Wednesday evening I visited the school that the kids of a friend go to in Tribeca. Kids from 4 to maybe 12 years old. A big event was taking place. A theatrical production relating the story of a mean developer who wants to destroy a rural area to exploit the oil beneath. The kids were all dressed as trees and tree spirits and birds and three were dressed as developers. When the developers removed their outer garments they were revealed to be wearing BP T-shirts. In the end Mother Nature (and her assistants) ensured that good prevailed and the rural area was saved. Of course the investors in the oil company would be worse off and this would be reflected in the dividend payments to shareholders which usually means pension funds and so I guess the net result would be that some poor widow would be forced to go without heating in winter. Did Mother Nature consider this I wonder, or was she too wrapped up in her trees and birds to consider the economic realities of the 21st century?
I jest of course.
On the walls of the school was work created by the pupils. I saw one large wall sheet which advised tactics on getting through an exam. On the left was the Old Thinking which included thoughts such as:
- This is all wrong, I will have to erase it all and start again.
- I can’t do this.
- Everyone else thinks this easy, I must be an idiot.
- If I ask a question I will look stupid.
And on the right was the New Thinking:
- Not all my work is wrong, I can save the good parts.
- I can do this if I focus.
- Other people are probably struggling too, we can all do this if we try.
- Maybe other people want to ask a question but are too shy. If I ask I may be helping everyone.
This almost brought a tear to my eye as it is exactly what we should be teaching kids. We should teach them how to handle the negative thoughts that all of us have so that they can grow up to fulfil their potential. The older I get the more I think that this sort of stuff is far more important than maths or physics as if we can master our “dark side” then the learning of maths or whatever can become much easier.
After school I walked up to the High Line. This is an old raised railway running north from Gansevoort Street where north along the west side of New York. It is no longer used and rather than tear it down it has been turned int a raised park with wild grass and flowers – apparently.
As the park is raised high in the air it is possible to walk around and see over the water to the west and the city to the east. The paving stones and benches have all been designed in the style of old railroad sleepers. This was a brilliant idea and I loved it.
An artwork by Richard Galpin named Viewing Station has been erected on the High Line. This is fairly simple but very effective and consists of a metal screen with shapes but out revealing different colours of the cityscape beyond. When viewed from a small viewing point the result is an piece of abstract art.
After walking back to Tribeca I felt a thirst come upon me and hunted around for a bar. If I have one criticism of New York it is that eating and drinking establishments are very tightly delimited. This is to say that one cannot easily pop ones head in and see if it is the place for you. Instead you enter and are greeted and if you are not careful are seated having had a menu thrust into your hands and a glass of ice water delivered. Many bars in Tribeca appeared quite up market and though one woman assured me she had beer, it all seemed to much hassle. Eventually I spied The Patriot on Chambers Street and entered. Obviously this was a bar for Americans. Dark inside, the ceiling was hung with various paraphernalia such as a surfing crocodile and miscellaneous women’s braziers. Presumably to present the idea that the nights in this place were wild and raunchy though the rag tag bunch of T-Shirted men belied this image.
However the semi naked young woman behind the bar was pleasant and served me an excellent Steller Artois. This is a positive change in America. In the past most available lagers have been pretty bland but Stellar appear to have broken through even to bars like The Patriot. Somehow I got the feeling that the becaped cliental of the Patriot would choke if they realised that they were drinking French lager.