Monday, April 30, 2012

Weekend Four of Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Saturday and Sunday

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
                                        Virginia Woolf

Slept in a bit, thank God, and had a wonderfully lazy late morning, early afternoon, drinking coffee,  The Girls, Roomie, and I.  we snacked on the munchies I had picked up the night before. A lousy weather day, heavy rain, foggy, thankfully not too cold. What to do? Manis and Pedis. It is truly a treat to walk around the corner, literally, and be able to get these treatments.
from Susan C.
            Then home to get beautiful for our dinner date at Esca. We were treated like Queens as everybody was very happy to see K2. we went soup to nuts, again, so  never a cheap meal here, but awesome. Everybody was a bit excited as Denzel Washington was supposed to be coming in. I exclaimed that I would have to hang around the bar to wait, but then found out it was to be a late dinner, so we left. (As it turned out Denzel was a no show,“just” his Wife, and friends.  Glad we didn’t hang around.)
Flea Market

Elsa Interior
Elsa's from Jean-Paul P.

 off to Elsa’s (East 3rd between Avenues B & C ) a Great  place to meet with friends. And about 10 of K's did come in, Around 1a.m. I hit my wall, K and I went “home.
   Up again Sunday morning for an intimate brunch for 8, down in the EastVillage at Flea Market (Ave A between St Mark’s Place and 9th.) It was a glorious, sunny day.

Museum of Natural History, frorm the website
  After Brunch K1 and I decided to go to the Museum of Natural History (Central Park West and 81stStreet) as she had read about two special exhibits that interested her. We walked from the East Village west through Greenwich Village, NYU, Washington Square Park, and jumped on the MTA up to 81stStreet to the Museum. Kind of cool, you can walk right into the Museum from the underground T stop. Bought our tickets, one thing kind of dismaying, some of the special exhibits have an additional fee. 
from The Tibetian Medical Paintings Exhibit
The first exhibit we went to was “The Brain”. It wasn’t what we expected.  It was geared for families, we think, so in that realization, it was good. The Museum is truly massive, so in trying to find the other exhibits, you have no choice but to roam among many different galleries. The dinosaur room is always amazing. Finally found the Tibetan Medical paintings exhibit. Quite interesting, and beautiful, the details in the art was amazing.
Found ourselves outside and the day was beautiful. We decided to just start walking through “the Park”. Everytime I go into Central Park, I am grateful to the “powers that Were” to have had the foresight to create this incredible urban oasis. It is gorgeous every single season of the year. It’s always so invigorating to be surrounded by hundreds of people who are out amongst you, soaking up the beauty, the sun, and the day, especially with the winter we’re all enduring.
Fusha Japanese
Fusha. from their website
  With all the food we had eaten over the weekend, we decided we needed a bit more before the bus ride home. We headed to Fusha on 1stand 58th, an Asian restaurant that had a great menu, and decided on some Miso soup, and sushi. Perfect.
  Home to pack, and rest a bit, then into a cab to grab our Megabus home. Grabbed the first row on the top deck for fun, but unfortunately a group settled in around us who did not know how to use their indoor voices. So, we snoozed of and on to be constantly awoken with high pitched foreign language screeching into our consciousness. Overall an awesome weekend. I truly love nothing more than spending quality time with my Ladies.  It was FUN!!! 



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey Weekend Four: Friday

              "Motherhood: all love begins and ends there."  Robert Browning

Stayed home for a weekend, as planned, three weekends down to NYC each month.  It was nice to hibernate with PuppyHead.  Truth be told I became paranoid of the snow and ice last winter.  I’m too young to be this afraid of such accidents, aren’t I? The next Week I had, booked Megabus for after work Thursday at 9:30 pm. (free ticket!, and I have two more!).  Megabus is giving away 100,000 free tickets this winter, got myself a few!  Got “home” pretty late, but Roomie was up, and we chatted up for a bit, then to bed.
Artisanal Dining Room, from their website
            Friday woke up to sunshine, thank God.  K and I met at noon at Artisanal Restaurant, on Park and 32nd Street.for a nice birthday lunch, hers.  Roomie had highly  recommended it.  We had a great lunch, including a bottle of wine.  Decided to do a bit of shopping before K had to go off to work.  Walked up 5th Avenue, and poked into Lord & Taylor, picking up a cute dress, and top for her.  

Lou Lou Button Shop, from the website
          I then roamed around the garment district looking for a button store.  Remember Windsor Button shop?  Where are all the button places now, where does one get buttons in Boston?  Well, I found a great little shop on West 38th, with a character for an owner, Lou Lou's Button Shop.  I got five great buttons, and promptly put four of them on my coat when I got home.  (I love my coat, a big camel hair wool coat made in Italia..bought it here a few years ago at a flea market at a Church on the Upper West Side!  I lost a couple of buttons a few weeks ago.)

Food Emporium on 1st and 60th, from their website

The Sutton Wine Shop
from Kirk V on 57th
 Invited older Daughter K to join me this weekend to play for K’s birthday. K had to work today so she had tickets for the 6pm Megabus…called at 7, no bus, finally, with a lot of other frustrated people, she got on a bus at 8:15.  I had already gone to the Food Emporium to pick up some things (sushi, ready made soups, crackers and cheese, yogurts, fresh fruit..$75!).  That’s okay, she’ll be exhausted and we can chat here as I also stopped and got a couple of bottles of wine.  It really is fun to just walk out my door, and walk to pick up these odds and ends.
            K finally got here around 1a.m with Birthday Girl K following shortly after, having gotten off work “early”.  After much wine, and some great conversation, we sent K home, and we went to bed around 5 a.m.  The Girls claimed that if I could still pull nights like this with my high school friends, I could do it with them. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Weekend Three

 "Many People will walk inand out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart"
                                                                                                                                                            Eleanor Roosevelt
Transit by lightwerk
from lightwerk on Flickr
         Trains, planes, and automobiles, literally to begin weekend three. I had almost decided to not go down to New York for the weekend as yet another snowstorm had hit the East coast Thursday through Friday morning.  But the storm was gone by midday, so I decided to go.  I was able to get me a seat again on a JetBlue flight and I’m beginning to like a jet-setter.  I worked til 3 on Friday afternoon, jumped on the MBTA ($2) to get to the airport.  As my office is in Copley Square, I had to take the Green line to the Red line to the Silver line, about an hour.  Headed to the gate to see that the flight was delayed about an hour.  Easy quick flight when finally enroute.  Then a bus from JFK to Grand Central (should have been $7, but when booked online came to $20 as forced to buy a roundtrip, I used the second portion another time).  I had planned on taking the MTA to the apartment but it was truly freezing so I splurged on a cab, $15.  So, $37 and 7 and a half hours to get to NYC this night.
                Greeted warmly by Everyone, and of course the puppies.  Enjoyed a glass of wine and some chat before hitting the hay at around 12:30 a.m. while Everybody else was still up.  No wonder the city never sleeps, as it seems that Everybody who lives there never does either!  No alarms set as I knew I’d never do the Central Park Health Walk as it was expected to be a frigid weekend. It proved to be true.
Original Million Dollar Quartet:
Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, and Johnny Cash, from the web
But, I did get rolling and ready, and headed out the door for the day at about 11 a.m. as I wasn’t going to waste my time on my Odyssey.  On a wicked winter weekend at home I may not have ever gotten dressed, and while those weekends are like gifts to myself as well, it felt good not to be a lazy bum wasting my precious free time.  I jumped in a cab, again, decided to splurge for the weekend on this luxury due to the cold, and headed to the Nederland Theatre on 41st Street to enter the lottery for $30 seats to “The Million Dollar Quartet.  Won!  Actually, Everyone in line won that day, pays to brave the cold!  It was fun chatting with the others in line, helped to take our minds off how cold we were.
Bar @ Esca, from their website
              Had a couple of hours before the show, so decided to treat myself to a good lunch.  Off to Esca (9th Ave and 43 St), hadn’t been there since K left.  New faces, but a few friends left, the Sommelier, and Chef K.  As always, I had a tremendous meal.  Chef Dave Pasternak is a true genius when it comes to food.   I started with a lovely glass of Prosseco and the crudo of the day (Italian style sushi).  I had never had pasta at Esca, and it’s homemade so I had the daily special with shellfish along with a great red wine.  An awesome, if not exactly cheap, lunch.
                Back to theatre, and I was lead to the front row, where I was greeted with the familiar faces of the people who had been in the lottery line with me.  Definitely worth braving the cold, front row center literally!  While this is not something to cherish in a movie theatre, I had had this experience one other time in my life.  Years ago when I brought my Girls to their first Broadway production, Les Miserables in Boston, we sat front row center.  At the end of Les Miz that day, my “Baby” turned to me and announced that was what she was going to do when she grew up.  She has never veered from that dream. 
After the show was over, I headed over to the W Hotel in Times Square.  My dear friend (who came into my life initially as a patient!) was down with a couple of Ladies to move her daughter home from Fordham.  Unfortunately, it is simply too expensive, so she had one great semester, and will finish in Boston.  (Don’t even get me started on the “generosity” of the Jesuits….).  We had a glass of wine in the oh so foo-foo cocktail lounge, where the college daughter met us.  Went up to their tiny, expensive foo-foo room so they could freshen up.

Mussels and Fries
Mussels and Frites @ Flea Market Cafe
(on Tuesday nights, it's all you can eat of these!)
 Then off we went, in an SUV we could all fit in, to the East Village, to my favorite, Flea Market Cafe (Ave A between St Marks' and 9th). My landlord/roommate/now friend met us.  We had a wonderful dinner, as always, and were treated likes queens.  Had one more nightcap in Times Square with the “Girls”.
Brunch bread basket with Sarbeth's jam @ Cafe Joul

  K and I met for brunch at Café Joule (1st Avenue between 58 and 59th ) Sunday morning, so literally around the corner from my NYC home.   Went back to K’s place for awhile, then “home” to gather up my things, to jump in a cab to take me to 9th and 31St to get my 6:10 pm. Megabus home.  So, trip home was 30 minutes in the cab, plus 4 and a half hours on the bus, to picked up by at South Station, total of  5 hours, and $25 (cab was $12, bus was $13).  Jury is out on what is the easiest way to travel to NYC.

These are the sites I use for tickets, etc:;; and .  (NYTix also gives great information and tips on how the different plays have lotteries, etc.  That’s how I found about the great seat I scored for “Million Dollar Quartet”.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Weekend Two/Monday

"He who postpones the hour of living rightly is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses it."  Horace 

Bistro Vendome from its website
Woke up after a great night's sleep, cup of coffee, shower, chat with Everybody.  Out the door to see a movie but, first a nice lunch.  Decided to stop into the restaurant right next door, and was the first person there for the day.  (How awesome is it that, there’s a great restaurant literally right next door?!)  Having lived in the ‘burbs most of my life, it’s a real treat!  Bistro Vendome (E 58th between 1st and Sutton Place) is charming.  The Bistro was offering a 2 course prix fix for $20, or 3 course for $25.  I decided to go all out with the 3 course.  Had a wonderful vegetable soup, salmon with a side of what seemed to be eggplant in a marinara type sauce, with a lovely glass of pinot noir, cappuccino and crème broulet for dessert. 
 Then off to see “The King’s Speech” with Colin Firth, a few short blocks away.  Excellent movie.  (Everybody had been telling me that, but somehow I wasn’t in that big a hurry to see it.  Very glad I did!)
Grand Central
I somehow misjudged my timing for the day, so after the movie I rushed back to the apartment, nobody there, so texted Roomie to say goodbye, grabbed my things, and rushed back out to grab a cab to Grand Central.  Jump on a bus out to JFK,  stressing about the Holiday traffic and of course the JetBlue terminal is the last one the bus stops at.  Rush to a reservation desk with no paperwork as I had no access to a printer, easily got my boarding pass, and the nice Lady assured me I had plenty of time.  Thankfully my flight was delayed a bit, so I did have plenty of time.
Just got off my first “free" flight on JetBlue!  Waiting for my Husband to get off work, I jumped into Boston Brewery for a glass of wine and a burger, sometimes there’s nothing better.  And, Ray Bourque was there!  I was really feeling like the jet-setter I knew I was meant to be!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Two, Sunday of Winter in Manhattan Odyssey

     “I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full.” – Lord Dunsany

New Portico Gallery Opens
The Frick Collection from its website
                   Sunday morning headed out to visit the Frick Collection on East 70th and 5th Avenue.   From its brochure: Internationally recognized as a premier museum and research center, The Frick Collection is known for its distinguished Old Master paintings and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decoration.
The collection was assembled by the Pittsburgh industrialist Henry Clay Frick (1849-1919) and is housed in the Frick family’s former residence on Fifth Avenue.  One of New York City’s few remaining Gilded Age mansions, it provides a tranquil environment for visitors to experience masterpieces by artists such as Bellini, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya, and Whistler.  The museum opened in 1935 and has continued to acquire works of art since Mr. Frick’s death.”
OMG, I think I may have found a museum that rivals the Gardner Museum in my heart!  (I have to read more about the Frick family as I’m not sure if any of them are as interesting, and awesome as Mrs Jack.)  But, quite honestly the art in the Frick is more to my taste, and so many of my favorites artists are there!  Besides the illustrious group noted above I saw one my favorites, a Piero della Francesca.  Think of any artist you’d love to see, or that you’ve studied, and I think the Frick may have it.  My mouth kept dropping open as I came upon El Grecos, Gainsboroughs and Constables, Valesques, Titians, Monet, Degas, Van Dycks, De saint Aubin, Veronese, Renoir, Manet, sculptures by Rousseau.  It was an enthralling hour or so.  The normal charge is $18, but on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. it is pay what you wish.
I left the Frick fully intending to jump in a cab to get down to the theatre district to try and get tickets to “Million Dollar Quartet” (recommended by a doctor).  But the sun was shining, it was brisk, and I started to walk.  Walking along 5th Avenue, I thought, this is it, I belong!  I crossed over at the zoo and was greeted by llama, goats, and sheep!  Walked 30 blocks to the Nederland theatre to find out no Rush seats were left ($30), and the only tickets would be $75 even with the code that I had.  I didn’t want to pay that much, so headed up to the TKTS in Times Square, same result.  And, no other shows I was really interested in seeing.  So, next best thing.  A good lunch!

Anitpasti @ Becco
 As I was quite tired and foot sore from my long walk, I wanted to eat close by.  I would gladly have gone to K’s old restaurant, Esca, but it doesn’t open til 4 pm on Sundays.  I decided to go to its sister restaurant, Becco, on “Restaurant Row”, 46th street.  It is one of Lidia Bastianich’s restaurants, real Italian, red sauce type comfort food, perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon in January.  I love sitting at the bar, especially if I’m alone.  You may end up having nice chats with people near you.  Becco has a nice prix fixe lunch that I took advantage of, salad or antipasti, and as much of the days three pastas as you wanted.  As I must have a nice glass of wine with a great meal, I asked the bartender to choose for me and he informed that Becco has a great selection of bottles of wine for $25!  I declined a full bottle, and had the antipasti.  It’s excellent, a selection of grilled and marinated veges, and a couple of seafood selections.  The pastas were great, and again, perfect for a cold winter day.)
            Towards the end of my dinner, a couple sat next to me, and eventually we started chatting.   The wife, grew up in the same part of Ireland as my Grandparents (Lietrim) so we were quickly long lost friends.  Her niece works at Becco, and they were there for an annual dinner to commemorate Her Mom’s birthday.  Before long all her sisters, and assorted family members arrived and I was part of the clan.  Had a wonderful time chatting, and one of the sis’ looked my Mom (perhaps truly a long lost cousin)!  Finally decided my time at Becco must end, so off I went.      
Professor Thom's, New York, NY
Professor Tom's from its website
My Daughter, is a real sports fan, and the Pats were playing the Jets in a playoff game.  She was meeting friends at a “Boston” sports bar near the East Village.  So, I headed south.  Took the train to Union Square, and decided I must poke into Nordstrom Rack. Then headed to Professor Tom’s, on 2nd Avenue between 13 & 14 Streets.  Nightmare, worse than the Oak Bar last weekend.  I walked through hoards of people to no avail. Texted K to say I was out of there!

Decided one more time to try the TKTS booth in Time Square, still nothing of interest, so headed "home" fro the night.  I was beat, and more than content.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Two, Saturday, Winter in Mahattan Odyssey

"Each morning when I open my eyes, I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today."  Groucho Marx

Had all good intentions to go to Central park Saturday morning to do their weekly health walk.  You know where good intentions was cold..I did some yoga in my room instead..  At noon headed out to see a Teen theatre group do scenes and music from “West Side Story” with Roomie, and friends.  It was an incredible show filled with tremendously talented teens of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
                From its website:
Amas Musical Theatre (Donna Trinkoff, Artistic Producer/Rosetta LeNoire, Founder) New York City's award-winning pioneer in multiculturalism in the performing arts, now in its 43rd year. Founded by ground-breaking actress and producer Rosetta LeNoire, Amas ("you love" in Latin) is devoted to the creation, development and professional production of new American musicals through the celebration of diversity and minority perspectives, the emergence of new artistic talent, and the training and encouragement of inner-city young people.
After the show we went to a neighborhood (between Union Square and the East Village) pizza joint, and had a very nice lunch together.  Our group was Roomie and Partner, Daughter, and Roomie’s extremely interesting cousin. Cousin had lived in Cambridge and worked at WBGH (public television in Boston) in the early sixties.  Now she lives within site of the Guggenheim!, and does a lot of work with BAC.  She’s been an award winning producer (Emmy and Oscar voter!!), and writer.  Fascinating.  Also, at the show Roomie introduced us to her friend who was President of AMAS.  This Lady is an MD, survived two bouts of cancer, raised a daughter who now has children, and is exploring her love of theatre having had a one woman show.  She has been included in a book, “100 Women Who Love Their Jobs.” written by Joanne Gordon . How lucky was I to be meeting all these wonderful and fascinating people?
Inoteca from its website
          We parted ways then as I headed to the LES (Lower East Side) as I had read in Time Out New York’s website about a book reading at what sounded like, and proved to be, a funky book store in the early evening.  I poked around some shops then headed to a wine bar I’ve enjoyed in the past, Inoteca on Rivington at Ludlow.  Very excited to have one of my favorite Italian reds, Sangrantino from Umbria (usually very tough to have outside that area), along with some lovely cheeses.  Perfect.
                Contentedly I walked around the corner to the funky independent bookstore, Bluestockings, on Allen Street at Stanton.  Have you ever read the wrong book by the right author?  I feel like my bookclub of over 20 years has done so a few times.  That’s how I felt about the reading.  I’m delighted to have found this bookstore.  Their selection of books was quite interesting.   (I’ve read quite a few of their selection, so felt cool and with it!)  Don't you miss bookstores? So sad the demise of them, especially the small ones.  But, the book being discussed, was not my cup of tea.  To me, it was young radicals, against our government, blah, blah…don’t want to get into it.  Thought it was going to be a foodie book and history tied together.  Wrong.
                Then I decided to go up to the Ginger Man, again, to say a quick Hi to K.  Had piece of the chocolate cake she told me about, and another Frambois beer.  It really is like an after dinner drink!  Then headed “home” for the night.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Weekend two, Friday, Winter in Manhattan Odyssey

   "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."  Jorge Luis Borges

Another six a.m. bus from South Station, fortunately I was able to sleep most of the bus ride again. Bus arrived right on time, jumped in a cab, and arrived to my NYC home by 11:30am.   Out for the day, I headed down Lexington, poking in a couple of boutiques on my way to the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street.  Decided to get a small something as the granola bar, and coffee I had wasn’t going to last me so I popped in to a Café Metro.  It was freezing out, and soup was just what the doctor ordered for a day like this. Café Metro is clean, with great fresh food and there are many locations around the city. 
Another chain that I’ve frequented in the past is Pret a Manger.  I saw a sign in one of their windows that said their food was fresh daily, and each evening leftover food was distributed to homeless shelters.  Also they advertised the wages (quite a bit above the national minimum wage), and their humane treatment of employees.  Now truth be told, when I come to Manhattan, I like to “dine” a bit, but these two chains are great for a nice quick bit on the run.  (I just read they are coming to Boston.)
Lobby Entrance @ the New York Public Library
from Tina L
            The New York Public Library is a gorgeous building and walking through the front doors was amazing.  Understood why Carrie (ala “Sex and the City”) wanted her, albeit ill-fated, wedding there.  I joined a free tour of the Library led by a volunteer Docent who loved her job.   It was a well-spent interesting hour or so.  At the end of her tour she passed out 10% off coupons for the gift shop.  I have found over the years that museum gift shops are some of my favorite places to shop for gifts, and odds n ends, never been to one in a library before.  Actually had lots of great items and saw a couple of things in particular that I liked. 
Original Winnie the Pooh

Winnie and Friends
The Library has an incredible amount of interesting “stuff” and there’s always special exhibits going on.  I went down to the children’s room to search out the original Winnie the Poo!, Tigger, and friends who reside there. 
                Leaving the building, I went behind the library to the lovely Bryant Park where each winter a skating rink is erected.  A few of the shops from the Christmas Markets were still there, so of course I had to poke around, and found a few treasures for the Girls.  (Funny, just that week on Facebook, a Milton Mom asked the question as to when we stop buying presents for our kids..I didn’t respond because I don’t think she was looking for my response…never.  I still enjoy buying the Girls things..)
                Off to The Ginger Man again, to check in say Hi to K (had a great audition today!).  Felt like a star as many of the young Ladies working came to give me hugs and hellos.  Had a spicy buffalo shrimp plate, and two beers! Time to head “home” and meet up with Roomie for dinner.
Dylan's Candy Bar from its website
              Roomie’s Daughter requested that we go to to California Pizza Kitchen.  Shared lots of small plates, great!  And, then to a place next door that I’ve read a lot about, Dylan’s Candy Bar.  (It’s on 61st and 3rd Ave).  Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan, came up with this idea.  Simple.  And Brilliant (although not cheap)!  I even bought my Mom a SkyBar, remember them?!
                Home again.  We walk everywhere! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Weekend One/Sunday

Caramelized pancake @ Flea Market photo courtesy of Matylda
"To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence"  Mark Twain
Sunday, I slept in a bit, texted K to call when she woke, as we were going to meet for brunch, only to forget to turn my ringer to my phone on!  After a couple of hours of coffee and chat with my Roomie (The Teen Ladies had headed up to Harlem to have their hair blown out.  Again, how cool is that?), I looked at my phone to wonder when K was going to wake up, I saw she had left 3 messages!  The not so funny joke in my family is my lack of having a clue with cell phone, although to my credit, I’m actually getting pretty good with my new I Phone (yes, I Phone!), when I have things turned up correctly, anyway.  Quickly called her to be told that she was on her way to Flea Market on Avenue A in the East Village to meet her friend who was already there!  I made a mad dash to get dressed, threw on a bit of makeup on (my NYC face..I rarely wear makeup, except when I’m going out somewhere special, or traveling..), ran out of the building, jumped in a cab, and got to Flea Market as they finished their first mimosa and bloody Mary.  We enjoyed a lovely brunch, great chat, including the manager who always makes us feel at home. 

Galleria J Antonio from its website
Then the three of us meandered around the East Village, I made a payment on my first piece of art. (The owner, gave me a big hug and kiss as I’m now an insider, a collector!  Later that spring K brought some friends into the shop and the owner, said, "Hello, you're Kathy's Daughter!"  Her friends were quite impressed.  I love when that happens!)  We poked and shopped in some of the great consignment shops.  Then I headed home to get ready to catch my bus to Boston. 
                Bus ride home was uneventful and restful. (I tend to take Megabus the most.  Easy, cheap, and they sometimes have free seats!)  Great first weekend of my Odyssey.  The thought of another winter blizzard did not even fazing me, as I was loving winter so far!  (Actually, as I finished writing this summary of my first weekend, I enjoyed my second snow day of the season thanks to the storm..I feel like an eight year old again!  I have always been the person to go to work through any weather, so last year, I thoroughly enjoyed, and took advantage of having the permission to stay home!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Weekend One/Saturday

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

from its website
Saturday noon was the planned time for my welcome brunch.  I woke up around nine and decided to take a short walk around “my” neighborhood.  A block and a half away is a small park overlooking the East River.  Beautiful.  Back down on the corner of my street is a great little coffee shop, Orchard House Cafe on First Ave @ 58th Street, where I read The Village Voice while enjoying my coffee and muffin.  Off to check out the TJ Maxx on the next block, could prove to be dangerous living so close to a TJ’s!
                Home again, jump in my shower, put on my new bathrobe.  I’m so relaxed, and still as excited as a kid, loving it.  K arrived, and Roomie had me answer the door and invite her into “my” new home.  We had a lovely Brunch, me & my Baby, my new Roomie and her Partner, and the Teens.  A few hours later, I put my NYC face on and headed out.
  It was snowing lightly so I headed toward Central Park for my walk in the Park while snowing.  (When I decided to make this dream come true, that was the vision I kept imagining, to accomplish it on my first weekend I think is prophetic?)  I walked by way of Bloomies (2 blocks), and in six blocks I was entering Central park at 60th.  It was dusk, a gorgeous light, with snow falling lightly.  I meandered along a path and found myself at the Zoo. Then followed another walkway and found myself on one of the Park’s lovely stone bridges overlooking the Wolman Rink on one side, and a duck pond on the other. Gorgeous.  I then headed south towards one of my favorite places, The Plaza. (Another long story for another time, but I did once have an awesome weekend at the Plaza with my Daughters.) 

                I entered the main entrance of the Plaza to be greeted by a massive Christmas tree.  I then decided to check out the Food Hall bearing Todd English’s name (not a real fan).  It is a great concept, which the Batali, Bastianich, Pasternak crew has reenacted in Madison Square, Eataly.  I then headed to the renowned Oak Room for a glass of wine.  Nightmare.  As I approached it, there was music blaring, and a bouncer outside allowing in the “beautiful people”.  I promptly turned around and instead went to the Champagne Bar where Carlos poured me a lovely of glass of wine.  I relaxed, watched the snow fall, read a bit, and eavesdropped a bit on the group sharing the bar with me.  Another group of beautiful New York women, one with her older (my age) Doctor Husband.  They were gracious and friendly when I gave up my chair as I left, and we chatted briefly.
From its website
                Off to the theatre district where I decided to see Laura Linney, and Christina Ricci, in the play “Time Stands Still”.  I bought the tickets 45 minutes before show time at the box office using a  code, getting a $200 seat for $85.  The show was excellent, funny, sad, bittersweet, and tragic.  After the show, I decided to walk home.  It was blustery and cold, but walking the streets of Manhattan, with many Christmas lights still glowing was magnifcent.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Weekend One/Friday

            “There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.”
                                                                          Charles Dudley Warner

My Odyssey begins!  After an easy uneventful bus ride (which I managed to sleep through), even though it snowed much of the way, I arrived in New York City for my adventure to begin.   I took a cab to "my" apartment in Sutton Place as my suitcase was quite heavy with my new sheets and towels, some shoes, boots, clothes, and new Origins toiletries that my older daughter, K, had given me for Christmas.  I felt like a young co-ed heading off to college!  My new Roomie greeted me at the door with a big "Welcome" sign and showed me the ins and outs of my new home away from home.  I unpacked, and moved into my room, and bathroom
Penelopes photo courtesy of Amanda H
                I then walked the sixteen blocks to K’s apartment observing my new neighborhood.  It was snowing, and lovely.  The walk took me along 1st Avenue, past the United Nations.  Arriving at K’s building, I was greeted by the Doorman who remembered me, "Mom".  ( I love going were they know my name!!).  Off we went to lunch at Penelopes, on Lexington @ 34th.  I had been there before, and it was wonderful.  Good home-cooked comfort food with a new twist.
We then walked to Ks new place of employment, The Gingerman on 36th between 5th and Madison, where I met many of her co-workers, and friends.  This job was a very good one for K, much less stress from ego chefs, and demanding clientele who expect the world. (She had been at a 3 star restaurant for a year).  This gives her the time and peace of mind to work on her music and acting.
The bar @ the Gingerman, from its website
After my lovely beer I left and started walking up 5th Avenue.  Came upon Lord and Taylor and decided to poke around.  An hour or so later, with bag in hand, containing a few tops to leave in my Manhattan home for the winter, continued walking.  Decided to head home, and stopped at a neighborhood wine store to pick up a bottle of Proscecco for Brunch in the morning, and a bottle of wine to sip while I started my notes for the weekend.
                When I got home my Roomie’s Daughter had arrived home from school for the weekend, and she had an important question for me.  Would it be okay if Daughter's best friend came to spend the night?  They didn’t want to impinge on my first night.  I thought that incredibly considerate, and said that of course that was absolutely okay, and that they never had to worry about me in that regard.  I have always loved other people’s kids!  So, Daughter left to meet up w her Friend who lives down in Union Square, to come home later.  How cool is that?  Sixteen year olds “hanging around” New York, navigating the MTA with no qualms.  Roomie left shortly after for rehearsal for her upcoming musical review of Tony award winning songs to play at a Church in the UES in February.  One of my Roomie’s many lives was musical theatre, a love she never forgot, and is now going back to it.  So, I had “my” apartment to myself, very happily poured myself a glass of wine, and proceeded to write about the first day of my “Winter in Manhattan Odyssey!”         
               Roomie arrived home a few hours later, followed shortly by the Girls.  We chatted, at which point  Daughter’s friend, told Roomie that I was “mad cool”.  (New York’s adjective used in the way that we Bostonians use “wicked”).  The young Ladies set up their bed in the living room (thank God for the genius who invented aerobeds).  Off to bed I went for my first night’s sleep in my new home away from home in New York City.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Winter in Manhattan Odyssey: Introduction

             "Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age." 
                                Booth Livingston (American novelist and dramatist)

United Nations from Keiko S
from Keiko S
             My love affair with Manhattan began when I was thirteen years old.  It was the summer I graduated from my parochial grammar school of eight years.  A beloved Uncle invited me to accompany my Grandmother to a visit with his family in southern Connecticut.  On the Sunday afternoon, he and my Aunt piled all five of their children, along with me and my Grandmother, into their station wagon, and off we went into the big city of New York.  We went to the UN and walked around (this was still in the times of innocence, no terrorist threats in the early seventies, at least not on American soil.).  Then he found the Hospital where my Great Aunt, a Franciscan Nun, on my Mom’s side lived and worked.  Sister Philomena brought us to the hospital roof, the sky-line spread around me like a comforting blanket and I was hooked.
Production photo
OBC Photo
Sardi's Restaurant
Sardi's from Gourmet G
from Wikipedia
The next time I was in New York was the winter after I graduated from Hygiene School.  “The South Shore Carpool” (the moniker we were given in school) did a weekend bus trip to the Big Apple.  The focus of that trip was to see Andrea McArdle in “Annie”.  I was sick as a dog with a brutal cold, shouldn’t have done anything of the sort, but being twenty, of course I went!  I remember the bus, the show, dinner at a New York institution, Sardi’s (on W 44th between 8th and 9th) after the show.  This was the seventies, most of the Group tried to get into Studio 54 after Sardi’s.  I couldn’t, I had had enough, and needed my bed.   I remember walking home with one of the Other Girls, and not being one bit afraid (thinking I was supposed to be, as Everybody had warned me about the Big Bad City). I remember getting up Sunday morning before leaving and going to Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Loved it.
 During my month long honeymoon with my Officer and not so Gentleman, after Hawaii for almost two weeks, we came back East to my Family. We also spent a few days in New York City with one of my new Sisters in Law who was living in Manhattan.  The dinner we had at one of the big famous Italian restaurants of the seventies, Mama Leone's, was the biggest meal I had ever eaten, and truly filled me for two days.  We were there on a Monday night, so most Broadway shows were dark, but Liza Minelli’s ex, Peter Allen (the Boy from Oz), had a one man show, "Up in One" running. We went, I loved it and Him, and It was many years later before I realized his impact on the theatre-art world, for so many reasons.  On the train back to Boston, I explained to my new Husband that I had to live in New York City someday. He looked at me and said I was crazy.
Fast forward a few years, I was now single raising my Daughters and working full-time.  When the Girls were about 5 and 7, I decided to take them to New York City in December to experience the magic of the Christmas Season there.  My Mom joined us.  I remember my Babies eyes huge and in awe as we paraded around with them in their matching Rothschild coats.  They were falling in love with Manhattan as well.  That weekend we saw the Rockettes at Radio City Hall.  To this day, that show remains one of my favorite Christmas traditions. We had burgers at the Hard Rock, and the Girls were delirious with the Michael Jackson paraphernalia. We splurged on a horse drawn carriage ride and my Mom was thrilled when we found out our driver was from the same little town in Ireland as my Grandparents!
From that day forward, my Girls had their sites, and hearts, set on college in New York City.  We did the college tours there.  My younger Daughter’s senior year started during the fall of 2001, the year that all of our lives changed forever.  It was heart-breaking and thrilling at the same to be exploring New York City then.  We all learned very difficult life lessons then.  The true Middle class seems to have been left on its own when it comes to educating our Children.  Neither of the Girls attended college in New York City.  They chose colleges (McGill University and University of Massachusetts at Amherst) that I could afford (by working six days a week) as neither wanted to graduate with any debt.  There are no regrets now.