In the Big Apple Ethiopian food was good, but I was a tad too nervous to really enjoy it. I have discovered that first of all, I am not a very relaxed traveler. Arriving at Penn Station was fraught with a variety of frightening fantasies about whether our luggage actually made it from Chicago and I worried about where in that huge space we were to find our bags.
I was also concerned about how we were going to connect with Saddie, although we had text messaged her several times before we actually arrived in the station. Being winter already - at least in terms of the length of the days and being particularly tardy in our arrival, I was worried about the dark.
Silly. NYC is never really dark. Especially at the holidays and as close to Times Square as we were, there would be plenty of light. Still, my fantasy world often takes over my rational mind and all hell breaks loose. This was one of those times. It is a gift to have Sy around at these times, as a solid ground for my flights of fancy.
We did detrain. Our luggage did arrive, just as heavy as it had been when we checked it in Chicago on the advice of the ticket agent who issued our boarding passes. Saddie found us and showed us where the taxi ranks were. We arrived safely to our abode for the next five nights, a comfy first floor Chelsea cave. She had scoped out the room situation before we arrived and urged us to get a first floor room since the stairs were vry steep. Wooden ducks decorated the almost ceiling decor. Wood was everywhere. Warm, dry, and a firm mattress with plenty of pillows with accents of yellow hominess crated a refuge from busy New york Cit.
We slept well that night in our double bed, almost not even pushing each other around what seemed initially as a small space. Taking a shower in the room mitigated some of the dryness endemic in radiator heating below the window. We ended up opening the window a tad to let the cool outside air keep us from suffocating in the middle of the night.
I think it is there that I left my camera, but I am unsure of where that might have happened. This was the trip of loss, New Zealand rain jacket (returned) $250 Canadian and debit card (not returned), my camera, and finally upon our arrival in Brisbane, $150 New Zealand propolis tablets and toothpaste. Very strange that I should be so very forgetful once out of my comfort zone. Still, that was a small price to pay for the adventure of it all and the companionship of the tall Aussie dude who held my hand in the face of repeated loss.
Back to NYC. We found a breakfast spot the next morning. Good coffee, interesting locals, tasty clean oatmeal, yougurt, scrambled eggs, yummy bread, and a tangled but comfy atmosphere. A little corner French bistro to which we returned three or four times in our stay in Chelsea. Not a far walk from our room, maybe a block and a half on 8th Ave and 24th Street.. in that neighborhood. On our way back to the room before taking off in several directions, we walked through the breezy streets with hats on and my grey long scarf tucked round my neck. Graham wore his grey fleece, the heavier one, most of our time in the city. It was never quite warm enough to wear our cool weather gear. Cold weather stuff was the rule of the day. Perfect weather for walking at Thanksgiving time. Made all that hot food perfect.
We took the subway from the apt. that first night and bought our weekly tickets then. What a godsend to have only to swipe cards instead of forging through pockets to try and find change for each subway ticket.
The second day we had brekky at another place, on 21Ave, not as friendly, not as warm, male dominated. The food was plebian rather than French. No cozy French smells. Latte was not available. It was nourishing, but not for the soul, not friendly in the same manner.
Amazing what ambiance does for appetite. We went back to the French bistro for lunch. Later that afternoon Saddie walked us through Central Park after we took the subway to her house at the far end of Central Park.
We walked the rainy north end of Central Park, lovely. Although flowers were not in bloom, people were. A marriage or engagement ceremony was being photographed near the lake.
We ended up over on Broadway where we enjoyed a lunch at Popovers. Delicious with a hearty soup on a cold Sunday afternoon.
Monday, The next morning we went back to our French Bistro. It was cold. We took the subway to MoMA. I was disappointed. Starry Night is under glass. The helicopter, a piece of art in the atrium hallway caught Sy's attention. I sat quietly while he went back to take pictures. I just couldn't resonate to anything that was there. The museum which I remembered as having character has been renovated, seems cold, white, square, and uninviting. Nothing in particular caught my interest. Both MoMA and the Met had German art exhibits as special shows.
The Met's oils were preferable to the scrapbook art of MoMA. Nothing spoke to me. Cold. Starry Night should not be hanging in such a place. It deserves better ambiance. Even the Dali's lost their intimacy and their enigmatic cleverness in the setting of MoMA. I preferred seeing them at the Prado. This is not a place to which I would choose to return.
For lunch we walked over to Rockafeller Center. The skating rink was busy, but the Christmas tree was still in it's rigging, a huge wooden structure holding it straight. Ugly, unlike many Christmas gifts that are more beautiful in their wrappings than they are after being disclosed.
Sy needed a hat and bought a brown NYC baseball cap. He hates baseball. We had lunch in the basement where the server spilled an entire cup of latte on Graham, much to his discomfort. Our soup and sandwiches were not memorable. Afterwords we had a Ben and Jerry ice cream before we headed back out to the cold. As we walked Graham decided I looked much like a bag lady with my down over which I wore my green fleece, my grey long scarf, my blue mittens, and my hiking boots. My knee hurt, but I was warm. We wandered past the Murdock monolith. Ugly black building atoning for it's owners smaller than usual psyche. Nothing inviting or beautiful or unique in its form. It just stuck out, a male ego - I guess we ought to be glad he works with money and not with munitions. He must be much like our president trying constantly to assert his power out of fear that someone may not notice. Ugh!
New York City was full on, worth every moment, loved by both of us.