The perky Matron unveiled her secret stash of lint.

This is, I promise, the last instalment of my American travels. In this episode I go upstate and finally come home again.

Staten Island Ferry Terminal

Day 9 (really? Have I been here that long?): Another glorious and sunny day so I wander down to the bottom of Manhattan to catch the Staten Island Ferry. I have no wish to actually go to Staten Island, but the ferry is free, the views are pretty spectacular and why the hell not.

It is every bit as lovely as advertised.

Manhattan from the Ferry

From there I wander back uptown to MoMa which has just been done up and contains some excellent art stuff in a good building. I know that is a pretty limp review for one of the finest museums in the world but, to be honest, I have written more blogs in the past week than I have in about two year. I know that very few people are reading them and those that are probably want a biscuit so I am racing to the end.


Back to Grand Central to catch a train upstate – to be accurate I am going to a place called Chappaqua (aka Newcastle) to give a talk for the Garden Conservancy. It is a small and tidy place which is the home of Bill and Hilary Clinton – in fact Hilary is the next but one gig at the venue where I gave my talk.* Theatre was nice, audience receptive and charming so all went well. My yardstick with talks is that if nobody falls asleep and nothing is thrown at me then the evening was a success.

We (the excellent Patrick MacCrae and I) then drove (via dinner – large helpings) to a very cool hotel called the Roundhouse in Beacon: apparently BeyoncĂ© comes and stays occasionally. You know she is there because the joint is jumping with large men in large SUVs.

Today she is absent but there is a spectacular view of Fishkill Creek from my table at breakfast.

Do not park by the hydrant…
Dia, Beacon

Day 10: I am going to Dia which is about a mile and a half from the hotel but doesn’t open until 11.00 which is a trifle annoying. I twiddle my thumbs, eat a large multi storied breakfast and walk slowly through the suburbs and fall colours of the town.

Sam Gilliam

Dia is a gallery of titanic proportions in an old Nabisco box factory. It is full of wonderful and enormous sculpture and pictures by the creme de la creme of American artists. I have not been for ten years and it is a tremendous place.

Richard Serra

Back on the train trundling alongside the Hudson River with the leaves turning – sky could be bluer but even so it is a good way to spend my last day (for the moment) in New York.

Hudson River

Day 11: Cab. Airport. Flight. Cab. Home.

Eleven days, six talks, four trains, two aeroplanes and 139,733 Steps.

Phew. Thank you for being with me…

Sunset on Ludlow St

The top picture is of one Louise Bourgeois’s enormous spiders.

*In between Hilary and I, a Halloween showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show has been neatly slotted into the schedule.