A Visit to One Beginning

I’m getting ready to take a little trip to New York City to visit old friends and old haunts. The words “New York City” are synonymous in my mind with Georg because during my college years at Vassar, that is where Georg lived. This was fantastic for me, because I could take the train down into the city and get a dose of New York pretty much any time I needed it and could get away from my studies. Georg’s studio was always open.

great jonesHe had a real loft on Great Jones Street in lower Manhattan. The area was called (is still, I’m sure) Noho, because it was North of Houston, as opposed to the hipper, more fabulous Soho, which was south of this main thoroughfare. Back then, Noho was not even up-and-coming. It was just famous for not being Soho. Now, more than 30 years after the time Georg lived there, Noho is every bit as wonderful as any other famous part of Manhattan. Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Noho:

It is bounded by Mercer Street to the west and the Bowery to the east, from East Ninth Street to East Houston Street.[1] NoHo is primarily made up of loft apartments, which in turn makes it one of the most expensive and desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan. Its small size and central location also contributes to a high demand, again keeping prices high.

I am going to New York to remind myself of many things, Georg things, Lisa things. I will take the train to Poughkeepsie and visit my first poetry teacher, Nancy Willard. I will wander the campus at Vassar and sit in the library. I loved that library. Libraries in general make me happy, but Vassar library was very special. My memory of it is that it looked like a cathedral inside. And it smelled really good. Like knowledge. It made me feel infinitely smart, important, and capable to sit in that library and study art history, philosophy, and poetry. I want to remind myself what that young woman felt like so I can be more like her again. She was a gem, that one.

While in New York, I plan to go to MOMA, the Whitney, and the Guggenheim. I also have some new places to check out (that my dear Vassar friend, Karyn, has clued me into), the Highline (a park built on an abandoned elevated train track) and the Tenement Museum (which is not inherently new, I know, but just a place I have never been.)

I will also spend an afternoon in Central Park with my first Vassar boyfriend, Dean. He is married to a lovely woman and they have two daughters. The daughters are teenagers now and, like my son, starting to think about college. We will all hang out together in the park and watch one of the daughters play baseball there and then enjoy a nice dinner at their house on Saturday night.

Oh! On my very first night in the city, (tomorrow night!) I am going to a poetry reading at a bar called KGB down on East 4th Street. This event was actually the impetus for the whole trip. I saw on Facebook that two poets I “know” (because we live in the age of social media) are reading their work and I thought “it would be really fun to meet them.” As soon as the seed was planted in my head, everything else followed and I realized I am long overdue for a trip to this place where many things in my life started. Not everything, mind you. But many things.  I am ready to be reminded of who I once was and to bring those good parts forward into the Now.

Georg will be there, and we’ll get a pastrami sandwich together at Carnegie Deli on Broadway. The pickles are to die for.


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