A few months ago Ryan mentioned in an offhand way that we had an extra free plane ticket just kicking around that we should do something with and I immediately volunteered to go back to New York to visit Miss N and Miss M and eat some amazing food and enjoy fall weather that does not require sunscreen and a bathing suit. So we made the arrangements, including a bonus extra trip to Connecticut to visit two of my aunts and my grandmother and it was set.
I was SO EXCITED all last week. It was Fall Break and the kids were off but I was not and I was trying to juggle all their arrangements with my normal workload--I was kind of losing it a little, but kept reminding myself that at the end of the week I'd be heading to NEW YORK CITY and then it seemed more manageable.
They asked what I wanted to do and I told them three things: 1) Eat lots of good food, 2) Go to Central Park, and 3) Go to the Met to see the American exhibit. We did all of those things AND MORE.
Our first stop was these beautiful gardens in Central Park (that's not true, our first stop was brunch, which was super yummy and cozy). It was spectacular. I would have taken more pictures, but it wouldn't have done it justice. I could have spent the whole day just sitting in the middle of all those amazing plants, but we needed to get to the Met and also it started raining. I loved it.
Then we took a pretty walk through pretty rain (I'm pretty sure my wild excitement over every single thing I saw on our walk became grating, but YOU GUYS IT WAS SO AWESOME) to the Met.
Why does everyone walk so fast in NY? Why don't they all walk along looking straight up, with their mouths hanging open? It's so pretty!
Eventually we arrived at the Met, which was also beautiful and intimidating in scale.
I felt weird taking pictures inside the exhibits, but my favorites were the Sampler Room in the American Exhibit, the massive mural of Versailles, all the ivory and wood carvings in the Medieval exhibit. We were there for hours and didn't even see a quarter of the museum. More amazing work around every turn. Hidden nooks and crannies. Inviting staircases. Beautifully decorated rooms from historic houses.
I did take this picture so I could make a Hamilton joke on Facebook (Here comes the General!).
We rested for a while on a bench in front of a large sculpture of about twenty-five stylized naked men and I was both glad and a little disappointed that the kids weren't there to completely humiliate me.
After the Met we walked to the train to go find dinner at a place Nicki and Megan love, that specializes in fondue and different kinds of dips to put on pitas.
I only thought to get a picture after we had nearly destroyed every last morsel of food on the plate (olive tapanade, walnut and pepper something, hummus, spinach and feta something, beet something). And forget about the cheese fondue. And the filet mignon skewer. OMG I am drooling.
Wonderful friends! (who pick great restaurants)
After a bit of a walk we were ready to eat some more food, so we headed to a bakery in Columbus Circle for almond croissants that we took home and ate in front of Saturday Night Live (which comes on at 11:30 there, I almost turned back into a pumpkin).
Among reasons I would like to go back and never leave is that this was the THIRD place we tried for almond croissants and each one was more amazing than the last. It's good we waited until we got here to buy something:
The next day I got up early and took an Uber and then two subways to Morningside Heights (ALONE. I was quite proud of myself for figuring this out) so I could go to the choral Eucharist service at St. John the Divine cathedral.
I love this little glimpse of the cathedral you get when you turn down 112th street.
Beautiful and massive.
Inside I sneaked one picture before the service began.
Afterward I made friends with a woman named Mary, who invited me to lunch in the cathedral house. I had plans with Nicki and Megan, but I did join her for a cup of coffee before working my way through the rain back to the subway. Nicki and Megan met me at the Times Square subway station and we rode the train to Brooklyn to a brewery for lunch.
I got the "Bavarian Breakfast" which consisted of two bratwurst, two pretzels, and beer cheese for dipping.
(As you can tell, the "eat good food" part of my itinerary was FIVE STARS.)
Later we walked to an ice cream place. The walk was freezing and very windy, but enjoyable.
Before we took the water taxi back to Queens, we visited the roof of a hotel to look at the view of the Manhattan skyline.
And then my hosts asked me if I would like to "Order in Thai food, open a bottle of wine, and watch the debate together," which, YES YES YES (they may have regretted this plan after I started shouting obscenities at the TV in a wine-fueled rebuttal to Drumpf's "locker room talk" assertion). That sounded amazing. It was all perfect. The perfect visit. I wouldn't have changed a thing, except possibly to make it longer. I still love New York, having stayed in Manhattan with four kids in the summer and having stayed in Queens with friends in the fall. I keep waiting to find it overwhelming and smelly and scary and it just hasn't happened yet. It is a wonderful city. I cannot wait to go back.
I left Monday morning, walking with Nicki to the train then finding my way to Grand Central to take the MetroNorth train to Connecticut, where I met my sister and went to my aunt's house and had lunch with my Grandma. More on that later because this is getting long and office hours are over so I have to get the kids!