NY NY

Next to Christmas, Labor Day is my favorite holiday in NY. No one’s there, except some confused tourists and the few locals who can’t finagle their way out of the city. A deserted NY is a truly glorious NY. I love feeling like I only need share with a few hundred thousand, and not millions of, others.

Fabulous find: the Rubin, housed in the old Barneys. Admittedly, not going to be everyone’s cuppa: 6 floors of Tibetan/Nepalese/Bhutanese art require that you bring something of a blank slate to your viewing experience. I hit upon the ingenious plan of pulling a Guggenheim and starting at the top, working my way down. But the Rubin caters to a more logical path, with an introductory floor (2) that acquaints and prepares you for the various art in store: angry vs. peaceful deities, lineages, the lost wax process, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Having first viewed the rather more rarefied air of the top floors (lots of tankas), I realized my error. But in the end, it didn’t matter. The temple reconstructions, complete with lit candles, bowls of rice in offering, and plenty of shadows, are oases of calm. A deep breath with closed eyes, and I can recapture, if only momentarily, the beauty of this lovely space. Go; just work your way from the bottom up.

As I walked back uptown (I currently like the Distrikt quite a bit, despite the midtown location; the rooms are quiet and spacious and the staff manages to cater without being intrusive), I remembered how I fell in love with Manhattan. For a lot of the folks of my generation who ended up in NY, Woody Allen’s love letters to the city were the catalyst. Weirdly for me, it was a revival of Midnight Cowboy that made my heart go pitter-pat. Schlesinger’s take on the city, like Fosse’s, is that it is a seedy, ugly kingdom of broken dreams. Doubtless realms of analysis could be completed based on this preference; it would be quite dull. I love that many of New York’s endless facets reflect madness and sorrow. The ugliness is inherent to the city as a living, breathing work of art, beautiful and never, ever pretty.

A fellow Metropolis junkie is Adrian Buckmaster, who writes powerfully about his experiences in family court. A and I have always, including recently, had our disagreements, but whenever I’ve seen him interact with children (his and mine), he has been intensely devoted and kind. Adrian calmed my wailing 2-year-old in a way no one else could, and I acted as a witness on his behalf in a legal battle (discussed in the post) to achieve some kind of equitable agreement for his son. His story is honest, compelling, and upsetting. Read and weep.

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