Still on the loose in NYC

I’m back!  Perhaps you have not had time to appreciate my absence but much happens in the city that you all need to know about.  It’s 6:00 AM Sunday with a beautiful red sunrise creeping across the East River directly into our room ( eyes) .  We’re sitting in bed in our bedroom which  will soon perform it’s daily metamorphosis delivering us to our couch in the living room. Regardless of what room it is, the view remains the same.  Not what I came to discuss but, none the less, extremely interesting.

During the last week we mastered the subway system and have gained a nearly working knowledge of the bus routes thus enabling us to visit The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  That’s a whole lotta art!  One day, on very weary feet I found myself standing in front of a wall sized Jackson Pollock painting. I never really understood his work before and realized it is much different to see it in person than it is to look at a picture in an art book.

As I studied it, I called Susan over and told her that this was more and more how I envision the jumbled, neural network of my mind.  Scattered synapses, no direct pathways to anything.  She thought it looked like New York City.  We’re both right!

We have also walked by all the major and minor clothing and jewelry shops.  Most of them require a different colored credit card than we carry just to gain entrance but when admitted there is a certain thrill attached to the sticker shock!

Still, there are deals to be had.

I came across this bargain but being down to my last $15 I was only able to get one – which has turned out to be plenty!

Our trips across town have exposed us to many homeless people begging for change.  Susan, and this is sincere, is always trying to do good things for others. So one day she stashed a bunch of bananas in her rather large purse to hand out to the “hungry,” needy, homeless people.  It turns out that when you’re homeless you have no appetite for bananas! I suggested she would have better luck with Snicker Bars! Fortunately, we like bananas.

We also visited the Twin Towers Memorial, strolled around Battery Park,  took the ferry to Staten Island and had a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera.  Stopped in at St Patrick’s Cathedral and was at first taken aback by the presence the large gift shop.  God works in mysterious ways.  We were extremely fortunate to nab one of the last original fragments of  The Shroud of Turin.   Pretty tired after all of that so next stood in line for an hour and a half and got standing room tickets for Alexander Hamilton.  I have often wondered if that $15 deal of which I spoke earlier was a wise acquisition.

Now things are about to get confusing so try to follow along. One of Susan’s best friends from college, who I will refer to as Debbie to protect her privacy, has daughter who works for NBC.  As a bit of background, Debbie was part of the threesome I dated when I was pursuing Susan in the days of my youth.  That,  perhaps has a different meaning in todays vernacular than it did then so to clarify, in retrospect it seems that Susan would rather be with her friends than with me so if I wanted to see her she would permit me to tag along with their group.  Humbling  – yes- but it all worked out in the end………at least for me!  Perhaps I digress, perhaps only meander but either way I have drifted off course.  Debbie’s daughter secured for us a behind the scenes tour of the Today Show while it was actually being aired.  We shook hands with Matt Lauer, were just across the studio from Steve Martin as he played the banjo with his band The Steep Canyon Rangers AND got to do the weather for Al Roker!  Great fun!!

Last night we went to dinner at a great little Italian restaurant with Debbie and her husband,  who I will refer to as Andy to protect his privacy.   He was insistent that our dinner conversation be off the record.  We had a great time explaining the way the workings of the big city appeared to a couple of hayseeds and they in turn explained the way it really was. We spent time discussing our children and puzzling over what had happened to the last 40 years.  Susan brought up a story of being in New York City some years ago when there was a blackout and how eerie it all was.  At this point Andy began to tell us of an experience of his, long since buried in the Personal Interest section of the Times.  Having recently  toured the New York Public Library I was able to research and verify his story………..and so it begins.  Some years ago, Andy  was on the 51st floor of The Empire State Building during a ConEd power outage.  Also present was a young lady, large with child, and her two young children.  Fearful that perhaps there was fire involved with the power outage and the associated risk of using the stairwells Andy, feeling some urgency, decided he had to get this woman and her children to safety.  Having watched Steve McQueen movies in his formative years, he knew it was possible to rappel down a building such as this with careful manipulation of ropes.  With expectant mother and children in tow he carefully began the descent. A crowd was gathering below.  With only limited experience with such endeavors Andy had made the mistake of grabbing the 39 story rappelling rope rather than the 51 story rope.  If you are good at math, which I am, it tells you that he’s still 12 stories high.  This actually worked out well because it was at this point that the young lady went into labor.  Stopping off at the 12th floor, Andy delivered a bouncing baby boy, in the dark!  By now the fire department had arrived  and it was a simple task to drop mother and children 12 stories into waiting nets.  Now, all out of nets, it remained to Andy to scale his way down the building as he’d seen done in so many Spider Man movies.  There were adoring throngs awaiting him as he touched down, lauding him for his heroism. When asked what was going through his mind during all this he said that his mind was far away at his place in Martha’s Vineyard where he was cutting flowers in his garden.  As a high-powered NYC attorney he asked that I not disclose this artistic aspect of his persona………so I will say no more.

It was very difficult to type this out this AM due to the injury I incurred arm wrestling Andy for the check for dinner. He won and I was too disabled to reach my wallet.  He graciously said that I could pay when he comes to Ithaca — which he has no intention of doing.  Which reminds me of a story.  A  NYC cab driver once commented after a dental convention had been in town, “Dentists, they throw nickels around as if they were  man-hole covers!”


Great fun in NYC——————-Grumpa!


  1. Maxine

    You are having Way More Fun than when you were doing RCs!! You got so much Culture in the Big Apple. My kids used to ask how much more culture they Had to get when we exposed them to all the Art, Speakers,etc on our campus. We are headed to Nashville in few weeks hitting many of the Southern cities since have become(NOT) Southerners???the past 12 years. Keep having FUN!!

    • jmccutch

      Hi Maxine, You clearly underestimated the joy I found in doing root canals! But Yes, we are having fun and I’ve got so much culture now that I’m being fitted for a new petri dish!

  2. tom colbert


    Your ” I’m back ” scared me a bit. It seems that Old Hef heard about you home’s availability ( the Chicago mansion having been sold ) and chose it for his last bash. Quite a party, and ultimately his undoing along with Miss January 1954. Sic Transit Gloria-in fact I believe that was her name. I’ve arranged to have it kept out of the papers and the deposit should cover all damages. But tongues will wag in Enfield for a while now.

    Glad the City still dazzles. And remember, avoid direct eye contact with strangers at all costs.

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