Alphabet City with Fred

Today is the birthday of my very dear friend Fred Hatt. Happy Birthday Fred!!!! πŸ™‚ Fred and I are both celebrating significant birthdays this year: 60 for him, 50 for me (July). So to commemorate our milestone decades we plan to prolong the party through the summer and deal with aging in the best possible way; by having fun, appreciating each other, and enjoying the big city we both call home.

Last Thursday night Fred and I attended an event in the East Village; “I Ching Alchemy” sculptures and video projection show by our mutual friend Lili White. It was held outdoors in Le Petit Versailles Garden between Avenue A and B – the section of downtown Manhattan known as ‘Alphabet City’.Β Nobody is better at converting dumpy urban lots into community gardens than East Villagers. They have a gift for it. The space of the Petit Versailles garden was, decades ago, an auto chop shop. Now it’s flower beds, trees, little rock-lined paths, pottery shards, empty picture frames, glass balls, mirrors, ribbons, strings of skull head lights, Tibetan figurines, loose tiles, and any quirky found object that occupies a spot. A busted ceramic urn? Stick it in there. It’s a garden folks, East Village style. The residents down there are fiercely civic-minded, and they will take care of things themselves if the city ignores them. Actually, they prefer it that way. And if raising rents force some thrift shop or vinyl record store out of business they have a collective meltdown πŸ˜†

Hanging out with Fred means seeing him suddenly whip out his camera to snap a photo. Nothing escapes this man’s eye! He spotted the shadow shapes that formed on the brick face of the building, just around dusk. With the warm glow of the light strings it created an interesting vision. So I took a photo myself:

The 1958 baby and the 1968 baby πŸ™‚ Fred and I, selfie in the garden. My brilliant, beautiful best buddy whose friendship I value beyond words. The very first friend I made as an artist’s model.

Drawing of me by Fred from 2015. Created at Figureworks GalleryΒ in Brooklyn:

It’s not a Music Monday but we’ll have a Music Tuesday instead! As Lili’s video installation projected onto the side of the building, a fantastic old song accompanied her images. A great choice that truly reflected the spirit of the evening. Please enjoy “Wake Up Everybody”Β by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, a classic R&B song from 1975. Buoyant, catchy, uplifting, meaningful. So good. You’ll be up and dancing by the end. πŸ™‚

12 thoughts on “Alphabet City with Fred

  1. Fred Hatt says:

    Thank you, Claudia! I am honored and so blessed by your friendship!

  2. jiminalaska says:

    Nicely done Claudia!

    Your stroll with Fred, around the neighborhood brought back a lot of memories of when I lived at 7th & B half a block form Vazack’s which still had a bar style free lunch counter (everything salty so you’d buy more drinks) and, as far as I know, was one of only two bars in NYC that had Guinness Stout on draft.

    Oh, and, Happy Birthday to both of you youngsters! -grin-

    • artmodel says:


      Where the hell have you been? You have better blogs to inhabit than Museworthy? That hurts, man. That really hurts πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

      But seriously, thanks so much for your comments and sharing your memories of the East Village! I can confirm that these days there are many bars in NYC that have Guinness Stout on draft. You should visit us again and enjoy a pint πŸ™‚

      Great to hear from you Jim!


  3. Lili white says:

    Claudia – glad u & Fred had a good time & those gardens prove they are a great place for people to hang out & just β€œbe” & enjoy the environs!

    • artmodel says:


      It was such a lovely evening! Fred and I really enjoyed hanging out in the garden, taking pictures, and supporting your show. Great to see you, as always πŸ™‚

      Thanks for posting a comment!


  4. Dave says:

    Happy birthday to Fred! As both a figure drawing artist and model (but not in the same leagues with either of you), i could really learn a lot from you two. I hope to meet you both some day. I bet Fred and I could trade some good Oklahoma stories.

    • artmodel says:


      I’m sure you and Fred could trade good Oklahoma stories! I sometimes razz him about not having a pronounced accent from there, and then he does it for me and it’s awesome. It would be so nice for us all to meet. We’ll see! You never know what can happen.

      Thanks for your kind comments and birthday wishes!


  5. Ray says:

    Happy BD Claudia
    One of my favorite groups Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes!

  6. Bill says:

    A great way to celebrate landmark birthdays — thank you for sharing it! And, please note that, as far as I’m concerned, you’re both youngsters.

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