Our Big Apple Adventure continues.

imageHere I am in my Parisian garrett, living the writers life, hardly a garret but being in Paris on a writers course and I still haven’t finished writing about the last few days of the amazing trip with my wonderful friends! Now I am going to try to finish being in America, despite the sun shining outside on a late autumn day and the thought of cycling alongside the Seine to the Eiffel tour being rather appealing.
Back to New York, Judy went to the FedEX office on business which all extremely frustrating and very stressful. In the meantime Cheryl and I cycled the length and breadth of Central Park, the wind whistling through our hair as we sped down the hills, finding the Stuart Little pond, the Alice in Wonderland statue which was commissioned by Georges Delacorte, a philanthropist, so that children could visit and experience the wonder of Lewis Carroll’s story. It is not only children who experience the wonder as we both did too, as did all those we saw, including the skateboarders who zoomed in to sit on the mushrooms and have their photos taken. SO cool, they said! Helen walked through Central Park, getting lost, but we met up after a while and walked to the Frick Collection. The house itself is a treat, being one of the few remaining Gilded Ages mansions in New York, and gave us an insight into the lives of the super wealthy at that time. Henry Clay Frick amassed a great dal of art during his lifetime, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Goya and Gainsborough, as well as the occasional Turner and Constable, and a rather lovely Renoir almost hidden under the grand staircase! It didn’t seem right that one man should have so much for himself, particularly given that his involvement in the Homestead strike in Pittsburgh where 9 steel workers were killed by the detectives he had employed to break the strike , many injured, thousands were sacked and those who returned to work were paid half their previous wage. Fortunately for us Adelaide Frick, his wife, left the house and paintings to the nation on her death so we can enjoy them today! A much more modest exhibition was housed in the basement, that of the drawings of Andrea da Sarno (1486-1530) drawn in preparation for his larger paintings. They were simply exquisite.
On Friday evenings from 4 until closing at 8pm MOMA does not charge admission, so along with most of New York we dashed there, via the Apple and Armani stores both of which feature glorious staircases! We saw Monet’s water lilies, Miro, Magritte, Van Gogh, and a huge, and sometimes weird, collection of Picasso’s sculptures. Walking home along 5th avenue, stopping briefly at the Rockerfeller Centre to watch the ice skaters!
Saturday saw me and Cheryl walking back to Central Park for some art shopping whilst Judy and Helen sought religion in St Patrick’s Cathedral. Judy was happy when she finally had a good coffee! Libraries are places I love to visit but unfortunately the famous reading room at the New York Public Libray was closed. St Patrick’s Cathedral was closed to those not going to mass, the Rockerfeller Centre (for cocktails) was closed. We decided this was a sign to go for retail therapy instead! Our first time in the US, we had been pretty restrained up until then but the 40% off sale at Banana Republic and the beautiful colourful clothes at Desiquals proved irresistible! Eataly, one of my favourite places in Chicago, has a branch in NY but it was so, so busy! This was the first time we were met with a New York attitude, we thought we were waiting for a table but apparently this unmovable New Yorker had been there long before us and there was absolutely no way she was going to allow us to have that table, her death stares defeated us and we went to the Alongquin for cocktails, to the Blue Bar, instead, as recommended by one of Helen’s patients who is 94! It has been refurbished since Lady Pat’s day but I think some of the charming waiters are still there! After cocktails and shopping we decided dinner in our beautiful apartment was a good option, looking over the sparkling skyline of New York. Cheryl and I did sneak in a prosecco at the gorgeous, miniature bar, The Pocket Bar, on our way home from grocery shopping!
On Sunday, we headed for Newport after picking up our car, which we had to fill up with petrol, an adventure in itself! We saw Shelagh and Max, who had been so generous in lending us their apartment, only briefly for a coffee to tell them about our New York adventures and hear about their cruise, down the East Coast, from Montreal to New York, one for the bucket list! We met at the Gotham West Market, wish we had had time to eat there too. Continue reading

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Writing 101 days 14 and 15 and Chicago

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We are having a great time! Enjoying the sights of Chicago whilst Michael is at his conference. Did I mention that Simon and I went to the Shedd aquarium whilst Emma and Lara did the architectural boat tour, they loved it. The aquarium was so interesting and informative but I feel uneasy about having dolphins and particularly Beluga whales, such clever sensitive animals in a small space. Ribs at Carson’s followed, delicious as ever. Back to our hotel where Michael and I danced to the band in the Palm Court for a while, we enjoyed ourselves, whilst the Tango dancers took themselves very seriously and the Swing dancers swapped partners for each dance! Great dancing and great people watching!
Saturday started with a long walk to the beach and beyond, to the zoo. Is Chicago the only city with a free zoo? What a wonderful thing! So busy by 10am! We watched the gorillas for along time, fascinating but again a little uneasy about them being in such a confined space, but maybe they are safer there than in their natural habit. The jaguar was gorgeous, as was the lioness licking a bone clean, with her barbed tongue, which we read about!
We set off for Eataly, a fabulous shop/restaurant/providore, buying our picnic for the music festival at Rimageavinia. Onto the train, found our spot, got settled cracked open the prosecco and then the storm warning came. We got organised with bin bags for raincoats, but we had NO IDEA! From one moment to the next, the wether changed completely. Howling winds, huge raindrops, trees leaning, lightening flashing and thunder roaring. It was a reminder of the force of nature! We huddled under a tarpaulin but got soaked from the bottom up as the rain turned the ground to med and flooding! I have rarely been so wet! Sensible Simon sheltered I a building and was dry, unlike the rest of us! Eventually the rain subsided a little, we retreated, defeated! Back to our hotel with our soggy picnic!
Getting on the plane now, continued tomorrow!