which I’ve forgotten after misremembering the street corner when I wanted to go back to it on my last night. (Yeah, I was all wound up before I went about where I would eat dinner on the various nights, but in the end I spent my time on the sights and went back to the same convenient finds for food.) I found it, on the east side of Columbus and 80-something St. Good food, rather nonchalant service. Right, the walking–I walked through Central Park shortwise:

and after perusing the various sidewalk vendors, bought The Bean a little elephant carved out of soapstone, I think. The sculptor had many different animals in various sizes–I commented on the work it must take to carve the tiny ones, no bigger than half an inch wide. He was pleased–“People don’t usually get that the little ones are the hardest”–and remarked of my elephant choice that all his elephants have their trunks aloft because it’s a symbol of “removing barriers to forward progress.” On we go, then. The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

I just love this place, despite having been there only twice in my life now (thrice if you count the fact that I went twice on this day in question) and despite being enough of a rube not to notice that the surprising $20 entrance fee is a suggested donation. Ah well. It’s worth it. It has a mystique from my childhood regardless of the fact that I never saw it in my childhood: Didn’t you ever read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? Claudia, tired of being taken for granted at home, saves her allowance, packs her clothes into her violin case, recruits her brother Jamie, who supplements his income by cheating at cards, and they run away to live in the Metropolitan for a good many days, living on Automat food and bathing in the museum fountain, before they’re lured out by the mystery of Angel, a statue that might have been carved by Michaelangelo but nobody knows for sure. Oh, boloney, Claude. Why do you always pick on my gra[mmar]… / Boloney, boloney! That’s it, Jamie! She bought Angel in Bologna, Italy …

Great book. Great museum. More tomorrow.


Filed under:It's My Life,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on June 11, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

So, New York. The trip was great. I got in a wild hurry to buy tickets that seemed like a good buy at Expedia, so I completed the transaction without considering the stupidity of flying straight south (to San Francisco) before moving even a mile east, as well as the time problems connected with arriving at JFK at 8 p.m. and then trying to drop stuff off at my hotel before hitting the blogger party. Also, you haven’t had fun until you’ve been in your layover airport and gotten the news that people were arrested for plotting to blow up the airport you’re headed for. Ineptly, as it turns out, thank God. Anyway I didn’t have to worry about the 8 p.m. arrival, because thanks to ATC at SFO, which seems to shut down under fog, which of course never occurs in San Francisco, I missed my connection and landed at JFK at 10:30 instead. Fortunately the bloggers are a night-owl bunch, for the most part.

In New York, I stayed at the Hotel Belleclaire, where they say Mark Twain once stayed and Max Gorky was once thrown out for staying with a woman other than his wife (“This is a family hotel!”). I can recommend it, unless it’s raining. It’s an old building with window A/C units, which isn’t a problem in itself, but when it rains it sounds like somebody’s letting off jumping jacks on top of them. My mom, bemused at my weakness: “The rain kept you awake?” Me: “Mother, I said it sounded like firecrackers.” Otherwise the hotel was clean, quiet, and a nice walk from Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum:

The Manhattan Diner, just across Broadway from the Belleclaire, where I ate all my breakfasts:

I love to eat alone because that’s when I read. My book, Vol. I of the three-volume bio of Churchill that, appallingly, William Manchester left incomplete at his death, accompanied me to the diner, then went back to the room during the days while I wandered the town. Being in a strange city by myself brings out the people watcher in me, although only marginally–gotta read, after all. But the second day it was pouring the firecracker rain, so the Manchester got a protective covering of plastic shopping bag for the jog across Broadway. I was amused to imagine what other potential people watchers in the diner were thinking of me: Then she pulled a simply enormous book out of a plastic grocery bag!

Manchester and I passed the breakfast hours agreeably, then it was off to sight-see. More tomorrow.

Where Beverly Met Ramona

Filed under:Authors,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on November 17, 2006 @ 9:34 pm

Today The Little Bean and I went “overtown,” as Bevery Cleary describes crossing the Willamette River to enter the other side of Portland, on an errand to the airport. On the way we scouted several locations in northeast Portland where Beverly Cleary passed her childhood. She lived until she was five or so at the farmhouse pictured in my previous post; her paternal grandfather is the “John Marion Bunn” in the plaque on the wall of the house. Her family subsequently moved into town. During their sojourn in the first of two rented houses, little Beverly Bunn attended Fernwood Grammar School, now Fernwood Middle School.

This clearly used to be the front of the school, but judging by the lack of handles on the door surrounded by neat stonework, it’s no longer even an entrance.

The inscription over the non-entrance reads “Fernwood Grammar School.” Around the side, on a newer portion of the building where the main entrance now is, is a newer sign designating it Fernwood Middle School.

Pictures of Cleary’s high school and the home her parents bought when they sold the farm after the jump.

A Girl from Yamhill

Filed under:Authors,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on November 13, 2006 @ 8:20 pm

Yamhill, Oregon, is a very little town an hour or so out of Portland and the first home of children’s author Beverly Cleary. I read and enjoyed a good many of her books when I was younger, and I’ve just finished both parts of Cleary’s memoirs. Today I thought I’d drive out into the valley, along the eastern edge of the Coast Range foothills, down to Yamhill to see if her childhood home is still standing. It is.

Front view of the house “with the green mansard roof,” no longer green.

While the house looks charming for its age, the view west to the Coast Range is obstructed by farm buildings set in a patch of mud, while the front yard is closely pressed to the east by other houses and some run-down cars and trucks. The home still appears to be attached to some acreage, as it was in Cleary’s day, judging by the open fields beyond the muddy farmyard. I was pleased to find it still there, a bright spot in the rainy Oregon fall/winter that I’m already tired of. Later in the week I’ll scout for a few other Cleary locations around town.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace