New York Minutes

I’ve been in New York City all week. Unlike my quietly paced life in St. Louis, my days in New York mimic the rhythm of the city’s pedestrians: full tilt, quick turns, crossing against the light, a relentless forward motion.


So this week, in the hectic spirit of a New York minute, I offer a quick collection of notes from the art and culture portion of my week’s adventure.

Kimberly Reed has created a moving and sometimes difficult film, Prodigal Sons. What I liked best about the documentary is that while the director is a transgender woman (who begins the film with her high school reunion where her classmates remember her as the star quarterback), it’s not just a “trans film.”

The heart of the movie revolves instead around her relationship with her adopted brother and his own difficulties, and it has some beautiful things to say about familial love. The film is opening in cities across the country.


Poets House recently moved into their beautiful, sunlit, spacious new home. On a sunny, just-spring day, my sweetie and I biked across the Brooklyn Bridge and spent some time at Poet’s House library space, sitting in the sun, reading, looking out over the Hudson River. I love that such a gorgeous space for everything poetry exists in the world.


The new spring weather that visited the city also brought with it pollen swirling in the air, and my annual allergy attack began. Some friends suggested eating local honey, and I was delighted to find out that there are rooftop hives in my neighborhood. All this buzz (forgive me) about local beekeeping brought to mind Sylvia Plath’s bee poems. In general, I think they’re under appreciated, but they are some of my favorite poems in Ariel. A few lines from “Wintering”:

I have my honey,
Six jars of it,
Six cat’s eyes in the wine cellar,

Wintering in a dark without window
At the heart of the house


Last night, I spent a lovely melodic evening at Town Hall. The Magnetic Fields are on the final leg of their tour for their latest album, Realism. By request, they played an old favorite at the beginning, getting the show of to a great start. All night, I had the pleasingly surreal experience of floating through their bewitching, sad-happy tunes.



Tonight, I’m looking forward to attending a reading at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop featuring Afghan and Iranian-American writers Naheed Elyasi, Sedika Mojadidi, Sahar Muradi, Dalia Sofer, Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, and Aphrodite Desiree Navab. I’m not familiar with most of these writers, so I just might leave AAWW’s loft space tonight with a new book or two.


Speaking of new books, all this running around has meant lots of reading time on the subway. A friend recently lent me Samantha Hunt’s The Invention of Everything Else ??? a fabulous novel about the inventor Nikola Tesla. It’s set in New York at the turn-of-the-century through 1943, and blasting through this book while hurtling under the pulsing city in 2010 has been quite a ride.

OK, now I’ve got to run! See you in a week.