|Glued to the window. Waiting for a view of the New York skyline.|
Elizabeth and I have been planning this trip for a few months. Getting together to eat lunch and talk about what we wanted to see, and what we didn’t give a toss about. Researching the best ways to travel and where to stay. Making lists of what we wanted to do. We decided to stay at the beautiful, historic Gregory Hotel on West 35th St. There was a bit of a glitch with our booking when we arrived on Monday. But that was solved, and the rate for our first night suitably reduced. I do admit to getting, ahem, a bit testy with the front desk clerk over that. But I calmed down and things were soon hunky dory. This is me, below, lounging on my bed in my Veronica Beard jacket.
|Photo of me in our room at the Gregory courtesy of Elizabeth|
The Gregory is close to so much we wanted to see and do. So, for three and a half days we walked. And walked. The first afternoon and evening we found our bearings. Explored a few blocks in all directions from our hotel. Saw the first of many iconic landmarks. Ate Korean tapas at a nearby Korean Gastro Pub. Oh, yum. That was delicious. I even managed to use chopsticks without embarrassing myself. Thanks to my sister-in-law Yu Ling who taught me this skill many years ago.
|The Empire State Building was quite near our hotel.|
The next two days we hoofed it all over midtown and downtown. Somewhat shell shocked, I will say, by the crowds and the sensory overload. As Elizabeth said, “Too much much-ness” Love that line. Times Square is definitely a far cry from Manotick on the Rideau, folks.
|Times Square … Photo courtesy of Elizabeth|
We spent a lovely afternoon at Moma, the Museum of Modern Art. Moma was on both our ‘must do’ lists. I love modern art, having been converted many years ago when I took my creative writing class on a field trip to the National Gallery here in Ottawa. I still smile at the memory of our “very cool” tour guide who kept me and 30+ initially bored and dismissive teenagers spellbound for over an hour. I don’t pretend to always understand what I’m looking at. But I’m always willing to be enlightened. At Moma, the Matisse painting, below, began to unfold for me when I read the description. Ah, now I could see the flower pot on the balcony, the man in the round turban, seen from behind. Of course, we also saw lots of Picassos, stunning paintings by Andrew Wyeth, and those Monet water lilies that I mentioned above. And then after only two floors … we were done. Arted out, so to speak. We’d leave the rest for another visit.
On our way back to the hotel from Moma we stopped for a quiet moment at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Beautiful. Then toured Uniqlo, a temple of a very different sort. So many sweaters; none of them suitable, as it turned out, for moi. We ended the afternoon at the New York Public Library. A gorgeous old building, and so wonderful that it belongs to the people of New York. The library… perfect end to a perfect day for an ex-English teacher and a retired editor, don’t you think?
|Two Fifth Ave temples: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and fast fashion giant Uniqlo|
That night we were well able to handle a big meal, but not prepared to walk far to get it. So we dined in at Brendan’s Bar and Grill attached to our hotel, part of the original “public rooms” of the Gregory back in its heyday.
Day two was largely dedicated to shopping. Now why doesn’t that surprise you? Caffeinated and coiffed we left the hotel early, hoofed it down Broadway, and ate our breakfast in the square under the shadow of the iconic Flatiron building.
|New York’s iconic Flatiron building erected in 1902|
|Rockefeller Center, Prometheus and some skaters. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth|
We wanted to be fresh for our last night in New York. We had tickets for Beautiful:The Carole King Musical at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre. It was marvelous. Especially for two people who were teenagers in the seventies. One of whom remembers her older sister buying King’s Tapestry album back in the day. The songs from that record form part of the sound track of my early teen years. “So far away…”
|Elizabeth’s photo of me in Times Square on our way to the theatre.|
I grinned throughout the entire performance. And Elizabeth says I may have audibly “oh-ed” once or twice at the beginning of a particularly beloved song. It’s hard to keep quiet when you hear the first strains of a song you’ve sung every word to, for so many years. During the encore number the entire audience got to their feet and sang along. Sigh. Brought a tear to my eye.
In another serendipitous moment, we discovered that the role of Carole King is now played by Canadian Chilina Kennedy, whom I saw in Evita at the Stratford Festival. Now how cool is that?
|Elizabeth’s shot of the Empire State Building in the mist|