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.