Wow! What a great couple of very full days with Amy in the Big Apple. Last Thursday I left my friend, Rob Thomas’, home in Princeton early to pick Amy up at Newark airport. The plan was to head up to the North Shore of Long Island to visit Teddy Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill, drive through some other sites in the area, and return to New Jersey to have dinner with one of Amy’s friends. Alas, I learned too late that one needed to have gotten tickets to see Teddy’s place a month or more ago, so we decided to go visit the other Roosevelt, FDR, in Hyde Park, NY. On the way we had lunch at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and enjoyed glorious vistas of the Hudson. We drove back down to Montclair, NJ, where we met Amy’s old Up With People friend, Jan, and her husband, Pete, who is the interim minister at Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair, just around the corner from Steven Colbert’s house.
I had met Jan before, but this was the first time to meet Pete. Needless to say, we had a lot to talk about! He is a delight, and the conversation continued the next morning at our hotel. He graciously offered to let us park my car in his church lot and dropped us off at the train station. The weekend was fun and I’m grateful Amy indulged my capacity to visit museums – often by letting me go on my own! I was able to go to the Neue Gallerie (https://www.neuegalerie.org/) to see Gustav Klimt’s masterpiece, Portrait of Adel Block-Bauer, aka “Lady in Gold” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_Adele_Bloch-Bauer_I); finally get to the jaw-dropping Morgan Library (https://www.themorgan.org/); the 9/11 Memorial & Museum (https://www.911memorial.org/); the Tenement Museum (https://www.tenement.org/); and the NYC Public Library’s Treasures Exhibit (https://www.nypl.org/spotlight/treasures). Each moved me in profound ways.
We saw three shows, including seeing Billy Krystal in “Mr. Saturday Night” which was our favorite. A number of great meals (btw: NY pizza beats Chicago pizza hands down!), but the highlight was a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen (https://katzsdelicatessen.com/) that has set the standard for all sandwiches! Another highlight was getting to see Whitney Sterling, Corrine and Tim Sterling’s daughter, who grew up at Westminster and was a few years ahead of Ben and Leah at Brentwood High and in the Laudate Choir. She lives downtown and met me at Trinity Episcopal Church Wall Street before having to run to the airport to catch a plane to London for a week’s work. There is always more to do than one can in the limited time, and we were disappointed that we couldn’t get over to walk the High Line on the west side before we had to pack up and leave.
Amy and I walked to Grand Central Station early in the afternoon and headed in different directions: she to Penn Station to catch a train to Newark airport to fly home while I caught a Metro North train to Fairfield, CT to spend the night with my old friends, Kelly and Tom Rauskauskas. Kelly was one of my AU students and she and Tom asked me to co-officiate their wedding, the first church wedding I celebrated. Tom was a young Navy Doc (after Georgetown Prep, Georgetown University, and Georgetown Med School) and the service was at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown before he and Kelly shipped out for his first posting in Okinawa. When they returned state-side, Kelly took a master’s at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Together they have served with great distinction in medicine and insurance, politics, and business for all the years I’ve known them. Tom is an avid birder and daily in the early morning walks along the estuary by their house near the Long Island Sound taking pictures of the egrets and herons and all their feathered friends as the “Bird Man of Black Rock.” The plan was for us to go for a sail on their boat, Hotspur; unfortunately, yesterday was the first rain-out I’ve encountered so we enjoyed lobsters in their lovely home. Great conversation, especially with Tom recounting the gift his college friends have been over the years as we talked about the focus of my sabbatical study. Such a joy being with these dear friends again.