Why I live in the big city

Took the day off from writing yesterday. I mean, even Sam Cabot gets a break every now and then, right? So what do you do on a New York City day off?

Started at 10:30 am in Newark, at the NY Liberty basketball game. (Women’s pro ball, for the non-jocks in the room.) The Liberty are playing in Newark until the renovation of Madison Square Garden is done. It was School Day, that’s why the early start. The school kids aren’t going to be studying anyway this close to the end of the year, so they might as well come out and have a good time. We did seem to be in an adults-only section, thank you, Prudential Center. Great game, team looked good. (We won!) (In overtime!) Notable moment: during one time out, Maddie, the Liberty mascot, gets out on the floor, the music goes silent and then strikes up, and Maddie’s dancing to “Gangnam Style.” So’s practically every kid in the arena. Doing all the moves, to words sung in Korean over the gazillion watt sound system of the Prudential Center.

After the game, back to Manhattan for a meeting and a sweet-pea-and-hummus sandwich with a student. (That was the work part of the day, though I must say, it fit nicely into a day off, because I like this student and her work.) Then an hour at an exhibition of sculpture and works on paper by Jeffrey Gibson, a Native American artist raised and trained in Europe. Some work I loved, some I didn’t, but the artist is definitely someone I’ll keep track of. This was the research part of the day, for those of you keeping track, as was the next hour which I spent in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza drinking iced tea in the park and reading print-outs of articles I’d saved up, pieces that relate to the book I’m working on.

Then in the evening, I crossed the street to the Japan Society to hear taiko drummer Kenny Endo, on the subject of whom you’ve heard me before, playing his first-ever gig with shamisen player Agatsuma Hiromitsu, whom I’ve heard play before. (Jazz and funk shamisen, you think anything could keep me away?) Playing separately and together, they were astounding.

So there you have it, what to do in NYC on your day off. Even you who are skeptical on the subject of this city, see why it works for me?

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