This morning, I felt I lived in San Francisco as I walked in Riverside Park. The fog made everything quiet.

The muted fall colors and the sun somewhere behind the fog made me feel so good. So peaceful.

There is something sad, inevitable, beautiful about autumn in New York.


Maybe the bittersweet beauty is the reason writers write songs about New York this time of year. 

Mountain Meadows

imageEvery day I wake before the kids. I put on coffee.

In New York City I write at the kitchen table with a view of a wide airshaft. Usually there are construction materials piled in a corner back there. On Tuesday and Saturday mornings, garbage pick-up days, I hear the porters wheeling bins of garbage. Sometimes I notice a light in the windows in the backside of another apartment building. I wonder if someone’s just had a baby, is going to the gym, has an early breakfast meeting, or is getting dressed. I wonder what they’re doing up so early.

But then I go back to my writing, submerge myself in my own world.

This was my view from the Mountain Meadows Bed and Breakfast in Keene Valley, the Adirondacks.

When I am up in the Adirondacks, I still wake before the family. I make some coffee. Or like the other morning, I woke up at Mountain Meadows, a sweet little Bed and Breakfast in Keene Valley. I had a lovely writing spot.

My mind wandered. I wondered about nature, not about people. I thought Wow, is that a hawk?  Maybe it’s just a crow. Sunlight moves across the mountain in a parallelogram.

I don’t write. I just wonder. Sometimes beauty inhibits my creative flow, but feeds my soul.

Bel Kaufman


Yesterday was Bel Kaufman’s 100th birthday. I met her at the Dutch Treat Club, a luncheon club for people in the arts at the National Arts Club. The woman is an inspiration. She’s funny, smart, honest and beautiful. Bel is the author of Up the Down Staircase and a recent hire, the oldest ever, at Hunter College.

Just the other night at dinner, H. said, “My next girlfriend will be a model.” (I didn’t know he had a last girlfriend.)

“There’s too much emphasis on physical beauty,” I said. “Look around you and find beautiful people in your real world, like your Uncle Brendan or Laura from church. They’re beautiful. Make them your idols. Not models or superstars.” Like the rest of the world, my kids are way too in love with celebrities.

The great thing about living in New York is that there are so many amazing, old people. And Bel said, she prefers the term “old people” to “seniors” which sounds like they’re still in high school.

She’s my role model. I love the way she looks and commands a room. I hope that when I am 100, I will be so fabulous.

In this blog, I’ve written a lot about New York’s natural beauty and art. But there are many beautiful people too — as many beautiful people as flowering trees in spring and paintings in the museum.