"New York impressed me tremendously because, more than any other city in the world, it is the fullest expression of our modern age."
-- Leon Trotsky
Thursday, October 10, 1996
Whew! I just got done with a crazy crunch week filled with papers and midterms. I'm free now! You wanna know what got me through the last couple of days of intense work & studying? My mother's incredible packages, cards and postcards. It was wonderful to find something from her in my mailbox every day, and today she sent me a cheesecake! I'm the luckiest college kid alive. Next week is fall break for Swarthmore, so I'm going to get to reeelaax. This weekend I'm going to get to check off one of my life goals by going to New York City -- something I've wanted to do ever since I first started reading my dad's weekly subscription to The New Yorker years ago. I'm going with my roomie, Carrie, who lives in Manhattan. I'll tell ya all about it when I get back on Tuesday.
Tuesday, October 15, 1996
I'm back from NYC. It was a fun weekend trip, giving me a true taste of the city, which I now love. Here's the run-through of what I experienced: Carrie & I took an Amtrak train from Philly early Saturday afternoon. Normally the train ride takes only about an hour, but we had bad luck (delays due to a faulty engine that needed to be replaced and then someone had a heart attack, so we had to wait for the paramedics). Thus we got into the city at about 5:30pm. I was so excited when we first walked out of Penn Station onto the city street, for it looked just as I had expected: tall skyscapers loomed over us, and the sidewalks were busy with all sorts of interesting-looking people.
We took a cab to Carrie's apartment, which gave me a quick look at a bunch of the stores of Madison Avenue. We were in a hurry because Carrie's dad & stepmom were having a dinner party at 6pm that night to celebrate their 5-year wedding anniversary. I only saw their apartment for a second (while we dropped off our bags and changed into dresses) before we turned around to run to the fancy restaurant where the dinner party was being held, only a few blocks away. We were escorted upstairs to a room full of about 25 people in suits/ties and nice dresses, sipping champagne and mingling . At first I felt a little uncomfortable, but it was interesting to meet new people and experience the whole thing as a true New York event, uppity-style (kind of reminding me of a Woody Allen movie). Waiters wandered around refilling everyone's glasses with drinks of choice; they also carried trays of fancy, delicious hors'dourves. There was a woman constantly taking photographs of all the guests with her bright flash. I introduced myself to her, and we ended up having an enjoyable conversation, talking about all sorts of stuff. She's always lived in the city and now produces a television show for Court TV. After about an hour, everyone was escorted into an ajoining room to be seated for dinner. There were placecards at each seat, and I got put at a table of interesting folks. Carrie's dad, Larry, has two brothers that were there. One works for the State Department, often traveling internationally to work with various big-wigs. He told a funny story of how he recently was offered to be the ambassador for Djibouti (but he turned it down). Larry's other brother works for Boston's big public radio station, so we got to talk some about the radio biz. Dinner was delicious, with three gourmet courses (I chose yummy grilled salmon for my entree). At about 10:30pm everyone took off, and Carrie & I headed back to her apartment. It's in a great location, on the 6th floor, overlooking a nice stretch of Madison Ave, only blocks from Central Park. The next morning, Carrie & woke up rather early to go get rush tickets for the acclaimed broadway show we wanted to see: "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk". We walked through Central Park on our way there. It had so many joggers and rollerbladers, and the water reservior is actually quite beautiful. We also took the subway, which was a lot cleaner and less creepy than I had expected. Once we got to Broadway, we waited in line for about an hour & a half. We luckily got tickets for that day's matinee show of for only $20 each. We still had a couple hours before the show started, so we met a group of Swattie friends at a restaurant on Broadway (we had pre-planned this). It was a group of nice people: Christine, John, Danielle and two of Danielle's friends from home. We had a fun lunch at a trendy spot near the Broadway theaters. Then Carrie and I saw the show, which was great! I found myself comparing the theater to OSF -- our ushers are much better in comparison, but their theater is beautiful. Our seats were in the front row of the mezzanine balcony but on the far side, so we couldn't see part of the stage; it was still wonderful though. The musical was unlike anything I had seen before, for it was an innovative blend of tap dance, drumming, rap and drama. The cast is all-black, and the dancers are incredible, moving their feet with such energy. Savion Glover (choreographer and dancer) is amazing. After the show, Carrie & I walked around for a while and ate dinner at a Greek restaurant. Then we met up with some Swattie friends again (Jenna also joined us this time), taking the subway to the Village to walk around. We ended up having dessert and coffee outside a cafe in Little Italy, where there were lots of people walking around (even though it was rather late by then). We saw all sorts of intriguing city sights, like a man dressed as a ballerina/angel playing an accordian on a tall bike-contraption! The next day Carrie & I slept in a little and then went out for lunch at a delicious Chinese restaurant. We spent the afternoon walking around the Upper East side and West side, visiting cool shops and watching some of the day-long Columbus Day parade. Late afternoon we went to the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), which has some incredible art of all different styles. It reminded me a little of San Fran's modern museum, but I still like the architecture of SF's building better. Christine, John and Ben met us there, and we all went out to eat at an Indian restaurant. Then we walked around a little and parted our own ways. John & Christine went to see Miss Saigon while Carrie & I saw a great movie, Bound. The movie theater was below ground-level in a huge entertainment store (Virgin) unlike anything I had ever seen before. I felt like I was in a futuristic science fiction movie, for it had five bright floors (going down, not up) of books, music, videos, a travel agency and a multiplex theater. When we got out of our movie at 11pm it was still full of people, and we hung out with J & C at the coffee shop downstairs. That was my trip to NYC! Today I had an easy trip back to Philly on a cheap greyhound bus, and now I have the rest of this week to relax & work here at Swat. I really love New York -- Carrie sure showed me a good time! I think I'm truly West coast at heart (and San Fran will always be my fave city), but what an adventure NYC can be. I really hope to go back sometime again in the future.
Here are some cool NY links:
Neil Simon moved to LA about fifteen years ago, then moved back to NYC after a year. Asked the difference, he replied, "When it's 32 degrees in New York, it's 78 in Los Angeles. When it's 102 degrees in New York, it's 78 in Los Angeles. There are about two million interesting people in New York -- and 78 in Los Angeles."