Snoopy and The Dakota

I took this picture in 2012 at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. I’m usually downtown more for the parade, but that year, I was at 72nd and Central Park West, right in front of The Dakota apartment building, which you can see here in the background.

This is one of my favorite photos. I love everything about it and there’s an interesting story about it that happened a day or two later.

After Thanksgiving, I was shopping around the Christmas Market down at Union Square and I stopped in my tracks. One guy was selling drawings of New York scenes and he had this exact scene you see above. He had the Snoopy balloon floating by the Dakota. Exactly! But it wasn’t the photo – it was a black and white drawing!

I don’t know why I didn’t buy it, but that was one of those instances where you are in the right place at the right time or something like that. I showed the photo on my phone to the guy at the booth selling the art and he was flabbergasted, too.

What I loved about that particular day when I was at the parade was that I was in the park. I had crossed over from the east side to the west side, but it was too crowded to get out onto the street, so I watched from inside the park. As I walked down to get to the train station to take the train to queens for my cousin to pick me up, I did it inside the park, and it was a strange experience. I was experiencing the parade almost from backstage. All the action was outside the park, but the leave-less trees allowed me to watch it through the branches from a distance, from inside the park; almost as if backstage, as if I was not actually at the event, but watching from afar. Hard to explain but very memorable.

Weird Thanksgiving this year

Central Park, Nov. 2016

So I was alone for Thanksgiving! First time ever. It was weird, sort of like the first time I ever spent New Year’s Eve alone. That I have grown to like, I don’t think I’ll ever grow to like being alone on Thanksgiving. But this year I did it.

I’m usually in New York for Thanksgiving. This year I was going to do my Boston thing and take the train down to NY, but it was not to be. My family was at my nephew’s house. He and his wife moved in to a big new house recently and they sort of took over family holidays I think, so I should have been there, but I kept hearing on tv that we should be mindful of others and not go to family gatherings unless we physically live with the people.

I had been to their house earlier in the year and to my other nephew’s house earlier this year, too, when we should not have been. They both had birthday parties for their young daughters who I don’t think will ever remember the parties, they are too young, and these parties had upwards of 50 people each! And each time I went, I regretted it later.

So regarding Thanksgiving, I felt that even if there were only going to be a few of us, maybe 15 people or less, it wasn’t a good idea to go. I get premonitions and I got one that told me not to go. My gut was telling me not to tempt fate. Thankfully I made it through those two birthday parties unscathed,and it’s not a good idea to play with mother nature or question your gut feelings.

I spoke with my cousins and aunt and uncle in New York earlier in the day. I really miss our yearly tradition. It’s been a thing since I have been in high school – almost every year in New York. My mother always would complain that I was the only person who left their family for the holidays, meaning I would leave them here to go up north. And I would say, “Mom, I am here for every other holiday!”

I would go to the Macy’s parade; a few years ago it was 17 degrees! I was proud of that one, reminds me of when my cousins and I would go as kids – we would get cocoa at McDonald’s to warm up those days. Anyway, now I have the same routine – I would go to the parade, leave that a bit early, maybe 11:30 or so, get on the train at Grand Central and one of my cousins would pick me up at the next stop in Queens – Vernon-Jackson – in Long Island City.

We would go to her house and have bagels, pastries and coffee, then we would watch the dog show which comes on after the parade. I find the dog show boring, but I would get into it and watch with them. At 2 pm, we would head over to my other cousin’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and everyone else would be there, there would be maybe 20 of us in total. I miss that. All of it, even the boring dog show.

But this year I was at neither place for Thanksgiving. And I didn’t mind. I am counting the days until next year. But for now I’m content.

Last year at the end of November, I had to leave NY early – a nor’easter was coming and I had to get out three days earlier than I had planned. The airline contacted me and had me reschedule. Seems like yesterday, and that sort of consoles me thinking that next year will be here before you know it. Although I’m sure I don’t want to the year to rush by, but I do wish 2020 would end already.

It’s funny because last year, a friend of mine in New York missed Thanksgiving. He said his family left for their relatives without him because he overslept. I don’t understand that, but I said to him, “How did you miss Thanksgiving? Who does that?” And here we are a year later, and I did it!

I did have McDonald’s this year – but it wasn’t cocoa – it was burgers. That was my Thanksgiving dinner, instead of turkey. Life is strange.

Hanging coffees

I give money to people who ask for it when I’m walking around New York and I have also bought meals for people who look like they need it, and this Hanging Coffee idea from Suspended Coffees on Facebook is a great idea, especially with winter coming on.

There is a little coffee shop, where two people arrive and approached the counter.
“Five coffees ☕️ please. Two for us and three hanging.”
They paid, they took their two coffees and left.
I asked the waiter. “What’s this about hanging coffees?”
“Wait and you’ll see.”
Some more people came in.
Two girls asked for a coffee each, they paid & left.
The following order was for seven coffees and it was made by three women – ‘three for them and four hanging coffees.’
I was left wondering…what is the meaning of the hanging coffees, they leave.
Then, a man dressed in worn clothes, who looks like he might be homeless, arrives at the counter and asks sincerely…
“Do you have a coffee hanging?”
“Yes we do, sir.”
They serve him a coffee…. I got my answer.
People pay in advance for a coffee that will be served to whoever can’t afford a hot drink.
This tradition started in Naples.
Amazingly, it has spread throughout the world’s cities and towns.
It’s also possible to order not only “hanging coffees” but also a sandwich or a full low cost meal.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all start doing this in the cities and towns where we live?

Small kindnesses like this can impact so many lives, in ways we could never imagine.

Maybe we should all try it. 😊

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A delightful train ride

Photo courtesy Railroad Museum of New England

This week I would normally be in New York for Thanksgiving but of course this year, due to the pandemic, I am not. Some years, like this year, my plan was to spend a few days in Boston and then I would take the train down to New York, which is a fantastic trip through New England in the fall.

This story ran in 2017, it ran in the Huffington Post and other places – it was a memorable train ride.

I travel a lot throughout the year, but in 2020 I did not leave town. I’m posting the train story here again, just to remember a great trip.

On Thanksgiving week, I took a four hour train trip from Boston to New York. Sitting behind me were two older ladies. They didn’t know each other and they just ended up sitting together and they talked and talked for that four hours. I know their whole stories, I know their names, I know about their kids and I loved every minute of it. I almost wish I had taped it.

One lady is 82 and one is 83. One is from Manchester, England one is from Rhode Island, they both had lived in New Jersey at one time and both were on their way back to New Jersey to be with family for Thanksgiving.

This video is 23 seconds through Connecticut, and you can hear the ladies speaking behind me. It’s low, but listen . . . It’s amazing, when I hear them it brings me right back to that moment.

The lady from Rhode Island talked like Cyndi Lauper. Exactly. The lady from Manchester had that refined English accent and you can imagine these two accents going back and forth sharing their lives with each other. Cyndi Lauper was nosy and nervy, she asked a lot of personal questions, and Manchester calmly answered them.

Manchester has two children, one in Washington DC and one in New Jersey, I think she said she lives in Boston now. Cyndi Lauper has five children and nine grandchildren, they live all over and I don’t remember where she lives now.

They spoke about their husbands who have both passed, Manchester’s husband passed 10 years ago, Cyndi Lauper’s husband passed nine years ago to the exact day we were on the train. Cyndi Lauper was very into her husband’s life, it was more about him than her, and it seemed to be a man’s world according to her questions. She asked Manchester what her husband did for a living, rather than asking Manchester what she did. Manchester’s husband did many things, including real estate, to which Cyndi Lauper said, “Oh you must have made a lot of money!” to which Manchester calmly said, “No, just enough to live on.”

Cyndi Lauper’s husband was a highly regarded college professor. It was a hectic life being a professor’s wife, according to Cyndi Lauper.

They spoke of World War II and of all of the places they have been and lived. They spoke of the Royal Family. Neither of them like Camila, Cyndi Lauper doesn’t like Charles, but Manchester says he is not a bad sort.

Manchester came to the US in the 1960s. She said that period of time was a “brain drain” where all the good minds from England moved to the states. She eventually became a citizen with her husband in Elizabeth, New Jersey, they lived in that county at the time and that was the county seat and the location for the citizenship ceremony

The conversation was fascinating. And the thought of these two older grandmas traveling alone together was nice. When they first met, Cyndi Lauper told Manchester that she was nervous about traveling alone, getting on the wrong train and all but Manchester said, “We’ll you’re on the train now and the only thing to do is get off when it’s time. That’s it.”

Cyndi Lauper had her son picking her up at the train station and Manchester had her daughter-in-law picking her up at the train station. Manchester said the first thing she wanted to do once she was settled at her son’s and daughter-in-law’s house was to have a hot cup of tea. She said, “When she asks if I want anything [meaning her daughter-in-law], I will say ‘yes,’ a hot cup of tea!”

I did not look back at them the whole time, I didn’t want to spoil the image I had in my head of them. But when my stop came, NYC, I had to get up and leave, so I looked back and there they were, sitting and staring at me. I just stared back, I didn’t want to be rude but I wanted to take them in. Neither was what I had pictured in my head and I almost wish I had not looked.

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The old newspaper biz

I was watching the news and a lady was on from the Detroit Free Press and it made me think of all those great old newspapers. Not to say the Detroit Free Press is an old newspaper, but it actually is, founded in 1831. They are sometimes known as Freep – which is their website name: freep.com.

It makes me sometimes wish I was around when newspapers were important, but then I would be old now, so maybe not.

When my parents were kids, NYC had 14 daily newspapers! Remember there was no tv then, there was radio, but the news came from the newspapers, which were published all day, every day.


NY had the Mirror, and The Daily News and the Journal American, The Sun, the Herald-Tribune, The Times, the Post and so many. Millions of papers were sold daily – literally millions. The Daily news sold 2 million alone daily and 4 million on Sunday!

There is something about the deadlines, and the roll of the presses and then getting them out on the streets. Every single day.

Such great old names, too – The Brooklyn Eagle, The Miami News, The Tampa Tribune, The Boca Raton News, The Hollywood Sun-Tattler, Los Angeles Examiner, Oakland Tribune, Philadelphia Bulletin, Chicago Evening Post, New Orleans States-Item, Boston Phoenix and so on. There is a long list here.

I visit some of the old sites when I am in certain areas, like NY, you know, visiting the original Daily News building or the location of the New York Herald, the New York Sun and of course Park Row and all the history there.

One fifth of daily newspapers in the U.S. closed in the past 15 years.

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Charlie Brown back on broadcast tv

After screwing up Charlie Brown for Halloween, I never did get to see it this year, Apple tv has made a deal with PBS to show A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and a Charlie Brown Christmas on broadcast tv.

PBS will show the episodes commercial free on Sundays, November 22 and December 13 at 7:30 pm eastern time both nights.

Details here on the PBS website.

Shots

Here’s today’s published comic and you know, what? I’m disappointed in myself. I forgot one big thing when it comes to shots – the vaccine shot! A reader pointed that out to me.

I should have had the ladies lined up getting vaccine shots in one of the panels.

I did this cartoon awhile back, so the vaccine and pandemic were not a thing at the time, but it would have been right on point if I had added the shots. Maybe I’ll redo it and post it with the vaccine shots once the vaccines are out.

Update: It was bothering me so much so I added a fifth panel!

Happy 200th Bob’s Burgers!

One of my favorite cartoons, Bob’s Burgers, is celebrating its 200th episode this Sunday!

Love that show. I mostly watch it in reruns in early evening now, and I’ve seen every episode more than once. I never get tired of it.

On more than one occasion I’ve been walking through a Comic Con and I hear their voices – especially Linda, the mother, I look up and there are the voices – the actual people – sitting at a table signing autographs! Iconic!

Even though it’s a cartoon, it seem so real. I want to visit Ocean Avenue where Bob and family live and work – with the small town seaside feel and the amusement park on the pier at the end of the street. It all feels so real!

One of my favorite episodes is Brunchsquatch – where every scene is drawn by fans. It jumps from character to character design, all different, but it works.

We have a little dive diner in town called Burger Bob’s and of course I always call it Bob’s Burgers by mistake, like, “Hey, wanna go to Bob’s Burgers for lunch?” It’s been around for many years, so it came before the tv version, but still Burger Bob’s is always Bob’s Burgers to me.

Walking through Starry Night

I’m seeing a reason to visit Indianapolis. Something I don’t think I ever thought of.

Why? For THE LUME’s debut at Newfields in Indianapolis. Starting in June 2021, Australian-based Grande Experiences is featuring a cutting-edge experience where you can walk among Vincent Van Gogh’s work.

You can immerse yourself in 30,000 square feet of Van Gogh, where 150 projectors will turn paintings into a 3D world.

Walk among Starry Night, Almond Blossoms, Irises and Van Gogh’s self portrait among so many others.

These images of The LUME Indianapolis are courtesy of Grande Experiences

Pretty in Pink

I watched Pretty In Pink yesterday. Yup – Andie and Duckie. 1986. How I wish I could go back to that era – my favorite time. I was flipping through channels and there it was in all it’s 1980s glory.

Watching it was like a time capsule – the sayings, the places, the fashions. I don’t think I saw the movie since the ’80s, so it was nice to see.

All of those John Hughes movies ARE the 1980s. I think the Simple Minds song, “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club, is one of the THE ’80s songs. It always brings me back there when I hear it. Always.

The Brat Pack, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Culture Club, George Michael, Prince, Guns ‘n Roses, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Duran Duran, Tina Turner, Cyndi Lauper, The Police, Def Leppard, Metallica, Talking Heads, REM, etc. So great.

Cheers, Alf, The Golden Girls, Night Court, Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Remington Steel, thirtysomething, Dynasty, Unsolved Mysteries, Dallas, etc. Such great tv, too. And movies – Ferris Bueller, The Outsiders, Moonstruck, Field of Dreams, Heathers, Top Gun, Weekend at Bernie’s, St. Elmo’s Fire, and of course all the John Hughes movies.

I sometimes think that when we die, we can then travel through time. Like if we want to visit a time and place, we can go there. I would visit the 1980s, I would start on January 1, 1980 and live it through to December 31, 1989 and do it all over again.