Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 716
A Trip to New York City
9-22 May 2011

Monday, 9th: It's an early start today. Up before the alarm goes off. A quick coffee and a quick shower. The taxi is waiting outside and soon on my way to Charles de Gaulle airport and the check-in for the Air France flight. Find myself sitting next to an attractive young woman from Tours. She is going to visit some cousins in Connecticut. She is a student of Media Studies in Lille and a delightful human being. We talk all the way to JFK. And then I lose her going through customs and passport procedures. On the flight I also talk with a fellow named Dory Rowe from North Carolina. He is traveling from Afghanistan.
Taxi into Manhattan and am dropped in front of John Flattau's studio in Broadway. And by chance, John is in the street. After my welcome, we take my bag up to his studio. Then go out for a coffee in Le Pain Quotidien. Our waitress is from Venezuela and we chat in Spanish about my youth there. And the many changes since then.

John and I go back to his studio, collect my things and then head for his apartment in Mercer Street. I put my stuff in the guest bedroom and we begin to prepare for Stanley Cohen's Scone Foundation event this evening in the Rubin Museum in West 17th Street. We taxi there and arrive a few minutes early. Stanley is presenting the Archivist of the Year Award to Nancy Hatch Dupree, the Director of the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University. Meet Phyllis Roome, a dear friend from Paris, who is assisting Stanley and who now lives in Manhattan with Craig Unger.

The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City

Also see Stanley and he greets John and me warmly. We find seats and sit next to Craig. (Craig and I first met in Paris some years ago.) Tonight's ceremony soon begins. Stanley makes some opening remarks and then Tony Kushner relates how he came to know Nancy Hatch Dupree while researching for his play about Kabul. And then Nancy herself accepts the Award and speaks about how she and her late husband became involved with the creation of an Afghanistan archive.Afterwards there are drinks and snacks and I see and meet lots of people. Mitch Cohen for one. Douglas A. Wissing, a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana, is another. Phyllis introduces me to her associate, an attractive young woman from the Ukraine named Elena Siyanko. I ask Phyllis to introduce me to Tim McHenry, the Director of the Rubin Museum, but he has just left the museum minutes earlier. He is a friend of Sheila Colvin's and Sheila asked me to pass her best wishes to him. Damn.

Tuesday, 10th: Sleep late. John returns from his studio and then goes out for a breakfast meeting. Awake slowly after a good night's sleep. It is strange not to be in my bed in Paris. John returns and we go downstairs and purchase a cell telephone for me. Call Lynne Tillman and she tells me she is reading from her new book tonight at 192 Books in Tenth Avenue. I tell her I will try to be there. When John tells me he has a dinner date with his daughter, Anna, and his son-in-law, Juan, later this evening, I know I will attend Lynne's reading. We go to the Cozy Cafe in Broadway for breakfast. Then up to John's studio where we call Paris and I chat with Kristi MacIntosh. She is guarding the atelier and looking after dinner bookings. Then call Alan Furst and find myself agreeing to go out to Sag Harbor in Long Island on Saturday to visit with him for the day.
John and I walk down to Spring Street where we both use FedEx. I send some items to Kyle Roderick Goldstone which she left in my atelier when she was a recent houseguest. John posts a DVD to Ljubljubana. We lunch in Natural Foods in Lafayette and Spring Street. Taxi back to Broadway and I head for Mercer and a nap. Then taxi to Ten Avenue and the reading. Lynne spots me sitting in the back of 192 Books when she arrives and comes over to give me a warm embrace. I am so proud of her. She is the author of five novels, three collections of short stories, one collection of essays and two other non-fiction books.

Lynne Tillman, Someday This Will Be Funny, 2011, published by Red Lemonade, Brooklyn
published by Red Lemonade, Brooklyn, ©2011 by L.Tillman

Her new collection of stories, Someday This Will Be Funny (Cursor/Red Lemonade Press), is what's being celebrated tonight. (My own Handshake Editions published her first book, Weird Fucks.) Lynne reads "The Shadow of a Doubt" from the collection, an eerily beautiful story. After she has signed dozens of books (including one I have purchased: "For Jim dear, the sunshine of my new life in Europe!"), she introduces me to her friend, Charlotte Carter. We stroll down the street to Moran's to have dinner. I have fish and chips. Charlotte has published several mysteries, whose detective/protagonist Nanette likes jazz and all things Parisian. Lynne is off in a few days to Europe, so this will be the only time we will have together. Fairly late they drop me back at Mercer Street. And I discover I have lost my favorite cap.

Wednesday, 11th: Tonight I will meet Jane Alexander at an event in the Museum of Natural History. Get up and stroll slowly toward my lunch engagement with my wonderful son, Jesper, and his lovely girlfriend, Takae Ooka. We will meet across from his old apartment in St. Mark's Place at the Cafe Mogador. John Flattau will join us. But I am early, so pause in the Cafe Orlin (also in St. Mark's Place) for a hot chocolate. Then discover I am the first to arrive at the Cafe Mogador. John comes next. Then Jesper and Takae. We all have couscous, homemade Moroccan cuisine.
Later I head back to Mercer Street to prepare for the Rainforest Alliance event tonight in the Museum of Natural History. I have been told to be there around 6 p.m. for the cocktail reception, meet Jane Alexander and her agent, Sue Leibman, and then dinner at 7.30 p.m. Quickly dress and out the door, find a taxi and arrive early. Watch le tout New York arrive in their finest and greet one another. Soon I am embracing Jane. She and I have been friends since 1959 when we met on an Edinburgh city bus. She had just arrived to study a year at Edinburgh University and to become one of the leading actors in the university dramatic society. I started my bookshop, The Paperback, in the autumn of 1959 and it became the center of creative life with a gallery, free coffee and tea, and a performance space in the evenings.

Jane ALexander and Jim Haynes
Jane Alexander and Jim

Jane was the leading lady in the university production of Tennesse Williams' Orpheus Descening in the festival of 1960 and the bookshop also had a hit with the David Humes Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Jane and I have been pals ever since. It is a great evening in her company, catching up with her life. Her husband, Ed Sherrin, has been suffering from a knee problem. Learn about her four lads as well. She is off to Bucuresti in a few days to play Queen Elisabeth in a film for TV that is being shot there. Meet all the people at our table including Daniel Katz, the Board Chairman of the Rainforest Alliance. The mission of the Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior. Jane is one of three invited guests to present an award tonight. The other two are Sigourney Weaver and Martha Stuart. (I see them, but we don't meet.) Jane and Sue depart just after the dessert and I linger a bit longer. Even dance with a lovely salsa-dancer when she comes to our table and pulls me onto the dance floor. Shortly afterwards, slip away, find a taxi and zoom down to Mercer Street and bed.

Thursday, 12th: It was wonderful to share last evening with Jane. She is such a good friend. Call Phyllis Roome and she suggests I meet her at a cafe near her place called Edward's in West Broadway for a gossip and a late breakfast. I ask John if he would like to join us but he is busy. Find a taxi and am soon sitting with the lovely Phyllis and talking about her new life in New York City.

Edward's in Tribeca, NYC

She plans to have a small dinner party in her home tomorrow night or in a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. Afterwards walk and taxi back to Broadway and Astor Place.
In the evening have a quiet dinner with John Flattau and Jesper at Banjara, an Indian restaurant in First Avenue.

Friday, 13th: John Flattau and I have lunch today in a Thai restaurant called Spice in East 10th Street. The food is superb, but the service is terrible to say the least. The waiter apologizes to us. I would be prepared to try them again, but I think John woud not.
Phyllis Roome organizes a dinner party tonight and it looks like drinks at 7 in her and Craig Unger's apartment. Then a local restaurant, NAM. We are ten people at the restaurant: Phyllis Roome & Craig Unger, Jesper & Takae, Stanley Cohen, Paula Cangialosi, Vivienne Ritchie, Patti Bosworth, John Flattau and myself. Another great evening!

Saturday, 14th: John and I have agreed to go out to Sag Harbor in Long Island this morning to spend the day with Alan Furst. So up early and up to get the jitney to The Hamptons. We are on our way and Jesper calls my cell phone to find out if I am really going to the country. Yes, Jesper, I am on my way. We soon arrive in Sag Harbor and Alan is waiting at the bus stop. We ride in his car the short distance to his home. And then we talk. A lot about Alan and his novels. I am a big fan and have read all of them as soon as they are published. The last one, Spies of the Balkans, I gave a copy to John's and my friend, Alek Stefanovic, for possible publicaton in Belgrade. We go for lunch at the Corner Bar and stuff ourselves. Then it is back to Alan's for more talk. Late afternoon, John and I head back into Manhattan. After we have rested a bit in Mercer Street, we wander to University Place and have an Indian curry in a place called Jackson Diner.

Sunday, 15th: I will be meeting one of my heroes this morning: Betty Dodson. It has been arranged that I will go to her Madison Avenue apartment at Noon. Go over to John's studio and learn the shocking news that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who has been expected to become the Socialist candidate for the French presidency, has been apprehended and accused of a sexual attack. Oh me oh my. This is the making of a major tragedy. John cannot believe that anyone so powerful could be so dumb. Before I leave John's studio, get a call from Jodi Poretto in New Orleans and tell her that I am seriously thinking a flying down for a quick visit. (Alas I never manage to get down to New Orleans.)
Taxi to Madison Avenue and go up to Betty's apartment. She welcomes me and it is so good to see her looking so good. Get all her news. She has a new business partner, Carlin Ross, and when I see her photograph, agree with Betty that she looks terrific. Betty shows me their web site and, again, I have to agree it is terrific.

Later we go downstairs to the Keko Cafe for beacon and eggs and more delicious talk. We too discuss the DSK affair and we soon learn that everyone is talking about it. Painfully leave Betty, but promise we will meet again before I depart for Paris. She is such a dear person. And an extremely valuable human being!
In the evening take the subway up to West 58th Street to spend a wonderful evening with Barhara Hodes and her husband, Michael Gross. They have just returned from Acapulco where they stayed with friends. Alas Michael picked up something and is only having toast and rice this evening. We are joined by a friend of their's from London, Kee, who just arrived in New York City twenty-four hours earlier. I met Kee recently when Barbara and Michael took me to dine across from the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. We have a lovely dinner in their wonderful apartment. Barbara complains about the hotel in Paris that she used to use. And Michael teasingly calls her "the Dutchess of Umbrage". Their dialogue could have been written by Oscar Wilde and is straight out of the Importance of Being Ernest. Later Michael shows me a copy of Jesper photographic book about his years living in Saint Mark's Place. Michael recently purchased it and tells me he thinks the book is superb. He also shows me a corner of his library that is filled with my own books. Michael is one of America's most provocative non-fiction writers and has written eleven amazing books including Model, 740 Park, Rogues Gallery (on the Metropolitan Museum of Art). His latest, Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition and the Lust for Land in Los Angeles will be published in November 2011. It is always delightful to spend time with Barbara and Michael. But it is getting late, so thank them for a lovely evening and make my way back to Mercer Street.

St.Marks 1986-2006, a book of photographs by Jesper Haynes
St.Marks 1986-2006, Photography book
©Jesper Haynes

Monday, 16th: Call Stanley Cohen and he suggests dinner on Thursday evening. I say I will bring about four people. Jesper and I agree to meet at the St Mark's Bookshop at Noon and have lunch today. Wander over and am early. Many years ago, the daughter of one of the owners of Saint Mark's Bookstore stayed a while in my atelier in Paris. Jesper arrives with ten copies of his book for the bookstore. They have already sold ten copies.

We agree to lunch in Veselka in Second Avenue because I wish to have some Polish borscht. But they do not have any of the menu. Jesper has oatmeal and I have six pierogi. Our waitress is Julie.
We walk afterwards to a postoffice and purchase stamps for a few postcards I have written for my neighbors in Paris. Then visit John in his studio.
In the evening I go to Jesper's apartment in Brooklyn. Collect the taxi in Broadway. The fellow before me does not have enough cash to pay the driver. He owes about $12 and only has $9. The driver is from Pakistan, but has been living some years in New York. Somehow or other we talk about Edinburgh and Glasgow. Both the driver and I express our love and affection for these two cities. When we arrive at Jesper's, I give him a big tip to make up for the shortfall earlier. Jesper and Takae have prepared a feast for me and his flat-mate, Samuel Zide. Sam has taken a great photograph of Jesper which he gives me. He also gives me one of his sweaters that he claims he will not need anymore.He is moving very soon to Los Angeles and is giving away a lot of his stuff.

Jesper Haynes, photograph by Samuel Zide
Jesper Haynes, photograph©Samuel R.Zide

It is a little wet and cold now in New York, so I accept the sweater with gratitude. Very late, Jesper orders a car to take me back to Mercer. I chat all the way in Spanish with Jose from Bolivia.

Tuesday, 17th: Coffee alone in Mercer Street. John already up and out. I sit and read The New Yorker. John returns and we discuss going to the theatre tonight. I want it to be Anything Goes!, the Cole Porter musical. But there are no tickets. John suggests we see Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. This is fine with me because I am a big fan of Tom Stoppard. John departs for his studio and calls my cell phone to announce he has tickets.
Meet Jesper at John's studio at 3 pm and he takes me to his friend, David Baron's for my first ever acupuncture session. And it is cool. David is supper nice with me. He will not let me pay for the session. So I say he must come and stay with me in Paris and let me spoil him for a week. He says OK, it is a deal. I feel terrific afterwards. Jesper and I walk to Union Square, and pause only to have fresh fruit juice. Then we continue walking to Mercer Street.
In the evening, John and I take a subway up to 42nd Street and walk the short distance to the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. We have great seats, the third row in the stalls. Both John and I find the play excellent. We take the subway back to Lafayette and 8th Street. Both of us are exhilarated by the performances.

Tom Stoppard's Arcadia
Arcadia, a play by Tom Stoppard at the Ethel Barrymore Theater NYC

Wednesday, 18th: John is up at 6 and he and I have coffee. Then he departs for his studio. I go later to Le Pain Quotidien for a latte and an oatmeal breakfast. Purchase a copy of The New Yorker. I want to see the waitress from Venezuela, but have to settle for one from Philadelphia. Read a delighful review of Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. (And two days ago in Paris attended a screening of the film with Antonia, Paul and Mary. We all four loved the film.) Back to Mercer Street and call Jill Diamond. Tell her I am coming up to lunch with her. On my way up in a taxi, ask the driver from Bangladesh, to drop me at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. Attempt to purchase two tickets for later tonight, but alas there are none. It is a full house. Continue by train to West 72nd Street. Find Jill and she reminds me that it is 30 years since we last shared time together, when she got out of prison in Rennes and stayed a few days in my atelier in Paris. We both announce that we still have all the correspondence between us. She looks great. She asks me what I would like for lunch and announces it is her treat. I say soup is all I want. We walk to a nearby Cuban Chinese restaurant where Jill is greeted warmly. We both have chicken soup and talk and talk and talk. She wants to know about my life and everyone she encountered, ever so briefly, in Paris.
It is painful to depart from Jill. But finally life goes on. And I take the train to Sheridan Square. Walk along 8th Street and purchase a new cap. Not entirely happy with it. But. Walk in the softly falling rain to Mercer Street and go up to John's apartment. Stanley Cohen calls and reports he will have to cancel the dinner party tomorrow night in order to meet with his lawyer.
John and I decide to have a quiet dinner tonight. I suggest Moran's in Tenth Avenue and John says OK. We zoom over there in a taxi. I have fish & chips again. John has a pasta dish. We are both happy with our meal. Our lovely waitress is Kelly, appropriately enough for an Irish restaurant. Back to John's and get a call from Kyle in Malibou. We chat a long time.

Thursday, 19th: I call Betty Dodson to tell her there is no dinner at Stanley's and that I will take her and her partner, Carlin Ross, to dinner. Stanley will join us late for coffee and dessert. She says she will call Carlin to see what she would like to do. And then get a call from Stanley and he says he now can have the dinner at his place. I call Betty and tell her I will meet the two of them at Stanley's apartment at 7.30. John calls me and announces that Victor Pina, "our man in Havana", is in New York and that arrangements have been made to meet him for lunch tomorrow. He did not tell Victor that I am here. So it is a nice surprise.
Dinner at Stanley's tonight. I am the first to arrive. Then Betty Dodson and her attractive partner, Carlin Ross. We sit on the outdoor terrace and chat with Stanley. Soon other guests arrive: Monia Lippi, an attractive young photographer from Boulogne, a fellow named Hampton Francher and a Chinese woman named Lana Jokel. And Stanley serves what I have been craving all week: Polish borscht. I am very happy. Lots of lovely conversation around the table. As usual I am in complete agreement with Betty Dodson and her new business partner, Carlin Ross, about all things sexual. Ride in the subway with Monia and Hampton. It has been another great evening in Manhattan.

Friday, 20th: My last night in New York City and Jesper is preparing a dinner party for me.
Start the day with a toasted muffin and coffee with John at 6.30. He goes to his studio and his Polish cleaning lady arrives. She and I exchange a few words in Polish and she is impressed.
Go to the meeting with John and Victor. John is the first to arrive and Victor comes shortly thereafter. He is completely surprised to see me. We go to John's Pizza restaurant in Bleeker Street. John Flattau warns us that the pizzas are large. And he is right. I am only able to eat half. It is great to see Victor and to catch up with news of Pablo Armando Fernandez and Cuba. We wander nearby to Dante's for coffee. Victor has a 3 o'clock appointment at the NYU Library.I leave them and taxi to Andrew Edlin Gallery at 134 Tenth Avenue to see an exhibition entitled "Zap: Masters of Psychedelic Art, 1965 - 74".

Takae, Victor and Jim. Photograph by Jesper Haynes
Takae, Victor and Jim

(Drawings by Robert Crumb, Victor Moscoso, Rick Griffin, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Spain Rodriguez and Robert Williams.) I have known almost all of them since the late 60s. Walk and taxi back to Mercer Street. When I am back at John's, I call the gallery and chat with Laura Higgins, the Director, and congratulate her.

In the evening John and I find a taxi and head for Jesper's home in Brooklyn. He has prepared a spaghetti feast for about a dozen people. Sam Zide is present, but he has to leave for a friend's surprise birthday party. But Anna Kohler, her husband, Jurgen, ad their son, George, are a welcome sight. (I learn about Anna's teaching drama at M.I.T. in Cambridge, Massachusetts.) Others include Rebecca Klementovich (who has sold her New York apartment today and is moving home to New Hampshire), Anka Itskovich (born in the Ukraine, but living in New York a long time), and Anne Johnson. Plus Nawa Acosta Wright and Victor Wright (who have dined here in my Paris atelier one Sunday evening last summer). Very late and very tired and very happy, Jesper calls a car for John and me. We manage to fit Anna, Jurgen and George in and drop them in the East Village. Home to Mercer and ponder the news that Jesper and Takae have seen an immigration lawyer about the steps to take in getting married in New York. Wow! I am soon to have a new daughter-in-law. And Jesper gives me a lovely hat that someone gave to him in Japan. He thinks it will suit me better. But I forget my Indian scarf at Jesper's.

Jim and Jesper
Jim and Jesper

Saturday, 21st: My Air France flight is at 6.15 this evening. John suggests I head for JFK about 3 o'clock. He has reserved a car to take me out. He and I go to lunch in a Japanese restaurant, Sharakii, next to the Saint Mark's Bookstore. I am all packed and ready to go. Jesper comes over about 2.30 to see if he can help in any way. There is a "dance" parade today in 8th Street which completely blocks Mercer Street. So in the end, we are not able to get the car that John has ordered. Jesper finds me a taxi with a mad driver from Bangladesh and he drives me wildly to JFK. Manage to check-in for my Air France flight and to clear passport control and the security checks without too much difficulty. Move to 2B Gate and await the boading. My seat is 19H on the ailse. Next to me is a fellow named Rishi Moghe from Bombay. Discover he studied in Rushton, Louisiana and we talk a long time about Louisiana and India. He now works in Orlando, Florida and is on his way to visit his family in Bombay. Next to him is a fellow named Simon Lecocq, who is from the East of France, but has been studying in Montana. It's an OK flight.

Sunday, 22nd: After a fairly smooth flight, we land just after 7 a.m. Say goodbye to my two new companions, Simon Lecocq and Rishi Moghe. Quickly clear passport controls, find my bag, and get a taxi. The driver and I discuss the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case all the way to Tombe Issoire. Natalia is home. We have coffee and she explains all that has happened since my departure for the New World. It is so good to be home. And to know that all is well - thanks to Natalia Shkola.

Monday, 23rd: A delightful dinner party last night. Lots of lovely people. Somehow or other, I managed to make it through the evening.

 

This has been my first trip to the USA in ten years. I made the journey mainly to share time with my son, Jesper, and his girlfriend, Takae, and of course, to see many friends. Alas I was not able to meet as many old friends as I would have liked. I also thought about flying down to New Orleans and to Austin, but there was just not enough time. As we all know, there is not enough time in life to do all we wish to do. So to all those I did not manage to see (and to embrace) please forgive me...

 

 

Jim Haynes
May 2011

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris France

 

 

 

 

 

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