Morning at Greenwich Point

2021.01.27: Looking East at the Long Island Sound from Tod’s Point beach (Canon Rebel T2i, 18mm, f/3.5, 1/30 s, ISO 200)

Greenwich Point is it’s official name, but almost everyone I know calls it Tod’s Point or, simply, Tod’s. Through the years it has been called by several names:

  • Prior to 1640 it was known as Monakawaye.
  • Some time after 1640 it became Elizabeth’s Neck – that name coming from Elizabeth Feaks one of the first settlers in Greenwich and who, ‘under the first Indian deed,’ became a part owner of the property.
  • Old Greenwich Point was the next name it had.
  • In the 1880’s and 90’s a New York banker started buying land plots on the point until he, basically, owned it all and it became known as Tod’s Point or, as Tod called his residence at the point, ‘Innis Arden’ (not the Innis Arden we are familiar with today in Greenwich).
  • In 1945 the Town of Greenwich bought the property and changed the name to Greenwich Point.

It’s a large property (about 140 acres); not as varied in the number of walking trails as, say, the smaller Pomerance; but still rich in things to see and do. There are:

  • the beach
  • remnants of the old Innis Arden estate
  • beautiful gardens maintained by the Garden Club of Old Greenwich
  • wildlife: deer, egrets, cormorants, seagulls, (pesky) Canadian geese, and horseshoe crabs come on shore on the beaches (unfortunately many die on the rocks, too)

On most days you can see Manhattan from the Point; on clear days (and evenings) that view is amazing!

The best thing about the point: the sunrises! Almost everyone from Greenwich with an Instagram account has posted at least one picture taken of the sunrise from Tod’s Point. Scroll through mine and you’ll find a period two summers ago when there were at least three almost every day

2021.01.27: Snow on the Beach at Tod’s Point (Canon Rebel T2i, 18mm, f/16, 30.0 s, ISO 200)

I took a walk there this morning to see what the beach would look like after last night’s snow. I wanted to get there before sunrise (7:09 today), though not expecting much from it because of the clouds. I was fortunate that the skies cleared up enough to get a few decent pictures, though.

2021.01.27: Fire, Water and Snow – Rising Sun at Greenwich Point (iPhoneXR, 4.25mm, f/1.8, 1/117s, ISO 100)

Because of the shoes I wore, I didn’t do much more than walk along the shore this morning experimenting with different shutter speeds and playing around.

2021.01.27: Spume at long exposure (Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm, f/16, 10.0 s, ISO 200)
2021.01.27: Spume via iPhone (iPhoneXR, 24mm, f/1.8, 1/29s, ISO 800)

2021.01.27: The Pavilion at Tod’s Point (Canon Rebel T2i, 18mm, f/16, 30.0 s, ISO 200)
2021.01.27: Took an 8 second exposure in which I ran in front of the lease and stood there for about 4 (Canon Rebel T2i, 24mm, f/24, 8.0 s, ISO 200)
1925 – J. Kennedy Tod from The Quarterly Magazine; July, 1925 (Vol. XIX, No. 4); published by the Columbia University-Presbyterian Hospital Alumnae Association

SIDE NOTE/FUN FACT: in 1906 Mr. & Mrs. Tod began offering the use of Innis Arden Cottage and a location on the property called ‘the Camp’ for the use of nurses from Columbia/Presbyterian as a weekend/summer getaway for a fee of $1.00 paid to the school. The practice continued well after his death in 1925 until at least the late 30s. The alumnae publication, The Quarterly Magazine, often published small pieces by some of those nurses relating their experiences at Innis Arden, including the time they tried to sing a song of thanks to Mr. Tod outside his office. Tod, being a very private man, did not open the door.

Pomerance Reserve, Cos Cob, Connecticut

2021.01.26: Cos Cob Pond, Pomerance Reserve

Originally the property of Ernest Seton, one of the founding pioneers of the Boy Scouts of America, the Town of Greenwich (Connecticut, USA) acquired this 100+ acre property in 2002 and developed it into a public park with a handful of trails through woods and ruins of the old mansion and buildings. It is almost seamlessly connected to the Montgomery Pinetum, adding another 60+ acres of paths.

2021.01.26: Morning sky on the trail at Pomerance Reserve

Except for a few signs pointing to either Orchard Street (east) or the Montgomery Pinetum (west) scattered here and there, one could easily get lost their first couple of times wandering these trails which criss-cross each other without much else in the way of guidance – I did my first time out and, then, once again showing the place to my niece when I thought I knew every path. Quite embarrassing.

2020.12.27: Wood Pecker, Pomerance Reserve, Cos Cob, CT

What I love about this place:

  • It’s less than two miles from home so, in the Spring through Fall I often walk here,
  • It’s set off far enough from the busy part of town so that, even on the periphery of the park, mostly what you hear are birds, the wind and running water,
  • There are neat ruins of the old mansion and other structures [history buffs: Barbara W. Tuchman wrote The Guns of August while living here! I read this book in my late teens – I didn’t read very much of anything in those days, so it brought forth a sweet memory to see that fact noted on one of the plaques on the standing outer wall shown below]
2020.12.27: Ruins of the old mansion, called ‘Wyndygoul’
2020.12.17: Bridge connecting Wyndygoul to another part of the property

More recently I’ve been taking my camera for a walk there to take long-exposure photos of the water running through the brooks and off of Cos Cob Pond. I’ve only recently started taking pictures like this so, though I love the results so far, I know I’ve a bit to learn about setting the right shutter speed, aperture and selecting the best ISO setting (that digital cameras have an ISO setting is still baffling to me, but I understand it).

Below are a few I took today & one from earlier this month (you can find more on my insta (cheap plug): https://www.instagram.com/joearf). Enjoy and let me know what you think – very open to and appreciative of constructive criticism and tips.

2021.01.02: Runoff from Cos Cob Pond, Pomerance Reserve
2021.01.26: Ice, Nature’s Jewelry. Pomerance Reserve, Cos Cob, CT
2021.01.26: Running Water, Pomerance Reserve
2021.01.26: Running Water, Pomerance Reserve

Postcards from Brooklyn

2021.01.24: Anchorage Place, near Plymouth Street

Saturday my daughter passed along an invitation from her boyfriend for me to come down to Brooklyn and ‘hang out.’ She said he was eager to show off his new white Negroni recipe. If you keep reading you’ll find neither the recipe nor any pictures of the drink here, but I will tell you that it was delicious, garnished with cumquats – three stuck onto a toothpick, as like olives in a martini – which I enjoyed eating during and after the drink was finished.

Recently, I had purchased a Joby TelePod tripod/selfie stick that came with a Bluetooth shutter release – I call it ‘the button.’ This gave me an idea: I prepared for the drive by rigging a cheap (ultra cheap!) mount for my phone on the rearview mirror using two purple rubber bands from the super market that had held together bundles of asparagus. I opened the camera app and got on the road.

I got a little push-button happy and took something like 140 pictures on the way down, another 200 on the way back. I edited and used 24 of them, posted them on instagram (https://www.instagram.com/joearf) and deleted the rest (well, not entirely – they’re all on my desktop hard drive where they’re automatically downloaded to from iCloud)

After driving around for a while looking for a free space, I parked in a garage on Front Street. As I was a little early, I decided to take my camera for a walk.

I tried to give these an old postcard look.

Most pictures shown here were taken with my Canon T2i (a couple with my iPhone) and edited with Snapseed.

2021.01.24: Brooklyn Queens Expressway (love the near, modern, building on the right though the older, farther one’s pretty cool, too)
2021.01.24: BQE, Exit 28, looking at the Brooklyn Bridge
2021.01.24: Anchorage Place, looking south from Plymouth Street
2021.01.24: Corner of Plymouth Street and Anchorage Place
2021.01.24: A view of the Brooklyn Bridge from Main Street Park
2021.01.24: The Manhattan Bridge
2021.01.24: Pedestrian Traffic on Water Street (outside Butler)

Clickbait

Yesterday I saw one of those clickbait posts promising to shock me with what 10 kids said about what love means. Decided to put something like that together for one of my rare text posts:We asked ten singers to tell us how they feel about love. Their answers will shock (SHOCK!) you.’ and here’s what you get (without the ads):

  1. J. Geils: It’s messy. You can’t hide from it and, when it finds you, you’re going to cry. [source: ‘Love Stinks’]
  2. Englebert Humperdink: You know that flower that only grows in the early spring? It’s a rose, I think… yeah, isn’t it a splendored thing? To me, that’s love. [source: ‘Love is a Many Splendored Thing’]
  3. The Captain (and Tennille): Someday your loos will be gone and when that day comes, love will be the glue that continues to bind us. [source: ‘Love Will Keep Us Together’]
  4. The Beatles (all of them): it’s really all you need, love is. You can’t buy it, which is why we don’t care too much for money, though we were rolling in the stuff for some time (those of us who aren’t rolling in our graves still are) [source: ‘All You Need is Love’, and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’]
  5. Dean Martin: Love, or as I like to call it, amore, is that feeling you get when the moon comes into sight like a very large pizza – like the ones you get at Sal’s in New Haven [source: ‘That’s Amore’]
  6. Foreigner: We really don’t know. Give us a chance to think about it and we’ll get back to you. Or… maybe you could show me? [source: ‘I Want to Know What Love Is’]
  7. Carlton Carpenter & Debbie Reynolds: Aba, daba, daba, daba, daba, daba, dab – or at least that’s what we heard a monkey once say to a chimp. [source: ‘Aba Daba Honeymoon’]
  8. Franky Lymon: Oooh wah, oooh wah! It’s a losing game, I tell ya. It’s a cryin’ shame, I tell ya. It’s for suckers. [source: ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’]
  9. Stacy Lattisaw: To Franky’s point above, to be loved and fooled is a crying shame! You know, I once found love on a bi-directional thoroughfare, but it flew out the window just as I got on the expressway. [source: ‘Love on a Two-Way Street’]
  10. Lady Gaga & Tony Bennet: Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s sad, sometimes its quiet, sometimes it’s mad. You know, sometimes tearful, sometimes gay (in both senses of the word), sometimes… eh, you get it, but – BUT! – it’s always beautiful [source: ‘But Beautiful’]

Be Careful What You Wish For – I Wasn’t

This morning, as I was helping my wife unpack the groceries and putting the bags they came in aside for later folding, I started to think about Rod Serling and William Sydney Porter (O. Henry), both of whom wrote stories about people who made wishes which came true, but with unexpected, sometimes disastrous, consequences. And I remembered that sometime in October, not long after Connecticut had banned them, I wished that stores still gave out plastic bags. I was down to my last few and they were handy for the small garbage cans I have all over the house and to take out the recycling. I felt a little bit anxious knowing that I would soon be out.

Now, it’s the beginning of May, well into the COVID-19 nuttiness. Most supermarkets discourage the use of personal pages and many started handing out plastic again. My wish has come true: I’ve got a closet full of them. And, I’m wondering: did I cause COVID-19 by wishing for plastic bags again?

Stuff and Nonsense at Starbucks

Decided to take a quick trip to my not-so-local, but favorite Starbucks.

A fairly new person is on the register, Ty. Frankly, he’s lasted a lot longer than I thought he would – I’d given him until Friday of his first week, but it’s close to the end of his second. Still has no clue. Still slower than any metaphorically slow thing you can think of. Still gets orders wrong the first few times you say it. He asks what I’m having and I give my usual order: iced triple espresso, in a grande cup with extra ice.

‘Okay,’ he says, and starts keying things into the register. ‘So that’s a grande what?’

‘No,’ I say, ‘an iced triple espresso…’

[tap-tap-tap] ‘Caramel espresso…’ [tap-tap]

‘Iced! Iced triple espresso.’

[tap-tap-tap-tap-tap] ‘Okay, iced triple espresso…’ [tap]

‘In a grande cup with extra ice.’

‘Ok’ [tap-tap-tap] ‘So a iced triple espresso in a grande cup?’

‘Yes,’ I say. ‘With extra ice.’ [stares blankly into my face] ‘It’s fine,’ I say, ‘it’s fine.’

He does a bit more tapping and I see ‘add shot’ and ‘grande cup’ go across and then everything zeroes out and he starts entering again. Eventually, its over. The price comes out to what I usually pay, so I figure: all good.

Go to the end of the bar to wait for my drink. Eventually, the barista calls ‘triple espresso’ and holds out a hot triple espresso in a short cup – no ice anywhere in the vicinity of the cup. I palm my face and say ‘no, no, no.’ Immediately she laughs and asks ‘what did you really order?’

So, they know. THEY KNOW! They know how bad this bozo is and, still they keep him on.

Noir-ish, Part 5

I was now intrigued by the idea that the hot babe who dropped that explosive load in my office might, somehow, be related to the dead doctor. But how?

As far as I knew he wasn’t married and had no children. I remember a conversation we had one night at the bar across from the train station. He had just moved into the offices next to mine. I spotted him going into Magee’s and thought I’d follow him in and try to get to know him.

I found out his name was Sydney Small and, a couple of beers in, that he was from Schenectady, a city I hate simply because it’s name sounds disgusting. Makes me think of snot coming out of someone’s anus: slimy, and a yellowish brown. Schenectady… yech! But I didn’t mention it.

‘So, Sydney,’ I asked, ‘married? Kids?’

‘Not as far as you know,’ he said. He was right and, at the time, I didn’t care enough to find out, but times change.

The label listed ‘Ima’s’ birthdate as 10 of March, 1992, young enough to be a daughter. I was hoping that, though the name was a fake, the date was legit.

I walked back over to tell Margaret I was off to Schenectady. ‘Eeew,’ she said.

‘I know, I almost gagged saying it. If you don’t hear from me in a day or so, tell Mike where I went. It’ll give you something to talk about – the man’s a horrible conversationalist – and give him this envelope.’ It was a printout of the picture of the label.

‘This about the bombing?’

‘Could be,’ I said.

It was a short walk to Pennsylvania Station from my office across the street. I bought a ticket for the Empire Service. Three hours later I arrived in Schenectady feeling like I should be holding my nose as I step out onto the platform.

Getting out of the station, I hailed a cab. Didn’t hail so much as nearly get run over by an over eager townie in a yellow car. I asked him to take me to the hospital. ‘Hey! I didn’t even touch you!’

‘Just drive, idiot.’

‘Okay,’ he said. ‘Welcome to Schenectady!’ I rolled down the window and threw up on the street.

First opened in 1885, Ellis Hospital is now an ultra-modernized complex of buildings on Nott Street, a street whose name-resemblance to the word ‘snot’ did nothing to help my stomach stop churning at the thought of being in Schenectady. I gave the kid a fifty and told him to wait, and got out of the car clutching my belly, running to the closest trash can.

Once inside the hospital, I asked at information desk for the records department and was sent down the hall. There I was greeted by a petite blond with a nose the size of the M-104 bus. I couldn’t help staring and she noticed, smiled, blushed, and touched her hair in that way that indicates she thought I was staring at something other than her huge honker.

‘Hi,’ I said, ‘I’m up from New York. I’m working a murder case and trying to dig up some information. I was hoping you could help me.’

‘New York, huh. Well welcome to Sch…’

‘DONT SAY IT!’ I shouted.

‘Oh my! Are you all right?’

‘Sorry,’ I said, ‘it’s been a long train ride. Anyway, I hoping to see your birth records for March 1972.’

‘Oh, I’m sorry, but I can’t show you those.’

Giving her my best, trying not to look nauseated, smile I said, ‘Oh c’mon, surely you can do something. This is a murder investigation I’m on.’

‘Well, maybe I can ask Minerva, my boss’ She turns around and calls out to the other office, ‘Minnie, can you help me? I have a detective from the City here and he needs to see some records.’

From the other office out steps the pierced and painted beauty who’d so beguiled me earlier that morning. The name etched on the frosted glass in the door was ‘Minerva Small.’

‘Minnie Small,’ I said to myself, ‘you’ve got to be shitting me.’

Noir-ish, Part 4

The name on the label, ‘Klein II, Ima’ rang both a false and an oddly evocative note; like it should’ve meant something. To be sure, I walked over to the Doc’s office to check with Margaret.

‘Hey,’ I said, walking in. ‘You doing all right?’

‘Oh, you know… just another normal day at the office. Shit explodes here every day!’

‘Okay, okay. Sorry. Listen, Maggie…’

‘Uh oh, you called me Maggie. Last time you called me that, I couldn’t sit down for a week. What do you want?’

‘No, no… nothing like that. It’s just, I think I remembered that the dame who left that sample in my office might have said her name. Wanted to check with you before I told the cops. Did Doctor Small have any patients named Klein?’

‘Hah, that’s funny! I don’t think so,’ and as she said that, I realized what nagged me about the name.

Where I grew up in South America everybody spoke German. Everybody, expect the occasional Hebrew speaking Israeli visitors who always seemed to swoop in at night and just as suddenly vanish along with someone’s grandfather. Anyway, it suddenly dawned on me that ‘Klein’ means ‘small’ in German and, now, the fake name made sense: ‘I’m a Klein, too!’

‘Guess, I was wrong. Thanks, Maggie! Gotta go!’

‘Lou, wait!’

‘What?’

Margaret looked troubled. ‘Your friend, the detective…’

‘Mike?’

‘Yeah, Mike. He left me his card.’

‘Yeah, cops do that. In case you remember anything you forgot to remember when he asked you if you remembered anything.’

‘Well,’ she said, still troubled, ‘on the back of it he wrote “I enjoy ‘a dish best served cold’.”’

‘God, that’s a lot of single and double quotes for one sentence, Maggie!’

‘Hey! Don’t blame me. Anyway, under that he wrote “call me.” Do you think I should?’

‘Listen Margaret, Mike is an a baboon of a man, who couldn’t detect a fart in a crowded men’s room. He’s sloppy, old fashioned, somewhat illiterate, and uses trite, antiquated expressions; but he’s my best friend and he’s good people. Sure you should call him. Just don’t ask me what.’

‘Uh, ummm. Okay…’

I left and went back to my picture of the label. Let the detecting begin!

Noir-ish, Part 3

I was back at my desk five minutes when there was an explosion next door. Doctor Small and his examination table came flying though the paper-thin wall separating our offices, the table landing on his head.

I ran out to check on Gloria, who was running up the hall from the elevators. She was just about to go out to get some lunch when it happened.

The fire department came, cops came, soon there was even the FBI. Detective Mike Johnson, hard-nosed cop and and some-time friend, came in to give the doctor a once over. ‘What happened over there, Mike?’

‘Looks like someone placed some C4 in the lab box. The receptionist says that there was only one thing in there: a stool specimen.’

‘C4, huh? That some powerful shit’ I said.

Mike smiled. ‘The dame tells me you brought in the goods to the doc’s.’ (Mike got his detective training from 1940s movies).

‘Yeah, that’s right. It was left with me by mistake. Woman came in, thought I was the doctor, I guess.’

‘Know who it was?’

‘No, Mike. Never seen her before. Good looking dame if you like tall, tattooed brunettes with multiple piercings – some visible, some more probably hidden under a tight t-shirt and jeans.’

‘I see,’ he said jotting something down.

‘I do, by the way.’

‘Do what?’

‘Like tall, tattooed brunettes with multiple piercings. I asked Gloria if she could tell me anything about her, but she went ethical on me.’

‘Gloria. That’s the dish next door?’

‘Yeah, Mike. You hungry?’

‘I’ll say,’ said Mike.

‘Careful, that’s one meal you don’t want to burn.’

‘I’ll keep that in mind. Anyway, the lab box and its contents were completely destroyed. The label on the specimen was burned. FBI are here trying to get a bead on where the C4 may have come from – they say that they might be able to tell from the chemical signature or something. The receptionist says she doesn’t remember the name. Did you look at the label before handing it over?’

‘No, Mike. Wish I had thought of it.’

Mike said ‘ok’ and turned to leave. ‘See you at the Social Club?’ I asked.

‘Mebbe.’ Mike likes saying ‘mebbe.’ Picked it up from some Raymond Chandler novel, he tell me.

After he left, I took my phone out of my pocket and opened the photos app. The picture I took of the label was clear. Name, date of birth and patient ID. Sorry, Mike; this case is too interesting to pass over to professional idiots.

Noir-ish Part 2

She looked up from the desk as I walked in. ‘I don’t have time for your crap this morning, Lou.’

‘You’re in luck, Gloria,’ I said, holding out the bag I‘d been left holding. ‘ This is someone else’s crap. Woman left it in my office by accident.’

‘Humph!’ She took the bag out of my hand and turned to put it in the pick-up box for the lab pickup.

I’m a man who appreciates the finer things in life. As she bent over to put it in the box, I appreciated how fine a figure she had.

‘Well?’ This wasn’t the playful ‘well’ from I got from the girl before. This was an the ‘well’ of a woman who’s welcome I had overstayed the second I’d walked into the door.

Gloria didn’t much care for me. It hadn’t always been that way. When I first moved into the office next door, I met her in the elevator going down to lunch. It wasn’t long before we were going down to eat things that weren’t on any restaurant menu. I’m a bit of a klutz, however, and one night I guess I burned her ass one too many times with the curling iron (long story) and she told me she never wanted to see me again. Mistakenly, I assumed she meant she wanted me to blindfold her during sex. She didn’t.

‘I wonder what you can tell me about the woman who left that. I suspect she may be tied to a case I’m working on.’

‘HIPAA,’ Glori said.

‘Yes, they were nice,’ I said, ‘but what can you tell me about her?’

‘You idiot, HIPAA; not hips! Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It means I can’t discuss our patients with you or anyone else. I don’t think I can ever tell you whether she’s a woman or not.’

‘Oh, she’s a woman, all right.’ I said, perhaps with a little too much of a gleam in my eye.

‘Case, huh? I’ve seen that look before. Get out of my office, da Silva.’ As I started out the door, she called, ‘Hey, Lou’

‘Yeah.’

‘Don’t get her too near the toaster oven.’