My father grew up in Brooklyn, but I haven’t really been here since before he died, and I don’t really remember those visits except for one little movie — just a few frames of a ride on a Coney Island rollercoaster in my mind. I haven’t really seen much of it this trip. Today has been a lazy day. So far, I have gotten up, read, talked to a couple of people, snacked, and napped. So it has been a good day. Tonight is the Radical Reference Salon on the Google Books settlement, which I’ll be attending. Before that, I have vague plans about visitng the Fluevog store, which will, I suspect, be an exercise in disappointment about shoe sizes and the gentrification of SoHo, but you never know.
Yesterday I went to visit the Darien Library. I’ll write more about it on lis.dom at some point, but in the meantime, you can see my photos. Many thanks to John for the tour. It was great to see Kate and to meet everyone else and to get a sense of the physical place. I have done a lot more library tourism here than I normally do on vacations — but then, I’m around a lot more libraries than I often am when on vacation.
It has been funny to be in New York in general. I have never lived in the city, but I have been coming here since I was fourteen, when my best friend and I took the train from Iowa to her godparents’ in New Jersey, where she was staying that summer. I spent a week there before leaving for camp, and we went into the city every day. We did the same thing the next summer (except that year we took the bus, which I don’t really recommend, but it was cheap), and then there was a lapse of some years until I came to college and then another lapse between when I last came out (during graduate school, round one, in 2002) and now. I know that I don’t actually know my way around nearly as well as I’d like to think I do, and on this trip, particularly, I know I’ve spent a lot of time looking around in a non-native sort of way. But I look around for a reason. I am always looking for the little bits of the city that I think of as mine — certain subway stops and street corners, and places where things used to be, and new places that might be added to that particular mental movie.
If you live here, I suppose, you have a different sort of movie, a movie that, perhaps, I might someday want. But for now I love the one that runs in my head, rough cut as it is.