So, it’s been nearly a month now that I went to New York for my birthday and I’m only now getting round to writing up about it. But first a bit of lead-up. I’d planned on taking the trip back in April and booked the hostel and the train from Portland, Maine to New York (with a change of trains in Boston).
About a week or so before, I’d suggested to a friend of mine, Donna, that if there was a way for her to join us in NYC, I’d pay for part of her train ticket, if she was able to cover the other part. For personal reasons, she didn’t feel she was able to at that point. However, serendipity happened. Donna was talking with a mutual friend of ours later that day who’d pretty much suggested the same thing I had. Within a day of back and forth conversations, our friend Jill (who lives in New York), and I had arranged for Donna to join us in the city, splitting the costs.
On Thursday, 26th July, I left home in New Brunswick and drove the five hours to Portland, Maine in order to get the Amtrak train to New York…well, technically to Boston first. It’s a two hr ride to Boston, then once I got to Boston North Station, I had to take the Orange Line subway to Boston Back Bay Station. I should have remembered from last year how hot Back Bay station was in the summertime. The sweat was literally pouring off me, and the large floor fans did little to alleviate it. Thankfully, the time came to get onto the train bound for Penn Station – New York – the air conditioned train. I was a happy woman again. It was a long day by the time I got into New York that evening. I made sure to call Jill once I got into the city to let her know I was there, safe & sound. After waiting in line outside Penn Station for a taxi, I headed down to the hostel I was staying at on West 14th (New York Central Hostel). As I was late arriving, they had me staying at their secondary site on West 22nd Street. I was sharing with five other women. Not too bad for $48-$52/night. But it was a lovely neighbourhood in Chelsea. Two of the women were from Switzerland, another from Germany, and I’m not sure where the other two were from as I think I only saw them once in passing. I was pretty exhausted, but excited to be back in the city. Thankfully, the hostel also had air conditioning, so I grabbed a shower after the other girls were heading out.
On Friday, I headed back up to Penn Station to greet my friend, Donna, who was coming in from Maryland. Last time I’d seen her was March 2011 when I was there for Jessica Leccia’s Fan Luncheon. I gave Jill a text to let her know Donna was here and that we were in a cab up to her place. Unfortunately, Jill’s husband, Tony, who’s a great guy, had left that morning with the dogs to head to his family, so we missed seeing him this time. However, it did mean that we had Molly cat all to ourselves…okay, really, Molly had us. So adorable kitty. After hanging out for a bit at Jill’s – and cooling down with the AC, we headed out on the bus for Central Park, wandering from the 72nd Street entrance, heading northbound by the Conservatory Water.
Then we headed a little bit further north to the Alice in Wonderland statue, where there were some kids playing around the statue, which reminded me of when I was a child and climbing around a bronze Peter Pan statue in Bowring Park (St. John’s, NL).
Crossing over and down a bit, we came upon Bethesda Fountain, watching musicians and performers, locals and tourists, kids of all ages enjoy the lovely sunny afternoon. This area of the park is one of my favourites. There are the Minton Tiles, which are absolutely stunning, the wonderful arches that lead into the tiles and the fountain. That day, there was a group of young adults gathered in a circle, sharing the center, dancing. It was great fun to watch. I’m cheating here a little – the middle shot of the Minton Tiles I actually took last spring, but I’ve not posted it here before, and I was in there this time, but I preferred this shot.
After a while though we moved on, heading down towards Strawberry Fields and out of the park to a nearby subway station to head downtown. Heading up streetside, we ventured along the west side, passing by St. Malachy’s – The Actor’s Chapel on West 49th St. We didn’t go in at this time, but taking a look at the website, I’d love to visit it again another time, just to see the internal architecture. We then headed down to the High Line, walking and chatting the whole time. At one point we walked past a little area where there was a foot level water source we we walked through, soaking our feet, cooling down before finally heading over to the Olive Tree Café on MacDougall St for some lovely food. We walked a little more before taking a cab back up to Jill’s (I had my bag still up there). We watched some of the end of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and I headed back to the hostel.
Waiting at the 77th St & Lexington subway station, there was a woman – Laura Vecchione – performing on the platform; she was really good, so I bought one of her CDs, girl in the band. I happened to mention to her that her singing reminded me of Kyler England, and she seemed surprised, asking me about knowing Kyler – I’d told her about interviewing her last fall and seeing her in concert in Boston for her “Electric Hum” album tour. Laura mentioned that she’d gone to school with Kyler in Boston at Berklee College of Music. Small world. 🙂 We exchanged contact information, and I headed off on the train for downtown.
To Be Continued…