New York was wonderful. The weather was gorgeous other than our last morning and we got pretty drenched on the way to Penn Station. Is there some reason cabs always drop you off a block away from Penn Station? Do the cabbies just like to watch you pulling your luggage over the subway grates? I love cabs in New York. In Washington, where I live, you can stand on the corner for half an hour to get a cab with a cabbie who may or may not know where you are going. In New York, it's easier to find a cab than a fake Rolex and the cabbies always risk life and limb (yours, granted) to get you where you are going at a rate just shy of the speed of sound.
The main thing we did was walk. Midtown, Upper East Side, Central Park, Upper West Side, Times Square, Fashion District, Financial District, Battery Park, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho, Nolita, Noho, Greenwich Village, Lower East Side, and halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge. I'm always amazed by how small Manhattan really is. You can walk most of the city in a couple hours, if you're dedicated. We went to the Guggenheim, which was a little disappointing since the main rotunda was closed to install a new exhibit. We also went into some of the chi-chi stores on Fifth Avenue that we were too shy to go into last time. I went into Sephora on Fifth Avenue, just so I could say I had done it, and frankly I didn't see what the big deal was. Now, please don't revoke my estrogen card for saying this, but it was just a bunch of makeup. La-dee-dah, whatever. We also went into Tiffany's, which is a lovely place. From the guys greeting you at the door to the guys running the elevators to the people at the counters who seem to materialize to help you the second you become slightly interested in anything, the service is impeccable. I tried on a few things since I have decided the hubby should give me some bling for my rapidly approaching 30th birthday. Nothing thrilled me. Well, nothing that cost less than five grand thrilled me and that is a little too blingy for my blood. I also tried on one of those "return to Tiffany" necklaces that everyone and their brother seems to have. No, now offense intended if you have one and love it, but I felt like I was wearing a dog collar. The guy at the counter was not too amused by that observation.
To keep our strength up for all that walking, we had to eat. Boy, did we ever eat. We went to Becco on Restaurant Row (West 46th Street a couple blocks off Times Square). Ok, to be totally honest, we went there twice. Yes, it is that good. We also went to Capri on Restaurant Row, Noho Star in Noho, and a Thai place on the Lower East Side. I can't remember the name, but they had really good tofu satay. We also ate lunch twice sitting in Bryant Park on 42nd Street. If you are ever in NYC on a nice day, grab a sandwich and eat lunch in Bryant Park.
We went to the World Trade Site. There isn't much to see there anymore other than a huge construction site. It was still very humbling to stand there and think of the thousands of people who died within that one city block. Saint Paul's Chapel, right across from the site, was what really did me in. That was where a lot of the rescue workers went after their shifts to get some food and rest. There are lots of displays of various artifacts of that time, my favorite was a wall of hundreds brightly colored origami peace cranes sent from Japan. Another very powerful memorial is in Battery Park. There was a sculpture of a sphere near the towers which was damaged but not destroyed. That sculpture has not been repaired and was moved to Battery Park. Seeing how misshapen that steel globe is gives you some idea of the incredible destruction of that terrible day.
On a happier note, we saw three shows. Avenue Q was hilarious and amazing. If you get the chance, see it. Just be prepared to watch muppets getting it on. Stomp was also excellent, although if you see that I recommend seats in the middle of the house. We had third row seats and it was a little tough on the eardrums to be so close. We also saw Wicked. Chris and I disagreed a little bit about that one, he thought it was mediocre and I thought it sucked.
My favorite part was something we stumbled on accidentally. We were down in the Financial District on Monday and Broadway was closed for several blocks for a street fair. There were vendors and music and lots of people, including traders out for lunch in their ugly mesh jackets. Who's idea was that? We had a great time looking at all the random items the vendors sold - everything from jewelry and sweaters to underwear and sheet sets, and also had what may have been the best samosas this side of the Ganges.
There was also some shopping of course, although not too much since there isn't much you can get in New York that you can't get in Washington - or in Tyson's Corner for that matter. We did get some tacky souvenirs and some cashmere scarves and, um, ok, so I bought a purse. Actually, I bought two purses, but one is for my sister-in-law, I swear! Maybe. It's pretty cute, so I may be forced to keep it for myself. Also, since we are dorks, we bought 15 books at the Strand and had to buy a new suitcase to get them all home.
There are pictures, of course, but since my husband has already done lots of work to get them all pretty and posted over at his place, if you want to see them you can check them out there. I would appreciate it you would all take care not to notice the shot of me where it looks like my chin is eating my neck. It's just the angle, honestly, and also the lighting and everybody knows that digital cameras add ten pounds to your neck. And also to your upper arms. Just ignore that one, okay? I think there is also a picture of my new purse, which you are welcome to admire and compliment as long as nobody mentions the part about me selling out my morals and convictions for a designer handbag. I already gave myself that speech and feel just awful about it but have decided that I will just carry my moral high ground around in my pretty new purse.
All in all, a great trip, but there's really no place like home.