I moved into the dorms on Thursday afternoon, and met up with some friends in the lounge. (The school put classmates on the same floor, and set up a lounge for each class.) After a bit, we headed over to the Upper East Side for a cocktail party at our class president's apartment. Several folks who live in the city and, therefore, were not
staying in the dorms were there, along with our dearly beloved class advisor. Afterwards, some of us had dinner back on the Upper West Side.
Saturday morning, after breakfast, I went on a tour of the campus, which has changed a great deal since I was there. There's a new student center, in order to build which they tore down another building that went up after I graduated. There's something weird about that!
Then went to the Alumnae Association meeting and awards, at which a couple of our classmates were honored, the aforesaid class president, as well as writer Thulani Davis
. Unfortunately, the thing ran way
over, which meant that the President's Lunch started late, so I had to leave that early because I was going to a tour which turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip to NYC.
The High Line! People, if you are in New York, you have
to go there! It's a park built on an elevated 1930s freight rail structure, and it's pretty fabulous. After the trains stopped running, plants grew wild, and they've tried to echo that in the current plantings:
They had to basically take the entire structure down and then put it back in place, to make sure it was sound enough for use. Right now, it runs from Gansevoort to 20th Street, but at least one more section, up to 30th St., is planned, and they hope to get up to 34th if they can beat out the developers. One of my favorite parts is called the 10th Avenue Square. If you are right over a street, you have to have an 8' barrier (I guess so people don't throw themselves or other objects into the street). So what they did was to create a sloped area with benches, sort of like a theatre, and the show is 10th Avenue!
Back to campus for the evening's events, a cocktail party, followed by the class dinner, followed by a champagne and chocolate bar.
As a result of too much partying, I was a bit under the weather Saturday morning, so went back to bed after breakfast and woke in time for lunch feeling much
better. Lunch was excellent, but it was served outside and it was hot
, so some of us escaped into the air-conditioned Diana Center.
The afternoon programs I attended were both quite good. One, called "Reacting to the Past", was a slimmed-down version of a teaching methodology developed by a Barnard professor, in which students play games set in the past and informed by texts in the history of ideas. They take on specific personae, some actual historical characters, and play out a scenario over several weeks. It's a fascinating idea and had some of us wanting to go back to school! (You can read more about it here
Then off to hear alumnae from several generations tell stories about their lives and their time at Barnard, facilitated by The Moth
, a New York story-telling group.
There was a gala dinner that night, with various awards to various alums, and then we hung out in the lounge until late.
My flight didn't leave until late afternoon on Sunday. I skipped the brunch at school, which was mostly for families and didn't start until 11:00 anyway, and had breakfast at a place down the street. Seven-grain waffle with lemon cream, blueberries, and raspberry sauce. Awesome. Accompanied by the Sunday New York Times, of course. I was sitting outside, and there was this adorable little bird that kept hopping about the tables, absolutely fearless, and doubtless hoping for a crumb or two.
I wandered over to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, begun in 1892 and still unfinished. Construction stopped at the start of World War II and did not resume until 1979, when they had to train stonecutters. Construction stopped again in 1994. I actually have not been there since I graduated. (We had our "counter-commencement" there!) It's a pretty gorgeous place, and there's a lovely garden next to it.
The 11:00 service was still going on when I arrived, so, being a good person, I waited until it was over to start madly taking photos. Why
people ignore signs saying "no photography during services" I can't imagine, except that they're idiots. You shouldn't need
signs like that! Though one can, I suppose, understand the temptation if your tour bus has given you fifteen minutes.
Got to the airport in plenty of time, so grabbed a sandwich before the flight, which was delayed. Nevertheless, I got home at a quite reasonable hour.