I have so much I would like to write up from the past four days (even bought a notebook when I was in NYC but didn't have a chance to start). For now, I'm beat and it will have to wait for later. Today was a long, strange end of my mini-vacation. It was warm and humid this morning in Manhattan -- more so than even the last few days, which were summer-like. So I thought I'd just try to see if I could hop the subway and run up to the top of the Empire State Building -- a place I haven't been since I was 8 on my first trip to the city. It took up the entire morning. The lines moved well but what a long, complicated mess. The view was lovely and breezy and oddly reminiscent of the views of Paris when my kids and I went there in Feb. 2006 -- panoramic view of big city -- features vary but it's kind of the same idea everywhere. Then I had just enough time to run back to the hotel and start my quest to see if I could manage to get myself to JFK via the subway and AirTrain. Well, I did it, though I can't say I'd do it again unless I had to. So I downed myself a 32 oz. beer (thought I deserved it after that) at, of all things, the sports bar at the airport, and was already to get myself home at last when, not long before the plane was supposed to take off, they announced that it hadn't passed mechanical inspection so they had to find us another plane. Got sent to another gate, they found a plane, and in the end we weren't more than an hour late. It was raining and fall here at home -- the fall colors brilliant even in the rain -- and it was good to be back.
But.... so much to write about from the days before. Here's just the summary of what I did. Saturday, I met Mimi at JFK and took a cab into town together. I stopped at her hotel and then began the first part of my learn-the-NYC-subway-system quest, after finding some stations closed, finally got to one that took me to Union Square and I found my way to my hotel (well, only after heading several blocks west when I needed to go east -- the way I usually go about things, I'm afraid -- I get to where I'm supposed to be sooner or later). Then Mimi and I met up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw the Rembrandt exhibit and had a nice long chat until it was just about to close (it's open late on Saturday night). Cabs were hard to come by but Mimi found a bus and then I found one that actually went all the way down to within a block or two of my hotel.
Sunday was an extraordinary day. I had no idea how long it would take for me to get to the Bronx, where Mimi and I and some others were planning on attending church at St. James where Fr. Tobias Haller is vicar. I lucked out with catching subway trains, even on the Sunday schedule, and got there an hour early, and Tobias was gracious enough to give me a tour of the Tiffany windows in the church as well as something of its history. Bloggers and friends who showed for church included Mimi, Paul(a), Doug, Terry and Gabe, and Mark [did I forget anyone? I hope not]. Tobias announced our presence from the pulpit and we all stayed for coffee. Afterwards, when Mimi finally said her goodbyes (Southern style -- something we all noted throughout the weekend), Mark was kind enough to give Terry and Gabe and I a ride back to Midtown, where we had brunch and conversation until nearly 4 p.m. I went back to my hotel, revived myself, and dashed back uptown again to see Rent.
Monday, I went to MOMA in the morning to commune with Monet's Water Lilies, the Picassos, Kandinskys. etc. and then had a delightful long lunch with my cousins, who are retired English professors from Wisconsin who have a studio apt. near Lincoln Center, where they stay in September and October every year. I hadn't seen then for something like 4-5 years, and I enjoyed their company more than I ever have.
Then it was time to go back to the subway underworld in the heat and humidity and find my way to GTC for the Big Event. Who should I happen to find myself walking along the street with but Tobias Haller, who knew where we were supposed to meet. Then... well, the pre-meeting, Evensong (sorry Toujoursdan, I can't sing), and dinner. Didn't get to spend as much time as I would have liked with everyone (like Eileen, Dennis, David, Jake, and Shel) but it was great meeting so many people, especially some whom I didn't know as well as others -- like Allie and Allen and his wife, and johnnieb. I also managed not to get into too many photos, although I am in some of the large group shots.
Well, that's how I spent my October vacation, folks.
Special thanks to Dennis for thinking it all up. I had the best time I've had in a long time -- at a time when I really needed it. And, some things hit me very deeply this weekend -- the richness and diversity of urban life, Tobias' sermon, just being at church away from home, conversations with Terry and Gabe, art, music, all the wonderful people whom I am so privileged to have known and/or have just begun to know from online, subways, and the stuff of life.
Musings to follow whenever and however I can, later.