At Home He's a Tourist


It's hot in more ways than one. It's 100 degrees out and I'm done with work and tomorrow we have to go out to Long Island for Mother's Day. So I get off the 6 at 125th and I'm not going to bus it west, make a cold drink, and settle in and see if Fox started their baseball coverage yet, instead I'm going to hoof it west and do my Mother's Day and late birthday shopping. Whenever I go out to the island I'm always shopping for some kind of late gift. I can never get things in the mail on time. So I pass Harlem Underground and there is a great Jimi Hendrix shirt in the window but I have a rule that when I"m shopping for gifts I don't buy anything for myself so I pass. I am thirsty though so I want to get a juice. The juice place is totally so crowded so I go to the health food store a few doors down and get in line to order a juice. So there is only one person ahead of me so I figure I can order soon. The juicer is really slow and soon there is a long line behind me and the juicer is still making this one juice so I leave and go a few doors down and make fruitpunch/lemonade at Subway. So I leave Subway and I have to get gifts. Now there are tons of gifts on the street but I"m buying Mother's Day gifts for Dina and my Mom an a late birthday gift for my Dad. I figure I could search the vendor's stalls and find interesting gifts except I'll buy some gifts I think are interesting and people who receive the gifts will be like 50/50 and I won't have receipts and that will be that. So I decide on two 125th sure bets, American Apparel and the Studio Museum. So I know Dina loves American Apparel so this is easy, I just get some of the new clothes, in this case summer, early sixties Newport style. Tanks and t's with horizontal stripes and denim shorts. So I buy those and get a gift receipt so no problem, even if Dina doesn't like the clothes I bought I know she can return them and find something she likes. Next stop Studio Museum, not as easy as American Apparel, but I can usually glean some gifts from their gift store. Plus I can catch up on the African Diaspora and read back issues of Modern Painting. I'm not sure why but the Studio Museum carries every issue of Modern Painting. It's like there's a Modern Painting news stand there. For Mom jewelry, minimal and not too expensive. I'm not good at picking out jewelry because if I notice it when people wear it I don't like it, but when I don't notice it and it still looks cool I like it. So if I'm looking only at the jewelry it's hard to tell. I pick some earrings made by a local jewelry maker, very minimal, I asked the girls behind the counter if they thought they were conservative enough, they weren't sure how conservative they were but they said it was great choice. So then I go look at the catalogs. The Studio Museum has been around for a long time so they have tons of catalogs so I picked one from a show about WPA, my Dad was telling me about some WPA murals he saw at the Brooklyn Museum, and a catalog from a show about housing. Now he's retired but he used to be a developer so I thought he would like those. The catalogs are from the seventies and eighties and thy are different from catalogs now, 1 color covers, black and white text, illustrations, photographs, a short essay or two, some statistics, a bibliography and that's that, all in a range from 10 - 50 pages, and in a price range from $5 - $10. Shopping done, I'm heading home for A.C. and baseball.