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June 2001 Archives

June 3, 2001

Back again to the 16th

Back again to the 16th arrondissement, Tuesday was spent looking for modern, or at least early twentieth century, architecture. Our first stop was rue Mallet Stevens, a cul de sac of a half dozen houses off rue du Docteur Blanche. Built in the mid-twenties, all the buildings were designed by Robert Mallet Stevens as an avant garde enclave for architects, sculptors, artists and their contemporaries. The photo on the left shows one of the typical white cubic structures with industrial-style, horizontal windows, stepped terraces and balconies. The red ceiling of the top tower made me wish I could get up there to see what the open air space below it was like. Off of Square du Docteur Blanche we found two le Corbusier buildings. Villa Jeanneret houses the offices of the Corbusier Foundation but Villa la Roche is open to the public. Though we couldn't get much sense of the exterior because the building is undergoing restoration, we toured the interior, multi-story spaces, climbing up and across interconnecting stairs and bridges around the three-story entry hall which connected the two wings. The room shown on the right was a living room/gallery, with thin pipes on the right and back walls for hanging artwork and a fairly steep ramp up to the library hidden behind the sweeping brown wall on the left. Besides all the other neat details for shelving and a mirror that made the curving sweep of a counter go on into infinity, we were both surprised at the number of colors and their unusual combination. Before heading back to meet the Kahn's for dinner, we also found time for a quick visit to the Marmottan Museum to see their Monet collection of sixty or so paintings spanning fifty years, which were the result of a bequest from Monet's son. There was a single painting of the cathedral at Rouen, wonderfully displayed so that you could view it from way across the room. The distance heightened its incredible realism, so unbelievable when you look at it up close, and prevented anything else from displacing the Rouen series as my favorites.

June 12, 2001

For the last full day

For the last full day in Paris we started as usual with cafe at Le Metro on the corner at Place Maubert. Then across the street to pick up a baguette from Kayser and more of the most fabulous rhubarb tarte that we'd been eating piece by daily piece all week. Well fortified we headed out along the Seine to the Jardin des Plantes, walking on the path right down by the water for the first time since the flooding had finally cleared. After climbing up the hill between the hedges to the gazebo, we were disappointed that the view of the green-tiled mosque was hidden, now that the trees were fully out. But one of the fenced-in gardens, behind a usually closed and locked gate, was open for the first time. Back at the apartment again we put our packing and cleaning on hold for a minute to look out, one more time, at the spire of Notre Dame seen through the skylight. Then with everything ready for our morning departure, we walked over to the Samaritaine Department Store, took the elevator to the ninth floor and climbed the last two sets of stairs to the top viewing deck. Just as Tom Reddig did in the epilog of An Architect's Paris, the book that inspired so many of our daily walks, we used the Samaritaine's panoramic view of the city to try and absorb every single one of our favorite places and memories before saying au revoir. And we both completely agreed, there can never be too much Paris.

June 18, 2001

After a very long break

After a very long break due to machine moves and technical problems, I'm back to blogging at last, though it won't be the same without the Paris inspiration.

However you can see that the trip's influence hasn't entirely worn off in this shot of Peter trying to recreate those early morning clean streets and sidewalks. Once the hose was out, the car also benefitted, looking sparkly clean just in time for the torrents of rain left by the last of Allison.

And to think this was all done on Father's Day.

June 20, 2001

Well not only do I

Well not only do I no longer have the Paris inspiration, I no longer have the Paris schedule and I haven't yet fit blogging into a regular time spot. That's not to say I'm not thinking about what I might post because lots of ideas pop into my head. It's just that I'm a bit erratic about actually composing them. So here's a bit of an older one from when we first got back.

Before we both started back to work, we walked over to the North End for coffee and realized how truly European that Boston neighborhood feels. Though there's not room on the sidewalk for cafe tables, Cafe Graffiti has the typical fully opening front windows plus the great coffee and clientele of other of our favorite cafes. And as we sat there, this great looking truck pulled up and double-parked right across the street. What I like about this picture of it is the way the bright red and green colors reflect on the car in the foreground.

June 27, 2001

Please bear with me. This

Please bear with me. This site will resume posting on a regular, or at least semi-regular basis, very shortly.

June 30, 2001

Well it's time to get

Well it's time to get posting again, especially since I have something I really want to say.

I'm disappointed in the prejudiced and just plain mean-spirited behavior I witnessed this morning coming through the weekend outdoor produce sale in Haymarket Square. One block beyond the market is the Holocaust Memorial, with its poignant reminder about failing to speak out. Paraphrasing the quote, it says when they came for the Communists I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist, and when they came for the Jews I remained silent because I wasn't Jewish, and when they came for the Catholics, I said nothing because I was Protestant, and when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out. So I'm speaking out for the many Haymarket shoppers who don't look like me and who don't sound like me. These differences too often result in mistreatment which goes well beyond a basic lack of common courtesy to a total lack of respect for customers who look and speak differently. I've seen shoppers harrassed and yelled at, and sometimes even accused of stealing, by some of the merchants manning the stalls, but I've never seen it happen to someone like me. Often I'm served ahead of other shoppers and there's no yelling if I touch the produce or don't have my money immediately ready. With Haymarket situated right along the Freedom Trail, surrounded by the symbols of American History and human rights, it's an embarrasment to the citizens of Boston to see this sort of unequal and demeaning behavior, not just once in awhile, but week after week. Bargain prices make Haymarket shopping an economic necessity for many people to be able to supply their families with fresh produce, but low prices and low incomes do not justify this 'way of doing business'. It should not be accepted by other shoppers or by other merchants, and those merchants who persist in such abusive and disrespectful behavior ought to be banned from having a stall. Speak out for yourself and join me in requesting that the City of Boston Office of Civil Rights investigate merchant behavior at Haymarket.

But my morning walk wasn't all bad. When I crossed over into the North End to add some figs and arugula to my produce purchases, the shopkeepers were super friendly. As I walked a little further down Salem Street, the smell of tomato sauce permeated the air, where the restaurants that line both sides of the street were beginning their preparations for the evening's meals. With the temperature reaching 95 and my bags of purchases growing heavier, I was happy to see the lemonade lady sitting out at her usual spot next to Bova Bakery. Perhaps as a concession to the very hot day, she was under a large umbrella, the kind that normally sticks into the center hole of a cafe table. But when I stepped up to purchase a glass of her lemonade, I chuckled to see her ad hoc umbrella arrangement. There was no cafe table or umbrella stand. Instead she had it balanced between her feet and was holding it in place with her hand. Holding the cup and pouring out my lemonade was a two-handed job so she kind of looked at me and then said, 'Can you hold the umbrella for a minute?'. Then she proceeded to pour me a cup of a sort of lemonade slush, the result she told me, of freezing it overnight before serving it this morning. She passed me the cup, I passed her back the umbrella and a dollar, and the lemonade was just what I needed to cool me down for the rest of my walk back to Charlestown.

About June 2001

This page contains all entries posted to hey jud in June 2001. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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