Author Archives: Mary Sue Donsky


ciao anita


Every tourist in Rome comes to the Trevi Fountain because it is breathtakingly beautiful and because a tradition says that if you toss a coin into the fountain, you are guaranteed to return to the Eternal City.


Pre-renovation  image from Wikipedia. Click for source

Last winter I returned to Rome and wandered over to the fountain to learn that there was to be no coin tossing into the Trevi’s waters.   The fountain (completed in 1762) was undergoing renovation – it  was dry and its gorgeous Baroque sculptures were covered in scaffolding.

On the upside, we tourists could walk a set of planks extending into the center of the fountain so that we could enjoy the remarkable sculptures up close.  It was a once in a lifetime bit of luck!TREVI3


To make the experience even more meaningful, suspended from the scaffolding was a huge banner commemorating the gorgeous Swedish-Italian actress, Anita Ekberg, who had died that week at age 83. During the 1950’s-60’s, Ekberg was known for her incredible beauty and glamorous life. She had roles in many films and she dated many famous men including Frank Sinatra.  She married twice but never had children.



 Although the tribute was temporary, I loved that the Romans honored Anita Ekberg so quickly, with such a gorgeous, gigantic banner.  It was wonderfully perfect that Anita Eberg was commemorated at the Trevi Fountain because her most famous role was playing a stunning actress much like herself in a great Fellini film set in Rome, La Dolce Vita.  In one of the most iconic scenes in all of film history, Ekberg’s character “Sylvia” dances in the Fountain at night during the evening she spends with a super-sexy journalist played by Marcello Mastroianni.

Enjoy Anita’s frolic on Youtube!



West 77th Street, Manhattan aka “Miles Davis Way”


440px-Miles_Davis_by_Palumbo, image from Wikipedia, click for source

Last May my neighborhood inaugurated a brand new street name to commemorate one of the coolest humans to have graced our planet, jazz great, Miles Davis.


Moments before the unveiling.

Mr. Davis had lived at 312 W. 77th Street in Manhattan for 25 years (although he moved somewhere else before he died in 1991 at age 65).  Years after his death, one of his old neighbors became determined to honor Davis by renaming the block in his honor.  The city gave her the runaround for a good long time, but she prevailed.  Great Job Shirley Zafirau!

On May 26, which would have been Miles Davis’ 88th birthday, his family invited everyone to a block party to celebrate the official unveiling of his block’s new name.


“Miles Davis Way”.

miles davis way

A lot of neighbors and fans (and media and paparazzi) came to celebrate the man who popularized entirely new kinds of music and who influenced generations of musicians in many genres in addition to jazz.  Read about his life and his immense importance at his official website and Wikipedia.

I know nawtheen about jazz,  but I still can appreciate the cool of Birth of the Cool – have a listen at Youtube.




My Neighborhood – The Upper West Side, Manhattan


The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument

 The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument is located at West 89th Street in Riverside Park, Manhattan.   It was built to commemorate Union (Northern) soldiers who died in the Civil War.  The monument was unveiled by then-governor, Theodore Roosevelt, in a ceremony featuring surviving veterans, in 1902.  Its design was based on ancient Greek architecture.  There is a door to enter the monument, but the public may enter only once year on Openhousenewyorkday.


There are inscribed plinths leading up to the monument that contain the names of  Union generals, New York volunteer regiments and the battles they fought in.  Here is the plinth devoted to Ullyses S. Grant, whose own tomb is just up the street.


I adore The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ memorial.  It is solemn and beautiful and it provides many seating areas with gorgeous views of the Hudson River and the park.  It is the perfect place to reflect on the many lives lost in the war to preserve our nation and the sacrifice of too many of our armed forces, then and now.




My Neighborhood – The Upper West Side, Manhattan

One block from my apartment is a huge attractive nuisance of a rock pile in Riverside Park at W 82d Street.


Every child who visits chez Donsky feels compelled to climb the dangerous rocks to my great dismay. Deeply embedded at the base of the rocks is a bronze plate commemorating Cyrus Clark (1830-1909).


Clark was a prominent businessman who lobbied for the interests of our neighborhood. A neighborhood association dedicated the plaque to him in 1911.

I like this plaque because it is so substantial, so deeply embedded in the giant rocks. Thousands of years from now when New York City is entirely under water, archeologists will find this plaque dedicated to a man who is not even given a mention in Wikipedia.