I’m in New York visiting my lovely daughter, Francesca, and having a fun time all around. I came with a new folding bicycle (downtube) that I picked up so I could arrive and head straight over the Williamsburg Bridge with F. to her class at CUNY Grad Center in midtown Manhattan. I took a red-eye flight on Jetblue which was ok, but therefore I only slept about 2 hours before arriving at 4:30 a.m. PST (7:30 here). It took me the airtrain and 3 subways to get to Francesca’s place in Bedford-Stuyvesant at Myrtle/Willoughby… and nearly 2 hours too… still I arrived in plenty of time (though the bag Downtube sold me extra to carry the bike in came perilously close to losing its carry straps, now repaired by Francesca).
We went to her class on “Environmental Psychology” (?) and entered a great discussion on one of my favorite topics, public space. I was really impressed with the tenor of the class, the diversity of the 20+ students (from all over the place: Jamaica, India, Costa Rica, Boston, Portland, SF, Hungary, Italy… and more), and the intelligence of the conversation. I piped up of course, bringing up the recurrent problem of discussing public space as though it were primarily an architecture problem, rather than a problem of how we live, what kind of public lives do we have anyway, etc.? I was well received, in fact, the woman from Hungary was a big Critical Mass organizer there, so she was very surprised that I popped up in her class as the father of one of her co-students… funny!
Anyway, here’s a shot of me and Francesca on the Williamsburg bridge and also one of me with a partial view of my new folding bike:
On Thursday we hung around Brooklyn, went to the Park Slope co-op (where I had to get a guest pass to even visit the place… strange) and made a big chicken dinner with her very cool housemates, drank a lot of wine, and had also as guests two of Francesca’s new pals from a new social center two blocks away called 123. F is volunteering there on Thursdays when they have an afterschool program for local kids (the place has only been open since September and it’s already quite the hit with locals). 123 (Tompkins, off Myrtle in Brooklyn) is co-rented by a bike co-op in the basement, much like other bike co-ops everywhere in N. America now, a DIY facility to make or repair your own bike; also the local Anarchist Black Cross (!) who is conducting some kind of prisoner letter writing program; some overlapping Freegans, and then the youth programming that F is working with.