It's June, and in an instant the entire State seems to have awoken from hibernation and burst out of doors en masse
. If you know anyone in the Finger Lakes, their Instagram accounts are veritable "Beach Blanket Bingo" mise-en-scene
: beautiful people in their swimsuits, sunning themselves and having a blast, where only a few weeks ago the snow was still falling. NYC-based cyclists are coasting the length of Long Island, as the shore fills with umbrellas and sun loungers. Adirondack camps are being aired out for summer habitation. Boats in the Thousand Islands are being pulled out of storage and launched into the water. Summer seems the essence of limitlessness.
With that in mind, today we introduce the New York "Liberated" State of Mind. The multifaceted components of this moniker suit June — which just so happens to be Pride Month — perfectly.
The legal system has taken major strides toward recognizing the inalienable rights of the LGBTQ community since the 1969 Stonewall Riots occurred in New York City; now the work of continuing to change attitudes toward, raise awareness for, and ensure the security of those identifying in these communities is leading the charge in cities throughout the State by organizations like the Hudson Valley's LGBTQ Community Center.
June's reliably (knock on wood) good weather welcomes music festivals that encourage and celebrate the freedom of artistic expression, as well as other horizon-expanding events (like the season at the Chautauqua Institution) that can open your mind to new ways of learning and living in the world. Look for our recommendations of what to see and do this month.
In this issue we'll also delve a bit into New York's history as a stop on the Underground Railroad, and its contribution over a century ago to a wider recognition of national individual freedom.
Last week the world lost Maya Angelou. Though she was born and died in Southern states, she also lived in New York. A woman of endless talents, she sang and danced professionally at the Apollo Theater and on Broadway, and honed her words as a member of the Harlem Writers Guild. She resided in several New York City neighborhoods over the years, and in 2004 bought and gut-renovated a brownstone in Harlem
. I like to think that gives us a little extra right to lay local claim to an internationally-beloved legend.
I leave you with an excerpt from Ms. Angelou's poem "Caged Bird," from her 1983 poetry anthology, "Shaker, Why Don't You Sing?" Let it remind you of the joys, the dreaminess and the limitless possibilities of liberation, this month and always.
The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn
and he names the sky his own
From New York City,