It’s Not A Drive-By!


Image from

My friends, I intended to show pictures of murals that I snapped here in New York City, but upon inspection of my work I found my efforts wanting. The lovingly crafted murals were created by truly gifted artists, and each one depicts various musicians who lived within Queens county. The men and women who painted the murals obviously understood things such as lighting, perspective, and sizing when creating their masterpieces, and to see their work is to view unheralded artistic wizardry. Conversely, my rushed efforts to capture their artwork via a digital camera were…well…not reflective of wizardry of any sort.

In my own defense I have to note that I hurriedly snapped the photos from the safety of my parked car since many people violently object to the presence of cameras pointed anywhere close to themselves or their property. While the murals are public displays, the buildings they are on are privately owned, as are the other buildings and homes around them. As I was trying to take the pictures, curious passersby and onlookers gave me a once-over with the occasional menacing glare thrown in for good measure. My gosh, I felt like yelling that I was taking pictures, not engaging in a drive-by shooting! Was I able to take a picture at anything close to a correct angle? No. Was I able to position myself for optimal lighting? Nope. Was I able to adjust the zoom to sufficiently capture the details so carefully placed within each mural without the looky-loos giving me the stink eye? No way.

People, it was like something out of the original Twilight Zone. The only things missing were the late Rod Serling and the show’s theme music. I will try again to capture images of the murals next week. Whether it was due to back-to-back days of 80-degree heat following weeks of low temperatures or the bites of rabid raccoons, the locals seemed to be very much on-edge. Am I going to anger anyone in a city where a wayward glance could result in gunfire? No, no, no, and in case I wasn’t clear: NO. Too many people were too nervous about something, and in true New York fashion I don’t want to find out what that something was.

Let’s see how next week goes. With luck, the residents will remember to take their Prozac before I stop by.

All the best,
Keith V.



Young Again

A Hero to the Rescue!

A Hero to the Rescue!

While online recently, I noted that a fellow member of an online group posted an image of a Comic-Con from 1975 that featured only those characters belonging to Marvel Entertainment. For legal reasons, I am unable to use the image as part of this article. However, I am free to provide this link to the image. Please take a look at it before reading further. Don’t worry, I’ll wait. 😉 Continue reading

Last Night…

A generic image of an intruder.

An image of an intruder.

I normally don’t post to this blog more than once a month, but I had to denote an incident that occurred on the night of March 4th.  That night, around 9:15 PM here in New York City, we had an uninvited visitor. That’s “uninvited” as in some miserable piece of street garbage tried to force himself into my house via the side door.

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The Kitten

Cute kitty!

It was supposed to be a pleasant summertime Saturday in a time when the Viverette family consisted of just me, my wife, and our two young sons.  We decided to take an all-day trip by car into upstate New York for no other reason than to get out of the city for some decent family time on the road.  My wife tended to the boys’ needs—bathing, clothing, and “Use the bathroom now so we don’t have to use any of those filthy roadside toilets on the way up!”—while I readied drinks and sandwiches for the trip. I was filled with “it’s time to be a good daddy” enthusiasm and walked to the rear of our driveway where the family car, a burgundy Oldsmobile Delta ’88, was parked. Continue reading

The Rotten Little Brother: A Memoir

Updated on 8/1/2011:

Back when I was a skinny little kid in elementary school, I was a member of the Cub Scouts here in Queens, New York. It was a grand time filled with crafts, camaraderie, youthful play, and after-school cartoons on TV. We would always gather just a few blocks from school in the home of one of my classmates, a boy named Victor, and to this day I can recall the sinfully sweet taste of his mother’s cakes and cookies.

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The Neighborhood: A Memoir

Dear Reader: Before you read further, I must warn you that some parts of the following entry are quite graphic and could disturb sensitive readers. Reader discretion is advised.
Dancing with my mom at my wedding.

Dancing with my mom at my wedding.

Nestled within the southeastern portion of New York City’s Queens County is the section in which I live, a place of tree-lined streets and wood-frame houses that has been the home of my family since 1958. Geographically, my neighborhood lies southeast of the transportation hub that is Jamaica, northeast of the land of two-family homes that is Springfield Gardens, and pretty much due north of bustling Kennedy Airport.

My earliest recollections about the neighborhood start from around 1967 when I was five years old. I remember that the area was still somewhat integrated at that time, with a few white faces starkly visible in the landscape of dark-skinned people. None of the blacks with whom my parents associated referred to the white people by name, opting instead to refer to them by nicknames. Among those so nicknamed was “Legless Charlie,” a double-amputee diabetic; “Doc,” meaning Doctor Schwartz, a kind, elderly physician who both lived and worked in a large house just a few blocks from my own; the “Crazy Lady,” a scrawny witch with salt-and-pepper-hair who would stand in front of her house in a nightgown and scream about “You damn [N-word]s!” at the top of her lungs for hours on end until her throat turned raw, even as her sheepish husband hid from view; and the “Scaredy Cats,” a family of terrified whites who were absolutely petrified at the thought of living in an increasingly dark-complexioned neighborhood.The area began as a haven for white suburbanites in the mid-1920s, changed to become a community of middle- to upper-income whites, hepcats, athletes, and soul musicians from the 1940s through the 1950s, and by the time I came around, it was a racially mixed, middle-income neighborhood. But as more financially secure blacks came, more and more racially insecure whites fled the area in an exodus of pink.

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