Hope and despair

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006 | All Things, Classes, Music

The public space at Broadway and Liberty, once known as Liberty Plaza Park, reopened — ahead of schedule — in June 2006. At the ribbon-cutting, it was rechristened Zuccotti Park in honor John Zuccotti, U.S. Chairman of Brookfield Properties (which owns The World Financial Center and One Liberty Plaza) and the chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York. Zuccotti is also a former first deputy mayor of New York City, and former chairman of the New York City Planning Commission. (So that’s  how you get a park named after you.)

I stepped out at 12:30PM for the second of three free lunchtime concerts in the square. Bassist-singer Esperanza Spaulding (whose name means “hope” in spanish) played a jazz set, backed by a keyboard player and drummer. The trio set up stage just in front of Mark di Suvero‘s 70-foot tall steel beam Joie de Vivre sculpture, which last year was relocated to the financial district from the Storm King Art Center in Orange County, New York, where I first saw it. I remember the ten months during which the park was closed off for construction, and how one leg of the sculpture’s tripod base emerged from over the plywood barriers set up along the perimeter – like an abstract red giant escaping easily over a too-low wall onto the sidewalks of Broadway.

Esperanza Spaulding

After work, I met up with SN for our first Russian class of the semester, which despite our entrenched pessimism, had not been canceled after all. Good  because I genuinely want to advance my language skills; bad  because I had done absolutely no review or preparation for the first class. Which turned out for me to be very bad indeed.

This being a language skills course — and one with only eight students — the oral participation requirement per student was set pretty high. I spent the entire two-hour class in a state of nausea and anxiety. You know the dream about having to take an exam for which you haven’t studied — in fact: you’ve no clue about the subject, your pencils keep breaking and you can’t even read the test papers? Yeah — sort of like the waking life version of that. At least I wasn’t naked.

There are 3 Comments ... Hope and despair

September 23, 2006

You know, I’ve never had the naked in a room full of strangers dream/nightmare. Maybe it’s because I’m so familiar with the feeling of having no idea what I’m doing (or even supposed to be doing). That’s pretty much everyday life for me. You’re lucky that those moments are few and far between for you.

October 19, 2006

I had the “exam” nightmares, too, even after I got out of school for many years! It’s either that I was late; I wore funny, unmatched clothes/socks out of a rush; I kept dropping the pencil, the eraser during the test; I only had a couple more minutes left but I was not even half way through answering …. I often woke up perspiring, and thank god that it was just a nightmare. Despite those unpleasant moments, I still admire school life. And learning foreign language/sign lauguage is one of my interests, especially before I go to a foreign country. Are you planning to visit Russia next? 🙂

October 19, 2006

Yes — sadly, I continue to have that nightmare: for about two hours every Wednesday evening…!

I would love to visit Russia, though I am quite, quite far from being functional in the language. And H20Buffalo has dimmed my hopes — ever slightly — about ever being able to read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky et. al.  in their original forms. But I have a lifetime to work on it. 😉

Go for it ...