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New York Day Four – Monday

Monday July 4. One of the most important
national holidays here, but of course, almost no-one is on holiday in the city
that never sleeps. This morning, off to the Met, there just as it opened at 10,
in through the south entrance few know about that’s always empty. This is one
of the best art museums in the world – I like it much better than the chaotic
overpowering jumble of the Louvre, and it has a greater span than the
National Gallery in London, since the Met incorporates the kind of antiquities
kept in the British Museum. An amazing place.
I went to an exhibition a New York friend
had recommended, showing
the relationship between high fashion done by hand and done by machine, a
celebration of extraordinary design and mostly Parisian craftsmanship – amazing
stuff no-one will ever wear and beautiful, handcrafted things – sequins!
feathers! – that wealthy women did.

A dress made of straws

Exquisite

Adding this to my fall wardrobe.
Up to the second floor, to the magic room
with FIVE Vermeers, the most in one place anywhere, I think. Again, his
serenity and empathy, his exquisite detail – I love to sit with those 350 year
old women and enjoy their company.  Toured through the Italian renaissance, though
I feel I’ve done those geniuses thoroughly with Bruce, as he toured me through
the museums and churches of Italy.
A quick lunch, a peek at the Sphinx, at the
medieval rooms, and out into the day. From the sublime to the … sale at
Bloomingdale’s. I needed a pair of black pants that were neither jeans nor
dressy and found exactly that half price, Gerard Darel, a quality French
designer. Also tried on bathing suits – definitely not. The salespeople are so
attentive and polite, everyone saying hello and smiling as if they mean it –
extraordinary when one has spent any time shopping in France.
Subway home, stopping at the Housing Works
Thrift Store across the street where I found a $10 t-shirt to wear with my new
pants. Resting briefly back at Ted’s now, and then out again to meet Gail, my
uncle’s dear friend, at the Guggenheim.
Another sublime day.
9 p.m. It’ll soon be July 4 fireworks time
in NYC, and it’s pouring with rain. I’m sorry for all the families out there
getting wet. But I am in here with my feet up, because they really really hurt.
Walking up Madison Ave. to the Guggenheim,
I could not help but notice – no, really, I could not help it – the Mephisto
shoe store, with a Sale sign, right there. I have been wearing a great pair of
Mephisto sandals for years, and now they, like their owner, are worn out. There,
on sale, a similar pair in my size. This is why one comes to New York.
Well, this, and the museums and the theatre
and the amazing everything. Gail and I had coffee in the miraculous Guggenheim,
talking about the man we both loved deeply, her friend and bridge mentor and my
uncle. Gail, who’s married with four children and 10 grandchildren and runs a
huge bridge business, moved in with Edgar to care for him in his last months,
as he died of cancer in 1997. “He was like a god to me,” she said. We discussed
the intense, to me incomprehensible world of bridge. Gail fell in love with the
game in her late teens and has been immersed in it ever since, which is just
what happened to my uncle.
We toured the museum, especially the
permanent collection with its luminous Kandinskys,
walked up and down the winding path inside,
and then I walked Gail along 5th Ave. for some blocks while we talked.
She went home, and I walked in the park, where I saw a happy American family on
a holiday outing – Mum and Dad so focussed on their phones they didn’t even
notice me taking a picture, and two bored daughters with the controls of their
sailboats on the pond.
On the way home, I heard a woman behind me
admonish her two small children about being too patriotic; “Americans sometimes
do bad things.” I turned around to smile at her and we ended up walking some
blocks together, while she ranted. Seriously crazy, it turned out. Voting is
just supporting the system, which is rigged and corrupt. We are just pawns. THEY
want you to vote, and the choices are horrendous, she says. I saw a guy on Bill
Maher’s TV show a few weeks ago saying the same thing, urging people “not to
vote and support the system.” Jesus. She went on about the Peloponnesian War and
the Athenians and how the Greeks invented history, and I thanked her and steered
myself down another street. God help us if people who live on the Upper East
Side of New York do not vote.
Home to put up my very sore feet, eat
leftovers, finish the Pinot, pack. Tomorrow Cousin Ted reclaims his apartment
and I’m moving my stuff to Lola’s for one night on her sofa, then lunch with my
agent Richard Curtis, then MOMA with Lola and her daughter Patti, my cousin
once removed, who knows a great deal about art. Maybe one more Broadway show
tomorrow night. Wednesday – home. Full full full full.
9.30 Massive explosions despite the rain –
the fireworks. Happy Fourth of July, crazy country. 9.45, still going strong, both
rain and booming.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.

Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.

I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.

Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.

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