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New York Day Four

Home. Heaven. A painless return after the shimozzle of the flight in: the 6 train to Grand Central and a short walk to the Newark airport bus. At the airport absurdly early yet again, but had the Sunday NYT to read. Flight on time, sat next to a nice older man who’d been in New Jersey for a wedding and who turned out to be a dual citizen Trump supporter who voted for Doug Ford. “I do not admire Trump’s personality,” he said, “but I like what he has done for the economy and jobs and immigration.” I wanted to scream and did not, but I did let him know, as you can imagine, how I feel about the world’s most reprehensible orange blowhole psychopath. We barely had time to touch on Ford. My companion was a surgeon. How extremely self-satisfied and short-sighted smart people can be.
Okay, back to NYC. This is Vija Celmins’ work. I loved the way she carefully recreates life with humour and phenomenal care. First, giant things like erasers made out of balsa wood and painted. Then she started to use only pencil and focus on her office. (click to enlarge)

They’re huge.

Aren’t they alive, these lamps? So funny and human.

And then she got into oceans and deserts – this is all done by pencil. Meticulous. She found nice rocks and recreated them exactly in bronze. Insane. But wonderful.

I went down one flight to their new acquisitions. Agnes Martin makes me laugh. She’s from Saskatchewan. How can you tell?

An Ethiopian artist, Elias Sime, uses discarded computer parts and e-waste to make his gorgeous complex panels.

And yes – I did go out again last night to the Met. At 7 on a Saturday night, it’s tranquil, overflowing with riches – from ancient Greece to Abstract Expressionism. Wandered in a daze of art love. Three of the million things I saw and admired:

Lewis Carroll took this portrait in 1870 of Alice Liddell, his Alice in Wonderland. She is 18 and doesn’t look pleased to be there.

 Shoes, by Van Gogh, 1888. He makes me weep.

One of my favourite artists: Louise Nevelson, who turned scraps into art that looks like shelves and here, like a kind of house. She was born in Ukraine, like all my ancestors on the Jewish side of my family, spoke Yiddish at home, emigrated as a child. I think she is creating homes for herself.

I walked home at 8.30 in the dark and cold, peering into people’s windows – lots of Christmas lights, people buying trees on the sidewalk, very pretty. Have to say – everyone I asked directions from or spoke to was kind and friendly. There is a miraculous human scale to this monumental metropolis.

Newark is a shabby old airport. I was put into a special line at security, much shorter than the regular line, I thought because the guy figured I was a classy woman travelling first class, but then I learned: people selected for the special line are children, the military, the handicapped, and those over 75.

Sigh. Oh well. A shorter line was worth it. Almost.

Nothing to eat after security but squishy packaged sandwiches and chocolate bars. Even so, they want to be sure you like them. “How was your dining experience…”! Gotta love those Americans.

What I meant to do but did not: see the J. D. Salinger exhibition at the NY Public Library; have a drink at the Algonquin bar; walk in Central Park. Some things I noted: everyone eats on the street, sitting on walls with platters of food or messy stuff rolled up in foil. Everyone wears sneakers and is fixated on phones, as everywhere; I wonder here if it’s sanity, withdrawing from the whirl into your own space. I noted the number of shrieking complaining whining children with irritated parents and felt for both sides. Will the U.S. be filled soon with miserable petulant adults? Mind you – look at their president. I guess it already is.

Oh – and forgot to tell you, at the start of my journey Wednesday, I was up and at ’em early, very organized, set off briskly for Parliament Street to get the bus to the subway – was half way down the street when I realized I was wearing my backpack and carrying my purse but had left my suitcase at home.

I bought almost nothing this trip – just gifts, and for myself, a pair of sunglasses at an extremely reduced price. Usually, there’s a pair of shoes or a treat of some kind; this time, nothing. I’m proud of that. Enough. Enough. Enough. At least, until next trip.

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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.

Some Blogs I Follow

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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