A group I’m in is putting together a very modest meeting and tour of some sites and shops in Manhattan for Bloomsday. Here is the invite (minus a few bits of personal information)–join us if you are around, or follow the event @absitnomen if you aren’t.
For anyone on the invite list who hasn’t yet been initiated, we’ve got a little group of people together to read Ulysses by James Joyce. It’s a big book that has a reputation so big that few people read it, and we are doing our part to solve that. Usually we do this by meeting once a month and discussing a chapter of the book, but it just so happened that this month’s meeting fell on Bloomsday.
What is Bloomsday, you ask? Everything in Ulysses happens on June 16th, 1904 in Dublin Ireland; the main character, Bloom, ventures out through the city on his own, modern Odyssey; thus every year Joyceans get together on June 16th to celebrate the book.
Many groups go through a reading of the book (we’ll incorporate NYC’s best known Bloomsday event—see details below), but rather than follow the well-trod path of others, we want to get in the spirit of the book (which is very much about living life in a city) and spend the day exploring parts of Manhattan (and a little Brooklyn) that roughly correspond with sections from the book.
If you haven’t read the book (or if you didn’t make some of the meetings), don’t worry—we are also an amiable bunch and can probably muster other topics of conversation, and rambling, disconnected conversations are a big part of what Ulysses is about.
In the spirit of making things interactive, I will try to update everyone via twitter when the group is moving (or when someone sends me a good picture, etc). My name is @absitnomen. If you want to send me interesting pictures, quotes, etc. with Ulysses as a base I will retweet them.
Here’s a recap and an itinerary
WHEN: starting 9AM and continuing through the day; follow me (@absitnomen) on twitter for position updates.
WHERE: Starting at Ft.TryonPark in Upper Upper Upper Manhattan (A or 1 train)
WHAT: a day long ramble through Manhattan and Brooklyn in honor of Ulysses.
WHO: Q, Jeff, Maureen, and Kinch and invitees
An evening listening to Ulysses
WHEN: starting 7PM (EDT) and continuing through the night
WHERE: Anywhere you can get radio access–you can track it down with google and a smartphone I’m sure.
WHAT: listening to the reading of Ulysses from Symphony Space in Manhattan live.
WHO: the Joyce reading community
9AM Meet up at Fort Tryon Park in Inwood. It is tall, on a hill, and a bit like the Martello tower in which Stephen Dedalus live with Buck Mulligan.
Move downtown to Trinity Church Cemetery at770 Riverside Drive.
Move downtown to the Upper West Side roundabout 81st st. (maybe with a stop by Zabar’s to get cheese for cheese sandwiches), walk past the Natural history museum to the park
Picnic in the park.
OPTIONAL FURCATIONS from this point:
Horse and Carriage Ride in Central Park.
If you want to get away from the group for awhile and take in the park in a turn of the 19th century vehicle, a carriage ride in the park could be a perfect option. You get bonus points if you go by the Egyptian Obelisk near theMetMuseum (it resembles Nelson’s pillar from Chapter 7).
Classical Music Matinee.
The NY Phil is playing Schubert’s Quintet in C at 2PM on Saturday. It is an amazing, mercurial piece of music (recording of Casals’ recording on youtube) and Schubert was one of the few people as egotistical as Joyce. Tix $31–$76.
Get some soap made
In Joyce’s day you could go and add your own scents to soaps and perfumes. Why not do the same? Soapology has some DIY options for soaps and scents, and it might be fun to check out.: this is a soap shop that also sells perfumes and the like; I chose it because it is A) near my work so I might get to check it out with the group and B) Bloom buys some scented soap for his wife in Ulysses.
Go to a dive bar.
Always a good option for Ulysses, not just because Joyce liked bars of all kinds, but also because his characters step into a few dodgy pubs along their travails.
Go to a classy bar. I am somewhat less of an expert in classy establishments, but I always picture Lillie’s aroundUnion Square when I read chapter 11 of the book).
Give to charity
Bloom arranges a little collection for some orphans in the book, and we could do something similar. Check out savethechildren.org, and marchofdimes.org
Listen to Ulysses live from Symphony Space
from 7PM (EDT onward)