Tuesday, November 27, 2007

a delicious taste of the Big Apple; moving; Dot Rama's big lesson

Going to try to catch up on several topics at once here...it's been a busy couple of weeks!

#1. We spent this past weekend -- our anniversary weekend in New York. Our seventeenth anniversary celebrated in the Big Apple. I think I want to move there forever I love it so much! (although I would get very tired of all those millions of people going the same places I want to go every day! i'm pretty religious about my personal space.)

Confession. I love to read those travel books with the suggested day trip itineraries. When Brian surprised me with the hotel reservations for our anniversary (which he had intended to keep a big surprise, but I've been pretty grumpy lately - actually downright depressed -- and he thought planning for our get-away might cheer me up. He was right. I almost memorized Frommer's New York City 2008.)For anyone else obsessed with travel, here's the itinerary I put together for us.

After checking into our hotel on the corner of 39th Street and the Avenue of the Americas, we walked two blocks to the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. We walked through Bryant Park which was full of twinkly lights and small boutiques (picture an upscale flea market) and an ice rink with lines of people waiting to skate. We only had a half hour to tour the library and I spent almost every second gasping at the beauty of the building -- stone, marble, wood, painted murals, books, oh my!
After the library security kicked us out because they were trying to close, we walked a few more blocks to Grand Central Station on 42nd and Park -- another grand structure I had never been in before. I'll admit (somewhat sheepishly) that I was somewhat disappointed with the mural of the constellations painted on the ceiling. I'm not sure why because I love the concept so much. The rest of the building was more elegant than I had imagined. We had dinner reservations at Michael Jordan's Steak House on the balcony overlooking the main terminal. This was quite a splurge for us...but 17 years is no easy feat and well deserving of a great steak dinner. It was probably the best steak either one of us has ever had, too.
Walking back to the hotel (through Bryant Park again) in the crisp air was an excellent remedy for our very full stomachs. Across the street from Bryant park (it must have been 41st?) we stopped into a small, friendly bakery to buy some hot coffee and tea and a package of organic shortbread cookies. I wish I could remember the name of the bakery...the cookies were delicious and a perfect companion to the hot beverages. (not that we needed more food, by any means!)

After eating a decent complimentary breakfast at the hotel, we took a cab uptown to West 80th street. We wanted to attend a church called All Angel's Church that we had heard about online, but we did not know the exact address. The cab dropped us off at West 80th and Columbus and we began to ask a variety of New Yorkers if they knew where the church was. Although we were on the same street as the church, no one could tell us where it was. It was a crisp sunny morning so we hoofed it all the way to the other end of the street (almost to Riverside Park) until we found the church. This was my first experience in an Episcopal church service and it was a very meaningful experience. As many of you know I've been studying the history of the liturgical service and the church calendar and this experience was like icing on the cake. The church was small and friendly and enthusiastic. I was moved to tears during the Eucharist...something so moving participating in the Lord's Supper that way.
Walking out of the church into the upper west side residential area was so much fun. I felt like we were walking on the set of You've Got Mail! I found myself fighting the urge to buy a bouquet of fresh flowers from the corner store (which happened to be what looked like an amazing deli; however, no fresh flowers in sight).
We walked about 10 blocks down Central Park West to the building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono lived (Yoko still does) and where Lennon was shot in 1980. The Dakota was built in 1980 and features gables and dormers and is aptly described in Frommer's as having a 'brooding appeal.'
We crossed the street to Central Park and purchased hot dogs from a vendor cart. After eating on a park bench outside of Strawberry Fields (next to a mosaic memorial to Lennon -- "Imagine"), we strolled across the park to the upper east side. The day was just perfect for walking and many, many other people had the same idea! Central Park is full of surprises and even though we make it a point to go into the Park every time we go to the City I still feel like I've barely seen any of it!
Up Central Park East to the Met! It has been over 10 years since I've been to this museum and that was with my five year old son so we really wanted to dedicate several hours to exploring this humongous collection of art. Brian earns a million gold stars for this because, while he is interested in some of the history, he would not list this place on his Top Ten places to visit in NYC. The combination of being tired from all of our walking and the absolutely overwhelming nature of this magnificent building, I found I had to sit down with a map and a Diet Coke to figure out how we should spend our time.
More true confessions. I love Art. I love museums. I love art history. I love NYC. I decided I do not love the Met. Shhhhh...please don't tell anyone! Maybe it was more that the place was so crowded -- especially the Rembrandt exhibit I very much wanted to see. Maybe it's the static nature of the many, many rooms of portraits we studied diligently. Somehow, it was not ringing my bell! The best part was the gorgeous European sculpture hall -- just amazing. I found myself wondering if part of our culture's gender confusion may have something to do with our prude attitudes toward nudity in art. (i guess that is a subject for another day...but it would be a good one! There is a glory revealed in the imago dei when it is crafted respectfully and excellently in art. I really think we've missed something here, but I'll stop for now.)
OK -- so by 4pm, we were plum tuckered out! We had intended to stop in a hotel bar on the upper east side, but upon entrance realized we were severely underdressed so we hailed a cab back for our hotel.
After resting our feet we took a subway to Union Square for dinner that is more 'us' -- a beer and burger joint. Pete's Tavern boasts it is the longest continually operating bar and restaurant in New York City. After opening its doors in 1864 (!), they managed to even make it through the Prohibition by masking the building as a flower shop (although they never removed the original rosewood bar so I'm guessing local officials were enjoying that 'florist' personally!) The tavern has shown up on several televison shows -- including Law and Order and Seinfeld -- and movies. BUT, even more exciting than all of that, it is the bar that O. Henry favored and in booth #2, near the 18th street entrance, he sat night after night writing The Gift of the Magi (which happens to be one of my all-time personal favorite Christmas stories!). I literally start losing my breath just thinking about it!!

Anyway...the rest of the trip was sleeping in on Monday and doing some Christmas shopping on Fifth Avenue before heading home. Oh, yeah, we got the world's best caramel corn at Garrett's Caramel Corn, NYC on Fifth Ave. YUMMY!!!

I am so ready for the next trip. Next stop: Chinatown and Greenwich Village and the Museum of Biblical Art.

After almost two years of thinking and praying about moving closer to church, we've decided to test the waters. Getting the house ready to sell has been every bit of exhausting as we expected. We have a lot of peace, though, that God will meet every need and protect us from foolish decisions. We do have a house in Endicott that we liked a lot and, provided we sell this one soon, will purchase. In the meantime, there's this little holiday of Christmas, a son's 14th birthday and a daughter's 10th birthday to celebrate. Whew!

Check out my son's post about their gig last Friday night. I'm pretty proud of them and somewhat thankful they are getting to learn some of the harsh realities of pursuing a dream.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...