September 11 – Eight Years Later

Today is the eighth anniversary of the terrible events of September 11 2001. This is a particularly poignant day because we are in New York. Eight years ago, I had been in New York the day before, September 10, and woke up, at home. on the morning of the 11th to hear my husband’s voice on the answering machine, ” I don’t know if you have heard what happened in New York but my parents are okay.” As everyone knows, September11 2001 was a picture perfect New York fall day and the 10th was as well. I felt very steeped in my New York roots because I had spent the evening of the 9th reading about the  pending city elections while I waited for my friend who I was visiting to come home.

Today, September 11, 2009, is not a beautiful day. The weather is  very bad, with high winds and heavy downpours. Because of these bad conditions, we have been unable to attend any commemorative event. Many of them were outdoors.

Despite that, since 2001, I have felt that this day should not be like every other day.  Apparently President  Obama and Congress agree with me. In March the federal government designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.  I really hope that this takes root and becomes how  people commemorate September 11th in future years.

My thoughts are with all the people who suffered a loss on that fateful day and it is my sincerest wish that nothing like that will ever happen to any person or country again.

How Not to Go On Sabbatical Using Craigslist

Today is the first of thirty days that my husband and I will be spending in New York City. It is my intention to try to blog every day that we are here. My husband is on sabbatical after having served for eleven year as vice-president and Dean of Faculty of Hampshire College. Our original intention was to try and swap our house with someone in either Boston or New York. That really didn’t work out and I would not recommend using craigslist to try to pursue either a swap or rental. One person, who seemed like  he was  anxious to rent to us, was not home when we arrived at the designated time to see the apartment.  Another couple  told us they would not be deciding for a couple of weeks; we got back to them in two days. They then said they had rented the apartment to someone else the same day we saw it. To make matters worse their  craigslist listing  reappeared three weeks later. I always checked that I didn’t not want any realtor listings but we wound up with a very unpleasant real estate agent in Cambridge. The final bad result from craigslist was a nice apartment in Boston. We went to see it but the man already had a couple from an agency who also wanted it and he was contractually obligated to give to them. Why did he have us come and look at the apartment then? I have concluded that craigslist is very prone to scams and unreliable listers. My friend owns the place we are renting in New York so that has worked out fine.

I didn’t set out to rant about craigslist but it was very frustrating. As far as sabbaticals go I feel a bit like I am on one too since I will not have my usual responsibilities during this month. I hope to post about interesting things we do in the city, both beer related and other, and include pictures. I also plan to work on my new book which I will talk more about later in another post.

A Day in New York City

Yesterday I had to go to New York City for the day. After my appointment I had about four hours to kill before my train left. First I went to the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum which until 2000 was the Abigail Adams Smith House. I had chosen to go there because I thought it was the headquarters of the Colonial Dames of America. colonial-barbie

The CDA does manage the Museum but their offices and presumably archives are in the building next door. This was built in 1977 to look old. Oddly enough, this building looks worse than the museum, which was built in 1799 as a carriage house for the planned mansion of Abigail Adams Smith, John Adams daughter, and her husband. The museum does not have any artifacts pertaining to the Smiths which may be one reason they changed their mission.In 1826 Joseph Hart purchased the carriage house and turned it into a day resort, equivalent to a spa today.  Hart operated this business for seven years until 1833.

The museum only has a few things that are actually from the hotel. The rest of the artifacts are “of the period.”  This is often the case with small museums. No one was in at the CDA so I couldn’t talk to them.

After the 30 minute tour of the museum I ate lunch and then I went to Bloomingdales. I haven’t been in Bloomies in a very long time. The display windows  are full of Barbie doll mannequins because Barbie is 50 and Bloomingdales is celebrating her birthday. According to the New York Times the store is “leaning on Barbie to salvage its quarterly bottom line.”

On the third floor there must have been over one hundred Barbies from different years dressed as different careers including doctor and stewardess. There were also Barbies as different celebrity figures. Apparently the first one of these was Twiggy in the 70s but there is also one of Beyonce. Most of the dolls are from the 90s. The 1959 Barbie is a replica.I confess I still have my Barbie which dates from that time.

On the second floor the store is selling Barbie purses and replica dolls. There is also a display of life size mannequins in designer clothes. Although I didn’t plan on it, the day turned out to have a theme, Both the  Colonial Dames and Barbie represent American womanhood and ideals of femininity. Now I just have to figure out how they are connected.