Monday, July 06, 2009

Some ABCs and 123s after a Return from NYC

We've just returned from New York City. A week of fantastic music, theatre, art, food, books, and walking, not to mention the Gay Pride Parade. (I was expecting that to be wilder, but instead I was more struck by how moving it was. Eg.: Two old men walking in the parade, looking quite infirm. One holding a sign advocating same-sex marriage, "Together 53 years." Or, all the parents and family walking in support in the PFLAG "Parents and Family of Lesbians and Gays" groups.)

Many things to report about everything we saw and did while there, but just a quick note about naming things.

It seems everything in New York has an association-- through fiction, poetry, movies, or just by cultural osmosis. And in fact, there's a meta-level, because of course I think, oh yes, here's that famous feeling of having associations with everything. I walk in Central Park and I think "Ah, Central Park." (Though, of course, it was really lovely.) I think, "Oh yeah, there's the A Train, there's Avenue B, there's 5th Avenue..."

I was struck how these basic numeric or prosaic namings take on such rich associations. The A train? Avenue B? 5th Ave.? You can't get more basic than those names. Letters and numbers. And Central Park. It's, well, central. It's not like it was given a name like 'Washington Square.' But the functional nature of the name is lost under the associations.

It did cause me to notice those names that had more to them. Soho. Tribeca. Greenwich. Even Broadway (it is a quite a broad way.) Names from the language history (lots of Dutch names, or English names) and names derived from important figures. La Guardia, Washington, JFK.


Today is the first day of my summer-at-home where I can spend my days writing. I'm looking forward to sitting in my backyard beside my never-clear swimming pool with my lap top and finally having some time for some extended writing sessions and longer projects. We'll see how that goes!

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