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NYC Day Three

5 p.m., lying on Ted’s sofa resting my feet, drinking a glass of his great red, and eating artisanal potato chips I bought at the Union Square market yesterday – this is NYC down time. Much needed. In fact, I’ve done less this trip than I used to on my frazzled stays here, and almost no shopping, but I’ve accomplished enough. And maybe I’ll go out once more tonight, we’ll see.

Yesterday, after being overwhelmed by the What’s On Today page in the NYT delivered to Ted’s door … (click to enlarge)

I zipped down to Greenwich Village on a cold and sunny morning to explore before lunch with an old friend. Happened on the Union Square market, part of it a green market I’d visited years ago with my uncle to buy veggies and fish and where this time I bought the crisp potato chips that taste like potatoes. There was a Christmas craft market too. I bought a pair of socks for Anna that says “Bitches get shit done.” Very her.

 They don’t compost in NY – so you can bring your wet waste to the market to compost.

Do you see what I see? Sky. In the Village, you can see the sky.

Sheila and I were good friends in the late seventies, until I left Vancouver in 1982 or 3. We lived for awhile in the same apartment building and affected each other in many ways. Her daughter is about 9 months younger than Anna, and I’ve always thought Sheila visited me in the hospital, saw the baby, and went home with a purpose. Anyway, we lost touch, so met for the first time in over 3 decades. And – she’s just the same, lively, fascinating, fun. An incredible life, working for the UN in Africa and in Pakistan – with Benazir Bhutto – and in other exotic places. Now living in Brooklyn, as is her daughter. We had a great deal of catching up to do. I had two glasses of wine; she never did drink. A marvellous reunion.

But it’s a mistake to drink 2 glasses of wine at lunch; I had to go back uptown to nap. Then out again in the cold to see theatre – a play called “The Voice Inside,” starring Mary-Louise Parker, about a creative writing teacher and a student. A good play, a bit cryptic, lots of literary language and references, including one making me determined to read the works of James Salter; one critic said it’s more like a novel than a play. But gripping nonetheless, in a very good production. And – no small matter – an hour and a half long with no intermission, which meant I was out by 9.30, marching many long windy blocks to the subway home. There was a poem on the subway.

Today, to two of my favourite stores on 3rd Avenue – Maison Kayser for bread and croissants every bit as good as in France, and the Flying Tiger, which we don’t have in Canada yet, a store full of craft materials, toys, and kitchenware, beautifully designed and very cheap – I bought stocking stuffers.

All my reading glasses come from here – $5. Slime, a back scrubber, a giant pencil, an hourglass, and so much more.

To Lola’s for lunch with her and her daughter Patti who’d come in from New Haven. Lola is 97, now has 24 hour care and can hardly walk, but is still at home and fiercely interested in the world, grey matter all there even if the rest isn’t working so well. She told me that in the fifties her husband was concerned their son Stephen would not get into medical school because of my father’s strong leftist tendencies – though Dad had lived in Canada since 1950. I love these family tidbits.

Anna, a young friend of Lola’s, dropped in to say goodbye; both were professional jewellery makers and met in a class. Anna has just sold her apartment in NY and bought a farm in southern Portugal with a friend, will make it a “glamping” kind of place – and I’ve already decided to go visit her! A wonderful encounter with a stranger who felt like an instant friend. Plus family and take out Chinese.

Home to dump the stuff then out again – was heading to the Frick when by chance I passed the Met Breuer and remembered there was an artist I wanted to see there, written about in the New Yorker: Vija Celmins. But more about this amazing artist anon. Time to heat up some Manhattan clam chowder from Citarella. Life is good.

I may still go out again to the late Friday night at the main Met – an hour or two more of great art. Or maybe not. Ted says I’m a “chicken Kaplan” for not going to the theatre tonight. And I replied, Yes. Yes I am.

Home, James.



2 Responses to “NYC Day Three”

  1. Alan Millen says:

    Enjoying your New York stories immensely. We were there in October to visit our son and American daughter-in-law. The city exhausts me a little more each time I'm there but I'm glad to have a family reason to visit twice a year.

  2. beth says:

    Alan, me too, absolutely – the city so exhausting and also rich with treasure. But I'm always really glad to get out and go home. Toronto feels like a village. Thanks for coming along – more anon.

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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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