Some families take relaxing, leisurely vacations, but that’s is not how my family rolls. We just returned from a whirlwind, four-day visit to New York City during which we filled nearly every New-York minute with adventures of one sort or another. We visited friends and ate at a wide variety of restaurants, including a revolving restaurant located at the top of high-rise hotel. We saw Les Misérables and Pippin on the same day. We toured the Intrepid, a 1940s aircraft carrier that is now a museum where the space shuttle Enterprise is on exhibit. As a fan of both the NASA and Star Trek, Nancy loved being able to see the Enterprise up close.
The underlying theme of our vacation related to Gavin’s study of architecture. He especially wanted to visit two of New York’s most notable examples of landscape architecture: The High Line and Teardrop Park. The High Line is a linear elevated park that follows the course of an abandoned railway. Here is the link to the official website: http://www.thehighline.org/ We spent an afternoon walking along the High Line, and Gavin pointed out a number of famous buildings located on either side of the park. The next day we visited Teardrop Park, a small park designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh: http://www.mvvainc.com/project.php?id=2 Famous for its distinctive rock work, Teardrop Park evokes a sense of wilderness right in the middle of lower Manhattan. Gavin then introduced us to one of his favorite buildings—the new academic building at Cooper Union: http://www.cooper.edu/about/history/41-cooper-square. We also visited several of New York City’s iconic skyscrapers, including the Chrysler Building and the Flatiron Building. I’ve loved the Chrysler Building since I was a boy, but this visit marked the first time I actually entered the building and observed the lobby with all of its art deco flourishes.
For Nancy and me, one of the great pleasures of visiting these architectural landmarks with Gavin was listening to him talk about the significance of these sites. As a professor, I often play the role of the educated expert, but I know that young people have their own areas of expertise. Over the years, I have learned much from my son and my students. I have always liked the phrase “community of learners,” for it implies that the act of learning transcends the divisions between parents and children, teachers and students, the mature and the young.
Amazing News about Sponsored Awards — Last week I received a report from the University’s Office of Research and Economic Development. This report lists the number of externally funded grants generated by each department during the previous 12 months (fiscal year to date) as well as the number of grants from the previous fiscal year. According to this report, the English Department brought in 10 sponsored awards between 7/1/2013 and 5/31/2014. Compared to the other departments in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, we came in third, right behind Physics and Optical Science with 21 awards and Biology with 12. We also doubled the number of awards compared to the previous fiscal year. We went from 5 to 10. No other department in CLAS had such a big jump during this reporting period. Needless to say, I am very proud of the department and all of our faculty members who proving that English professors can write grants as well as books and articles.
Upcoming Events and Deadlines— Here are some dates to keep in mind:
July 1 — The first day of class for the second summer term is July 1.
July 2 — The last day to add or drop a class for the second summer term is July 2.
Quirky Quiz Question — It was about 11:00 at night when Nancy, Gavin and I exited the theatre where we saw Pippin. As we slowly made our way to Times Square to catch the subway, I kept humming to myself the 1963 hit “On Broadway.” What is the name of the group that made this song famous?