Because it’s so frickin’ noisy.
I just got back from two days and three nights in New York City. The whole plan began a month ago when my niece and her friend booked an AirBnB in Manhattan. The place had three bedrooms and slept eight, so my sister decided to push up the plan to bring her younger daughter to NYC for her birthday and join them. The trip would be less expensive for everyone the more people shared the bill. I offered to help defray expenses and my generous offer was accepted. By morning, Margy had also booked a ticket to join the party.
So that’s how I wound up with two of my sisters, three of my nieces and a friend for several days and nights of fun and frolicking in New York City.
My personal adventure got a little too adventuresome right away. Like a moron, I decided at the last minute to carry on my bag instead of checking it. To save a few bucks. This, quite naturally, lead to my bag being pulled out of the X ray machine and over to a TSA agent who immediately began unpacking it. That’s when I remembered why I don’t carry on my bag. I told the agent that I packed my shampoo, toothpaste and face cream with the intention to check it all and forgot all about it…
He was very nice, kept possession of my (more than $25.00 worth of) toiletries and walked me out of the security area so I could hike back down to the ticketing agents and start all over. Unfortunately, none of my travelling companions were with me when all this happened. They came back to see what the heck happened to me only to see me being escorted through a plain gray door and disappearing with a TSA agent.
How Argo of me!
Before they had a chance to panic unduly, I ran down to the ticket counter, checked my bag (they didn’t charge me and everyone was very nice) and ran back up and through security. In the ten minutes all that took, the agent manning the X-ray machine was replaced by someone new.
This time, it was my carry on bag that got pulled off the conveyor belt for further scrutiny.
I just love to fly.
This is actually the second time the inordinate amount of change I carry in my purse has given my grief with airport security. I figure if my purse is packed with several pounds of loose coins, I can actually use it as a weapon in the case of a mugging. I've never had the chance to test this theory but one can always hope. I did not explain this to the TSA.
After 40 minutes in the security line, I was finally able to pass on to the gate, in full possession of all my change, if not my marbles.
We arrived at JFK right in the evening. We found a guy driving a rig big enough for all of us and our luggage. He was also charming and accommodating.
Once we reached our apartment, Margy and I played our old lady cards and snagged a bedroom with enough windows for a cross breeze. The weather was on the warm end of the October spectrum. The apartment had a lovely little kitchen equipped with several extraneous appliances and the only one that matters: a coffee maker.
Knowing our morning was secure, we unpacked and went to bed.
We went to a nifty little bakery around the corner for breakfast. While we enjoyed our coffee and croissants, we made our plans for the day. The beauty of traveling with grown ups means you don’t have to agree to plans. Everyone had different things on their ‘to-do’ lists, so we headed off to Times Square.
What are the chances that seven women could walk past Cartier’s without going in? Zero. There’s zero chance.
We were obviously a bunch of rubes and teenagers with no intention of buying anything but the folks inside couldn’t have been nicer or more accommodating. We were directed to the second floor, which is diamond land. We started with the Princess Grace collection and worked our way around the floor. There’s a whole case filled with archival pieces and a lady who was more than happy to tell us all about them.
“I would let you kill me right now if you promised I could be buried in these earrings!” Molly declared, staring at the display in the Elizabeth Taylor collection. She couldn’t possibly have meant it. Not that the earrings weren’t gorgeous, but she had a ticket to Hamilton on Friday!
We eventually got our Big Bus tickets and went our separate ways.
Margy and I headed straight for Central Park. We moseyed all the way through the park to the Met.
Central park is nice. It’s pretty. It’s not nearly pretty enough to impress someone who lives in Minneapolis. There’s a really good reason my city is not only number 1 when it comes to parks, we’re so far ahead of number 2, they’re really not even in our rear view mirror. Central park is like if the top part of the park at Minnehaha Falls went on for a few miles but never got to the creek, the falls or the river. Oh, wait; Minnehaha parkway does go on for miles and miles.
The Met is phenomenal. We headed straight for the American wing. I wanted to see as many Homers and Sargents as possible. We also saw some fantastic windows by Tiffany and then we wandered into an Egyptian temple and wandered around until they kicked us out because the place was closing.
While Margy and I were exploring the Met, Katie and the girls were touring the park, dancing around Times Square and seeing the view from Top of the Rock.
What would be the weirdest thing that could happen to a pair of young ladies visiting Times Square for the first time? Perhaps looking up at one of the five story electronic billboards and seeing their cousin Katelyn? Check. And then to walk out of 30 Rock and smack into Katelyn? Check!
To everyone who knows Katelyn, the most surprising thing about seeing her on a fifty foot billboard in Times Square is that it didn’t happen sooner.
So that was fun!
We all met up again at the apartment before dinner. It’s not the easiest thing for seven women to get dressed up for dinner in a one bathroom apartment. We used both sinks and all the mirrors, even the one over the pull out couch that served as Katie’s bed. I felt kinda bad about consigning her to the couch but then figured, she’s got Hamilton tickets; screw her. I may not have been completely over my jealousy.
We managed to get ourselves all dolled up and set out in search of dinner. We didn’t have a particular destination in mind. It’s Manhattan; there’s a good restaurant on every corner. We were actually checking out a street menu when a young lady walking by recommended a place right around the corner. She had just come from there and said it was good food at reasonable prices. It sounded good to us, so off we went in search of the Pig and Whistle.
It was good! Margy, Katie and I split onion rings, dinner, a slice of cheesecake and a bottle of wine. I don’t even remember what the entre was, I just remembered that it was good. After dinner, we set off for the Big Bus stop to take the night tour.
We rode the top of the bus through downtown and across the Manhattan bridge. The view of the skyline was fabulous! The cloud cover was low enough to obliterate the top half of the Freedom tower but the night time skyline still looked great.
Riding over the bridge was kind of scary. On top of the bus, we were so high above the bridge and the river, it felt more like being in a tram than on a bus. Katie was so uncomfortable on the outside seat that she dove into the middle of the bus until we were back on solid ground.
Exhausted after our long day, we started walking back to the apartment. That’s when I discovered that my boots were not in fact made for walking. They’re comfy enough but with a heel of an inch and a half, my toes were objecting mightily to the abuse they’d been taking all evening. Katie’s feet were in even worse shape, with big blisters on both heels. We tried to wave down a taxi but none would stop for us; our party was too big. Finally, a pair of shycyclists* realized we were easy pickins. They swooped over to us like the two rascals who sold Pinnochio to Stromboli and offered us a ride just as I was about to take off my boots and walk home in my socks.
“Yes!” I yelled. Sore feet impair my judgement.
“How much?” Margy asked. Her feet felt fine.
“Three dollars a minute.” Said Mr. Evil and his equally evil twin.
“Great!” I said, hopping in. “Let’s go!”
“I don’t know…” Katie said.
“What?” I scoffed. “We’re three blocks from the apartment, this won’t take three minutes, let’s go!”
“It’s pretty expensive…” Katie balked.
“I don’t care!” I said, “My feet are killing me and yours are bleeding.”
Turns out, in addition to my judgement, sore feet adversely effect my sense of direction, time and my ability to do math. The bottle of wine I had just consumed probably didn’t help.
The Uber trip that took three minutes and cost $9.00 took the shycyclists four times that long and cost five times that much. Each.
Note to self: Never make financial decisions while wearing uncomfortable shoes.
I didn’t even care. I slept like a baby.
Day two of our NYC adventure began with Margy, Katie and I buying a big bag o’ bagels for everyone back at the apartment. We went to a little breakfast place in the neighborhood that was packed to the gills. The bagels were excellent.
Friday morning, it poured rain. We took the subway down to the Ground Zero memorial. We didn’t go inside but the pools were cool enough and the building is quite magnificent. I wish it had been clear the night before: to see it towering over the night time skyline would have been something. We saw Trinity church, Alexander Hamilton’s grave and the chapel where Washington came to pray after his first inauguration. It rained all morning and we were soaked when we finally got on the bus. When we got off, as near to Greenwitch Village as we could get, the sun came out. We wandered around the village for hours, window shopping and admiring the neighborhood, discovering lovely little parks and gardens until finally we found the world’s best little Italian restaurant. Molly was determined to eat Italian and that’s what we did!
Olio De Piu looks like it was decorated completely out of garage sales. The chairs don’t match, the tables don’t match, the chandeliers don’t match…and yet the whole thing creates it’s own wonderful esthetic which is somehow both homey and chic, like an old woman wearing vintage designer clothes. The food was fanfookin’tastic as well.
Eventually we had to leave the village, catch a subway back to our part of town and get ready for our night at the theater.
We did the 'seven women and one sink' dance again. We had all brought great outfits to wear but thanks to the blistering trek we’d taken the night before, I couldn’t put my sweet boots back on my aching feet. So, from the ankles up, I was Broadway Babe but from the ankles down…meet Grandma Bunyon!
Good thing my comfy walking shoes are the same colors as my dressy pants. Besides, no one can even see your shoes while you’re sitting in a theater.
Abby, Margy and I had tickets to Book of Mormon. The rest of our party had tickets to see some show about the Revolution or some founding father or something boring…
The last time I was in New York, Book of Mormon was the show we couldn’t get tickets to see so I was really excited. The Eugene O’Neill theater is beautiful, ornate and intimate. We had really good seats on the main floor. Margy got us drinks at the bar and we took our seats with the rest of the audience to await the rise of the curtain. I was very excited but had to admit that if I was in the Richard Rogers theater with Katie and the girls, I’d be so psyched I’d be crying.
The show was GREAT. Everyone in it was fantastic, the story was hilarious and the musical numbers were fabulous. We shrieked with laughter from the opening scene to the end.
We had a reservation at Sardi’s for after the shows. Our party arrived first. I guess Hamilton runs a little long because the wild applause after every.
Slows things down a bit.
The slightly snooty maître d (probably didn’t like Grandma Bunyon’s shoes) seated us and nearly immediately, a pair of waiters came by to physically move our table over a few feet. One of them leaned down and whispered to us “have you seen Happy Gilmore? The man who played Shooter McGavin is seated next to you so we’re just giving his table a bit more room.”
We acted all cool. Because we’re a middle aged women who don’t watch Adam Sandler movies and have no idea who the hell Shooter McGavin is. I did recognize him the moment he came down the stairs. Turns out, he’s That Guy. You know: that guy who’s in everything.
He wasn’t remotely interested in being discreet or flying under the radar. He practically waved a flag that said “I’m a celebrity; Wheee!” as he swanned across the room.
Then Katie and the girls arrived. As the maître d seated them, they dropped their playbills on the table. All snootiness aside, he took one look at the black and golden cover and said “Lucky girls!”
One bathroom or not, we all looked great when we left the apartment earlier. When the girls who had been at the Richard Rogers theater took their seats at Sardi’s, Hattie looked like she had been to her dog’s funeral. She had cried off all her makeup, her eyes were red, her face splotchy and streaked…even her hair was in disarray.
She and Molly agreed that their lives had nowhere to go but downhill after seeing Hamilton.
We had a great time, reviewing our respective shows and pretending not to eaves drop on the famous folks at the table next door while they pretended not to eaves drop on us while we talked about Hamilton.
All in all, a terrific night at the theater.
I hope Hattie and Molly’s lives didn’t peak Friday night but our NYC adventure certainly did. The car arrived for us at nine in the morning and we were home by early afternoon. When we got off the plane, Molly looked at the Minneapolis skyline visible in the distance.
“Our skyline is just lame and gross.” She grumped.
It was a warm, gorgeous day so we met up with MJ and the kids to walk around Lake Harriet. The bouys have been taken up off the lake and a trio of kayakers reflected off the mirror like water. Our skyline might be lame and gross but Central Park ain't got shiiit on us!
It’s nice to be home.
* a shyster on a bicycle.