Reunion in New York City / by Hannah Harley

By some beautiful miracle, I got to be reunited with the amazing human beings that became my friends in Paris. We decided to do our reunion tour through the streets of New York City, and I was overwhelmed with anticipation like a six year old the night before Christmas. The people who kept me fed and watered when the Frenchies froze my debit card, who ate 21 pasteries with me, who spent hours wandering around museums with me, who celebrated Thanksgiving with me… These humans would be snuggling me.

Anastasia came to Pittsburgh the night before, and we started the snuggling right away. We caught the megabus at 6:00 that morning, making our way to Rachel and Kasey.

  View from Central Park

View from Central Park

And my goodness, I love travel. I love the act of moving. The starting and stopping, the lurching of the buses, the waiting at the airport terminal, the hustle to the gate, the sounds of your suitcase rolling over cobblestones, the cheap coffee that burns your hand, the vacant stares out of the window. Some people might be a little hesitant to hop in a bus for six hours, but I’m practically giddy with such experiences. The more time I get to spend moving, the better.

When the bus started (slowly due to traffic) entering New York City, I was enthralled. It was my first time in the big city, and boy, was it big. Anastasia chuckled at my enthusaism, mainly because my face was pressed against the window in quite a comical way.

Rachel was waiting for us at the cafe across from the bus stop, sipping coffee and eating pasteries. Typical. So we exchanged the biggest hugs and a chorus of ‘you’re really here!!’. We’re not pre planners by nature, and we’re all fairly poor. So we were all still registering the shock that we managed to make it to New York at the same time.  

We met Kasey at the hostel, which was an awesome industrial and hip space. Kasey was her super chill and giggly self, as she always is. We all snuggled. It was beautiful.

 

And then we set out in pursuit of food.

As Jim Gaffigan pointed out, traveling is just eating new stuff in new places.

Granted, we do spend a lot of time in museums, but the food… Oh, the food.

 

We all caught each other up on our lives, and we wandered around New York City, reminising about Paris. We managed to watch the sunset in Central Park and then we got the best characture that's ever been made. 

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We traveled to the Museum of Modern Art, one of the greatest Meccas of the art world. My friends have been talking about it for years, and I was pathetically unaware of it. My professors have work in there, and unfortunately, MoMA doesn’t display their full collection at all times.

I was definetely most impressed with the work of Alfredo Jaar. His series, titled Lament of the Images, focuses on the issues surrounding images that are intentionally hidden from the public sphere. The work doesn’t express itself as well as a digital experience, but it was breathtaking in the gallery. I didn’t photograph it, as I sometimes don’t, but I’ve included the link to MoMA’s online presentation of the work. (Find it at: http://www.moma.org/collection/works/138623?locale=en) 

I find that I rarely photograph when I’m focused on the experience, and while I do wish I could bring that experience to you, I cannot fully do it through photography. Such is the plight of photography! It is representative of an experience, but it cannot be a substitute for the experience.  So if you get a chance, head over to MoMA and spend some time in the aura of Jaar’s 2002 series.

 

We also traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is lovingly referred to as the Met. It reminded us all of the Louvre since it was filled to the brim with thousands of pieces on display. We were practically jogging between exhibitions in an attempt to take it all in. It felt like a little reunion with our Impressionist buddies, who we all studied in Paris.

I diverged to visit the Guggenheim. I had to go really. My first intellectual encounter with art was when I went to a Guggenheim collection exhibition. I saw Robert Delaunay’s Red Eiffel Tower and when I stood in front of it, it was the closest to a spiritual experience that I have ever had. And here I was, tears in front of this canvas. And I’m pretty sure anything that moves you to that point, that’s how you find your calling.

 They don't allow photographs to be taken, which I find to be a silly rule and that's not very nice of me.

They don't allow photographs to be taken, which I find to be a silly rule and that's not very nice of me.

Needless to say, the Solomon R. Guggenheim musuem was not showing any of Delaunay’s work, but they still had some interesting contemporary work. It had smaller galleries than I thought it would, so there wasn’t very much work work to look at.

To conclude our short time together, we ate pizza and gelato in Little Italy, celebrated in Greenwich Village, and laughed until we had to wipe away the tears. The next morning, we said our goodbyes over mimosas and pierogis. And when saying goodbye to people that become your family, you at least get to know that love will connect you forever, no matter the distance.

 

So here’s to Anastasia, Kasey, Rachel, and the ever elusive Hanan. Thank you for giving me a family abroad and for loving me as well as you all do. We’ll always have Paris and we’ll always have each other.

 

Thanks for reading! The next adventure awaits..