New York

[090] Twins

I’ve logged nearly 150 miles in the pool since November, which is the good news. The bad news? My favorite swim trunks have been degraded to the point of scandal. So, today I found myself in the shopping nirvana that is the Century City mall, in pursuit of a swimsuit. I had done my homework and headed directly to H&M, which had what I was looking for. Sadly, I tried on three different styles in size MEDIUM before succumbing to the harsh reality: I still require the LARGE. You know, I’ve heard that they take liberties with women’s size labels. Why don’t men get this courtesy? What about size labels such as POTENT or BRILLIANT or PROSPEROUS?

[Sidebar] A thousand years ago, I had my first big-city job in New York and bought my first big-city winter overcoat. It was a brown tweed number, trench coat style with wide lapels. I felt very cool while keeping warm that winter. One cold night, I stopped to see my friend Kip at his parents’ house. His father opened the door and gave me a hearty welcome. “Steve! Well, you’re looking prosperous!” Now, I knew I had overpaid for that coat, but in that moment I felt entirely vindicated. I suddenly hoped summer would never come. It was some time before I learned the crushing truth: “prosperous” is a polite synonym for “fat” – as in “well fed” – used by very nice-if-somewhat-snarky New England WASPs. (I lived.)

Anyhoo, success. I found my swimwear for the next several hundred miles. But then it took longer to get to the cash register than it had taken me to get to the mall. And I was nearly asphyxiated when the charming little girls behind me smashed a vile vial of glitter nail polish on the floor. Their mother pretended not to know them while the employee (who would otherwise have been ringing up my purchase, thankyouverymuch) discovered the near impossibility of wiping up glitter-infused nail lacquer from a white marble floor.

And no, I will not model my new swimming costume for you. Maybe next time… when I’m sufficiently less prosperous. Hey – this post is not even about swimwear, or overcoats, or child terrorists. Hello! Focus people, focus!

aerial-centuryplazaThat mall has an immense underground parking structure, and I’m always a little relieved to find my way to any exit. Today’s roulette put me on Constellation Blvd and I found myself looking up at the crisply striped twin towers of Century Plaza against an endlessly blue sky. (Sometimes, the blog post just writes itself.) Here’s an aerial shot to show you how these 500-foot tall wedges stand in relation to each other. The six angles produce ever changing communication between these two giant sculptures.

Once a New Yorker always a New Yorker (no matter how much ankle-deep slush I no longer have to step in) – so the first time I heard someone refer to Century Plaza as “the twin towers”… my reaction could be summed up as fuhgeddaboudit!

My stance on this has softened somewhat since learning that these twinned towers in LA share something rather significant with the iconic Twin Towers of the original World Trade Center in NYC: their parentage. The same architect, Minoru Yamasaki, designed these buildings. What’s more, they were built around the same time. WTC was finished in 1973; Century Plaza Towers opened two years later. And the family resemblance is striking. Yamasaki favored aluminum cladding and narrow dark windows. These two side-by-side shots show the similar design elements:


Of course, New York’s Twin Towers were far more massive and 2-1/2 times taller than Century Plaza Towers. But as I stood looking up at the interplay of the twins here in LA, I couldn’t help recalling the same strained neck while standing between the North and South Towers of WTC, once upon a time. There was a time when this would have made me sad… but today I found myself happy to visit the California cousins of those noble old New Yorkers.


WTC-twin towers

Towering Twins

Day 090 #100happydays

P.S. I have just traveled here from the future! Well, little more than a week after the original date of this post. Because I found another shot in the album from that day. I didn’t use it in this post, as the trees interfered with the clean lines of the architecture. But I like the juxtaposition of the natural and built environments. So I’ll just sneak it in here, and return to my proper place in the timeline.



The End (so far)

[070] NO’H8

There are two major St Patrick’s Day parades in this country, New York and Boston. These parades are organized by private fundraising organizations which continue to exclude participation by openly LGBT people and groups. In Boston it’s the Allied War Veteran’s (sic) Council; in NYC, the Ancient Order of Hibernians. These groups try to hide their bigotry behind the skirts of “religion” and “veterans”.

Because there are no Irish gays, no gay Catholics, no gay veterans, right?

stoutcomesoutIn 2014, though, this anti-gay bias has only been amplified by the lens of… 21st century morality and equality. Politicians in New York and Massachusetts have shunned the bigots’ parades – including the mayors of New York City and Boston. But now, the Allied This and Ancient That have suffered an even more grievous injury: ALL OF THEIR BEER SPONSORS HAVE PULLED OUT! That’s right. Heineken. Sam Adams. And – sure and begorra! – now GUINNESS has taken its creamy stoutness and gone home.

It’s sad, for so many reasons. Having pride in your Irish heritage is a wonderful thing. The Irish have contributed so much to American culture. Millions of Irish came to this country in waves of immigration from the early 1800s through the 1920s. And the Irish who came to this country seeking a better life met with the same hatreds that are directed at immigrants from Mexico today. It was ugly. And it persisted up until WWII. I saw it in my own family. My German grandparents had very little love for my Irish grandparents. So, I always wonder how people who have been so horribly mistreated and disrespected can have such short memories about how that felt. If you’re Irish and you think your proud heritage gives you the moral right to discriminate against others… you have forgotten your own history. The East Cost parade-makers should pay a visit to the Windy City.

bigotryhasnoplaceChicago has a great Irish-American celebration, including a green river and the gays. Imagine! Or, maybe they would like to see how they do it in Dublin. You know, the folks who invented being Irish? Yup. Shamrocks. Leprechauns. And gays. Oh my!

I salute the politicians and the sponsors who have decided not to participate in what has become a symbol of anti-gay bigotry in Boston and New York. To be sure, there’s little or no risk to pols or the ex-sponsors, given the strong majority support for equal treatment of LGBT Americans. But if it were that easy, everyone would be doing it. And Ford Motor Company is the only remaining major sponsor left. I wonder what Ford is waiting for? For as long as they sponsor these bigots, there won’t be any Ford in my future.

So, here’s wishing a Happy St Patrick’s Day to my Irish friends and family. I raise a Guinness to your health! And a Heineken! And a Sam Adams!

Day 070 #100happydays