Archive for March 2008

Easter Parade in NYC Part 1 of 3

March 24, 2008

Every Easter, at least every Easter for the past three years, I’ve been out to the “Easter Parade”.

It isn’t a real parade.  Or, if you prefer, it is the most democratic parade there is.  Everyone is part of it.  And anyone can be a star.  That isn’t any sort of exaggeration.  If you want 15 minutes of fame and the attention of thousands, just join the parade.  The only qualification:  wear a hat.

The bigger/grander/wilder/cooler the hat, the better.

People without hats are desperate to find and look at people with hats.  Heck, you can even buy them there and change from the hatless anonymous one to a famed hatted one.  But those aren’t the really great hats.  But you can borrow a really great hat.  Just for asking.

A typical hat brought and worn by a typical wearer.


From about 46th Street up to around 57th Street, Fifth Avenue becomes a mass of hat-searching photographers and voyeurs.  And Famous Ankles is proud to be one of ’em again this year.  I’ve never worn a hat to it, but it was a pretty cold day with a touch of wind.  Not enough to make me wear a hat, though.



Generally, the hats are not on the expensive side, as you can note.

Photographers are everywhere.  The woman below was being interviewed when I walked by, you can see the cameraman in the foreground.


I was down there at around 11am to 1pm.  The event generally lasts until 4pm or so.


People just mill about on the street.  When you see a hatted person, take your picture ASAP.


And the crowd was biiiiiiiiiigggg!


One thing I saw more of this year than usual were men in hats.


Dogs in hats are…old hat.  Ouch.  I know I’ll catch some grief for that one.

It’s generally the friendliest crowd you’ll ever see.  Wanna pose with someone?  Just go and pose.  Wanna take someone’s picture?  Just point your camera.  If they spot you, they’ll pose or they’ll grab their friends and all will pose.


The woman above in the big hat was everywhere.  After 2 hours, I knew every hat in the place, but I kept seeing her posing alone or with others.  She’s a real trooper.


There were other attractions besides people in hats.  Below was a gospel duo singing some Easter riffs.


Another thing I spotted more of this year were people doing more of a dressy hat rather than a funny hat.


The first year I went to the Easter Parade, I saw one person with a formal hat.  This year, dozens.  I really like the trend.

But it was mostly mock-pretention type hats.


A puppetteer…with a hat out for donations.


A group saw me point my camera…




Below are some hats made from discarded “metro cards” (used to go on the subway and buses in New York).


People were lined up to pose with them on.  I don’t know if there was a charge or “donation” to use them or if they were there as a promotion or community service.  They were pretty popular, though.



More in tomorrow’s post.



Easter Day

March 23, 2008

It’s Easter, the day that we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead. The Lord is Risen, indeed.

At the heart of the Episcopal worship is the Prayer Book.  The 1866 version of the Book of Common Prayer has the Easter Anthem:

CHRIST our passover is sacrificed for us : therefore let us keep the feast; Not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness : but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7
 Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more : death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once : but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin : but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9
   Christ is risen from the dead : and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death : by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die : even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20.
    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 

Happy Easter!


Tibitan Protest on 2nd Avenue

March 22, 2008

I’ve been under the weather recently and was recovering nicely, but still hadn’t stepped out of my place all day today.  And then I heard whistles and shouting coming from the direction of Second Avenue and 42nd Street.  I have a very minor view of the street from my window and peered out, knowing I’d see something.

And I did.  Cops.  There was a protest afoot.  I left as quickly as I could and, by the time I hit street level, the noise volume was very high and my doorman was trying to figure out what was going on.

It was a protest.  It looked a bit “thrown together” with minimal planning, but the cops were cooperating.


It wasn’t tiny though.  Okay, it was relatively tiny, but it was a fairly good protest march.  It was the Tibetans protesting the Chinese.  (It’s always a little strange when I see a protest where one nationality is protesting another and the US is sort of left out of the equation.  But that’s neither here nor there.)


The cool part; where else are you gonna have enough Tibetans to have a good protest?  These aren’t your college students who sign petitions several times a month.  These were mostly Tibetans in exile or just otherwise here.

The cops were leading them down 2nd Avenue on a single lane.  The group was perhaps four blocks long.  I didn’t try any sort of count, but I’m guessing less than a thousand.  It sounded louder though.


As you can see, the cops were out in force, but mostly to make sure they stayed in their designated lane.  The cars in the side streets weren’t being let in and you could see them backing up.  

The Tibetans did have people on both sides of the street handing out literature.  Their protest was centered on the Chinese crackdown to protests in Tibet and they were calling for the release of prisoners there and an international investigation into what is happening.

Of probably more import to the Chinese is their call for boycotting the Olympics.


James J. Walker Park in the West Village

March 22, 2008

Jimmy Walker was one of NYC’s great (or perhaps “controversial” is a better term) mayors.  In Greenwich Village, they’ve got a small, but somewhat unusual park, named after him.


The park isn’t very big, just a few acres.  Among other things, it has a children’s playground and a ballfield.


Something I found interesting:  it also has a handball court.  You don’t see too many of these.


Oh, and a bocci/bocce ball court.  You see very few of these.


All pleasant, but not particularly unusual.

What’s unusual for a park is a grave.  Perhaps a mass grave as the place was a cemetery for quite some time.


Okay, it looks like a monument.  It has two plaques on it (okay, one plaque and one engraving, well, two ‘cuz one’s on the other side).


It reads, “This ground was used as a cemetery by Trinity Parish during the years 1834-1898.  It was made a public park by the city of New York in the year 1897-8.  This monument stood in the cemetery and was removed to this spot in the year 1898.”

The engraving on the monument reads:  “Here are interred the bodies of Eugene Underhill aged 20 years 7 months and 9 days and Frederick A. Ward aged 22 years 1 month and 16 days.  Who lost their lives by the falling of a building while engaged in the discharge of their duty as FIRE MEN on the first day of July MDCCCXXXIV.”  I believe that’s Roman numeral for 1834.

 That would make the monument one of the first in the cemetery.  I presume the “removed to this location” in the first plaque means somewhere on the block to this side of a relatively unused area, instead of perhaps in the middle of the ballfield.


Good Friday

March 21, 2008

Some days I have more in mind than than touring NYC and work.

Matthew Chapter 27 (King James Version):

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

32 And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

35 And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

36 And sitting down they watched him there;

37 And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

42 He saved others; himself he cannot  save.  If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said , This man calleth for Elias.

48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:

58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.

59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,

60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

62 Now the next day, that followed  the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.

64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.


Dumpling Man. Food Fit for Famous Ankles

March 20, 2008

In the Lower East Side, just down St. Marks Place, sitting on the south side of the street; is a little slice of perfection:  Dumpling Man!


If you read reviews of Dumpling Man, you’ll note they claim they make the dumplings right in front of you.  True, but not the truth.  They make scores, even hundreds, of dumplings in front of you; but when I was there they tossed my pre-made dumplings into the cooker while they were rolling and setting up the dough flats in preparation of making more hundreds of dumplings.

And mighty fine dumplings they are.  Mighty fine dumplings.

My advice (take it for what it’s worth); run to Dumpling Man and grab a mess o’ them.  But just use the soy sause and the chili sause that’s out for all to use.  I didn’t have much use for their extra charged “super hot” sause.  It wasn’t anywhere as good as the chili and soy combo I combined and scarfed down at the counter.


I wimped out inside.  I asked if I could take a picture of the place and the woman making the dumplings said she didn’t want her picture taken.  I shoulda anyway.  She makes a fine dumpling and should be proud of it.


Clown Ride in Greenwich Village

March 19, 2008

This is a little ridiculous, but I’ll post on it anyway.

In my March 12 post, I mentioned finding out about the Bike Lane Liberation Clown Ride scheduled for Saturday, March 15.  Well, decided to go there and then I messed up my view of the event.

It was scheduled for 2:30pm and I got to the site long before it happened.  I did wander around Greenwich Village and have a number of posts from that wandering that I’ll post on over the coming days/week.

Here’s the site of the gathering.  (A clown gathering, what a concept!)


It’s a bike rental/sales store located on Morton Street.  The picture is taken from Greenwich Street.  At about 2pm, I walked past and found only a handful of people there, and only one in clown makeup.  I didn’t stop in, not wanting to be accosted as a clown stalker.  Or maybe I was terrified of being drawn into the clown side.

I walked by a bit later and found a few others gathering there, but still only two or three in costume.  So, I decided to stake out what I suspected to be part of their route.


I was all prepared.  I also managed to catch the owner of “The Love Bike” in her quest to reach the clown gathering!


Yes, there’s a dog with her.  Not necessarily a clown dog, but definitely a clown’s dog.

So, I walked by again and saw that the crowd had grown.  I proceeded around the block to catch them at their rideoff…and they apparently went out before I reached my viewing point.  Or maybe they took a different route.

I’m a lousy clown hunter.  Ditched by them without so much as a honk of a nose horn.