I got back from my 7-day vacation late on Thursday night. Outside of the fact that Delta Airlines seemed to be trying very hard to make my trip as difficult as possible, I did manage to get to and from my vacation in one piece, and (hoorah!) with all my luggage intact (they forced me to check my luggage but didn’t charge me for the “privilege”). KC earned herself a whole lot of new friend points for picking me up at SRQ at 11 p.m. when my original arrival time was 9 p.m.
The first leg of the trip was to my 30th college reunion. I attended a small liberal arts college in the Northeastern US — small enough that I knew everyone in my graduating class by face if not by name — and every 5th year we convene on campus to catch up, eat junk food and make merry. We’re old enough now that alcohol alone doesn’t guarantee a good time, and that’s a Good Thing. Some of us are married with young children, others are married and are empty-nesters (or will be soon), and others of us have never married and/or had kids. But we still find enough to talk about every 5 years that we all leave each reunion looking forward to the next one. One of my classmates is the proprietress of “A Book a Week.” Check it out. It’s really good. It’s being added to the “Links I Like” section of this blog.
After reunion, my classmate K and I went to her house in New Jersey and hung out for the evening. We went to see “Bridesmaids” in Princeton and laughed until we ached. It’s a gross, vulgar movie, but it’s also hilarious.
Then, on Monday morning, I boarded a New Jersey Transit train for Manhattan. I got off the escalator at 32nd Street and 7th Avenue and almost cried. I knew I was home. Why I would choose one of the least attractive spots in all of Manhattan to think that is beyond me, but that’s what I did. I savored every minute I was there. My “New Yorker-ness” came back to me. I navigated the sidewalk traffic without bumping into anyone. Nobody tried to get me to ride the double-decker tour buses. Nobody tried to get me to take a carriage ride in Central Park. Nobody tried to hand me flyers. I was back, and it felt good.
And, of course, I did my share of “souvenir eating.” Before meeting up with my dear friend AAEdible, I went to Kossar’s to investigate their bagels and bialys. Mom is craving bialys and, since I’d heard that Kossar’s ships around the country, I had to go see if they were worth it. They were. So, when Mom gets back from her summer vacation, we will be ordering some bagels and bialys to be sent here to Florida. Once AAE and I found each other, we visited John’s of Bleecker Street for their amazing pizza, and then headed off to Economy Candy for dessert. We had tickets to the Mets/Pirates game that night and, after a “for-old-time’s-sake” beer at the Pine, we walked across the street to Citifield. I’d only seen it while it was under construction, and it’s just gorgeous. I’m not amused by all of the tributes to Jackie Robinson and the Dodgers (after all, Robinson never played for the Mets, and the Dodgers are in LA now), but it really is a nice place to watch a game. I bought a couple of souvenirs and we headed up to our seats. It’s a good thing we were full from the pizza and beer because our seats were in the last row of the upper deck and trekking up and down multiple times was just not an option. The Mets won thanks to a barrage of hits by players I’d never heard of before this season, and I almost lost it when we got to the subway platform and the time came to say good-bye. It was the not the first time I got weepy during this trip, nor was it the last.
Tuesday morning involved a return trip to New Jersey to visit Where Victoria’s Angels Stitch. I bought 2 Teenie Kits: J is for Jack-O-Lantern, and another one with the initial for my last name. Tuesday afternoon was the Met’s “Savage Beauty” exhibit, which is all about Alexander McQueen. The clothes were weird, but also fascinating. Some of the videos at the link above are also part of the exhibit, so you’ll get to share some of what we saw at the museum. Granted, nobody actually wears haute couture, but it’s still interesting to look at. While it’s hard at first to wrap one’s head around the concept that the mind that dreamed up these clothes inspired the mind that designed Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, I now have an easier time doing that (as an aside, I bought these for myself at the Met gift shop — the picture does not do them justice; they are much nicer in person). After the Met, I visited Glaser’s Bake Shop, an Upper East Side institution since 1902. I’m particularly fond of their black-and-white cookies, their chocolate eclairs and their apple/cranberry pies, but pretty much everything they make is wonderful and worth the trip to 87th and First. Being on the Upper East Side necessitated a visit to Annie and Company, the needlepoint/cross stitch/knitting shop in Carnegie Hill where I used to spend hours stitching and/or knitting with my fellow customers. There, I bought this for myself, and another pattern that I can’t show you because it’s going to be a gift and I don’t want the intended recipient to see it. Dinner that night was with BookishNYC who has, alas, retired from blogging about books, but who has not stopped reading them or wanting to discuss them. So that’s what we did. We compared notes as to what books we’ve been reading. Between the 2 of us, the list was rather long. She gave me some great ideas, and I hope I gave her some in return.
Wednesday was lunch with former work colleagues, followed by the only touristy thing I did all week — I bought a last-row ticket to see
Harry Potter, er, Daniel Radcliffe as J. Pierrepont Finch and John Larroquette as J.B. Biggley in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” I loved it. So did the large numbers of adolescent girls who were in the audience squeeing whenever Daniel did something. Here is a video with some of the musical numbers. The play was so much fun that I decided to watch the movie with Robert Morse and Michele Lee thanks to Netflix’ streaming video. I’ve seen it before, but it’s been ages, so it was fun to compare the play with the movie.
Dinner on Wednesday night was with Karen 2L; I’d been dying for good Indian food, so she found Taj Tribeca. It was excellent, and reminded me once again why I love Indian food. I walked back to the hotel (mid 30s off Park) and stopped off to buy chopsticks. I have never seen them for sale here, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and bring some home with me. 2 packages each containing 10 pairs for $8. Not too shabby.
Thursday morning was difficult. I woke up in time to go to Daniel’s Bagels for breakfast, went back to the hotel, packed, read the paper and had a good cry. My former boss took me to lunch at the Capital Grille on 42nd Street, and then he escorted me to the bus stop so I could get to the airport. I spent the entire trip to the airport fighting back tears. Once I got to the airport, I was angry at Delta rather than sad about leaving, so I guess that’s a step in the right direction.
No, the trip wasn’t all about food. But if I can eat foods I can’t get down here while spending time with people I care about deeply then why not do it? One thing the trip made me realize is that I really am a city girl. I’ve thought that many times since I’ve lived here in the Land of Suburban Sprawl, but it really hit home. I don’t hate it here — I like my job and I love my friends — but despite all the things to like about this place, I still do get homesick for New York. It’s in my blood. It’s in my soul. It’s a part of me. I felt more alive than I have in a while. What this trip did was to guarantee that I’ll be back as soon as I’m able. Being back at work today was tough but, despite the fact that it felt like Monday, it was really Friday, so I have 2 full days to recuperate.
I hope some of you get to try out the places I recommended. I won’t guarantee that everyone will love them (because, after all, to each his own), but I’m betting that some of you will.