Sunday, February 15, 2015

New York (Days 4, 5, 6)

Our Room... "Bright but Messy" Just like Me ;)
Many of you know the reason Leora and I are in New York. But, for the benefit of those I don't talk to regularly, Let me 'splain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup is marry' Humperdinck in a little less--

Sorry, got carried away there...

Wendy and I take our job of parenting very seriously and have always done everything we can to make sure the girls are prepared for life (as much as possible). I think we have covered the basics, but one of the things we decided we could do a few years back was to give them a sense of the world they are in. We want them to make informed decisions about who, where and what they will be and it seems like that would be more easily achieved with context. So, we promised each of the girls a high school trip anywhere in the world with their dad.

There is garbage and scaffolding everywhere. Both seem permanent
Whether such a scheme is up to the job of providing context or perspective is a question that they may be able to answer in 5 or 10 years. I'll let you know how that turns out ;)

Why isn't Wendy going? If you find yourself asking this question, you don't know Wendy and are probably reading the wrong blog. Wendy doesn't like travel. Which kind of helps with the other limiting factor... we don't have a lot of money. Sort of a two birds, one stone thing. Also, we want the girls to take some responsibility for the journey and she has difficulty not being responsible. So, three birds, I guess.

Anwyn's trip is coming up in the next year or two (we have to start saving yesterday) and she already knows where she wants to go. I'm not going to tell you. That's for later.

Leora, on the other hand, was having trouble deciding where she wanted to go. Someone I was talking to--don't remember who--suggested New York. Perfect. Leo loves musical theatre and performance and food and cooking and she is at least partially interested in fashion and design. Suddenly, it seemed like the obvious and perfect choice.

--Segue's are hard--

Day 4

New York hasn't been working for us yet. I know it isn't anything wrong with New York. Not anything that will change. I mean, it's New York. It is what it is. It doesn't bend for you. It doesn't compromise. I am trying to figure it out.

What I have learned thus far:

The only rat I've seen in New York (#3)
  1. New Yorkers are very nice when at rest. 
  2. Catch 'em on the move and you might want to get out the way, fast.
  3. It's someone else's problem.
  4. Traffic lights are not to let drivers know when to go. No, no, no. You can drive anytime. The lights are to let drivers know when they might be ticketed for hitting a pedestrian. It's a financial thing, really.
  5. If you can see the intersection when the light changes, you still have time to race the light. So do the 3 cars behind you.
  6. Cafes sell more than coffee and sandwiches. Sometimes toothpaste and tampons. Often headache medication.
  7. Artisanal Cafes sell the nicest tampons.
  8. Markets sell... EVERYTHING. But, very few fresh breads or vegetables, as a rule.
  9. Subways riders make a great captive audience for break-dancing, saxophoning, drumming and preaching about God in his many, many forms.
  10. Subways smell like pee.
  11. While popular opinion holds that snow flakes can be warded off with a good umbrella, children's play equipment and public parks are extremely vulnerable and should be immediately and indefinitely closed off.
With the help of this accumulation of knowledge, Leora and I have begun to hit our stride.

We took another run at visiting the High Line Park. Since it snowed today, I'm sure it is now closed again, but that is someone else's problem (#s 11 and 3)
The High Line (#s 1&2)
It really was very nice. It's winter so there wasn't a lot in bloom, but it was nice not to have to worry about #4 for a while. Also, quite a bit quieter up there.
Some of you think I'm exaggerating with my 11 rules up there. I give you this:
It's not the best photo. I agree. I looked inside, though, and I could't see coffee anywhere. There was beer though. And fan belts.

We visited the Museum of Modern Art later in the afternoon. Mostly they allowed photography, so naturally, that took all the fun out of taking photos. You can visit some of the galleries online via the Google Art Project, though none of my favourites are there :(

Day 5 -- exploring Brooklyn

Being a pedestrian in Brooklyn is way nicer than in Manhattan. The crowds are way smaller and the lights don't conspire to stop you at every single intersection. You still have to be careful. With reduced congestion cars can actually approach--even occasionally exceed--the speed limit (which there are no signs for, BTW).
Prospect Park is about 3km from where we are staying in Brooklyn. It is younger and more natural feeling than Central Park. Wendy would like it much better. At 5/8 the size of Central Park, it is still plenty big.
Looks fun, but #11
Brooklyn Botanical Garden is tucked into one corner of Prospect park. It was cold today and made for lovely respite from the cold. I hauled my camera around all day, but forgot to put the memory card back in. Had to take pictures with my iPhone (exception to rule #3) I might not even have bothered, but these are the photos Wendy is most likely to appreciate.
There was a whole room of Bonsai
Desert Biome
Afterwards we found an amazing doughnut place and awesome pizza. Pretty much heaven.

In the evening we saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Wow. Powerful, emotional, freaky and fun. That's my review.

It was transformative day. Between the food and music and people, I think Leora is beginning to realized why a place like NYC might be for someone like her.

Day 6 --in the zone

Valentine's Day is a pretty big thing here. Much bigger than in Canada. I think. Other than taking in 2 shows and having some crazy good pizza, Leora and I plan to lay low. She has a speech planned out for if we are asked how long we have been a couple (which has happened before). So far, today, it hasn't come to that.

Les Miserables was good, but not as good as it could/should have been. The female parts were weak compared to the men... who were only really good. The man who played Val Jean, though, was incredible. He made me cry inside 10 minutes and repeatedly, thereafter.

In the evening we went to Disgraced, a complicated Pulitzer winning play. If it were a bad joke, it might begin: An Arab, a Jew, an Afro-American and a White Girl walk into a bar... Only, it wasn't a bad joke, at all. It was a thorough look at identity and the racism seething below the surface of post 9/11 America. Started a little slow, but made up for it in the end.

Very late. Sleeeeeep...