Friday, February 13, 2009

Visiting New York City

I took the Chinatown bus from Baltimore to New York today. I try to get to New York monthly to see my daughter who is studying theatre at NYU. It was a very long trip with horrendous traffic at the Lincoln Tunnel. I have been visiting New York regularly for over 25 years. When I lived in Montreal in the early eighties, we used to drive to Burlington Vermont and take 'People's Express' to New York. It cost $29 each way and we were squeezed like sardines for the short flight. I started getting to know New York on the Upper East side. I loved being near Central Park and visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Lincoln Center. I moved over to the Upper West Side as it became more popular. When my oldest daughter became interested in theatre, we stayed near Times Square and saw plays every day. Now that she lives in the West Village, I spend most of my visits close by at a friend's apartment that happens to be on the same street as Tara's dorm. I have enjoyed all parts of New York, and this visit have decided to stay near Central Park again. It is an entirely different feel from the area around the University, and I like both equally.

Tara was at a rehearsal this evening, and I arrived too late to get to a play. It tried to find a movie to see, but everything started an hour later. I wandered from the corner of 59th and 5th, past the Apple store and FAO Schwarz, where I had brought Tara year after year when she was small; past wonderful shops, some new, but many which have been in the same spot for years and years. Past St. Patrick's Cathedral where I have been to celebrate several occasions in the past. At Rockefeller center there were young people camped out waiting for a chance to be in the audience of Saturday Night Live, willing to sit through the cold night with no guarantee of getting in. I wandered onto Times Square, checked out the plays showing....trying to make plans for tomorrow. Finally visited Sephora, which is like a candy store for adults, and spent too much time just looking. Tara and I used to take the same walk and wander in the same stores, so this was a stroll through all sorts of memories.  

When Erika, our Ecuadorian friend, was staying with us in Baltimore, I took the family to New York one weekend. Maya was playing in a concert at the Manhattan School of Music. I had tried to get a hotel near Tara's place using Hotwire, where you do not know which hotel it is until after you purchase the package. It turned out to be the Hilton which looks over the site of 9-11, which was a huge mass of construction. Erika did not like New York at all. It was too big and too busy and there were far too many people, for Erika there was nothing redeeming about the city. She preferred Baltimore to New York and preferred Quito to any other city. She liked the slower pace of Quito, she liked that it is quieter and more spread out and perhaps mostly because it is her home.

I will keep visiting New York. I feel that I am still exploring the city. It continues to reassure me in the many ways it does not change, and continues to intrigue me with its variety of neighbourhoods and reinventions. 

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