How did it take an arts-lover and city-girl-at-heart like me so long to get to New York City? I guess the hows and whys are no longer important because I finally made my first trip to the City that Never Sleeps. With my mother and sister-in-law along for the journey, we made many a mad dash up and down the avenues to see as much as possible. And when walking could not get us there fast enough, we managed the Subway system (that I had heard was not as easy to decipher as the Tube of London) pretty well if I may say so. Our three and a half days were just enough to orient me and inspire my return. Until then, here are a few of my favorites from our whirlwind visit.
I wish I could have spent more time…
- on Ellis Island. – Liberty Island was quite an experience, and the view for those with a monument pass was windy but breathtaking. Rumor has it, they are considering opening the Lady back up in the near future for the very brave and steady climbers of spiral stairs. Contrary to what some had warned, it was totally worth the visit. The only downside: we didn’t have enough time on Ellis Island. If you are interested in the great American melting pot for any reason, Ellis Island is just amazing. It’s a miracle that many of us are even here when I think about the trek our forefathers made. Great hope lies behind the very tired eyes of the pictured immigrants, and I think they even packed some in their luggage. I wonder if they saw that hope fulfilled…if we see that hope fulfilled.
- in Central Park. – I have a difficult time understanding how many ways man remade nature on the little island of Manhattan. The word from which Manhattan was derived is believed by some to mean “island of many hills.” At some point those “many hills” had to be flattened for future-thinking, grid-loving city planners. Years later, when New Yorkers grew weary of concrete and towers, they just remade nature again. I’m guessing design contest winners Olmsted and Vaux could not fully comprehend the significance or the legacy of Central Park. While the weather was perfect, my visit was too short. I’ll definitely be back there one day to bike or run or play or hike or people-watch.
- at the MoMA. – A rainy Monday sent us inside the Museum of Modern Art along with maybe half of all the other tourists in New York. With crowds and limited time, we concentrated on the Painting and Sculpture Collection. I had my first live encounter with a Pollock piece. The several works of his on display slowed me down considerably; I am so glad they did. Andy Warhol. Marc Chagall. Claude Monet. Henri Matisse. And a consistent favorite, Pablo Picasso. All were awe-inspiring. On a quick run through of a photography exhibit, I came face to face with the subject of Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. She stopped me in my tracks. I could get completely lost here.
I’m not a foodie, but I really enjoyed…
- Serendipity 3 – Visited by the well-known and the well-walked alike, you know this one from the movies. If you only get one dessert, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate is it. After all, it’s one of the original menu items created by the founding 3 “princes” of Serendipity.
- Gray’s Papaya – Now known for the “polite New Yorkers” that work there (thanks to Rudy Giuliani) and the needed “Recession Special”, this is where you should get your fill of the iconic hot dog. If it’s good enough for Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly, you know it’s an Upper West Side treat.
- Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen – Years ago, my mother was serving jury duty and decided to follow the lawyers to a lunch spot; of course, the regulars have to know the best spots. I think she applied a version of this theory when we were looking for a good, fast meal before theatre one night. “It has to be good if it’s at the ground level of the New York Times building.” I didn’t see any journalists this time of night, but we did have some excellent sweet potato fries and maple dipping sauce.
And of course, there were musicals…
Guys and Dolls
In the Heights
Details on these to come.