by Deb Bouchette
New York, New York! I landed at JFK on Twelfth Day / Epiphany, and ready to have an epiphany of my own. Manhattan greeted me with glittering remnants of the holiday season. It’s not hard to understand why New York is called “the city that never sleeps,” but it’s also “the city that’s never complete.” Construction is not just a summer activity here.
IDSVA calls me a “Septemberist,” because I started my program after the first-year residency in Italy last summer. Therefore I had not “met” anyone yet (except for one kind classmate who, sensitive to my plight, spent nine hours on the road one November day just so that we could have coffee). How important it was to me to see everyone’s face animated, hands gesturing, warm smiles glowing! It was here that I had come to clear my sequestered confusion.
Our home-away-from-home was not hard to find, bearing an exterior sculpture that reminded me from the distance of dragon’s feathers. I found out that the elderly, somewhat eccentric owner of the hotel was an avid art collector, and at one time the hotel was filled to bursting with art. The sculpture outside used to extend fully through the lobby inside. I’m still on the fence as to a judgment of taste!
Baruch College, where our classes were held, was an easy walk from the hotel. Up on the 14th floor, the view was so fantastic as to be distracting. My class was lucky to listen in on some second-year students present their term papers before presenting our own.
It’s hard not to go into detail about the incredible museum and gallery trips I went on, including a short hop down a section of the High Line park. But the unparalleled event of the week was graduation, IDSVA’s first. The ceremony was held at the stately Morgan Library in its beautiful auditorium. I thought about how blessed I was to have been invited to such an intimate, landmark occasion. It dawned on me how many colleges actually exclude their non-graduating classes due to space constraints. Yet how important it is, at least for me, to have a mental image of my own goal, making it more “real,” and bringing the future solidly into my present.
Our instructions to the celebration party included to watch for the yellow door, entrance to the posh, new Standard High Line hotel. Inside, the lobby held a light-painted carpet that seemed to say “just follow the path, trust the process, and you, too, will succeed.” Nowhere in the world have I ever experienced such a heady mix of conversation, from eco-farming to neurology.
I left the all-too-short residency with a heart full of new friends, energized to get back into the books and sail into my new vision of the future.