I’m cheating and posting this on Saturday. At first I wasn’t going to do a computer free day this weekend but I changed my mind. We don’t really celebrate Easter at our house but we decided for this year we will “celebrate” by going to see a Grindhouse matinee. Then I’m going to roast a chicken and potatoes and make some creme brulee and we’re going to watch the final season opener of The Sopranos.
Hope everyone enjoys the day.
New York City Part IV: Final Installment
Photo set is here. I added a few more photos from Bob’s roll.
On Sunday we slept in and then headed out to the Museum of Natural History. It was still cold and I needed my hat.
This is a place to bring kids and no one arrives without at least 7 of them, plus 10 strollers. Except us.
I liked the giant whale, the Indians (of course) and the dinosaurs. Especially the dinosaurs. Evolution lives here. You look at those things and you have to think about it: this was once a real thing with skin and muscles and it moved around and ate and pooped. Really cool. It was too crazy to eat here. Just a phalanx of strollers all moving towards the smell of food. We decided to try our luck elsewhere.
We walked around outside and found Calle Ocho. I didn’t think it looked promising but Bob said he had a good feeling. When we walked in it was empty and smelled like a fraternity house. Then they took us to the back to a sunny room filled with people. The gal seating us said: “You know about the free sangria with brunch?” Us: “Huh?” Her: “Yeah, free sangria with brunch. Help yourself.” A long table was filled with giant glass barrels filled with sangria. Yippee! The food was delicious and reasonably priced, too. Score 100 points for Bob.
We took a quick rest at the apartment and then met Corey for a walk around Greenwich Village and Hudson River Park. He had to man the box office for a Cabaret Show so he left us at Strand Books. One of the owners of Strand Books is married to Oregon Senator Ron Wyden(D) and he met his wife at Powell’s in Oregon. Corey had told us this whole story and warned us about the “Powell’s-ization” of Strand Books. And sure enough, the set up was mighty familiar right down to the red INFO? signs. Since we didn’t know what Strand Book was like before, we were ambivalent about the whole thing.
Turns out Senator Wyden and Senator Charles Shumer (D-NY) were doing a book reading while we were there. I got to the top of the stairs and saw Senator Wyden and thought, “Hey, I recognize that guy.” I don’t know exactly what they were doing but something with health care because there was an employee in the back of the bookstore where I was looking at science fiction going off the rails about the irony of the Senator talking about universal health care at this bookstore.
Bob and I left the bookstore and headed over to St. Clements for the cabaret show. It was a fundraiser for gay pride events for the coming year. The food was spectacular and the entertainment fun. One of Corey’s friends that owns the restaurant, Carolyn was in the show.
Later I commented to Bob that our entire day was a fundamentalist nightmare: evolution, democrats and gay cabaret.
Monday we grabbed a muffin at the Bouchon Bakery in Time Warner Center and then hit the subway to South Ferry at the tip of Manhattan. We looked at the long line stretched across the park for the Statue of Liberty (which I keep mistyping “Statute of Liberty” – I’m sure there’s a good joke in there but nothing is coming to me.) I dislike boats and didn’t feel a strong urge to see the Statue of Liberty even if it wasn’t off in the mists. I’m not sure what Bob was thinking but he knows how much I hate boats and didn’t make a big deal about it. What a prince.
We headed over to the National Museum of the American Indian. The first thing I saw was a flier about Rick Bartow. Rick Bartow is Yurok and we were first introduced years ago by a mutual friend. Since then we run into him or his work every time we do anything remotely connected to Indian Art. I loved the museum and thought it was criminally empty after the long lines and big crowds we’d seen everywhere else.
Bob got us back to Grand Central Station where we had lunch at The Oyster Bar. I think this is the equivalent to having lunch at Fisherman’s Grotto in San Francisco meaning sorta cheezy touristy but how can you not? I had the salad foursome with shrimp, crab, salmon and squid (Hi Lena!). Bob had Oysters rockefeller. We both had beers: Long Island Pale Ale.
I was losing steam by this time but not Bob. We were off to the Guggenheim museum which is an incredible building which I see just now on the Wikipedia entry was designed by Frank L. Wright. I should have guessed. It’s a big spiral and you start at the top and work your way down. That’s how we did it. The exhibit we saw was Spanish painters and was fabulous. But by the end I was completely dead on my feet and not the usual sparkling-fun travel companion that my husband loves.
He promised to get me to the room for a nap before our evening show and he did. For 20 minutes. I made the best of it and rallied and we went to the Iridium for a Les Paul show. Les Paul is 94 and invented the electric guitar and is a hot ticket. That little room was packed to the rafters. The first thing I did was point out all the exits to Bob.
The club had lots of rules like you can’t hang your coat on the back of your chair but you can hang all your bags of crap. Kids are allowed and Bob thought the youngsters were the luckiest people alive.
Les Paul is old and has gnarled fingers but he does awesome with what he’s got. He paces himself. There were lots of side bits with the various players and he did a long joke about his hearing aids. But he’s dirty and hilarious and the music sounded great. The show ended too quickly.
After the show Bob wanted to go to the top of Rockefeller Center. I don’t love heights. I know, I know. Who would want to travel with me and all my anxieties: heights-no, boats-no, crowds-no. He’s a prince. I reluctantly agreed and then found out it costs $17.50. $17.50 to take an elevator up 70 floors. That is free money for those people. I bet on a good day there’s a line for miles. I balked again but after some pouting and bickering agreed to do it.
It wasn’t bad. At first I had to have my back to the inside and could only move by shuffling my feet but the cold wind numbed my head and also it was dark so I couldn’t clearly see the hazardous depths where I might die if I managed to get flung over the 10 foot Plexiglas enclosure. The view was gorgeous and we ended up staying for almost a half hour.
Tuesday was our last day and we cleaned up and packed up and left our luggage in storage at the hotel and then went out for our last day. We found St. Patrick’s Cathedral where the funeral for the lateJudge Richard Casey was going on so we stayed a little while to watch and listen.
This day was sunny and warm and a perfect day for walking around. Our last agenda item was the Public Library which is old and huge and historical plus has art and exhibits and is worth a visit.
Then it was time to get the luggage and head back to the airport and head home. Great trip but so much left we didn’t see. Something to look forward to for next time. If you’re still reading, thanks for hanging in for the longest post in history.