Notes from New York

Walt Whitman's DeskThis will be brief. We’re in New York visiting M’s brother Willem, who’s got a three-week-old baby. While here, we’ve done some touristy things. One day, we ventured out and found a whaling museum (lots of very cool scrimshaw) and Walt Whitman’s birthplace, which we got to ten minutes before closing. This left us just enough time for us to run in and quickly scan a few artifacts, take a picture of Walt Whitman’s desk (complete with period boombox), and ask the none-too-knowledgeable museum employee to confirm my recollection that Robert Green Ingersoll spoke at Whitman’s funeral.

Another day, we went into Manhattan, where we visited the American Natural History museum (lots of cool dinosaurs, a turtle skeleton nearly the size of a Volkswagon, a huge fake whale, and other stuff), Central Park, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (one day I’ll take down my thoughts on how more raw skill goes into making a single medieval helmet than into the whole of modern art, however much I like modern art). We also managed to walk right by the Empire State Building, which I was surprised to see had glass and neon along the lower floor, where I expected imposing concrete slabs. And yesterday, we drove over to Staten Island (we’re pretty far east on Long Island) to visit M’s Uncle John and Aunt Betty. Otherwise, we’ve done a lot of sitting around and playing with babies and, in my case, working.

Lennie’s had a rash and what look like hives or heat bumps that could be caused by the extreme heat in Willem’s apartment (heater’s broken and the place stays at 80+ degrees, forcing us to run the AC or have windows open in the middle of winter), an allergy to the multiple cats, or something she’s eaten. She’s started saying “DA-dn-Da” a lot, and I’m convinced she’s trying to say “kitty cat.” She came pretty close to articulating “kitty cat” before we came to New York, but she seems to have lost that. The rhythm of “DA-dn-Da” is pretty much identical to that of “kitty cat,” though, and over the last day or so, she’s been saying it a lot when I’m running her around chasing the cats and cooing “kitty cat.” So I think that’s it.

We’re here tonight and then fly back home to Knoxville tomorrow night. It’s been a good visit, but we can hardly wait to get back home.

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