Yesterday, I stopped by the Parabola offices to collect a huge bunch of mail (we’ve shrunk our office space down to a minimum to save money, so I work at home). I decided to walk down to West 20th Street from Grand Central Station. It was scorching hot. As I made my way downtown, the bright sun went from feeling summery and to merciless. Also, as I walked I reflected on how impermanent New York is, how quickly things change. Take Limelight, on the corner of 20th Street and 6th Avenue, almost across the street the Parabola offices stand. I remember when it was beautiful old church that was converted into a notorious nightclub. I especially remember going to a party there that was thrown by Bob Guccione in honor of Omni magazine. Wafting through the cavernous, blasphemous dark rooms that were full of music and bars and hip young thing wearing a tuxedo and very smug smile, he looked like a modern Caligula. Both the magazine and the man are gone now, and that impression I had of being in the midst of this big city decadence seems really, really dated. And Limelight is now a chic and expensive boutique shopping place–selling everything from cheese to gelato to British wellies!
Everything changes here, or almost everything. Full of this sense of impermanence, I made a pilgrimage to the Danese gallery on West 24th Street, to see an exhibition of paintings called “Other as Animal,” which was curated by the painter April Gornik. Mourning the loss of my wonderful dog Shadow, I was especially moved by the extraordinary paintings and sculptures of animals, each of which capture the pathos and wisdom of animals in a different way–and the brevity of their lives. In the midst of it, however, one image totally blew me away. Standing on a pedestal of limestone, was a “Goshawk” made by the artist Jane Rosen of handblown, pigmented glass. Somehow Rosen captured wildness, fleetingness, and eternity all at the same time. This work of art helped me see that there is something beyond impermanence, something hawk eyes may see.