Category Archives: Memoir

fairy-tale vignettes

Strolling through my ‘hood and romance is in the air, alas not for me.

I spy a wedding at the Brooklyn Museum atrium, and then a lost slipper–a modern day Cinderella perhaps, traipsing through the tree-lined streets of Park Slope.


wet dog

The fog rolled in with the onset of rain, enveloping the Financial District. It felt every bit like a scene in a SyFy movie, and the Oculus’ modernistic structure made it even more so. IMG_6595On the way back to Grove Street, I walked through the night mist; the streets eerily quiet.   I emerged from the subway at Barclay’s Center to a downpour.

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The sky was gunmetal gray, the rain steady.

There was no way not to get wet, the raindrops were enormous. So I walked home in the rainstorm, the shower matching a melancholic mood. By the time I got home, I was soaked to the bone.

 


special occasions

This week I find myself meeting up with old friends and colleagues. I love that we are all able to stay connected and make the time to see each other in-person.

There was a time not so long ago when the in-person meetings, snail mail, and phone calls were our everyday touchpoints. Today, those touchpoints have all become virtual. We stay in the know via email, social media, SMS, and texts.

I love sending and receiving mail, and I’ve found over time that the in-person moments feel more like special occasions. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but my mind races with ideas on how we can plan more of them.

 


Weekend Warrior: Chihuly Nights

There are some places in this city that are pure magic. The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx is one. And this spring they are hosting “Chihuly Nights,” a twilight evening series with live music and an illumination of Dale Chihuly’s glass exhibition.

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Nightfall and the first installation I see is a blue stone glass sculpture in front of the library. The idyllic scene calls to mind the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Fontaine de l’Observatoire in Paris.

On the main pathway, I come across a starburst sea urchin of blue and white. Against the night sky, suspended in mid-air, the early summer fireflies weave amid the crystal stems, bringing to mind fairies and nymphs.

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Nearer to the Visitor’s Center there is a pond of red reeds embedded in an oak tree. To my eye they resemble blood-red pitchforks, or even spears, protecting earthlings in an apocalyptic dystopian land. Although, I think I may be overdoing it on the Supergirl binge watching.

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The sunset melts away, and a chill settles in. The last pieces I see are ectoplasmic and alien-like dangling from the ceiling. A vibrant yellow-green sure to give Crayola a run for its money, and a doodle octopus in shades of purple and blue.

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Once I get home, I quickly fall asleep, and dream of far-off galaxies deep within the Milky Way.


Tourist Day: The Cloisters

 Wednesday morning

It’s Tourist Day and we’re going to The Cloisters!

Now that Kinga is making a clean break for California we’re crossing off items on her “I’ve lived in New York City for 15 years and have never been to…” bucket list.

For those not in the know, The Cloisters is a museum annex of The Met Fifth Avenue located in Fort Tryon Park in the Bronx. Their collection is dedicated to the art, architecture, and gardens of medieval Europe, and the building is fashioned like an old castle and church.

We stroll circuitously through the inner buildings, from the Gothic Hall to the Boppard Room filled with floor to ceiling stained glass windows into the Unicorn Tapestries Room. There are several school trips in session, and as we wander we catch snippets of history from the docent tour guides.

Kinga and I were both raised Catholic–she Polish-American in Chicago, me Italian-American in Brooklyn–so much of what the tour guides are sharing is steeped in Christianity studies. It almost feels like we’re back in parochial school learning our ABCs.

Outdoors The Cloisters’ gardens are abundant with herbs, flowers, green grass. The birds are as thrilled to see the sun as we are, even if it is a bit steamy.

We have lunch at the Tre Cloisters cafe and talk about life and finding the strength and courage to embrace change. Afterward, we stroll through Fort Tryon Park and fall into nature sharing the path with a group of high school students and their teacher. Along the trail, we spot a groundhog momma carrying her young as she tried to maneuver the foot traffic in her way.

A gentle reminder that we are all on this journey together.

Visit The Met at The Cloisters in Fort Tryon Park in-person or virtually with this interactive map


On this day, 92 years ago

On this day in 1925, my father Vincent Patrick Preziotti was born.

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I visit This Day in History and discover that Katherine Hepburn, most noted for her performances in The Philadelphia Story and On Golden Pond, was also born today, in 1907. I remember Dad’s nightly AMC movie marathons filled with spaghetti westerns and comic dramas, many of which starred Katherine and her long-term on again/off-again love interest, Spencer Tracy.

Dad was a die-hard Brooklynite. He loved baseball until the Brooklyn Dodgers left for California. His favorite pastime was strolling the boardwalks in Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay, and even the Rockaways.

He loved to dance, a common interest he shared with my mom. I have the fondest memories of mom washing dishes in the kitchen, of dad pulling her away from the sink, suds and all. Charlie Parker on saxophone, Louis Armstrong on trumpet, Ella on vocals, mom and dad waltzing from the linoleum to the parquet floors in the dining room. On days like today, I truly miss the house on 81st street.

When Dad was a young boy his uncle Joe managed the Thunderbolt and Tornado, sister rollercoasters to the Cyclone. Dad often reminisced about being a ticket taker and people watching. He was a quiet man, with a gruff exterior. He was reserved at first, but once he felt comfortable in your presence he would blossom. A voracious reader of the newspaper, he would often engage in conversation about current events, mostly politics. And some of those discussions would be heated and full of fire; he was Italian after all.

In my early years, we would fight something awful. My mom unwittingly influenced me toward liberal leanings (she was registered as an Independent) and it took me a long time to find a middle ground where Dad and I could speak to one another without raising our voices. Over time I gradually learned to mindfully pick my battles with my right-wing Republican housemate. These days I wonder what he would think about our current administration, and as I find myself alone with my thoughts, occasionally talking to Finn, I wish I could talk to Dad and hear his voice.

I have two voicemail recordings of my dad. One is about a dentist appointment. He needs me to come with him. I can hear the hesitation in his voice, of wanting my help but not wanting to interfere in my life. It makes me cringe, the thought of him thinking of himself as a burden.

The second recording is of him wishing me a happy birthday.


Roadtrippin’ with Finn

Tonight Finn and I make our way to Jersey City. It’s his first road trip and sleepover.

Chester and I are traveling to visit his family in Western PA, and rather than leave Finn alone with a catsitter he’s staying at the loft with Andy.

I’ve been harness-training him in anticipation of the big adventure. This is a progressive measure since our last outing when Finn frantically attempted to dig his way out of his plastic carrier.

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Since our arrival, he’s been hiding under the bed but I’ve no doubt he and Andy will become fast friends over the next few days.