I love NY… well, sorta

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

We’re about half-way through our Amtrak ride to Boston (Billy, who’s sitting by the window with the GPS receiver, says we’re about 120 miles from Boston “as the cursor flies”), having finished the New York leg of our trip. And while there are some parts of New York City life I envy, for the most part it made me appreciate home.

Traffic is one part of NYC I could never get used to. As we were planning our trip, we had briefly considered renting a car since we had several cities to visit. The cost of parking in NYC alone changed our minds. But after seeing them drive - disregarding lights, lanes, pedstrians, everything - I’m fairly certain we would have been in a car accident before we got to the hotel. As it was, the ride to the hotel was the only time we spent in traffic. We took subways and walked the rest of the time.

Our hotel was just about 2 blocks from Times Square - plenty of excitement (and noise!) there. When we checked in, the clerk informed us they were out of the type of room we had reserved, so she was upgrading us to a mini-suite. I was excited, thinking maybe we’d get a fridge or a kitchenette or something. Nope. Apparently it meant we got a couch. The room was simply tiny. I can’t imagine how small the room type we actually reserved must have been. Are the apartments much larger?

We explored Times Square several times - once in the rain - and it seemed we saw something new each time. I’m sure that’s common, as many things as there are competing for one’s attention.

Our first day started at the Guggenheim Museum… well, the museum cafe to be more specific. The cafe had some delicious sandwiches, inspiring us to try new things with our sandwich-making once we get home. The museum itself had wonderful art, inspiring me to try new things with my art once I get home. Not that I’m an artist. I’ve just often thought to myself, while viewing certain types of modern art, “I could do that.” This time I made a note of some of the artists and styles I’d like to emulate.

We saw later that the Museum of Modern Art had a Matisse exhibit. Because of their limited hours, though, we weren’t able to go this time. Too bad, since he’s one of my favorites… maybe next time.

We explored Central Park a bit next. Seeing the hordes of joggers inspired me to start jogging again. It’s something I truly enjoy. I hope to start as soon as we get home (and after all the walking we’ve done these past few days, it shouldn’t be too hard). Other Central Park sights included a roller-blading demo, Bethesda Fountain, the Great Lawn, and a couple of musical groups.

Next we headed to Little Italy and Chinatown. I bought a cheap purse in Chinatown, after the obligatory haggling of course, but we passed up the illegal DVDs (some of the movies weren’t even showing in the theatres yet). We ate at a nice restaurant in Little Italy, and had tiramisu at a shop a few doors down.

We spent the rest of the evening at the Empire State building, a hopeless series of lines (including one for an airpot-style security check). We skipped a good part of the line with our New York Pass, and a bit more by climbing stairs for the last 6-7 floors. But it still took a long, long time for the view. We went back to our hotel, exhausted.

The next day we did a 2-hour Harbor Cruise, a guided tour with great views of the New York City skyline, a good close-up of the Statue of Liberty, and some interesting commentary on 9-11 and post-9-11 life in NYC. From there we went to the Hello Deli (of Late Show fame) for some lunch. We had our picture made with the very-friendly Rupert. We were surprised when two other separate groups from Oklahoma came in while we were eating. Small world, eh?

We spent a good part of the afternoon waiting for Broadway tickets at the half-price place. After waiting in line at least an hour, we would have probably bought tickets to anything; fortunately we got one of our original choices, The Phantom of the Opera.

We don’t go to much live theatre, but I’ve always wanted to see Phantom. I bought the soundtrack and fell in love with the music before I knew the story. So seeing it on Broadway was a special treat. I had chills from the moment the orchestra started its first song. If we ever come back to Broadway, there will be no question whether we’ll attend a show. Broadway is NYCs redeeming quality.

Having enjoyed the experience thoroughly, we decided to stop for an after-show dessert. I’ll probably tell the whole story here sometime… but for now, suffice it to say that Roxy Deli is the worst possible place to get cheesecake in New York.

So here we are. On our way to more adventures in Boston. We’ll keep you posted…