A week ago we sat in the airport for four hours waiting for a flight. Knowing that our connecting flight was canceled. Watching tons of passengers realizing that their flight to Rome would be missed, and they would be spending two nights in Philadelphia. Checking in with my daughter, who was riding a bus to Jersey with people she didn’t really know too well.
Lots of hours, and planes, trains and automobiles later, we were hugging friends in Manhattan we hadn’t seen in many years. My son, upon arrival, said, can we go see Times Square at night? So at 11 p.m., we headed out into the rainy night and crossed a few avenues to LED-land. Which turned out to be LEGO-land that weekend….whoa. Even our resident friends were impressed with that thing. Life-sized Chewbaca! My son took many pictures, and we waited for the post-theatre crowd to thin, and then we headed back, exhausted, at midnight. Friends were waiting for us, for late-night catching up.
In the city, I’m not sure I really do the things most people do. We see the occasional show. We eat at the occasional interesting place. We do the touristy things sometimes. But it’s really about being with our buddies and living their New York lives for a time. I served as tour guide for the soccer team on Saturday, and while we didn’t hit my entire agenda (no Time Warner center and Columbus Circle, with a park jaunt up to Strawberry Fields) due to rain and tired soccer girls, I think I showed them the part of the city I know best (midtown) and gave them a flavor for what it’s like to get around New York. Bonus: they were mooned at Penn Station. Other bonus: we had to traverse two huge piles of vomit in front of M&M World.
So we bemoaned the closing of two favorite places with our friends: Daffy’s and H&H. We went to full-on neighborhood haunts and drank overpriced wine and ate horrible appetizers, that would be sneered at here in my newly-foodified town. BUT - we could walk home, tipsy and laughing, arm-in-arm, avoiding honking cabs and the rest of the residents doing the exact same thing. My son and husband took in a Chelsea-Man City soccer match at Yankee Stadium with our friends - and it rocked their athletic worlds.
And then there was Sunday. My husband and I went out to fetch brekky with clothes thrown on and everyone still asleep in the apartment. NO ONE else on the streets. The sun finally shining. We sipped our amazing deli coffee on the way back and watched the sun shining on the Empire State (a full moon had been equally dazzling the night before from our friends’ 25th floor apartment. They don’t close their shades. And why would they? I would wake in the night, check the moon’s position and One World Trade’s lights, and go back to sleep).
Heading out, no one could decide what to do. And thank goodness. For we stumbled on any manner of wonderful, city things. A gorgeous and interactive art installation in Madison Square Park.
(I’d never been there). We ate dumplings at a famous food truck’s new permanent location. We ALL took pictures of the Flatiron building in the cloudless sky. My son found men doing Parkour in the park…and he demonstrated some of his moves to thunderous applause.
We went, after I had a brat-fit insisting we head that way, to Eataly (and everyone gushed and thanked me after). Um, CHERRY SORBETTO. Also, my son found himself in Smoked Meat Heaven. The butchers and deli workers somehow knew of his passions, and gave him literally a pound of free samples. Every time we reunited in that big store, the boy’s mouth was working a giant piece of soppressatta or something. And then, arm in arm, we went back to the ‘hood, bought pasta and wine, and cooked big family supper on Sunday night, which is how they do, and all got together and laughed and looked at wedding pictures from the newlyweds, and stayed up late talking and worrying and planning, and soon, too soon, the sun rose over the river and I packed our bags and we hailed a cab, and went to Queens, and flew over the Statue of Liberty, and back to our green, warm, pretty town.
And now we have exams, and graduation for Wee Care, and the summer logistics for seeing family and getting to two camps each, and driver’s ed. Somehow a busy, intense weekend in New York fed and me and shored me up for all this. Much moreso than a weekend lying on a beach would have, I think. The noise and the humanity and the art and the buildings….is that what I found so inspiring? I don’t know, but I love it. I really, really love it.