‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Friday, February 11, 2011

Pillars of Salt

You know that kid who was kind of creepy in elementary school? The one you stayed away from because he'd probably beat you up or say something so withering that you'd go home and beg your parents to move? Then, many years later, you're at a party with friends and he shows up and is completely charming?

That's what New York is like for me.

For years I have loved hating it. I called it "Sodom on the Hudson" and imagined everyone to be pushy and mean. This was not entirely unfounded. We had playground issues, so to speak, in the early stages of our acquaintance.

But friends had invited us to see an opera with them and then a week at a New York apartment popped up in an auction benefiting our favorite theater. So we bid. And got it.

I was as surprised as anyone.

Every time I saw a picture of New York I'd get nervous all over again. Old habits die hard. But I really like opera and was pretty sure I'd get to see one (I did much more than that - see my Opera Betty post for gloaty details). So I pretended I wasn't scared. And made Chris drive.

Here's what happened: People were nice.

After the MoMA one day, we were deciding where to have lunch and a man stopped and asked if we needed help. He then told us about four restaurants nearby. When we chose the one he was on his way to, he gave us the run down of what was good and where to get in line.

We live in a tourist town and walk past groups of lost tourists all the time without stopping to offer help.

New Yorkers are nicer than us.

We had dim sum in Chinatown with our friends from the Magazine of Yoga. When we were done, our pile of empty baskets was taller than Studley.

Sugarplum and I had tea at American Girl Place. The nice thing about this is the looks people give you when you walk down 5th Avenue hand-in-hand with a happy, doll-toting child. The skeevy thing is how you feel when you wake up the next morning and realize you spent triple digits on accessories and spa treatments for a doll. They offer bellinis for the adults in the cafe. A hit of Valium might be a nice addition.

Samantha gets her hair done

We went to the Statue of Liberty and looked up her skirt - which seemed kind of rude yet necessary.

We saw every single thing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art by way of looking for the bathrooms.

We made sure we did not spend the night inside the Museum of Natural History. I think they made that movie as a way to get people to leave.

The people who work at the Metropolitan Opera and at Ellis Island made us happy to be human.

In fact, the whole trip made us happy to be human. I think what had scared me about New York before was its inhumanity. This trip was, well, personal. We met invisible friends and friends of friends. We met strangers. We were introduced as family and colleagues.

We had a fabulous time and no, we will not shut up about it. Stop asking.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

I love visiting New York, and I love leaving. I couldn't imagine actually living there.

Ellis Island is amazing. Gave me chills.

Cheryl said...

Ahem. You don't stand in line in NYC. You stand on line. Never could figure that one out.

The Statue of Liberty is breathtaking, isn't she?

D.P. Gallagher said...

"New Yorkers are nicer than us."

Having lived in New York for years for work and now being back on Cape Cod, sadly, I have to agree with you. We should be more helpful to the tourists we encounter here.

Meadowlark said...

You made me want to see an opera! I've only seen one and it was fun but not in a city. I still don't want to go to a city. But good try. :)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Like I didn't miss New York enough before. Now you had to go and do this.

Your penance, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post about how damn wonderful Cape Cod is.

TwoBusy said...

Maybe the key to visiting New York is choosing a season when it's not quite so... uh... aromatic. I always seem to be there during a heat wave in August.

Celia said...

I am glad you had a good time. I have spent so many happy hours at the Met. It's my favorite museum and exactly where I would ask to go if offered a treat. Next time, try Central Park.

Susan said...

Cheryl - right! Also, you have a coffee, not a cup of coffee.

Dan - no promises, but I'll try to remember this in August.

Meadowlark - Did you read the Opera Betty post?? Opera is super fun. The people are great and the entertainment value is over the top. We'll have to find you one in a not-city. :)

Tamar - Sorry. As for the Cape Cod post, Sugarplum asked if she could open the car window bc she wanted to hug Cape Cod.

TB - I think I had only visited in aromatic months too. You might be onto something.

Celis - I forgot! We went to Central Park on our first morning. Kids ran around in the snow and had a blast. Beautiful.

Lemon Gloria said...

Oh, it sounds like your trip was amazing! I love New York. I do feel like people are very friendly.

Celia said...

You saw me on Ellis Island. Kinda. My family is on that wall. They came over here to get away from the Nazis.

Logical Libby said...

I love to visit New York -- but I wouldn't want to live there. I think I would start having country withdrawals.

Greg said...

I love NYC. Glad you had such a great time there!!

Keurig Mini said...

Since 9/11 I have been afraid to return to the city, but glad that it is still alive and well. I'm afraid I will just have to wait a bit longer and miss out on that wonderful coffee in New York and just settle for a cup from my keurig coffee maker.

Perhaps I will get my nerve up and convince my husband to take us there.

Jett said...

My experiences with New York as a single person were exuberant, mostly two-fisted and, um-ah-um, _interesting_.

Our experiences in New York Christmas before last? Were a dream. The locals really are priceless, and made our time there vivid and great.

So much so that Maxim, Decidedly Not A Traveller, would now like to do Christmas there every other year. >:oD

(the line about Liberty's skirt made me intensely happy)

suzan said...

I love NY too. But, I'm really laughing about your American Girl experience. I would have loved to go to NY for a visit. Back when I took my daughter we flew from Virginia to Chicago for the weekend... to go to tea with a doll! And I wouldn't have missed the experience for anything!

Celia said...

Suuuuuusaaaaaannn I miss youuuuuu. How are the chickens?