Saturday, February 14, 2009

In gratitude

Some months ago (breaks off to listen to the joyous song of the humble Dunnock singing outside my window) I was fortunate to discover the blog of Teri Tynes, critic, writer, artist and flanneur of Manhattan, New York, New York. It has been one of the great pleasures of my recent life to read Ms Tyne's postings. They are everything a blog should be (and this one, alas, is not) – erudite with an unassuming voice, just as the great diarists can seemingly speak to us, bringing us into their confidence – and the essence of good criticism; to find what to praise; to lament what is not, to encourage and above all, to be sustainably optimistic.

Manhattan helps. I arrived there holding my head in my hands at sunset suffering a migraine and yet marvelled at what I could see. No other city, not even Paris, has done this for me. Head pounding, stomach whirling, I watched the sun set by Grand Central Station as partner Janet rushed about hailing a yellow cab and wondered how soon can I return? If you have never been I envy you. To echo Dr Johnson "Any one who is tired of New York is tired of life." It is to me the most wonderful city and in two trips I felt safe, relaxed and among friends. Compared to London (which has its own attractions however) people are polite and caring. I often yearn to go back. And I will.

Ms Tynes is an accomplished photographer. In her posts she finds just the right image to accompany her text; never the obvious – her coverage of the 2008 Crash on Wall Street was much the most superior I saw in those unhappy weeks. But her forte is the flanneur's detached and yet enthusiastic gaze taking in the variety of life that is Manhattan; the shops, caf├ęs, diners and restaurants, galleries, museums and 'passing scene'; the quiet places, parks and silent facades of historic 'old' New York and the dazzling way Tynes weaves these together, artfully concealing art. She has mastered the skill of brevity, something from which I should learn.

It is with much humility that I thank Teri Tynes for having linked my site to her own. I am deeply grateful. If anyone stumbles here by following the link she has so generously created I humbly apologise. I can offer little which compares to the riches you have just left – but welcome!

If you have not visited or heard of "Walking off the Big Apple" – what delights await you. Go and get yourself a hot drink, make yourself comfortable and enjoy. Life for me has few greater pleasures.

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