Sunday, December 31, 2006

Willamena has her spot in Times Square for New Year's Eve!

When this picture was taken there were only 14 more hours till 2007. The round sign at the top provides the countdown.

At this time, people were already securing their spots for the event. A man with his young son were sitting on a blanket all bundled up in coats, hats and scarves.

For those wanting to stand out in Times Square for New Year's, this might be a good year since the weather is mild. 48 degrees is expected for the high today. 40 the low. Just get home quick afterwards. It might rain after midnight.

Willamena decided she didn't want to spend another 14 hours in this spot without treats, drinks or a restroom. Imagine, looking up at the Budweiser sign all night, knowing as long as you are barricaded in, you can't have one.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A New Year's Eve Update:
Crews are busy in Times Square this New Year's Eve Eve working to set up the stage. They also performed a practice ball drop at noon.
Security is also ready. Can you imagine the antics they must witness and put up with? They didn't even blink an eye at Mena and I with our hat and blower.

Friday, December 29, 2006

How do you see yourself in 2007?
At the gym running the rat wheel?
Slaving over the stove because you've given up eating out and four dollar coffee?
Maybe you'll be working longer hours or devoting more of your weekends to family.
At least until mid-February.

For a highly accurate and credible way to find out what people are doing in 2007, I've created a web poll. Please take it, and let me know if I've left out your resolution.

Monday, December 18, 2006

All I want for Christmas and Hanukah... isn't this suit.

Please Santa bring me an I-Paws. I went looking for one at the big Apple store in New York City, but they said there is no such thing! Think of how it would save my big floppy ears. I don't believe those ear bugs could cause half the damage the noise of the city buses and construction sites do. I need I-Paws to protect me from such loud noises. Oh, and the sirens! Please.

Second wish. A place at the Plaza. Look. My tongue is even the same color as the sign. Plus its talking right to me. "I'm a City Girl."
I am! So I should live at the Plaza Hotel in New York City!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rockefeller xmas 013
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

Since it was too crowded to take Willamena to the lighting of the Rockefeller tree Wednesday night, we made our annual trek the next day.
I was taking pictures of her alone, when a stranger asked if I wanted him to take our picture.
It was actually a challenge because Mena is used to me taking pictures of her. So she kept facing me and looking at me. I yelled out at him to say the word "treat" but in doing so she looked at me again. I'd say he did a great job. But he cut off the star. If you go, look for the people from NBC taking pictures. They take several, then give you a card letting you know where you can find them online. They don't pressure you to buy any, but you will want to. I am ordering several of Mena and me. I would post one for you to see, but they are copyrighted.

Friday, November 24, 2006

It was a wet and windy 80th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I was going to stay in and maybe watch it on TV, but you know dogs. Despite the weather, they still want to go out!
I could tell Mena was a little upset that the parade features Garfield but not her favorite, Ody.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Maybe each individual is just a particle of the universe.
Sometimes I feel I am swept up with all the others like specs of dirt and blown around tornadically as whirling dervishes.
Pieces of me slough off, merge with others in my whirlwind. Some of their debris sticks to me. In each whirling moment, certain particles are picked up, chosen to spin together. Travel is sometimes short or long, though I don’t always recognize my companions or know why they are there. The ones who look familiar have just picked up some molecules from previous travel buddies of mine which took from me and gave to them.
They are me.

I just returned from my ten-year college reunion at SMU in Dallas. I saw the people I expected would be there: the student leaders who were always organizers. Most were my sorority sisters so it was delightful. I also began my journalism career in Dallas, so I also had professional contacts to visit. This was inspiring as well as nurturing. Plus I had to tour Dallas. Unlike many Northeastern cities which lose businesses everyday, Dallas is growing. I’ve dubbed it Crane City. I saw eight in one view span. It’s all very upscale and progressive. Yet I didn’t take many pictures despite the changes. It’s like going home. How often do you keep taking pictures of where you are from?

However, the last picture I took in Dallas was of the elephant on the sign at my favorite Indian food café. For the last three years I lived in Dallas, the Cosmic Cup was my spiritual center. There is a meditation room upstairs. I’ve always snubbed vegetarian food, but not even my favorite medium-rare steak can compare to the (now Cosmic Cafe's) spinach dish or nan.

The owner gave me a ride to the airport. I had just stopped in with an hour before I was to call a cab. He said since I supported him while he was struggling, he would do for me while in need. I realized I hadn’t found my cosmic center in New York yet. Somehow a favorite corner bodega just won’t do. But it might now be time. It took four years to find the Cosmic Café. I’ve been in New York just a bit longer.

I was the airport in time, but then they selected me for a thorough screening.
After packing, I found my sneakers still on the hotel floor. The only way they would fit was to put one in my carry on and one in my checked bag.
I was held a bit while they took my left Newbalance apart. It was explained to me that just a few months ago a man with the same shoe packing theory had vials sewn in his carry-on shoe. He explained he was testing the system. They didn’t tell me what happened to him.

But I boarded my plane after it was only delayed 30 minutes. We taxied out, but then were told it would be an hour-and-a-half delay. Then another hour-and-a-half.
As people were moaning over not having any food or drink, the man in the seat next to me opens up his laptop and his screensaver is a picture of a very similar elephant to the one painted at Cosmic Café.

He turned out to be a Yoga instructor and was studying eastern language. He was calm during the seven hour ordeal, even when others were shouting about their situation via cell. We were delayed because of the weather back in New York City, but upon take off, I knew we were projected to land during the height of the high winds and thunder storms.
Looking out over the clouds as the pilot announces we will be landing shortly and on the ground in about thirty minutes, I say to my neighbor, it's going to be fun breaking through those.

“It’s a vision of an after-life.”
I should have taken a picture of this galaxy we were in.
But nearly an hour later, we were still in it. Struggling to break into the world below. Had the ride been any rougher he would have had to lead me in breathing exercises. Yet the landing was smooth despite the screeching and sliding of the brakes trying to stop our whirlwind.

He gave me a pass for one of the places he teaches yoga. It’s a place I walked by for the first time a few weeks ago and thought I should check out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bookstore On Broadway

Bookstore On Broadway
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

Willamena is beginning a Beatnik tour of New York City. She begins in the Columbia University area where Jack Kerouac and his crew had some classes.
She also visits an apartment Allen Ginsberg once lived in on West 92nd, then stops by her old abode on West 92nd!
Here she stopped a bookstore near CU to drool over HOWL.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Devil_1 The Complete Willabeast Haunted Tour of NYC.
Fill your pockets with treats, grab some water and poopie bags and set out this Halloween weekend on a tour of the Willabeast's favorite haunts.

Hold the mouse down on the map and you can move around NYC. Also click on the red labels for information on each establishment. You can also zoom in or out on the left side of the map.
We begin on the Upper West Side.

Menaghost1_003_2 1. The Dakota 1 W 72nd Street

A perfect Halloween visit. This apartment building is where Rosemary's Baby was filmed. Also, it's rumored that John Lennon is seen out by the surrounding fence. He was shot and killed in front of this building when he lived here.

Menaghost1_002_1 2. Cafe des Artistes at the Hotel des Artistes 1 W 67th Street

Legend says the ghost here likes to touch visitors. After the Willabeast's visit, she was hit on the head with a ladder being carried down the street. Coincidence, maybe. But the ladder didn't look that close. I think the ghost liked Mena and followed!

Menaskateghost_004 3. Wollman Rink in Central Park

You can see the rink and people skating behind the Willabeast. If you believe the stories, sometimes you can see the figures of two young girls doing figure 8's on the ice.

Menaghost2_003Menaghost2_006_1 4. Landmark Tavern 626 11th Ave. at 46th

You tell me if you see a ghost at this 1868 building. Open and save the picture where you can see all three floors. Zoom in to the far left window on the second floor. Doesn't that look like it could be the face of the confederate soldier shot in a bar brawl? He allegedly died in the second floor bath tub that is still there. It's also rumored the ghost of a young girl who died of typhoid fever lives on the third floor. The brunch menu looks delicious.

Menaghost2_023 5. Palace Theatre 1564 Broadway

Because of construction across Broadway from the Palace, getting a picture was difficult here. You can see the horizontal sign that reads Palace. We didn't stay around long. Rumor is if you see the ghost of the acrobat who broke his neck here, you will soon die. It's also said more than 100 ghosts haunt this theatre, including Judy Garland, who might be seen near the orchestra rear door built for her.

Menaghost2_012Menaghost2_014_1 6. Belasco Theatre 111 W 44th Street

Check out this architecture. The Belasco looks like it should have a ghost. It's one of the city's oldest theaters. Supposedly the builder, David Belasco, sometimes gives accolades to actors, sometimes even high-fives. Too bad he didn't offer a palm to the Willabeast. She loves giving high-fives and tens. His possible companion, the Blue Lady, is also seen here.

Menaghost2_019 7. The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel 59 W 44th Street

Members of the Round Table, a group of writers that met at the Oak Room for lunch everday after World War I, are reportedly seen by hotel guests. The writers called themselves the Vicious Circle, and included screenwriter Dorothy Parker, humorist Robert Benchley, The New Yorker editor Harold Ross, and journalist Jane Grant.


8. New Amsterdam Theatre 214 W 42nd Street

If you are seeing a show here, but witness a player dressed in a green beaded gown with beaded headpiece holding a blue bottle, then you are probably seeing the ghost of Olive Thomas, a Ziegfeld Follies chorus girl. She supposedly killed herself by overdosing on her husband's syphilis medication. He is said to have been a womanizer and an alcoholic.

Menaghost3_050 9. Washington Square Park W 4th and MacDougal

There is a nice dog park here in Washington Square. I've seen dogs run and play in it, but not dig. However, if one were to engage in throwing up dirt, you could say he was digging for bones. This is former burial ground where 15,000 bodies still lie. It was also used as a hanging ground during the American Revolution.

Menaghost3_048 10. "The House of Death" 14 W 10th Street

A historical marker on this building reads "Mark Twain lived here 1900- 1901." It also says he wrote Tom Saywer. However, it says nothing about the rumor that the writer haunts the stairwell. Supposedly it's also haunted by 22 people who died in this home.



11. One If By Land, Two If By Sea 17 Barrow Street

This building, now a romantic restaurant, is famously known as once being Aaron Burr's carriage house. Title records, however, don't list Burr as an owner. According to a New York Time's article, Burr died in 1836, two years after tax and other records reveal 17 Barrow was built. Whatever the case, supposedly the former vice president haunts this joint. It's also said his daughter, Theodosia, removes earrings from female patrons at the bar.

Menaghost3_01312. White Horse Tavern 567 Hudson Street

The horror story here involves 18 shots of Whiskey. It must have been the cheap kind because the binge killed poet Dylan Thomas. Allegedly he can't get enough. He returns to the bar turns his favorite table like he did when he hung out here. Other literary greats, such as Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac frequented this haunt. (But as far as anyone knows, only while they were alive.)


13. Chumley's 86 Bedford Street

If you "86" any stop off this tour, make sure its not this one! I saved Chumley's for lucky last 13 because it's dog friendly and after a more than ten-mile walk, the Willabeast needed a burger and beverage. Chumley's was a working bar during prohibition and the trap doors still exist now. There are also book jackets from writers who have visited all over the walls. Supposedly when police would call 86 Bedford street to inform of a bust, they would call and just say the address. 86 came to be known as "get rid of it or them." The bar would hide it's best customers, but leave a few for the bust. Speaking with the owner, Steve, he confirms the most recent hauntings, but says they aren't hauntings, rather incredible occurances. He had several firefighter employees die during 9-11. He says on their birthdays or other special events, they will play their favorite song on the unplugged juke box.

Happy Haunting!

Monday, October 23, 2006

White Horse Tavern, Hudson Street

White Horse Tavern, Hudson Street
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

567 Hudson Street.
Writer Dyland Thomas drank 18 shots of whiskey here. He later died at a hospital because of his record breaking antics. However, it's said he comes back for more. While he might not be able to sneak whiskey, he supposedly rotates his favorite table, like he used to do when he frequented
this establishment.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway

Palace Theatre, 1564 Broadway
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

We finally made it to the Palace Theatre on Broadway. It's between 46th and 47th. It was difficult to take this picture because directly across the street from the Palace is construction. We had to snap this in a cross walk between bouts of people walking by and stealing her attention from the camera.
Hopefully we didn't get too much attention from the more than 100 reported ghosts that still stay at the Palace. Especially one. Its said people who see the ghost of the acrobat who died when he broke his neck there, will soon die. On a nicer note, Judy Garland supposedly is sensed near the rear orchestra door built for her. The next stop on the Willabeast Tour brings us to the West Village.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Belasco Theatre

Now we sit in front of the Belasco Theatre on West 44th street. The Theatre is between 7th and 6th, yet almost at 6th.
Legend has it the builder of this Broadway showhouse, David Belasco, is still hanging around his 1907 establishment. He is reported to give kudos, even high-fives to performers. (Hey, high-five! That is one of Willamena's tricks. But she barks if a high-five is given to someone other than her. I guess her performance outside the theatre wasn't good enough for Belasco.)
It's also said a possible lady companion to Belasco is seen inside.

This picture takes us to our next haunting legend. Walk East to cross 6th on 44th to the Algonquin hotel. In this picture, you can almost see how close the Algonguin is to the Belasco. The Belasco sign and short brown structure can be seen in front of the red brick building on the left side of the picture.

As for the Algonquin Hotel, guests have reportedly claimed to see members of The Round Table, a group of famous writers that met at the Oak Room of this hotel on a daily basis for lunch after World War I.

The next stop: The Palace Theatre on Broadway. We're backtracking a little North and West. Walk back along 44th to Broadway, then West to between 46th and 47th. The Willabeast will see you there soon!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Willabeast Haunted Tours Moves into Midtown

Belasco Theatre, 111 West 44th Street
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

For those of you who frequent the theaters of New York City, the Willabeast has compiled stories of ghosts who can't seem to stop performing.
She starts at 111 West 44th Street, the Belasco Theatre, between 7th and 6th Avenues.
Details on its hauntings, as well as on other Broadway theatres, COMING SOON!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Haunted Tour Guided by Willabeast continues

Landmark Tavern, 11th at 46th
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

After leaving the Upper West Side, the next stop on the tour is the Landmark Tavern. Its on 11th Avenue at 46th street, just across from one of New York City's best BarB-Q establishments, Daisey Mae's.
Allegedly a young girl who died of typhoid fever still lives on the third floor of the 1868 established Landmark Tavern. The other reported ghost is that of a confederate soldier. He was shot in a bar brawl, and died in a bathtub on the second floor. Its supposedly still there. I believe he is too. When I zoom into the the far left window on the second floor, I see a face smiling back. Plus there is a red streak in the ground floor window that wasn't in any of the first pictures taken.
However, I checked out the brunch and dinner menu, and I am ready to try it out!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday 13th: begin ghost tour with the WILLABEAST

menaghost1 002
Originally uploaded by hrkovar.

Your first stop on the New York City Ghost Tour hosted by WILLABEAST is the Cafe de Artistes at 1 West 67th street.
Haunted lore says a cloudlike apparition reaches out and touches people here. Marcel Duchamp, Isadora Duncan and Fiorello Laguardia all frequented this cafe.
Menaghost1_003_1After taking this picture, about an hour later on our walk, Willamena was lightly bonked on the head by a man carrying a ladder. Not too hard. But still. However, the incident was after also visiting another allegedly haunted establishment, the Dakota. On W. 72nd, John Lennon was murdered outsite this building in 1980, and it's rumored he haunts the area around the gate. Prior to that, construction workers in the 60's said they saw the ghost of a child. Plus this building was the setting for the movie Rosemary's Baby.
Menaghost1_004Menaghost1_005Not to fear. Before we ended our short tour, we stopped in Central Park for a beer and, in spilling most of it, offered it up to the spirits.

Your tour continues through October with the Willabest. In the meantime, you can check out this website for a preview of some of the hauntings we'll visit.

OCTOBER 10th, 2006

In Menapig_015honor of Columbus Day this past Monday, Willamena visited Columbus Circle and the Columbus monument in Central Park. However, since it was also John Lennon's birthday, she stopped by Strawberry Fields as well. Read more about her voyage, as well as some history involving Columbus Day and the monuments here. Menapig_025

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Speaking of new camera, I just aquired the Pentax Optio W20 - Waterproof - at Friday night's TechFest live auction at the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. David Pogue was the auctioneer; the only research I did on the camera prior was watch his New York Times review plus briefly featured it myself in the news piece I did to promote the event. Read more from the blog I keep for News 12.

Bottom line, though, watch out Willamena! As soon as I have time to dress you up and take you out, you are going to have to endure multiple pictures as I learn my new camera.

Since it has 7.0 megapixels, first I have to figure out how to change the settings so I take lesser quality pictures. Otherwise, if I post them on this blog, the file will be so big it will jam up your computer when you click on it. Plus when the picture would finally open, it would be so big so all you would see is one eye or just a corner of the pic. You'd have to scroll around it, like when you get one of those big file pictures in your email. Tell those people to reduce their settings!

I'll figure that out soon. Instead I've been fiddling with my new DVD recorder.

I guess I'm just putting off the inevitable. As tech savy as I try to be, I resisted getting a digital camera. I was in love with old Canon Elf. I bought it back in 1998. It captured all my memories of living all over upstate New York into moving to New York City. Despite carrying it with me everyday and dropping it just about every other hour, that little camera excelled. It is the source of nearly every picture on this blog and Willamena's prior to this posting.

The one time I thought my Canon was a goner was after some sticky drink was spilled on it one New Year's Eve.
It's insides were all gummed up. The film wouldn't wind. I finally got it out, and when processed, the pictures were all bleary. It took a few rolls, but that little camera pulled through. And that was five years ago!
I have hope for my new Pentax, because while it claims its waterproof, its only so up to five feet. That basically means all my spills, Willamena slobber and bouts in the snow and rain shouldn't damage it too much.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm often stressed over managing time and money. The bills pile up on the desk next to the computer. Not that I don't have the money, but to actually sit down and figure out all the passwords to access my accounts so I pay them is the time killer.
I really try not to let that happen often. But it does sometimes. The last time I didn't pay a bill on time is because I could not access my account. I tried calling customer service but got tired of sitting through menus and being on hold.
I estimate that the time spent trying to pay that bill was worth a hundred bucks. That is some fee.
Besides, what is money without time to enjoy it?
I found what I consider the best description of wealth on the blog of a civil engineer,

How do I define Wealth: I define wealth as an abundance of life, resources, and material possessions. A wealthy person in my mind is someone who has the time to be spouse, parent, sibling, or mate, live their life on their terms, manages to have an extra dollar in his/her pocket, and has set aside an estate for their heirs. Money is not wealth, what money buys can lead to wealth. Living by principal and honor also leads to wealth.

Notice abundance of life and resources comes before material possessions.
We feel so exhillarated when we purchase a new gadget. A new suit. A new camera. But before long the same old craving feeling creeps back in. Investing in life and resources first just might fill that hole.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DevilOkay I hate people who force their animals to endure the embarrassment of "dress up." I don't even accept bandanas around a dog's neck. However, having just been asked what I was going to be for Halloween, and having no idea, made me really want Willamena to have an outfit for pictures when I saw some at a department store.

In the past, I've tried to stick to putting her in front of landmarks when I take pictures, but this Halloween, Mena is going as the Devil! I don't have a kid to dress up, so poor Willamena, bear with me. Its not my fault.

I was at work out on a story about fans celebrating the METS having won the NL East division championship for the first time in 18 years. We pulled up in front of the sports store we were going to look for Champ T-shirts at when we decided to go to the bathroom at the next door Old Navy. The bathrooms are downstairs, next to all the baby stuff. Normally I would walk right by all of it, but they already had costumes out. Frogs, fluffy tigers with stuffed fish bones in the pocket, bears, even a pirate, which made me hysterical since Tuesday was "Talk Like A Pirate Day."

"ERRR I'm not a bay- bee!"

So after laughing over all the baby stuff and going to the restroom, I head back upstairs to leave. Wouldn't you know right in the front aisle they have their dog outfits out as well? The devil was the only appropriate one for Mena. There was a tutu, a bumble bee outfit, bat wings, something I couldn't decifer, and the devil. But there is more. Just a few weeks ago, I bought her a talking toy for Halloween. (Yes, I bought a Halloween toy early September- or was it still August?) Anyway, its shaped like the devil and when you bite into it it says "The Devil made me do it, the Devil Made Me Do it!" That is so Willamena I had to have it. I am hoping to learn to use the audio on the videocam on my new MotoQ in time to capture whatever mess Mena makes next. Before I clean it up, I'll have Willamena dressed like this with her doll screaming "The Devil Made Me Do It." You might even receive it in an email if I learn how to send that as well. Feel free to delete.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tribeca Statue

Originally uploaded by wwhaus.

This is a picture of a statue I walk by after getting off the Franklin street subway stop on my way to eat at Bubby's.
When my mom and dad were in New York City visiting my mom took the picture because a friend we were with was being funny and pointed it out as the original, or practice model of the Statue of Liberty. My mom played along like she believed the nonsence. It was smart on her part, because since she was also pretending to be excited about such a find, she was able to get an otherwise unwilling group to pose around the statue. (But that is another picture.)
As for Bubby's,it is good southern eatin'. Even my father, who knows his eggs and bisquits and syrup, enjoyed the meal. Bubby's, it is good southern eatin'. Even my father, who knows his eggs and bisquits and syrup, enjoyed the meal.