Happy New Year!

To all my friends and family, far and near, old and new…and no one says it better than Lightning Hopkins…


A Pleasant Valley memory…

I’m thinking tonight about a woman who came into my life this year — and then was asked to leave…

And I’m realizing that I can think of only one important thing she gave me:

Telling me that the great song “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” written by Carole King and made famous by the Monkees, was inspired by the neighborhood along Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, New Jersey — in fact, she drove me down the street, although she had the story wrong: while she told me that back in the 1960s the songwriter and her husband regularly visited friends who lived on Pleasant Valley Way, in fact Carole King and Gerry Goffin themselves lived for a while on Pleasant Valley Way.

Here’s Carole King’s version as I bid adieu to woman who lives near Pleasant Valley Way…

And, come to think of it, here’s another appropriate song by the Monkees:




For auld lang syne, my dear….

There’s a beautiful woman, who lives in a beautiful place called New England, and I’m thinking about her tonight, and about how she loves this beautiful song. Here’s James Taylor’s lovely version….

For auld lang syne, my dear

Not a creature was stirring….

Years ago I lived for a while in a second-floor apartment on West 19th Street between 8th and 9th avenues in New York City, in a neighborhood I could hardly afford then and couldn’t dream of affording now. Out the back door was a little porch which faced the rear of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which was built in the early 19th century on land donated by Clement Clark Moore, who served at various times at the church’s warden, vestryman and organist, and was — of course — the author of the famous poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” read here by Father Christmas himself, Robert Zimmerman aka Bob Dylan: