Happy Mother’s Day to the mother-of-all-mothers, my mother! I don’t always acknowledge all of the things that she does for me, which is why this day exists — to remind people like me to celebrate their moms. My mother provides me with sage advice, unconditional love, and unlimited support. While she is my greatest cheerleader, she also tells it to me straight. She doesn’t always tell me that I am right when I am wrong or that I look great when I don’t or that I deserve something that I don’t and I appreciate her for her candor. I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press
The Kentucky Derby is not simply a race to determine the fastest three-year old thoroughbred horse in the country. It is an event steeped in tradition and pageantry for both the horses and the spectators. People come dressed to impress, sip Mint Juleps, and wager bets on the outcome of the race. Women wear beautiful dresses complimented by elaborate millinery (hats) and men wear coats, ties, and fedoras. Held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs racetrack since 1875, the Kentucky Derby otherwise known as the Running for the Roses attracts an enormous crowd with over 167,000 spectators in attendance this year and more than 16 million tuning in at home. The track is 1 1/4 miles long or, in horseracing parlance, 10 furlongs. It may take only 2 minutes to run the race, but for breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys, spectators, and bettors, it is the most exciting couple of minutes of their lives. The winner takes home a purse of $2 million, gets draped in a garland of red roses, and has the chance to win the Triple Crown if it goes on to win the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes in the following weeks. Nyquist, jockeyed by Mario Guiterrez was the horse favored to win, and he did not disappoint. He posted a time of 2:01.31 minutes, which was the 14th fastest time in the race’s 140 year history. Congratulations to Nyquist and good luck to him as he seeks the Triple Crown.
I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately because it is May 4th and I am still walking around in a winter coat and I haven’t seen sun in a few weeks. It is a well known fact that the lack of sun (and I would argue cold weather) can cause melancholy*. Since I have no control over the weather, I thought about what could perk me up. A trip to a tropical island or an amusement park weren’t options, so I decided upon the next best thing: a big, heaping scoop of ice cream. There is a new ice cream parlor in town called Cool Mess. It is isn’t a traditional ice cream parlor — you can actually make your own ice cream if you choose to or you can order the typical ice cream options. I chose the easy route this time and ordered a cone, but if you have the time and the inclination you can make your own ice cream. They have machines on each table and you can choose a base flavor of vanilla or chocolate and then mix in other goodies. I’ll save that for another time. Check out Cool Mess on East 62nd Street between Lexington and Park Avenues, 2nd floor. It’s a happy place!
*The lack of sun can cause seasonal affective disorder , which can lead to depression. If you feel like you have a true psychological or emotional problem that ice cream cannot solve, you must consult a professional.
Arianna Huffington, the very busy author and founder of the Huffington Post has just released a new tome about sleep. Entitled, “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” (Harmony), Ms. Huffington makes the case for the importance of getting adequate quality sleep and the steps that she takes to create an environment that is conducive to achieving her sleep goals. She has a routine that she follows which includes time to wind down after a busy day. She also recommends removing any distractions such as the blinking lights of computer chargers and electronic equipment, relegating her phone and computers to another room. She extols the virtues of a beautiful, comfortable bed and proper sleep clothing. As a severely sleep-deprived person, I plan on reading her book and implementing some of her strategies — that is when I find the time to do so. I will try to say good-bye to late-night Netflix sessions and texting until all hours of the night, but I fear that it may lead to withdrawal.
The LED lighting trend is gaining momentum as more and more New York City buildings are adding computerized lighting systems to the exteriors of their buildings. The Empire State Building, the Helmsley Building, the Bloomberg Building, and Madison Square Garden are just a few that have LED systems that are capable of displaying intricate lighting designs. Department stores are getting in on the action. At Christmas time, Saks Fifth Avenue had a seasonal light show that it broadcast on the facade it’s building. I passed Bloomingdale’s this evening and noticed, for the first time, a changing rainbow of lights on its facade. What was once a novelty is becoming more common. The novelty may wear off, though, if too many buildings implement LED lighting displays, but for now it is still a welcome sight in the dark of night.
Imagine a time when Park Avenue, previously known as Fourth Avenue, had a train line passing down it at street level. That must have been quite an eyesore and a nuisance! It was relocated below ground long ago, leaving a wide covered area above it. A name-change to the more prestigious ‘Park Avenue’, along with the creation of the planted areas, which are managed by The Fund for Park Avenue, has resulted in an elegant, beautiful avenue. At this time of year, the tulips are in full bloom and the cherry trees still have vibrant pink blossoms on them. Look for an ever-changing streetscape — Christmas tress in winter, mums in fall, sculpture exhibits occasionally — but for now enjoy this breathtaking beauty.
Prince was a masterful musician, a prolific songwriter, a spectacular performer, a flamboyant dresser, and from what I have been reading about him, a tad eccentric — many geniuses are. Unfortunately, I am learning more about Prince following his death than I did during his life. Pop radio stations tend to play the same music over and over again. Only now, to mourn Prince’s death and to pay tribute to him, are radio stations playing his classics and, boy, are they great! 1999 is my favorite, so far, but there are a plethora of them to listen to. My mom was my age when Prince released 1999 and she was a huge fan. I have to commandeer her iPhone to listen to her Prince collection. In fact, the top 19 downloaded songs on iTunes today are by Prince. With such a huge catalogue of music, I could be listening for days. RIP Prince!
Secretary of the Treasury, Jacob Lew, announced today that Harriet Tubman would officially replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill. As I wrote in my post, On the Money, back on February 22, 2016, it is about time that a woman graces a unit of currency. Originally, the $10 bill was the one slated for redesign, but that would have led to the removal of Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury. President Jackson was the one that had to go. He had an adversarial relationship with the banking sector, which made it ironic that he was on any unit of currency and his legacy is tied to his forceable removal of Native Americans from Georgia, leading to the deaths of thousands. An online poll conducted by an organization called Womenon20’s received more nominations for Harriet Tubman than anyone else. She is an apt choice because she is a true American hero, who risked her life to save others fleeing slavery through her underground railway. It was time for Andrew Jackson to go, Alexander Hamilton to stay, and Harriet Tubman to arrive.
My sister snapped this picture of me at an Apple Store as I was choosing a new phone case. She said that it looked like I was contemplating an art installation. I tend to agree. Regular everyday objects are often found in art. Consider Fountain by Marcel Duchamp, which is a urinal, or New Hoover Convertibles by Jeff Koons, which is a group of Hoover vacuum cleaners, or Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol for examples.
Color is an important factor in determining mood. When designers consider color options for packaging, decor, and apparel, there is a lot of forethought that goes into their decisions. Experts such as color psychologists and color consultants weigh in on the process to ensure that the colors in contention elicit the responses that they want. I am not an expert about what colors make people happy, but I know them when I see them. I was walking down the street today and I came across this planter of hyacinths in purple and fuchsia. The combination of these two colors instantly perked me up and put me in a happy mood.