... and I will use this uncharacteristically monastic pause in our verbosity to thank publicly the many friends who made the Cohen family trip to NYC so enjoyable: Karl, Alison, JKW, MKH, and Liza. Many sights were enjoyed. Much food was consumed. Embarrassing photos were snapped (a certain medievalist sitting in the Bug Carousel of the Bronx Zoo -- in a seat shaped like a brown ball, pushed along by an enormous dung beetle; Karl in a large turtle shell; an odd fellow with the ugly head of a doll belonging to his daughter peering out of a coat pocket, making him look like a demented marsupial). None of these images will -- alas! -- appear here at ITM, but if you use your imagination you can almost picture them yourself. Almost.
A family moment that will stay with us for a long time: clichéd as it was, we took a night ride through Central Park on horse-drawn carriage. Snuggled beneath a velvety blanket, watching shadows move through trees and listening to the clop of the horse, coming across those tableaux that seem made for maudlin films but are the inventions of a moment: a raccoon engaged in treetop ballet; two lovers sharing a single iPod headphone, dancing awkwardly to music heard only by them; a skating rink with solitary figure gliding; the yellow lights of distant windows. The carriage's driver, a taciturn young man from Poland, was so touched by the almost-four-year-old Cohen that he let her feed too many carrots to his horse. As we said our good-nights to him, the driver leaned down and gave Katherine a small kiss on her cheek. The dreariness of carting tourists along the same circuit through the same park all day and into the night had lifted, and for a moment all was right in the world.