Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 8 – savoring the end of a gorgeous trip! Burgers, museum, and bears.

This was it, our last day in NYC. I woke up happy, grateful but a tad of sad loomed over me… I did not want the trip to end, but all things must!

First off I walked with oldest to a local roastery to replenish the fresh beans which were creating our most delicious, French pressed coffee every morning. It was a nice breezy stroll. The first time he and I had spent a few mom/son moments alone. I watched as he intentionally chose the preferred beans. He explained to me since the shop is so near he buys small quantities so they stay fresh. We made another quick stop along the way. I had and hadn’t noticed before how sure and capable he is; truly a successful man in a city where you swim or drown. We talked, laughed and went to KMart for socks for the youngest, who’d used all the ones he’d packed.:)

After donuts and bagels with the steaming fresh coffee – how come mine never comes out as good? We headed to the Museum of Natural History.

582585581This was always a favorite when my kids were little, though the youngest does not remember it well. We explored every corner and purchased tickets for every show. My favorites being Dark Universe in the Haydon Planetarium, breathtaking! And Wonders of the Artic, fascinating!

I love the animals set in displays of their natural habitats. My favorite being… you guessed it… the bears!

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I insisted on a photo op with my pals:)

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Next were the dinos which are a favorite of middle son. Yes, was wishing he was with us, again.

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We explored the Ice Age and every exhibit the museum offers.

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Eventually we found yet another bear.

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And mammals

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The grounds of the museum are a masterpiece themselves. Hours could be spent there wallowing in the beauty.

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Watching them watching.

 

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Time to go and time to eat… We stayed uptown and visited another Shack Shack for another of my favorite burgers and a large portion of chocolate frozen custard. I can’t get enough of that stuff.

We walked along Fifth Avenue headed toward Columbus Circle. We checked out the stores before eventually hopping on the subway.

608607To my surprise, the subway station is also a shopping mall. It’s clean and beautiful with all sorts of shops.

That evening, as we changed trains and waited for others, I was inspired to take photos of life underground. NYC subways get a bad rep. Sure there are some that are gross, smelly, dirty. Yes, you might run into some unsavory people. But isn’t that true in all of life? That is life, a blending of the good and bad. To that end, you use caution, celebrate the good and do what you can with the bad. Nothing is the sum-total of everything. It’s all an entity unto itself.577

I appreciate the stellar performers you’ll find on a platform.

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And way underground, in the bowels of the city, there is art.le

As we neared home we remembered we’d not been able to find my beloved Drakes ring-dings. Something else I can’t get in California. We headed to another grocery story, a bit out of the way and yea… they had them. Something else I love, the narrowness of aisles in city grocery stores. Stores in the burbs are huge, tiresome and often a waste of time. If I run in for three items, I don’t need to take a day trip from one end of the store to the other. I just want to grab the three things, get in and out. There’s no way around it, I’ve tried both lifestyles and I am, hands down a city girl!

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Later that night we ordered pizza. Real, honest to goodness New York Pizza, like none other in the world. Where a slice needs patting and a fold. Where the cheese is real and pineapple or ham are not really a thing. Where it’s hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth and the pain is delightful.

Eventually, the boys dozed off. I could have too, but since it was our last night here, I didn’t want to. We’d done, seen, enjoyed so much, but there was still so much more. I sat on the patio, breathing in the night air, admiring the skyscrapers, listening to the bustle of life on the street below. Inside I watched my sons sleep, remembering how they looked when they were little when knowing we were all safe together under the same roof was a given. Now, that they’re grown, being under the same roof is a gift, a treat, a blessing!

Tomorrow we’ll rise at six to hop on the shuttle headed for JFK. Tomorrow two of us would sleep under different roofs in California, one of us would still be here. Tomorrow it was back to real life as I know it now. Back to dreaming and setting goals for how I want it to be. But for now, in these quiet New York City hours, I was completely home living in the place where my heart and mind often journey away from where my body resides. It’s not a bad life in California, not at all, it’s just not where my heart is!

Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 7 – Cemetarys and nude men and diners!

Today we were setting out for some eclectic adventures. The first day of the work week for most, the second to last day of our wonderful trip.

First stop was the iconic Strand bookstore. Me + a bookstore is a dangerous combination, especially when there are fantastic books for a buck or two, in a store such as this. Fortunately, there wasn’t much room in our luggage – none to be exact – so my cravings had to be quenched with just two which I grabbed for no more reason than that they appealed to me. When – not if – I’m a city dweller someday, I have no doubt stacks will inhabit what will be my small studio.

Next up was a visit to the Marble cemetery.

542No, we weren’t on a ghost-hunting treck. Oldest son had found this hidden gem when wandering the city one day. Though his “work” is as a web-designer / developer, his passion for creativity has never waned. In fact, dramatic writing and film-making were his majors at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Visiting Marble put into motion his wheels of creating “Graveyard Swing” a Halloween walk-through show which he presented in late October off-Broadway (way off Broadway in Queens, but heck it was off-Broadway) at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. He’s in the process of creating his second production, set for Spring… its title “Bobby’s Birthday”. If you’d like to follow his work and if you’re in town, attend the show, check him out here. Yes, all of that can be chalked up to Mom’s bragging rights, please forgive me.:) Back to the story…

Back to the story…  I’m not a cemetery sort of person. All things to do with death freak me out to the point of being phobic. Having to walk past a funeral home to enter the gates added to my ugh moments. I took each step tentatively, not looking around too much. However, the grounds are lovely, peaceful and well kept. There were people sitting on benches reading. Honestly, I can’t imagine myself doing so, but to each his own.

Next, we visited a Halloween Adventure, a store which is in business all year. From floor to ceiling, on two floors, spanning a full city block, in every nook and cranny is anything and everything you could ever want by way of costumes and decorations. It was fun checking things out and trying on a bear mask, which some might say is a good look for me… lol

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We took a stroll through Gramercy Park and then headed to Long Island City to attend a show at The Secret Theater which is where the oldest’s show would be in a few weeks. Riding the El (elevated train) to Queens was fun. Seeing below us all the places I knew well as a kid and a young woman  brought back many happy and some sad memories. I spent more days than I can count in Queens with my parents – a highrise in Queens is where I was born and raised until we moved to a house just across the Nassau border to Floral Park when I was 16.

The Secret Theater is delightful. Intimate and reminiscent of a black box where local plays are performed. I loved the feel, the scent, the vibe.

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Along with the oldest’s gf who joined us, we saw The Underpants Godot – written and directed by Duncan Pflaster. The author’s notes state “this play is intended as a love letter to Waiting For Godot”. It was campy and seamlessly performed by a cast of six talented actors. Many times touching, oft times hilariously funny. I’d known nothing about the background of the play and therefore was surprised – as were the sons – to see a few moments of full-frontal-nudity! I don’t embarrass easily and I’m not a prude. It was, more than anything funny to have nothing left to the imagination at very close range.

After theater dinner was had a Queens diner. Diners are staples in all boroughs of New York, in fact, they thrive in many parts of the East Coast. One more thing I miss in California. In hindsight, I wish I’d taken photos of the iconic glass cases showcasing seven layer cakes, napoleons, and eclairs. I wish I’d taken a photo of the owner of the gorgeous Greek man who is the owner. I had more than food to drool over.:)  The kids teased me about how I was blatantly flirting with the guy… hey a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do!

We enjoyed over-sized portions of the food diners are made of. My choice, an open-faced hot turkey sandwich, smothered in gravy with freshly made, creamy mashed potatoes. I recalled the many – too many – late nights into early morning hours friends and I spent in diners just like this one allowing greasy food to absorb the effects of a whole lot of partying! This night I took home a bag filled with take-out goodies that even if I can find in So Cal are just not the same as they are in NY. A buttery prune danish, flaky chocolate-chip horns, an almond crescent, a black and white cookie… all the yummy treats that shout New York to me by way of my stomach.

Back on the subway, back to the city, a quick trip to the local grocery store for strawberry’sand home again kicking back, preparing for the next and final day of our trip.

I loved the array of fruit outside the market. Who says you can’t get fresh stuff in NYC. Trust me the price was equal or lower than what I find in Cali. The varity and quality is superb.

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Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 6 – A Downtown Sort of Day.

It was Sunday… really, Sunday already… the first half of our trip was over, the week in which we’d head back to Cali was upon us.

Mass for me is not an option and only missed on rare occasion. For all, I’d been blessed with in these past few days, and all the days before them, I was taking time out to attend. St. Joseph’s is the church in Greenwich Village my oldest attended during his days at NYU.

It wasn’t far and the walk would take me through my favorite neighborhood. Brownstones along tree-lined streets. NYU flags dotting various buildings and street posts. This is the place I dream of when my dreams of a future life back in New York take over and cause me to plan. A single beam of sun shone through trees into a small park where locals were spending a casual Sunday morning with friends and family drinking coffee, reading the NY Times. It engulfed me in a spiritual feeling. God knows my dream.

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The church is lovely, old, quaint. Filled with statues and dark oak pews. A choir the likes of which I’ve not heard in years, their glorious voices lilting to the rafters. I imaged Christmas Eve here.

The priest stood on the steps when mass was over, bidding attendees a blessed week ahead, chatting with a few who are regulars. I waited my turn, wanting to compliment his inspiring sermon about assisting the homeless. His advice was not the usual, give a dollar, buy a sandwich, offer an address for a shelter. Rather he gently reminded us the unfortunate souls we walk by during our daily journey through life are real living, breathing humans, just like the rest of us. They have names, memories, loves, loss, and pain. They have feelings. Acknowledge them for what they are, humans who are, were, and maybe will be like the rest of us. Take a moment to look them in the eye, learn about them, offer them dignity and humanity. The priest was taken that I’d heard every word.. he joked that often it’s only his mom who appreciates his sermon. It was nice to hear him speak, not only the message but that his accent was the same as mine. I wasn’t an outsider with a NY accent, I belonged.

My walk back was peaceful, pleasant, filled with the boost that always comes from attending mass, preparing for the week ahead. My hour of solace. A renewal of faith to face the good, bad and goofy of our sometimes topsy-turvy world.

Well dressed men and woman lined the streets on motorcycles. I’m not sure what the event was. It was fun to see anyway. It made my mind journey to reminiscing about a friend. A cyclist himself who for a time was to me far more than a friend. He too had created those days of bliss that when I reach the winter of my life, I know I’ll recall fondly, because of how he made me feel. A couple of years ago he took me for my first motorcycle ride. I’ll admit I was terrified riding on the back up a narrow road through redwoods in Northern California. Clinging to him for life, the joy over-rode the terror. I was happy. The sight and sounds of the bikes made me happy, again.

I arrived back at the apartment as the boys finished dressing. We were headed to brunch. Yes, we were going to eat… again lol! We had brunch at a lovely local spot where lots of residents mingle for good food and bottomless mimosas. Chocolate chip waffles made from on-site prepared batter were my choice… YUM!

We decided to spend the day downtown. First, we visited the Lowline which I’d never known existed. Like the Highline, these creators repurposed a defunct transportation facility, only this time it’s underground! Using solar technology, they’ve taken a historic trolley terminal and created a beautiful underground park. Their vision is to “provide beautiful respite and a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense urban environments.” The coolness of the air, all from natural sources, was a welcome respite from the unseasonably heat outside. Plants growing everywhere, with plenty of staff – many volunteers – on hand to explain the intricate details and their plans for the future. If you’re in NYC check it out, at the very least peruse the web-site.

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On the way, we came across the Pickle Festival. Still stuffed from brunch, we didn’t eat anything pickle related, but boy did it smell good! Just thinking about it makes me want a pickle. The real kind from a barrel, not processed in a jar.

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And oldest and I couldn’t pass up a chance to be pickles! 🙂

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On to SOHO.  Roaming in and out of trendy shops, trying on items here and there and “bucket listing” a few items that aren’t affordable, but maybe someday. I love the narrow streets and brick buildings. Again, even though it was crowded with weekend shoppers, it never felt crowded or overwhelming as malls often do.

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This poster in a store window struck me. Creativity is an addictive drug that when tapped relieves stress, sadness and inspires hope. Probably one of the many things at the top of my I love NYC list is how inspired I feel to imagine, weave stories and write them. Writing is my passion, but the consistency to do so is often lost in the hum-drum lacking of external energy available 24/7 in NYC for all who wants it to absorb.

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In our quest to eat… heck all that walking makes ya hungry… and because my sweet tooth is always seeking out goodies… oldest took us to Laduree (when you open the website the music playing takes you to an ethereal place)! Oh, my. The elegance of this Parisian style tea room is palpable. Stepping in your transported to a time gone by where one can imagine proper ladies dressed in hats and opulent silk finery. If I’d seen a horse- drawn carriage parked outside it would not have surprised me. Plates of decadent pastries, delicate china, it was magnificent. We opted for an assortment of macaron’s which is a “sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food coloring”. The ones at Laduree are two delicate shells filled scrumptious ganache filling. The assortment of colors coinciding with the flavor are a masterpiece for both vision and taste. Even the shopping bag is extraordinary (yes, I’m framing it for a whimsical piece of art). Expensive, yes. Pure melt in your mouth heaven, absolutely. We all need a heavenly treat once in awhile.

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Next stop was the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy. Lucky for us we were there in time for the final day of the annual feast celebrating its 90th year. I’d not been here in years, probably not since childhood with my own parents. The streets were lined with vendors – mostly food – for as far as the eye could see. Crowds, oh yeah! No rushing here, you simply move with the motion of humanity. Everyone in attendance was having fun. Laughing, eating, drinking, singing along to the music. It’s a festival, a gathering, a party. It’s not to be missed if you get a chance to be there.

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551We had to take home some homemade cannoli. Unless you make them yourself from a handed down recipe or visit Italy, you’ve not tasted cannoli until you’ve had one here. A  brightly lit Ferris wheel tempted the boys. I’m not big on heights but I happily purchased tickets for them to go round-and-round over-the-rooftops. Again, I sat watching them in wonder. Manchild brothers, still teasing each other, joking, laughing as they did when they were small. What did I do to deserve the blessing of having them in my life? I wistfully wished their middle brother (my 22-year-old) could have joined us on the trip… next time.

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We visited the Shrine Of The Most Precious Blood. I stood in line with dozens for my turn to pin a dollar to the shawl of the San Gennaro statue which legend says affords extra blessings. I do not pass up a chance for a blessing!

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Though the food at every restaurant we passed looked amazing. The crowds in line were equally amazing. We opted to grab a subway back home and order in Chinese, something we’d not yet had which was at the top of the youngest list.

Another beautiful day filled with laughter fun and adventure ebbed it’s way to a close as we ate, watched videos, talked and planned the next couple of days.

 

Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 5 – Visiting the 9/11 Memorial!

The days were going too fast, however, I couldn’t say we weren’t seeing enough and then some.

Lunch was at Shake Shack which hands down has the best burgers and frozen custard in the world… okay I haven’t had a burger in every part of the world, but I’m betting theirs are a hard act to follow!

One place that was a must was a trip to the 9/11 memorial. My kids had been to the site about nine years ago when it was still very much a stark reminder of the horror of the day that changed life as we knew it. Living in the city, my oldest has since visited many times. He’s watched the transformation from the bottom up. For me, I knew it would be impactful, but I’d not realized how deeply being there, on the what to me will always be sacred ground, the impact would go.

It’s not an ordinary historical site. At least not now, not yet, not for those who lived the day, those who knew the before and after. It’s not a place anyone alive on that day can visit without being churned emotionally. Though it bustles with life. Though the buildings are again a hub for business. The austerity, the serenity, the vast knowledge of lives lost and torn apart can never be, will never be, forgotten.

The site is beautiful. A magnificent tribute to those lost. And, proof that our country, specifically New York City can be bruised and damaged but it will never be destroyed!

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I ran my hand across the inscriptions that line walls of the two memorial pools. One, in particular, caught me off guard. The name of a woman and her unborn child. I silently prayed for the ordinary people, who were simply living an ordinary day, until in the blink of an eye, they weren’t! God bless them all!

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The architecture is phenomenal. Open space, stark, gleaming white walls, all seem appropriate in breathing back life while honoring the reason. There is a solemnity within the cheerful busyness that offers a feeling mere words can’t describe. One must visit to understand!

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We wandered along the Harbor, a hot gentle breeze giving respite from the autumn sun. Making our way past the water, strollers passed kids on skateboards. Employees took a break from work. Tourists shot photos of the Statue of Liberty off in the distance.

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This for me is bliss. This for me is home.:)

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We reached the Battery Park Conservancy. Stopped to chat with a cute hungry squirrel gathering his goods in preparation of the long, cold winter to come.

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NYC son knew I’d love a ride on the Seaglass Carousel. My kids know me well. It was one of the loveliest rides I’ve ever been on. The music. The colors. Most of all two of my babies now young men, who for a moment were simply kids on a ride going round and round, up and down in the time that is I watched from me seat beaming with pride, bursting with love.

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Before heading to meet the oldest sons gf for the first time (I approve lol) for dinner on the lower east side, we stopped at the historic landmark Fraunces Tavern. It’s a fascinating pub. If you’re a history buff, you need to check it out. I’ve also heard some famous authors spent hours drinking, writing and finding inspiration. I hoped perhaps the muse of their spirits would invade me. Next trip we will enjoy a meal here and check out the museum.

With a bit more time to spare we meandered to the South Street Seaport. I told the oldest how here was his first honest to goodness outing after his birth. I could still picture him, twenty-seven years ago, wrapped warm and snug in his brand new pale green stroller. We’d met up with friends that chilly day in late September 1989 to stroll the seaport. Looking back at the memory, of being a new mom,I realize it was the first time in my life I knew true contentment. I was blessed to know the feeling again, two more times.

This day we strolled along, checking out the crabs ready for hungry diners at various bistros. Sat on a rocks for awhile and just aborbed life around us.

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Off to dinner at a cozy lower East side restuarant where a friends of afore mentioned son’s gf was guesting as pop-up chef for the night. He prepared an array of Asian infused delicacy’s. I’m not quite sure what each dish was. I am sure it was tasty.

Oldest had been invited to a party in Brooklyn. Youngest and I were welcome to attend. But, I thought it was only fair he have some time with friends and his lady, sans mom and brother in tow. We parted ways, them off in a cab, us heading back to the apartment, where we spent the rest of the night watching Game Grumps on YouTube. Youngest got me hooked ages ago, these guys are hilarious even if you’re not a heavy duty gamer.

Another great day… three more to go!

Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 4 – The Zoo and more… NYC is so not a cement jungle!

At the top of the youngest son’s list (and mine) was a visit to the Central Park Zoo. But first, you guessed, we had to eat! I wanted an honest to goodness bagel, I hadn’t expected an honest to goodness, died-and-went-to-heaven experience that included lox, capers and an egg-cream – which I’ve not had in too many years to count!

NYC son’s gf suggested we visit Russ & Daughters at the Jewish Museum on 92nd and Fifth. The decor, encompassing the establishments rich 102 years at it’s original location on East Houston Street, made the food even more delectable! Seriously, I could have spent all day sampling white fish, herring, pickles and every other delicacy the place has to offer. It was the first time youngest ever had “bagels with cream cheese and lox”, he’s now sold on it!

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After brunch it was off to the zoo. Stepping into Central Park, you forget you’re in a thriving metropolis filled with thousands of busy humans. As spacious as the park is, no matter how many people share the space, there’s plenty of room to breathe, stroll or simply park on a bench to take in the beauty of nature.

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Penguins and bears are my favorite creatures. The kids indulged my childlike need to see them, up close and personal. Laughing with me as I talked to the critters and ohhh’d and ahhhh’d over their cuteness.

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We wondered about the zoo, me snapping photos on my phone (which I’m sharing), youngest son capturing photographs like a pro, since that’s his life’s goal!

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Nineteen year old lets mom snap a photo… a rarity indeed:)

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After visiting all our furry, fishy and winged friends, we stayed to capture the peaceful bliss of Central Park. If they’d let me pitch a tent or set up a “tiny house”, I could live in this park forever and ever!

The trees, real trees, not the palm tress back in Palm Springs, were just starting to change into the glorious fall attire! Seeing them made me long more deeply for life back on the, my, East Coast!

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If you’re in New York City and develop a hankering for water… head over to Central Park. Among the lush lawn, magnificent trees, hills and meandering paths is the pond, the boathouse and of course boats! Please can I just stay here! 🙂

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My guys on the bridge

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An opera singer performing an aria

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Parting with the park was difficult, but there places to go and things to see. Mainly the artifacts that comprise the gorgeous Met on Fifth Avenue.

486Again, like so many other places, this is a place one could visit a million times and never really see it all. We roamed and meandered, touching upon our favorites, taking time to watch an dance troupe rehearse, and capturing the essence of at least one installment we’ve not seen before.

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As sun began to set, casting a brilliant glow over the array of never ending skyscrapers

489we headed to the rooftop garden to see British artist Cornelia Parker’s replica of the house featured in Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 horror movie). Cocktails flowed as people from all over the world gathered. This is real diversity!

 

 

Time for dinner… Tonight would be PJ Clarke’s. The Lincoln Center location has become a tradition for my kids. The one on Third avenue is a nostalgic throwback to my days of happy hours and youthful late nights that seem like a yesterday from so many years ago!

Dinner, as expected, was superb. My phone battery gave up, as did the sons charger. No photos were taken, but the memories live happily in my mind.  We roamed around Lincoln Center, watched people dance to a street performers music. Eventually we took a downtown bus back to the sons apartment. Just as we got “home” soft rain turned to a downpour. Pure bliss falling asleep to the patter of rain against the window. Ahhh rain, something else that’s all too rare in ever sunny So. Cal.!

 

 

 

Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 3 – Broadway and Friends

Not being a full-time writer who makes a living by writing (I wish), real life has a way of getting in the way. My plans to share my NYC trip moved to the back-burner to focus on my job – which I need to say is a job I absolutely love and am grateful for! With the long Thanksgiving weekend afoot, I’m determined to complete capturing these moments. Thank you to anyone who reads them. Hope you enjoy!

It was already day three… time was wooshing by too swiftly and there was still so much to do!

So many Broadway shows… so little time (and money… tickets are expensive!). We collectively agreed on seeing the Cirque Du Soleil production of Paramore… more about that later.

First on the list was visiting with friends who traveled from Connecticut just to see us. My sons and their son grew up together. These people are an example of family not having anything to do with blood!

Our first stop was the High Line. A place, until now I’d heard of, read about but never visited. If you too have not been, put it on your NYC to do list. High above the bustle of downtown is this rural oasis built on an elevated section of the New York Central Railroad that’s no longer in use (no you won’t have a train ride past you). Walk, jog, watch, read, think… I loved being here!
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The mile plus walk gave us an appetite for lunch – seriously we ate our way through NYC, thank God for lots of walking.

We headed to the Tenth Avenue Cookshop. A trendy restaurant NYC son highly recommended. A bit pricey but the delish food and exemplary service made it worth every penny!

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We double backed to the High Line area for a romp through the Chelsea Market. As the High Line is paradise for the outdoorsy type, Chelsea Market is paradise for a shopper! The path inside is lined with all sorts of permanent shops and pop-ups, eateries and goodies galore.

No chocoholic like myself can pass up a place with Chocolates as its name!

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We perused an artist work in a pop-up gallery…

Enjoyed fresh, strong coffee (with free yummy sugar cookies) by the colorful indoor waterfall and fountain…

 

Then headed toward Times Square on foot… heck we had to walk off the goodies we’d ingested! After a brief  break perched on the steps of the iconic James A. Farley Post Office munching on vendor pretzels – really did we ever stop eating! We headed over to Macy’s. Of course, every mall across the country has a Macy’s, but it’s not until you visit Macy’s 34th Steet that you’ve actually been to Macy’s! I reminisced about the shopping I did here back when it was a short cut – albeit an often costly one lol – between work and commuting from Penn Station.

The store had a tremendous display set for Halloween. It was much like The Haunted Mansion at Disney. We spent many fun minutes checking out the goods.

 

The old time typewriter, much like the one I inherited from my father, caught my attention and reminded me I must get it out of storage, one of these days!

 

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Too soon it was time to say “see ya later” to our friends – goodbye does not exist in my vocab. It had been lovely to see them, roam with them, and recall memories of the days when our kids were just that, kids playing soccer and spending lazy summers in one or the other of our backyards.

Off my boys and I went to Broadway… time for the show!

We love all things Cirque. Paramore at the Lyric Theater was no exception. It’s a fantastic show. Well worth seeing if you’re headed toward the great white way. It was fun having my tweets retweeted before and after the show!

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No matter how many times after each meal we said we’d probably never be hungry again, somehow we were! We chose Juniors for an after theater meal, complete with their famous matzo ball soup and of course… cheesecake! It’s a fun place that blends tourists and locals. Check out the many autographed photos of celebs, both current and from days gone by.

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Another perfect day came to a close. Another busy day ahead but I still took time to relax on the patio to savor with gratitude every glorious moment in my city!

Reorienting My Bliss in New York City! Part 2 – let the good times begin

I don’t consider myself a tourist in NYC. Rather I’m a visiting friend. There were tons of things we wanted to do, that only can be done there. Though we’re not by nature planners – much more about spontaneity in the moment – NYC son had kept an ongoing list of places I’d mentioned as well as a variety of places he knew we’d enjoy.

I woke up smiling the first morning and every morning that followed for the rest of the trip. The sight of skyscrapers haloed by a clear blue canvas, the sound of NYC hustle and bustle just outside the window made me giddy. The absolute was a cup of real NYC coffee. I love Starbucks, but that’s not what I craved. I wanted native bodega coffee in a stiff cardboard cup. I wanted to order a cuppa “regular” and know they knew what that meant. They did!

Since Dunkin Donuts doesn’t exist in Palm Springs and there happened to be one nearby, a dozen assorted had to be breakfast. Returning to the apartment, the boys now awake, smiled at my glee. Of course, NYC son was perfectly capable of making coffee – deliciously I’d learn pressed from freshly ground beans – they understood my silly desire.

We headed out for our first adventure to all sorts of places via Union Square Park. Anyone who says the city is nothing but a concrete jungle has obviously never ventured outside Times Square. Vendors lined the path selling everything imaginable; from candles to food. The vibrant colors and variety of fresh veggies caught my eye. On occasion I can find this in Palm Springs, however with temps most of the year hovering around triple digits, it’s really not that desirable to roam about purchasing carrots.

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Seeing a huge, green bubble in Madison Square Park sufficiently peaked our curiosity to check it out.

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Turns out it was a one-day special promo event for a new game, Farm Heroes Super Saga (by King the creators of Candy Crush). Participants were invited in to “hug a cropsie”.

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Not for nuthin’ being first in line minutes before the event opened  did we have a choice but to stay? Honestly, I was far more excited than the boys were (you can see they were holding in the euphoria), but they always, lovingly, give in to Mom, who is by far a bigger kid than they are.:)

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It was fun “hugging the cropsie” which in turn created the animations. Afterward we were rewarded with an apple, interview – complete with photo – and an Amazon gift card. Well, worth the thirty or so minutes it took.

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We wandered the streets window shopping and stopping in stores my son frequents that he knew I’d enjoy. Oh my goodness, if I liked to cook and didn’t have to schlep stuff back to Cali I could have easily gone on a shopping spree in Fishs Eddy. It’s such fun weaving about the narrow displays filled with everything a kitchen aficionado could ever want.

Next up was another cool store whose name escapes me. Being a fool for every kind of bear, I had to grab a pack of napkins with pandas on them. And, score of scores. Youngest found me a clear case for my iPhone, something I’ve searched everywhere for – want clear so it doesn’t hide the rose gold color – and only four bucks, such a deal!

Since I read about Eataly on one of the New York blogs I follow I knew it had to be on our to-do list. We chose their Flatiron location for lunch. WOW! It’s a paradise for foodies; to eat, shop, sample, one could easily stay all day. We dined at Sabbia their rooftop Italian seaside restaurant. The ambiance was delightful. Nautical theme all around us. A chef shucking fresh oysters at an ice filled station. Pricey yes but well worth the cost. We shared a delectable platter of assorted cheese and crusty bread with dipping oils. That was followed by various entrees. My GNOCCHI AL POMODORO topped with freshly grated parm…delizioso!

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In a food coma it was either take a nap on a park bench or walk, a lot, we picked the latter.

Being a passionate reader and writer, I couldn’t let us simply pass by the New York Public Library, especially when we saw a sign that the original stuffed animals that were A.A. Milne‘s inspiration for Winnie The Pooh were on display. I don’t think there’s anyone of any age who doesn’t wish they could visit the Hundred Acre Wood to hang with lovable Pooh and his pals .

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If I could have, I would have taken the collection home with me, but I doubt I would have made it past security!

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A fun collection of Albert Einstein bobble heads rounded out our trip to the library.

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The trek continued on up to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. If I visit nothing else in NYC, SPC is an absolute. Over the years I’ve spent many hours in prayer and peaceful contemplation in this magnificent place. St. Jude’s alter especially has deep, personal meaning to me. Several candles and a quiet walk around reminded me of all I have to be grateful for, including the two young men who I was sharing this trip with.

 

Rockefeller Center is a huge draw for tourists and residents alike – think skating rink and Christmas tree. It’s always been and always will be one of my favorite places. Additionally, the Nintendo store is located there… it was now time to have fun visiting a place at the top of youngest sons list.

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The sunny blue sky was fading to beautiful twilight. Skyscrapers illuminated the sky. I like a romantic starry night as much as the next hopeless romantic, but nothing beats the romance of NYC as day turns to night!

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After lunch, we swore we’d never be hungry again, but tons of walking changed that… a quick subway ride landed us in Times Square

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… where dinner would be another kid choice… Steak and Shake. I forgot how good those burgers are!

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A walk past the infamous Carnegie Deli

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… and after a memorable day it was time to head back to the lower East side for another night hanging with the boys at the apartment and resting up in preparation for the next fun day!

Part 3 coming up soon:)