15 May 2023
The car is repaired, our bags are almost packed, and we're nearly out the door. Or maybe we'll be out the door on Wednesday.
But we have our little car back, looking all new and shiny, and proud of his new mirror. And we have adventures to report from New York, so one more blog before we hit the road.
On day six of our visit, I met up with a friend and we went out to Long Island, to visit a friend of hers (dating back to childhood). This friend is a professional artist who has done amazing work using chemicals and heat or just natural humidity to create her art. It was incredible to see what she has done, some of it conceptional, some more representational. And always fascinating to meet an artist and talk about their intentions versus what I see and think might be the meaning. It was a wonderful afternoon and on into the evening, very intellectually stimulating!
The next day was Sunday, and I think Richard and I both were ready for another quiet day exploring our neighborhood and taking things slow. We were supposed to meet a friend, but that didn't quite work out. I thought about going to a museum, but it was chilly and wet and again, it just didn't seem like the day for that. Unexciting, but we enjoyed our somewhat posh hotel (at least, posh for us), reading our e-readers and hot drinks, and the free food delivery that seems to be a New Yorker's right.
Monday dawned clear and sunny, and was supposed to be the warmest day of the week. I took the opportunity to walk up to Central Park and ride the carousel. I passed tons of carriages with live (and smelly) horses, and turned down all offers of rides. (I'm quite allergic to the real kind of horses.) Had a lovely walk through the southern section of Central Park.
Just a few statistics: Central Park is 1.37 square miles, and is roughly 2.5 miles long and 0.5 miles wide. That would be 4 km long, .8 km wide, and 3.5 sq km in area. This is the first landscaped park in the US, and work began in 1853. I've been told that at least one of every tree or bush indigenous to the US is planted in Central Park, but I wouldn't swear to it.
I always enjoy the juxtaposition of the lush park with the ever-taller skyscrapers surging upward in the background. Really, some of the newer buildings look more like monoliths than buildings where people might work or live!
My destination is always the carousel. This is one of those fabulous huge carousels with 100 year old hand-carved-and-decorated horses, no molded plastic in sight. The horses all have their heads thrown back or to the side and they gallop, frolic, and cavort their way around the circle.
I splurged and bought two rides, so I could try two different horses. I've always gone for the largest horses, which are on the outside of the circle. Bigger horse, longer ride. As long as I could get up and then back down off the horse, fine - even though the tails usually managed to knock one sandal off my foot. If I could reach the stirrups, fine, it fit.
But between approaching age 70 in a bit over a year, not wanting to lose a sandal, and having one hand still recuperating from surgery, I thought maybe it was time to learn a lesson from those sandals flying off. Maybe it was time to choose a smaller horse. I do hate succumbing to age and/or reason, but, well, discretion being the better part of valor and all that. I went with smaller horses. Still the up-and-down bounding horses, but toward the inner part of the carousel.
I rode a lovely jet black for my first ride, then moved to an appaloosa for my second. The carousel operator looked at me quizzically, and I explained that I paid for two rides but still had one ticket on me. He collected it, and proceeded to smile at me every time I circled around. I guess not too many people splurge on a second ride. (It was hardly a splurge, each ride is only $3.50. Though for a child, that is a sizeable amount.)
My favorite horse, though, is one of the largest and I've never had a chance to ride him. He's a charging stallion wearing Medieval (or Roman?) armor, a truly gallant steed shining in the sunlight! One of the most gorgeous horses on the carousel!!
I wandered the city a bit more, and had a delightful lunch at the French restaurant Rue 57. (It's on the corner of West 57th and 8th.) Have the black truffle omelette, it is amazing!!!
I walked by the Petrossian building, built in 1907 to 1909. According to the sign on the building, the ornate exterior is made from clay tiles using molds for the repeating patterns, fired and glazed. There are dragons!!! Really, dragons guarding the front door!!! Okay, the sign says they're salamanders, symbol of Francis I, patron of Renaissance art, but these are fire breathing dragons with scales on their backs, not amphibians with water-absorbant skin!
Anyway, it was a splurging kind of a day!
Oh, there's always something to look at and talk about in New York. I was on my way back to our hotel, walking by Carnegie Hall. There was a woman maybe my age, maybe a bit older, walking across the street in the opposite direction I was heading. She was wearing a hot pink top and shorts, with matching swim cap and fins. Seriously, walking in hot pink fins. But from her shoulders to her fingertips, her body was wrapped in bright blue plastic rope. She was just walking, staring straight ahead, stone-faced.
As I reached the opposite sidewalk, I turned to look at her from the back. I noticed a younger woman whip out her phone and take a photo. I asked her, "So, what kind of statement do you think she is making?" She laughed and said she didn't know, what did I think she meant to say? I replied that I had absolutely no clue. We both laughed, and that was our entire interaction.
But I'm still thinking about the rope-wrapped woman. SO many questions! How did she even get the rope around herself? There were no hanging pieces! How did she get out of a building? How does someone even walk along a street while wearing swim fin???? What does it all mean????
Yeah, welcome to New York.
Tuesday was our cram-in-everyone-else day - breakfast with a friend and old college friend of Richard's, who has visited us when we lived in St. Thomas. She's doing interesting volunteer work with the Audubon Society in the city, some of which includes mitigating the impact of all these huge glass megalithic buildings have on migrating birds. Always interesting to talk to her!
In the evening we met up with my two nephews who live a bit north of the city but whose jobs are based here - wonderful young men, always a delightful to see them! (All the joys of children but zero work for us - we love being aunt and uncle!) We had a three hour meal back at Rue 57 - burgers for the men, and tagliatelle with black truffles for me. Yes, I am addicted to black truffles. Not that we ate for three hours, we probably lingered for an hour just talking and laughing and catching up on life!
Our ten days in New York were over much too soon - we made it to Penn Station to catch our train to Philadelphia, and then hopped on a commuter train back to NJ. We're winding up the east coast portion of the spring, and will be heading west shortly.
But New York is always a delightful interlude. We have so many friends and family in the metropolitan area, and there is always something interesting happening. As well as delicious food.
We'll be back!