What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that our fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.

After our stay in Battery Park my wife instructed her iGadget to lead us to a bakery with chocolate babka. It led us on a forty minute jaunt uptown to a bakery with the best chocolate babka in NYC. Upon arrival at the bakery in question a hand written sign on the door said “Closed For The Summer. Back in Two Weeks.” Foiled again.

Her iGadget told her there was another opportunity for chocolate babka in Bryant Park on 42nd Street. One problem. We were about 42 blocks away and the streets were gridlocked with Friday rush hour traffic. It was 4:45 and we had to pick up our luggage by 6:00. We walked and walked and walked. I may have said something like “I’ve had enough of this f**king city” a few times during the walk. After getting some gelato at a very cool Italian marketplace called Eataly, I was revived enough to make it to our hotel, but not enough to make it to Bryant Park. Our mission to find a chocolate babka was a failure. I would even have settled for a cinnamon babka – the lesser babka.

Two days in NYC is more than enough for me. Seeing 1984 and the 9/11 memorial/museum was worth the trip, but I’ve had my fill and have no desire to return for a long while. I prefer the peace and quiet of my house, walking on the farm road, and feeding carrots to Ricky the llama. Time to do some weed wacking and iron my shirts for work. Thus ends another NYC adventure.