Service of Discoveries

February 16th, 2017

Categories: Academia, College, Fundraising, Museums, Subway, University

Sharing a few things I’ve learned or noticed within the last week.

Shoe Shine

The Hudson Yards subway station on the number 7 extension over by the Javits Center is buried deep underground so to reach the street you take two very steep escalators. On either side of the moving stairs are one-inch brushes. If I had on leather shoes–even better with shoe polish handy–I could shine them simply by sidling to the left and then right of the step. I wouldn’t try it on the way down–it’s too steep. No doubt the brushes are on all the subway escalators…but they are not new and clean nor is the ride as long as at Hudson Yards.

If You Have to Ask You Can’t Afford It

I received a request to become a member of an internationally recognized NYC museum on an expensive, color 20″ x 6″ card folded in half. Nowhere were membership rates listed. “Is this the latest trend in fundraising?” I thought as I tossed the card, “or a mistake?” Or perhaps they don’t want members who care about cost.


I graduated from the College of Liberal Arts [CLA] of an east coast University and discovered, when filling out a personal information update, that CLA no longer exists.  It’s called the College of Arts & Sciences these days. I mentioned this to a savvy friend and fellow graduate who keeps up on all things and she wasn’t aware of the change. Suggested to the alumni office that they make clear, when asking “which college did you attend?” that they add “formerly CLA” opposite the arts and sciences reference.

Have you made any surprising discoveries lately?

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4 Responses to “Service of Discoveries”

  1. hb Said:

    No recent discoveries come to mind, but I’d like to comment on yours,

    The NYC subway system has endless discoveries buried in its seemingly endless tunnels. I just figured out a new way to get from the far east side to the upper west side of Manhattan. It’s complicated, but it works.

    It’s the nature of not-for-profits in the arts to be snotty enough not to talk about money. That is why every so often, they go broke. The City Opera for example. The Metropolitan, however, talks plenty about money, which is why if you pay to endow a gallery “in Perpetua,” they’ll name it after you, but only for 30 years. It, of course, is thriving.

    I, too, received a liberal arts degree. My major was history. The college I went to still has a fine history department, but then, today, if you are looking for a job, and all you have is a history degree, nobody will hire you. You’ve got to have an MBA or something that includes the word engineer. How about, “Time Passage Engineer?”

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Complicated, subways and me are not a good combination. I’ll end up in the South Bronx or the tip of Brooklyn when I had west 96th Street in my sights.

    Even when I think I know where I am going, there’s often a monkeywrench. I had to go north four local stops for an early appointment this week. Waiting for the uptown Lexington Avenue local there was announcement. “Lexington Avenue local trains are on the express tracks from 42nd to 125th Street.” The announcement then told riders to go downtown to 59th street and switch for the uptown express. Nice….but going downtown from 51st Street, where I was, you reach 42nd Street. Long story longer, no sooner did I squeeze on to the downtown local–no small feat–in pulls the UPTOWN local. Big sigh. I slipped into my appointment with a few minutes to spare but really.

    As for the museum, you are correct. There is an arrogance associated with the world of art. But these days, there’s also the chance for mistakes/stupidity by the marketing department. I get invitations from a well endowed school that are in 8 point type…not an easy read anyway but on a mobile device? I pointed it out to someone in charge who seemed surprised at my critique and suggestion nevertheless I said I hoped that the graphics person would keep this in mind in future.

    I wouldn’t get a job these days either. I’d be sunk if I had to get an engineering degree…to begin with no engineering school would have me. A very smart friend of mine, pressured by his father, declared engineering as his major and as a result, he lost his full scholarship. Engineering wasn’t his thing either.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    So you think you have troubles? My major has been extinct for years, and I have reached the age when every charity and the kitchen sink reminds me daily that I’ve got one foot in the grave by asking to be remembered in my will!

    Enough discoveries, already! Perhaps I’ll be more open to such things once the atmosphere becomes less toxic.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    When I was a senior in high school the class was gathered in the cafeteria and we were given a lecture about remembering the school in our wills. I thought it strange when I was 17 and remember it still. Don’t all charities ask everyone to remember them in their wills?

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