Many weeks ago I was asked by the office to staff an event for volunteers in New York; at the time I decided to extend the trip by adding a couple volunteer meetings and a couple days vacation and the weekend. This was all arranged before Mother died, but I decided to keep my plans. As it happens, I didn’t blog or do much with social media the entire time! So here’s a big catch-up post of the highlights:
TUESDAY: 1) Train down (quiet car), got settled into a budget hotel near 10th Avenue, late lunch in a Greek restaurant, and then ankle over to Carnegie Hall (the restaurant was just across the street. The first thing I saw walking in was a pair of bronze buttocks (female), and there was another pair outside our function room (also female) with a suggestive sign attached. Happily the coat rack was positioned around it, and we staff were able to hang our coats in front of it; not an appropriate greeting for our alumni!
2) The event went well and I got to have some wonderful conversations with people I did not already know. 3) The event ended at 9 PM, and at 10 PM one of my volunteers showed up for a late night meeting in the restaurant’s dining room. We had a super discussion not only about his volunteer work but about all the Big Issues. After a day that started at 5:15 AM, I returned to my hotel not feeling at all tired!
WEDNESDAY: 1) Early morning transfer to my beloved Algonquin Hotel (‘cause if it’s my time and my dime . . . ) and then lunch with a colleague and another volunteer down by Union Square. With the weather turning in the evening, I was perfectly happy not to do any Big New York Thing and just have dinner at ye Ryd Flymme Diner next door and hunker down in my cosy little room to respond to condolence notes.
THURSDAY: 1) Alumni relations often means being a therapist, but this morning I got to be the patient instead of the therapist over a call from Interlochen with my friend Carolyn, who is back on staff there. I was delighted to catch up with her on many topics. I then took an unexpected tour through Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and was surprised to find myself lighting a candle for Mother.
2) Whooshed off to take the 6 train uptown for lunch near the Cooper Hewitt (grilled salmon salad). Met my wonderful friend Saverio at the Cooper Hewitt; he had very kindly arranged for comp access for to that museum as well as the Guggenheim and the Neue Galerie (wow! what a friend!), but then his own plans changed and he was unable to accompany me personally. Fantastic exhibitions at all three, but I was particularly interested in the Tablescapes show at the CH.
2a) The Guggenheim had a scandalous show of Robert Mapplethorpe images to observe the 30th anniversary of his death, but the Big Deal at the Goog right now is a show of paintings by Hilda af Klint (who has nothing at all to do with Gustav Klimt, don’t get them mixed). Few people have heard of this Norwegian artist who applied abstract principles to theology, but it’s worth a long look.
2b) At the Neue Galerie I was starting to wear down, especially after I got reprimanded for taking a photograph. At the NG, photos are only allowed where you wouldn’t particularly be interested in taking them.
3) After a very brief NAP, went off for my very first drink at the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis. What a jam! Just like that scene in Brigadoon. Two manhattans and many salty bar snacks later, I cabbed over to my beloved Café Luxembourg to celebrate the wedding last year of my friend Christina and her husband Chas. Wonderful to catch up with them. (And because one does not wear mourning to celebrate a wedding, I wore a bold new bow tie in red white and blue.)
FRIDAY: Packed up my gear and stowed it at the front desk, then off to see the Frick Collection for the first time in about 20 years. The collection is no longer hung as Mr. Frick had it (naughty naughty!) but there was a stunning special exhibition of the Venetian(ish) portraitist Moroni.
2) Then grabbed my gear and a 5 train to head out to Brooklyn for the weekend. My Flickr friend Julien met me at Winthrop Station and I was introduced to his dazzling, audaciously decorated flat. We dined at a super Italian restaurant, Camilo, where he had goat and I had beef cheeks with magnificent pasta. In the evening, after bits of a documentary about Halston, Julien screened a movie I had never seen (and I know this will shock you): Victor/Victoria.
SATURDAY: What did I do Saturday? NOTHING! After staggering out for breakfast at a place with superb breakfast croissants, I did absolutely nothing but nap, read, and then nap. Absolute biss. 2) In the evening Julien threw a little cocktail party in my honor and I got to meet about ten of his friends who were all really nice. Halfway through the evening I realized that I had not had lunch OR dinner. The party officially ended at midnight, but I fell into bed like a stone before the last three guests had gone.
SUNDAY (Today): I actually got up and made coffee about 8:15, and just before 10 AM we sallied forth for brunch at a marvelous place called Bonafini. Coffee, aperol spritz, steak and eggs with salad greens. We got there just before the rush! GREAT conversation with the couple at the next table (who had never had an aperol spritz, but it looked so good with her hairdo she had to try it). Afterward Julien took me around to see more of Prospect Park and the architecture of Flatbush, after which I packed up and caught a 2 train to Penn Station. And here I am, ensconced in the club room’s business center waiting for my train.
It’s been quite a week . . . and now there will be quite a week to come back at home, at work, in life!