May 28th, Memorial Day
Hoping your holiday was great. The train to NYC passed through Culpepper VA yesterday; from the tracks we could see a Civil war-era cemetery – matching headstones neatly laid out by several thousand. Virginia seems exotic to me. Dimly recalled that a battle took place in Culpepper – I will look it up sometime.
My train to NYC was delayed three hours because it originated in N’Owlins and the hurricane did something to the tracks in Miz’sippi. The original plan for today was to take my hosts to dinner in Manhattan but the storm has followed me here. So – tomorrow.
New York (or any city) is more fun when you have a local host, somebody who knows the neighborhood, etc and for this excursion I am staying at the home of somebody I met in 1974, the fellow who introduced me to gourmet coffee, expresso, and the exotic delights of Cambridge MA – John Santo. And his lovely wife Judy. They live in Queens next to a park, and it was wonderful to wake up to the sound of birds, even here!
This is a man whose wedding I attended in 1975. Yesterday was Shavuot, and the Santos are Jewish Orthodox. They had hosted eleven students from the Talmudic Institute nearby, for lunch; we munched on various leftovers including salmon. Also kugel, which though a simple dish, can be inexpertly made. I normally don’t favor kugel BUT John’s kugel was dee lish, best I have had in awhile.
And had two beers. And stayed up way too late. And caught up with – everything. Pictures of children and grandchildren. Travels. Hard to believe his daughter Shuvy is 35. Delightful to talk with Judy, really for the first time.
Yes, Virginia, I told them “the snakebite story.”
Anyway – the PBISN pinning ceremony is today at 4 PM. My plan is to take the train into Manhattan and to wander around. Maybe a museum or two. Then arrive at the venue (New York Academy of Medicine auditorium, same as tomorrow, on 103rd st)and greet the multitudes. This is optional but will help me to gauge the audience for my Commencement Speech.
The speech itself on Wednesday will last for twelve minutes.
Tomorrow after the pinning, we will go to dinner in Manhattan. John and Judy will choose the spot, from among kosher restaurants. (Their kitchen at home is kosher. They were thoughtful enough to set out the right utensils for me; and also, their favorite Starbucks is Sumatra – same as I stock my kitchen with in Honolulu. John is the person who first taught me “the rules” for a milshig/fleshig kosher kitchen. John is the second real “foodie” I ever met (after my mother) and so I am sure it will be fun.
(update: the weather caused us to change this plan)
Any way – the Big Apple awaits…
PS my foot blister is healing, clear of infection, and the rest of me feels good as well.
Wednesday Morning. Subway story
Hot here overnight. Hotter than HNL according to the Weather Channel. I rode the subway back to Queens at evening rush hour. The car was packed, there was no A/C, and my blister was bothering me. The train was going very slowly, stopping at times in the tunnel. Later I learned that a child had been killed in a train accident at Forest Hills, one stop before mine. Bummer.
Mr. Santo and I went to an Israeli restaurant in his neighborhood. Kosher of course. House specialty was “shawarma” – a sort of gyro but turkey-based. It was delicious. The other menu items seemed inspired by Lebanese cuisine, which I always enjoy.
Overall, a good day Tuesday. Despite the heat, I walked around midtown for a bit. Took the bus to 103rd st and visited “the Museum of the City of New York” where one exhibit was about activism in NYC. Very informative. Another exhibit described the process of laying out The Grid. Simply amazing.
I attended the PBISN pinning. Got a feel for the hall and the audience.
All systems are go for today.