Wednesday was my 50th birthday, and at one point I toyed with the concept of a Year of Jubilee (which I understood only dimly before re-reading parts of Leviticus). The biblical practices mentioned have more to do with forgiving debts than anything else, and while forgiveness is always good for the soul, that wasn't precisely what I was aiming for--a pretext to do some things I don't permit myself, or remember to avail myself of, in my workaday life.
I consider it my chief "sin" as a New Yorker, that I forget how close I live to actual, "concrete" things many of us know abstractly, like the TV shows which tape here (some of which, like "The Daily Show", I regularly watch), travel hubs like Grand Central Station (with its second life as a byword for hyperactive hurly-burly), or restaurants founded by chefs like Bobby Flay or Mario Batali. To say nothing of the opportunities for amateur research even if I look no further than the NYPL. One goal is to avail myself of more of all these kinds of pastimes. Today was a little step in that direction.
zsof was in town for work, and had some hours free, so we met up and went to MoMA, which neither of us had visited before. I had...a limited interest in what I assumed would be lots of abstract, high-concept pieces of carefully arranged detritus, Cubist I-know-not-whats, and Those Warhol Pictures Of Soup Cans. However, I didn't know that "Modern Art" would include the Impressionists (my art history is nonexistent). Being in the same rooms with "Water Lilies" and "The Starry Night" was a privilege I keenly felt, the way I felt when I used to look down Fifth Avenue from 23rd Street, a few blocks from my first NY apartment, and see the Twin Towers, then look uptown and see the Empire State Building. Maybe I'm a rube at heart, but me and those other things being in the same geographic space is a kind of reinforcement of their existence, a thrill I have never lost.
There were Picassos and Warhols and Pollocks and pieces which used film or lights or sound, there were photographs and yes, some Carefully Arranged Detritus. Also several Spontaneous Acts of Dancing which I could not identify as part (or not) of a Museum exhibit or program. This is sort of dicey when the Art is a Performance Art--people morph into An Audience much faster if they know that's what they're supposed to do.
We also talked a lot, about SCA doings and upcoming projects and "walking a path" and our respective home cities (I am coming to be in you sooner or later, Cleveland. Be afraid 8). Time awesomely well spent.
After we parted (in opposite directions), I grabbed fast food under Rockefeller Center and trudged my way to the NYPL for Captain Cox Blog research. I did find EEBO collection listings for all the books I was searching for ("Impacient Poverty", "Andrew Boorde's Breviary of Health", and "The Dreams of Daniel" this time), and printed out some facsimile images from the last one. Between the black-letter printing and the photocopy / imaging fuzz, I cannot make much out clearly, but the first few pages of "Dreams of Daniel" are one-size-fits-all interpretations of dream images and activities. There are two sets of one-size-fits-all horoscopes after that, the much longer second set elaborating on the distinct characteristics of women born under the various signs. I was a little too close to closing time to read "Impatient Poverty" and will have to go back, but the Tudor Facsimile I requested is available (maybe without another call slip?) for a week.
After the library closed, I went to Grand Central's Magnolia Bakery branch for a mini Red Velvet Cheesecake, then caught an express bus home. The express bus always feels so civilized, I don't mind sitting in traffic quite as much. The cheesecake was delicious and very rich: half for tomorrow 8)
Working on a short list of "Only In NYC" pastimes, which I can gradually do...