Our daughter Jocelyn got married in New York City last weekend. I have a new son-in-law! That’s Kyle DePew, and he’s a good one! It was a truly happy day, including a superfun party, though also a little drama.
Even for former New Yorkers like us, NYC is a tough town — hard to take in and hard to get around. It’s really big and loud, and it can make you feel small. Some of it seems expressly designed to intimidate, like the new Hudson Yards high rise area on the West Side (pictured above), which I visited for the first time, and felt like the merest ant. There are always unexpected flashes of beauty in the city, but even the intimate views tend to have some grit on them.
On Friday morning I went to the Whitney Biennial, and took in some very new art. Almost by definition, bold new art is hard to like, and there was a lot of work there that was not cheery. There were several artists working on themes relating to racism and discrimination, and also some work relating to climate change — themes that regular readers know to be of interest to The Casual Blog.
In the afternoon I walked down to Battery Park for the NYC edition of the worldwide student strike for climate action, with tens of thousands of students and others. I normally find large noisy crowds unsettling, but I was glad this one was large and noisy, and hoped it would be unsettling to the politicians that are still failing to mobilize to address our crisis. The signs and chants expressed a lot of anger about the mess adults had made of the environment, but there was also hope for change.
That evening, Kyle’s mom, Debbie, hosted the wedding rehearsal dinner at San Marino Ristorante, a lovely Italian restaurant in the West Village. The food was really good, and we enjoyed talking to some old friends, and meeting family and friends of the happy couple.
The wedding was at sunset on Saturday at Sunset Terrace, at the end of Pier 61 on the Hudson. A string quartet was playing as the 130 or so guests got seated. The groomsmen and I wore black tuxedos, and the bridesmaids had champagne colored long dresses. Jocelyn was radiant in white! She gave Sally and I just one warning before we walked her to the front of the room for the ceremony: be sure not to step on the trailing veil, which was attached to her hair. We walked slowly up the aisle with no accidents.
Then, as Jocelyn turned to Kyle and we turned to find a seat, a shoe went the wrong way, and out came the veil. In a fraction of a second, I wondered: can we get it back on, and if not, is Jocelyn going to freak out? It took only another couple of seconds for all this to be clarified: she smiled and said, forget about it, just keep going. I rolled up the veil and put it under my seat. I watched carefully for any signs of bridal distress, but there were none. She seemed completely happy. I was so proud of her!
The officiant was Dylan Goldberg, a good friend of the couple’s. His remarks were a sweet and highly personal appreciation of Jocelyn and Kyle and their love. As he noted, the ceremony was an important symbol of the partnership they had built and the promises of their complete commitment. It was really touching; I got pretty misty. They had a really good kiss at the end.
Then we had drinks, dinner, and an epic dance party! Jocelyn and I managed our solo dance (to Stevie Wonder’s You Are the Sunshine of My Life) with more grace than expected, and I got some laughs in my toast to the couple. As I meant to say (though I’m not sure I quite got out), I was grateful to our guests for serving as witnesses and helping to consecrate the new marriage. I thought about talking a bit about Martin Hagglund’s theory that love is precious not because it is eternal and unchanging, but rather because it is grounded in time, finite and fragile, and its existence depends on continuing devoted care. But it didn’t quite fit with the vibe, so I figured we could talk about it another time.
But I must say, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much radiating love! It seemed to be coming not just from Jocelyn and Kyle, but from everyone! I hadn’t danced to pop music since ancient times, and had almost forgotten how much fun it can be. It was a blast. DJ Blak did a terrific job with the music, which was curated by Kyle, and managed to get just about everyone moving. A lot of the guests boogied right up until the last song at midnight.
While I wasn’t really surprised at how excited and happy Jocelyn and Kyle were, I was surprised at the intensity of my own happiness. Our little girl! With Kyle now part of our family! Lives full of promise! And on the horizon — grand babies!