Saturday, December 18, 2004

Pampered Park Avenue Pets at Central Presbyterian
Tomorrow evening is the annual Blessing of the Animals at Central Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue at 64th St. here in New York. While other churches (St. John the Divine, for one) hold this event in the fall, closer to St. Francis’s Feast Day on October 4, I like this one held every year a week or so before Christmas.

There’s something about everyone all decked out for the holidays (I’m talking gussied-up pooches, pusses, parrots and all other manner of pets as well as the 'well-heeled' Presbyterian people) and the posh Park Avenue locale that make this a positively perfect place for this affair. Be sure to stop around tomorrow for, uh, pictures.

How much you want to bet someone brings a picture of Pale Male to the proceedings? I'm printing one now ...

Everyone, meet Anthony …
Anthony is the videographer on the left. He was hired by Richard Cohen to videotape all the demonstrators opposite 927 Fifth. Not only a blatant intimidation tactic, this is another lame attempt by Mr. and Mrs. Paula Zahn to make themselves out to be the real victims in the nest restoration hubbub.

The Cohen-Zahn’s were able to buy a front page story from the Post, unfairly accusing Mary Tyler Moore of siding with the bird-lovers out of spite (see my response here>). "She has a big ax to grind," said a board source. "A lot of her activism is bent on vengeance after the co-op board turned down a potential buyer for her apartment." You don’t have to read too closely to see this is not a “news story” at all. Go through the list of residents at 927 and you can pretty much figure out that their unnamed board source=Richard Cohen.

So just after the Subway Photo Ban protest at Grand Central (more on this later), I went up to 927 and was told by several people that the Audubon Society has officially withdrawn support of the vigils, as they feel that an agreement has been reached; though their website still lists the vigil schedule, so this may be wrong. I sent an email to NYC Aububon asking what their official position was, and what actions would the Society take if the proposed design was not back in place by Tuesday. I got back a form letter with the subject line" Victory for Pale Male." Here is what they said:

Victory for Pale Male!
After meeting with NYC Audubon and National Audubon, the co- op board of 927 Fifth Avenue has agreed to return the spikes that held the nest in place to their original location.
Thanks to you and the thousands of other Pale Male supporters, who wrote to elected officials and the co-op board, signed our petition, and came out to the vigils, Pale Male will be able to rebuild.
Pale Male and Lola have been circling over the building every day since the nest was taken down, and have been seen bringing twigs to the spot where the nest once was. Once the spikes are in place, their efforts to rebuild will not be in vain.
We hope we can count on you to participate in future efforts to protect New York City's wild birds, as your involvement is truly effective!
Thank you,
NYC Audubon

Someone from the Sierra Club brought a banner for the barricades at the protest site. I’ve just been to the Sierra Club website and can’t find anything resembling a statement as to their position on the nest unrest. I'm waiting for a response to the email I sent them asking what their position is.
Here's a shot of the scaffolding that 927 has hoisted up to where the nest used to be.
As you can see, it is essentially blocking partial access to the nest area, and perhaps not only serving to make it appear as though 927 is doing the right thing, but also to frighten the hawks away. Pale Male and Lola were spotted circling the area yesterday afternoon, but they have not been spotted with any twigs in at least a few days, according to two protesters who have been at the vigils every day.

Wouldn't it be great if the hawks started to rebuild their nest on the scaffolding?

More Pale Male news here:
and here:

Forward letters supporting Lincoln Karim to his attorney
Dino J. Lombardi
52 Duane Street, 7th Floor, New York, New York 10007

Friday, December 17, 2004

“… Take a load off Fanny … and put the load right on me.”
Thoughts on "The Last Waltz" Part One.

Thanks to its use in a Cingular/ATT ad, “The Weight,”released by The Band in 1968, is getting much deserved attention. I’ve always been fascinated with this song; it’s biblical, it’s witty, it’s filled with references to real life events and people in the song –writer’s (Robbie Robertson) life. Please read Peter Viney’s brilliant piece on “The Weight” which includes insightful quotes from Robertson himself as well as Levon Helm and other Band members about the song and its meaning.

I’d been seeing the ads featuring “The Weight” for a few weeks when, one night last week while channel surfing, I stumbled into “The Last Waltz” on Turner Classic Movies. (More on Dylan's participation in TLW and my experience seeing him live in November of 2004 coming soon here.) I’ve had several of the numbers from TLW soundtrack on my iPod since I got it this blessed gadget, including the Mavis/Pops Staples gospel infused collaboration of “The Weight,” but I’d forgotten what a powerful film TLW is. Scorsese was so careful not to make this just another concert film, as this was not just another concert; it was a 7 hour (7 hours! This makes even Bruce Springsteen’s legendary four hour sets seem brief) love letter to an era of rock and roll that will never return.

Maybe what strikes me the most in the film is the almost naïve amazement that Robbie Robertson displays every time a guest performer takes or leaves the stage. He seems genuinely surprised that the likes of Muddy Waters, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and Van Morrison would join them on stage. Back up band extraordinaire, The Band brings the best out in everyone, as some of the guests’ performances of signature songs are certainly the best ever. (Particularly Van Morrison’s rousing version of ‘Caravan,’ Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’ with Joni Mitchell’s ethereal background vocals, and Ms. Mitchell’s own ‘Coyote.’) You can rent or buy the DVD, but TCM is re-airing “The Last Waltz” on New Year’s Eve at 10pm, which means it will wrap up in the remaining minutes of 2004; what better time to hear Robertson say, at the concert’s end, “Good night… Goodbye!”

The Washington Post has reported that Lincoln Karim was fired from his job as an engineer at AP.
If anyone would like to contact the AP or speak in support of Lincoln, please forward your messages to Jo and she will make sure the letters get to his (former?) employer and attorney. You can also send a message directly to Lincoln via the Pale Male website .

Please also visit Marie Winn's page for more news. Marie is the author of "Red-Tails in Love A Wildlife Drama in Central Park" [1998 Pantheon, 1999 Vintage].

You may want to also send a thank you card to Mary Tyler Moore, who arranged for Lincoln's attorney and is the latest victim of Richard Cohen and the co-op board of 927's egomaniacal slander. A board source quoted in the Post claimed that MTM is siding with hawk advocates as revenge on the co-op board's rejection of a potential buyer for her apartment. "... she hasn't worked in ages. She just needs the money." The Post had a blurb earlier this year in their TV section about The Dick Van Dyke Show Revisited special co-starring MTM. See also this page for a comprehensive listing of Ms. Moore's work including all of these projects in just the last few years:
TV Revolution - Herself
Maids, Babes & Mothers (2004)
View - Herself -
Moore/Harmon (2004)
Greatest - Herself -
200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons (40 - 21) (2003)
Wayne Brady Show (syndicated) - Guest - 5/2/03 (2003)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Guest - Show #2479 (2003)
The View - Herself - December 5, 2002 (2002)
TVography - Herself -
The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Making It After All (2002)
Late Show with David Letterman - Guest - Show #1800 (2002)
Everybody Loves Raymond - Herself - Everybody Loves Raymond: The First Six Years (2002)
The Ellen Show - Mary -
Ellen's First Christmess (a.k.a. Ellen's First Christmas) (2001)
The View - Herself - July 17, 2001 (2001)
Late Show with David Letterman - Guest - Show #1464 (2000)
King of the Hill - Unknown - Won't You Pimai Neighbor? (2000)
Intimate Portrait - Herself - Betty White (2000).

Hasn't worked in years?

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Thursday, December 16, 2004

MTA Photography Ban

I'm still not sure how I feel about this, but I'll be going to Grand Central this Saturday to ride the rails and take some snaps.

Take a look at some recent photos taken in the New York city subway. I just can't imagine not being able to document this unique part of New York life.

I know that photographic documentation was a part of the planning of the Madrid bombing, but I keep thinking of this quote from Ben Franklin, "Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither." I'm still not sure what the answer is, but I'll be there on Saturday.

The Photographer's Rights

Pale Male Update:
Jo has the latest.

I feel so sorry so Lincoln, I know what it feels like to care about something so much that you lose your head a little. Please go to Pale Male and see the lovely sentiment ( I wish Paula Zahn's kids would see it) that now graces the home page, and while you're there, send Lincoln an email and give him some support. And as long as you're in an email sending mood, here's contact info for Paula Zahn at CNN.

Zahn might want to take this opportunity to teach her children about the right of Americans to protest against that with which we disagree. She might also tell them that sometimes the only recourse against free speech we don't like is more free speech. I'm wondering if she and husband Richard Cohen explained to their children what was going on outside their building, why people were demonstrating and why some of them might be mad at Mommy and Daddy. Perhaps if the children had fully understood the situation and believed in their little hearts that their parents were doing the right thing, they might have spoken back to Lincoln, told him to shut up. I know some grade-school age kids who would have no problem speaking up and defending something they think is right. Maybe the 'house of shame' chant rings true here, and a bit too loudly for some.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Kids, don't let this happen to you ...

This is what happens when you didn't bother to untangle the lights last year.

Also, Christmas in my building #3

Remember this?

Look at it now ...

Yesterday, Clyde Haberman wrote this>
Here's the response I sent to the Times this morning.

I'm not sure as to the point of Mr. Haberman's smug, pompous piece in yesterday's Times. Was it to shame the demonstrators who felt passionately about Pale Male into diverting their attention to 'more important' issues? Or was it simply a sarcastic riff? Protesting outside of 927 Fifth was in no way prioritizing any issues. It was/is one issue among many, many issues about which people care deeply for whatever reason.

One must pick one's battles. I cannot bring peace to the mideast, or clothe or house New York City's homeless. But I can, and, according to what the Times is now reporting, have, participated in making a positive change in the story of Pale Male. Mr. Haberman asked the homeless man he saw if he needed shelter, and the man didn't answer. And if he had said yes? Would Mr. Haberman have taken him home with him? Given him money for a hotel? Or introduced him to one of the demonstrators in an attempt to guilt them in to helping, and, "true to the New York spirit, make them someone else's problem?" What, exactly, would he have done?

I've given leftover food from restaurant meals, and, once, leftovers from Thanksgiving that my sister-in-law wrapped up for me, to the homeless. While traveling last month, my husband and I picked up the check of an elderly senior citizen who was dining alone in the booth next to us. I have also volunteered in a soup kitchen and an adult literacy program. I do what I can and I choose my battles. Stories like Pale Male are what give us all hope that other, larger problems can be solved. They make us feel that we can, and should, make a difference.

This letter was derived in large part from my response to J-Wild's comment here.

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For more details on Lincoln Karim's arrest, please read Jo's comment her blog.
Please also see What I See who has some great big photos of the Pale Male protests starting here>

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Times is now reporting that Pale Male will be allowed to rebuild his nest. Read the article here>

Please note that the Times got the Mary Tyler Moore quote "according to two people who were present." I heard it from Mary. Ha! I scoop the Times.

I really hope that this is straightened out now, I've got laundry to do, our Christmas tree is sitting here naked and I only sent out about 5 Christmas cards today.

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We might just make it after all ...

Today, Lincoln Karim, the owner of the Pale Male website was arrested. Details were sketchy but the rumor is that 'harassment' was the charge. Someone contacted Mary Tyler Moore, who, in a generous yet ironic gesture, offered to store Lincoln's huge telescope and monitor in her own storage space in 927 until his release. Unfortunately, the equipment was too large to fit in the space (which I find strange; how much storage space comes with a multi-million dollar co-op, anyway?! The whole pile of stuff was only about 4'x4'.).

I spoke with a representative from the Audubon Society tonight (it is amazing how people respond when you have a notebook in your hand!) and here's the latest:
The architects were to submit a 'design' to the Audubon Society by end of day today. The 'design' is to incorporate safety measures to prevent debris from falling from the nest (which from what I've heard, has never happened before). The Audubon people will then review the proposal. He told me that an Audubon scientist was on hand at the meeting and will be in on the process to ensure that the 'design' is hawk-friendly. When asked what he thinks about how far this whole thing has gone, he replied with a shrug, "I think it's sad."

Mary Tyler Moore came out tonight to speak to the crowds gathered across the street at 927 Fifth.
As she was leaving, the crowd gave her a round of applause, to which she replied, "This applause is the most exciting applause I've ever had in my life."

Thanks, Mary.

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Christmas in my Building #2
Remember when I said things were only going to get crazier?
How's this?

This is the official holiday greeting from the staff of my building, aka the "who-to-tip" list ...

Coming soon, "Who is FatAnthony, and why is his name John Kelly?"

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Pale Male Update:
Sometime 'soon' (hopefully today!) there will be a meeting between the board of 927 5th, representatives from the Audobon Society and an architect. The architect will apparently be the one to say whether the spikes that Pale Male needs to rebuild his nest will be replaced. NYTimes update here>

Here is the email I received from the NYC Audubon Society last night:

Dear Friends of Pale Male,

Thank you for speaking out on behalf of Pale Male and all wildlife in NYC. We have received over 700 emails and have held incredibly attended vigils in front of the building. The public pressure is working.

NYC Audubon will meet with the Co-op Board Chair of 927 5th Ave., Brown Harris Stevens, Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe and representatives from NY State DEC in order to find a solution that satisfies NYC Audubon_s demands as well as the buildings_ health and safety concerns.

NYC Audubon is committed to enabling Pale Male to return to his nesting site of over 10 years and requests that the anti- pigeon spikes be returned to the window ledge.

Until this matter is resolved, peaceful vigils will be held opposite the building to show our support for a speedy and just resolution.

Please continue to visit our website at for updates.

Thank you,

NYC Audubon

My opinion is that they are going to try to stall on these meetings until the protesters get tired of protesting and Pale Male gives up and goes somewhere else to build his nest. He's been spotted on the roof of the Carlyle Hotel, don't you know, a few blocks away. The Daily News quoted manager James Mc Bride, "He's very welcome, but has yet to order room service."

If you don't know anything about Pale Male, set your dvr for tonight as WNET/Thirteen will be airing the documentary made last year about him.

You don't have to be a New York City resident to sign the petition so if you haven't done so yet, please do.

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Here's a nice thing. Someone has a blog devoted only to finding and showcasing exceptional photographs on flickr called Flickrzen.
Monday she showed one of my shots from the Pale Male rally on Sunday December 12. She is also following this story on another one of her blogs, Molene. She is also a gifted artist, please view her paintings here.

Monday, December 13, 2004

There is something about the Pale Male story that is so emblematic of life in New York. Wouldn't we all like to live on Fifth Avenue with a view of Central Park? But instead, most of us struggle along, living in tiny, cramped spaces, our homes right on top of one another's. We pay too much rent, we deal with zany neighbors and nefarious landlords. Yet we survive, indeed we thrive, on the energy that is New York, just like Pale Male. No true New Yorker would want to live anywhere else. Can you blame Pale Male?

Some shots taken this afternoon:

This is Frederic Lilien, the filmmaker responsible for the documentary on Pale Male.

This is a group of students from Hillel School in Deal NJ. They came for a science field trip to learn about Pale Male and participate in the protest.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Honk 4 Hawks

Today I went up to 74th and 5th to attend the rally for Pale Male. I’m no tree-hugger, or PETA radical. I’ve been known to wear fur. I've been known to own fur.

I am however, a die hard New Yorker, and Pale Male is just so very New York.

I was a bit surprised at the large turnout, since the flyers I saw advertised the event as a “vigil.” I’m not big on vigils either, as I like big, shouting protests, and so this turned out to be right up my alley and not at all 'vigil-like."

There were a few hundred people waving signs, chanting slogans like, “Bring back the nest,” and “no nest, no peace” (I couldn’t actually say that one with a straight face), while encouraging passing cars to “honk for the hawks.” The support was tremendous, with so many passing vehicles from chauffer driven limos to a double decker tourist bus and a NYFD engine honking and giving thumbs up in support of the replacement of the nest.

The high point of the rally came at about 1:10pm when Pale Male and Lola made an appearance, circling low just above the building, then landing on the spot where the nest was. I and several others near me in the crowd were moved to tears by the sight of these majestic birds.

They have made several attempts to rebuild their nest since its removal on Tuesday, but without the pigeon deterring spikes that were providing a brace for the nest’s structure, (here in New York, we put upward facing spikes on top of air conditioners, and other outside ledges, to prevent pigeons from roosting there) there is not much hope for the nest to stay put.

According to the Post, there will be a meeting tomorrow between the co-op board and supporters of Pale Male to try to come to some kind of an agreement.

Want to help? Here’s what you can do:
Give a call to Richard D. Cohen, Chairman of the Board of 927 Fifth Ave.
212-980-0090 Tell him you want to see Pale Male rebuild his nest.

Write a letter to the co-op board at
Capital Properties Assoc.
527 Madison Ave. at 54th St.
New York NY 10022-4304

Please, if you haven’t signed the petition yet, do so:

The PBS affiliate in New York, Channel 13, will be re-airing the documentary about Pale Male on Tues Dec. 14th. Check your local listings, as I'm not sure if this is only a local broadcast.

Lastly, if you do nothing else, please go to the website and look at some of the amazing photography that has been produced of this noble creature, truly a Miracle on 74th Street.

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White and shadows

"The whiteness of white is never just white; it is almost always transformed by light and that which is changing; the sky, the clouds, the sun and the moon. White conventionally has always been seen as a symbol of perfection, of purity and clarity. If we ask why this is the case, we realize that where other colors have relative values dependent upon their context, white retains its absoluteness. At the same time, it may function as a color itself. It is against a white surface that one best appreciates the play of light and shadow, solids and voids." -Richard Meier, architect

White and shadows
Originally uploaded by _Ingrid_.

I was inspired by this quote from Richard Meier that I read in the January issue of Town and Country to put all my 'whites' together in a set. Take a look at the whole set here.

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