Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Beautiful Day - Harvard Tops Yale 45-7

John Tepper Marlin

Robert Trentlyon is a member of the Class of 1950 at Yale. He called to invite me to join him at the Harvard-Yale game this year, which took place on Saturday. For many years, Bob has gone to The Game with two friends, his college roommate and Ambassador Walter Carrington, Harvard ’52, whom he met when both were involved in Students for Democratic Action. One year neither of Bob’s colleagues could make it, so I joined Bob in lieu of the other two. Harvard came from behind and won. Bob consoled himself at the time, by muttering: “Well, at least Walter isn’t here to gloat over me.”
Bob Trentlyon, Yale '50

I met Walter on Bob’s 80th birthday. This year the three of us went to New Haven on Saturday, November 19. Bob is a former NYC newspaper publisher (Chelsea-Clinton News etc.) and a prominent civic leader, his POV distinct from that of his classmate, the late Bill Buckley Yale ’50. Bob told me that Yale calls the Class of 1950 its “greatest class”, swelled by GIs to twice the pre-war size of 800. We took the 7:55 am New Haven RR train from Grand Central (see photo). It was so crowded with young fans that many had to stand.

In New Haven, we met up with Walter, who came down from Boston. He served Presidents Carter and Clinton as Ambassador to Senegal and Nigeria and before that headed up the Peace Corps in Africa during the Kennedy-Johnson era. We took the Yale Club bus to the stadium for $15, round trip. We purchased general admission tickets for $5 each but then decided we wanted to sit closer to the 50-yard line so we purchased reserved seats at Portal 30 for another $30 each. Walter was delighted to find his seat number matched his birthday. It was our lucky day. We sat right by the 50-yard line.

Since the three of us purchased six tickets, the attendance figure put out by Yale is overstated by at least three, making it 55,134. This number amounts to 90 percent of the 61,446 capacity that the Bowl was left with after alterations in 2006. But the Yale Bowl was never 90 percent filled. Many people, especially on the Harvard side, must have bought tickets and didn’t come. And after the first half I regret to say a large number of Blue supporters threaded their way out well before the end of the game; for this game, the Sitzfleisch award goes to the Harvard fans.

L-R: Walter Carrington H'52, Robert Trentlyon Y'50, John Tepper Marlin H'62
Update January 2013 - Sadly, Bob Trentlyon tells me he was at a memorial
service for Ambassador Carrington - at Tony & Lucille's (see below) in the
second week of January.
We sat on the Harvard side, where the sun shines after the first quarter. Our caps shaded our eyes (see photo). The sun meant we shivered less than the Yalies on the other side of the Bowl. It was windy, especially in the first quarter, and several missed forward passes were probably  blown off course. The lateral passes had a higher completion rate but gained less yardage than a forward pass would have (duh!).

One reason some Harvard fans didn’t show is surely that Harvard was undefeated going into the game and was already the Ivy champion after beating Penn the week before. But the Harvard team reportedly had decided not to accept their Ivy championship rings if they failed to defeat Yale. Based on this fact, and the formidable team statistics at the front of the game program, I ventured to suggest to my senior companions that the score would be Harvard 48 to Yale 18.  Neither would wager.

The game began with a fine Yale touchdown. It was a sight to see the Yale side so excited. After the conversion and a 7-0 lead, the Yalies leaped up and waved blue hats and blue scarves until kingdom come. The idea surfaced… they could win this! In the excitement I confess I temporarily forgot my lopsided forecast. After all, no money was riding on the outcome. Ambassador Carrington thoughtfully also failed to remember what my forecast was. Bob, in contrast, reminded me I was the “baby” (his word) of the group, and for all he could tell, I was drinking Milk of Amnesia.

But Harvard’s Quarterback  Collier Winters quickly tied up the first quarter.  The stadium paused for a moment of silence out of respect for a woman who was killed before the game by a U-Haul carrying beer kegs, with two others injured. (The NY Times reported that the Yale undergraduate driver was sober and that the problem seems to have been a mechanical failure.)

Harvard’s second touchdown was at the beginning of the second quarter, as Winters threw a successful 20-yard pass to Wide Receiver Alex Sarkisian in the end zone. The next two scores featured kicker David Mothander, who faked a field goal and ran over the goal line without a single Blue hand being laid on him and then, before the end of the first half, kicked a real field goal.
From the game program I counted 138 names on the Harvard squad, 128 on the Yale squad. So, on average, 8.3 percent of the two squads are on the field at any one time. I couldn't find a roster of the two bands; my impression is that they have shrunk from the numbers in the 1950s and 1960s. If my impression is correct, I wonder what the reason is. 
By the middle of the second quarter when Harvard was well ahead, I re-remembered my forecast. The Harvard defense held up during the rest of the game, blocking a Yale field goal kick, forcing a fumble and intercepting three times. At the third down 18 times, Yale was able to grind out the yardage for a first down only four times, which is a success rate of just 22.2 percent.

As the shadows lengthened, and Winters hammered away, the
 sons and daughters of Eli streamed out of the stadium. 
The Yale announcer kept up his spirits by noting the achievements of many of the other 35 varsity sports the university competes in, and noting the scores of games in the world beyond New Haven. He also made the point that Yale was ahead over the full 128-game series, with 65 games won to Harvard’s 53 (soon to be 54) and the rest tied.  But Yale has been lagging in recent years. Since 1956, when the Ivy League was formalized, Harvard has won 31 to 24, with only one game tied - the one in 1968 that is formally listed as a 29-29 tie but is correctly described (I was there) in Cambridge as a Harvard win. The 21st century has seen ten wins for Harvard, one for Yale. At what point does Harvard start to look like a bully?

After a scoreless third quarter, what sped the sons and daughters of Eli on an early exit from the Bowl was the Bang-Bang Winters Silver Hammer coming down on their heads for three touchdowns in a row.  The most exciting moments were a 60-yard pass to Kyle Jusczcyk and a long runback after an interception by Harvard captain Alex Gedeon.

Ivy Champs '99. This was the last time Yale won against
 Harvard at home. Bob hypothesized this was 1899.
Somewhere in the fourth quarter I observed to Bob that Yale hasn’t beaten Harvard at the Yale Bowl since ’99. I pointed to the “Ivy Champs ‘99” banner on the field (see photo). Bob had by this point in the game become… and I hate to say this about a friend… a bitter man. He looked out over the field and said, with his gallows-humor nostrils flaring: “You realize, of course, that the banner refers to eighteen-99.”

According to Harvard Magazine's report of the game, the final score equaled (was identical to!) the best previous Harvard win, in 1982.

Archway entrance to Little Italy,
New Haven.
To be fair, Yale Quarterback Patrick Witt did his best. During the season he has broken many Yale passing records. He completed 24 of 39 attempted passes during the game, an average of slightly less than 10 yards per pass, with one of them ending with a Yale touchdown. The wind may have contributed to three of his passes ending in Harvard hands. There was a kerfuffle over Witt’s choosing to play with his team instead of showing up for a Rhodes Scholarship finalist interview. He did the right thing for his team and can always apply for a Rhodes in 2012.
Tony & Lucille's, where we ate dinner.

After the game, there being no more Mory’s, we went to Little Italy (see photo of archway at entrance to the neighborhood) and had a really fine meal at Tony & Lucille’s (photo at left). We had trouble afterwards getting a taxi to the train station but fortunately got a lift from a Yalie patron of Frank Pepe’s Pizza  across the road. Pepe’s is reputed to be the most ancient pizza vendor in the United States, says Bob, who by this time was greatly cheered up by a large helping of fettucini, more than he could finish, and some Californian pinot grigio.
Tony & Lucille's restaurant has installed
 an ATM machine. The local bank puts
a distance between  itself and Wall Street.

The ATM machine at Tony & Lucille's was installed by Domestic Bank, which self-describes its mission as "We're Main Street - Not Wall Street".  A sign of the times. This led to some stories by Bob of his days as a newspaper publisher, including the time when his biggest advertisers, NYC’s savings banks (institutions that would now be called “community banks”) were clobbered by the Savings and Loan crisis. It was a hard time for neighborhood-based periodicals, which relied heavily on these bank ads. He once offered a savings bank some toasters in return for advertising - in those days, you got a toaster for opening an account. PS: It didn’t work. “I have a basement full of toasters,” said the banker.

That story was as close as we came to talking about the reality of the world of 2011, laid low by excessive risk-taking by American financial institutions and facing the possibility of another whammy from the asset-shrinking impact of U.S.-originated derivatives on European banks. It was a welcome respite. It was, for Walter and me, and maybe even for Bob, a beautiful day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

WW2 | Veteran Jean-Louis Cholet Says Thanks

Remembering Five of 14 Airmen Buried Together in France (listed in bold face): L to R: Nicola and Robin Sumner (nephew of Daniel Gilbert), Cpl Pamela Turney (great-niece of Fred Beales), Luke Shergold (son of Suzanne), Michael Hayes (Beryl's husband), Beryl Hayes (daughter of Edward Wicks), Martin Clegg (Suzanne's husband), Suzanne Clegg (Beryl's daughter), Ashley Shergold (Suzanne's son), John Tepper Marlin (nephew of Willem van Stockum), Silvia and John Ellyatt (son of John Elyatt).

This Veterans' Day, I would like to appreciate Jean-Louis Cholet, a French Army veteran who has made it his life's work to show gratitude for those who liberated France in 1944. He brought together 12 relatives, from four countries, of airmen from two bombers who gave their lives to liberate France in June 1944. The airmen were all shot down near Laval, France.

Willem van Stockum (front, center) with crew, training, 1944.  
We all came together to Laval, at a moving memorial on the 66th anniversary of VE-Day. I was the sole American; the other eleven were from Britain, Canada and Switzerland. We represented families of five of the 14 airmen, in two Halifax bombers, who were on a mission from the RAF 10th Squadron base in Yorkshire on June 10, 1944. This was the squadron's fifth mission over northern France in the first ten days of June to destroy Nazi supply lines to the Normandy Front.

The pilot of one of the bombers was my Dutch-born uncle, Willem van Stockum, a mathematics Ph.D. from Edinburgh University.

Willem van Stockum.
Portrait by his sister, c.1942.
Willem followed his sister (my mother) to the United States, taking a post at Einstein's Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and then at the University of Maryland. Willem is a well-known pioneer of time-travel theory. He was in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship and is listed as a resident of Washington, DC in a Washington Post necrology of the war dead, on November 11, 1945. 

None of the five families of the downed airmen had met previously. Some of us had been to the gravesite before - my family visited in 1954. But until this year none of us knew much about the airmen we were not related to.

Cholet is a 32-year veteran of the French Army, son of a Resistance fighter who was shot by the Nazis. Cholet has been recognizing the crews of the two downed bombers every year on V-E Day since 1988, when he became head of the Laval unit of a group named "French Remembrance". Through an Internet query in 2010, Cholet connected with Canadian Pamela Turney, great-niece of airman Fred Beales, and she reached out to the rest of us. The other two airmen on my uncle's Halifax were Brits Gilbert Daniel and John Ellyatt, both from West Hartlepool, Co. Durham.

By the end of our stay in Laval, we had become good friends, charmed by Cholet's genuine gratitude for the sacrifices made by the Allies as part of the liberation of France from Hitler's occupation. He wrote a poem that sums up his feelings that my brother Randal has translated into English: 

I Have an American Friend
By Jean-Louis Cholet, Laval. © 2007; translated from the French by Randal Marlin, 2011. Reprinted by permission.

I have an American friend. 
I don’t know his name; 
He doesn’t know mine. 
But I have an American friend.
I do not know him; 
He does not know me. 
But he is my American friend.
What is the color of his eyes? 
Of his hair? 
Is his skin light or tanned?
In what State was he born? 
Of all that, nothing! 
Is he Southerner or Yankee,
Californian, Cherokee?
But I care about my American friend, 
Because I am indebted to him. 
I owe him springs, summers, 
The women I have loved,
The son, the daughter and the little last-born.
I owe decades, 
My past, my present and the future,
To my American friend.
The only thing I know about him, 
Is where to find him. 
In the big field of crosses and stars, 
The length of the Normandy coast,
A field where I go to pray and weep.
He rests there ever since his blood 
Reddened the sand. 
He fell there, my American friend. 
In his kit he had a present for me.
I have it always.
I have an American friend.

Jean-Louis Cholet, 2011.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Record Snow for October in New York City

The Weather Underground reports that as of 8 pm on Saturday, October 29, the snowfall was measured in Central Park (at the zoo) at 1.3 inches. This set a daily record for October and a record for the total snowfall during the month.

Snowfall has been measured in Central Park since 1869 and only twice before has a measurable amount of snow fallen during October:
1. 1925, when 0.8 inches fell on October 30.
2. 1952, when 0.5 inches fell on October 21.

Another blow for the climate-change sceptics.

Monday, October 17, 2011

HIGH ELMS MANOR | Country House Rescue

High Elms Manor in Garston, near Watford, Herts., UK
I have visited High Elms Manor several times over the last 13 years of its ownership by my sister Sheila O'Neill. A well-informed blogger said of Sheila's determined rescue effort:
If there was a prize for commitment above and beyond financial sense then the owner of High Elms Manor/Garston Manor could probably win "Highly Commended" for her determination to rescue this once-derelict country house. Matthew Becket, The Country Seat, April 10, 2011.
The Risk. When my sister talked to me about purchasing the property, I was of two minds about it. Others in the family were not of two minds – they were opposed, because of the commitment required and the risk involved.

On the one hand the property is a jewel with an impressive history. It is a Grade II listed Georgian home. Built in 1812 or earlier, the Manor was once on a 500-acre estate – of which 21 acres remain. It was called High Elms Manor until 1895, when the name was changed to Garston Manor; Sheila has chosen to use the older name. In 1870 or so, the Manor was bought by the Watney family, who sold it to fellow brewers Benskins. In 1911 it was purchasd by Walter Bourne, a department store co-founder, who died in 1921. His son Stafford inherited it and sold it for use as a medical rehabilitation center. During World War II it was reportedly used for U.S.-British air force consultatation and liaison. After the war it became a National Health Service property for treatment of elderly patients, until the 1990s. This is a distinguished history that earns it a place as a Grade II listed property.

On the other hand, the current cost to heat and maintain the building is £75,000 per year. The cost of repairs that are needed to bring the property up to a minimal standard add another £500,000 to the original price she paid for the property, doubling it to £1 million.
Ceilings had fallen in, all the floors had been damaged, the wood panelling had turned green, chimneys had collapsed, lead had been stripped off the roof by vandals, there were a hundred broken windows, the garden was a jungle. It was in a terrible state. – Sheila O'Neill.
Outcome. Sheila went about the renovation one task at a time, starting with putting on a new roof to stop the widespread leaking. Progress was slow but steady over the past 13 years. Sheila has done an amazing job of renovation. In 2010, she and her daughters applied to Ruth Watson of "Country House Rescue," a widely viewed television program (UK Channel 4), to see how they might put the Manor on a more sustainable footing. Here's what Channel 4 said:
Headmistress Sheila O'Neill bought the house as a wreck for £500,000 from the local council with dreams of turning the decrepit building into a school. Thirteen years later and the Montessori school is just about breaking even. But attempts at diversifying into a wedding and conference venue have failed. Sheila and her children, four daughters in their 30s and 40s, all live in self-contained flats on the upper floors of the house... Ruth needs to persuade Sheila to relinquish control and pass some responsibility onto her eccentric and free spirited daughters. Ruth gives three of the daughters individual responsibilities. - Roisin clears the woodland that accompanies the house and create a magical treasure hunt for guests. - Catrine builds on her interest in the supernatural to launch a UFO academy. - Liadain takes over responsibility of the overall look of the house, from the internal decorations to the disheveled terrace and gardens. "Country House Rescue," April 10, 2011.
Based on professional advice that came with the show, the Manor gets a new terrace, floors are fixed, the kitchen is upgraded and paintings are moved around. (Details on the many renovations are in Hertfordshire Life.) The newly sponsored treasure hunt and the UFO academy are great successes. Having been on "Country House Rescue" was itself a huge plus. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

ART BIZ | Picasso, "Acrobat on a Ball" in Madrid

Picasso, "Acrobat on a Ball" (1905)
Alice and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in the last week of September. We were in Madrid, Pamplona and Barcelona during the week. We were in Barcelona on the day of the last bullfight. The animal-rights advocates in Catalonia have succeeded in ending bullfights. But they continue in Madrid and elsewhere.

When market-conscious Americans think of Spain these days they likely have a mental image of a series of Euro dominoes with Spain next in line if European patience with reform of Greek finances collapses.

But when you are there in Spain in the eye of the storm, the signs of crisis are not always obvious and they come and go. In Madrid, we visited the Prado Museum, Spain’s preeminent art museum. There it was in all its splendor, quietly waiting for tourists like us.

My major takeaways from a museum are usually historical – I get a better sense of what was happening at a particular time and place. Time travel indeed.

This time, my major takeaway was a painting that reached me on a level beyond history. If you were in Madrid in late September, you can’t not know that the Prado has Picasso's "Acrobat on a Ball" (1905), on loan until December from the Moscow State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. The Prado features it on all of its advertising. I last visited the Prado as a teenager with my family in 1955. The stretch of time between my two visits to the museum is six years longer than the lapse of time from when the painting was done and my first visit. Time shrinks as one gets older and the past seems closer.

From the time-travel perspective, the painting was at an important point in Picasso’s life, when he had started selling his paintings and was able to emerge from his poverty-stricken years in Paris – the years dominated by his downbeat Blue Period. He had a settled life with Fernande Olivier. He was morphing into his more positive rose period, although his early misery must have contributed to his being a life-long Communist (his face appears on a Soviet postage stamp).

Picasso was spending his time in 1905 with Paris's Medrano Circus and many of his paintings of the circus nomads focus on their uprootedness. In the “Acrobat on a Ball”, much more is going on. Certainly, the two people in the foreground are disconnected from the country scene suggested in the background. All of the people and animals in the background are facing away – a mother, her child, a dog and a horse. Only possibly is a tiny baby looking at the two performers.

But the two circus performers are powerfully connected. Picasso shows the ethereal essence of the acrobat, painting her rotating on the ball, her body and hands adjusting to the roll of the round platform. Her boyish figure adds to the sense of joy and fluidity. She enjoys her performance and that she is being looked at. The athlete in the foreground – like the acrobat, a circus performer – is there for contrast and unity. His square planted body contrasts with her fluid one. The large cube, his knee echoing the squareness of the box, contrasts with her smaller ball. The colors reinforce the opposition and complementarity.

It’s a painting of yin and yang, female and male. A lovely painting - a fascinating study, and especially appropriate for a 40th wedding anniversary.

On our way out we were reminded again that all is not well in Spain. The roads around the Prado were filling with thousands of striking teachers. One of the signs said: “If you don’t like the cost of education, wait till you find out the cost of ignorance.” Not a totally new idea, but seeing it there in Madrid, in English, somehow made me more confident that Spain and Europe will continue to apply patience and persistence to the problems of the European Union and the Euro. I don't expect immediate solutions but I think that Europe will find a way through its severe current problems, which are not helping the U.S. recovery.

P.S. This post as of May 22, 2014, has been looked at 1,000 times since it was published.

Monday, October 3, 2011

BRIDGEHAMPTON, NY | Ocean View Farm, Windmill Hill

Just visited this farm, which has records going back
View of potato field and ocean. 
Exterior of upper floor of barn
to 1679. Its large barn was recently the location of two events sponsored by the Peconic Land Trust and the Bridgehampton Historical Society.

The farm dates back to 1679. The first building on the site was a "spider leg" windmill. The original "Hook Mill" in East Hampton was also called a spider leg mill.

Raymond Wesnofske and guest and side of barn. In the
distance, the Channing Daughters Winery.
The mill, which does not survive, was built by John Wick, and is the reason for the area being called "Windmill Hill". When the Halseys owned the property in 1818-1939, they renamed it "Ocean View" but the older name still sticks, as it so often does.

John Wick and sons owned the property from 1696 to 1741. He  ran the Wick's Tavern and inn in Bridgehampton near where the Starbucks is now located.
Interior of upper floor of barn.

He was viewed by the locals as a kind of Procrustes reincarnated, with lurid rumors abounding that travelers went into his inn but never came out. However, the historical record does not support the accusations.

Interior of lower floor of barn, where cows were milked.
The extraordinarily well preserved barn on the farm was originally used to support a dairy. The cows were on the basement floor, with its own entrance, and upstairs the hay and other food (ground-up corn husks, for example) was stored in lofts and a silo.

When the farm was converted from dairy to potato cultivation, the silo was removed and the barn is now used for farm equipment and other storage.

Thanks to Raymond and Lynn Wesnofske for permitting a tour of the historic property and to his brother Edward R. (Ed) Wesnofske for the historical background and a 12-page history. I have recommended to Ed that his 12-page history should be turned into a book on the Windmill Hill area. All photos are by me on my iPhone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

MOVIES | "Midnight in Paris" Locations

This is not just a review of "Midnight in Paris". Yes, I did appreciate Woody Allen's dazzling Time Machine, the 1920 Peugeot that whisks protagonist Gil Pender to interwar Paris and then the Belle Epoque. I liked the fairy-tale echo in the Time Machine arriving as a church bell tolls midnight.

Also liked the nostalgic dream that Gil (played by Owen Wilson) lives out once he gets into the Peugeot, the vibrant post-World-War-I Paris period when cultural barriers were coming down and the creative community was buzzing. Among his multiple kiss-me-now opposite numbers in his post-midnight life is Picasso's mistress Adriana, played by the sensuous and engaging Marion Cotillard, who is getting bored with 1930s Paris and wants to relive the Gay 90s-Belle Epoque era.

One little quibble, since this is a Time Travel blog: "Mr Allen, it's 95 years since Einstein's General Theory of Relativity made travel to the past a theoretical possibility. If you do some more time travel stuff in your next movie could you get us out of the technological jail of the 1895 Time Machine of H.G. Wells?"

But this post is not a movie review ("Ceci n'est pas une pipe."). It's about a challenge that I threw out to Alice, after we were in Paris for several few days. She had been eager to go to Anish Kapoor's Leviathan exhibit at the Grand Palais, and the Odilon Redon exhibit and several others. She was a bit disappointed. Now she proposed we go to another exhibit by an artist she confessed she knew nothing about.

"Alice," I said, "what are the odds that you and I are going to love this show? You liked the post-noir Redon, but were really put off by his pre-1890 art. You thought Kapoor's whale was clever but not satisfying. Do you think the less known artists in Paris are better than the less known ones in New York? Is it likely that tomorrow's pantheon of famous artists, writers or musicians will center on the Paris of today?"

She replied: "You didn't even go and see the whale." It was true. Alice went early. I had some errands and showed up later. The queue was by then monstrous. I could see from the outside it was a big whale and Alice advised there was nothing really to photograph. So I was dutifully impressed and skipped the exhibit. Does that make me a bad person?

"How," I asked, "do we separate gimmick-hustling artists from the true originals? Who on exhibit today is going to be 'immortal through their work' in 20 or 100 years?"

"Kapoor is huge in London as well," she offered.

Then an idea popped into my head. "Let me propose a challenge," I said. "Instead of standing in line to visit an exhibit by someone we have never heard of, and looking at work we are likely to find disappointing, let's spend half a day trying to pinpoint the locations in Paris where 'Midnight in Paris' scenes were filmed. At least we know that will be fun."

Some background here: Alice doesn't always like my ideas. She liked this one.

Then our Paris friend and host Edith Paix, who has also seen and enjoyed the movie, asked to be included. So Alice and I set off with our Parisian Sherpa in search of locations.

Our first thought was to go to Montmartre, center of Paris arts during both the Belle Epoque and the interwar years, where the Moulin Rouge opened, where Verlaine met Rimbaud in 1872, where Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh did much of their painting... and where Hemingway hung out with the Fitzgeralds after their 1925 meeting, where Gertrude Stein and Picasso and Dali kept up the buzz, where the music was driven by Cole Porter and jazz, and the Charleston was rapidly imported.

But that would be to identify the actual places where the artists hung out, not the movie locations. A different search. We decided to stick with the original plan and start our Location ID Challenge in the Ile de la Cité, for two reasons.

First, that's where a publicity story about the movie put the location for the filming in August 2010.

Second, our French friend Edith said she recognized several shots in the movie as being in the Place Dauphine, at the opposite end of the Ile de la Cité from the Notre Dame Cathedral. Many of the outdoor scenes with Gil and Adriana are on the road or steps near the Seine.

When a familiar landmark is in the background, the location of a shot is kind of obvious to anyone who knows the neighborhood. The shot at left of Gil Pender walking on the banks of the Seine is clearly from the Ile de la Cité.
However, it gets harder when the only identifying background in the shot is a staircase or a road or a wall. There are lots of staircases and ramps in the Ile de la Cité. So which one is it that Gil and Adriana are on at the right? Note the pattern of blocks behind them.

The blocks in the photo at left make a pattern very similar to the one in the location shot above where Adriana is kicking out her foot. In both cases it looks as though a stone archway or doorway was filled in. This occurs at intervals at a different points along the the Seine - we have found the right seat but the wrong pew.

Here is another possible match that seems not quite right. The archway windows in the location shot look similar to the archway windows we saw in the Place Dauphine, but there is a tree in the location shot that is missing in the photo we took - and there are other mismatches as well.

So our quest made some progress but I won't pretend we got very far. The main thing is, we stayed outside, got some exercise, and had fun.

The Place Dauphine was definitely one of the shooting areas and so was one of the areas on the banks of the Seine. However, we did not find precise locations. Dear reader, here is your chance to participate in a crowd sourcing experiment. See if you can fill in some locations either by going to Paris this summer or (less expensively) going to Google Maps. Type into the Google box "Ile de la Cité", for example, and then click on Maps, and then on the orange Pillsbury Doughboy icon on the upper left. Post your discoveries as a comment.

If we get enough of these, it will make a guide for Woody Allen fans visiting Paris.

New Blog

This blog is focused on the concept of time travel, the contribution of Willem Jacob van Stockum to the topic, and historical places that evoke time travel.