May 9th, 2010

jewitch

Greetings from Greenwich

We spent a lovely morning in Sleepy Hollow after breakfast at our hotel. It was raining when we left, so we went first to Union Church of Pocantico Hills, which was built as a non-denominational church by John J. Rockefeller on the outskirts of his Kykuit estate. It has a rose window by Matisse, an enormous rear window by Chagall, and eight smaller windows by Chagall on the sides of the church. By the time we left, the rain had stopped, and we drove to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, which in addition to being made famous by Washington Irving is the burial place of Irving, several Rockefellers, Andrew Carnegie, soldiers from every U.S. war (there was a large hawk on the head of the Civil War monument). The grounds are stunning -- lots of trees, flowering shrubs, dozens of songbirds, a wooden bridge over rapids in the stream -- and the architecture of the mausoleums and designs on the 200+ year old stones are remarkably well preserved.

In the afternoon we returned to the hotel, where we got dressed, met up with my uncle from California, and went to my niece's Bat Mitzvah at a Reform synagogue in Armonk with huge rear windows that overlooked the woods -- I had the sun in my eyes for part of the service but it was all worthwhile when a big wild turkey came out of the woods near the end and waddled around just outside. It was a lovely service; my niece is very bright and confident and she looked like she was having a very good time, as did my sister. Several of my parents' friends came from the DC area and some of their New York friends attended as well, so we sat with them.

The reception was at a country club just over the New York-Connecticut border, with an I Love New York theme and more food than I can possibly recollect -- dozens of appetizers including make your own nachos, spinach pastries, hummus and pita, a huge shrimp and oyster bar, virgin pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris for the kids which I drank too, then dinner was an enormous buffet -- design your own pasta with Little Italy decorations, design your own enchiladas with Mexican decorations, design your own noodle bowls with Chinatown decorations, a salad bar...plus dessert, a chocolate fountain and about 40 kinds of pastries and waffles. My brother-in-law had made a video montage and got some celebrities to say congratulations to my niece. My brother in law also requested that there be no photos of people posted, so here is one of our centerpiece -- all the tables were decorated to represent New York landmarks (the Statue of Liberty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, etc.) and ours was the Brooklyn Dodgers' erstwhile home.