I just returned from several days in New York. Some gallery shows and museums yes, but more than anything this was a set of days devoted to reconnected with old friends. Collen Burke. Eliot Lable. Mimi Kramer-Bryk and Bill Bryk.

One of the best moments: Walking the High Line in its late summer majesty of grasses and wildflowers, the city and the Hudson River in backdrop. I walked it at high noon and then again in the early morning, as soon as it opened. This is a zone of wild growing that feels magical at every hour.

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Bits and pieces of the protracted and complex story of how this elevated urban walk way came into being have come to me through various friends, and the High Line’s very existence is a kind of miracle all its own. But when you are there, you can’t help but envision the replication of this form of public access reclamation for every city.

And at another end of the same continuum of the “New York City in August” theme, this came in from my friend Andrew:

Those cooling water spouts in front of our friendly skyscraper are the perfect balm for these hot August days beside the sun scorched 9/11 site and always attract a share of tourists, whose children run shoeless and devoid of anger through the water and around the shiny sculpture, which the landlord’s website identifies as a “mirror-polished balloon flower.” I always thought it was a twisted body part.

Delmore Schwartz — who ended rather badly — obsessed about “the witness of the body” (as do I):

The heavy bear who goes with me,
A manifold honey to smear his face,
Clumsy and lumbering here and there,
The central ton of every place,
The hungry beating brutish one
In love with candy, anger, and sleep,
Crazy factotum, dishevelling all,
Climbs the building, kicks the football,
Boxes his brother in the hate-ridden city. . . .