Thanks to my persistant and patient husband, I recently enjoyed a nearly perfect weekend in New York City. For years and years, we had said we needed to take advantage of the short train trip to the Big Apple — but we never did. So the trip was long overdue, and although I was reluctant to go after a terrible week at work, I put on my big girl pants and we went. And I’m so very glad we did.
With every passing mile of train track, I was more relieved to be away from the D.C. area. Change, even for a little while, always does me good, and I didn’t doubt the city would have some sort of healing effect on me. If nothing else, its sights and sounds would provide a welcome distraction from exams and deadlines, an urban diversion from my suburbanite routine.
There would be no errands to run; no to-do list to consult. We didn’t know what we would do or where we would go; we knew only that we would finally be in New York.
We arrived at Penn Station about 30 minutes late because of track work. I didn’t care. Outside the station, a soda-drinking Santa greeted us, along with an eager entrepreneur who sold us on using his car service. Our hotel was on 16th Street, not very far from the station, but we didn’t want to lug our bags along the city street. We decided to take advantage of our new friend’s offer. Some wrong turns and $25 later, we realized we had been suckered.
Welcome to New York.
After checking in at the lovely Dream Downtown, we put away our bags and just started walking, in search of food. We ended up at Cafeteria on 7th, where we dined on Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls with Smoked Gouda dipping sauce, and burgers — because I am an 11-year-old boy at heart.
But this 11-year-old boy can legally buy beer and cocktails, such as the Cafeteria Old Fashioned. After loading up on more carbohydrates than a middle-age couple should consume in one sitting, me and the better half started walking again.
That first night we covered Greenwich Village, East Village — and beyond. On the way back to the hotel, we found ourselves across the street from Famous Ray’s Pizza. With complete disregard of the 12,389 calories we had consumed at dinner, we ordered a slice of the famous pie. It was all I thought it could be and more, well worth every ounce of fat and empty calories. Besides, we had earned it: We covered at least 6 miles that night, maybe 7.
The next day, we got up early for us night-shift workers, and walked 2.7 miles down to the World Financial District, where we had lunch at PJ Clarke’s and planned our day. We would just keep walking, we decided.
And walk we did.
It turned into be the walk of all walks. We covered nearly 13 miles that day. From the Battery to Chinatown to Little Italy to Times Square. After a brief break in Central Park, we took 10th Street back to our hotel. (“It’s only 4.7 miles,” I said. “Easy.”)
The 4.7 miles back to Dream wasn’t easy after hours and hours of walking, but it wasn’t hell. We had seen New York up close, personal. We had made the most of every hour, every block. On the way back, we saw the iconic New Yorker building and stopped at Hallo Berlin for a nice hefe — all the while working up an appetite for a most excellent dinner at Sueno’s on 17th, home of Chef Sue Torres. (More on this later.)
One dreamless sleep later, it was almost time to leave. We had wisely booked a later train for our departure Sunday, so we stowed our luggage at the hotel and spent the morning and early afternoon prowling around the Chelsea Market and enjoying the High Line, the elevated train track turned city park. Surprisingly, we were able to cover block after block of the Meatpacking District without any of middle-age’s aches and pains that might have been brought on by the Saturday’s epic adventure.
In the hours before we left, the city seemed quieter, slower. Maybe we were just tired. Maybe it was just Sunday in the city. I don’t know.
I guess I’ll have to go back soon to find out.nowherefromhere.com
Early Friday, I wrapped up an ecommerce class, tried to forget about work and boarded a train for a much-overdue trip to New York City. This meant I had three hours to kill with no WiFi and zero desire to read the book I had brought along. I was, however, armed with my iPhone, so I snapped graffiti as I saw it along the train tracks. (I was on a speeding train, so some photos were better than others.)
As we walked 13 miles around the city on Saturday, I continued to snap away. I took more than 300 photos over two days; in the interest of my readers’ time, I have heavily edited my collection.
This is a far cry from anything related to marketing, advertising or journalism, but I had to share it. I found photographer Yasmine Chatila’s 2007 (2006?) series entitled Stolen Moments last night while … I can’t remember. What I do remember are the haunting voyeuristic portraits of New York that Chatila captured over months of observation in different parts of the city.
From the press release:
I collected hundreds of photographs of strange, comical, and often haunting moments.
Indeed she did. Please do yourself a favor and click the link. It’ll make for a delicious break between phone calls and meetings.