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Sunday, October 02, 2011

Staten Island Jazz Festival in Snug Harbor

(photo courtesy: Marcia Bujold)

A poster announcing the Staten Island Jazz Festival' 24, on October 30: a fall celebration of jazz, in which Staten Island joins the festivals in Newport, RI, Monterey, CA, and Toronto.

It will take place in Snug Harbor. It used to be a shelter retreat for old sailors there, long time ago. It's a blessed place, with a superb botanical garden, and the festival will be there, in the music hall, a Greek Revival gem.

I was there twice. First time I visited the place together with Marjorie, the mother of my half-siblings, Jill and Pola. Marjorie lived in Staten Island. One morning we took the bus from Saint George ferry terminal and got down in Snug Harbor. There was a bar there, close to the sea, we entered and had a glass of wine. Then we visited the Botanical Garden, it took at least three hours, it was an amazing place, and there was such a quietness in the air, no sound, only something like a faint signal, coming from the thousand colors of flowers: the Chinese Scholar's Garden, the Tuscan Garden, the ponds, the library; the city seemed a weird reality far away, you were here in the world of flowers, and grass, and pavilions, to stay with no haste.

Years passed, I was coming to Staten Island only now and then, there was no time any more to visit Snug Harbor. Marjorie got sick, a fight with cancer that took many years. In the last year I was trying to come there on the weekends, to comfort her a bit, and her daughters. I was taking the Chinese coach from DC to Manhattan, I was hanging around on the streets a couple of hours, then I was taking the ferry to Staten Island.

The House of Marjorie, 69, Sherman Ave, SI

Marjorie passed away on a Saturday morning. We all were there, I had come from DC during the night. The undertakers came in the same day to take the body, and the house on Sherman Avenue looked suddenly empty. Everything was in the same place, the paintings and the drawings and the small statuettes, the books and furniture, the old piano and the chandeliers, and the thick curtains on windows - and we were all there, but Marjorie.

And we all went to Snug Harbor, to the Botanical Garden, to be there, in that quiet place where a faint signal was coming from the flowers, and from the eternal spirit of the universe.

Chinese Scholar's Garden

(New York, New York)

(Marcia Bujold)



  • Pierre, how did I miss this blogpost? Thank you for announcing the Jazz Festival. It is this weekend!

    By Blogger Wingspan, at 12:49 AM  

  • Pierre, thank you for posting this... !

    By Blogger Wingspan, at 12:50 AM  

  • It was for a great pleasure to write this post, as all memories of those times were like caressing me. I love Staten Island, it has a spirit that's unique.

    By Blogger Pierre Radulescu, at 2:51 AM  

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