Tuesday, March 28, 2006

New York Vacation

"Your mission," the email began, and told me that I should be at White Street and Avenue of the Americas at 12:30pm. I was early, of course. Kip was earlier, of course. He had arranged a room at the Tribeca Grand, a beautiful modern hotel just below Canal Street in Lower Manhattan. With the special package he got there was a champagne toast in the bar upon arrival, so we leafed through Sunday's New York Times while we sipped. Back in the room, they brought us a goldfish in a huge round bowl (that's one of their guest services) and Kip christened him Popeye. I wanted to feed him, but there was no fish food to be found. (Housekeeping later fed him dinner.)

We walked down West Broadway to a cramped restaurant called Kitchenette, which boasted lots of "home cookin'," and they were so busy that we agreed to sit at a table for four with an other couple--a man and a woman, and I don't really remember what they talked about, which is unlike me. I had the Kitchenette Special, which was bacon, egg & cheese on a buscuit. Served with cheese grits, which were good, though lacking, in my opinion, enough cheese to really be cheese grits.

We walked all around the west side of Lower Manhattan, stopping in all the stores along the way, in the Wintergarden, watching the street performers at Battery Park, enjoying the sunshine. After a nap--oh, such a glorious nap in a king-size bed!--we headed up to SoHo for dinner at a tapas bar called N (that's supposed to have a tilda over it, but I can't figure out how to make Blogger make one, without going through a bunch of crap.) The food was excellent: traditional egg and potato tortilla, chicken and serrano ham skewers, shrimp croquettes, mangecho and membrillo, house-smoked salmon on toast...mojitos and sangria.

The hotel delivered chocolate covered strawberries and more champagne--which we didn't drink, and so it sat, flat and warm in the two flutes all night, and looked so sad in the morning. Breakfast in bed was included--and for hotel food (I thought) it was pretty good. Anything that arrives with a sampling of tiny jars of jelly is pretty good according to me.

After we checked out, we went to South Street Seaport to see Bodies: The Exhibition. Here's where things began to get kind of odd. It's unclear (and somewhat widely talked-about) just where the bodies included in the exhibit came from, because there's a lot of arguing about whether or not they were legitimately....harvested? They're all Chinese, and given China's disgusting history when it comes to human rights, the scientists involved in creating the exhibit did well not to ask any questions when it came to the origins of the, well, participants.

The Bodies exhibition is strangely cold, bizarrely inhuman. And the fact that they are real human bodies (as the literature is always reminding you) is easy to forget, since they look so plastic--they are plastic. It's all just slightly too medical to be aesthetically interesting (except for the one room displaying the circulatory system) and only a time or two do you get that strong sense of creepiness that you'd imagine would be all over you.

There was a person at the end of the exhibit who was there to answer any questions, and I wanted to ask her about the accusations, not because I think they're not true--the more you read, the more depressing it gets--but because I wanted to hear the rehearsed, public relations-friendly answer. I didn't get into it.

We walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, which I had never done, not ever in nine years of living here. The sun was shining; some tourists asked me to take their picture, and then Kip asked them to take a picture of us. We got some groceries for dinner, and I cooked a chicken and some potatoes and we sat around his house watching his cable TV and his cats.

I love New York City.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in Boston. I read the Epoch Times, which has been doing a story on the harvesting of live body parts from Falun Gong practioners. There is also an op-ed about the sale of cadavers of political enemies of the Communist party and a suggestion that maybe they are being used in the "BODIES" exhibit, which uses bodies obtained "legally" from Chinese authorities. I am no expert, but I am not confident the rule of law protects the human rights of political and religious minorities in Chinda.

One question the author asked was why all the bodies look so young.

Then I clicked here:


I got chills down my spine. I'm not anthropologist, but it appears the body on the page belongs to a young, healthy, Chinese man.

I know this makes me sound like a lunatic conspiracy theorist, but I feel obligated to ask a few questions:

1. Where do they get those bodies?

2. How do we know they didn't belong to political prisoners or prisoners of conscience?

Not questions that the MSM would ask.