Busy, busy, busy. I’ve got just over a month of my visit left, but I won’t be having much of a breather for the next couple of weeks at least. As you’ll know if you read my previous post, I was in Boise, Idaho last weekend for a conference. Tomorrow I’m heading to Chicago to visit an old friend who is doing a PhD there, and I’ve got pretty much all the rest of my weekenks booked after that as well.
The good news is that I have actually done some work. I gave a talk entitled ‘Essence and Modality Reconsidered’ at the NYU ‘Metaphysics Bootcamp’ the other day. Just a small audience, but we had a good discussion and the crazy view I’m developing on the reduction of modality to essence went down surprisingly well. I will do a post about this and upload the draft paper as well some time soon (although I realize I keep promising to do a dedicated philosophy post…), but I hope to make some revisions to the paper based on the feedback that I got before that. I’m also working — well, I should be working — on a paper on ‘The Epistemology of Essence’, since I’m supposed to give a talk with that title on May 6th at the department. In addition to these, I should do the index for my Contemporary Aristotelian Metaphysics volume, revise a paper that I wrote with a colleague of mine from Durham, referee a paper for Mind, start at least thinking about my talk at a conference in Tampere in June (on Hume and Humeanism) and preferably also revise a bunch of old drafts. One upside is that I did get an R&R (revise & resubmit) from a half decent journal recently and I’m waiting to hear about the fate of that paper.
I’ve been attending seminars more or less regularly, including Hartry Field’s graduate seminar on Truth. It’s a little bit techincal for my taste (my interest in truth is more from the metaphysics point of view), but highly interesting nevertheless. Here at NYU it seems to be common to have people popping in to these seminars to sit in and contribute to the discussions — and I don’t mean just students. Yesterday we had Crispin Wright, John Haldane, and Stephen Schiffer! It’s of course great, but Stephen’s persistent comments meant that Hartry got through maybe only about one quarter of the material that he was intending to talk about, oh well! I also attended a big conference on truth at Princeton (partly just to check out the campus), which had some top speakers: Field, Paul Horwich, J. C. Beall, Tim Maudlin, Scott Soames, Michael Lynch, and others. I was only there for one day (it’s just a 1.5h train trip from NYC), but I’d say that it was worth going to — I was glad to meet Matti Eklund, as I’ve found his comments on the metametaphysics literature to be quite accurate (regarding the Carnap-Quine debate, or its (ir)relevance). Princeton campus is pretty nice, they’re clearly trying to go for the Oxbridge feel.
It feels like ages ago already, but I had a visitor from the UK for a week and used the opportunity to do some touristy stuff, I also got do a bit of photography! I’ve been to the Guggenheim (great layout and nice gallery, but the exhibits start to get repetitive after a while — too much Kandinsky!), walked the Brooklyn Bridge (highly recommended, but try to do it when it’s not too busy) as well as the High Line in Chelsea, an old railroad turned into a sort of garden path above the streets (nice, but crowded and too short, although they are working on an extension), the Empire State Building (very expensive at $20, but you do get good views; go by night to avoid the crowds), the Financial District (nothing much there, but it’s an experience of sorts just to walk through it), and numerous vegan restaurants and bars with excellent beer selections. There remains a lot of museums to check out and I have a number of other touristy things on my list as well, so hopefully I will get a chance to do these things at some point. I’m also hoping to do some dedicated photo shoots to capture some of the architecture and Central Park etc.
Maybe a word or two about the recent food & beer adventures is in order. I’ve tried out a bunch of new places, such as the tiny atmospheric raw vegan restaurant Quintessence in East Village, which was good if a bit expensive. I would especially recommend the chia seed pudding, which prompted myself and my date to buy some chia seeds from the shop next door; they’re quite nice if you soak them in soy/oat/hemp/almond milk overnight. Very nearby is Angelica Kitchen, which appears to be extremely popular (expect to wait). Excellent selection, excellent food, and a pretty nice interior — I’ll surely go again. I’ve also been to Franchia near the Empire State Building. It’s a Korean vegan restaurant. The price/quality was not quite as good as at some other places, but the service was good and it was a nice and quiet place to have dinner. Other places for mentioning are Atlas Cafe, which has an excellent selection of vegan bakery by Vegan Treats, and Sancturary T restaurant and tea house with perhaps the best teas in NYC (not cheap though!). But that’s not the end of it, I’ve still got at least ten or so vegan restaurants on my list that I’d like to check out!
As to the drinking side, two bars are highly recommended. Firstly d.b.a. with a decent selection of draught and bottled beers from all over, as well as good single malts and other liquors. It’s a great place, although the indoor space is tiny — this is really the place to go when the weather is good, as their beer garden and conservatory, hidden away in an inner courtyard, are lovely. Normally they have some real ales as well, but for some reason they haven’t been on when I’ve been there. The special mention has to go to The Ginger Man though, located in Midtown not far from the Empire State Building and the CUNY Grad Center. They have a stunning 70 draughts, two changing real ales, and a bunch of bottled beers on top of that, including some absolute rarities such as one of the beers by the tiny Norwegian brewery Haandbryggeriet — I’ve only seen their beers in one place before, namely Vanha Pankki (i.e. The Old Bank) in Turku, Finland. The Ginger Man also does their own beer called, unsurprisingly, The Ginger Man. It’s a nice mild bitter with hints of ginger, quite tasty! The place is pretty big, but very popular, it’s advised to go when it’s less busy, because you can really get some knowledgable service then. Also, you can get samplers (or ‘flights’, as they call them here)! For $12 you can choose four beers out of any of the 70 draughts (about a 1.5dl serving), which is a great deal really given that many of the beers are about $8-9 (and extremely strong!). I’ve had a few of those samplers there already. Two beers have been particularly memorable: Dogma by the the Scottish masters at BrewDog, and the Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout (from Chicago) — the Dogma is light in colour, but a complex, delicate mix of flavours, whereas the Northwind is an excellent strong stout, one of the driest I’ve ever had.
One more beer deserves a mention simply because of its name: the Ommegang Three Philosophers (pictured). Ommegang is dedicated to Belgian style ales here in New York, but I believe it’s actually owned by Duvel. I bought a bottle of the Three Philosophers, and it does indeed taste like a typical Belgian ale. Nothing particularly surprising about it, but it is worth a try. Well, that’s enough about beer (although I suspect that I’ve lost most of the readers by now, sorry about that). I’m heading to the TAP New York beer festival at the end of the month, so I expect to sample some more great local beers soon!
(Yes, I’m still running too. And if you didn’t see my last race report, or didn’t check back later on, there’s a rather silly picture of me sprinting to the finish.)