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Dim Sum and Percy Shelley

Yesterday was the best sort of tiring fun.

My Sister-in-law, and her cousin and my niece came into Manhattan. My niece and daughter are both young teens so it was good to for them to have some time together. SIL and her cousin are originally from Beijing. (My brother's family lives outside Boston now.Brother could not come as he was at home doing taxes.)

Husband daughter and I met up with them on Canal St. They took us out for dim sum. Canal St is raucous and crowded, it is busy with street vendors and open air fish markets, and enormous unlikely fruits. It is just crazy and overwhelming, and really head-spinningly cool.

When we get Chinese food here in Brooklyn, we usually get it delivered. It is not nearly as fancy as this, and is, I think, more like home cooking of the end-of-the-day speedy sort. This was much more fancy. It was all tiny little snacks in groups of three or four,which we shared around the table. You could see that they were made to appeal to the eye as well as the mouth. . All the ordering was done in Mandarin, so each dish was a mystery to me. Husband tried one which he liked very much which was chicken feet.

After that we went out onto the sidewalk, the way you do after you have eaten well, sort of blinking and adjusting to the world again.

Niece wanted to see the NY Public Library-- the big central one with the lions out front. It a gorgeous marble building, all columns, and arches. But it still had that serene library feeling. It was a gift to NYC from the Astor family. It has stupendous art, frescoes, carvings, the sort of place that makes me look like an idiot because I'm walking looking at the ceiling with my mouth open.

So we did that for a while-- the place was so big, with so many wings and floors that we got lost. But we found a wonderful exhibit, 


That is a link, I hope it works. If not, just search 'Shelly's ghost', for pretty pictures

I saw PB Shelley's skull, and his baby rattle.   (Who would think it was a good idea to put tiny golden (inhalable,) bells on a baby toy? It is a wonder that anyone survived!  I may have to use that rattle in a story sometime... Perhaps baby Archie had such a golden thing. Or little Percy Edrington. Their mothers will remember, I am sure

And there were letters, and locks of hair, and all sorts of family mementos, and Byron stuff, And a brief side-trip for Mary Wollstonecraft, and early feminism.

My niece  was pleased. She is not quite 13, but very interested in writing, and she has a fondness for poets. She did not know the story of Mary Shelly's elopement. We laughed at the image of the skirts and the window, and the little dog under her arm.

Anyway, after that husband daughter and I stumbled home, happy, fed, and buzzing.

Wonderful day.

************  I realize I probably sound like an idiot. It was not his whole skull, just tiny fragments. Apparently they were left over from his cremation, and got saved.  They were mounted on card paper. They were that small. But exciting anyway!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful day, and what a wonderful picture you've painted of it! I am smiling at the thought of you gazing up at the ceiling open mouthed and full of dim sum :)

I am in Cambridge for a conference. I had to get up at five in the morning to get here and had a working dinner until eleven in the evening. *sleepy* However tomorrow I am going to follow nodbear's directions and go for a pilgrimage to The Bridge :)
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:07 am (UTC)
Oh. Will you have time to take pictures? I would love to see them. It was a wonderful day. It had a really surreal quality, beauty with strangeness. I was stunned by the end of it.

Hope you are happily asleep by now. Does this trip mean that work is becoming better now? How is daughter doing? I bet it was hard to leave her. I hate leaving them when they are sick.
Apr. 17th, 2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Oh. Will you have time to take pictures?
Well I made it to the bridge but sadly the battery on my phone died before I could take any decent pictures :( *weeps* Still, it was lovely to be there :) I'll write a wee post tomorrow.

Does this trip mean that work is becoming better now?
Sadly no. Certain aspects of work are still a hellish nightmare but I'm trying to ignore it and get on with life in the meantime.

How is daughter doing? I bet it was hard to leave her. I hate leaving them when they are sick.
I know. I felt really mean going away and leaving her on Monday. I'm home now though and it's my turn to stay in with her tomorrow. Partner says she's been very brave and seems to be almost over the worst of it.

Hope you're still enjoying the after glow of your Manhattan trip :)
Apr. 16th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
I love dim sum. I think the last meal I had in a restaurant was dim sum - China Pearl, in Boston's Chinatown. Order by pointing, definitely, although I am going to have to learn the word for soup dumplings if I want to be sure of getting any. I grew up eating it but with a menu.

The rattle -- I suppose they thought that the jewelry findings would keep the bells attached? The coral is supposed to be a good teething substance. I had Archie buy his baby cousin a silver rattle, but in my head the jingly parts were enclosed in a slotted frame and couldn't get out.

My Archie's mother has gone where we can't ask her. Edrington's mama... well, actually I speak to an AU version now, but she says it looks familiar.
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)
I had never had dim sum before. I had read of it, but it was even better than I had hoped. Husband daughter and I were the only people in the place who were not speaking Mandarin. Lots of families there. Everyone talking and laughing and tucking food away...

We are absolutely going back, if we can find the place again.

I remember Boston's Chinatown. Arlington T stop, right? My mother used to come in and go shopping there for fabric. Filenes was there too, as I remember. These memories may be wrong- they are from about 1985!
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Well, there's a Chinatown stop on the Orange Line, or Downtown Crossing (what used to be Washington, and I think it used to have the scary wooden-tread escalator) on the Red Line, but if you were going to walk there from the Green Line, Arlington's as good a stop as any.
Apr. 17th, 2012 01:57 am (UTC)
Oh, well that makes sense. I lived in Allston then, on the green line.
Sep. 26th, 2016 01:24 pm (UTC)
Soup dumplings are Xiao Long Bao (pronounced like Shaw Loan-g Bow). I love love love them. I live in dim sum's homeland, Canton and Hong Kong. (Xiao Long Bao are actually more from Shanghai but most dim sum places have them and they are my favorite.) We have dim sum a lot. I hate chicken feet though. The sauce is nice, so I'll eat the peanuts cooked in the sauce, but I leave the feet for whoever ordered them. My husband usually does the ordering, so I don't know the names of most of the things I like. I feel panicky when he's gone and I have to do the ordering.
Apr. 17th, 2012 10:23 am (UTC)
Baby Archie and the rattle (non-fatal!) sounds great. Glad you had a good day.
Apr. 17th, 2012 12:08 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had a great day! Your story about visiting Chinese place is interesting, I'm a bit surprised to know Dim Sum is not common in New York (I tend to imagine there is EVERYTHING in NY!). We have the biggest Chinatown in Japan here in Yokohama so Dim Sum is very popular.
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:40 pm (UTC)
NYC does have everything. it is just that I had never had Dim Sum before. I am going to eat it now, whenever I can!
Apr. 18th, 2012 11:57 am (UTC)
Sounds indeed like a great day = great days are sometimes just like that - very hard to describe in one way becuase they are fragments and yet we want to share that indefinable something.

Small jolly boat parcel coming to you vry shortly I hope -am just looking for a suitable waterproof package for same !
Apr. 18th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
It was a wonderful day, I wish you could all have been there too.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )