Back from a nice weekend in Jersey City and NYC. A family wedding Saturday night in Jersey City, followed by a quick trip into Manhattan (with fewer panhandlers than Squirrel Hill) to visit some friends.
Quick notes from the trip:
--We don't have cable at home so when I'm in a hotel room I obsessively flip through TV channels. This mean that rather than spending Saturday afternoon before the wedding meditating, studying Torah, or crocheting, I watched parts of "Beverly Hills Ninja," "Midnight Run," and a lot about Pope John Paul II.
--Apparently some bartenders (okay one bartender) agree(s) with me about the superiority of gin over vodka. The one I spoke to is planning to start a marketing campaign with the tag-line "Gin: the New Vodka."
--We have a nice tradition going in my family: since my mother's cousin came from New Jersey to the University of Maryland in the 1970s, we have had a number of relatives go to college where an older cousin lives. One of my cousins is going to UPenn next year where I'll be a research fellow in the fall. So we can keep this going at least for one semester.
--Typical conversation around the table at the wedding: real estate, the comparative advantages and disadvantages of various places of residence and hometowns, start of the baseball season, how dear and wonderful are the bride and groom, which fish are okay for nursing mothers and pregnant women (we were the "older of the younger" cousins and friends table). Less typical conversation (instigated by me when I found out that one of my tablemates works for the NY Federal Reserve): the overlapping jurisdiction in bank regulation between the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve system.
--The frequency of PATH trains on a Sunday leave something to be desired.
--I don't care how gentrified, yuppified, and mall-ified it is, the Upper West Side is the only part of New York I like.
--I very much enjoy having relatives and friends tell me how cute my children are.
--An acquaintance in NY tells us that he and his wife might move to DC and will probably live in the Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan/lower 16th street area. But within the next few years the question of schools and backyards will arise. They've heard of an "up and coming Jewish area" in the city called Shepherd Park. When I burst into laughter and point out that Shepherd Park has been a Jewish area since the 1950s (at least), he responds that he meant that apparently the congregations are aging and that few families with young children have moved there recently. He's probably right and I certainly applaud those Jews who are making their home in DC. My father was on the losing side of a battle to keep the JCC and the new Jewish day school in the city --actually in the Shepherd Park/"Gold Coast" area--in the 1960s. They lost and the institutions moved to Rockville. I'm partly amused and partly offended by what I see as a typical attitude of newcomers to DC: the belief that the area is "transitory" and has no locals. My sense is that in other metropolitan areas the newcomers make themselves at home by "going native" to some extent (this might explain my interest in the Steelers) but that in DC the newcomers use a myth of transience to establish themselves by ignoring the natives.