Tag Archives: New York

Pause and Reflect

New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.
Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.  ~Mark Twain

New Year’s Eve in Wellington wasn’t so much a damp squid as a soaking wet one.  The usual celebratory fireworks display on the waterfront was cancelled because of the atrocious weather we have been having over the past few days.

But here in NZ we are not surprised that the summer lasted only a few days in fact three in total – 23, 24 and 25 December.  Then the rain set in.   And it has rained here in the capital ever since.

This year has seen many things happening to our small nation on the far side of the world.

Map of New Zealand

In February we had an earthquake in Christchurch of 6.3 magnitude on the Richter scale.  This earthquake killed 181 people and caused widespread damage to an area that was already devastated in the September 2010 earthquake.  This quake has been followed by regular quakes in the months since.

In May a tornado hit the Auckland region – a very brief burst but causing spectacular damage.

In June two more earthquakes hit the Christchurch region.  The result of these earthquakes is that many buildings have been deemed unsafe and many of the historic buildings that made up the city centre will have to be destroyed.

Residents of some parts of the city were just getting used to the idea that they may have to leave their homes, while some lucky (?) ones were told they could stay when a 5.8 magnitude quake hit them on December 23rd.

On December 14, the Nelson region (about 255 miles/159 kms from Christchurch) was hit with flash flooding causing a multi-million  dollar trail of damage and having people evacuated from their homes.  This was followed with more torrential rain causing more flooding on December 28.

Mother nature’s violent farewell to 2011 wasn’t restricted to the rain. Christchurch residents were battered by three large aftershocks, including a magnitude 4.8 quake 10km northeast of Lyttelton at 1.44pm on December 31.

Of course these happenings fade into insignificance compared to the damage and destruction Mother Nature has caused around the world.  Floods, famine, earthquakes, tsunamis and tornadoes.  So the prize for the most active member of the community in 2011 must go to Mother Nature.

And we must ask ourselves what are we doing to this earth of ours that has caused these things to happen in the past year.  May 2012 bring a more peaceful and settled year for everybody living on this crowded planet of ours.

Wild weather

Angry Mother Nature

A Love Story

“One belongs to New York instantly.  One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years”  Thomas Wolfe – short story writer and novelist, 1900 – 1938.

Masha - Love Story

Photo - NZ Film Festival

I have just returned (10.30pm) from seeing yet another movie.  This one is by NZ Director, Florian Habitch.  Habicht is an Auckland film director who took up the Arts Foundation’s Harriet Friedlander Residency in New York in late 2009.  We are told ‘He  was under no obligation to do a jot of work, let alone return with the opening night movie for Auckland’s 2011 Film Festival. But return he did with this strangely odd movie ”  Habitch was the inaugural recipient of the award and has justified the Arts Foundation‘s choice.

The film is a love story but really not in the sense one would expect.  It embraces documentary, fiction, New York city and many of its inhabitants always gregarious and ready to be filmed, summer, sex, romance and just about everything else one can imagine in a movie.

The movie opens with a scene of a young woman walking along the pavement carrying a piece of cake on a plate.  She then hops onto a train where she is seen by Habitch who follows her when she gets off.  They take off in separate directions with the plan to meet up halfway.  But of course, this doesn’t happen. In a conversation on Skype with his father back in New Zealand, he decides that she must be Russian and as many Russians apparently live in Coney Island, this is where he decides to spend his energy and his time looking for her.

Masha and Florian

Photo - NZ Film Festival

They do meet up again and the rest of the movie is spent filming his Love Story.  It is a strangely moving film, interspersed with conversations with a wide variety of New Yorkers, from many walks of life, each of whom gives him a different slant to put into his movie.

I don’t know that this is one I would recommend.  We had tried to see it at the NZ Film Festival in August but unfortunately, it was on only for two days and sold out early.

The movie was quirky, interesting and different but dragged a little in the middle and seemed to be trying too hard.  It was a very low-budget movie and at times this showed.  However, if you do get the change to see it, let me know what you think.

And dinner at a local Indian restaurant rounded off the evening very nicely.

And click here to listen to Sinatra singing New York, New York.  The video has a selection of great scenes of New York too.

“If I can make it there
I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you
New York, New York.”

New York Skyline

© Tomasz Szymanski | Dreamstime.com