We had a great time! New York is so amazing. One of my favorite things to do is walk aimlessly and encounter serendipitously. It was a bit chilly, but who notices a thing like that when your trotters are tripping the streets fantastic?
My cousin Mary was kind enough to host us at her home in Brooklyn. Mary is one of my cousins that I don't know very well, but lately we've seen more of each other. She was in New Orleans for the American Library Association in June and we spent some time together. She invited us to come visit her in New York and that sounded like a great idea to us.
She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons. Their brownstone is the one on the left.
I had never met her husband or kids. It was great getting to know them. Walter is a woodworker and an all-around very interesting guy. I had several good, long conversations with him and look forward to seeing him again before too long. Ana and I are hoping they all will come visit us in New Orleans.
We also got to know their kids, Eamon and Clem. They're also both very interesting and very talented. Clem told us political jokes and who the greatest drummer of all time was. Eamon wasn't as talkative, but when we got on the subject of music, he was surprisingly knowledgeable about decades and decades of music, especially for a fourteen-year-old.
Clem is learning the saxophone and we got to hear him practice one night. Eamon is already an accomplished flutist and guitarist (he also plays the piano). Eamon's band, Sister Helen, played at Don Hill's in Manhattan the last night we were in town. It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity for him and his fourteen/fifteen-year-old friends to play in a real club.
On our first morning, we took a walk from Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan. I can't think of a better way to enter Manhattan. Every trip to New York should involve a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.
It's my cute New York baby, bridgin' it in style!
We had lunch in Chinatown with the nice folks I work with at WNYC: Jacob, Valentina, Amy and Kevin. Actually, I've worked with WNYC longer than any of them, so we'd never met in person. It was good to finally meet people I already know and like so much.
We didn't plan it, but we ended up passing through Chinatown several times over our time there. One of the things I loved was seeing all the grocers with their yummy (and sometimes exotic) fruits and veggies arrayed along the sidewalk. We don't have nearly enough (if any) of that in New Orleans.
They even do a brisk business late into the evening.
One of our main activities while in that biggest of apples (which were in season) was to eat. In a big way. We had several delicious vegan meals, but the best by far was the Wild Ginger Pan-Asian Vegetarian Kitchen/Cafe. We found it because Ana had a hankering for Thai food, so we called Cherry and asked her if she would mind googling us up a vegan Thai restaurant in New York. The first hit she got was for Wild Ginger, which wasn't even strictly a Thai restaurant. But it was only five or six block from where we were standing, so he headed over.
Oh. My. Goodness! Such a heavenly feast! The menu wasn't limited to a particular type of cuisine, not even just to Asian food. 95% of the menu was vegan, a rare treat for me. We started with pumpkin white bean soup, basil spring rolls and seitan skewers. The seitan skewers were amazing! It was the most tender, flavorful seitan I've ever eaten. I had a vegan Thai iced tea to drink, another rare treat. For our main course, we had Phad Thai. For dessert, we had pumpkin cheesecake and lychee sorbet. A divine evening. It was tempting to break our no-repeat rule and go back to Wild Ginger, but we'll leave it for another time.
Another thing I don't see enough in New Orleans is decorative kale. These beauties were in a planter under a statue of Christopher Columbus at the M60 bus stop on Astoria Blvd in Queens. Kale: beautiful and tasty!
Perhaps New York's best-known feature is its skyline. It's a forest of steel and glass. Here's Ana with midtown in the background.
One thing you can't help noticing when you look up in lower Manhattan is the big hole in the sky where the World Trade Center used to be.
I love the way buildings are squished together in New York. And I loved the details on these old facades. Even with the same kinds of limited space to work with, each of these three places managed to exploit architectural touches to ensure they look like what they're supposed to look like. Syntax is so cool that way!
Times Square is on the verge of overwhelming--I can't imagine what it's like on New Year's Eve! (Oh wait, maybe it's like Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday...)
It was nice to have a little after-dark sit-down in Washington Square Park one night. The city stays alive very late into the night. I like that.
Many trees still had fall colors. Here I am through Ana's lens in Central Park.
We talked about going to see a show, and we stopped to look for shows we might like, but nothing struck our fancy. Then, Ana read in the Village Voice that Evil Dead: The Musical was playing off Broadway. Right away, we knew we wouldn't be able to avoid it. We both love the movie and knew that if the show was even a fraction as good as the movie, it would be great.
Let me tell you, it didn't disappoint. The first three rows were covered with plastic. Ana asked the usher and he said it was the blood-splatter zone. We had seats in the fourth row--whew! The songs were hilarious, the splattering was spastic and they whole thing was a blast. I'm sure it's not for everyone, but if you like the movie, I'm sure you'd love the show. It helped that the lead did a very convincing Bruce Campbell.
Ana's favorite thing to do in New York is to ride the subway. We did ride quite a bit, but not nearly enough for her taste. I regret that, but I guess it's just an excuse to go back soon!
These two were crashed out on the train when we got on at the end of the line. They were adorable. I wondered if they had missed their stop, since they slept through the pause at the end of the line. They got off a few stops later, right after they woke up. I like the idea of falling asleep on the train and getting off where you wake up. New York's magical like that.
I don't have a picture of it, but we went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. It was a great experience. Our tour guide, a young man in his twenties, grew up in a tenement on the Lower East Side. It was interesting to hear how similar his childhood was to the lives of the families we learned about who lived in the tenement we toured. I highly recommend it, if you get a chance, next time you're in New York.
Well, those are the highlights. Thanks again, Mary and Walter.
I can't wait for our next vacation!