New York, New York!

imageThis post may look quite long but it is worth reading! We did so much and had such fun we want to write about it all! And there is still more of our girls trip to come, not sure when I will get to write about Paris but since I have a little more time here my posts may be more frequent and I can catch up with myself!
Back to the girls trip! We took the train from Washington to New York, it was such an easy way to travel. No check in, no security to contend with and so good to stretch our legs and buy breakfast from the cafe carriage. The scenery was beautiful, big blue lakes or long rivers reflecting the fall colours, whitewashed weatherboard houses and masts. A cold welcome to Penn station as we struggled with the minuscule and difficult to operate lift but we finally reached the street to be shouted at by the officious man in charge of the taxi rank.
The first of many scary rides in a yellow New York taxi and we arrived at our apartment on w45th, between 10 and 11th, in Hells Kitchen. We walked through the front door to fabulous views, 22 floors up. The New York skyline right there! Hells Kitchen is so called because a local gang took the name of Hell’s Kitchen, which was more or less a slum, in 1835. Davy Crockett called this area the lowest and filthiest area in the city. No longer so with glamorous apartment blocks and small, trendy wine bars and restaurants galore.
Judy set off to catch up with her nephew, Duncan, whilst we walked the High Line, a disused section of railroad which was repurposed (such an American word!) to become a park, with great views of the Hudson River and the New York skyline. At one end is Chelsea Market, which we explored and then headed back to our apartment to cook ourselves a glorious meal, sometimes it is just too hard to go eat out, even in New York City! First World problem! We had made our plans for the following day which changed completely when Judy came home with some great ideas!
We started at Duncan’s office as he wanted to show us the view from his office on the 32nd floor, adjacent to the The Freedom Tower. We saw his apartment and by chance his wife who had come out onto their roof terrace, he pointed out Robert de Niro’s apartment, amazing, and the view of the Ground Zero Memorial which we then visited. One of my friends wrote so eloquently of her feelings when she was here recently “here the flow of water washes away the destruction of a moment of madness. The magic of remembering moves me to the space of openness, where lives were lost and hearts are healed. What a magical space has been created to support that process. I am moved” and so were we, to tears. The mood was sombre and sad, even more so when we walked past the Fireman’s memorial, where the sense of loss was palpable.
We walked on to Battery Point, seeing the Statue of Liberty In the distance. From our vantage point she looked quite small but in fact from the bottom of the pedestal on which she stands to the tip of the torch the statue, designed by Gustave Eiffel and a gift from the French people, stands a massive 305 feet and 6 inches, she herself being 111 feet and 6 inches tall, with a 35 foot waistline. The seven rays on her crown represent the seven oceans and continents indicating the universal concept of Liberty, the broken chains that lie at her feet the broken shackles of oppression and tyranny. How much hope has passed her by as the million of immigrants came to make new lives for themselves? There was an interesting exhibition on Battery Point featuring enormous world globes decorated to show us how we could make our lifestyles more sustainable, an exhibition especially for me, as Judy said! We had to stop for coffee (finally something that tasted like coffee, according to Judy and Helen!) and snacks at The World Famous Gourmet Market, so famous that Helen was shouted at “no photos, lady!” as she tried to take a photo of the magnificent, massive pizzas that were being made!
Next stop uptown to the Whitney Museum, more of Mrs Whitney when we get to Newport! We loved the Archibald Motley exhibition, he was a Jazz Age Modernist (1891 – 1981), who with bold colours and movement visually chronicled twentieth century life. He was one of the first black artists to attend the School of Art Institute in Chicago. He says of his portraits, which were not commissioned, that he wanted to bring about a better understanding between the races by educating both black and white audiences. One the one hand, he believed that seeing themselves in art would help African Americans feel pride in their racial identities, on the other hand, he hoped that seeing beautiful contemporary black subjects would dispel stereotypes and undermine racism. We then explored the rest of the museum, along with a party of perfectly made up and beautifully dressed New York ladies, one of whom was wearing the biggest diamond we had ever seen. I have to admit that they were almost as interesting as the rest of the artworks! We repaired for reviving drinks at Gansevoort St, wandered through the Meat packers market, went to Shelagh’s local recommendation of a farm to table restaurant, The Marshal for our pre-theatre dinner, where the Brussels sprout salad was to die for! Brussel sprouts are definitely having their moment, as we read in a gourmet food shop brochure! St Malarchys chapel, the actors chapel, was open and opposite the theatre so popped in, lit our candles whilst Judy wrote a prayer for us all. The irony was not lost on us as we made our way across the road to see the Book of Mormon, one of the funniest, clever and most irreverent shows we have ever seen, we could not think of a single group of people that they didn’t offend at some point! I think I might have to see it again as I was laughing so much that I missed a lot, the pace was cracking and acting, singing and dancing superb. Gotta love a Broadway show! We were just by Time Square so had to see the lights and go into my favourite store, the M and M store, three storeys of M and M products, from M and Ms themselves to pjs, leather coats, handbags, anything you want M and M themed!
I think I should stop there and go out and wander through my new neighbourhood, the 1er arrondisement in Paris! There is still one more day in New York to go and then Newport before I even reach Paris!
In the meantime Simon is working hard at Arrowsmith, much more chipper as his time on the 6 handed clocks is improving, though it goes up and down day by day, generally it continues to improve. The term is going by too quickly, the six week yoga course has finished already! Where did that six weeks go? As well as the cognitive improvement exercises there has been time spent on mindfulness and EQ sessions which are all about confidence building and self esteem boosting, much needed for students who, because of their learning difficulties, have been told they are failures for a long time and who see themselves as such. One of most exciting results of the Arrowsmith programme is to see the blossoming of confidence as the cognitive exercises work their magic, not magic really as we see how much hard work goes into those exercises, but it feels like magic!

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4 thoughts on “New York, New York!

    • Thank you so much Anthea! We had a ball, as you can tell, hopefully! Still got Newport to write about! Thanks for the tip about MOMA being free on Fridays, we loved it, amongst other things!

  1. Nice opening sentence. so humble! Mx In wentworth falls. Didn’t realise what a beautiful place Con has bought. Will send piccies.

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