Last week was the busiest week I’ve had since I moved here and it was great!
Monday was my night at home and therefore the only night I went to bed at a reasonable hour.
On Tuesday, my roommate and I had dinner at Raclette, a very cool restaurant in the East Village that highlights raclette cheese in all of its dishes. Not a good place for those with sensitivities to dairy. Delicious for the rest of us.
On Wednesday, Ally and I saw The Great Comet at the Imperial Theatre. It was my third Broadway show ever and it was amazing. The show is a beautifully presented adaptation of part of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The set and costumes were visually appealing, the music was engaging, exciting, and surprising, and the story itself was compelling. We laughed, looked around in sheer shock, experienced a lengthy strobe light sequence, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. And we had Thai food before the show, which was also delicious. Lots of good eating this week!
Thursday had me back in Times Square to meet up with my brother, who was in town for the night because of a networking event organized by the business school at his college. He had no recollection of ever visiting New York as a kid. It was a delight to see the city through his eyes and hear his observations about everything I’ve ceased to notice, like off-leash dogs, the “mixed retail” of apartments, restaurants, and businesses, and the constant noise pollution from traffic.
My parents were in town for the weekend, which was just so comforting in every way. I am alone a lot on the weekends and I was very glad to be with the two people who probably care about me the most. They’re both been to New York as tourists more than a few times so we largely wandered around in the sunshine with a few food-related destinations in mind. We ate a lot: Bar Virage, Shilla Restaurant, Glaser’s Bake Shop, North Square, The Coffee Shop, and Breads Bakery.
We also, however, visited the 9/11 Memorial Saturday morning, which was really moving. I was in sixth grade on September 11, 2001. That was when I learned that war existed outside of history books. That was when I learned that there are people in this world who aim to harm those around them. That was when I learned that growing up without knowing this was a privilege.
9/11 changed the world. My students have grown up never knowing the peace and security that I knew as a child. They have never been blissfully ignorant of war, suffering, terror, and fear. It is vexing to me that we do so little to emphasize the importance of peace and dialogue in our schools and in our societies.
I would recommend a visit to the 9/11 Memorial not only as a tribute, but also as a way of starting a conversation about the world we want to build and how to do it.
The parents and I reflected on 9/11 as we walked through the city together. None of us had ever been inside, so we briefly stopped into St. Patrick’s to look around:
I love religious architecture because it prompts me to think about the people who did the work. I wonder whether the financial, labor, and time contributions were voluntary or forced, a product of devotion or duty. My favorite book about precisely this is Pillars of the Earth. It’s a novel and it’s excellent.
Speaking of books, we also made a visit to The Strand. I love it there but have yet to master the art of browsing without buying.
I walked away with Sex at Dawn, which I first spotted on my last visit to The Strand a few weeks ago. I’m currently in the middle of three other books (Empowering Global Citizens, Moral Failure, and Tender is the Night) so it will be a bit until I open it. All of this alone time, while not my preference, has been rather productive in terms of reading and learning.
It was nice to experience being in New York with a wide range of people this week. It makes me somewhat nostalgic for what could have been, but also anticipatory about what can be. I’m now into my fourth month here and things are still difficult; I wasn’t prepared for such an adjustment and I’m trying really hard. This week, I was glad to be around people who reminded me what’s possible.