Thursday, October 11, 2007


Why have I put off writing about this trip? During all my previous journeys back to the USA I filled numerous notebooks with my observations but this time I was struck by a kind of psychic paralysis. I saw, I heard, I felt, but couldn't write, couldn't draw, barely managed a few photos.

I'm no stranger to New York. It was home during most of my growing-up years after early days in Paris and Paraguay. I was "Dabby", the little foreign kid amongst the big Irish-American girls at the convent school uptown on 142nd Street. Then I was "Nippy", excited naive new pupil at the Art Students League on West 57th Street, discovering art and artists, much of it at Carney's Bar a few doors away, walking back home through Central Park, hip-to-hip, arm-in-arm with my illicit crush (older married man-about-town presumed art student) the New York skyline always so thrilling behind the trees. A few years later I was Nat, young singleton in her first independent apartment on Seventh Avenue South, the edge of Greenwich Village. I loved New York in those days - how could you not love it? It had everything, it was exhilaration poured into concrete and metal and glass and tar, ceaselessly vibrating in tune with Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Much later, after marriage and Mexico and Vancouver and Mato Grosso and Paraguay and Rome and Paris and London, I came back to New York quite often but only passing through on my way to California or Colorado or Texas or Chicago or Wisconsin or New England - work-journeys, artist's book shows, lecture-tours, teaching trips. I'd stay with my good friend Pat in mid-town Manhattan, eat cheesecake and hamburgers and catch up on events in our peripatetic lives. New York was still exciting then but it wasn't my excitment anymore though I enjoyed basking in its glitter for a few days.

This time there was a gap of about thirteen years and everything was different ....


No comments: