New York Retrospective

“O Western wind, when wilt thou blow?
The small rain down can rain.
Christ, if my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.”

I first read this poem in Madeline L’Engle’s novel The Small Rain. As a rabid reader, my library card was my greatest friend as an adolescent. Many of my first independent trips in Dallas were to the library. I first picked up The Small Rain on a shelf on the fourth floor, maybe, of the downtown Dallas public library. I quickly fell in love with Katherine, the main character, and her struggles in coming of age as a young artist. Her dreamy insouciance and uncomfortableness in her own skin resonated with me as did her independent explorations of her city, in this case New York. When I went to New York for the first time last week, I carried L’Engle’s version of the city with me. Indeed, I was probably the worst first time visitor. I didn’t necessarily know what I wanted to particularly see. I didn’t have a checklist or a plan. I just wanted to see the world L’Engle had captured on the page, a world of city streets, little corners, brownstones, and lived existence.

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Me in Battery Park, I think…

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Cassie and Jill with the Statue of Liberty somewhere behind them.

I went with four of my favorite people: Jill, Cassie and Matt, and their two year old daughter Lily. I went to graduate school with Jill and Cassie. Indeed, I made it through graduate school and the non-existent job market of 2008/9 with my sanity intact because of them. We spent most of our time in New York walking, looking, catching up on the good and bad in our lives, and eating. Oh gosh, so much eating. It was amazing. The first full day we walked 9 miles, according to Cassie’s fit bit, mostly around Central Park, where we saw the Alice in Wonderland Statue. Fitting, I think, since I have pictures of myself in front of the Peter Pan Statue in Hyde Park.

 

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Alice in Wonderland Statue

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Matt and Lily being cute.

Mostly, I drank the city in, pausing to look at buildings and people, imagining what a New York life would look like. I think what surprised me most is that L’Engle’s version of New York was the true one and not the one from shows like Sex and the City. It shouldn’t have. L’Engle, after all, came of age with the city, documenting its rhythms in a quieter way than a sensationalized sex column. People were ordinary, not high fashionistas stomping around the place in Jimmy Choos. I could see why street style photos and street style in general have become more popular as a push back against this stereotype. (It’s one of the reasons I really like the new direction Lucky Magazine has gone in. It was one of the few fashion magazines I read anymore.) It was a relief, in fact, not to have the specter of Sex and the City haunting the place. I could enjoy the quirkiness, the plainness, and the serenity of the city.

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One man subway band

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Split, the world’s strangest topiary in Rockefeller Center

My favorite parts were sitting at restaurants, shopping in little stores, and waking up to coffee, good friends, and Lily’s hugs and compliments.

 

 

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Random musings while getting my oil changed

I’m at the express oil change part of my dealership in Dallas, for which I made an appointment. Alas, that means and hour and a half wait with a massive sinus headache that will not budge from above my right eye. So here’s my random thoughts from the dealership waiting room.

-When did Katie Couric fall so low as to be a) doing a day time talk show and b) how on earth are they just now doing an episode on the DIY movement in Brooklyn? Seriously? Is the day time audience that far behind the trend?

-Why aren’t there any yoga moves you can do seated beyond neck rolls and back stretches for a sinus headache? Pinterest failed me on this one.

-Refinery 29, can you address summer layering in Texas? How do you layer for 100 degrees exactly?

-While insanely biased, Margaret Oliphant’s history of Blackwood’s is delightful for it’s odd tangents on book buying, bibliophilia, and collecting.

Update: Also, is the day time audience also totally unaware of craft beer???!!! Katie, oh Katie, what happened to those hard hitting interviews or whatever they’re supposed to be on the Today Show?

Song of the Day: Billy Joel, “New York State of Mind”

I leave in the morning for my first trip to New York City with some of my favorite people. My bag is packed, not too over done, and the flight is early in the morning via the mom taxi. She promises coffee. The BF tells me I need to be in bed by 10 so I get 7 hours of sleep. He’s so optimistic about me sleeping. 😉 I’ll miss him while I’m gone.

Ode to Periods, or How Women’s Blood is Holy

From Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Facebook feed–a must for everyone–, slam poet Dominique Christina takes a “dummy” on Twitter to task for dumping his girl friend because her period started while they were having sex. (Side note: dude, so not the kind of thing you share, ever.) Christina weaves a magic here of what women’s bodies can do, and how that is a holy, sacred process. Just watch it, and then go read Cixous again. The story of her daughter’s horror at starting her first period, a fear I well remember, and how she turned it into a celebration resonates.