While growing up in New York, my Merchant Mariner father sought to teach me how to survive either ashore and afloat. Here are his rules:
Salvaged from the Titanic, this carved panel still looks like the woodcarver finished yesterday despite having spent most of a century in the darkness of the North Atlantic.
For many years, my constant associate was a large gray cat with attitude issues. Clancy J. Bumps ( with an umlaut over the U) was a feral cat who claimed me while I was living in Ottawa, Ontario in 1969. Clancy entered my life by walking up to my friends and me one day. He looked us over, and choosing me proceeded to climb up my leg, my back, and onto my head. He thereby claimed me as his personal property.
In 1963 I had been expelled from high school in New York. I spent more time in the coffeehouses of Greenwich Village than in class. Present any of my colleagues from the 1960s with a photo of me in front of a class teaching; they'd have told you it was absurd, laughed, and walked away. But, there I was in a tweed jacket, khaki pants, blue oxford button-down shirt, and regimental striped tie.
From where we crouched, we could see the police car's searchlight and the sounds of the night watchman walking by the stonewall. The watchman's flashlight was bobbing up, and then down, we could see the vapor from his breath in it's light every time he stumbled on the stones.
The cunners lurked below. They swam near the rock recesses and around the pilings of the wharf where we were eating lunch.
Boundless inspiration. It's not always available. That's why art books and museums are so valuable.
As an adult, some of my "research" grew bolder. Friends in Boston took me out for seafood and drinks the night before I shipped out for the first time. The ship sailed directly into heavy weather, and I spent the midwatch worshipping the throne. I deny that I was seasick. It had been the clams.
Manhattan, by and large, is a grid. Except for some of the areas in the south of the island, navigation is by right and left turns. Street navigation then breaks down into east or west of Broadway. Or into what area you are going to; Meat Packer's district, Mid-town, the Garment District. The turns then followed by passages of long blocks. On moving to coastal Maine, I discovered that adequate roads and bridges were modern phenomena.
The Cafe Why Not didn't stand; it lurked below ground level opposite the Cafe Wha in New York's Greenwich Village.