Ahhhh…to touch down in Newark, New Jersey and be back on the east coast for the first time in a year-and-a –half! That means New York, actually, not Newark itself. Newton also touched down there from China the same day and we had an overnight at my sister Donna’s and brother-in-law Larry’s. They are the hosts par excellence of the family, so the perfect martini, the peonies off the bush, the delectable dinner, champagne, and the cushy bed were no exceptions to the rule, even with Donna just returning from our road trip. My niece Sara and husband Rob brought the flourless chocolate cake. Hardly a carb involved.
Because Newton and I had upcoming engagements in both New York and New Jersey, we got a Hotwire.com hotel in convenient Bergen County, though it ended up in not-so-convenient Paramus. This meant that Newton could buzz off to meetings with his partners in the rental car while I caught the bus to Manhattan along vicious, crowded Route 17. I think I was the first person to actually walk in Paramus, NJ for a decade, as the overgrowth around the pedestrian overpass attested. I walked about a mile to catch the bus, then over a mile to return to the hotel later on the northbound side. The stroll was missing sidewalks, but well-supplied with giant speeding trucks, a patch of reeds reaching above my head to plough through, thankfully troll-free-yet-creepy muddy spaces under three bridges, and exits to cross with an endless rush of oncoming cars. I hadn’t run for my life like that since crossing any street in Natal.
We met up in the city with dear friends David Barrow and Helen Webb of textile and interior design fame, along with their talented daughter Amelia. David is the last remaining textile designer I know in the USA. They came in from Connecticut for the divine tapas at Buceo 95 on West 95th. Oh, the cheeses. The olives.
That put us in my nephew Todd’s neighborhood. A cell phone call discovered his family just a couple of blocks away at a Central Park picnic, so over we went! Here are his sons Ethan (far left) and Sam (far right) with friends; as night fell we caught the view on the reservoir and noted our luck to be back in Manhattan on a perfect late spring evening:
Todd is now General Manager of the Parents Network, the online source of “Parents Magazine.” His second children’s book, Ten Tiny Toes, is coming out this September. He presented Sam with this DeLorean for his eighth grade graduation. They have been DeLorean aficionados ever since Sam was enthralled by “Back to the Future.”
I had lunch with my dear friend, Nancy Taylor, the real world traveler. She was about to spend a month in Paris and had landed the apartment of Sylvia Beach, founder of Shakespeare and Company book store and publisher of James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922. There is ONLY ONE Nancy Taylor.
My longtime friend, Carolyn McMonegal, and her cat, Kayli, treated me to lunch at their apartment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bagel with lox stacked so high. NEW YORK! Carolyn looks great and is feeling better than she has in years. What could be happier news?
I managed a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but only had time to peruse the shop and pick out two new posters for my Natal living room. Just walking in Manhattan, even while hitting everyone with the protruding posters, was such joy. I love my old avenues.
We had a fun dinner in New Jersey with friends from Newton’s first job; also a delicious barbeque with Newton’s current partners.
Newton flew off to Rio for the annual reunion with his three high school buddies. I went up the Hudson River to Nyack to visit the Blue Rock School and my fabulous friends there. Serendipitously, rain had postponed the big Spring Play to the very evening I was there. After an as-usual wonderful day at the school, I got to see the 7th and 8th grade - the graduating class, whom I had known since they were four-year-olds - perform an hilarious, stunning play in the wooded amphitheater. That is some school where 13-year-olds are so absolutely comfortable in their own skins and so accomplished on the stage.
I got to spend the night at the one and only Lucia’s house – she’s the Blue Rock kindergarten teacher, official photographer, official gardener, and an amazing friend over the years and the miles. It’s about time to get a photo of Lucia since she’s usually the one behind the camera, but here are her adorable son Zak - a friend of Jake’s – and her adorable son Julian, graduating from high school:
I dragged my suitcase and carry-on bag to catch the bus from Nyack to the city. The end of this marathon trip would be a weekend in Manhattan with three college friends.