Richard was born in Manhattan, and spent many years living here. I spent a lot of time visiting family in New York, and as an adult have come back to visit a lot. So we both love Manhattan, we both love walking, we both love food. And that's what today was all about.
Today included a snack at The Little Pie Company (their cherry pie is phenomenal); lunch at Carnegie Deli (I often have the matzah ball soup - two matzah balls the size of two baseballs, and a large quantity of broth - delightful) and we shared a slice of cheesecake - no matter what anyone says, this is some of the best cheesecake in the universe, and you really need to try it - rich, creamy, with a shortbread crust and none of that cheapo graham cracker crust that the rest of the country uses for cheesecake.
Then we had a long - long - LOOOOOONG ramble around Central Park. If you have never been to New York, and haven't been in Central Park, let me tell you - this is the city's back yard. This is the first city-owned park in the US. This is a gorgeous, unbelievably beautiful green space in this city of cities, where you can people watch, eat, animal watch, feed birds and squirrels, ride a carousel, go to the zoo, play in various playgrounds, row a boat, take a gondola ride, sail model boats, climb rocks, have your portrait painted, and probably do a variety of other things that I have no clue and no desire to participate in. (But you DO need to kiss your sweetie at least once while in the park.)
This park also has some gorgeous architectural features, which never cease to amaze and delight me.
Our tradition includes me riding the carousel (which is over 100 years old) - and my advice is always find a horse where you can reach the stirrups. Today, I rode a beautiful black stallion, tossing his head which was transfixed in a silent "neeeeeeeigh" - although he did manage to trip me up on my dismount, when his tail bashed into my calf and somehow knocked off my shoe. (I will admit that I'm a bit klutzy, but the carousel horse was definitely out to get me.)
Then we walked and walked and walked, a total of 8 miles, just enjoying the gorgeous day and the park and the diversity of people. We met Steven, one of the Park Conservancy volunteers, who shared all kinds of information and joked with us as he rambled along for a while.
Today's celebrity sighting was Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live and Thirty Rock), out walking her little boy in his stroller, and helping him not make a mess with his ice cream bar - just kind of funny to see someone we've seen on TV for years doing something totally ordinary like help her toddler eat ice cream.
More walking, more people watching, and a fabulous dinner at a tiny Italian trattoria (or osteria? ristorante? anyway, very good) on 9th between 45th and 46th - no idea of the name, but it was delicious and friendly and authentic. I had "strozzapretti" pasta (literally, "priest strangler" - no idea why, it's kind of a little piece of pasta rolled like a piece of paper) with cinghiali (wild boar) and porcini mushroom in a Chianti sauce - OMG delicioso!!!! Huge portion, very rich, very filling, and after our day of noshing I couldn't finish it. (Richard had bucatini al'amatricianna, which he almost finished.) Anyway, the maitre d' (who spoke both French and Italian, he and I had mini conversations in both languages) agreed that we shouldn't just throw it away - so he boxed it up, and on our way back to the bus Richard and I found a rather destitute-looking man - Richard said, "Dude, would you like some nice warm pasta with meat sauce" and the man just lit up - so that was our mitzvah for the day.
I know, we enjoy our food - but after 8 miles of walking, well, you build up an appetite!