As part of my return to museums, I recently visited the New York Historical Society. I went primarily to see the small exhibit of media efforts undertaken by the American Jewish Committee to combat anti-Semitism between 1937-1952: https://www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/confronting-hate-1937-1952. It’s an excellent, and sobering exhibit, and I highly recommend it.
On my way out, I stopped into their auditorium to watch the 18-minute film called “New York Story”, narrated by Liev Schreiber. It’s the story of New York City from early outpost to vibrant center of the world. But it underscores the energy, resilience (especially after 9/11) and tolerance of the city toward migrants. After all, the Statue of Liberty is in the harbor here. It’s a stark reminder, especially now, as busloads of migrants are sent daily from less tolerant American places, of the values that permeate the city. I’ve never loved it more.
I got my 2nd Covid vaccination early in the morning of Saturday, February 13th at the Armory in Manhattan. It goes without saying, it was an enormous relief. I was looking forward to that day for a year.
I’m now 3 weeks past that date, with the awareness that I have about a 95% efficacy against getting Covid. At least the old form of Covid, that’s been around since last winter. But these new variants are worrisome. So, even fully vaccinated, my life looks and feels pretty much the same as it did before.
I’m still walking around with 2 masks and put over them a face shield whenever I walk into a store. I try not to go into stores if I can help it and, when I do, I don’t stay very long. My Purell bottle is always in a pocket of my coat.
I haven’t eaten inside or outside in a NYC restaurant in over a year and will not be joining other New Yorkers at the movies or in museums, when they are allowed in at modest percentages.
Like most of us, I wonder when we’ll ever be able to go back to the way it was.
Whenever possible, avoid rush hours on the subways in New York City if you’re a senior citizen!
One of the luxuries of retirement is that your schedule is much more flexible. At the end of your day, you no longer need to stream out of a work place with hordes of other humans. You no longer need to feel the press of humanity pouring into the bowels of the NYC subway system. You can avoid the frenzy of the turnstiles and the packed platforms. Most significantly, you can pass on the experience of being squeezed together like a sardine with sometimes smelly and occasionally rude people on a train that lurches or stalls. Except when you can’t.
As luck would have it, I’m taking a terrific class in midtown this spring that regrettably meets from 2 until 5 pm. So, once a week, I’m living all of the above subway experiences in the Times Square subway station and on the #2 Express or #1 Local trains uptown.
If there is ever a reason to stay as physically fit as possible after retirement, it’s for when you can’t avoid using the NYC subway system during rush hour.
Like most of us, I fall into routines. I get up at roughly the same time every day. My breakfasts of fruit, cereal and coffee don’t differ that dramatically from one day to the next. But I’m trying a new strategy to try different routes to get to places I might routinely need to get to in Manhattan–especially on foot.
What this new approach does is to provide opportunities for constantly changing sights, sounds and experiences. It’s especially nice when these new routes have older buildings that evidence the city’s history. They’re certainly shorter. Most of them are going to be brick or stone, to have survived fires. Some of them might even have an old sign embedded in the masonry.
My new walking plan not only makes it much more fascinating to walk around but gives me a chance to reflect on New York City’s incredibly interesting history. Plus I’ve found some great new places to stop to have a coffee and a muffin on the way.
Yesterday, I went to a terrific show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Jewelry: The Body Transformed.” The exhibit has a stunning collection from Ancient times to the present of all sorts of headdresses, earrings and ear “ornaments,” pins, necklaces, rings and belts. It’s pretty amazing to explore how jewelry has been used to adorn the body, convey power, signal the divine, appease the gods, create surprise or even shock others.
It does get you wondering whether jewelry can be designed to reduce the aging process. Or maybe it has already been designed with some of those jewel-encrusted masks on display.
The show is on until February 24, if you want to check it out.
Folks, this isn’t a challenge of aging in society today. It’s bigger than that. It’s the mysteries we all encounter in bathrooms in restaurants, airports, theaters, stores or wherever there are sinks, faucets, soap and paper towel dispensers. There’s no uniform standard for how all of these work so we’re left on our own to figure it out, especially if there’s no one at an adjacent sink who’s figured it out and can give us advisories.
Otherwise, we stand in front of the sink waving our hands in all directions until we know exactly how everything works. There are also the occasions when we think we’ll activate the faucet by hand waving only to find that it’s the old fashioned kind that actually needs to be turned on. “Duh,” I usually say to myself.
Somebody will someday calculate the lost productivity hours caused by this bathroom confusion, unless some legislative body legislates uniform standards for faucets and soap and towel dispensers. No doubt that will cause a revolt by all those who are the bathroom free spirits who like plumbing design diversity and don’t mind the challenges it poses.
I happen to shop for most of my drugstore items at Duane Reade in New York City. To show their appreciation for my loyalty, Duane Reade issues a little plastic card with a bar code. The bar code tracks my purchases and I accrue points. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, most of us are familiar with this sales technique.
Every so often, I’m asked by the cashier whether I want to “use my points” and have them applied to the dollar amount on my bill. That usually amounts to a dollar or 2 being subtracted from the final amount.
I always say, “Sure!” What I’m always left wondering about are those people who wouldn’t want to use their points right then and there and risk them disappearing if, say, they got hit by a bus right afterwards. What a waste that would be.
They say it’s important to be mindful and ‘in the moment’. What more can I say to prove I am.