Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Spent the day Monday with my youngest, his niece—my granddaughter—and her mother, my oldest. They came to visit us here in Jersey (from Massachusetts where they live).

We spent part of the day hanging out in the park near my apartment, the one I sometimes post about taking walks through and digging so much.

We took her to the duck pond that, naturally, was full of ducks as well as water lilies and fish you could see swimming by just under the surface—it’s a shallow pond.

My youngest wanted to show his niece the turtle(s) that live there. No luck spying them. But what we did see, though it took a minute to actually figure out what we were seeing, was a tree full of bright green parrots (officially “parakeets” though they aren’t the tiny birdcage pet kind, they’re Latin American green parrots with a touch of gray and almost the size of the kind of parrot that “wants a cracker” in the movies).

There was a whole family or tribe of them, filling this one tree with their raucous sounds—which I interpreted as almost laughter—as they picked at berries growing from the tree’s branches and blended in so perfectly with the leaves of the tree that it took us a few minutes to make them out.

There was more fun over the more than twenty-four hours we spent together, including a trip to the city to show my granddaughter where her mother lived part of her childhood, on Sullivan Street below Houston in what was becoming back in those days known as “Soho”—but which we residents called “So What” or “So So”—and now is almost unrecognizable.

The church is still there, but the candy store across the street from it is now some Tibetan store. The cheese shop and one of the two butchers are gone, as is the bakery and the Italian deli and the two social clubs, each anchoring separate ends of the street.

Lots of changes. Just like in Washington Square which recently had a remodeling and is much more flowerful and user friendly, especially the little playground where my youngest and one of his oldest Jersey friends entertained my granddaughter with games of hide and seek (her choice) and even incorporated another little girl her age into the game.

They played in the fountain in the center of the square as well, getting soaking wet, a relief in the incredible heat and humidity. And then we hit John’s Pizzaria on Bleecker Street, still there after all these years and a few expansions.

Back when we lived in the city in the ‘70s it was still just a cubbyhole with lines snaking down Bleecker Street of people waiting to get in—no reservations, my kind of place—to taste what Villagers and the rest of the downtown community continuously argued over then, which was better Ray’s thicker crust pizza on the corner of Eleventh Street and Sixth Avenue just across the street from P.S. 41, or John’s brick oven thin crust down on Bleecker near Seventh Avenue.

Hey, it still tasted great, and they let my little guy and his buddy carve their names and initials in the walls of the booth alongside decades of other carvings. Sweet trip to the city, beautiful visit, lots of memorable moments.

But maybe the most memorable was discovering a tree full of bright green parrots cavorting in one of the trees in our local park in Jersey, parrots that I’ve read have migrated as far North as Connecticut these days, something to do with “global warming” or as some call it, “climate change”—but then we can’t be sure there really is such a thing according to rightwingers. These parrots just decided they liked the climate better in Jersey these past few years. Who can blame them?


TRADEBUM said...

what a great sighting and trip into city. glad you all had a nice visit.
listened to cubby today finally.
made me grateful for you. he is alive and kicking.

Great Parrot Cages said...

Having worked in the Amazon Jungle drilling for oil for 2 years, I became enchanted with parrots. Great that you don't have to leave Jersey to encounter them in the wild. Sounds like a wonderful day with family, the best kind. Enjoyed the trip down memory lane, even though your longtime landmarks were gone.

JIm said...

Maplewood Parrots

It is more likely that the parrots are fugitives from the local Petsmart. I can see Big Al leading a night time raid.

JIm said...

Sarah seems to be the politician/commentator most aware of what works in America. She is shinning a light on the Global Warming Crowds leader Obama's hate of American industry. He is sending American tax payer money to Brazil for oil development, but blocks development in the US.


gatewaypundit.blogspot.com - 3 hours ago
Sarah Palin Pummels Team Obama Over Funding Foreign Oil Development
Sarah Palin pummeled Team Obama over the news yesterday that they will fund Brazilian offshore oil development and research but deny US companies access to oil deposits off our shores. From her Facebook page, via Free Republic : YOUR TAX DOLLARS HARD AT WORK: FIRST CARS, NOW FOREIGN OIL. ...

Ed Baker said...

AWWW MAN! I got tears in my olde eyes..

1970's Houston Street
where I "hung out"

my friend (Pauline) had a cold-water walk-p right at 2 nd and Houston ("Howston")

89 East 2nd St

geeze in my mind I am walking around with y'all
from about 1969 - 1976

and that fountain in Washington Square (I think it was Washington Square...where always strange doings and goings ons were going on 24 hours a daze))

been in that fountain in August fully clothed

now Pauline is Fay (changed her name) and has a loft over on Vestry

just across from The Hudson River Boat thing.

wanna see a little book done re: that area? see on my site THE CITY 1974

oppps the server serving my site ain't connecting!

harryn said...

sounds great - my best to caitlin ...
the birds sound amazing - so adaptable, and they audibly illustrate klee's 'twittering machine' ...
i doubt that jersey is their destination point on a migratory route unless obama has been negotiating some free trade agreements with latin america we don't know about - something else for that other species of rightwing parrots to screech about i guess ...

JIm said...

Drop in world temperatures fuels global warming debate

By Robert S. Boyd | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON — Has Earth's fever broken?
Official government measurements show that the world's temperature has cooled a bit since reaching its most recent peak in 1998.
According to data from the National Space Science and Technology Center in Huntsville, Ala., the global high temperature in 1998 was 0.76 degrees Celsius (1.37 degrees Fahrenheit) above the average for the previous 20 years.
So far this year, the high has been 0.42 degrees Celsius (0.76 degrees Fahrenheit), above the 20-year average, clearly cooler than before.