thank you, bulletin board #charltonstreet

New York is a magical place, as you know.

And yet sometimes it surprises us greatly.

Take, for instance, the Sudden Appearance of the Bulletin Board on the corner of 6th avenue (what the tourists call Avenue of the Americas) and Charlton Street.

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now Charlton Plaza (for this is what that small yet perfectly tended patch of land is called) occupies that corner of manhattan.

and one day a Bulletin Board appeared – proud as Punch.

black painted frame, a goodly thick glass and a keyhole.

who owns the Key? we thought, curiously looking around.

and being that we’ve worked in digital for many-a-year we looked, in Vain, for a way to “respond” to the Bulletin Board.
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but no.

the Park remained mum on the subject.

not an email address, a website, a social media presence or even a telephone number. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and then – not at regular intervals (that we could ascertain) New Information would Appear in the bulletin board.

historical Prints of the area – interesting factoids and curious ephemera discussed.

who was the Curator of the Bulletin Board?

we asked around (we know many people in-the-know).

it took a while.

and then we got to the right person.

Ah,

said Mary Beth

Richard curates the bulletin board.

do you have his number?

we asked.

could you factor an Introduction for us?

why, yes!

Mary Beth is Most Accommodating.

and so – today – we took tea (actually, coffee) at Cafe Henri, around the corner from the Bulletin Board with Richard Blodgett who is a writer, historian and general Pillar of the Neighbo(u)rhood (being President of the Block Association).

He has written a fascinating account of Charlton Street here which one can download as a PDF, most helpfully.

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so – we started – opening up the trusty moleskine #144 if you’re keeping track – and we are)…

how did the Bulletin Board come About?

Oh! a delicious late morning was had. Richard (for he said we could call him thus) was a splendid storyteller (underpinned with excellent facts because Richard was a reporter in the 1960s on the Wall Street Journal and so most definitely au fait with the facts) and told us all about the Bulletin Board.

Harry Schroder manages the park – Charlton Plaza – and wanted a bulletin board to put in notices and announcements about the park – such as planting days and so forth. But then we found we didn’t have a huge number of announcements so I started putting in vintage prints of the area and the story behind the picture.

Some of the prints come from archival work Richard does for local history (especially being President of the Block Association and thus renowned for knowing about the area) or the Museum of the City of New York or the New York Public Library – OR – rather splendidly – from local people who find out that he is curating the Bulletin Board and provide material from their family histories. The pictures and stories range from those of 120 years ago (a kind preacher at the church on what was Macdougal across the street who gave out bread – but only After the Sermon so he was guaranteed a full house – clever chap) to the destruction caused by the creation of 6th avenue (that was Quite a Forceful picture with the houses pulled down and the street exposed for the innards of the Subway) in the 1920s to – oh how we wish we had a webcam trained on the Bulletin Board so you could see for yourself.

Richard’s favo(u)rite post? He couldn’t say. But he did acknowledge that the sight of people walking down 6th avenue and pausing by the Bulletin Board cheers him greatly (and he has been known to approach and explain but not claim ownership, which is very understated and rather nice).

we told him that we posted on Instagram and put what we thought was an amusing quip:

look! there’s a Bulletin Board near where we live so if the interweb breaks down we’ll have a way of communicating with each other locally still

and then the laugh was on Us – when hurricane Sandy blew into town and yes, blew out the Interweb south of 29th street.

we were very grateful for the Bulletin Board during that week of blackout.

it felt comforting.

a way to link us to the past.

just as we start to say goodbye to manhattan.

thank you, bulletin board.

and thank you Richard.

magical manhattan moments on a rainy day.

darlings

(peering from under the umbrella)

is it raining where you are?

it’s been POURING down all day here.

not torrentially. more a consistent drip-drip-drip-misty-hair-ruining-drip-drip.

quelle depressing.

so we’ve been trying to spot magical moments to provide relief from the rain.

like the magical lending library on cornelia street.

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which apparently is part of a Movement!

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(we simply adore a movement).

we took a slim volume (aren’t they always?) of poetry from the cornelia street mini free library and will be replacing it with something trashy and engaging to get someone else through a dark grey wintry afternoon.

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we have a few books we can pass on – but then there are Treasures we cannot part with.

like our collection of Vita first editions.

in fact we got through this dark morning (we awoke at dawn for some reason) by eating tart ginger chews (very colonial India and probably not counting towards a necessarily Healthy repast) and reading Vita’s diaries of her trip to Persia (food for the soul, as always – the life of Adventure and risk and glorious writing-and-illustrations and thoughts and passions well spent, if not Wisely, at times, but what is wise in matters of la coeur?). viewer-2

oh! talking of la coeur – for movies are very close to ours – we appear to live in a film set – such a lot of people milling around with make-up brushes, disappearing into trailers or carrying long cables and directing traffic – always exciting.

what’s this one about?

(peers into screen and selects our friends at IMDB…….just a moment, darlings).

oh!

ever-so-slightly-disappointed (apparently it’s Television. not the silver screen of MGM and the like).

still.

at least there’s still a disco ball at bleecker street records where the hits of yesteryear go to lie around and discuss Vinyl and the last gig of the Jam and what Weller-is-doing-these-days (wearing decent threads) while drinking strong builders’ tea (yes, they’re always english or english-wanna-bes – in record establishments, hadn’t you noticed?

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we stood awhile by the window with our eyes closed and let the reflections from the disco ball as it rotated (very clever, apparently a Motor) flicker past our eyelashes like an old silent movie written by Anita.

but the most magical thing we saw today which lifted our spirits Immensely in the rain was the notice board (what the Americans call a Bulletin Board) at the corner of Charlton and 6th avenue (what tourists call Avenue of the Americas and locals try not to be rude and correct them).

look!

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it’s pretty special.

there’s no way of responding back-to-it (as we are used to now on the world of the interweb) or even an About Us or a contact us.

curious.

it sort of just appears.

the new post – sort of a fairly regular weekly basis.

there’s an old-fashioned lock (and there must be a Rota or a permanent Monitor person for the key because the post each week is always credited to a different local person).

we can find nothing about it on the interweb (it appears to be ignoring bulletin boards all together which is rude but perhaps understandable as this one is clearly competition with its post this week about the christmas tree of 1936 that appeared in That Actual Spot – amazing.)

and the final magic thing that happened today (although it is still not quite supper time so who knows what may transpire Next) is that Betty the post-mistress gave us a hug (we left a blessings-for-new-year – we don’t really Do Christmas and a small tip of folding money tied up with a dark pink ribbon, almost scarlet in the fluro-lobby-lights when we considered it more closely).

she was putting the Post into the large mailbox (yes, we live in an Apartment building where this happens late afternoon – how we wish we lived somewhere where a Butler called Sam – male or female – we’re pretty open-minded on that score – left our post/mail/letters on a silver tray in the hallway) and saw us (we had to pop back between tasks to get some personal effects) and she suddenly gave us a hug.

which was lovely.

when did you last hug someone?

highly recommended.

we got Quite Pink cheeks afterwards.

where is everybody? #moleskine

so we joined moleskine “world” – or “myMoleskine” as they call it (if you want to have a look for yourself, dear moleskine-lover – it’s at – you guessed it – moleskine.com)

but we seem to be the only entity with the desire to upload a picture (ironic, non?)

how sweet we look.

not sure what we’re going to do on the site.

but it was fun to join.

yet not Nearly as much fun as it was going-through-our-moleskine-collection (last night – in a tidying fit)

look! the First Set (from April 2003++)

and here are a few random ones from then – until now…

these were all from before-becoming-teamgloria*

but you can definitely see a Theme emerging, right?

such fun.

happy friday, darlings.

this is what the Village looked like this morning en route to an Early Morning Meeting for the Day Job.

some Committee has established a Bulletin Board at the corner of Charlton.

just in case the interweb stops working…..

thank god we can all stay in touch if it does.

such a charmingly sweet addition to the ‘hood.

(and tantalizingly speaks of a New Establishment to be opening soon with a Counter – “perhaps for dining” – the mind swims with anticipation.)

yes, spring Has Sprung!

so much to record.

so many moleskines to fill up with ideas and dreams and potions and portents and deliciousness.