Ah, New York…
One glimpse of this skyline, photo taken from Central Park, and anyone will know where you are. Hundreds of songs have been written about this city, hundreds of movies made there, millions of people have walked its streets, and been captured by its sense of adventure. It is the original “melting pot” where so many cultures can be found in one place.
It is the city that represents the US to the people of most other countries…tell anyone in a different country that you are from the US and they’ll say, “Oh! You know New York!” Up until a few weeks ago I’d have said, “No. I’ve never been there.” But now, I can say I have been there. There there, and not just “Airport” there. My husband and I visited Manhattan. One and a half days there, and he is wondering if we could move there. Who knows? Tout est possible! But no, I’m not packing up just yet 🙂
I mentioned already in a previous post that we saw a Broadway Musical that weekend, with the aid of the beloved “Two-fer” tickets. This post is kind of a “Two-fer” too, in fact it is almost a “Three-fer” because it fits in with both the Thursday and Friday versions of The Bee’s “Love is in da Blog.” For “Traveling Thursday” it is a place I think I am falling in love with. For Friday, it is a “Blog Love.” I really have a hard time choosing a “favorite blog!” So I’m not going to say this is my favorite, just that it is a favorite, and the one that is on my mind tonight. So, because I am sort of writing this in response to a question that Arlee Bird asked on his blog “Tossing It Out” — namely, “What Does Manhattan Say to You?” my “Blog love” is going out to Arlee this week. For those of you who don’t know, he is the mastermind behind the “A to Z April Challenge” which really got Forty, C’est Fantastique off the ground. I’m gearing up for my 3rd time doing this challenge in 2016! Arlee “Tosses Out” all kinds of interesting topics on his blog! I don’t always get involved, but I do read silently from my email box, and when a topic strikes a chord with me I just jump in! I love that Arlee really engages in conversation with his readers who comment. He’s thoughtful. He loves music and hosts a “BoTB” post on his site. I really don’t know how he does all of it. In any case, I highly recommend making a trip to his site to see what he “tosses out.”
So to answer his question (and I hope it isn’t too late!)
What does Manhattan say to me?
After a long flight, we walked, wide-eyed, out of the airport, searching for the metro, or a bus, some way to reach Manhattan. After a short search, we found ourselves on a bus, where we were able to figure out, with the help of a native New Yorker, the system by which one buys a Metro card and uses it to get a little ticket for the bus, which no longer accepts cash. You have to get a metro card and then use that at a kiosk to get a ticket. The lady in question did not have enough money on her Metro card for the ticket, and since the bus driver didn’t take cash, she gave us cash and we ran to a kiosk at the next stop and used our brand new metro card to get her a ticket. Then she told us some cool things to do and see in the city, and I have stashed that advice away for next time we go, because with just a day and a half we really had to choose one or two things. We rode the bus until the end of its line and then switched to the train. I’m not sure that was the most efficient, but we did end up at Times Square, which was just a couple blocks from our hotel.
We got off the train and said, “Hello, Manhattan.” Manhattan said “Hello! You’re going to have a fabulous time.” The lady at the hotel desk sang the word, “fabulous.” She said, I can find you a fabulous restaurant, and she did! We had a very nice seafood dinner, not too far away from the hotel, and we walked around Times Square and gawked at the lights. Funny thing, but Manhattan does say to me that it is somehow okay to be a “tourist” there. It’s okay to stop and gawk at the skyscrapers whilst the real New Yorkers walk around you like water flows around pebbles in a stream. It’s a much different feeling than say, San Francisco or Paris or Dublin. In those cities, I felt a desire to “blend in” and hide my tourist status. In Manhattan, I didn’t find that to be necessary, even when we encroached upon a somewhat more “local” bagel shop. There was a pleasant mix there of locals and tourists. And the bagel was fantastic. They say it’s the water. You think?
New York is elegant and refined, but at the same time it is loud and gaudy. It is Prada and Louis Vuitton, and it is also tourist shops. It is classic high-heeled pumps, but yet it is also brightly colored Converse. And “puffy down jackets.” Lots of puffy down jackets. I’m glad that at least our jackets fit in a little bit 🙂 I’m not really sure why this is a trend all of a sudden. Marty McFly would be proud.
We went walking around Times Square on a Friday night, and a couple asked us to take their picture. Then, they offered to take one of us. Why not? They asked where we were from, and we told them, then asked them the same question. They told us they were locals, just out for a date night while their kids were with family. Isn’t that great? To go to one of the most touristy places in your own city just for fun? They looked really happy, too.
So what did we ask Manhattan? We asked it to show us some of its glamour and some of its traditions. It happily complied, and we came home happy, having seen the “Home Alone 2” Christmas tree, the skaters at Central Park, horse-drawn carriages, beautiful homes that we could never even dream of living in, Times Square, and a Broadway Musical. We ate NY bagels, NY pizza, and NY cheesecake. My husband even had one of those hotdogs from a street vendor. We rode a bus and a subway, and we rode in a NY cab. We looked in the windows of some designer stores that we didn’t dare set a foot into. We truly began to understand the French expression lèche-vitrines, which literally translates as “licking the windows” but really just means “window shopping.” Somehow the French expression is more descriptive! We walked (according to FitBit) eleven miles. It was glorious. So in the end, what did Manhattan say to me? It said, “Come back soon!” I can hardly wait!