Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Six Hours in New York City

Half a day in New York City might not sound like much, but you can do a lot in a short amount of time and space because there are so many great things to see, all within walking distance of each other. Here's a game plan:

Meet up with an old friend at the Plaza Hotel
Mumbi & Kitti*

Admire the new statuary
Giant "Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads" by Ai Weiwei

And the nearby street art (click for slides)
Take a walk through Central Park

Make your way north and west to the Museum of Natural History
Remember how much Holden Caulfield likes it here:
"I knew that whole museum routine like a book. . . .
I get very happy when I think about it. Even now. . . .
It always smelled like it was raining outside, even if it wasn't,
and you were in the only nice, dry, cosy place in the world."
I loved that damn museum." (156)

Pick out a couple of rooms to visit (and have lunch there)

Head south through the park, boat watching and people watching

Photograph some important public structures
9 West 57th (between 57th & 58th Streets

New York City Center, 55th Street (between 6th & 7th Aves)
aka City Center of Music and Drama
aka New York City Center 55th Street Theater

Grab a taxi to the airport . . . and vow to stay longer next time . . .


*The Story of Our Reconnection

Mumbi and I had a great time as college roommates, during the school year of 1975 - 76. Despite our age and geographic differences (I was a Freshman from Missouri; Mumbi was a Senior from Kenya), we became instant loyal and practically inseparable friends.

After receiving her B.A. and M.A. from NMSU, Mumbi returned to Kenya in 1977. That was the last time we were together in person, though we kept in touch by mail for the next 16 years. Coincidentally, though we didn't realize it at the time, in the Spring of 1993, Mumbi had returned to the States and settled in New Jersey at precisely the same time that I had re-located from the Midwest to Philadelphia.

When the dust settled after the upheaval of our simultaneous moves, we had somehow each lost track of the other's correct address. How ironic that at this point in our lives -- after writing back and forth to Africa during all those intervening years -- we should fall out of contact, when, in fact, we were now living a mere one hundred miles apart! A couple of hours on the train and we could have spent the day together at a moment's notice. Her two sons could have played together with my two sons!

Sadly, without the miracle of facebook & google, it was much harder to re-establish contact then than it is now. At last, in the Summer of 2009, with the help of the Alumni Locator Service, Mumbi and I were re-united! We were both dismayed to have fallen out of touch but then elated when you helped us reconnect! Not only were we back in contact after a 17 - year hiatus, but we were soon planning our first face - to - face get - together for the first time in 33 years! Whether or not it sounds like a hopeless cliche, honestly, it was as if no time at all had passed!

We hope that our story is inspirational to other alumni and their long-lost friends. We met up first, in Wichita, Kansas, in May 2010; and again in June 2011 in New York City -- two times in two years! (And, more recenlty, a third time, New York City in 2014.) See, it can happen! Many thanks from me and Mumbi to the Alumni Communications Office for making our reunion possible!

Photo Albums

Wichita, Kansas ~ 2010

New York City ~ 2011 & 2014

Words of Wisdom from Mumbi

Book Recommendation from Mumbi

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