Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Old Savannah

I'm coming to you again from Tybee Island, Georgia, an ocean-front town of some 3,000 souls near Savannah. Yesterday, the steady's sister was married here and it's been an enjoyable whirlwind of wedding activity and sightseeing. Today, for instance, we visited Fort Screven and Fort Pulaski.

As I write this at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night, I recognize the weekend is almost at an end. But, begging your indulgence, gentle reader, I still do want to post a "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend."

One song about Savannah is the fun 1920s tune "Hard Hearted Hanna." Below is a rendition by the late great Ella Fitzgerald.


Hat-tip: The steady and Dorothy Zbornak

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Tragic Centennial

I'm writing tonight from beautiful Tybee Island. It's a shelter island off the northern coast of Georgia, about 17 miles from Savannah. The steady's sister is getting married here tomorrow.

But, before the day passed, I wanted to make mention here at the blog about a tragic centennial that more people should know about. Today, March 25, is the 100th anniversary of the horrible fire in 1911 at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City's Greenwich Village.

The fire broke out in what is now New York University's Brown Building (on Washington Place off Washington Square East). As a student at NYU in the 1990s, I walked its halls.

Below is a portion of PBS' American Experience documentary about the factory and the 146 garment workers killed there (most of whom were Italian and Jewish immigrant women).

In remembrance:

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Bach Birthday

Today (March 21) is the 326th anniversary of the birth of the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).

Here's a musical selection to mark the day:

Hat-tip: Dan Sloan, who today posted several Bach pieces to his Facebook wall.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In the Glow of Evening

I'm writing this evening from the lobby of the Hilton in Anaheim, CA. My co-workers and I have been hanging out here for a few hours before we have to leave for LAX for the Delta red-eye back to JFK.

We've been here these past few days to represent our gig at the annual L.A. Religious Education Congress. It's my fifth time exhibiting at this tremendous event that draws tens of thousands of catechists and other Catholics involved in education and ministry work.

Even though the weekend is nearing it's end, I still want to post a "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend." The tune is "I Have Dreamed" from the great old Rogers and Hammerstein musical "The King and I." I was reminded of it earlier this week in a post by Mike over at Googling God.

The first version, a smooth instrumental rendition, is from the soundtrack of "The American President." There's a second take, too, with lyrics.

This is dedicated to the steady back in the Big Apple (who I can't wait to see tomorrow). ;-)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Anxiety of Saint Joseph

For Catholics, today (March 19) is a special day to remember Saint Joseph.

Last year, I posted two images of this husband of the Blessed Mother created by the 19th century French painter James Tissot. For good measure, below is one more from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

This image is called “L'anxiété de Saint Joseph" or “The Anxiety of Saint Joseph”:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Change Often

Food for thought for a March Monday:

“In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.”

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Of Parapets and Angels

Today is the First Sunday of Lent. I went to the 5:15 p.m. Mass at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle on 9th Avenue at 60th Street (which is now "downtown" for me).

Today's Gospel reading, from Matthew Chapter 4, was the account of Jesus' 40 days and 40 nights in the desert during which he was tempted by the devil.

The French painter James Tissot created multiple images of this passage. Here are two:

" ... Then the devil took him to the holy city,
and made him stand on the parapet of the temple ... "

" ... Then the devil left him and, behold,
angels came and ministered to him."

Flashbacks: First Sundays of Lent 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2007.

For reflections on today's readings, stop over at the blogs of Fran, A Concord Pastor and Deacon Greg. And, to see a superb Lenten observance in progress, everyone should pay a visit to Mike and his "50-Day Giveaway."

The images above live at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Day of Tears and Mourning

The images out of Japan following Friday's earthquake and tsunami are horrific. With thousands of people dead and missing, it is the most devastating occurrence in that nation since World War II.

Dear God, we pray for the dead and those who mourn them. We pray for the missing and the injured. We pray for the rescue workers and for those who will need to salvage and rebuild. God, save them.

This week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend" is dedicated to the people of Japan. The piece is from Mozart's setting of "Lacrimosa" in the Requiem Mass.


An English translation:

That day of tears and mourning,
when from the ashes shall arise,
all humanity to be judged.
Spare us by your mercy, Lord,
gentle Lord Jesus,
grant them eternal rest. Amen.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Goodbye to Grand Street

I've been remiss in noting here on the blog that I moved last week. After two years of hanging my hat in Little Italy, I have relocated to northern Manhattan.

Pinehurst Avenue near 187th Street in the Hudson Heights section of Washington Heights is now home. It's a great residential block a short walk from The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park and the St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine. I'm also now much closer, geographically-speaking, to my office in Yonkers (although the commute is only 10 or 15 minutes shorter).

But, I'll long cherish my memories of living in Little Italy and the adjoining parts of Chinatown and Soho -- a part of the city that I think is one of the great urban neighborhoods of the world. I loved being surrounded by the diverse architecture and the wonderful restaurants and shops. And I especially loved learning more about the area's wonderful history. I never tired, for instance, of telling the story of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral to out-of-town guests whenever we approached the corner of Prince and Mulberry streets.

Regarding the famous Little Italy restaurants, I'm sorry that my work and travel schedule (and my budget) didn't allow me to become become a repeat customer at any of them -- except for the great dessert cafe Ferrara's. I will miss, however, the excellent and affordable Malaysian restaurant Nyonya and the amazing macaroni and cheese spot Macbar.

(The steady keeps reminding me: "We can go back!")

For history's sake, I want to record that I lived at 191 Grand Street, a five-story brick building at the intersection of Mulberry and Grand streets. My roommate Claudia and I shared a two-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor with Claudia's cat Marsha and kitten Tommi. I lived in the little bedroom next to the kitchen.

From my south-facing bedroom window I could clearly hear the sounds of of the neighborhood's annual events like the Saint Anthony feast, the Feast of San Gennaro, the Miss Little Italy pageant and the East-Meets-West Christmas parade.

Above is a photo of a framed list attached to the wall on the first floor landing at 191 Grand Street. My guess is that those are the names of the building's residents many decades ago when nearly everyone was still Italian. We lived in the old Gassarino apartment, No. 30.

For this week's "YouTube clip for a peaceful weekend," below is a tune dedicated to all those great old Italian-American families who made my former neighborhood such a unique place.

It's the 1952 song "That's Amore" as performed by Dean Martin. The video shows then-and-now New York City locations featured in the film "Moonstuck."