Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This excellent structure is nothing other than a garage on the campus of Fordham University in the Bronx. I had gone to the Bronx to see the Orchid Show at the botanical garden, but despite my intention of getting there early, I arrived at prime time on Sunday afternoon, and was discouraged by the line of cars waiting to get past the booth and into the parking lot. Fordham is right across the street from the Bronx Botanical Garden, so I circled around, found a parking spot on the street, swanned past the security guard, and crossed the campus on foot.
Fordham is a Jesuit institution, which explains why everything was closed on Sunday. The campus is huge, with medieval-looking stone buildings and cut-glass windows, libraries, train tracks, an entire football stadium (Houlihan Park), baseball diamond (Murphy Field), and soccer field. It even had its own seismic reading station. The only people I saw were two middle-aged gray-haired men, who perfectly fit the stereotype of the Irish priest, and who approached me to ask if I was wearing gloves. I looked down at my hands—was it illegal to be on campus bare-handed?—and confessed that I was not. They said that it was all right—they'd asked only because they'd found gloves on the sidewalk. I wonder if they would have fit me.
After discovering the Jesuit parking garage, I crossed the street and paid twenty dollars to get into the Orchid Show. I would have been perfectly happy to stay outside and wander the grounds for only six dollars, but now my hands were cold, and here were the orchids, with a lavish Brazilian theme and lines of people, Muslims, Jews, and Christians, crowding around to admire them.
I learned one interesting fact at the Orchid Show: the vanilla bean comes from an orchid. I wonder if I could have learned that at Fordham.