Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Visit to Greenwich Village

On the corner of 5th Avenue and 29th Street (Norman Vincent Peale Way) we were struck by a powerful display: the wrought iron fence surrounding Manhattan’s Marble Collegiate Church which was strewn with yellow, green, and blue ribbons tied to the railing, blowing in the breeze. On each yellow ribbon was attached the name, rank, and age of each US soldier who has died so far in the 3 years of the Iraq war. Each blue ribbon was a prayer for the 30,000 Iraqi citizens who have so far been decimated by this war, while each green ribbon was a prayer for peace.

The street bears Peale’s name as he pastored the Marble Collegiate Church for 52 years. Norman Vincent Peale is best known for his anti-dogmatic approach to religion as well as his most popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking, which has sold over 20 million copies.

At an event for the Bryn Mawr Club of New York City held at a residence in Greenwich Village decked in Turkish textiles, we met eleven more Bryn Mawr alumnae, including: long-time television producer Virginia Kassel, award-winning independent filmmaker Sarah Schenck, Rebecca Walton-Chirak (a former Peace Corps volunteer in Turkmenistan now married to a Turkmen), Alice Turner (who asked about EU issues and declared that our answers were more revealing than what she reads in the New York Times) and Meagan MacDonald, who related that last year when she announced plans to visit Istanbul she began receiving dissuading phone calls from worried friends and relatives – including an agent of the American Automobile Association to assure her the Turkish city was not safe for a single woman. None of these advisors had ever been to Turkey. Meagan went to Paris instead – but now she is renewing plans to visit Istanbul! Surprise guest of the evening was Kim Hauser Trigoboff, who looked very familiar to Anastasia but refused all suggestions of association – and she especially rejected the idea that she played sports in college. Finally she was outed as Anastasia’s former teammate on the BMC varsity badminton squad, an activity which some people do consider a sport!

Among the non-alums present were Peabody award-winning documentary director and producer Judith Helfand who is also an adjunct professor at New York University's undergraduate film and television program, and hostess Elizabeth Robinson’s condominium neighbor Maura Geils, a real estate agent who wondered about the Turkish property market – and plans to visit (if not buy) soon. We’re at the top of the market, people.

Thanks to Magda Pecsenye for organizing the event and Elizabeth Robinson and her half-Turkish boyfriend Jim Kafadar who arranged for a veritable feast of Turkish food. Anastasia especially liked the spicy chicken Adana kebabs!

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