NYC Day 1-2: Delivery and Determination

The city is beautiful right now, clear blue skies and mild temperatures.  Couldn’t be better.

Yesterday, after settling in, I ran to the Morgan Library.  There are exhibits now on Henry David Thoreau.  It seems that the Morgan has just about everything of his.

Here is his desk.  He never locked his house, but he locked his desk where his journals were kept.

There is also a spiffy exhibit about Henry James.   Here is his famous portrait by in incomparable John Singer Sargent.

The exhibit features interesting portraits and portrait artists.  Think about it: in a ten year span, James penned three novels with the word “protrait” in the title.

In the library “vault” section, I saw the manuscript of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Rather cool.

Lunch.   Corned beef on rye.

My friend on the NYPD has told me of an even better place for pastrami.   Gotta try it.

Also, I dashed up to the precinct and delivered my challenge coins, as promised.  We are going to try to get Combat Rosaries for the cops.  A great project.  Perhaps some of you would like to donate to cover expenses.  We can work on that.

So, my errands continue.

Meanwhile, which drink is mine?


As I was saying, Day 2 continues with a fast coffee in a place that makes their own breads, etc.

I marvel at those who bake.  Everything I attempt winds up useful as a boat anchor, or tire block for a dump truck.

Off to the Strand.

When you go to this place, you are deep in the belly of the liberal beast.  This place makes even Madison seem conservative.

However, where else can you find racks of old pulp fiction?

When I come to NYC, I like to stop in early at the Strand and pick up something thematic for my reading.  I opt for used books which, if I desire, I can abandon with a note to the next picker-upper to give them a read.  This time, for obvious reasons I opted for small, easily digested bits of Henry James and, because her birthday was just the other day (22 August), Dorothy Parker.

Dorothy Parker was a real rake and, in many ways, a tragic character.  But she sure had a flare for language and a way with words.

Did you know that William James was Henry James’ brother?

Close to the Strand is an antique shop which is almost as fun as a museum.

The whole place is like this.   And it’s big.  Amazing.

Here’s a glorious bronze of St. Joan of Arc… famous Confederate General, if recent vandals are to be believed.

She is trampling an Englishman.  Viewed from the other side you can see her ponytail streaming from beneath her helmet.  Nice touch.

Lunch… the best lemonade I’ve had for a while.

Nibbles for the whole table.

I’m am usually strongly disinclined to go to Italian restaurants in these USA.  9/10 times am not only disappointed but contemptuous.  Today, however, my carbonara (tough to make) was good.

Now I get to do some ironing in preparation for this evening and then read what I’m lead to understand is a possibly dreadful new statement on liturgy from His Holiness of Our Lord.  At least my messages boxes are filling with panic and confusion… which is par for the course these days.

Meanwhile, I am determined to have a good time.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. dirtycopper says:

    While I will gladly defer to my learned NYPD colleagues I would send you to Katz’s. Best corned beef and pastrami I ever had. But alas, I am a Jersey guy so what do I know. Safe travels Father Z and if you are traversing the NJ Turnpike on the way to Berlin this trip be sure to toot the horn as you pass Exit 11!

  2. I plead the 5th on choosing your drink. However, as I noted on Twitter, I had not seen the finished challenge coin, and I am extremely impressed. Wow! What a great project and item to share!

  3. Michael_Thoma says:

    Which drink — all three: Apéritif, dessert, and digestif

  4. FrAnt says:

    Thanks Fr. Z, I saw the sandwich and drooled all over my keyboard. I live on Long Island and haven’t been to the city in years, a good Jewish deli might get me on the train.
    Have a good visit to NYC.

  5. Semper Gumby says:

    Great photos. Have a great trip with NYC’s Finest.

    A friend and his family visited NYC recently. One of their stops was the, I think it’s called, the NYC Transit Museum. While there he bought model railroad stuff, for kids and for his retired father who has a model railroad layout in his basement.

  6. Nathan says:

    Father, I hope that the negroni (it sure looks like a negroni in the middle) is yours. It’s a great quintessentially New York cocktail, but a bit heavy on the alcohol for lunch. Perfect for cocktail hour though.
    In Christ,

  7. Ellen says:

    Sargent is one of my favorite portrait painters. I think his portrait of Teddy Roosevelt is the best of all the presidential portraits. I can’t say I like Henry James’s books though. I’ve tried and tried but I get lost in the thickets of words and lose my way.

  8. How long are you in NYC for? I live a short train ride away!

  9. Royse87 says:

    I’m going with the Manhattan in the middle.

  10. teomatteo says:

    What drink is yours? Why the one being held up by the table of course.

  11. wanda says:

    Do be sure to have that wonderful time, Fr. Z. I love the look of that bookstore and the antique shop, I could while away too much time in there. Happy plans and safe travels.

  12. Joy65 says:

    I’m a bookaholic but I would have run right past the Strand for that antique store. WOW!

  13. benedetta says:

    As always with your journeys, a really interesting travelogue, Father. Here is a link you and other commenters here may like:

  14. albizzi says:

    Joan of Arc was a medieval anti-english french racist.

  15. stephen c says:

    I did not know carbonara was tough to make! I made it once – I would suggest substituting boar meat for farm-raised pork, [I wouldn’t.]and being very careful about the salt …. Anyway, thanks for the pictures – I am impressed that the Strand looks less run-down than it did last time I was there in the early 1980s (I didn’t buy anything but if I had a time machine I could now go back and pick up a few books now worth 10k plus) . Anyway, since you mentioned John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) – I like to think of him painting his contemporary Matt Talbot (also 1856-1925) – who, when he becomes a saint, will be one of the few nicknamed saints (as if there were to be a Saint Larry or a Saint Steve one day, in its way) (and since there are more Irish bars in New York than in any city of the world not called Dublin, Saint Matt Talbot will no doubt have a few churches named after him in Manhattan one day). Henry James was a good writer, there is a nice book on his Catholic side from the brother of Paul Fussell (Edward Fussell) – conclusion being that Henry, an extremely well educated and thoughtful person, was aware from his early years of the truths of Catholicism but was, for most of his life, a little too intellectually prosperous and a little too comfortable with the accepted truths of his day to fully think through his religious view of the world (I have simplified a lot but not too much, I think).

  16. Semper Gumby says:

    Fr. Z wrote: “Meanwhile, which drink is mine?”

    None. They’re all Tracer Bullet’s.

  17. JonPatrick says:

    Semper Gumby, yes that was likely the Transit Museum located in the old Court St. Subway Station in Brooklyn not far from the Borough Hall. They have displays of nicely restored subway cars of various vintages, some of which they occasionally take out for a spin on the subway system.

  18. Semper Gumby says:

    JonPatrick: Thanks.

  19. KateD says:

    As we cycled through items in the TEOTWAWKI pantry, we discovered spam carbonara is a very good facsimile to the real deal, my children actually prefer it (ACK! What have I done?!?). You just cut the cubed loaf in a way that, when it’s fried, it looks and has as similar texture to pancetta/guanciale.

  20. ejcmartin says:

    My great great uncle, Alfred Parsons, hung out with Henry James and John Singer Sargent and was an artist of some renown. Alfred Parsons’ sister and brother in law converted to Catholicism, which at the time would have been rather scandalous.

  21. Matt Robare says:

    I read somewhere once that William James went to visit Henry in England and they took a house by the sea for the summer. Rather early on William was climbing a ladder to do something and he spotted who was renting the house next-door: GK Chesterton. William was so star-struck Henry had to physically prevent him from climbing over the wall to introduce himself.

    A more famous story, which Chesterton told in his autobiography, was that he was having tea with Henry James, discussing literature, when Belloc and a friend suddenly arrived, shouting for bacon beer. They had been in France, ran out of money and so their clothes had fallen to rags and they were unshaven. They were also accusing each other of having violated a sacred oath to never bathe.

    Some skilled entrepreneurs in New York make an excellent gin named after Dorothy Parker.

    If you ever come back to Boston you’ll have to go to Brattle Books.

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