Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Mallory's first trip to NYC


 This is my chance to record my memories of our trip to NYC to celebrate my lovely daughter reaching the age of sixteen! Mal has never been there and it was a chance for us to travel and for her to see and enjoy one of the most exciting cities on the planet. We left on the last day of June and stayed 5 days.

SUNDAY was an early flight but we left pretty close to 6:10am. I had anticipated a much longer line for security but we nipped through.  Mal was a bit nervous but managed to relax. I had forgotten that the last time she had flown was when she was 6 years old! That was the first time we took a Mother-Daughter Trip and it had been to California. Whoosh......ten years flying by....

We walked out of Laguardia and grabbed a cab. The driver could not start his meter, right away, so when we arrived at Kim's it was only a $24 ride! Oops.

We arrived at Kim's apartment building and dropped our carry-ons in her apartment. Kimba is an old college friend of mine who has lived in the City for ...gulp...25 years! Time for brekkie so we headed out to a favorite nearby cafĂ©, Neptune . Kimba had taken me there before and now we enjoyed the street scene and the regulars as we ordered.  Mal had wonderful chocolate chip pancakes and great sausage - it's a Polish restaurant. (Never really got the connection there..) I had the Viking Eggs Benedict - lox replaces the ham and it is divine!   We sat next to the large doors that open onto the street. Kinda misty out. Came back and met Olivia (oohveeai..!) at Starbucks.  (Offspring of aforementioned Kimba) After getting caffed up, we went and got one week Metro cards - $32 a piece  - at Kim's local station down the street. Great deal. Unlimited use for subway and bus for one week. We really took advantage of it over our stay. We then got ourselves down to 14th street  and 5th Ave., took up a position and waited for the Pride Parade to get to us. Saw the "Vicious" Grand Marshalls, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi. Everyone was very excited because of the new marriage laws. By the time the Parade came down the street we had another three rows of people lined up behind us. The light rain and overcast skies kept the temperature down and it was a party atmosphere.

After over 2 hours - the parade still going (!) and the sun coming out- we walked a few blocks to 5 Napkins for burgers (girls) and burger salads for us. Yum!! Then we decided it was Mani-pedi-massage time and headed to Golden Tree. Ahhhh!  Mallory opted for a 20 minute chair massage. We all had complimentary 10 minute chair massage. So great! I wanted her to see how New Yorkers have to care for their feet and backs...kinda like tires on a car...as they walk so very much!

We left our Manhattan gals and went over to our place in Brooklyn. We did an Airbnb and got a super place in Park Slope. Andrew, our host, was very attentive, via text, althought we never set eyes on each other. Funny, eh? It was a great set up for us.  It was the basement of a brownstone and we had an outside door that led to a lovely private terrace. Very quiet and well insulated. Andrew has little kids and I barely heard anything above us. We went to Peppino's for a spinach calzone and bruschetta and came back and ate..and crashed. Mal was kinda hitting a wall so we went to sleep quickly. Very comfy bed for me and M liked the couch. Cute art in our space and several filled book shelves that made me feel right at home. You can feel a little of the subway rumble and I could hear a little of the kids but, all in all, very good sound proofing! Our cell service is a bit spotty but if I step out on the terrace it's fine. (Foreshadowing....)  Did I mention we even negotiated some train line construction and still found out way to Brooklyn?

Monday I got up at 7:30am and again at 9. It's hard to shrug off my routine. Took a shower and headed out for brekkie. Found a super cute SMALL cafe - Cafe Regular- for iced coffee, chocolate croissants, a banana and one lovely brown hard boiled egg. LOVE THIS PLACE...Brother and sister team working this morning. Brought my stuff back, and stuff for Mal, and ate on the terrace while Mal dressed. Lovely, sunny day and not too hot. Perfect for my plans. Our NY pals ribbed me about my "itinerary" but I had done a lot of research before our trip. I had several loosely planned days and some alternatives if the weather was good or bad.

We left about 11:30 and went to the 911 Museum and park. Wow. Liv and Kim decided to come down and waited near the reflecting ponds as we entered the Museum and spent a over 2 hours seeing this most amazing place. The park with the amazing reflection ponds - north and south - are so mind blowing and beautiful. Starting with an airport like security check, this place was a great way to educate my 16 year old on the day that changed us all. I was crying before we even got inside. She was 2 in 2001 and I don't think this is something that really touches her. Certainly, it was covered in school but this is visceral and in your face. I know it was a little much for her but I felt it was something she needed to experience - from the safe distance. For me, it brought back to very much and I was amazed at how much she was unaware of. Again...wow. Great to come out and see K and O there ready with hugs. We needed them.

We went right to Chelsea Market and found a wonderful cornucopia of shops, eateries and hang out places. We ate at Los Tacos #1. Yum! Authentic Mexican tacos and quesadillas! The market was really cool. We had crepes at Bar Suzette. Checked out the cool bookstore there too! Walked all thru it and out and around to the front where Mal got her straw hat we had seen earlier. The dude was just closing up- missed seeing the older gent we had seen before.

We walked up to the High Line and started off on the northern most point. Wow! Lovely plantings, a really cool mini stream for people to cool their feet.. A little cluster of cafes right there. Further up there were cool places to sit, cool architecture, lots of photography and amazing views of the water. We walked all  the way from 14th to 34th. It was a lovely part of the day and soaked up the atmosphere. We came down and grabbed a cab. Our driver was a really nice man who asked a lot of questions and seemed interested in our answers. He was so caught up in the talk that he forgot to start his meter until Miss Olivia reminded him!  As he drove he pointed out things to see.. the Flatiron building, for one. We exited near the girls place on the lower east side and headed to Bruno's. Mal had a sub, Olivia had 2 pieces of cheese pizza. I had some chicken marinated with tomato and avocado, some beet salad and some veg orzo. Yum! We walked Kim back - Liv walked to Dave's and we headed "home". Showers and lights out about midnight.

TUESDAY- I got up and out to my cafe and grabbed a coffee and croissant for Mal but I went to the Bagel Factory and has the most amazing whole wheat bagel with veg cc- real veg too! This place has a whole counter array of flavored cream cheeses and such. Came back and ate on the terrace while waiting for Mal. Again, another perfect morning eating my breakfast on my private terrace in Brooklyn...sigh.

We set off to DUMBO and the Park. We took the train to the City and walked back to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge. Perfect weather and we enjoyed the views and the graffiti. Lots of locks here too..how did that get popular here too? Here are many photos of that walk...


Back in Brooklyn, we walked through Cadman Plaza Park and enjoyed the trees and all the nannies out with their charges. There is a really lovely WW2 memorial there and large statues look over an area that could be used at a stage overlooking an expanse of green.

Found Juliana's Pizza - my old schoolmate's fave place - for brick oven pizza. It was cool and the spinach salad and Margherita pizza was good ...when I added anchovy. There was a line waiting to get in when we left. The temperatures were climbing so we felt refreshed after our lunch in the cool.

On a whim, we decided to buy tickets for the East River Ferry. Again, perfect weather as we zoomed around and up to the Bronx and Queens and then over to the  34th street pier in Manhattan. Nice time around the water. Back at the park, we were right by another outpost of the Shake Shack so we walked in for shakes and encountered a mad house. Made us a little behind schedule - so much so that Mal jumped into a cab and freaked the idling driver. She didn't know how they work....need to explain that one to her. We got home with just enough time to shower and change and get out and back for "Hand To God" playing at the Booth Theater. We stopped at the MAC store in Times Square. Way fun! Stopped at Starbucks and ran into JOHN COVACH. He was in town and staying at the Edison Hotel on U biz and had a comp ticket for Shania Twain at Madison Square Garden. We made plans to meet up again in Michigan later in the month. Here is a review of the show. This was also the At the Booth Theater we waited at the stage door and caught all 4 actors for autographs and photos. Walked around TS. Stopped for the cheap buffet at Sbarro- yummy and $20 for the both of us..together!

Came home ... Happy and tired!

WEDNESDAY- I made Mallie get up and go with me to the Bagel Factory. We had to catch the train and get to MMOA for our 11am "Hack" tour. We met Nora and Shahrung at the feet of the Pharaoh and we were it! So the four of us set out together.. Stories about the Temple, William, Henry 8th, Washington Crossing the Delaware, the flute-oboe walking stick.. The spirit challenge and the rooftop installation! We left after walking thru more of the gallery and the Costume Institute.. Also the China exhibit! Walked down to the Nectar Cafe for some lunch - famished - and then down to TKTS where we got $51 tix for HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH.

Had some trouble with the F train- power outage in Brooklyn .. So, on advice from Kim we ducked into the Burlington in Union Square to grab other clothes to replace our drenched togs and made our way to the Belasco. Different vibe show, for sure, but Darren Criss was awesome! Very humid tonight. Waiting at the theater door. The German Princess waits.The two stars came out .. Finally. Darren Criss after 11:30. We grabbed a hot dog (M) and and Italian sausage (me) from a Halal vendor and sat and ate amid all the bright lights. After a couple of stumbles with the trains - construction schedules...ug! We found our way back on the dreaded F train. All was fixed and we got in and home after 1am. Lights out at 2am.

THURSDAY- we have been so lucky with the weather. Let's see if it holds just a wee bite more! We got up a bit later this day.I knew there was a 1 PM dad tour of Saint John the Divine and so off we went, uptown. Our tour guide, Walter, was a walking encyclopedia about information regarding the history of the church. He took us through all seven chapels as well as up into the choir area. Church was built in 1892. We ended up walking across the street and having a bite to eat before hailing a cab and taking it along Central Park West and down to 72nd St.

There we met Kim and went through Strawberry Fields, Sheep Meadow,and lots of other familiar walks throughout the park. We ended up coming out right across the street from the Plaza Hotel. We walked into the atrium to have a coffee but we were directed downstairs where there are lots of shops where you can get all kinds of goodies.

We had very expensive frozen custard, although it was very good, and ended up grabbing a cab so that we could meet Olivia. We picked her up at David's apartment, which is only down the block from Kim's, and started our way down to Little Italy and Chinatown. We ended up having dinner in Little Italy. There was a restaurant with a beautiful garden atrium in the back and the four of us had a lovely pasta dinner. We then walked through Soho know oh until we got to Washington Square in Greenwich Village. The gate was all lit up and it was very lovely. We could even see a clear shot to the Empire State building that was all lit for the Fourth of July in red white and blue. Kim was hoping we could catch a 10:40 movie but Mal was the voice of reason and we left ended up going back to our place in Brooklyn. We packed up and got ourselves ready to leave early the next morning.

Friday! I had set my alarm for 4:50 and the car service to arrive at 5:30 AM. Unfortunately, I woke up at 6:10 AM and hurriedly called the car service. They had called twice but with no service in the basement I had missed both calls. They were able to send us another car within two minutes and we hurried to get dressed and run out the door. That was the most exciting part of our morning. The traffic was not too bad and we got through security rather quickly. Note to self – it's smart to arrive two hours before your flight you are flying home. It's saved my bacon this time because we ended up arriving about 7 o'clock for our 8:30 flight. All in all, we had a great time.

Thanks, New York City! You did not disappoint!