Well, we went to the Big Apple and rubbed shoulders with the world. The whole experience was loud, colorful and a little claustrophobic. While my spacious Midwest gives me room to write expansive sentences and long paragraphs, New York gave me fragments of thought, organized by list.
Children. Babies in carriages, or wrapped tightly to their parents’ backs. Children riding scooters home from school with their mothers, playing in parks, dancing on sidewalks. The family is alive and well and lives in New York City.
Languages. So many people speaking so many languages at once!
Brownstone apartments. I’m addicted to You’ve Got Mail. I jumped up and down with glee when we found Kathleen Kelly’s part of town.
Nylon stockings. I saw several young women wearing nylons with dressy dresses. I felt like I was making a discovery. Nylons are making a comeback! Not sure how I feel about that.
Shoes and handbags. New Yorkers invest in good shoes and bags. It stands to reason. In the Midwest we live in our cars. We can afford to wear cheap shoes if we’re only walking in from the parking lot. New Yorkers walk everywhere. They don’t want to do that in a pair of ill-fitting Target specials.
People, people everywhere. Great entertainment for the people-watcher.
Smokers. We passed Cigarette smokers everywhere we went. How did they not get the memo?
Garbage. Every once in a while, we’d get a big whiff of rotting refuse. Unpleasant, but unavoidable.
Finding restrooms. Our trip could have been subtitled, “The Quest for Public Bathrooms in New York.” Something’s wrong when you buy a Venti latte at Starbucks just so they’ll give you the door code. Problem so not solved.
People, people everywhere. Here’s where the claustrophobia comes in.
Blending in. The day we arrived in Manhattan, three people asked us for directions. So I figure we looked like natives.
Taking risks. I ordered anchovies on my pizza in Little Italy, because I wanted to know if they deserve their bad reputation. They do.
Dinner at Alex Guarnaschelli’s restaurant, Butter. I ordered a decadent pile of lobster meat, and Jon ate the best steak of his life. Delicious. Jon stepped away from the table for a moment, and the waiter re-folded his napkin. Divine.
An American in Paris at the Palace Theater. Gershwin, Paris, and witty dialogue. What’s not to love? My favorite part came later, when we went to the Museum of Modern Art. We found the Piet Mondrian paintings they based the costumes on in the second act!
The Saks Fifth Avenue Shoe Salon. It’s on the eighth floor, and it has its own ZIP code. We tried not to gawk.
Lottie’s New York. From the famous to the obscure, I found the places I wrote about in Lottie’s Gift. I loved placing my imaginary friends in their historic settings. Lottie catching a cab in front of Carnegie Hall. Aunt Eva breaking down in tears at the 107th Infantry Memorial. The Neverland Dance Band strutting their stuff on 52nd Street. So exciting for this fiction writer!
A weekend alone with my husband. For three days we did exactly as we pleased. We ate where we wanted, when we wanted. We saw the things we wanted to see, and skipped the parts that bored us. We made the kind of memories that grease the wheels of our everyday marriage.