grey marble

August 25, 2006

Slight improvement

Last night I ran into my beginner tango instructor as I was leaving class. He asked if I were staying so that I could start taking his intermediate class. I said not yet. "You should," he said.
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August 21, 2006

Sketch artist

On the train home a man with a sketchpad sat by the door. He sketched the couple across from him with a felt-tip pen. The couple was engaged in conversation and paid him no mind. He was soon finished sketching in the woman, and began on the man. Working quickly, he moved his hand around the page, sketching in the air before putting the pen to paper.

At Prince Street, the man rose to get off the train. He looked down and slowly began to recognize what the man was doing. The man looked up at him and kept sketching. The woman rose after the train stopped and the doors opened. The man sketched rapidly then ripped the page from his pad and handed it to the couple as they stepped off. He smiled at me when I caught his eye. I laughed from the sheer joy of witnessing their interaction.

I followed the couple as they exited the station. The woman was captured; the man's face had just begun to emerge from the empty page. They pointed at each other's likenesses, tilting their heads together as they climbed the stairs and out onto the street.
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Dream state

Last night I dreamt I went to M+J's house. They had moved to the end of the line—Far Rockaway or something like it. Their house was right off the beach. It was late, but I had an errand to run, and they invited me to stay the night.

In the morning I walked to the beach. Two people were surfing the gentle breaks. I walked the narrow strip of sand and looked out over the waves.

When I returned to the house, M+J were standing outside. They had tried to call to tell me they were leaving but I had left my phone at their house. I apologized. They said it was ok, but there was discomfort in their appearance. I brought my clothes outside and asked how to lock the house; they said to just close the door. They showed me the latch did not work; there was no lock.

As they left, M turned to me and said that things were not working out with J. Then he hurried to catch up with him. I realized I had forgot my bag in the house, and opened the door to retrieve it.

Back in the house, I ran into an older Irish man. I was unaware that M+J had had other guests in their house for the night. The Irish man was getting breakfast. I soon met another middle aged man and a teenager. They were all travelling through, and had stopped for the night. I was uneasy, but they seemed to know my hosts. I retrieved my bag. I looked at the clock; I was going to be late for work.

I left the three men in the house; I didn't know what else to do. I closed the sliding door. Turning back, I saw the men leave with their black designer luggage.

The train made its way slowly back to Manhattan. I stared out the window at the urban scenery. Later that day, I heard that M+J's place had been robbed. On the news, there was a report that the police had found a suspect. A half-destroyed robot had been found on a subway train dressed like one of the men I had seen at their house. At a press conference, the police said they could find no trace of the existence of the perpetrators. The news reports kept flashing back to the image of the robot-man on the train. Posted by eugene at | Comments (2)

August 14, 2006

Antique elevators

I'm working in the Puck building this summer. When I told a friend that, he said it was cool. That he would consider working for a company based on the building. He said I'll have worked in two landmark buildings in New York: this and the Flatiron.

When I first started working in the Flatiron building, the elevators were still being run using the original hydraulic system. A few months later a pipe burst and flooded the lobby. The elevators had been slow; for a day or two they stopped working entirely. They've since been replaced with electric elevators, but I can't help but think back on the old elevators.

The Puck building has an antique elevator of its own, with an attendant who runs the small lift. A bank of modern (though slow) elevators can be found around the corner, past the main lobby.

Most of the time, I bypass the antique elevator. But if I hear its rattling chains as I enter the building, I'll wait for it to stop on the ground floor, and then pause as the attendant opens the door. I'll say hello and squeeze my way in, and watch as he closes first the steel outer door, then the inner mesh door before sitting down and pushing the lever forward, lifting us up.
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I've promised myself that I'm going to spend some time in the darkroom making some prints. I bought paper a few months ago. This weekend I was supposed to go through negatives, but I'll have to do that tonight instead. I'm debating whether to go to tango.

I just called Print Space about rentals. They've removed the group darkrooms and now only have private rooms at $18.00 an hour! If I pay $225.00 up front, I get $250.00 credit. I knew it was going to be expensive, but I hadn't realized how expensive. Also, they now close at 9pm during the week. I was told that those were summer hours, but they didn't know when fall hours would recommence.

Does anyone have any other recommendations for black and white darkroom rentals?
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Blue skies

Saturday the sky was cloudless, save for the skywriting which promised better loans. Five plans flew an arc above the city spelling out their dot matrix message. I walked northwest, towards Greenwich Village, up Seventh and then across Greenwich Avenue. I had a date with Lin at Tea & Sympathy.

She was waiting outside when I arrived. She had stopped into the store next door. She said that the waitress knew we were here and that it would be a few minutes. I was surprised how much she was showing. I had seen her a month before, and she told me that people usually pop between the fourth and fifth months. We were soon seated.

I debated the chicken pot pie; Lin said she was having the tea for one. I hesitated and decided to go for the tea as well, hoping it would be more healthy. The waitress appeared and we ordered tea for two. I ordered the white tea with rose petals.

We worked our way up the three-tiered platter, starting with the sandwiches (cucumber, chicken, tuna, all with the crusts cut off), then scones with strawberry jam and fresh cream, then three cakes. I told Lin that this lunch wasn't much healthier and she laughed. The cakes were delicious, but I found myself unable to finish the banana bread with its thin layer of chocolate, having had two scones.

By three, the place was half full, and we decided that in the future we'd come later in the afternoon, and that we'd come more often (I hadn't been in years). I walked Lin to the subway and we both boarded the 1/9. At 42nd street, we parted ways; I transferred to the N to Astoria.

The afternoon was cool in the shade; the sun was hot. I arrived at the Astoria Pool just before 4.30. There was no line and the pool was empty. I quickly changed.

The water was relatively calm and clear as I began swimming laps. People kept mostly to themselves, and the lifeguards perched lazily on their stations. Shadows began to reach across the water as I swam. The blue skies and the water began to merge; water dulled the noise around me. I concentrated on my breathing and my strokes. And thought about how soon the pool would be shuttered and drained, and how the air would become more and more crisp, and how leaves would begin to fill the area left by the water. Posted by eugene at

August 12, 2006

Astoria Pool

I've been swimming a lot this summer. Ever since a friend introduced me to the pool in Astoria park, there hasn't been a weekend where at least one day was spent in it. We had first tried the pool at Central Park, but found it too rambunctious and choppy. The Astoria pool is large (the largest in the city, it's designed to hold 3000 people), and the people seem a little more calm (though kids will still be found jumping in from the pool sides.

Opened on July 4, 1936, the pool began its life by hosting the Olympic Trials for the U.S. Swim and Diving Teams. In 1964, the trials again returned to Astoria. Two fountains now mark where the Olympic torch was lit.

Fortunately or no, the diving portion has been closed throughout the summer, with no signs of it reopening. Last weekend, as I waited to enter, I overheard someone pointing to the diving section. "Whoa! Diving," she exclaimed. Then, as we moved closer and she saw the 32-foot elevated platform, she paused and asked her friend more timidly, "Would you jump from there?" Posted by eugene at

August 11, 2006

Back again (I think)

Some may have noticed taht this blog has not been updated recently. It turns that movable type had decided to stop working on my host. So I just reinstalled it and hopefully things are back to normal (I have to reconfigure my photoblog this weekend as well, and with any luck that will be back in action next week as well). Let me know if you find anything odd or off and I'll see if I can fix things. And then I can go back to blogging semi-regularly. Whee!
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