Before my memory fails, I offer a compendium of random pictures and commentary from our fabulous, fun-filled, fancy and mostly free trip to New York and New Jersey.
New York reminded me how a highly accessible, extensive public transit system can transform one from a car slug to totally mobile urban animal. I miss that. Growing up in Kansas, I was legion among the few, mainly the poor and developmentally disabled, who used public transportation (in part, because of my brother's refusal to drive me to school in effusive snowstorms. Way to go with the tough love, Kevin). Moving to Boston was a revelation, making a large city small. Today in Seattle, we're still waiting for our light rail, bitterly wistful for the monorail we voted for and didn't get, while driving to the ball park we voted down, but got anyway.
*Arriving at Penn Station in New York City at 5pm. People literally ran to their trains through labyrinthine underground stations, swiftly and efficiently, without collisions, swearing, or stalling. To translate for Seattleites, it was the opposite of Bumershoot.
*The cozy, dreamy Brooklyn home of our generous hosts, Michael and Celena. I decided that we have East and West coast parallel lives, each of us with two cats, a pug, a musician, and a Latina.
*Lunch at the Oyster Bar with Greg and Celena, after a tour of the United Nations.
*Chinatown and Little Italy. Lots of foodie eye candy, knock-off handbags, tchochkes, and colorful characters.
*New York Public Library. (dorky librarian note: you can take advantage of NYPL's collections, even if you don't live there, via their fabulous digital library).
*Central Park and the Museum of the City of New York. We learned about the days when the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants dominated baseball, and how one of the world's richest city is founded on beaver pelts.
*The Richard Serra exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. Watch the video showing how they got huge slabs of steel in there. Note: visiting a major museum on the last days of a special exhibit is similar to the Penn Station at rush hour, but with Bumbershoot thrown in.
*The Mastrull/Greco/Sinibaldi family reunion in New Jersey. What stereotypes do you hold about New Jersey Italian-American families? Loud, ball-busting bocce players with thick accents and big appetites? Yep, and proud of it, thank you very much. They're also warm, generous, welcoming, funny as hell, and serve up large volumes of damn good food.