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    November 30. Susan, Christine and I saw two of three new Italian plays at the Cherry Lane theatre. I actually thought I had booked the third offer which was a Pirandello revival but we were all glad that we did not miss “The Journey I Never made” and “Story of Love and Soccer”. Both excellently translated and powerfully acted. The first is a thought provoking and somewhat unsettling portrayal of the current social turmoil and the second is modern thriller about corrupt sport and the triumph of evil over good. We were able to chat with one of the actors about the plays after the show. Before the show we ate lobster and oysters at the  “Fish” restaurant which was only two blocks from the theatre!

     

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Strange Encounter at the Waterford

It was a 9o degree day and my kitchen window was wide open. I don’t have any children living with me so I am not bound by the “Window Guard” requirement. However, I do keep all the other windows limited to the 4″ opening to prevent the possibility of things being sucked out by a high wind. And, in any case, my apartment has a balcony so that, once out of the sliding door, there is nothing to prevent anyone leaning too far over over the rail and taking the 400 foot drop to the sidewalk.

Imagine my double-take, then, when I looked up from my lunch and encountered a man standing outside the window looking in! With the sun reflecting off the glass facade, working conditions were brutal. He and his partner were soaked in sweat and had stopped by to refresh themselves. I handed them glasses of well-iced soda which was mightily well received. They drank and chatted a little, completely oblivious of the enormous nothingness below them. I dare not look at the thin wires and insubstantial-looking boards that their lives depended on! They finished their sodas and continued on their way.

There's a man at the window!

His cradle partner

Down to earth

The explanation for all this is that it is our turn again to be inspected and to have any dangerous conditions in the building’s facade rectified. This inspection is mandated every five years by New York law.  As part of this work, all balconies are off limits and the doors have been roped shut from the outside. And, of course, all balcony furnititure has had to brought into the living rooms:

The living room is less tidy than I would have it

Forbidden Balcony!

As it happens, the start of the inspection work coincided with the Waterford owners AGM. Our Board arranged to have representatives of the Building Contractor as well as the MTA  to answer our urgent questions. Many of us are wondering when, if at all, we are going to see trees growing on our sidewalks again. At the moment, the bridging required by the Building Contractor is preventing The Tunnelers from drilling out a retaining wall along the front of the Waterford.  When this work does start, 93rd Street will be closed and the only entrance to the building will be through the garden from 2nd Avenue. The meeting, in general, came away resigned to the thought that there was still no light at the end of the tunnel. But, in spite of the difficult conditions, our Board, led by Samir Abourjeili, President, is doing a first-class job of running the Building for us.

Board President, Samir Abourjeili opening the proceedings

Pre-meeting refreshments were arranged with special care and discrimination by our building Superintendent Freddy Alvarez

Discussions

Viron doubled as our bartender for the evening. Normally of cheerful countenence, he said that his expression here was reflecting just plain tiredness. He had been at work in since 5.30 a.m.!

Building Management, MTA and Building Contractor representatives

Thoughtful owner

Our super Super getting some of the heat!

Agree or not?

The Waterford has contracted with Gumley-Haft to manage the day to day administration of the building including the staff of 17 needed to run it. Here is James Colon, our Account Executive explaining some of the requirements of building owners

The President took pains to assuage owners' concerns even as he was leaving

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6 Responses

  1. WoW! I couldn’t be working out on that cradle for “all the tea in china’! I have always had an irrational fear of heights. Its a good job Holly and Charlie don’t.as they are doing a Bunjee Jump at the O2 in London on Sunday. I think they are planning to surprise Colin with a jump too,as it’s fathers day. Should be fun,will send you some pics. XXX

  2. Wendy. Nor I! I believe my fear of heights is quite rational and, as the old joke would have it; The more firma the less terra. Looking forward to receiving the pictures. What is the O2?

  3. I love your “strange encounter”, Ben. What a surprise that must have been! I cannot imagine working under those conditions, let alone looking so comfortable! I know they appreciated your offer of cold drinks. Back when I was delivering the mail, I always welcomed offers from my customers on those sweltering summer days. Speaking of which, I hope you and Ethel have been able to stay cool!

    • Bonnie. Ethel did blackmail me into putting all the air-conditioners on one day but otherwise I stay in the Park under the trees as much as can.
      Your mention of your mail-lady days reminded me of my friend, Elizabeth Burton’s, poem entitled “Tam The Postie”. It is about her father’s life as a postman in the Scottish Border town of Earleston. The weather there is much cooler so, with him, it was cups of tea the housewives offered him on his rounds. And, at Christmas time they would add a touch of Scotch to it for good measure! I wonder if you read it? I find it very touching. You can still access it under “Artwork” in the Categories widget at the top right-hand of the page. Love, Ben

      • Bonnie. Forgive my memory! Ethel reminds me that I sent you a copy of “Tam the Postie” about a year ago. Ben

  4. Ben, I’ve been remiss in responding. Yes, I loved Elizabeth’s poem! A wonderful tribute to her father. Much love to you and Ethel. Bonnie

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