Category Archives: New York City

Postcard: On New York City, Aug. 2017

Rubin Museum, the World is sound

Credit: “The World is Sound,” The Rubin Museum of Art

“Cities, like dreams, are made of desired and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspective deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” – Italo Calvino.

Below is a surreal lyric essay inspired by the Rubin Museum’s The World is Sound” exhibit, and the walk home after. I’ve been thinking lately about how to capture cities–a city like New York is feels especially impossible to capture. 

“What is the sound you hear when you die?”

“What is the sound of the universe being created?”

In one room, a monk chants you to your grave, sweetly.

Every moment passes into another moment like clouds rolling over the moon.

The moon through trailing branches is the moon over a bayou in Louisiana. “Look at the broken castle,” Z says pointing to a building under construction, and the moon is the moon over a castle in Transylvania.

City blocks stretch, each step a step into another time in the life of the city, the moon over a low white wall is the moon over Granada. Continue reading

metro-north-hudson-river-valley

On Making Like Thoreau: Manitou Point Preserve, Oct. 31, 2015

Speaking of, Kathryn Schulz’s recent Thoreau take-down in The New Yorker is so delicious, I could spread it on toast. It launched the mandatory thousand think-pieces–“Why Thoreau Matters,” “Sorry, New Yorker, Thoreau Matters,” etc. I’m among the many who haven’t read a word of Thoreau in context so I still feel easy with his easiest takeaway: nature’s cool, let’s go there.

I was determined to hike “every weekend this fall”–of course, my ambitions were wrung and shrunk until I was left with just one hike–the destination was changed to closer and closer woods, all the morning trains missed, finally seeing us arriving at Manitou Point Preserve well after 2 PM. Continue reading

ravaged-umbrella

On Leaving for the Parasol Paradise in the Sky

It was a cool, spring evening after the rains when I first saw you in Union Square. You were leaning heavily against the brick wall of the Barnes & Noble. Nothing housed in that cathedral of words could have matched the poetry of your slant, the pathos of your solitude. You had been left–but why? When I unfurled you like an early rose, you were strong. Under your bright, geometric blues and whites, the gray sky became again the vault of heaven. I took you home that day. Continue reading

keith-haring-carved-pumpkin

On Hurricane Sandy, only two months too late!

On Halloween night, my Keith Haring pumpkin (Keith-o’-lantern…carved Haringkin?) cast the only light in my blacked-out Lower East Side apartment. Hurricane Sandy was, and continues to be, terrible for so many people but my live-in man-friend and I were, thankfully, not among them. When we lost power on the evening of October 29, the first thing we noticed was the sudden absence of the city’s perpetual buzz, that near-imperceptible sound of urban life support in the form of countless whirring appliances. Continue reading