Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1992 12:50:21 EST
From: Rita Marie Rouvalis <rita@EFF.ORG>
Subject: WHTCINYC Pt. 1

WHTCINYC, Part 1 Dedicated, as always, to Giggles.

The train ride through Connecticut (The Yankee Clipper, Steve) was, as always, gorgeous -- especially since the foliage was just slightly past peak color -- lots of blazing oranges and reds and sunshine glinting off the ocean for the parts of the ride that follow the coast.

Upon arrival, I was relieved to notice a Dunkin Donuts in Penn Station (which isn't that much larger than South Station), meaning there are still some vestiges of civilization left in NYC. I then proceeded to worry neurotically about whether I would actually hook up with ABH or not in the 5pm-on-a-friday-afternoon confusion, since they don't announce when a train arrives or on what track it is on. But, we hooked up no problem, and soon descended into the seething underbelly of New York City, which must be, what, at least the fifth sixth level of Dante's Inferno (I don't have my copy handy -- the one where they are all stuck in shit). Filthy, hot, and the only thing I saw advertised were addiction clinics and some plastic surgeon asking "Torn Ear Lobes?" in lurid red capital letters.

We risked one trip to the Hotel and one trip from the Hotel, but that was really all I -- a lifelong rider of the worst routes on Boston's subway and bus system -- could take. I noticed one sign that said "All of NYC's trains are brand new or have been overhauled. Don't you wish you could say the same thing about yourself?" As I glanced around the grimy, sweltering, I suddenly understood Urban Decay.

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1992 13:05:23 EST
From: Rita Marie Rouvalis <rita@EFF.ORG>
Subject: WHTCINYC II Part II

On Saturday morning, we got up not-so-early and struck out for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The subway depressed me further, and I began to see where Gibson came up with The Sprawl concept. As I was travelling through scenic CT, I had wondered briefly how he could have seen the entire east coast that way, but the New York subway clarified that one for me.

While ABH was mumbling about how messy it all was, my attention was irresistably drawn to an hispanic woman who looked like something from American Tail. She had these huge rodent-like front teeth and a chubby little rat face that was almost cartoonish.

After travelling through some pretty slummy areas, the synagogue-saturated uptown area was quite a relief. No grafitti, reasonable cleanliness, and in every basement a doctor's office labled with a tasteful little bronze plate.

A salty pretzel and can of orangina from a cart served as breakfast as we plunged into the Magritte exhibit. I'm quite spoiled by my frequent visits to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, so I wasn't as impressed with seeing "Art like in Books" as Anne appeared to be, but Magritte is a fairly interesting, if somewhat shallow, surrealist.

We didn't get a chance to see much more than that. Well, except for that one portrait hanging casually on a wall that Anne freaked out over... On the way home, I read an article in the Times that raved about the Americans in Italy exhibit now at the MFA, so I've put that on my itinerary for this weekend.

Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1992 13:29:56 EST
From: Rita Marie Rouvalis <rita@EFF.ORG>

The Final Installment: The absolute highlight of the trip, and what made it a bargain at twice the price, was the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. It was incredible. The lead costume was this stunning phoenix-like creation contructed out of a gold, yellow, and orange metallic paper that shimmered and fluttered in the wind. It was at least 12 feet high, and I think everyone mistook it for a float until it got right up close and you could see the man underneath it all.

Most everything was done on long sticks -- the paper-mache skeleton creatures that gyrated over the ooohing crowd and cast eery shadows onto the buildings, the entire tropical aquarium complete with bright metal fish, coral, octupus, and bobbing penguins, the seven gray, ominous Economic Giants.

Other highlights were the candidates making their campaign stops (even Barb), and the quail family of poor spellers. Most of the political statements made were decidedly liberal. After that, we met up with some computer geeks, went to a party, and then back to the hotel.

When I got back to Penn Station, I felt relief at being somewhere I had seen before. The ride back was uneventful, and I managed to get a seat on the ocean-side of the train again. I finished up my novel (Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez -- a beautiful book and highly recommended, and I'm sure Giggles will back me up on this one).

Back at good old South Station, I was relieved to descend into the friendly creosote-soaked subway station for the short ride to my apartment, where my kitten attacked me for the rest of the night. Now I'm just waiting for Nico to get home from Missouri.