I slept in as best I could while flanked by a little wiggly toddler and woke to a fine clear day in Brooklyn. Around 11 Rebekah (that’s my sister-in-law) and I put our little boys in their strollers and walked along streets like Prospect Ave and Windsor, past two story brick houses with curved glass windows, and colorful wood houses with small enclosed gardens. We dined on savory miniature pies at Dub Cafe and bought crisp-as-heaven, sweet-as-honey apples from the farmer’s market. Then onto a walk in Prospect Park.
I kept thinking as we were walking how grateful I was to be having this experience. For one, I am inspired by my sister-in-law and glad for the chance to get to know her better. For another, I am in a lovely section of Brooklyn, the weather is unusually mild for November, and my 13-month old son is cooperating brilliantly.
For lunch Rebekah made the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had, made even more memorable by freshly-sliced gala apples on the side.
And then I took off with baby Aaron to try finding my way into Manhattan.
Whatever the reputation of New Yorkers as being rushed and unfriendly, I certainly met many kind strangers today. At the subway entrance a young guitarist helped me carry the stroller downstairs and offered pleasant conversation for most of the ride. Every time I got off the train, someone if not more than one person, kindly offered to help. And with the aid of a fantastic free app (Embark NYC), I had super easy-to-follow instructions for each step of my uptown journey.
My destination: 25 Central Park West. A beautiful gallery on the corner of 63rd and Central Park. As I approached my beautiful friend Lisa Raineywas visible in the rear of the gallery, hanging works of art.
Lisa is working to arrange and install a special exhibit which opens tomorrow night. As implied by its title (Converge: Where Classical and Contemporary Art Collide) the exhibit features painters of today who work at the intersection of refined, classical technique and contemporary content and themes.
Lisa will never admit to this, but she really is a genius when it comes to hanging a show. A brilliant painter herself, she’s also a kind of a visual choreographer. Her work of art tonight was the poetic interaction of the various paintings next to each other.
As I joined her for a few hours to offer what help I could, the passersby began to take note.
First one, then two, then as many as 12 different people, all of them residents of this part of Manhattan, came in for a sneak preview of tomorrow’s opening. All were amazed and in awe. Something beautiful was happening. We were witnessing busy, wealthy New Yorkers compelled off the street and face to face with art that was edifying them in some profound way. I was thinking about Isaiah’s words: oh you afflicted city, tossed with tempest and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. Could it be that in a city still shaken by the rage of a hurricane, 30 artists bring a balm of hope and healing? Oh let it be so.