After being liberated from our car, we had dinner with a friend who drove a cab in college. "If you're raised in Manhattan, you'll be sharp, that's for sure," he said, one hand on the wheel, suavely swerving through the city.
We stayed in a researcher's apartment for its approximation to Columbia. Our dank little refuge had a fantastic bookshelf, which overflowed with Urdu love poetry, physics textbooks, and the New Yorker. Wahoo!
The next day was ours to fill. Following a Columbia tour, we walked through Central Park to the Neue Galerie, the best art museum I've been to (maybe because I'm a Germanophile, maybe because of the rhubarb cake). The smallish space made each work more accessible - time to ponder and absorb. A handful of paintings by Gustav Klimt, my favorite artist, adorned the walls. An old man gestured to the painting below, telling his wife to look twice:
The Park at Kammer Castle (1910). Can you see the head dipping into the water?
The German secessionists were featured in a special exhibit. This group of artists - whose mediums varied from watercolor to wallpaper - sought to heal the world of the "negative aesthetic and social consequences of the Industrial Revolution." On display was a silver coffer commissioned by Gustav Mahler for his wife, Alma. Klimt painted Schubert at the Piano. How amazing to see these lives overlap!
We encountered a beautiful skylight:
On our final morning, we decided to descend from Morningside Heights into Harlem and attend First Corinthian Baptist Church. My ears had never been so full of sound - praise was blasted at full throttle. Happy shouts of "Hallelujah!" were right in rhythm. As attendees of a comparatively silent Asian-American church, my mom and I were entranced.
I thought that the Bay Area was diverse, but New York sure is one batch of mixed nuts.