Sunday, January 24, 2010

While in New York . . .

Almost every time I'm in New York, there are two "must visit" sights on my list.  We usually take the ferry over to Staten Island, a free roundtrip ride that takes us quite close to the Statue of Liberty and gives us wonderful views of the lower tip of Manhattan.  The tall buildings gleam as the late afternoon sun goes down,  then become magical at twilight when the lights are coming on.

No matter what the time of day, I can never stand on the deck of the ferry without silently reciting, "We were very tired, we were very merry. / We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry."

Which leads me to my second must-visit sight.  It's down in the Village, Number 75½ Bedford Avenue to be precise.  I go and stand in front of this ridiculously narrow house (less than 10 feet wide) because the poet who once lived there is the one who first made me want to write.  If I manage to convey a sense of place in my books, it's because I learned it from her.  The red oval plaque above the door reads:

Edna St. Vincent Millay
The irreverent poet who wrote
"my candle burns at both ends"
lived here in 1923-24 at the time she
wrote the "Ballad of the Harp Weaver,"
for which she won a Pulitzer prize.

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