September 27, 2017 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on September 26, 2018

We should have driven from home to Manhattan – it would have shaved hours off the trip.

Arrived at the Depot, waited for the train, which was late. Walked to the Blue Line (should have taken the Green Line to Government Center and switched, but didn’t; live …and maybe learn). Arrived at the airport barely in time, coffeeless (if not pantsless). A small coffee on the flight itself. Measly.

But then the worst: first, a 25-minute wait for the shuttle van – big mistake to have booked that. We should have “Ubered” or taken a cab. But, sunk costs. Anyway, the shuttle took just five minutes short of three (3!!) hours to deposit us at the Front Street hotel …because: the driver first dropped off six other parties at hotels all over fucking Manhattan. It was easy enough to get from JFK across the Queensborough Bridge, but from there the tour insanity started. We actually drove through Central Park, past the Dakota, way up higher, etc., then around again. …And then we got “lost” in Midtown in nightmares of loops, road construction, total gridlock, on-street filming (movies), double and triple parking (impossible to get past) – it was incredible. Screw Midtown.

We got to the hotel, a Marriott, to a tiny room with a view of a bland concrete wall partially painted in light gray, otherwise brut (raw). It’s okay. Dropped the bags, hoofed it to where W. was meeting his team (he was by now one hour late). After he got to his building (and I had a sense of where it was), I thought of going back to the hotel to collapse. Instead, though, I visited Trinity Church and its graveyard. Took a photo of the weirdest “grave marker” ever, a plaque for “Charlotte Temple,” the 18th century fictional heroine in Susanna Rowson’s book, Charlotte, A Tale of Truth. The plaque adds that, “Legend has it that the name on this vault stone was carved by a bored stone cutter while working on the church. It is unknown if anyone is interred in the vault beneath the stone.”

So there’s actually a “grave” for a fictional person on some of the most storied and certainly expensive real estate in the country. It’s amazing this has survived; really makes me wonder why and by whose lights or say so…

After Trinity I walked to the 9/11 Memorial, which blew me away. It is very powerful and effective, if you let it work on you. Spent quite a bit of time there. The waters of life, falling eternally and endlessly, over and over and over again into a huge square trough, the tower footprint, one for each of the two. They are centered by an abyss whose bottom is unfathomable. Took photos of the North Tower pool plaque commemorating R. and her unborn child (close friend of [niece]) and also P., colleague from back in the day. May the people responsible for this rot in hell.

From there I walked towards Washington Square and NYU. Washington Square was hopping – everything is so alive (except when it’s gridlocked!). Carol Krinksy was giving a lecture at 6:30p.m. at NYU, upstairs, part of the Grey Gallery exhibition. Went to that – it was lovely. She’s lovely. Old school. Values. Open-minded, not ideological. I spoke to her afterwards about the Mercer Street proposal, which, with its stupidly precarious glass blocks “balanced” on top, seems to suggest a disrespect for traditional architecture (which is grounded, then soars up; here, the order is reversed in that annoying in-your-face way – won’t age well, not “Lindy“).

I walked “home” in the dark, never feeling worried except that my phone was at 2% and I sure didn’t want it to die. This city is amazing. It’s so huge. You can feel how anemic and simultaneously turgid Boston is in comparison. New York is gigantic, a giant pulsating heart. Probably “black” in places, but fresh and pink in many others.

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