Sunday, December 30, 2007

Trip to Manhattan with Nephew. By Geniusofdespair

J is my 16 year old nephew. We took him to the City without his parents! And, yes, he shook Anna’s hand bare-handed (see my post yesterday). I will let you know if he develops the bird flu.

I wanted to show J the men playing speed-chess in Washington Square Park most of all. The cold drizzle fizzled that idea. So we showed him the “Bitter End” where Bob Dylan played. J had never heard of Bob Dylan. We gave him a crash course in music as we knew it and got into an argument as to whether Bob Dylan should be classified as folk. It was tense but I think “Not Folk” won out because of that incident with the electric guitar at Newport.

Somewhere along the line I decided J needed a crash course on just about everything. I started talking about blacklisting, Edward R. Murrow and Eugene McCarthy until I realized I meant “Joe” McCarthy. At least I didn't call him Charlie McCarthy (which I am sure J would have found infinitely more interesting as he likes ventriloquists a lot). (Press read more)

We brought him to Chinatown and taught him how to bargain. he offered $8 on a $10 object and got it. Lesson learned. He and I had cannolis at Ferrara's in Little Italy (which was the highlight of my day).

After lunch we went to see a Guttenberg Bible and lectured J on moveable type. He was a good sport. He listened politely. I made him look up a lot. I didn't want him to miss any ornate ceilings. J didn’t seem that interested in Van Gogh’s letters written in French even though they were translated. But he was impressed and surprised that the paintings and drawings above them were real. We discussed how much they could be worth. This conversation was right up his alley. You could see the wheels turning. I think he was weighing the consequences of stuffing a small Van Gogh drawing in his sweatshirt or was he just imagining how many video games he could buy with it?

We talked about robber barons (we were in the J.P. Morgan Library/Museum after all) and lost J’s interest completely as we argued over whether comparisons could be made with Bill Gates. J made fun of a Matisse drawing, my favorite artist by the way. I think he was surprised that I could identify the artist from across the room.

All and all we had a good day with Nephew J who was very tolerant of his uncle and aunt. We put him on a train back to Long Island with visions of Morgan, McCarthy and Dylan dancing in his head.


Anonymous said...

Awesome Picture! Who better than the three of you to debate in NY.

The three of you have a great connections.
Charlie McCarthy sound like alot of fun to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that you are not alerting your Miami and other web readers that Washington Square, a national landmark, is in the process of drastic "redesign" that will forever obliterate its historic character as a spontaneous gathering and performance space. Huge cyclone fences block off about half of the park right now. Interested readers can get more info at

Anonymous said...

Too many memories at this park! How can it be destroyed.

I agree if people did not like the park to begin with they should not have move into that neighborhood.
The big Apple is famous for all it parks. The city that never sleep tells it all. Rich or poor the quality of life is the park and the musics and sounds we grew up with.
Why change something that is not hurting anyone. Shame on those who approve this project.

Anonymous said...

I have a book of his poetry that Eugene McCarthy autographed for me.

Geniusofdespair said...

Washington Square Reno is news to me!

out of sight said...


Too many memories at this park! How can it be destroyed.

I agree if people did not like the park to begin with they should not have move into that neighborhood.

Opps. You are talking New York.
Not Miami and the Orange Bowl.

But, you know what? I feel the same way about the Orange Bowl as you do about Washington Square.


Anonymous said...

I Love Washington Square Park. They have a great dog park in there too, a great neighborhood asset.
As for your newphew, seems like a pretty tolerant kid. You crammed a lot of information out there, and that generation is not known for their retention or attention span. I somehow dont think Blonde on Blonde is about to replace Tambeland or Timberlake or whoever the kids are illegally downloading these days, but the kid definetly got his lessons in. Well done.

Happy new year.

Btw, awesome Canoli choice.