Archive for Manhattan

New York City trip

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2022 by xi'an

While the Sampling, Transport, Diffusion workshop at the Flatiron Institute kept me happily busy, and while I did not stay any longer, spending a few days in New York City was a treat and I took advantage of my early hours to go running along the river sides, first south of the Flatiron building, then north to the Queensboro Bridge and over it, and last north along the Hudson River. The East River side is much less convenient for running as the path is repeatedly blocked by construction / storage sites and Xing the Queensboro Bridge gave a great view of Manhattan, albeit at the risk of being hit by a bike / scooter / moppet, as the path was shared with [an endless flow of] speeding electric bicycles. As I had never been to this part of the city, I was unaware of the cable car / gondola to Roosevelt Island (surprisingly called tram), which I would have taken given an extra day. Came by uponchance over a Trump Tower, which I ignored was so inappropriately close to the UN Headquarters! Running on the uninterrupted Hudson River trail was much nicer (and busier) despite the freezing wind that day.

For once (!) I stayed in an hotel, reserved by the Flatiron, and for the three nights I was there it was most tolerable, except for the usual background noise found in hotels, both from heating fans and patrons discussing in the corridors after hours. But the staff was helpful to the point of purchasing a kettle for my early morning tea. As the workshop provided an enormous amount of food at all times (and there was a true matcha tea provider around the corner!), it did not matter in the least.

bridge sampling [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2022 by xi'an


towers in the mist [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 17, 2022 by xi'an

New York New York [jatp]

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 25, 2022 by xi'an

a journal of the plague year [lazier August reviews]

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 5, 2020 by xi'an

Read a wonderful collection of short stories set in the same universe and spirit as Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Ladies of Grace Adieu, by Susanna Clarke. With the same pleasure as I read the original novel, since the style is similarly subtle and refined, with a skilled work(wo)manship in relating the stories and a bittersweet pleasure in contemplating this alternative England where some magic lingered, although in a vanishing way. The first short story is incredibly powerful, especially for being a “first story” Susanna Clarke wrote for a writing course. To quote Neil Gaiman on his reception of the story, “It was terrifying from my point of view to read this first short story that had so much assurance. It was like watching someone sit down to play the piano for the first time and she plays a sonata.” Plus the book itself is beautifully made, from its old-fashioned binding to its pastiche of 19th century Romantic drawings. (I cannot make sense of the “Grace Adieu” village name, which would mean farewell to Grace or graceful farewell in French. Or yet thank Dog if misspelled as grâce à dieu…)

Followed a should-watch suggestion from a highly positive review on the New York Times and watched The Half of it, not to be confused with The Other Half which I did not watch… Nor the other The Other Half. The story is one of a love triangle (that the NYT relates to Cyrano, rather grandiloquently!, even though the notion of writing love letter for someone else and as a result the writer falling in love… is there indeed). Taking place in a sleepy little town on the Pacific North-West, near Wenatchee. The story is far from realistic, as far as I can tell, with almost invisible adults and with senior high teenagers behaving like adults, at least for the two main female characters, most of the teens working after class while also writing essays on Sartre and Plato, and discussing Remains of the Day for its philosophical implications. A wee bit unrealistic, with some allegoric scenes such as floating head to head in a hot spring, outing their love declaration like tragic Greek comedians in a full church. But the actresses are brilliant and escape the paper-thin constriction of their character into something deeper, by conveying uncertainty and then more uncertainty while building their own life into something grander. Not the unbearable lightness of being but certainly with enough substance to reach beyond the “charming queer love comedy” summarised in The Guardian.

Ate tomatoes from the garden for almost every lunch in August as there were so many, surprising free from bugs and birds. And had a toasted squash lunch, skin included. Peppers are still at the growing stage… And my young olive tree may have irremediably suffered from the heatwave, despite regular watering.

Also per chance noticed that the one-hundred year-old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared hilarious book had been turned into a film. And had an enjoyable time watching the understated play of this hundred-year old and his hundred year story. And listening to the multilingual if mostly Swedish original sound-track. (Incidentally, yet another intrusion of the 1930s eugenism with a racialist (!) doctor sterilising the central character to stop his fascination and experimentation with explosives.)

Rewatched Manhattan Murders Mystery, which I had not seen since it came out in the early 1990s. Once I got into the spirit that this was filmed theater, rather than fixating on the (ir)realism of the plot, it became hilarious (starting with the urge to invade Poland when listening to Wagner for too long) and I could focus on references to older movies, although I must has missed the bulk of these references. For instance, the pas de deux of Allen and Keaton at the melting factory has a strong whiff of Astaire and Rogers step-dancing. The shooting scene in the movie theater is explicitly linked with Orson Wells, seen behind the screen in The Lady from Shanghai.

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