Friday, August 09, 2013

New York City or Bust

I said hello to the first days of August this summer in New York City.  I haven't been in 8 years.  This was my fourth trip to the city.  My Mom and I flew up because we have some family friends up there (a kiddo I went to school with who now happens to be an adult...so strange b/c in my head-while I grew into adulthood, he still lives as a first grader wearing dinosaur shirts.  He and  his Mom both live in parts of the city).  Jason lives in Brooklyn and (successfully) works in the art of animation.  Iris works for Columbia University and lives on Manhattan.  I was schooled on what all this means while visiting this go 'round.  I stayed in Manhattan.  It was a wet visit.  Day one it was rainy and crowded and I was trying to remember what I loved about the city.  I liked it fine, but I remember loving in on previous visits.....and after two days the rain left, and it was August and 105 back home, and 70 degrees in New York and sunny.  We call that fall in Texas.  And I remembered.  I love New York for her summers.  I learned that on my first visit to the Elmira area more than 20 years ago.  I love everything about Texas, except for late July and August.  If I had the money, I'd go North for the summer every year.  I  remembered why I loved her for more than just her summer, but that ranks high on my list while I sit in Texas avoiding anything that takes me outside.
Day one we walked up 5th avenue and through a bit of Central Park, which is always an adventure.
 We spent a lot of time on subways...
 
 ...and in taxis.
 On day two we visited Katz's deli.  I'm not a huge fan of meat, but my biggest weakness is pastrami sandwiches.  My friend Heather told me I had to get one here.  She was right.  Yu-um.
 I also headed to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to see my favorite painting on planet earth-Starry Night.  I never 'got it' before I visited the first time.  I saw it on mugs and I though-OK, it's nice.  But then you see it in person, and you 'get' why it's so popular, though the mugs would still just be a sad copy in my head, it's one of my favorite things about NYC.
 ..they have a lot of great artist you'll know by technique.  Pollock.  I remember not liking this the first time, but he's growing on me now.
 They have a section on some of the earliest photographs, near and dear to my heart.
MOMA isn't even considered their best collection, but I'll have to save the other museums for future visits.  
 Year's ago I made a lit of 101 things I want to do (101 is to make another list-this isn't a lifetime list, these are things I want to do soon, though they are huge (and small)-movies I wanted to see, books I wanted to read, classes I wanted to take, and places I want to go).  I've done a lot of things on my list, but #11 was to see Coney Island.  I love 'vintage' beach towns.  She was hit last year by Sandy, but I visited this year and she seems to be in good shape.
I grabbed a hot dog at Nathan's (yes, it really is a better dog than most, though Wrigley field's dog still gets my vote as the best ever, this is a close second).
 We walked up and down the colorful boardwalk.
 We then hopped a ferry.  Since they are in the know, Jason told us about a ferry you can grab for 3.50 (East River Ferry)-it ends near wall street and it takes you under some of the famous bridges in New York.  It was gorgeous.  I have to admit ferry drivers drive a lot like taxi drivers, just with less traffic, but the views of the cities and bridges were out of this world.
 Another thing on my list was to visit the 9-11 memorial.  You have to have advance tickets, though it's free.  Both fountains outline the footprints of the buildings.
 The water falls downward to signify the collapse of the towers.
 All along the walls are the names of those who perished in the attack.  They are grouped by companies, flights, and in some cases friendships.  They spoke with the families in deciding the best place to memorialize their loved one's name.  At night the names are lit from below, and roses can be slipped into the engraved names.
 The museum is slotted to open soon, and the newest of the upcoming WTC looms above the memorial.  It's not open, but at this point it's 80% occupied, so folks are ready to move in, with more buildings scheduled to go up soon.  It's hard to believe this all happened more than a decade ago.  There is still construction around the site, and still buildings left 'unfinished.'  I know I haven't really ever moved on either, though I live a thousand miles away.  It's even stranger still to work with a generation that has no idea what happened here, and how it impacted America.  It's one of those few truly defining moments in a nation's lifetime, and it just made me that much more aware of how important it is to share that story with others.
We ended 4 (too short) days of site seeing hanging out with Iris, eating in her quiet little neighborhood near Columbia, and getting to enjoy her view of the Hudson and bridges below.
No doubt, New York City is such a foreign way of living to my suburban ways.  I'm so spoiled by 'driving' anywhere and everywhere, but my life also lacks the charm of neighborhood restaurants and small grocery stores that know my name.  The buildings I live near don't have stories to tell like these do, and the most varied accents usually come from what part of Texas you are from and how deep your twang.  I want to get back much sooner than  another 8 years and hear a few more of the stories the city has to share.  

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