Monday, November 19, 2007

New York, New York, What A Wonderful Town

We got into Laguardia airport in New York City about 1 and 1/2 hours behind schedule. So at 10:30 on Thursday night, we were standing in line waiting for a cab, along with (it seemed) half of New York City. It was a beautiful evening, the wind had died down, and before we knew it we were at the small Manhattan apartment of my friends and former parish members. (I officiated at their wedding back in April, and then she moved to New York, where he lived.)

We met their two cats, Digger (15) and Little (3) and got the grand tour of their small but stylish apartment (actually near the Hudson River, but we couldn't see it in the dark). I loved the hardwood floors, the alcoves, the kitchen (narrow, but long, with pretty good counter space for an apartment). When we had trouble finding a hotel for Thursday, they offered to let us camp out for the night. We planned to head over to a nearby hotel first thing in the morning to store our luggage for the next two nights.

My husband had created a three-ring notebook with all of our plans (and pictures!) of the things we wanted to see and do for three days. A. looked at the notebook and decided he should have her prized compact New York street and subway map for the weekend. ("He has the manual," she explained.) They answered our questions about how to get to the places we planned (hoped?) to see on Friday and how to get to the dinner location, as well. (They actually made dinner plans for us for both Friday and Saturday nights.)

The next morning we got up as soon as D and A left for work, and hurriedly got our things together to walk down to the Days Hotel, just a convenient few blocks away. It's in a great area on the Upper West Side, and Husband mentioned as soon as we walked in how friendly the staff were! Someone greeted us warmly right away.

Turns out it was my blog friend Fran, who planned to meet us that morning. After checking our luggage we walked up to a great cafe called the Metro Diner. We spent an hour eating and talking about everything under the sun! I've now met three blog friends: Fran, HotCup Lutheran and her husband, and RevDrKate of Prairie Light. Fran gave a great first impression of New York and New Yorkers.

After breakfast, we bought Metro Passes and took the 1 train (and a bus) over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I admit it: I am a museum geek. I love museums! We spent all morning and part of the afternoon there, which didn't seem like a bad idea at all, until we got down to 34th street at midtown and realized how much there still was to see, and how little time we had.

We took in the Egyptian Exhibit, the special exhibit on Rembrandt and other Dutch painters, as well as some American and medieval art. My husband had to find some El Grecos (they have a few) and I especially wanted to remember The Penitent Magdalen (Georges de La Tour) and Mezzetin, by Watteau. (the de la Tour painting I remember as the cover of a book I own called The Poetry of Meditation). At one point I opened a door into a darkened room and discovered that this was their antique instruments collections, with strange and ornately decorated instruments from cultures around the world. Some of Sevogia's guitars are on display here. However, I was most fascinated by the harpsichord lushly decorated with scenes of David out in the field.

Our next stop (on the 1 train, of course) was the Empire State Building. On the way from the station to the building, I noticed Macy's, Herald Square (Give My Regards to Broadway) and 5th Avenue. I wanted to explore everything, but our goal was to go to the observation deck of the Empire State Building, which ended up taking us about the rest of the afternoon. It was a long wait up to the top, but a clear day so we could see in all directions. And, while sometimes the waiting made us crabby, we struck up a conversation with a nice young couple who turned out to be from Colombia! They were visiting the United States for 2 weeks and had been to Chicago and Vancouver.

I was beginning to realize that we were not going to be able to see the Rockefeller Center or peek at The New York Public Library. However, we did get to stop at the Macy's windows, which were decorated, appropriately, with scenes from Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street. We took the 1 train back up to our hotel to change (discovering, briefly, that there were many other numbers and letters!), and rode back down to meet our friends at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

After dinner, they suggested we take the train up to Times Square to look around before heading back uptown. By New York standards, it was a quiet night (no shows due to the strike) but there were lights and people everywhere. Our friend A pointed out the M & M store; behind it a whole store devoted to Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I believe. And I was just thrilled to turn around and see the lights that flashed Radio City Music Hall!

That was our first day in New York: we saw a lot, and we missed a lot. We often didn't know exactly where we were going, but we found friendly people everywhere, and especially the subway workers, who went out of their way to explain the city to us. be continued


mompriest said...

Oh, I love NYC....been a long time...but for I used to go there often...sigh...glad your trip was great.

Diane said...

I wish I could go there often... maybe if we lived closer...

Grandmère Mimi said...

Diane, your day sounds lovely. I saw the Rembrandt exhibit when I was there. Rembrandt turned me on to art. His wonderful mix of light and shade, with the faces highlighted, swept me away, literally took my breath away, the first time I saw a roomful of his paintings at the Met, many years ago.

Enjoy the rest of your time. I know you will.

Presbyterian Gal said...

What a fantastic day! You did so much. How great that your friends helped you plan. In New York that really makes a huge difference.

Isn't the Met amazing? The Egyptian Exhibit is a jaw dropper.

*dabbing with tissue* *sniff* Makes me wanna go back right now.

Pastor David said...

What a wonderful sounding trip. I am envious - when we lived nearer to NYC, our schedules (and wallets) never allowed for the trip, and it is a much bigger trip now.
So glad to hear that all of your plans worked out, and you found a way to make the trip a grand success.

steve said...

Sounds amazing.

Wyldth1ng said...

Seems to be a successful first day, even if there were hiccups here and there.

Gartenfische said...

This sounds wonderful! And how fantastic is it that you got to meet Fran? Cool!

I've only been to NYC one time, but I loved it.

Glad you had such a great trip.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh diane! it souns like a wonderful fairy tale trip... good for you for taking the time away!

Rowan The Dog said...

What a great day you had! I am so happy you got to see and do so much. I remember my first time there. I was staying at the Grand Hyatt on 42nd just next door to Grand Central terminal which had just then been re-done. I checked in and went right over to Grand Central and made my way over to the Empire State. Empire State building was the one thing I felt I HAD to see. The rest of the week was mainly work but over the years I found amazing things in NYC. The biggies like the Guggenheim and little things like those little bags of cookies you can get over on Mott Street. It's a great town and I am happy that you got spend some time there seeing the things that will feed your souls. This post makes me happy!

David said...

Wow, sounds like a great trip. I would love to take a week or so and go to NY.

Diane said...

me, too. three days was not enough.

lj said...

Diane, What fun. You could spend the whole 3 days in the Met. You did well to accomplish so many things in one day. I lived in NYC for one brief year and have been back only a couple of times to visit and the visits are never long enough to do what I had hoped. Can't wait to hear the rest.

FranIAm said...

Thanks for the kind words. It was so great to meet you and John, it made me very happy.

Glad that I gave a good impression, actually with all urban legends aside, New York folk are actually great in my estimation. And I don't say that because I am one of them!!

This is a tough town to see in 3 days. You did well to spend much time in the museum.

You and Grandmere have officially seen more NYC museums than I have of late, which is embarrassing. However, it is typical. I can tell you all about the Picasso Museum in Barcelona however!

Anyway I am so glad you guys had your trip, brief as it was.

Please come back, I would love to spend more time with you!

Maybe I will come out there one day- after all, I need a re-do for my Minneapolis trip, which I told you all about!

(and I left out that the cab driver also sang the MTM song for us. i try to block that moment.)

Diane said...

oh dear Fran LOL! imagining the cab driver singing...