Ian Randal Strock

Living in New York City

A couple years ago, I realized that, though I live in New York City, I wasn’t really taking advantage of that situation. So I made a conscious decision to say yes to more opportunities to experience this city.

Last night marks the culmination of that campaign: it was the eighth day in the last ten in which I had some “leave the house, see people, and do things” event written on my calendar. (Now I have three days with no such plans, the rest and prepare for the convention this coming weekend.)

It wasn’t even a specific effort to fill up the week; it just worked out that way, which seems to me to be the way it should be.

Friday (ten days ago), there was a Greater New York Mensa walking tour of Roosevelt Island. I’d never ridden the tram or visited the island before, so that was great (the only down-side: we got to the FDR memorial park just after it closed, so I’ll have to go back for that). [I’d had nothing Thursday and Tuesday, but Monday and Wednesday of that week were a movie in Bryant Park and GNYM’s monthly trivia night.]

Sunday (eight days ago), I went to Southern Connecticut Mensa’s annual picnic. That’s not a New York event, but it is a direct consequence of my deciding to say yes to more things (in this case, agreeing to run for RVC). That picnic was a last-minute decision (and the other offer, to go to Maine Mensa’s picnic, I had to regretfully turn down — six hours each way on the road was a bit far, but I’ll get back to Maine yet!), with a nice crowd of people, a good mix of those I’d known and those I met.

Monday last week was the movie in Bryant Park. I wound up staying home (rain!), but I’m still counting that day, because I had planned to go.

Tuesday was a new event: a group of GNYM members (and friends) went to a monthly puzzle night at a bar in Manhattan. That came about because the previous week had been our monthly trivia night, and some of us were talking about increasing the frequency from once a month, because with 20 people at trivia, we had to split up into three or four teams. Maria found the puzzle event, which was really tough (the puzzles took three or four brains to figure out and solve). Checking their web site now, they haven’t yet posted our results (moue of disappointment). After we finished puzzling through the evening, half the gang went on to Katz’s Deli (reminding me of Mensa events past, when the end of the event wasn’t the end of the evening). Oh, and on the way to the event, I happened past an interesting pop-up exhibit on “The Mulberry Street Gang,” photos, quotes, cartoons from several great thinkers of the turn of the last century.

Wednesday was a dinner in a teeny apartment in the West Village, at which I only knew two of the other attendees going in, but from which I now know several people. Nice food, great conversation, wonderful time on the roof of the building, watching the sun set and the lights come on. I was there because I’d met the host two summers back at the Bryant Park movie (see above).

Thursday was Maria’s birthday party at a midtown loft. An interesting collection of people from several different circles of friends (mostly Mensans and Burners), and I heard a fascinating story about life in the Navy.

Friday was my annual summer pilgrimage to see the fireworks at Coney Island. A Mensan friend had never been before, so I planned an outing to see Coney Island and the fireworks, and wound up with a nice bunch of people, three of whom were new to Coney Island (three!). We saw Coney Island, ate at Nathan’s, sat on the beach for the fireworks, it was a great night.

Saturday was a rest day. Gotta have those once in a while.

Sunday I had to skip GNYM’s beach day (disappointing) to go to Northern New Jersey Mensa’s annual picnic (it’s the picnicking time of year). Again, a great crowd of people; I only knew a few before the event, and many more after.

Last night was the penultimate Bryant Park movie of the season, North by Northwest (which I’d never seen before).

So now I’m sitting at home, working, waiting for UPS to deliver a couple of boxes of books (some of which have to go out in the mail tomorrow), and prepping for Metropolitan Washington Mensa’s “Pandemic” Regional Gathering this weekend (I’ll be giving my new talk on alternate history Saturday morning). I’m looking at the rain out the window, thinking I may finally be getting the hang of New York. (Oh, and next Monday’s Bryant Park movie, the last of the season, is Dirty Dancing.)

So, how’s your week going?