All I’m doing these days is watching snow come down. Keeping lots of food outside for the homeless cats and birds. Knitting while watching TV or Inspector Morris videos on YouTube. I’m trying to read (“Crime & Punishment”), but reading makes me sleepy so then I go on Twitter to wake me up and end up being there for an hour or two. And making op art/zentangle pictures: below are some examples:
The first thing that came to my mind with the word “Letters” was graffiti, which only shows the environmental influence on my mind. Below is a photo of a building next to where I live. The PFFletters are the insignia of a local gang, which I only know because some kid told me that was what he thought it was. Gangs put their insignia on buildings as territorial markers. It appears on other buildings around my neighborhood. I like the juxtaposition of nature and the urban world.
The present community where I live is called Port Richmond,
Staten Island. Port Richmond is just one of the multitudes of communities that make up Staten Island. It’s one of Staten Island’s oldest and poorest communities and it is largely Latino (predominantly Mexican, but also Puerto Ricans and South Americans from every country). Port Richmond was first settled by the Dutch in the 1600’s. Staten Island was originally named Richmond (still a common name here in Staten Island, i.e. we are in Richmond country) after Richmond, the illegitimate son of George III. A major battle of the Revolutionary War was fought here in what is Veteran’s Park.
Because of the large Latino population, there are many Mexican restaurants and grocery stores and a couple of Peruvian ones. Since I love Mexican food, this suits me fine. I grew up in West Los Angeles in an area that was also largely Latino, so this is nothing new for me. It also gives me a chance to practice my Spanish, like every time I leave my apartment.
Despite having a multitude of poor families living above stores and in rooms, it also has some beautiful, historic homes from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This is a photo that I took on Anderson Avenue where it runs into Port Richmond Avenue. It was the prototype for my painting (below) that I named “Anderson Avenue.”
The Greenbelt in Staten Island is that land that remains pristine as before the Dutch settled here in the 1600’s. However, there have been 35 miles of hiking trails added. Staten Island is the most rural of all of New York’s boroughs. This is the only purple martin bird colony in New York City, which is located at Lemon Creek Parkin Staten Island.
(left) The gourds hanging from the bench, on the pole, have bird food in them. I saw purple martins eating from them, but they refused to cooperate to have their photo taken.