Category Archives: travels

yesterday we had ramen at boru noodle bar, on broadway. their crispy brussels sprouts were good but my daughter said the ramen simply didn’t compare to nyc.

ben and jerry’s for ice cream at 33 bannister’s wharf – way too crowded so we made a quick exit. today we went for a walk at fort adams state park. tried going to the beach but no parking.

mansions and ocean drive

this afternoon we drove along ocean drive and stopped along the way to take pictures. first we considered the breakers – one of the most over-the-top bellevue mansions. it was $78 for three people to visit. aitezaz and i had already seen it. so i showed a picture to my daughter and asked her if she wanted to visit a fake american version of versailles. she looked at the picture, turned and walked away, saying softly (as if it were the most sensible thing in the world): ‘eat the rich.’ lol. this is my child.
.
#newport #rhodeisland #oceandrive #newportmansions

musings on moving (in corona times)

so i had hired a local business to move us from rochester to long island on april 8th. then cv-19 hit and our movers backed out of driving to nyc, right in the eye of the pandemic. the owner is a small businessman, with young children. he said he didn’t want to take chances. i understood. so the movers came by and loaded our trucks yesterday. yes, we ended up renting two trucks instead of one – my bounteous artwork, packed in some 20-30 large boxes, is partly to blame:) this morning we traveled as a caravan – my husband driving a 26 foot truck, my son managing a 20 foot truck, my daughter in our sedan, and yours truly forging ahead in an suv. all i can say is, it’s good to have grown-up kids:)

navigation was easy all the way – empty highways, not more than 2-3 cars in service areas, a few people scurrying around wearing masks, no toll tickets, no delays on approaching nyc. the george washington bridge seemed haunted. just two cars in front of me. in my 27 years of living around and traveling frequently to nyc, i’ve never seen anything like it. it felt disturbingly quiet, unnatural, somber. throughout the trip signs on highways urging people to stay at home, limit travel, stop the spread, #flattenthecurve.

my brother called to find out how we were doing. the car picked up his phone call. he told me his ex-neighbor in NJ, the guy they lived next to for a whole decade and who saw his kids grow up, just died of corona. he had an allergic reaction to something, went to the ER, got infected, died within a few days. in his early 50s. i am not one to panic but this piece of news shook me.

so between these misgivings (could we have delayed the closing on our house?), the thrill of living next to a city i love, the waves of emotion as i realized i was gradually moving away from the people i love, the profusion of texts, emails, and phone calls from family and friends all holding me warmly in their prayers and good wishes, the bone-tiredness from packing up a commodious house filled with 17 years of life and film and art-making, and finally the news that bernie sanders had just ended his presidential run, i couldn’t quite focus on any one feeling.

yet there is a connection – a complete sense of disconnection. being uprooted with milestones and memories packed precariously in cardboard boxes, the fear of losing people we love, the undignified randomness of loss, the arbitrariness of what we mark as ours in time and space, the irrationality of viruses and politics, the fragility of life and human-made systems, the strength of love and relationships that bind us to a center – some multifaceted, metaphysical core that saves us from disintegrating into meaningless fragments.

we are home, in this new home. it’s a gorgeous apartment. small but perhaps that’s all we need for our small family. everyone is asleep. goodnight fam and pls stay safe.

turkey…

as we begin to pack our books and albums, i keep finding these treasures. this picture was taken in istanbul. i was 15 years old and my friend Badi Ben Mabrouk, whom i met on that trip, was 16. we had both won a competition organized by the government of turkey to celebrate ‘modern turkey founded by ataturk.’ i wrote a very long poem in french. winners from all over the world were invited to the country as state guests for a week. it was an incredible experience.