Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Belated Report from the Big Apple

Your Regional Coordinator writes:

I paid a visit to the Big Apple two weeks ago, and I'm only just now getting around to writing about it. My gracious hosts were good friends Meg and Michael Levin (below). Meg and I first met when we were paired as roommates on the 2009 JASNA tour of England; we started making each other laugh on the bus from London to Canterbury, and haven't stopped since!

Meg is also JASNA-New York Metro's new co-RC, and the main purpose of my visit was to attend JASNA-NYM's "Box Hill" picnic at the New York Botanical Garden on Saturday, June 11. Alas, the weather on the 11th forced a postponement to the rain date of the 12th--but the substitute activity Meg and I chose certainly made up for the disappointment in my case. Meg saw a notice in The New York Times that the portion of Jane Austen's unfinished manuscript The Watsons to be auctioned off soon at Sotheby's in London would be on exhibit very briefly at the New York Sotheby's, starting that day!! So we met two other JASNA-NYM members, Joyce Melito and Jane Axelrod, there that afternoon for a look at the priceless treasure. (Its auction estimate is 200,000-300,000 pounds--but to Janeites, at any rate, it's priceless. It also may never be on public view again if the purchaser is a private individual rather than an institution, so this may truly have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.) Meg will be in London at the time of the auction and will try to attend it as a spectator, if the crush of other spectators, the media, and bidders isn't too great!

Editorial note: The ms. was open to the passage where Emma is whiling away the tedious hours before the assembly ball with the Edwardses, and Mr. Edwards is making tactless remarks about Emma's aunt's indiscreet remarriage. We saw plenty of evidence of scratching-out and other revisions by JA, but not quite such excessive use of dashes for punctuation as some have claimed.

Although the weather remained overcast on the 12th, the picnic went on at the NYBG's Clay Family Picnic Pavilion, and those who attended had a pleasantly cool day, an excellent potluck spread, and a fine time. Below, JASNA-NYM assistant RC Kerri Spennicchia relaxes with former co-RCs and present 2012 AGM coordinators Nili Olay and Jerry Vetowich.

New co-RC Linda Dennery, secretary Mary Ann Linahan, occasional quizmaster Marilyn Goldfried, Meg, and Kerri listen to Nili and Jerry.

After lunch and a stimulating round of "Jane Austen Botticelli" (a game directed by Jerry and best described as "Twenty Questions on steroids"!), we went our separate ways to enjoy the NYBG. Here, Meg pauses in the new Azalea Garden.

And the roses in the Rockefeller Rose Garden were at the height of their bloom and beauty!

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