The best part of some holiday’s; Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter and Halloween is the half-priced candy on sale at Walgreens/Duane Reade. They call it Duane Reade in metropolitan New York, as it was named after a colonial apothecary at Duane and Reade streets. Colonial means after 1745, as the city, for the first hundred years grew slowly south of Wall Street. When it was fully British, villages sprung up on the roads north. Five Points, near the pond, Greenwich Village and Chelsea grew as collections of houses and taverns and blacksmiths on the way north. Harlem was a forest, Yonkers a sleepy Dutch town and the Bronx a pasture land. The very first non-American Indian permanent resident of Manhattan was Juan Rodriguez, a Dominican working for the Dutch. He spent the winter alone, with indigenous company, in a Dutch blockhouse used as a trading post. Later during the “Cowboy Period” amidst the British occupation of Manhattan, one of the city’s first Asian resident’s, Tan Foo (sic) , a Chinese Malay national, passed intelligence to the Americans when he journeyed to Inwood on the island’s northern tip to purchase cattle and sheeps and chickens cheaper than the high priced ones raised on the Island. He would hand off his intel to one of the many Allen cousins of Litchfield County. These were frontier folk whose fathers and grandparents had carved out the town of Litchfield. Now, 60 years later Litchfield was too quiet for “raggies” like the Allen’s. They headed deeper into the woods in search of wealth, adventure and fun. Some got involved in the colonial wars; The Pequot, King Phillip’s, Queen Anne’s and the Seven Year’s War. They were tough, like SEAL Team 6. The Colonel of the Green Mountain Boy’s Brigade was Ethan Allen, who left Litchfield for the wilds of Vermont to make sure the territory came under the New England Royal Charter and Congregationalism rather than the New York Royal Grant and Episcopalianism.
Anyways, some of the Allen’s were typical raggies, cheating, thieving, gambling, hard drinking fighters who called themselves Raggies cause they grew up in the shadow of the sacred Nipmunk mountain, Mount Riga. They would swoop from their bandit camps seize cattle, ducks, livestock, birds, free slaves and liberate rum and silver. They hit mostly Tories, those loyal to George III, and then drove the plunder south to Inwood. For them it was a 100% markup on the stolen merchandise. For our Chinese patriot, whose profitable road house near present day Bleecker Street served a great noodle soup (dim sum) that worldly Brits and visitors loved; it served two purposes, cheaper provisions and a secret meet-up. Tan Foo supposedly wrote the intelligence in Malay, which a former British sea captain working for the Americans translated using his Singapore acquired Malay knowledge to English. A true Ferguson Patriot. After all, who went into the streets to protest the police state; The Ferguson Patriots. Just like Crispus Attucks, a dockworker of American Indian and Negro heritage who spied on British Naval strength and troop and ship movements for the Sons of Liberty. How many 1%’s are willing to die like him and Nathan Hale for their country today?
I am hearing cardinals, but never seeing them. Maybe I’m not looking enough. Lillibet saw the news about a new eagle nest in West River New Haven. We went and saw five old monk parrot nests. The eag, called P2, after his banding number and nicknamed Walter, was nowhere. He was banded as a baby in Hartford, probably the South or North Meadows. The south meadow has an airport, ancient buttonwood trees, a sewage treatment plant and huge tracts of bottom land. The north meadow has a raucous concert venue, cricket fields and a dike that serves as a mano a mano cruising area. Grindr has killed most cruising areas. But I remember the block around the old Chez Est on Columbus Boulevard, filled with 500 campy cruisers. Looking, waiting, judging, hoping, meeting, leaving. The people would park and walk around or sit in the car and people- watch for man dates. I kinda thought the Old Olvera Street in Los Angeles was similar to the Columbus and Grove St. locale. Here dudes gather for love, instead of shy Mexicalifornian maidens of marriageable age; around a central square. While the old Fruit Loop has a lusty power, I think a spring night, in a cantina, listening to guitars and fiddles, watching the girls in crinoline promenade with their duenna’s is more romantic. The flirt and hunt is always far sweeter than the conquest and kill.
Took Squave on a play date to Pete, the cat DJ. He does cat weddings, Bark Mitzvahs and other assorted music soirees. Schools like him for his NO Grinding Dances policy. They tinkered and played and composed and taped and looped and rhythmed. I sat looking out the window up at the cenotaph on East Rock hoping for an occasional woodpecker. Nada. Finally I was just able to summon one bird, a vulture, which tip, tip winged beyond the pane and outsight.
Monday, coming up the Boulevard heading north I saw two people with cameras and field glasses. Looking up just in time as the traffic moved I saw the eag. Dubbed the Ghetto Eag because of it’s urban preferences, it was sitting on a branch with it’s tail toward me. It was hefty so it could have been the female which is a third larger and 10 to 15 pounds heavier than the male. Just like Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen.