Monday, September 29, 2008

I don't wear plaid, but if I did...

I might definitely wear one of these jackets at Pretty Funny.

See, I went to Catholic School for several years, which I really don't want to talk about, other than to say that I clocked more hours in plaid than I feel necessary, and so, no more plaid for me. However, my public-schooled daughter does not share this aversion with me, and she is quite a stylish girl. So, I did buy this fabulous plaid jacket for her to wear around town this fall.

Imagine how proud I was to then see that Stephanie Leggio was featuring those tres chic vintage coats at the store, which certainly must be the predecessors of my girl's retro one.

Now that I've broached the subject, I can gush a minute or two about Pretty Funny, one of my favorite stores, period. I covet so many items in the shop at any given time. I've wanted this pink plant stand, for instance, for a while, and might try to talk to Stephanie about hiding it somewhere in the store so it doesn't sell before I can afford to buy it.

Stephanie is one of those people born with style and creativity you can not learn. The things she buys for the store, the way she stages the store, the way she writes her newsletter...heck, her handwriting, all speak to an innate sense of style.

I loved the store when it was teeny-tiny on Main Street, but now, of course, Stephanie, and her goods, really have room to show their stuff.

And in case you didn't know, that's a trailhead for the Old Croton Aqueduct in the parking lot.

So take a walk someday down the OCA and stop at the big yellow house with all the great stuff outside. But hands off the pink plant stand, ok?

Not wearing knee-socks anymore either. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Some people just brought dessert, or a salad.

I mentioned missing our friend Ellen last week, and now today (yippee!) Harrison will be back in town to visit, so I thought I should tell you about our piano.

We'd been needing a piano for quite some time. Lindsey had been taking lessons from Ellen for over a year already, and using an inadequate (but cool, and portable) electric keyboard. But also, all of the kids are musically inclined to varying degrees, not to mention that the band needs a keyboardist, and in general both of us sort of feel that a piano is one of those things every home should have.

That, a fireplace, and a Labrador.

Well, we had none of the three, until this August. Ellen and Michael, wonderful people, and talented musicians, were moving away. For all good things-new jobs, new house, new place-but still, they were leaving not a few friends extremely sad to see them go. They naturally knew of the piano-deficit in our household, and had generously offered to give us one of theirs. Not just any piano, but a perfect little sculpture of wood with ivory keys on which Michael had composed his opera, Spa. Meaningful to them, all the more meaningful to us that they would have us take it.

Well, take it we did! While I was fussing about in the kitchen counting forks and putting on dinner, Tim, Steve, Michael, and his and Ellen's four adorable sons BROUGHT US THE PIANO.

Lindsey was suitably excited; as you can see, she was in the van playing it before they could move it into the house. Of course, she would have been thrilled to have taken their Labrador, as well, but that's another story.

So in they moved it to the spot we had waiting in the dining room, and we all had a lovely, albeit bittersweet, evening saying good bye and good luck.

We will forever be grateful, for the piano, and for having gotten to know its previous owners just a little bit better before they moved on from Tarrytown.

Coda: This piano is so perfect for us and we love it. Still a little out of tune, and a little funky, but I would not have known what to do with some huge piece of glossy black elegance. And now, still lacking a fireplace mantle to decorate, I have the next best thing: the back of the piano, upon which I can now arrange all sorts of pretty seasonal things.

One out of three ain't bad. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flowers and food. Food and Flowers.

I've long been seeking out, reading cover to cover, and then saving, these two magazines. You may have heard of them, but maybe not.

The Valley Table is available at the White Plains Whole Foods Market, and was for a while at John Sarofeen's Grape Expectations, but then they stopped delivering to him. I don't know why, and he didn't seem to either, but in any event, it is dedicated to anyone who is in the business of food, wine or agriculture in the Hudson Valley.

Similarly, the Edible magazines are a series of regional publications about local, seasonal agriculture, food, wine, restaurants, etc...the Edible Nutmeg edition is Connecticut's version, and is beautifully written and photographed and is nothing short of inspiring, if you're in need of that in regards to food. I've noticed it at the Cafe at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and in other high-end foodie haunts, but you usually have to know to look for them both, so that's why I'm bringing it to your collective attention ( many of you, not counting my mother?)

The cover artwork of both of these magazines is collection-worthy. If I had a huge kitchen I would have ten or so of them framed and hung around the perimeter of the room. I have oh, about 100 square feet, so unless we were going to use them as plates, that's not happening. But I do love to look at them, again and again.

I've always been a fairly good make-do floral arranger. That is, I could rummage around outside in almost any season and come up with some sort of pleasing arrangement. I believe this started when I used to go to a wonderful cottage in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and would go out in the afternoon foraging and come back with what some people may have (read: did) refer to as "weeds". But they were beautiful, I think. I'd put them everywhere in all these fabulous milk-glass vases and pitchers that people who grow up with such things take for granted, but those of us who grew up with shrimp-cocktail jars for juice glasses regard as treasures.

In any event, I've always loved the garden in fall as much as any other season, I think for two reasons. One: there's a certain desperation in the last burst of colors and textures before winter, which appeals to me for it's scrappy-ness, tenacity. Two: I like a challenge. Anyone can go out and cut some roses, but to come up with some leftover sage, the end of the daisies, and a few last hydrangeas and make it beautiful-now that's something.

So I'll leave you with this; I like dried hydrangeas as much as the next person, but when you find yourself dusting them, it's time for them to go.

Waiting for the bittersweet. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All's well that ends well.

It's hard to be 3, when all your sisters are busy.

Or 9 & 10, when your little sister keeps trampling your artwork.

Or 12, when you want to play, but there's homework to be done.

Or 41, and there are school lunches to make, dinner to cook, kids who need tending. Need you.

Or 42, when you need to segue from office-work to garden-work, to daddy-work, to comic strip-work, without changing your clothes.

But all's well that ends well.

{We love these glasses, made from recycled wine bottles, perfect size, so pretty. I got these at Whimsie's, but I'm not sure they stock these exact ones anymore. You can go directly to the source at The Green Glass Company. But still go to Whimsies for other great stuff!}

Just a random Tuesday. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

If you're quiet you can see the animals

Last night was movie night, and it was really fun but the pictures weren't so good. So instead I have these from our walk today, and it got me thinking.

When I was little and my brothers were in high school they would take me for walks with them and their girlfriends in the cemetery. I know, it sounds like a weird date, but this is how I'm remembering it. They would go running in what is now the Preserve, only then it wasn't so officially open to the public. They would take off from home or drive & park on Old Sleepy Hollow Road-where everybody parks now, only then you had to just know about it. I thought it was so cool how they knew this secret way to get into the woods; then again, I probably thought everything they did was so cool. Later on, when I was in high school, we would sneak in, too, there and other spots, and hang out...but that's a whole other story.

Anyway, we didn't go for walks on the trails so much as I remember going for walks in the cemetery. I can even picture us having a picnic on the bank of the Pocantico River and swimming in the deeper pools made from the water rushing over the rocks. I don't have so many clear memories of being a kid-I don't dwell on my childhood often, the way (ahem) some people do- but when we were walking today I could summon up almost the exact feeling of being there with my brothers, probably at just about Lindsey's age.

So, I got to thinking. What will my kids remember? About this walk today and a thousand other days and things? Will they remember how the light was; what they found on the trail? Or how I kept bugging them to stop kicking up the dust, stop throwing rocks? Will they remember me holding their hand?

For a minute or two on today's walk we had all slowed down, stopped talking, and the deer came out. They looked right at us, then started towards us, slowly, keeping their eyes on us but just going about their business. The fawn kept trying to nurse and the mommy deer would nudge its nose away. It was really something to watch.

If you're quiet, you can see the animals.

Walking through. Thanks for

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Friday, September 19, 2008

After all, it was you and me...

Pleased to meet you...

Happy other use for this other than it makes me smile. I emulate that kid with the purple bass...and I love Mark Farmer. Don't know who he is: if anyone out there does, send me a line. His Mick is right on and much more.

Enjoy the weekend. We have movie night tomorrow so I'm sure you'll be hearing from me again soon.

Love the girl on the bongos. Makes me miss Ellen. Not to mention Harry.

Thumbs up. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Talk amongst yourselves: yarn is not a necessity.

I was pregnant with Anna when I started learning to knit, so that takes us back to 2004. I'm still learning; I can't purl yet, I own circular needles but so far they're just a way of distracting Anna when she's getting into my knitting bag, and I still have to say that "over the fence, catch the sheep" chant to myself as I go along. I can make a mean scarf, though

So big news, for me: I finally finished something THAT I KNIT FOR MYSELF. You can sort of see it in this picture, but not in it's full glory. I'll wear it all the time soon, though. Ask me where I got it, ok?

Now, it's not like I haven't been steadily knitting away all this time. See below for evidence to the contrary. I walked into Flying Fingers in November, maybe two weeks before Thanksgiving all those years ago, and announced that I was there to knit, and that I needed to make five scarves for five little girls by Christmas. That was when the shop was still in Irvington, and I consider all the lovely ladies there to have exhibited a huge dose of patience with a crazy pregnant lady not to have laughed & thrown me out. Well, I guess I finally finished Anna's scarf last April (that makes six in four and a half years, in varying colors, but all in Karabella Puffy, on size 15 needles), and it was time to do one for me.

Since then, Elise Lundeen-Goldschlag has moved her business and her family to Tarrytown. In what I think is the most visually gorgeous shop on Main Street, Flying Fingers has advanced the idea of building a community here that goes beyond the storefront (exactly what we're trying to do around the corner). You are always welcome to come in and browse, to bring your Flying Fingers yarn back in for help from the knitting wonders who work there, and I defy anyone to leave feeling less happy and un-inspired by the yarn displays, the finished examples of what's possible (someday!), and the camaraderie in the shop.

Talking about moving to and staying in Tarrytown, Elise says she loves having her "whole life in seven blocks", a sentiment that I think many Manhattan dwellers use to explain their commitment to staying in the city. With our seven (or so) blocks bounded by the Rockefeller Preserve, the Tarrytown Lakes, and the Hudson River, I'm thinking that our little town may be the nicest neighborhood in the metropolis.

So I've started's about fourteen weeks until Christmas (2008). I have the yarn. I have a goal. Six plus one for my handsome husband, forever-chilled, transplanted from California, who thought he was getting this last one.

Keeping my fingers busy, one way or another. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mimo Gordon Riley

In Tenants Harbor, Maine, as close to water as possible without being a boat, sits Mimo's studio. When I met her, I didn't realize that I was living, for a while, in her family's house, the house on Pink Street. I liked her instantly for her studio, for her paintings of trees and pears (separately), for her hair, and for her whole spirit. She is one of those people who are lit from within.
When we connected who she was and where we were staying, it seemed like another one of the many reasons why we had found the place we should come to again and again, for as long as possible. A sign, if you will.

Now I have in my home kitchen the same image that hung in the house on Pink Street, signed by Mimo.

That will hold me, for now.

Inspiration lies where you find it. Thanks for reading.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Being there

I multi-task. That's what I do. I can be making lunches for school tomorrow while I've got dinner going while I'm talking on the phone and checking on the kids outside and maybe even walking around the house tidying up, too. I usually carry my knitting around with me, in case I have five minutes in the car. I always have my notebook with me to jot down ideas or make a list or write down a quote from the radio, etc. And since I started this blog, I rarely leave home without the digital camera, without snapping pictures of everything I see around me hoping I'll get just a couple of keepers.

Today, twice, I forgot it all. Not on purpose, I just forgot. Ran out of the house empty handed. I think I had about eight extra minutes before nursery school pick-up that I was cursing for not having brought something to do.

This got me thinking about how much time I spend doing something else with my mind or hands while my body just has to show up somewhere. And how this is the opposite of being there. Being present.

This bothers me not only for my own sake- I always considered myself to be a particularly engaged human, aware of my surroundings-but also because I see my daughters starting to do the same thing. Homework in the car while waiting for their sisters to come out of school, reading while they're eating breakfast, and the worst of all:texting. My twelve year old got a phone for her birthday, and I do believe that what is gained in convenience and safety outweighs the cons...but man, that thing is constantly ringing. Seeing her stand in the middle of a room full of people typing away to someone on the other side of town makes me cringe.

So, yes, now we have rules. Turn it off when you get home; don't answer it while you're talking to someone else.

But I think it's just symptomatic of how we are all living just a notch faster, more efficiently, more connected (in the electronic sense) than we need to be. This one goes to eleven.

So today, after my unproductive pick-up, I watched Anna skip down the street from school. She was so happy-it was one of those perfect moments- and I watched her from behind thinking how I wished I had my camera.

I didn't, but at least I was there.

Trying to stay present, and get it all done. Thanks for reading.


Opening, afternoon

Well, it went well, but, well...not so many people came.

The food was beautiful, if I do say so myself; both Hassan

and I

outdid ourselves.

And thanks to a few loyal eyebuzz friends, plus friends of the artist who came over from New Jersey, we had a lovely time drinking and eating and talking talking talking.

We brought the sidewalk chairs in at the end and sat, playing with little Luke, and Tim and Eunju getting in a serious art q&a for the eyebuzz interview.

But I wonder, was switching the time to the afternoon opening-reception-suicide in these suburbs of travel soccer, Pop Warner and street fairs? Aren't there any art lovers who don't have kids? Or is that not even it? Are we fighting a combination of economic collapse and apathy?

We'll look forward to Third Friday, and see how it goes. The show is wonderful; really good work and a good range of prices. And Eunju, I believe, was pleased with how her paintings looked, pleased with the space, glad to be with us. Likewise.

Learning as we go. Thanks for reading.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Pre-opening night prep.

bottles at mint
Today (and lots of days beforehand) we've been getting ready for the reopening of eyebuzz with Eunju Kang's show. At this stage I view Eunju as a friend as well as an eyebuzz artist; she and Mike and Luke are really great and we can't wait to see them again tomorrow at the opening reception. When we first started the gallery we were so anxious about openings: would anyone come? We didn't know the artists well then and would always be nervous about meeting their expectations of the openings and having to spend hours alone in our small space with disgruntled humans who were disappointed with our space, the turnout, us...

I'm proud and relieved thinking back and acknowledging the fact that that never happened. Every time we would start talking to the artists and their families and/or friends, then a few of our wonderfully loyal and supportive friends would show up, then some people just out and exploring who came to see the art would arrive...

Before we knew it, at each show, we ended up having such a good time that we forgot about anxiety and expectations and just ended up having a great time talking, drinking, laughing...I can't remember an opening where we haven't ended up so much happier just for being there.

We've made friends out of people who have been artists in our gallery; we've made friends out of people who have come in and bought a piece of art and then told us about how glad they are that we are here; we've made friends out of people who haven't bought anything, but stop by on their way home with a bag full of provisions from Mint, talk a while, have a glass of wine, and move on.

So, tomorrow night we are having another opening reception. This one is a big one for us; we've been closed all of August, and just like in France, la reentre is important. We're all back here to begin the season, dive back into life, culture and reality after a long hiatus of holiday.

Also it's big because we are really re-energized about what we are doing. We love Eunju's art and all of the other shows we have lined up for the next several months...we are excited about Tarrytown and things and people that are mobilizing towards something we all want to be a part of.
I have taken a bunch of pictures to illustrate what we do in the days leading up to an opening. But there's no real narrative I want to put with them other than that we are looking forward to re-opening Eyebuzz...seeing all of our friends Eunju, and everyone after her, a place to show her art...and hopefully connecting with one or two people we haven't met before.

tim repainted the gallery walls

mess on the desk, soon to be cleared

hassan at mint is so agreeable, and will display our cards
in addition to creating some wonderful plates for us...

had to add this: a real life Habowski, no? our view out of the gallery's door.

Tim rejuvenated all the windows: the leaded square ones
for the first time ever, perhaps.

Upon re-entry, grateful for friends. Thanks for reading.


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Forgive me, dad. Maybe just skip reading this one.

For everyone else, please don't skip watching this one.

I'm sure (hopeful) there are other people we could listen to ripping into Sarah Palin, but if we can look at Matt Damon doing it, why not?

I heart Matt Damon. (As if I didn't already!). Thanks for reading (and watching, and thinking.)


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chinaberry branches

Beautiful, in such a non-leafy, unflowery, anti-bouquet sort of way.
A sign of fall, I'm sure, somewhere.

Here, the sign today is that it is finally not humid, hot, sticky or glaringly bright. It is cool, breezy, blue-sky sunny.

Reminds me of another September day.

These branches remind me of the trees in this lovely print which I have coming to me in the mail from an amazing artist -and inspirational blogger- from Portland, Maine.

Waiting for the mail, looking to the skies. Thanks for reading.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tie an orange ribbon 'round any old tree.

"They" are working in our neighborhood this week, cutting down trees. A man in a huge loud Asplundh truck who asked me to move my car from in front of the house said "the electric company" wanted the trees away from the power lines. Hmmm.

Well, I do have a better view of the park. Lovely. I can now watch Linds walk Leo from my desk without even craning my neck. Perfect. I think I didn't mind having to get up and check on her every few minutes. I wish it didn't have to come to this:

All this has set Linds & Em into action on a nascent Save The Trees campaign. They want us to use recycled paper products (we do) and raise money to plant more trees. They're starting by making these cool tank tops.

I think they're on to something, no? If they amass enough inventory, I might have to get them an Etsy account! (More likely they'll be selling them to their sisters.)

Proud to be raising treehuggers. Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 8, 2008

If we won the lottery...

... after we put away college money, put in another bathroom, and bought some really cool shoes, we always fantasized about buying this building:

which is over the "H Bridge" here in Tarrytown. It has been sitting, neglected and (we thought) forgotten, for years, just waiting for someone to see its potential and rock its world.

Looks like someone beat us to it (and let's face it, you've got to be in it to win it, and we haven't put the dollar up for our dream in a while).

There are these great new green aluminum windows in, although that appears to be it: there's still a gaping open space where the west wall should be, and there's more plantlife growing inside of the building than around it. But, it looks like someone has some plans for it other than knocking it down, which we've always feared was its fate barring some miraculous windfall in our bank account.

So...until we see what happens with this fabulous old Tarrytown building, I'll bide time by telling you what we thought should be done with it.

There is a mini-chain of restaurants in New England called Flatbread Company, which we first discovered while in Portland, Maine several years ago. The company has a wonderful philosophy about food and community, and makes organic wood-fired pizzas and organic salads with local cheese and some sort of seaweed-y stuff on top that is totally fresh and delicious. They also only sell drinks and sodas that are natural and sans the dreaded HFCS, which it seems we spend a good part of our life trying to avoid and teach our kids to avoid.

The interiors of the restaurants (and we've been to a few...more on that...) are sort of a cross between retro-fern bar with wood panelling and deep bench-seated booths, and modern farmhouse, with cool lighting, huge windows, and brightly colored banners depicting graphic interpretations of the various organic ingredients they use-from tomatoes to pigs.

The waitstaff is friendly, youthful, and enthusiastic about everything from the toppings on the pizza that day to the best surf spots in the area. The bathrooms are clean, and you & the kids can leave a peace sign on the blackboard before you leave.

We love these restaurants so much, that we have actually planned our summer vacation routes around where there is one located: Portland, Portsmouth, North Conway, Canton. And a supposedly unrelated but exactly identical restaurant in Burlington, Vt called American Flatbread, which has to have been separated at birth from Flatbread Co., but that is seemingly impossible to confirm anywhere. It's sort of strange, actually, but that's another topic.

Anyhoo...we've stopped at them all, and gone out of our way by forty miles or more to do so.

I remember a college econ professor extolling among the virtues of MickeyDees the fact that wherever one was, one could count on getting the same thing from each franchise and thus that predictability being comforting and reliable.

I guess Flatbread Co. is our McD's.

So, we always long for that sort of quality, taste, and organic sensibility when we are home the other eleven months of the year. And since there is nothing comparable here, it seems even Professor Pliskin would consider it a potential model for profit. And if we could, that's what we would put in that marvelous building down there.

Tarrytown is growing, and we all love to talk up how hip and interesting it is here...but we can't rest on the laurels of Coffee Labs, Pretty Funny, Mint and Chiboust alone. What's going to come in down by the river? Are we a few months away from a Starbucks and a Gap? How do we little people (ie; consumers, citizens) affect what businesses will be brought in to all that burgeoning retail space over the H-Bridge? And I don't mean just our daydream-built-out-of-brick, but the rest of the developing space down there?

Just asking; thanks for reading.


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Friday, September 5, 2008

Put your eggs in the basket you've got

I have to chastise myself for missing Maine so much...I must have had a temporary lapse, and forgotten about the Stone Barns Farm Market.

For one thing, on Fridays both Red Jacket Orchards and Consider Bardwell Farm are there selling fruit and cheeses (respectively) to go with all the gorgeous produce straight out of Stone Barns' soil.

For another, the people there are friendly, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about what they are a part of, and make you feel like you are a part of it, too, just by showing up. Among them are Julie at the gate, Joan at the vegetable table who always knows a great way to use what's for sale, and the unbelievably patient woman (whose name I don't know yet) who allowed Anna to refill our egg carton one by one instead of just handing over a new, full carton. And that's not to mention the welcoming and very funny guys in the Blue Hill Cafe, who seem truly passionate about what they've got cooked up each day.

But the best part of all is that I usually run into a friend (today it was Liz) or even meet a new one (like Barbara Scott-Goodman, who sells the cheeses for her friends at Bardwell). And I am reminded that the environment you live in and the connections you make there accumulate over time, and become part of that place you call home.
Or as Alberto in the Cafe said, throwing his hands up when I bemoaned being back from vacation: "well, get used to it, this is reality".
And what a nice reality it is, afterall.

Flush with eggplants and apples, and glad to be home; thanks for reading.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Happy New Year from Kaldenberg Place

Back home, and back to school.

As anyone who is even peripherally involved with kids knows, THIS is the start of the new year, not that other, more famous day in dreary January. I think it's even more ripe for resolutions that stick.

A few of mine:
work by 8, sleep by 10
do these things every day: walk, knit, read,write, practice bass
which leads to : leave some mess to be cleaned up some other time
These are lofty goals for me, but I will try.

First day started out early, and smoothly, until a last-minute meltdown by, well...might have been me. They looked adorable, and way too old to be my little girls. By the time I let them drop my hand and go into their respective schools, they had smiles on, if nervous ones. Leaving my 12 year old at the steps of what once was the big bad high school of my very own youth was a far more bittersweet moment than even the one at the bus stop, first day of kindergarten(way back when).

Which left me home with a three year old, looking for fun. She found it in the form of watercoloring a good portion of the kitchen floor, basement door, birthday invite, stools from Ikea, and...herself. Which led to an unscheduled early morning bath and the much cleaner, albeit mom-intensive activity of pulling up/off and scrubbing clean the 5 carrots and 12 grape tomatoes that the deer left us. The price one pays for 20 minutes online.

So this afternoon the afterschool masses will converge on Tarrytown, flooding the streets with backpacks and Lollipop allowances and texting pre-teens...mine among them. I will try to stay out of their way but can't wait to get downtown myself to see how much progress has been made on the exciting new ventures on Main Street. When we left for Maine there were: new windows at David Starkey's soon- to- open restaurant, Sweet Grass Grill; a great new wood door on the soon-to-be Lubins & Links going in the former Pretty Funny space; and an amazing job had been done to renovate and restore the original beauty of the space now occupied by Tappan Z Gallery. Maybe now that we have another gallery in town, people will start to flock here for the art. Could happen!

So, Happy New Year to all you kids and parents and teachers and adMinistrators and on and on...
Signing off for now from perhaps the new Chelsea (or is it the new Williamsburg?); thanks for reading.

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