Animal Planet: New York / New Jersey Edition

I was sitting on a bench in Central Park reading a book and these two shady-looking dudes walked out of the bushes.

It was 6:00 p.m. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. Typically, I only see one when it’s splattered across the roadway. NYC wildlife is so accustomed to handouts that they come out at all manner of the day and night.

That woman was lucky she didn’t have anything to give them. If you feed them, they follow you. And if you stop feeding them, they can get a little crusty.

City animals are conditioned to rely on the kindness of strangers. You can hand-feed sparrows. Try hand-feeding a sparrow in your neighborhood.

These horses were at Christie’s.

Deborah Butterfield
Maliʻu
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $367,500

Ahona
Est: $300,000-500,000
Sold for $307,500

I stood next to them and could’ve sworn they were made of wood but the lot descriptions said they’re bronze. I wanted to wrap them with my knuckles but there was a security guard posted nearby.

As long as we’re on animals, I’ll rerun these from last year. Manhattan has a few peregrine falcon families. There’s sufficient shelter and an unlimited food supply. I’m up on the 50th floor and they occasionally survey the city outside my window.

No other bird flies up this high. We never see pigeons or sparrows up here. I do love these shots. The urban backgrounds stand in stark contrast to the wild predator.

Back in New Jersey, guess what we have in our back yard? Bunnies!

Coco, the evil canine, found this nest. She had one in her mouth but dropped it when it squeaked. I think she mistook it for one of her toys. The previous day, the lawn service guys ran over the nest. Good thing the bunnies are dug into the ground deep enough. What a mess that would’ve been.

This is Corn. We’re cat sitting her. Isn’t she beautiful? Cats are elegant. Dogs are needy.

The daughters were walking through the woods with some friends and found this skull. It’s a deer. Well, we presume it’s a deer. What else could it be? I set it on this stump in an attempt to Create Art and two of its teeth fell out.

This is some genuine Circle of Life shizzle. A good lesson for the kids.

Speaking of the woods…see this giant pile of pulp?

Until last month, it was some woods down the street from me. Unfortunately, they were in the way of nine custom built luxury homes, so they had to GO. Coming soon: Hiddenwell Estates. First they decimate the landscape, then they give it a bucolic-sounding name and complain about the deer eating their flowers. I despise the real estate developers out here. They’re dirty, stinking, parasites.

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bins

May 11, 1993

Margaret set me up on a blind date. She said this girl was blonde with great legs and came into a lot of money, but didn’t elaborate on how much or where she got it. Margaret cares about that stuff but I don’t. I told her as long as she has a sense of humor we’ll get along. I wondered if she’s a psychotic racist, like Margaret.

I called this girl, Sam. She sounded pleasant enough but wounded. She said something about men being rotten and, in particular, men who get caught fucking their ex-girlfriends. We arranged a date and she told me to look for someone wearing jeans and red boots. I told her to look for the whitest white man she’s ever seen. She said, “What do you mean? Are you a vampire?” I said, yes, I am.

We met at the Garden and saw the Knicks get their asses kicked. She wore a lot of makeup and ostentatious jewelry. Diamond bracelet. Diamond rings. Diamond pendant. The game ended, I put her in a cab and went home.

All I could think about was Laura.

This feels like when I almost drown in Mayport. I was swimming alone and got caught in an undertow. I could feel myself being dragged out to sea. The beach was deserted. There was no one to yell to. It would’ve been a particularly humiliating death since I was in the Coast Guard at the time. I remembered to swim parallel to the shore and then in. I almost didn’t make it. When my feet touched sand I cried.

How do I swim out of this undertow? I can’t even type a complete sentence without stopping midway to think about her. I’m drowning. This girl is too young, talented, pretty and smart for a fraud like me.

The night I died a little

bins

May 4, 1993

Laura came over and molested me.

She had lunch with some guy to discuss her acting career. For my lunch, I ate a big insecurity sandwich and a washed it down with tall glass of low self-esteem. She came over about 5:30 and said he was creepy. That’s all that was said.

We sat on the sofa and talked for a long time. You could feel the bright filament pulling us together. Finally, we surrendered to it. She straddled me. She gently took my face in her hands and lowered her mouth onto mine. We kissed. She unbuttoned her shirt but didn’t take it off—a move I love. She was wearing a black bra. She slowly moved her hips while kissing me. I reached behind her and unclasped her bra. She has a soft, smoky voice, like a melody, and she’d moan gently and whisper my name, which is another move I love.

Then her eyes started to water and her nose started to run. She had a severe allergic reaction to the cats. We had to get out of the apartment or she’d suffocate.

We ate dinner on 2nd Avenue and 2nd Street and took the subway to her place on the Upper East Side. She’s got a tiny apartment and a roommate so we bought some beers and went up to her roof. It was clear and cool out. We huddled close and talked and kissed. The skyline was the backdrop. It was a beautiful night that I’ll never forget. At one point, I asked if she had a boyfriend and she said, “You don’t want to talk about that now, do you?” My heart sank. I said no, I never want to talk about it, but now I do. I want to know.

It was almost morning. She walked me to the subway at 59th Street. We kissed in a vestibule at Bloomingdale’s. When she kisses me she wraps her body around me and I have to hold us both up. We broke, she looked up at me and told me I was fantastic.

I don’t know. I think I might love this girl. This actress. An actress. So predictable.

I called an allergist this morning. The initial injection would be $150, the second $90 and $30 per week thereafter. I can’t afford that. What am I going to do?

~~~~~~~~~~

Ye Olde Me

I treated my sister to a movie while visiting Cleveland last week. I bought the tickets and thought, gee, it sure is CHEAP to see a movie here. Once inside, we discovered the young punk selling tickets gave us the senior discount without asking if we’re eligible. (We are not.) My sister thought it was a riot but I took it pretty hard.

I just had a birthday. I’ve got aches and pains after I run. I used to engage in innocent, harmless flirtations that, more often than not, were well-received. Now, women look right through me like I’m a wisp of steam that somehow got into the room. I was complaining to a friend and she said, “Welcome to being a woman over 40.” I am no longer mistaken for being younger than my actual age. That was my superpower but now it’s gone. I’ve got the deep blue blues over it.

My astrological sign is cancer. I met this fellow while walking the beach on my birthday.

~~~~~~~~~~

The summer installation at Rockefeller Center is this 45′ high inflatable nylon ballerina by Jeff Koons.

I’ve heard some complaining about how Koons misappropriated Degas’ dancers but I’m so tired of the haters.

When the weather is bad they deflate her and take her inside.

Koons said the project is tied to a charity, The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. I fail to see what the connection is.

It’s based on his steel ‘Seated Ballerina’ from his antiquity series.

Move to Beautiful Soho

Look at this gorgeous condo for sale on Sullivan Street in the heart of Soho. You enter your shower through the living room.

And how about this cozy bedroom?

Yours for only:

My favorite feature is the rotting wood in front of the shower. Didn’t the previous tenant put a bath mat down?

6’6 x 13’2 is the size of a roomy coffin. This listing blew my mind and I wanted to share it with you. I try not to be judgmental but only a fool would spend almost a half million on this dump.

~~~~~~~~~~

I hurt my Achilles tendon running. It’s my own fault. My shoes were old. A physical therapist poked and prodded and gave me a series of stretches and exercises to perform. One of them involved a leg press machine at my gym. I did it wrong and wrenched a muscle in my back.

My Achilles is okay but I’m back at a physical therapist for my back. I went to a different PT because I’m too embarrassed to visit the same guy who fixed my Achilles. The pain has migrated from my lower back down into my gluteus maximus. Not so great if you sit your ass all day, as I do.

This all happened because I was trying to stay healthy. I know people who never move a muscle. Their Achilles and assess are fine. I’m a bit of a dope.

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This piece was mesmerizing. I must’ve walked a dozen laps around that pedestal, taking in every angle.

Constantin Brancusi
La muse endormie
Painted bronze with gold leaf
Est: $25,000,000-35,000,000
Sold for $57,367,500

I said goodbye knowing I’d never see her again.

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bins

April 30, 1993

I have $8.98 in my savings account. I poured what little money I had into that stupid medical mutual fund and it’s tanking. I was inspired by an article in The Economist titled, “Hide From Risk and you Hide From Reward.” What little fool I am.

I took Laura to a dance performance at the Joyce Theater. I am falling hard. She’s a natural beauty. She wore a lacy, black top and caught me starring at her breasts. I was embarrassed. But should I be? Don’t girls expect that sort of thing when they dress provocatively? She has taken to calling me pet names like ‘hon’ and ‘dear.’ They go right through my heart like a blazing hot ice pick.

Man, I love dating actresses. They talk a good game. Typically, I have to do all the heavy lifting. The extent of Margaret’s scintillating conversation is limited to, ‘So, what’s up.’ I don’t think she ever gets an original thought in that pretty, racist, red head of hers. If she does, she’s incapable of articulating it. Laura can talk the talk.

We had a few drinks after the show. I was looking forward to a drunken backseat taxi make-out session but the driver had such powerful and overwhelming B.O. that it killed the mood. When she got out of the cab she held her nose and pointed to the driver. I said out loud, “Oh. I thought it was you.” She laughed. Boy, can that girl smoke. One after another. It’s worrisome.

I was on the M15 stopped at a traffic light next to a white delivery van that was caked with black soot. It was the filthiest car I’ve ever seen. Someone had written in the filth, “SCIENTIFIC TEST DIRT. DO NOT REMOVE” and “LICK MY BALLS.” I laughed and everyone on the bus turned to look at me.

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My daughter took these. She’s just a kid. I can’t tell you how proud I am.

To laugh or weep: contemporary art auction results

I’m sure many of you read about the Basquiat that sold for $110 million to Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa. He relayed his bids to a Sotheby’s specialist on his iPhone, which I find quaint for some reason. The work was listed as ‘estimate on request,’ but nobody expected it to sell for that much. That’s Picasso and Monet territory.

To his credit, Maezawa plans to open a museum in his hometown of Chiba, Japan, to showcase his sizeable collection. He told The New York Times, “I want to show beautiful things and share them with everyone. It would be a waste just to keep it all to myself.” Good on you, sir.

That’s the drama of this season’s auctions. Are you ready for the comedy? Let’s kick the door open and break the hinges with these excruciating exercises in pomposity. On the left, the word “PLEASE” stenciled six times onto a sheet of aluminum. On the right, four shop vacs in a Plexiglas case with neon lights.

Christopher Wool
Untitled
Estimate: $15,000,000-20,000,000
Sold for $17,159,500

Jeff Koons
New Shelton Wet/Drys 10 Gallon, New Shelton Wet/Drys 5 Gallon Doubledecker
Estimate: $7,000,000-9,000,000
Sold for $7,863,500

 

What’s the intrinsic value of a piece of red yarn tacked to a wall?

Fred Sandback
Untitled (Diagonal Cornered Construction)
Estimate: $70,000-100,000
Sold for $60,000

I can’t poke you with a sharp stick throughout the entire post with terrible art. I’m not a complete curmudgeon. I’ve gone hot and cold over Roy Lichtenstein over the years but this piece was bold and stark. Estimate on request always kills me. It sounds like a dare.

Roy Lichtenstein
Nude Sunbathing
Estimate on request
Sold for $24,000,000

I’m no fan of Basquiat. I think his stuff is infantile. Plus, I don’t respect him for throwing it all away on an OD. Poor, tortured, artist. Boo hoo. Idiot. But this is nice. I like Lester Young.

Jean-Michael Basquiat
In The Wings
Estimate: $5,000,000-7,000,000
Sold for $5,975,000

Ugly and violent. I turned the corner and this was high on the wall. It looked very real.

Maurizio Cattelan
Untitled
Estimate: $1,000,000-1,500,000
Sold for $1,507,500

This was one of the showcase lots. I happen to like Francis Bacon but I can understand it if you don’t.

These are based on photos of George Dyer. Dyer was the great love of his life but the relationship was a bouillabaisse of alcohol, abuse and dysfunction. They met when Dyer, a small-time cat burglar, broke into Bacon’s studio in the middle of the night to rob him. Bacon caught him and said if he didn’t go to bed with him, he’d call the police.

Francis Bacon
Three Studies for a Portrait of George Dyer
Estimate on Request
Sold for $51,767,500

Speaking of British eccentrics:

There’s always one that defies commentary.

Damien Hirst
Dog Days
Glass, wood, paint, cigarettes, cigars, ash and lipstick
Estimate: $350,000-450,000
Sold for $468,500

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bins

April 27, 1993

I was sitting on the sofa finishing Barry Gifford’s Wild at Heart—wonderful—when suddenly, someone in the hallway started screaming at the top of their lungs, “HELP! HELP! MURDER! HELP ME!” It was the most God-awful, horrible thing I’ve ever heard. The hair on my legs stood up. The first thing I did was turn the lights off because, believe me, you don’t want to get involved in this neighborhood. I’ve read one too many stories about good Samaritans getting the shiv. [Note: What a hero I was. What a man of action.]

I looked out the peephole and the guy across the hall poked his head out the door but didn’t go into the hallway. Someone must’ve called the cops because in about ninety seconds the place was filled with them. They all piled into the apartment next door where those two gay guys live. Two minutes later two cops casually walk out talking about the softball league. Meanwhile, my heart is hammering in my chest.

About ten minutes after that, the cops escorted someone out who was carrying a suitcase. I didn’t recognize him. He must’ve been a weekend guest or something.

What must it be like being a cop? They arrive expecting bloody murder and they’re met with a bunch of gay guys having a domestic dispute. But it could’ve just as easily gone the other way. What a job! Those guys are fucking idiots. You don’t scream bloody murder on this block unless you’ve got someone with a gun on the other side of your door trying to get it. I called Lynne in the front office this morning and she didn’t know anything about it. Didn’t hear a thing. How is that possible?!

Heartache Blvd is paved with successful first dates

bins

April 16, 1993

The actress I met last week is a real tomato. I think I’m smitten. I took her to The Public to see the Irish Rep’s production of ‘Seconds Out,’ which was fantastic. I got choked-up and teary but I don’t think she saw, thank God. The Irish are masters of the written word and I love their music. Just keep them out of the kitchen.

I waited in the lobby and wasn’t exactly sure what to look for. We’d only met once, briefly. All I had was a vague recollection. But I recognized her right away when she arrived. So beautiful! An angelic face nestled inside a cloud of sandy-brown hair. She introduced me to some acting friends who work at The Public.

Afterwards, we walked over to Acme on Lafayette and Great Jones. We sat at the bar and drank. We’d lean forward and touch each other’s arm or hand to make a point and the more we drank, the longer the touch would linger. After we were properly pickled, we saw that, sitting on the last bar stool, was George Wendt, the actor who plays Norm on Cheers. He was drinking a mug of beer, holding it the same way his character does. Art imitates life. Or life imitates art. God we laughed!

She offered to pay for drinks, which was sweet, but I know she’s a broke-assed actor so I paid. It was midnight and I told her to use her money for a cab ride and stay the hell out of the subway. She showed me a can of mace she keeps in her purse. It took her a minute to dig it out. She would’ve been beaten over her head several times by the time she found it.

We walked out to Lafayette and I whistled for a cab. One pulled up. I opened the door and before she got in she kissed me. She reached up, put her hand on the back of my head and gently pulled me towards her. She smelled nice. While we were kissing another cab pulled up next to us for me. So we were kissing between two waiting cabs at midnight on Lafayette Street. A wonderful evening. Seeing her next Thursday.

Lauren and I are leaving for the Bahamas Saturday morning. Her friends at work are making fun of her for going to the Caribbean with ‘just a friend’ but that’s exactly how it is. Them bitches at Donna Karan are a mean bunch. I called her and said I met a delightful girl and would she mind coming down with the flu or tuberculosis so I could take her instead. She laughed.

I called Oscar and told him about the Laura/Lauren dichotomy. He asked me how much Lauren has paid towards the ticket to the Prince concert at Radio City last month. I told him she didn’t have to pay me anything because she’s broke. He said if I was gay there’d be men crawling all over each other to get to me. Too bad for the gay community.

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I had time to kill before the theater and did a couple of quick gallery hops. Kevin Francis Gray has some of the most unusual sculptures I’ve ever seen at Pace’s 24th St. Gallery. An ugly beauty, if there’s such a thing.

These are marble. Until you’re standing just a foot or two away, you’d swear they were clay.

HOW did he accomplish these intricate folds and crevices in marble. I didn’t think it was that malleable a medium.

It looks like it was a soft material that was molded with hands. HOW?

Pace Gallery doing it AGAIN, this time on 25th St. with Yoshitomo Nara’s Thinker exhibit. You might be familiar with Nara’s moody adolescent girl.

The exhibit included sculptures and drawings but its primary focus is this image that he has worked over the course of his career.

I don’t find the work repetitive at all. Maybe it’s because I have a house full of moody adolescent girls.

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After Pace Gallery x2 I saw Laurie Metcalf and Chris Cooper in A Doll’s House, Part 2 on Broadway. It’s a terrible title and a terrible marketing campaign for a hilarious comedy/drama. Metcalf and Cooper are pros who can convincingly pivot from comedic banter to serious drama. Deservingly nominated for Best New Play in 2017, but they should shoot whoever thought up that title. I needed TWO personal recommendations before I even considered going.

I felt bad for such a long time about not attending college. If you’d told me when I was a kid that I’d spend a random Thursday evening gallery-hopping in Chelsea before attending a great Broadway comedy/drama, I’d have felt a lot better about the future. All that wasted time fretting. What a shame.