Archive for the ‘Greenwich Village’ category

Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden

June 2, 2008

I went down to the Lower East Side to watch the Turkish Day Parade. It never happened. No parade. No sign of a parade. I have to figure out how to find a reliable source for parade information.

While I was there, looking in vain, I noticed a little garden that I hadn’t seen before. It was the Sixth Street and Ave B Community Garden. Located…right there. The LES has a whole bunch of these little garden areas.

This one was interesting in that it was absolutely busting out with plant life. There was an entire crew in there that day, but I didn’t see any pruning; just heard some stuff about composting which I presumed was neighborhood composting.

Look at this place. Looks like it needs a crew with weedwhackers. It’s Spring and the place is roaring back to life after a hard Winter. A little pruning might be a very good thing.

Actually, at least one area looked like it was getting ready for some specialized planting.

It was this garden that really showed me how vibrant these gardens can be. I went through a number of them during my winter wanderings and am looking forward to seeing how they are faring. Are they tightly managed and kept in check? Or are is each just an oasis of wildness?


The Creative Little Garden in the LES

May 31, 2008

It’s so small that it’s easy to walk right by “The Creative Little Garden“. Yet, it is so nearly perfect that it may be my favorite garden in the City. It’s located at 503 6th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. It’s a block away from Tompkins Square Park which makes it a little more unlikely to find as that park is a magnet for the locals.

I was surprised how quickly I took to it. Most of these community gardens are interesting only for a couple of minutes. But this one had me sitting and resting and reading in it for quite some time.

I don’t know how thin it is, but this picture was taken while sitting on the bench in the picture above.

From what I understand, there’s a long story behind the garden. The woman who founded it is said to have been a member of the French Resistance during WWII and something of a far-left radical once she got here. The other part is that there’s some connection between the garden and the Godfather movie. I read that the neighborhood was used for some of the exterior shots for that movie and some of the funds were used to create the garden.

Or it could all be a bunch of hoo-hah.

But it is a great little garden.


10th Street – A good street for a good street fair

May 30, 2008

I usually hate street fairs. If I need a pair of socks, I’ll go to a store. I don’t like to eat the food at them as it looks…a little unclean.

But there are some good street fairs. They’re the ones that keep out the sock merchants and the gyro places and the like. I’ve really only known one: in the West Village.

And now I know a second. The 10th Street street fair between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue was quite good and nicely done. They had a couple of the usual horrible merchants. But mostly it was artists and homeowners selling stuff out of their homes like a garage sale. Well, this was pretty good garage sale stuff.

I saw a bunch of LPs and the like. I think a number of the people were artists. The area is pretty artistic, so I presume that they were the participants.

The most interesting stuff was some presentations by actors and poets. They seem to be associated with the Theater for the New City, which is where each of them emerged from to give their recital. This guy was doing a Shakespearean-style speech. I came in late on it and didn’t recognize it. He seemed very sort of old-school Shakespearean. That is, very deliberate and systematic recital; a recital for a real audience and not for the inner muse sort of thing.

There were a couple of poets that came up afterwards. Very…typical. This poet gave a recital of a work about people who accomplish things and ends with a Wall Street type who is mulling over who to put out of business.  Bleh.

And then there was the poet in the picture below. He’s the very first poet I have ever heard who used sound effects as part of his recital. He seems to have hooked up some sort of echo process to the amplifier. It was nifty, but awfully artificial. Of course, maybe that was his point.


Dance Parade 2008 in New York City – Part 3

May 20, 2008

Here’s my third and last post on the 2008 NYC Dance Parade.

The next group was something called “Stage Stars”. There wasn’t a lot of dancing being done by them at the moment, but I did catch one woman having some fun.

The next group was, at least for me, the most boring group of the entire parade. By far the most boring. And they were probably the only professionals: the Knicks dancers. They didn’t do any routines, they didn’t do anything other than walk and wave. Ladies, it’s a dance parade. Dance.

Well, the next group didn’t dance either, but I do love the concept of the beauty queen (just take a look at my Polish Day Parade postings). This is Miss Dance of the United States. I haven’t the foggiest idea of how she got the crown. I presume it is from this source.

I hope she gave a nice exhibition at Tompkins Square Park.  Maybe the Knicks dancers did, too.

And next came the next batch of hula-hoopers. It was great to watch. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen them used and it was too long.

The next hula-hooper was great. Thanks for the pose.

Despite my calling the group “hula-hoopers”, it was actually more of a costumed group. I didn’t see any identification for them at this point. But the costumes had me think that they were frustrated trick or treaters who are waiting for an altogether different parade.

The next picture was something of a celebration of the warmer weather, in addition to the costume theme.

If we’ve got hula-hoops, we gotta have more stilt walkers, too. I think it’s one of those immutable laws of parades.

This dancer vamped it up to 11. Thank you very much.

Other than the guy who was the only one on the block, this next guy was the most exhibitionistic. He got cut off from his group by the cops to let traffic flow through. Then he kind of took over from the cops and started directing traffic (getting blasted by horns once or twice). And, fueled by adrenaline (and maybe more), decided to share his enthusiasm with the rest of us as he slowly caught up with his group.

These two appeared to be late and were running to catch up, too. I just think of them as Batman and Happy Woman.

A group called Dance Studio brought back a little more organization and style.

Although this next picture isn’t taken during an action sequence that I remember. These youngsters did a really nice set of dancing with some of the other Dance Studio people.

Formality disappeared when the Dance Police showed though. Where were they when the dance criminals from Metropolis in Motion were flagrantly flaunting the no dance laws? Oh, they aren’t that sort of police?

This was the only breakdancing I saw in the parade.

This next group came with no sign as to who they are. Middle East or faux Middle East? I don’t know.

Finally! Another hula-hooper. I know you needed another fix.  I certainly did.

A group called Melting Pot Dancers then showed up. Oh, and they danced.

They were a pretty fun group although I was getting a little tired of freestyle and the like.

They did have a float, but I really can’t remember any significance to it.

The next group was called “Freedom to Dance”. Don’t these people know it’s a crime to dance? Well, I guess they’re prop dancers. I don’t know what that means, if anything. They just used the flags as props.

Yep. Props.

Just how many groups are there in NYC devoted to dance? Lots I know about (because of the parade). This group is called Gravity. They weren’t very somber, so I presume they are acquiesing to the physical process. We must heed gravity. It’s the law! Oh, and they wanted freedom to dance. You know, I didn’t see a single one of the paraders thrown into a (real) jail.

I was, and remain, mystified by this next group. I saw the two cherries on their shirts and haven’t been able to figure it out. There has to be a simple reason.

They seemed to be associated with the float below, which had the words “Martinez Brothers” in big letters. The young ladies were celebrating the warmer weather. Yet, not a single smile amongst them.

Finally, the cops showed up to arrest the whole lot of them! Okay, not really. It’s just the end of the parade.

I’ve covered a lot of parades and I generally enjoy them.  And, yessireebob, I did enjoy the Dance Parade.  It’s a keeper.  In an odd way, it reminds me of the Persian Day Parade.  The first time I saw it, the streets were pretty empty of viewers.  But this year, it was jammed big time.  And a jampacked parade creates a buzz and excitement all on its own.  Here’s hoping that next year the crowds are huge!


Dance Parade 2008 in New York City – Part 2

May 19, 2008

To start my second post on the 2008 Dance Parade, I want to present the bravest and most determined person in the parade. A very vigorous dancer, and a very good one, too.  Her act of bravery and determination?  She danced in high heels. A woman next to me basically gasped when she saw it and kept saying that the dancer was going to cripple herself by the end of the parade. I sure hope she didn’t. I honestly don’t know how she kept it up, though. She would have danced a mile at this point. Maybe she joined in really late and then dropped out after a couple of blocks. Anyway, she was great.  (Her dance style was more than just a little shake while walking around as she was most definitely doing some little moves and bumps and the like.  But at least she wasn’t leaping around.)

Our heroic/foolish/dancaholic woman was followed by a flamenco style dancer that I also enjoyed.

And she was followed by a swing group that was very vigorous on their own.  Nicely done, folks.

This group called themselves Dance Manhattan. Once again, I simply couldn’t capture the energy.

And the stilt dancers! Yeah, they were dancing. Not throwing each other around, but they were certainly dancing on their stilts.

The woman below was a favorite of mine. Really very much in the shimmy/shake kind of style. Very, very fun to watch. And a great person for the pose.

This next part was really nice. The man was dancing with the woman to the left and then the other woman, who was much lower energy, was just swirled into the dance. The first woman broke off and started dancing with others and the man and the smaller woman started into their own dance. Just one of those little vignettes that you wonder if it was planned or the smaller woman finally allowed the others to cajole her into the activity, or whatever. Not anything of consequence, but just a little bit of something else in the mix. Maybe. Incidentally, this was the Gotham Swing Club.

This next group, Zydeco Messenger was perhaps the oddest group in the parade. I really liked the music, but that’s the key. Although they danced, the whole point of this group was the music, not the dance. That’s not true of any other group in the whole parade.

This group had no announced name…I think. There was a car at the front with some small letter saying Yehoodi. It may have been the group or the sponsor, or the driver’s name who wants to make sure he gets in the right car every day. But the dancers were great. The blonde was the most eye-catching.

Some more dancers. I think they were still associated with the Yehoodi group.

This next group had two things of real note. Look at that little girl on stilts. Unreal. She always had an adult very near and very ready to catch her, but she was doing it all on her own. I can’t imagine she had done the whole parade to this point on the stilts, but she was going on pretty steadily.

She and the next bunch of people were associated with a group called “” that had lots and lots of signs saying “Legalize Dancing”. I looked at their website and they complain that NYC’s caberet laws prohibit/limit dancing. Okay. But there’s an entire Dance Parade. NYC’s clubs are renowned for the dancing. But according to the group, dancing is a crime in NYC.

In that case, lots of criminal activity on the Saturday afternoon streets of NYC.

More dancing criminals. I imagine it was hard for the cops to keep their weapons holstered.

But it was a fun group and they really did dance up a (criminal) storm.

I don’t know what her style was, but that’s a jail cage on the float behind her.

Dancing women in chains.

Roller Boogie anyone? It’s Sisters in Motion! The oddest part about this group was that the first part of it were mostly male.  It’s a strange thing when I think about it.  I was more intrigued by the misnaming of the group (or at least the fact that the “Sisters” included men rather than the fact that everyone was wearing roller skates.  I guess it’s easier for me to transport back to 1978.)

More Sisters in Motion.

Hula hoops were a popular part of the parade. Yeah, hula hoops. It makes me think about buying stock in Whammo or whatever. I saw them in several separate sections of the parade so maybe they’re making one of their periodic comebacks.

All I know about this group is the name “Peter Munch” on the float. It really didn’t strike a chord with me and I just have virtually no memory of their being around other than they were passing out some sort of flyers that I refused.

This next guy had the whole block all to himself. And he carried it off well.

This group was called “Music in Motion”. They were good, but nothing special. And then something drew them over to my side of the street and they started to put on some sort of dance exhibition. I didn’t know what was going on.

Here you can see them all looking over to my side of the street. They really started to do some dancing. I was delighted at the display, but didn’t have a clue as to the cause.

And then I looked to my left. Well, they had something of a competitor/friend who was apparently doing some sort of a dance challenge on them. This may be the best picture I got the whole day.