Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes
NEW YORK — The guest of honor at the $350-a-plate Midtown gala rose early at The Plaza Hotel, bent on taking a clarifying walk through Central Park and enjoying breakfast beneath the chandelier in his sumptuous guest room. The city as ever had electrified his senses, but his schedule had been packed — an appearance on Harry Connick Jr.’s TV show, dinners with old friends, publishing meetings to review the sales and book-tour plans for his forthcoming roman à clef — and by the third day the crowds, the noise, and a startling encounter with a hissing cat had jangled his nerves just a bit. He craved the comparative calm and greenery of his Cambridge home turf. Plus, he needed to run through his speech once more.