We're back from our weekend in New York with Adam and Leah and I am exhausted.
Okay, so it wasn't an entire weekend but it was most of a weekend. We were up early on Saturday morning (I was up at 5:20 am, made coffee, woke Nancy and eventually managed to get Sean awake.) We stumbled around and showered and packed and started off to the train station... as we were leaving our neighborhood I said something about it being strange leaving without my employee id badge (which I would usually need to make sure I had with me on business trips) which made Nancy realize that she did not have her driver's license with her ('cause we were taking a train) which meant she didn't have photo id... quick U-turn, back home so she could grab her license... still managed to get to the station in time to go through the bureaucratic details of picking up our tickets. Okay, okay, I spent more time complaining about this nitwit "security" policy in my previous entry than I did talking about the marvelous time Jennifer and I had seeing a play, so I'll stop complaining now.
The trip to N.Y. was smooth and pleasant -- Nancy worked on lesson plans and read a novel... I tried to draw up an outline for an e-learning course I have to write (you know, one of these web-based look at the pictures and listen to the narrator kind of things) and then read a novel... Sean slept. The train got there right on time -- 10:50 am. Once in New York we had no difficulty finding the right subway station (we needed to catch the F train, a couple of blocks from Penn Station), getting to the right stop in Brooklyn, and the walking the three or four blocks to Adam and Leah's apartment. (I'd only been there at night, walking with Adam.) Just Adam was home -- Leah was getting a haircut. We had a pleasant chat and had some lunch. Adam and Nancy and I decided to go back over to Manhatten to the Museum of Modern Art and Leah would meet us there (cell phones are handy things) but Sean wanted no part of going to an art museum and elected to stay behind and catch up on sleep and watch tv.
MoMA is going to be closing soon for some major renovation and remodeling that is expected to take more than two years (they will have a few exhibits somewhere in Queens). Much to my surprise I found out that my employer is a corporate sponsor of MoMA so Nancy and I got in for free. The advertising agency where Adam works is also a corporate sponsor so he and Leah were admitted free also. (Of course, given the price of round trip train tickets to New York, etc., saving the price of a pair of twelve dollar adult admissions to a museum would not be a major factor in trip planning.)
There were two exhibits we wanted to see -- a collection of photographs of New York City and its inhabitants taken at various times over the past eighty or ninety years -- and a major display of the works of German artist Gerhard Richter. The photography exhibit was very interesting (I've always been fascinated by photography and Adam had majored in photography in college and is a former freelance photographer). In addition to the photography exhibit was an exhibit of New York-themed photographs submitted by ordinary people.
I knew of Richter by reputation (various references in articles, etc.) and had seen a few black and white newspaper pictures of his paintings; I was not sure if I would like his work but I was very interested in seeing this exhibition. It was a bit overwhelming -- there were almost two hundred Richter paintings on display but they are so varied that it could have passed as the works of three or four different artists. Some of his works did not interest me and some I disliked, but there were several that I just loved. He had a couple of seascapes that were marvelous; looking at one of them, just sea and sky, dark and overcast and stormy, wind-whipped waves, I swear you could almost feel the damp bite of the wind. And yet he had some totally abstract works that I also liked. (Very worthwhile checking it out if you should find yourself in New York during the next three weeks.)
We also wandered through an exhibition of selected works from the museum's collection ("Collection Highlights" they called it) -- Monet and Mondrian and Matisse and Picasso and Pollock and van Gogh, etc. --- Then wander about the area, some kind of arts and crafts fair at Rockefeller Center, stopped for coffee -- Adam and Leah got iced coffee, Nancy got iced tea and I got a lemonade. Mmmmm, it was fresh squeezed, two lemons, very tasty and refreshing and actually worth the Manhatten price.
Back to Brooklyn. Sat around chatting, Sean actually participating in conversation... looked at wedding photographs... took a walk through Brooklyn Heights to the Promonade, looking over at Manhatten, noting all of the wax on the wrought iron railings from the many candle-light vigils that had been held there (the World Trade Center had once been on prominent view from here and during the days and nights after 9.11 crowds would come here to light candles and pray and look over at the smoke billowing up from Ground Zero) ... I took a picture of Adam and Sean with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background... we wandered around until we came to a pub-style place for dinner and then back to their apartment...exchanged a backlog of gifts left from various occasions when we hadn't been able to get together...
I awoke with a painful sinus pressure headache that grew into a migraine... at one point I was sitting with my head on my knees, feeling very dizzy, broke out in a cold sweat... extremely painful... Adam and Leah supplied aspirin and various decongestants and lots of coffee and eventually I felt able to chew on a bagel and by noon I was ready to set forth with everyone to wander through the East Village and then into the Village. Well, okay, so at times I was not much more than a zombie, stumbling along behind the others, but I did manage to tag along. Sean had never been in that area and was delighted to buy some CDs, etc. It's interesting to walk along St. Mark's, past an Afghan restaurant which is next to a Subway sandwich shop which is next to a Chinese restaurant and then comes a Japanese restaurant, etc. plus various t-shirt shops, jewelery vendors, CD stores, tattoo parlors, etc. plus pedestrians from all over the word... in the course of ten minutes you can probably hear people speaking half a dozen different languages. Eventually we stopped at a coffee shop near NYU (had a very nice capuchino), then took the A train up to Penn Station for our 4:30 train home (which actually didn't leave until around five but I shouldn't pick on Amtrak anymore even though the departure board showed the train as being "on time" until about 4:15 when they switched to "standby" and then at 4:27 changed it to fifteen minutes late).
So... I'm exhausted and my arms and shoulders are sore but the headache is gone and my fingers are working without aches and it's been a marvelous weekend... and Monday is my birthday.