WE WERE THERE: The Supermoon Eclipse (Part 2)

This is the second (and final) part of a document of what my friends, family, and Weird Sisters experienced during the supermoon eclipse this past Sunday. Read the previous accounts here.


Credit: parentherald.com

 Lexi, Brooklyn, NY


Where were you when you watched the eclipse? Who were you with? How did you feel?
I watched the eclipse outside my house, but actually, seeing the moon high in the sky turning red and blacking out did not make a huge impression on me.  What does bowl me over, again and again, is seeing a huge, bright yellow harvest moon rising.  That’s what will stick with me from the night of the eclipse.

My wife and daughter and I were walking past the lake in Prospect Park when we noticed the full moon rising.  It was unexpected and special.

Did you listen to any music?
I thought this question was silly, and then I realized that, yes, I did!  I saw the moon and remembered hearing a band play Neil Young’s Harvest Moon at my friend’s wedding last month.  “Because I’m still in love with you, I wanna see you dance again. Because I’m still in love with you, on this harvest moon.”  I grabbed my wife’s phone and played Harvest Moon on Youtube on the phone speakers so my daughter could hear it too.  I sang along in the park and felt silly and romantic.

I thought about the autumn equinox and all the special names for moons.  And how hard it can be to be a “weird sister” in New York and care about things like mythic names for moons, and the power of the changing seasons.

My wife is an eclipse junkie and will certainly be tracking the next lunar eclipse (not to mention the total solar eclipse in August 2017!).  But me, I’m looking forward to next month’s “Hunter’s Moon.”  Give me a big, bright, witchy “wow” anyday.


NYC Supermoon photographed by Cathy de la Cruz


Kyle, Brooklyn, NY

I’m in my neighborhood, housebound with a bad cold that seems to say, “Fall is here, son.” Drained of energy, I go out for more cold medicine around when the supermoon peaks. The night before, unable to write (type) because I had cut my finger on a serrated knife, I had seen a mobster movie alone in a theater, eating popcorn with my un-bandaged hand. Because of the movie, I expect the moon to be bloodier. It keeps hiding behind clouds, and I crane my neck to see it. My body does not cooperate. I’m an Aries, and I can’t tell whether the Aries super blood moon is supposed to all but anesthetize me, or if pharmacology has one over on the eye in the sky. On my way back from CVS, I run into some neighbors sitting on their stoop. I say hello to a guy I know well from the neighborhood, and we stand there together for a while and watch the moon recede into the night glow above the roofs. The streets are quiet like after a snow, until somewhere on the block, someone asks, “Is it gone?”

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Colorado Supermoon photographed by Mark

Lizzie, Colorado Springs, CO

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? Who were you with? How did you feel?
I was in a commuter parking lot near campus that sits at the top of a hill, with my husband Mark. It was pretty cool. I did feel a sense of vaguely disappointed community with the small amount of cars with us in the lot to watch the eclipse – why weren’t more people there with us? Why wasn’t everybody??

Did you listen to any music?
Nope. We did sing some songs though. I sang some of Dar Williams’ “Calling The Moon” and Mark sang some of TMBG’s “Nightgown of the Sullen Moon.”


How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience?
I don’t think my life will be different, except in the way that any vivid memory changes the physical composition of your brain and thus your life.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
I just hope I get to share the experience with somebody again. I once woke up housemates because there was an astronomical event going on and I was the only one there and I wanted to share it with somebody. That probably wasn’t a great thing to do, but… they were missing it…

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Even-more-eclipsed Supermoon photographed by Mark

T. and M., Jersey City, NJ

T: I was hyped, because the moon is in space, and so is the earth, I suppose, but the moon is outside our atmosphere, so it is in space for real, at least from the perspective of humanity. My wife was tired and wanted to go to bed early (very early!) as she is just not that into space, which is really quite sad. But she ended up staying up with me, and we took a walk around the block with our dog at 10.30 pm or so. But alas, cloud coverage meant we couldn’t see anything (thanks Obama). We did observe fellow observers, equally disappointed, I’m sure, standing on stoops or walking. Not too many, I suppose, but then again, I imagine that people had checked out the sky and resigned themselves to their tragic fate earlier. Oh, and our dog did poop, which was necessary, so it wasn’t a total loss.

M: T. was slightly more aware/enthusiastic …  I was more interested in sleeping but I stayed awake at his request. That’s about as special as it got. I learned that I’m just not that excited about eclipses if they happen after 10 pm, but T. certainly is. The dog seemed indifferent. I’ll probably try to be less lazy about it next time. I hope to have more wine and food, and take a nap in advance. I can see so many possibilities from these questions alone!


Fake supermoon in NYC, photographed by Cathy de la Cruz

Eva, Paris, France

Where were you when you watched the eclipse?
In an Uber in Paris, on my way to the airport!

Who were you with?
Samy (yes, one “m”) my Uber driver. I gave him 4 stars.

Had you made special supermoon-eclipse arrangements ahead of time?
No! I forgot about it until I looked out the cab window up to the sky.

How did you feel during the eclipse? Did it affect your relationship to the people or creatures or objects or ideas around you
Hmmm, the mystical powers of the moon did little to stimulate my mind and spirit at such an early hour. Relationship wise, well I thought maybe Samy and I would become fast friends since we were witnessing this amazing event together. He didn’t seem to notice the moon though. I thought several times of pointing it out to him…but honestly I was afraid he would swerve off the road and it would all end I a firey crash. So I said nothing! I was afraid of distracting him in any way and that he would randomly look up at the sky and see the moon! So I didn’t talk to him at all!  I suppose the moon got in the way of a potential, if brief, friendship.

Did you listen to any music?
Yes. Samy has bad taste in music.

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience?
I’ll have more respect for the people who have to work, and be super duper concentrated in the predawn hours. People whose lives depend on NOT looking at the moon.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
Next time, with friends!

Colin and Terri, my aunt and uncle, West Jefferson, NC


Colin: Terri and I found the eclipse full of whimsy and coquettish tension. [Note: Terri claims they didn’t know about the eclipse and did not see it.] It’s rained domesticated animals for four straight days and nights. We were on our fabulous new deck overlooking our swollen river and listening to Doris Day/Frank Sinatra duets (of course), when Terri said: “this is ridiculous.”  She says that a lot. Much like your mother used to spell “odd” to your father. I hope to actually SEE the next one while sipping elderberry champagne with the Goddess of Thunder. And Terri.

Terri: Hopefully next time the PappyDog and I can catch it.

My cousin abashfulharvestman, Ann Arbor, MI

I appreciated the event’s rarity and I enjoyed calling it the Superbloodmoon. It both grounded and energized me and prompted these items:

My brother Rory, Longmeadow, MA

Where were you when you watched the eclipse?
Outside our house in Longmeadow!

Who were you with? 
My lovely wife Alison and my wise mother Mary! We set an alarm to look for it at 9:45. The alarm went off, and I mentioned it, but no one paid attention, and then my mother remembered around 10:15.

How did you feel during the eclipse?
It was neat looking. I was surprised that it actually looked red (Blood Moon, just like the magic card!). It did not move me in any particular way beyond that, but it’s always neat to see cool stuff that won’t happen again for a while.

Did you listen to any music?
Of course not.

How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience?
Fundamentally changed in every possible way. Deeply spiritually enriched!

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
With my lovely wife and our dozens of grandchildren!

Lizzie, Los Angeles, CA

Where were you when you watched the eclipse?
NO WHERE. I was sitting at my dining table working at a new shit job that I loathe, when Dan (husband) suddenly said, “Hey, there’s supposed to be a blood moon,” and ran out of the house. I was like, “DUH. I KNEW that,” as if that matters, but I didn’t even turn in his direction because I was so obsessed with finishing the stupid thing I had to do for my stupid job.

The tragic element is that not only did I know about the eclipse and get zero credit for knowing about it before Dan, but I actually had tentative plans to drive to Pomona, CA which is, like, an hour or more or something away, and appreciate the eclipse within the framework of an outdoor James Turrell exhibit, thanks to my hip designer friends who were taking one of their classes on a field trip there.

And now, not only was I not having a hip, designer experience of the eclipse, I was not having any experience of it at all.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
James Turrell

Fred, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY

i watched the eclipse from my roof w/ my roommate and a girl who was already up on the roof when we got there, an actress staying on the couch of one of our neighbors. i began talking about how a church issued a statement to its faithful, asking them not to get caught up in speculation about a calamitous event emerging from the rare occurrence of the so-called blood moon, speculation being stoked by a religious blogger. apparently the purchase of survivalist gear was spiking in parts of the country. the actress was incredulous, asking which church it was. LDS. i noted that i really appreciated the otherwise levelheadedness of the mormons, their work ethic, and blondeness. all of a sudden, i had a sinking feeling, perhaps due to the blondeness, levelheadedness, and accomplishment of the young actress. “you’re not mormon, are you?”she is. i’d have offended her if she was capable of taking offense.

 i kept humming “pink moon,” but was thinking about jean toomer’s “blood-burning moon” from cane.


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Jen’s midwestern moon, no baby visible

Jen, Naperville, IL

I remembered it was the eclipse last night because Facebook reminded me (embarrassing) — I took a wide-awake [baby] Josephine outside to gaze at it, dragging my reluctant husband along with. I tried to hoist the baby up high enough to photobomb the pictures Nate was taking with his good camera, but while it was shockingly bright out (no need for the front lights), it was still too dark to shoot a perplexed but serene 5-month-old silhouetted against the bright, shadowed moon. Then I gave the baby to Nate and watered the plants in the moonlit dark. In 2033, it would be lovely to stand in front of the house and gaze upon the supermoon eclipse again, and if 18 year old Josephine will let me try and hoist her, I’ll start strength training. Nate will be in charge of prepping a superior lens. (Note: I mentally thought, “2033 is totally not that far into the future” until I realized Josephine will be 18. I will be 53. HOLY SHIT.)

Laura and Willow, Boston, MA

Laura: I forgot about the eclipse but around 11 my roommate texted (from within the same house) to tell us it was visible from across the street. We were already in our pj’s but we slipped into our shoes and went outside and marveled for about five minutes while hugging. Then we went inside. I did have post apocalyptic dreams after but that might have been because of the creepy video game I played earlier that day. (BTW I was hugging my wife, not my roommate.)

Willow: I thought it was striking. It was more impressive than I expected. It made me imagine a new planet right next to Earth, and how cool that would be.

Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse? 
Probably in the same way.


Emily, Jersey City, NJ 

Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 

I was in Jersey City, where I live.


Who were you with? 

I was with myself, watching the moon from my front porch. Sometime around 9:20 I went to the corner store to buy a chocolate bar, and ended up passing some young families trying to catch the moon. Other than that I was alone: just me and the moon.

Had you made special supermoon-eclipse arrangements ahead of time? 
It didn’t even occur to me that one could make eclipse arrangements until around 6 PM that night. I texted a friend with a good roof who lives down the street, but she was working on a deadline and rightly had no time for the moon.


How did you feel during the eclipse?
This whole week has been amazing––it’s felt so positive––but who knows if that’s moon related. I’ve been reading a lot of astrology blogs too, and all the big-shot astrologers on the Internet seem to agree: it’s a great time to be a Virgo. The only problem is that I can’t tell if it’s a chicken or an egg thing, like maybe what I’m experiencing is an astrological placebo effect of sorts. I guess it doesn’t matter. I feel rejuvenated, like I can finally put to rest my shit year.


Did you listen to any music? 
I listened to Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” about three times.


How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience? 
I’m treating the eclipse as an unofficial new year. So long, suckers!


Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
I’ll let the moon do the planning.



Photo from cnn.com

Jana, a postdoctoral fellow in astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, NYC


Where were you when you watched the eclipse? 
Sitting at an open air counter facing the street at a bar in Park Slope. We could see the Moon just over the buildings.


Who were you with? 
Two friends, one of whom happens to also be an astronomer.


How did you feel during the eclipse?
Our conversation would wander, then someone would point out when the moon became visible between the clouds and comment on how the eclipse was progressing. I liked the idea that it was our (the world’s collective) shadow creating an effect on a celestial object. The Earth’s influence on what we see in the sky is often subtle, but this forces you to conceive of the universe as a three dimensional space in which we take up volume.


The feeling reminded me of the first time I stargazed in a truly dark place and saw the plane of the Milky Way. Though you can’t directly perceive the three dimensionality of the galaxy, that was the first time I could sense the orientation of the galactic plane and understand what I was seeing, and had a sense of understanding how I was embedded in it.


Did you listen to any music?
90s hits from the bar. At one point we were rick rolled.


How do you think your life will be different now that you have had this experience?
I don’t know if it will be different, though it was a fun thing to see.


Where or how or with whom do you hope to spend your next lunar eclipse?
Part of what made this event special was spending it with friends and just relaxing and observing. I am usually helping with a public viewing during any major celestial event, so next time I’ll probably be doing that.


By the way, I am very excited for the August 21st, 2017 total solar eclipse, which will be visible from most of the US. This will be a huge event. Mark your calendars.

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