I finally got to go to New York City, and it was better than I expected. I realize that might sound crazy to some because why wouldn't I expect NYC to be anything but amazing? But I am the kind of nut who is wary of hype & awe: I wouldn't watch Survivor until the second season; I didn't start reading Harry Potter until the 5th book was released; I still haven't seen The Avengers. I think it's a control freak thing - I'll do things when I choose, not when the mindless masses flock like sheep to them. Also maybe an elitist snob thing, too. Anyway.
When I applied to volunteer at BlogHer this year in New York I figured if the conference didn't rock my world, I could 'fall back' on tourism. Conversely, if I felt too overwhelmed to even begin sightseeing, the magnificence of workshops, swag, and guest speakers would make up for it. Yeah. It sounds dumb to me, too, now.
I was nervous about visiting the Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps. The Empire City. City So Nice They Named It Twice. Gotham. Mainly because I was afraid I would call it one of these weird nicknames out loud and be instantly labeled a lame tourist [my Pacific Northwest non-accent and supersuburban hairdo and lack of dramatic makeup would not give me away, of course]. More honestly, my need-to-be-right-the-first-time mania caused me to worry about getting lost, wearing unfashionable outfits, getting lost, not knowing which Very Famous Landmark I'm looking at without consulting a guidebook, being randomly swindled in some way. And getting lost. So I mapped out my conference schedule and told myself "If I have time, I'll wander around." Three marginally useful sessions, one volunteer shift, and 9 hours later I hit the streets of ... Hymie Town? What? No.
In two & a half days and three nights, I :
Perused the gift shop and gazed longingly into the foyer of MoMa, sat at the Time-Life fountain across from Radio City Music hall amongst lunching real-life New Yorkers, stepped into the Ferrari store (to get a photo for my man + breathe delicious 60 degree air for a minute), ate a street vendor's delectable mustard-soaked hot dog in the shade of Park Tower, peeked through the closed doors of Carnegie Hall, enjoyed an early birthday dinner at Russian Tea Room, strolled around the Empire State Building at midnight.
Watched a traffic cop at work on 42nd Street, marveled at every.single.inch of the NY Public Library (except the room housing works of "Shelley and his circle" which I desperately wanted to see but was gently turned away from by the adorable monitor because people were actually doing research inside; what.ever), considered eating at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central but decided instead on Junior's [and the integrity of my children's college accounts], rode the subway after being kindly shown the right way to swipe my Metro card, walked an obscene distance in the wrong shoes, smelled Central Park Zoo, cabbed to the Met because I grossly misjudged its distance from the south end of the park, almost threw a punch at the first (and only) rude resident who I hope will soon be fired from her fantastic museum job for being a sassy-faced bitch, raced through Egypt, the Medieval room, & Contemporary Art, cabbed back to our hotel where I submerged my blistered feet in icy bath water while devouring Junior's cheesecake, trekked to Studio 54 to see Harvey, got scolded for taking a photo in the 'copywritten' theater, paid $13 for a 2-shot vodka/cranberry served in a sippy cup, strolled down Broadway, inhaled a late dinner at Sardi's amongst caricatured celebrities, wandered through Times Square where it appears to be daylight at all hours & people behave as though life is a constant cabaret.
Walked against running & cycling traffic through most of Central Park West, watched a few hits in a morning softball game where New Yawk accents were flying with the pitches, perused heartwarming & wrenching memorial benchplates, bought John Lennon pins from a park vendor & cried my eyes out from The Dakota past the Imagine mosaic, took dozens of photos of tangible serenity, listened to gospel singers and a tin pan alley trio, imagined Holden Caulfield, took the E line to World Trade Center, nearly melted from the sun-drenched line and unmanageable emotions, composed myself during a 9/11 survivor's stunningly beautiful story, found a tasty Philly cheesesteak in the Essex World Cafe where victims of the attack sought refuge for weeks, impulsively jumped off the subway to wander around Penn Station seeking the spirit of Holden again (not realizing until too late his version was demolished 45 years ago), discovered a lovely tribute to New Jersey poets in the train service hallway, got on the wrong subway in attempt to head back uptown but realized before we got to Queens, cabbed four blocks to our luggage, headed to JFK early enough to enjoy a leisurely dinner & series of chats with delightful waiter Duane before waiting 4 extra hours to take off due to lightning.
But it was all okay,
because I truly heart New York.
Want photos? Go here.