Song of Myself, on a barge in Red Hook

Saturday evening there was a fundraising event on the historic museum barge in Red Hook; the reading of every last canto of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, as read by a number of local luminaries. It began before and ended just after sunset over Brooklyn’s Buttermilk Channel and Erie Basin, the once-Dutch, fierce little neighborhood called Red Hook.

I’ve long had emotional ties to ol’ Walt on account of my father having been a fan; he passed it on to me. So when I read him in high school (the same all girls Catholic school with fierce teachers that managed to get A Handmaid’s Tale on our reading list), I was all in.

Walt Whitman reading on Red Hook barge
Interior of the barge from where I stood
Walt Whitman reading on Red Hook barge
My dear friend, Tara Lynne, reading Canto 23
Walt Whitman reading on Red Hook barge
The program
The drawing as it looked when we left, in pencil.
Walt Whitman reading on Red Hook barge
The plants in boots nearby the gangway

A pleasant surprise (in addition to some celebrity personages) was that one of my classmates from aforementioned high school was among the readers. I ought to’ve stayed to say hello, but it was crowded and felt like it may have been complicated after so long. Her name is Alison Smith; I read her book Name All the Animals a few of years back. It was really well written; poignant and heartbreaking. It was the first time I’d seen her since high school, and brought some memories to mind.

Proceeds went to the ACLU, PEN America, NEA, Sunny’s Bar (Red Hook), and to the Waterfront Museum (the host of the event). It was a fine reward after a seven mile wander, followed by a feast at Ice House.

Sunset Swing beer can labels

Here’s a first for me: Beer can label design for the Sunset Swing annual gala, held by one of my clients (Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp.). Five Boroughs Brewing Co. created a brew just for the upcoming event, and this is the proof for the finished labels. So fun!

Below are some photos of the can and the ad journal from the event last evening. They were printed with printed a metallic gold for the lettering and windows, which looks fantastic.

An afternoon in the Big Town followed by miles of walking

observations of people out on a warm eveningHere’s a sketch from Friday evening. I’d only just started when its subjects vacated the backyard, so I had to improvise. I re-cast them indoors, among the lamps, after the fact.

Had an afternoon meeting followed by a stroll through lower Manhattan on Friday. I walked from Madison Square Park to City Hall, with some decent photographic moments while across the river on a fine Spring day.

Had I worn better shoes for it, I’d have walked across Brooklyn Bridge, as is my inclination on a first fine day in Manhattan in Springtime. Next time.

New York Life
The gold-tipped New York Life building, nearby Madison Square Park
Washington Mews garden
Secret garden at the Washington Mews
The Secret Garden, NYC, the Village
Exterior windows of the mews, facing Fifth Avenue

Fifth Avenue, NYC, Secret

Flatiron building
Flatiron building


Stained glass abandoned in favor of a vintage flavor

I decided against the stained glass approach in the end. I Chose instead, to focus on repeated patterns— a race horse silhouette, with the silks in the spotlight, and a larger repeating pattern behind them.

After much experimentation with various backdrops and shifts in color for the silhouettes, I landed on a maximum vintage palette and pattern, which incidentally called for my current favorite typeface. 🙂

Below: a couple of the numerous rejected schemes

Scenes from the Bushwick Country Club

Bushwick Country Club interior
What was intended to be an excursion into Bushwick yesterday afternoon left us stranded in Williamsburg as the L train chose to go no farther than Lorimer. So we began with a beer at Union Pool, into which I’ve not stepped foot in many years, and whose backyard has greatly improved.

We followed that with a visit to Bushwick Country Club, new to us both. Not in Bushwick, nor a country club, but a cheeky dive bar, where plastic dinosaurs serve as proxies for the second of each two-for-one happy hour drink. The tall narrow window that looks onto the yard brightens the otherwise cave-like interior during afternoon hours.

(Dr Who was on the television)

In the yard, a petite mini-golf course crumbles voluptuously, having seen better days before the ravages of seasons. No doubt it retains some of its erstwhile cheer on sunnier days.
mini golf Haunted House at Bushwick Country Club
mini golf slide at Bushwick Country Club

What Stella looked like

Brooklyn in snow
Here are some quiet scenes from my neighborhood yesterday, after the thundersnow and wind calmed. The storm never really reached any kind of pitch, but many cancellations were planned, so it was a peaceful day. I spent all but 30 minutes of it indoors; worked an 11 hour day. My wander through the snow was pretty pleasant, however brief.
Brooklyn in snow
Brooklyn in snow
Brooklyn in snow

A wander through Gowanus

photo of apartment windows
Some geometric compositions from a quiet wander last Saturday, late afternoon as the light drained from the sky.
photo of apartment windowsThis building has such gorgeous moulding.
bridge girdersbridge girders
bridge girdersThe Ninth Street subway overpass is weirdly beautiful, too.bridge girders
Morbid anatomy facade
Morbid Anatomy facade