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Day 1339

An abundance of celosia

August 30th, 2015



Celosia can be found blooming in gardens across the city in a range of bright colors. The flower heads often look like feathery flames (as we've seen) or spiky bottle brushes, but there is also a popular variety, pictured above, whose heads are curled up like brains, the result of fasciation.

Celosia is grown as an ornamental here in the US, but, as its nickname "Lagos spinach" suggests, it's an important food crop in parts of Africa:

It is one of the leading leaf vegetables in south-western Nigeria . . . It is extremely important as well in southern Benin, also popular in Togo, Ghana and Cameroon, and recorded as a vegetable from several other West and Central African countries. . . .

Celosia is primarily used as a leafy vegetable. The leaves and tender stems are cooked into soups, sauces or stews with various ingredients including other vegetables such as onions, hot pepper and tomato, and with meat or fish and palm oil. Celosia leaves are tender and break down easily when cooked only briefly. The soup is consumed with the staple food of maize, rice, cassava or yam. The young inflorescences are also eaten as a potherb.
I've come across translations of the plant's name in a few different African languages:

Soko yòkòtò in Yoruba means "make husbands fat and happy" or “the vegetable that makes your husband’s face rosy".

Eri ami onu in Igbo means "you eat you suck your fingers" or "licking your lips while eating".

And one more, with a little extra info:
They propagate easily, require little care, and often reseed themselves year after year. Kaphikautesi, a name used for this plant in Malawi, means "eaten by lazy ones," a recognition that not only are the plants easy to produce but that they cook quickly and with little fuss or fuel.

Day 1339

Radial eggplant

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

Overhead squash alert

August 30th, 2015



This guy's squash vines have escaped his yard by climbing into the branches of the adjacent street trees. In other words, while walking down the sidewalk, I could have reached up into a cherry tree and plucked out a squash.

You can take a closer look at this photo here. The guy told me he calls these plants Caribbean squash; I think they may be some variety of long melon.

Day 1339

Barberz #118

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

QUEENS VILLAGE OFFICE

August 30th, 2015



Now a Crapital One, this was for many years a branch of the Jamaica Savings Bank.

Day 1339

Sprawling curbside deliriant

August 30th, 2015





Datura

Day 1339




When this former community center opened in 1925, it featured a 1,200-seat theater, a 700-seat auditorium, and a six-lane bowling alley. Here's a picture from the building's early days showing the theater marquee (1924's The Price She Paid, starring Alma Rubens, was playing at the time) and the entrance to the bowling alley.

Judging from this 1993 photo, the theater was still showing movies at least as recently as 1992 (the year White Men Can't Jump was released). The building was purchased by its current occupant, New Greater Bethel Ministries, in 1993.

Day 1339

Panther on the prowl

August 30th, 2015



Ron Austin's Jaribu System of martial arts

Day 1339

Baghdad Deli & Grocery

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

Barberz #117

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339

Sidewalk grapes

August 30th, 2015



Day 1339

Crab apples

August 30th, 2015


Day 1339








and peppers and tomatoes and okra and eggplants and cucuzza squash...

Amazingly, all of these plants are growing in this tiny front yard.

Day 1339


Day 1337

On Sept. 9, 1977

August 28th, 2015



Abraham D. Beame, mayor of the City of New York, planted this tree, the first of 75 trees donated for the beautification of our community by the Third Ave. Merchants' Assoc.

The guys I ran into yesterday who were assembling the world's largest tennis ball mosaic told me about a free Songs of the Soul concert today in Manhattan. While waiting in line for the concert, I looked down at the base of an American elm on Third Avenue near 23rd Street and noticed this plaque.

Beautifying a community may seem like a joyful cause, but Mayor Beame probably wasn't in the sunniest mood during the planting ceremony. As this blog points out, September 9 was the day after he lost the Democratic mayoral primary.