William & I decided to take a break from late summer bliss and head into NYC for a few days on the cheap. I had an offer of a free fancy place to stay that could not be refused – and William was able to squeak out a little free time from his pre-semester craziness to join me.
You either have to drive thru the Poconoes or the Catskills to get from CNY to NYC and I always prefer the latter – there’s never any traffic on rt 17; driving along the Delaware River is lovely; and there’s the opportunity to stop at Woodbury Commons during the last leg of the trip in order to get out, stretch the legs, and do some bargain shopping.
Score! Arriving in the city around 6pm, I used my superlative car parking acumen to find a (free) space on Riverside Drive, in the 80s, where I would not have to move the vehicle for alternate side during the course of our stay. As we rolled our suitcase thru the streets of the city, William and I giddily tossed dinner ideas back and forth. Ah, to have the culinary world once again at our fingertips. It came down to Artie’s (Jewish deli) or The Hampton Chutney Co (unique Indian dosas), finally ending up at Land, a commendable Thai eatery that is physically little more than a hallway.
After dinner we stopped at Emack & Bolio so William could get a scoop of his favorite flavor, Heaven. More sidewalk suitcase rolling till we finally arrived at our destination, sweaty and tired. We were happy to relax in air-conditioned bliss when suddenly, a freaky summer storm unleashed sheets of rain, lighting bolts and hailstones outside our 23rd floor suite window.
First stop next morning was Sarabeths so William could satisfy a craving for goldilox, and which give him the energy he’d need for a fully sustained day of museum-going. I accompanied him to the Folk Art Museum (kaleidoscopic quilts – beautiful) and
MoMA (Ron Arad, visually stunning exhibit); and the Gug, but had to pass up more art by that time because my ankle – recently sprained – was feeling sore. Besides, the experience at MoMA left me really irritated. Many visitors carrying cameras seem not so much interested in viewing art but taking photos of themselves in the museum. I was constantly getting in someone’s way as I attempted to look at the objects, while they were shooting pics of their boyfriend. It was really out of control.
While William checked out Frank Lloyd Wright at the Guggenheim, I sat on a bench for a good while to rest my foot and had ample opportunity to observe people. There’s a lot of people playing with a lot of electronic gadgets. What are they actually learning from the museum exhibits, the world around them, their visit to NYC? One family with two teenage boys didn’t really seem to know why they were there; maybe their guidebook told them it was not to be missed. Mother: “What is there to see here?” Father: “I don’t know, but for $50 I guess we’ll go see.”
I departed museum mile for a slow hobble across Central Park to the west side, while William continued on to the Whitney and the Met. Did I mention that all of these museums were free for both of us since William is a card-carrying member of the American Association of Museums?
On Broadway in the 70′s I found a great little generic nail salon where I was able to give my ankle a break and freshen up a little with some wax and polish (hold the spit). Manicure – only ten bucks.
Dinner that night was at The Green Table in Chelsea Market. (I did some graphic design work for them a while back and was partially paid with a gift certificate for a nice amount). It was a lovely locavore meal, save for a bottle of French rose. Leafing through the latest copy of
Edible Manhattan, we started with cold corn chowder with curry, then worked our way across a delightful cheese plate where we were pleased to discover a new favorite – Old Chatham Sheepherding Co‘s rich and creamy Camembert, accompanied by drunken figs dipped in honey. Entree for her – fish tacos; for him – pork prepared in a tasty, unidentified southeast Asian style. The meal was flavorful, fresh and unpretentious. I was happy to discover that there was more than enough money left on the gift certificate to merit a return trip.
We took a post-prandial expedition to the nearby and newly-renovated High Line, which was a revelation. Ambling north for a few blocks, on one side of the roughly 30-yard wide walkway were plantings of native grasses partially obscuring vestigial train tracks. On the other, custom-designed wooden-slatted lounge chairs on rollers and also set in a track. People of all ages lolled above the meatpacking district enjoying the cool night air and a festive, if anonymous, block-party ambiance. A large group of people in their twenties went past, each wearing a furry animal mask. Traveling through an open-air tunnel lit by overhead blue lights, we descended the stairs and headed back.
On the way back to the car the next morning, we popped into Zabar’s to purchase some of the aforementioned delicious sheep’s milk cheese (AND lox, AND rugelach) to take home with us.