Thursday, June 25, 2009

Time away, part 1: New York, NY

I'm not convinced what I went on was a vacation. I suppose I didn't have to go to work and for the last few days I was able to sleep in, but I'm not sure that qualifies as a vacation. It was more, time away from my current city of residence. I'm going to post the 2 sections of our time away separately, since we visited 2 geographical locations.

New York, NY: Wednesday, June 17th to Saturday, June 20th.

This was my first time to New York and it was definitely far too short (I was really only in the city for 2 full days, having arrived on Wednesday after 5:00 p.m. and left on Saturday at 8:00 a.m.). I could have flown out with Andrew on Sunday, but then I would have had 5 days by myself instead of just 2. I hope we'll have the opportunity to return some time when we're both free and can tour around together.

My first hour or so in the city was not the best start I could have hoped for. I took the wrong direction at every opportunity. I went the wrong way on the tram at the airport, I went the wrong way on the subway when I reached New York Penn Station, I went the wrong way once I reached my subway stop and I cross the street in preparation to go the wrong way at 114th street. If I hadn't been pulling my luggage behind me, I would have felt a little more at ease. Overall, it wasn't all that bad. Each mistake was realized fairly quickly before I got myself in trouble and no one tried to take advantage of the fact that I was obviously a tourist and a lost one at that. However, it did mean that I left Andrew a little worried about my later than expected arrival (my Telus cell phone wouldn't work in the States). I didn't reach his room at Columbia University until 7:30 p.m. and we didn't have dinner until well after that.

We had a couple of really great dinners in New York. On my first night we went to an Italian restaurant called Campo. The combination of the music and dinners talking made it a little difficult to hear one another, but otherwise it was great. We had a delicious soft cheese as an appetizer, which was drizzled with honey and pistachios, and served with a lightly grilled flat bread. For main course I had a duck risotto and Andrew some kind of pasta with truffle butter. For desert we shared a piece house-made tiramisu. The prices were all very reasonable, too. I think my duck entree cost about $15.00. Our meal on Thursday night was at Le Monde (The World) a French restaurant on the opposite side of the street. We went all out with this meal, ordering cocktails, wine and desert coffee to go along with our food. We started with a very cheesy french onion soup then I enjoyed coq du vin and I've forgotten what Andrew had. For desert I had a delightful tarte au citron vert and Andrew had an apple crape. Again, the prices were quite reasonable. We would have paid a good deal more to eat this kind of meal at Normand's in Edmonton.

Okay, just a few more words about food. There was a great bakery on Broadway near the University were I got my breakfast on Thursday--a delicious garlic bagel with butter and a small coffee. It cost me $2.25. They had the most amazing looking deserts, but alas I didn't get to try one. I also went to a delightful grill and deli type place at Amsterdam and 114th on Friday. Here I indulged in an enormous sandwich with grilled chick, onions and peppers accompanied by an iced cappuccino. Yum!

So, beside eat, what did I do in New York? Not a whole lot, actually. Being by myself I didn't feel like venturing too far afield. I had been given the recommendation of a great museum, but it was a fair distance away from where we were staying. Google Maps told me the transit ride was about an hour long (underground on the subway). So instead on Thursday I decided to brave the torrential down pour and walk to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It took me slightly under an hour to get there (I cut through Central Park thinking it would be faster) and was soaked from the thighs down (I had an umbrella, it helped a little).

The Museum was a monstrous maze. I arrived shortly before 11:00 a.m., purchased my admission and a radio tour guide and headed off into the world of Egyptian art. This was due to location more than interest. I'd also failed to pick up a map, so I didn't know what else was available to view. As it turned out, there was lots. I wandered out of Egypt slightly dazed around noon and headed for the American wing, which I enjoyed thoroughly. It contained several mock-up rooms decorated for various time periods dating back to the 1700s. Many of the furniture pieces were simply gorgeous, but after the first floor (there were three) I knew I was pushing my luck against rapidly dropping blood sugar levels and had to hurry through the open storage floor (displaying row upon row of museum items not officially arranged in one of the rooms) and the top floor with more mock-up rooms. After lunch I checked the modern art wing, which included a number of Picassos (and other cubists whose names I can't remember), several large Jackson Pollock paintings and an Andy Warhol print of Jackie Kennedy. There were plenty of other artists, but I can't remember their names. After several mis-steps I managed to locate the musical instrument collection. I spent at least half an hour wondering around trying to find it--like I said it was a maze in there. I headed back to the University around 4:45 p.m., by which time the rain had mercifully stopped.

On Friday I started off the day with a run around Central Park. It was already pretty warm at 8:30 a.m. and there were tons of people out running the park. Not knowing how long the road through Central Park was, I starting to get worried that I wouldn't have the stamina to complete the loop, but I did (it took approximately 55 minutes). After I'd showered, dressed, packed up my bags and checked out, I grabbed a bite to eat and visited a nearby cathedral. It was big and cathedral like. I took a bunch of pictures for no particular reason. Once I'd had enough of the cathedral I headed into Central Park again to visit Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon. While at Strawberry Fields I sat for a little while to rest my very tired feet (its located on the opposite end of the park from where we were staying) then headed back up to the University. I needed to grab my bags before heading back down town to our new hotel (the University residence was throwing everyone out as a new conference started immediately after the one Andrew attended). After a short subway ride (I headed out in the right direction this time) I reached the hotel and promptly collapsed on the bed and watched an episode of Law and Order. The purpose of this stop was mainly to give my feet a rest as I wanted to explore Broadway and do a little shopping.

Our last event of our stay in New York was attending a performance of Wicked on Friday night. I first saw the show 2 years ago in London, England and loved it. Obsessed over it, actually. After I returned from Europe I purchased a copy of the sound track and the piano book. Although Andrew had never seen the show before, he was already familiar with the songs and had guessed much of the storyline. The theatre was packed and the show was as good as I remembered it. I was got a little choked up at the beginning of the performance because I was so happy to be seeing Wicked again. Weird, I know. I think Andrew enjoyed it too. When we got back, we had to pack our bags back up and set the alarm for 5:45 a.m. so we could catch our morning flight to Toronto.

That's all for part 1. Part 2 to come in a couple of days.



No comments: