Saturday, July 12, 2014


Next week I'll be away in Connecticut and New York showing around my partner's niece, who is visiting from England. We'll be taking the train from Westport to Grand Central Station on three days. Her niece, Victoria, is 17 and has never been to the U.S. before.

I'm not sure how well the trip will go, because Victoria is not exactly the bold and adventurous type. She exemplifies the kind of English timidity and insularity that I have come to find tiresome over the years, primarily as a result of exposure to my partner's father, with whom I spend several weeks every year. In addition, she seems to be afflicted with the gadget addiction that young people have these days. My impression is that they are unable to see and appreciate the world around them because their consciousnesses have been channeled into alternate cyber-realities. In general, they find the natural world unfamiliar and scary. Victoria also displays a food-pickiness that did not exist in my generation but seems common in hers. She will eat a banana sandwich but balks at anything green or unfamiliar. She is young and naive, so I'm cutting her some slack. My partner's family is very brainy academically, and I'm hoping that that will kick in at some point.

Manhattan is one of my favorite destinations. From a cultural standpoint it is easily the best place in the U.S. Growing up nearby, I became interested in science at the American Museum of Natural History and art at the Metropolitan Museum. As a teenager I loved walking along Fifth Avenue between Central Park and Washington Square. During two summers, in 1968 and 1969, I had a job on Wall Street, and my family moved to East 58th Street from 1969 to 1971. However, since then I've only been back twice, in 1986 and 2003.

If one were a billionaire with multiple dwellings, keeping an apartment in Manhattan might be an attractive option. On a permanent basis I prefer to live here in the country.


  1. I was to Manhattan once. It was Dec/01 and even at that late date the underground pipes at the World Trade Centre only ceased burning while there. I recall people being really friendly and assuredly it was due to their recent shared trauma.
    I have recently just decided to go again in Nov. with my youngest daughter, she is 21. I look forward to how your trip went esp since I will have a similar travel companion.

    1. The trip went fine, though there were a few unusual things about the girl I was accompanying which I will write about on my next post. She is interested in art, so I took her to the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim Museum. We also went to the top of the Empire State Building and took the Staten Island Ferry. I always like the Metropolitan, because it has some of my favorites such as Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Vermeer. Actually, there are several museums in Europe that I prefer. We walked on the High Line and on Fifth Avenue from Washington Square to Central Park.

      Overall it went well, but I was struck by how crowded it was. Years ago I think there were a tenth the number of people. Probably it will be a lot less crowded in November.


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