Sunday, April 26, 2009

I've decided to head home (rather than wander the north)

I'm on my way home from Stockholm. After 5 days of hard work, one very long night of partying...

(Although I'm not a really convincing partyer. I can: stay up late; drink an amount that surprises people given my size and height; make it home safe given the previous; dance really badly ... so badly that people around me take pity on me and try to give me an emergency lesson or two; become mildly silly...)

The one plus of the aforementioned attempt at hard partying was the chance to see the sunrise. Typically I'm more likely to see the sunrise from the other direction (i.e., early rising) but in Stockholm with a 5 am sunrise it gets pretty bright by 4 am or so. And I couldn't find my way back to my apartment for quite a while because the taxi driver dropped me in the wrong spot. So I saw the whole quite lovely progression from twilight to daylight while trying to read the map. But as I said, finding my way home is one of my rock-solid skills. So I made it in time for a few hours of sleep before heading off for a day on the archipelago. The sun was hot (at least from 10 to 2, after that it really cooled off), the water sparkly, and the breeze bracing...

I didn't take too many pics, but I'll try to get some off my cell phone when I'm home.

A few oddities of Stockholm... They are obsesses with Elvis and Marilyn, and on Friday night people drive around in vintage cars and slicked back hair... They like to warn you against doing the obvious through colorful signage (as in don't electrocute yourself... but the person depicted being electrocuted looks like he is having a really good time...) The bars stay open till 5 am but the 7-eleven closes at, well, 11 pm.

I am looking forward to home...

Publish Post

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Voices of spring


P.S. I'm now in Stockholm, where spring means sunshine from 5 am to 8 pm and light from about 4 am to 9 pm...


Thursday, April 9, 2009

or Magical Mystery Tour
or New York, Why Do I Love Thee...

There is one flight route into Laguardia airport that takes you right over Manhattan. They don't used it often, but if they do, and you happen to be in a window seat on the left side of the aircraft, you're in for a treat. These pictures from back in August were stuck on my phone. Since I'm not in NY this weekend, I'm feeling a touch of NY nostalgia already, and I knew these pictures would warm my heart. Yours too I hope. xoxo BB

You usually cut across midtown... Seen here the UN and the Chrysler Building...

Now we are over Madison Square. You can see the New York Life Insurance Company building (the first gold dome in the center-bottom of the picture), the next golden cupola is the Met Life Tower, and then a little further the Flatiron Building:

Then you're over the Hudson River heading all the way down... You can see César Pelli's World Financial Center buildings, next to which were the World Trade Center buildings:

And by now you're getting a great view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges:

Ahhh... What a view!

And then you swing out a bit getting an expansive view of the island...

... and here Governor's Island:

By now you are over Brooklyn and almost ready to land...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Back down to earth

It is was one of those weeks -- nothing disastrous, no triumph, but a bit like the moment in the Loony Tunes cartoons where the coyote speeds of the edge off a cliff and momentum carries him forward, until he notices he is standing on thin air, pauses to reflect on it, and then goes crashing down. Well it's like that except that rather than being poised on thin air above a Grand-Canyon type cliff I've been about 30,000 feet off the ground, more or less the height of a commercial jetliner flying between cities...

I've always known that I couldn't sustain my pace of travel over the last four years. It's true that eventually I have adapted myself to it, if not to enjoy it. Champagne and films helped to cure the transcontinental blues when I was flying from London to New York and the view of New York from the Triborough Bridge dispelled any doubts about coming back to New York every weekend from Boston.

But in every dimension you can measure it (social, mental, physical, and indeed financial -- that least delicate but inescapable fact of life...) I knew I couldn't keep it going forever. It was yesterday that I had my coyote moment.

In many ways I'm glad it's come because it would do me good to be in one place longer. When I lived in Boston full time as a student, I did really love it. And even if now New York always beckons I can at least come to like Boston. I'm thinking in terms of a 10-step program, gradual reduction, rather than cold turkey. Perhaps every other week initially, until I can work myself down to once a month.

* * *

The problem is giving up New York weekends. Many of my weekends here are quiet, neighborhood weekends, which I really enjoy. But that is the kind of sustaining pleasure which you think would be just as fine every month rather than every week. But now and then I have a weekend like this:

- Thursday arrive in New York. Join my friend Nuria at jazz club.
- Friday work from home. Join my friend Max for a quick bite, followed by an uptown jazz club, followed by a late night jam at another jazz club.
- Saturday, overdose on Chelsea galleries. Evening catch up with my friend Flo at a new place downtown. Just as I'm heading home my friend S calls and we decided to catch up over a quick drink. Just as I'm heading home my friend A calls and decides we should catch up since he's leaving town.
- Sunday morning, delicate. By the afternoon though I'm ready to hear the visiting orchestra from London, and then catch up with a friend who's in the orchestra. But then it's time for dinner with 5 friends who I haven't seen for a few months.
- Monday morning get up at 5.30 am, catch the shuttle, and in my Boston office by 8.15.

This was last weekend. Now before you think I am mad, I should note that this isn't an utterly atypical New York weekend, although nor is it typical. When I lived here full time, I would have these kinds of weekends every now then (once a month?), one of those weekends when you plan on it being quiet, but everyone you know is suddenly calling, and everyone decides to hold a party or a dinner on the same evening... These are the kinds of weekends where you feel yourself living on every dimension -- artistic, cultural, social, culinary, and of course having fun.

* * *

But then perhaps I'm getting a little too old for all of this. I really do love my quiet weeks, sitting at home with a book, a glass of wine, a film waiting in the DVD player...

* * *

But then I've just been noticing that if I use Amtrak, and time my trains correctly I could probably still manage to be here every week....

Will the coyote live again?

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