By Kathy Zucker • Saturday, December 28, 2013
Photo Credit: The Tutu Project
A few weeks ago, I was attending a business meeting in West Orange when one of the attendees unexpectedly collapsed. While the paramedics were working on him, I gazed through a giant picture window at the sun shining on a lake, and thought about how a man was dying in the middle of this incredibly beautiful setting. The expression, “in the midst of life we are in death,” was really brought home to me that day.
The meeting broke up early (I know, big surprise) and I knew I couldn’t stay there. I felt an overwhelming revulsion to going home to my apartment in Hoboken and stepping back into the mess and chaos of my everyday life. I needed to go to a place of soaring, almost superhuman beauty. I needed to go to NJPAC.
I frequently drive past the NJPAC exit on trips between Hoboken and the suburbs, and think, I should go back again. I visited the performing arts center once before as an attendee at a blogger luncheon, and had a really lovely meal followed by a tour of the facilities. I had no idea whether I needed a reservation or what the parking situation was like, but drawn like a magnet to a lodestone, I made my way by instinct to the Nico parking lot.
It was like coming home. The lot was completely empty, so I left my car right by the restaurant entrance. And when I walked into Nico, all the tables were free. Granted it was right after opening time, but you would expect a bigger crowd since it is so close to Newark International Airport. And indeed, as I sat and ate a delicious meal facing the soaring red marble columns of the lobby, the restaurant filled up with a business crowd. The table next to me was occupied by a pair of European businessmen who had just come from a negotiation over a downtown Newark development and were making a pit stop for lunch before heading to the airport for a flight to their next business meeting in the midwest.
I had the same server, Shawn, as the first time I ate at Nico, and he recognized me instantly. He updated me on menu changes since my last visit – the mouthwatering chocolate beignets have given way to seasonally appropriate apple ones – the flaky pastry melted on my tongue.
— Rita P. Cheng (@yippymomma) May 24, 2013
At the end of the meal, Shawn gave me a big hug and I walked back to my car warm, replete with a gourmet meal that cost the same as lunch at a diner in Hoboken, and full of a sense of peace with the world. My visit to NJPAC was the perfect reminder that even though we are each tiny, fleeting notes in the symphony of life, we can be part of building institutions that will bring beauty to the world long after we are gone.
Kathy Zucker, CEO of Metro Moms Network and Managing Editor of Metro Mom Magazine, mother of three young children and New York Life Keep Good Going Shorty Award winner and judge, writes about juggling career and family in an urban setting. She blogs at MomCondoLiving.com, tweets @KathyZucker, posts pics on Instagram, gets down to business at LinkedIn, cracks jokes on Facebook and gets outdoors on Youtube. Email is Kathy@MetroMoms.Net but the fastest way to get in touch is Twitter or Facebook.