After a busy but very successful week, Alejandro and Mathieu took me out for a pre-weekend drink. We ended up in a place in their neighborhood in Harlem called “Bier International”, and it turned out to be a fountain of joy and delight. I had great German beer – Reissdorf and Jever – which came with a classy selection of hearty Wurst and tasty Brezel. No doubt this place is going to be my second home in summer when you can sit outside on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. By the number of coffee shops, bars and restaurants opening up in this area you may think “this is going to be the new SoHo” (wishful thinking of Mathieu).
What made this week so successful? It started off with a stream-team meeting at Columbia. The stream team, that’s an accumulation of expertise on galactic streams in the greater NYC area which we are going to harvest in the next few years. This select group of people includes Marla Geha and Ana Bonaca from Yale, David Hogg from NYU, and a bunch of people from Columbia. Our stream group at Columbia basically consists of Kathryn Johnston, Adrian Price-Whelan, Sarah Pearson, David Hendel and me – but we may well be growing soon! It’s obvious that stream research is becoming increasingly popular, especially now that the large surveys are producing tons of data – with an avalanche of Gaia data looming in the not so distant future. Hogg proclaimed that AAS 2015 will only be exoplanets and streams. If you look at astro-ph these days, you may well think he’s right: more than six papers on streams within the past two weeks!
The rest of the week was mostly designated to my project with Jerry Ostriker. Using high-precision numerical integrators, we’re trying to make black holes merge – and it turns out they merge! Great fun ahead! It’s been a lot of work, though. Making Thursday the new Friday and staying out late was therefore well deserved.
Walking home alone late at night, I realized how my perception of this part of town has changed since I first got here. Not that I’m not careful anymore, but I’m also not panicking at the thought of walking around alone. Actually, more scary than being mugged is stepping out into the cold. It’s been constantly cold for weeks now. An Underberg would definitely help fighting the freezing cold, but I doubt that the recommendation of the company “Daily Underberg and you feel good” is advisable – unless you want to be a first-class boozer.