Summertime in the city is so much fun, even if it is hot and sticky. I confess, I am a jungle bunny and I love it hot; the hotter the better. I spend a lot of time walking wherever I can, then jumping on the bus where I must, which is why I am now suffering from the worst summer cold ever. The quick transition from the sweltering sidewalks into the deep freeze, also known as the bus, where the air conditioning is at full blast, has been more than my system can handle.
Because I travel on so many different bus routes on a daily basis, I began to take note of the varying degrees of air conditioning on the bus lines. By far, the M1 bus is the worst. The vents are positioned directly above the seats and the temperature control has only one setting–full blast. The M102 bus is usually an accordion bus, and more often than not, the vents are on an angle pointing toward the window; the temperature level is comfortable. The M101 bus is also an accordion bus, and the temperature dial is always set at low. I always carry a sweater and sometimes a shawl, which I’ve been known to put over my head and shoulders to keep the cold air from shooting down into my ears, onto my neck or onto my shoulders. And they call this an improvement?
I was not the best guest at a small dinner party I attended. I had laryngitis, so engaging in conversation was out of the question. However, there was nothing wrong with my appetite, and the baked chicken and the macaroni salad with chopped cucumber and tomatoes in a spicy dressing, along with warm French bread and watermelon and vanilla ice cream dessert, were delicious. Although I drank all of the iced tea, I hardly touched the wine. So depending on your choice of libation, some were happy and some were not.
Happy birthday to Jayda Francis, who had a good, old-fashion backyard party at her home in Cambria Heights. I faired a lot better there because I was comfortably in my element outdoors on a hot, sunny day. Appropriately covered in suntan lotion, I, along with the other guest, enjoyed mounds of fresh fruit salad, curried chicken, rice and peas, and baked macaroni, along with baked porgies. The music was good, and the children happily entertained themselves in the bounce house and on the water slide. Needless to say, the whole affair can only be summed up as perfect.
Congested to the hilt, my voice returned to a rasp just in time to celebrate Kendal and LaVerne’s 45th wedding anniversary. If you know Kendal and LaVerne, then you know they always have multiple sets going on to entertain their many sets of friends. We were fortunate enough to join them at the Tropix, a club located along Nautical Mile, in Suffolk County, Long Island. The mile is lined with outdoor clubs, offering a variety of music and atmosphere. About 20 of their friends gathered at the Tropix, including their daughter Crystal along with husband, Luddy, and their son Jay, who was celebrating his birthday. Happy birthday, Jay. Unfortunately, still very much under the weather, I was curled up like a snail, as the night air wasn’t exactly the elixir that the doctor ordered. Still, it was fun.
I, for one, thank the de Blasio administration for making summer safety a top priority and executing a plan. Police are circling around the projects; hence, there’s been a temporary cease-fire. We’ll see how long it lasts–both the police presence and the cease-fire. I apologize for saying extending the operating hours of community centers is a dumb idea in last week’s column, but it is.
At the risk of dating myself, I remember the time when all New York City teenagers were eligible for a summer job, working for the city. Most opted to work as camp counselors for the day camps operated by the adults of the community and attended by the community youth. All participated in camp activities as far as the budget would allow, taking trips around the city and enjoying a half-day every Friday to go downtown to a designated office to pick up their paychecks. Meager as they were, the paychecks were enough to keep everyone out of trouble. At the end of the day, as nightfall descended, everyone was completely fatigued from the day’s activities and eager to go home and go to bed. Engaging in constructive activities during the day is a sure way to get a good night’s sleep.
The 16th annual Harlem Book Fair and the first ever HBF Urban Arts and Literature Festival took place July 10 to July 12. Tonya Bolden was there to promote her new book, “Searching for Sarah Rector.” The book gives a historical account of Sarah, a Native-American girl, who at age 11 was the richest girl in America, until one day, both she and her money disappeared.
Paula Williams Madison, a former executive with NBCUniversal and former news director at WNBC, held a private screening for the New York City premiere of her new documentary, “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China.” This story is about Madison’s successful search for her Chinese grandfather’s 300 relatives in China. What she discovered took her back to 1500 B.C., and brought her to the present, where her Chinese grandfather married her Jamaican grandmother. Paula currently serves as vice president, Board of Police Commissioners, Los Angeles Police Department. I am sure there is another documentary to be made on what it is like working in that capacity.
Condolences to the family of Jean Chambers, wife of John and mother of Maria, who was hit by a car while crossing the street near her home and died shortly afterward at St. Luke’s Hospital. Chambers was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 99th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Her body will be cremated and a funeral service will be held at St. Michael’s in the near future.
Be well, be safe, have fun and don’t forget to put on your suntan lotion.
Until next week … kisses.