At the end of May, I attended my 5th college reunion in NYC.
Barnard College was a place of incredible growth for me. I fell in love with Manhattan. It was where I developed into an independent individual, learned to navigate a subway system, discovered Anthropology, and came to terms with the fact that I didn’t actually want to be a doctor even though it had been a childhood dream.
I never thought of myself as the type of person to attend renunions, but Barnard throws one heck of a party and it seemed too good to pass up. Barnard has been home to so many amazing women throughout the decades that our reunions seem more like an exclusive A-list event than a staid gathering of old college friends. There are lectures and performances to attend, cocktails on the lawn, fine dining and dancing in the quad, tours of the city we once considered our beloved home, and plenty of photo opportunities.
Barnard has been parterning with The Moth for several years now to give alumnae a chance to showcase stories about their experiences at the college. As an avid Moth listener, I submitted a story for review and was thrilled to have it chosen to be part of the event about the Mentors, Monsters, and Muses who shaped our time in college. It was such a privilege to work with one of the producers of the Moth and to learn how to really hone and craft a good, live story. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Barnard gave me to share my story, to overcome a bit of stage fright, and to fulfill a dream I’ve had of participating in a storytelling event.
The weekend also included trips to some of my favorite places in Manhattan like Purl SoHo. I discovered Purl during my sophomore year when I was looking for a good yarn shop in the city. Starting at 116th Street, I would ride the 1 to Times Square to then hop on the N train downtown to Prince Street. It was a trek to their tiny space next to a French bakery on Sullivan Street, but the cozy shop always made me feel at home – warm and safe and deeply happy – surrounded by all those luscious fibers and saturated colors. Since 2004, Purl has since moved to a larger home on Broome Street to combine their yarn and fabric shops into one joyful, colorful space. I make it a goal to visit every year!
I can never visit Manhattan without choosing something to see in the theater district. This year, I chose Porgy and Bess knowing that it had received a great many Tony nods. I also couldn’t bear to miss vocal powerhouse, Audra McDonald, as Bess. In my life, theater has always been a way for me to lose myself in song and dance and the tragedy or triumph of the human spirit. Live theater is energizing in a way that movies are not, especially when you are in the third row of the orchestra seating! I’m not much of a stargazer, but I did hang around after the show to collect the autographs of the cast members – even Audra. I may still be on Cloud 9!
There was also a trip to The Frick Collection on East 70th Street to marvel at the collection of some of the best known European artists. I am especially fond of anything from the court of King Louis’ XVI. Frick also had several of the best works by El Greco – an artist very much overlooked until the 20th century. I got lost in the Roccoco beauty of the Fragonard Room and Boucher murals – all works acquired for Mrs. Frick’s private rooms.
If you are on the East side and you have just been marveling at French masterpieces at The Frick, you must, of course, stop at La Maison Laduree for the finest French macraons. These delicate cookies are a delicious combination of light and flaky meringue with decadently flavorful cream in the middle. The salted caramel and rose are my favorites. At $35 per dozen, though, Laduree macarons are a true luxury.
Then, without warning, the weekend is over and it is back to Philadelphia on the train until next year, knowing that time slips by all too quickly and soon I will be back at Barnard for my 10th renunion.