‘TWAS A WEEK AGO yesterday when we got the call. Daughter #1 and Significant Other #1 had journeyed through the Holland Tunnel, up the Henry Hudson Parkway to Washington Heights and were at New York Presbyterian awaiting the birth of their own Daughter #1. So we jumped in the car and headed south from Little Rhody. A few hours and 180 miles later we got there in time to hear the doc tell D1 she could start trying to push D1D1 out into the world if she wanted to. Which she did.
Two hours later, our family includes a perfect little addition who could be mistaken for a bambina delivered by C-section. She didn’t look at all mooshed & squished by the natural delivery she had undergone.
Needless to say, the bride couldn’t wait to hold her.
D2 and D3 arrived in the morning, bearing gifts.
After 12 years together, a big event for D1 & SO1.
The bride was in her glory. She took over the kitchen at the apartment in Jersey City and cooked & froze like mad. We were in town for a week and by the time we left she had stocked the freezer full of lasagna, chicken parmesan, quiche and veggie soup.
By the way, about their kitchen… and this really made me smile when I saw it. Remember the late Frank LaFleur? How he used to read his newspaper first thing, then put it back in the bag and toss it on our front porch?
I had forgotten about this, but when Frank heard that D1 was expecting, he put these baby booties in with the newspaper one day. This was a token gift he had received in the mail for contributing to a charity, no doubt. He gave to every cause there ever was. This one must have been to benefit newborns. So dig it, after Frank’s gone we drive down to New Jersey and see a little gift from him on a refrigerator door. He’s really not gone at all. What a caring man.
People hear “Jersey City” and imagine some kind of derelict industrial ruin. In reality, it’s quite a livable town, redevelopment going on everywhere. The family’s apartment is an easy walk from the downtown subway, which scoots you under the Hudson and over to Lower Manhattan, seen here, or up to Midtown. Notice the One World Trade Center tower.
We stayed at the Westin. Nice digs & with a decent and not-too-pricey restaurant off the lobby, they serve a good $15 burger and a $22 rotisserie chicken. But you will absolutely burn through yer dough around here. We spent over $200 just parking the car for the week.
Lower Manhattan, from our window on the 15th floor. The bride snapped this pic with her iPhone.
After dark. Isn’t it nice that we’re headed back toward the light now? Every day has a little more of it. I took this night shot, which is kindly crooked. Oh, that reminds me, the hotel had Brooklyn Lager on tap.
D1, SO1 and D1D1 live on this street, a 5-minute walk from downtown. The parents-to-be moved here from Brooklyn last summer. Rent is similarly expensive but it’s a much nicer apartment and they have on-site landlords who are good people. Needless to say, it’s crazy expensive to buy. Fixer-upper brownstones in greater New York start at around $1 million. You can get in cheaper if you want to gamble on a neighborhood’s future, be an urban pioneer on an Alamo-type street somewhere. Truth in advertising: “Short run to subway!” Yep, run it serpentine, Moe, I’ll cover you from here!
Nice little park just down the street. I think the bride had the new baby in the bag, or everything but. I don’t get the concept: A full field pack that’s not wearable, you have to hook it on your elbow instead. That ain’t right.
Something else I don’t get, and seriously now, but I felt nothing at the 911 memorial. What an artless thing it is. Clearly there was no Maya Lin at the drawing board, and no Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. I find this hole in the ground as incomprehensible as the attack. The way I’m wired I can’t help but hear everything I see; what gets in through the eyes auto-translates into language. What this place whispered in my ear was, “Down the drain,” and, “A committee was here.”
Look up, that’s what I say. Here’s Jackie O looking up.
Nothing happened down in the ground, it was all up in the air. When you look up, there’s the New York unbowed by the worst that a 16th-century mindset could unleash on it.
Dig it, D1D1–there’s your Big Apple. Go get ’em!
Here’s the up-in-the-air memorial that moves me. But I understand they light it just one day a year. Why? And don’t say the electric bill. SO1 snapped this pic from Brooklyn on September 11, 2013.
Our week in New York flew by but we did manage to see one of our favorite people, our friend Vincent Ogutu, a Fulbright Scholar from Kenya. He’s teaching and finishing up his Ph.D in economics at Rutgers. We met up with him at an Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side, where we feasted on naan, chicken curry, chana masala, shrimp saag, and a smooth mango lassi for dessert.
Then, before it was time to catch the 1 train down to 33rd Street and the Hoboken train under the Hudson, we took a little walking tour of Riverside Drive and the 19th-century mansion Vincent has called home during his New York adventure.
I saw Vincent last in May, while riding the iron piggy to Georgia. I like that he’s a big-sky thinker, a discerner of connections that others often miss. He’s all about the history of ideas, how they interact and change and where they likely point to from here. If you’ve ever tried to wrap your mind around, say, The Great Chain of Being by Arthur O. Lovejoy, or Isaiah Berlin’s The Crooked Timber of Humanity, you won’t find anything in those pages that Vincent can’t talk about; and with the great generosity and intelligence he brings to every conversation. At lunch I thought I had him when I alluded to the Gülen movement that’s giving President Erdogan fits in Turkey. Ha! He’d clearly read more about it than I had.
Here are a few more mansion pics…
Up through the main stairwell.
Fancy ceilings throughout.
Then our time was up, and a New England snow was bearing down. We ransomed our car out of the parking garage yesterday and crossed the mighty George Washington Bridge.
Interstate 95 felt pretty loose here in Little Rhody. We were definitely drifting about at speeds higher than 45 or 50. Slowed down and followed a sand truck for a while.
Not much else to say, except that the new tool & storage shed I knocked together this fall is all trimmed out and buttoned up for the winter. These pics might be a few weeks old now. The shed is looking snowy as of this writing.
That little deck is handy. I can roll the table saw out through the double doors, clean up the dust with a leaf blower instead of a shop vac.
Made a sliding barn door out of two sheets of T1-11 and 30 feet of rough pine 1×8’s. I like the contrast between the vertical and horizontal lines. Given that I was playing it by ear– nothing on paper, no drawings to work from–I’m pretty happy with how the little building turned out.
Additional storage underneath. That’s my scaffolding stacked under there.
Next project, long delayed: Get the iron piggy running! She’s living on the back of the ’49 truck now. Will probably build a shed for her in the fall, and maybe a KLR650 or whatever’s going to Patagonia if we go.
Tony DePaul, January 4, 2015, Cranston, Rhode Island