NYC 2012 Birthday Trip – Part 5

This is the final part – 31st July & 1st August

After getting ready for the day, I got all my stuff packed up and headed down to the 14th Street main hostel/office to drop off my key and lugged my suitcase down to the subway to catch the trains up to Jill’s to drop the suitcase off. I spent some cuddly time with Molly cat, curled up in front of the air conditioner for a little while. It felt really good. The only goal I had for the day was to walk through the upper end of Central Park.

It being a beautiful day, I walked down to the 79th St & 1st Ave bus stop, I caught the bus over to the 79th St. entrance to Central Park. One of the things I wanted to see was the Belvedere Castle, which I hadn’t been able to do when I was in NYC the last time I was there. There were some gorgeous views of the park from the castle.

Belvedere Castle Tower, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

A View From The Castle, Turtle Pond, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

I ventured across the the park, past the softball fields, up along the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Resevoir and up to bridle path and up to the Ramble. The Ramble is one of my favourite places to visit. I’ve taken a picture of the Rambling Arch last March (2011) and I took another one here this year during the summer. I love both of them for different reasons.

Rambling Stone Arch, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

Heading around the paths, I found some folks out for a lovely day of rowing.

A walk in the woods, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

Rowing on the Pool, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

There is something about an entangled exposed root system of a tree or trees that fascinates me. A reminder than in many ways we are all interconnected in some way, to the earth, to each other. It’s not always pretty or vibrant – it is what it is.

Tangled Roots, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

Walking further down the path in the north woods, I found this wonderful waterfall.

Waterfall, North Woods, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

The beautiful Glen Span Arch involves several of my favourite nature elements: pathways, water, stone architecture, plants.

Glen Span Arch, North Woods, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

And another waterfall…

Another Waterfall, Central Park, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 31 July 2012

I finally ended up at by the Harlem Meer and the Conservatory Garden on the upper east side of the park before I decided to stop for the day, exiting at the E. 106th gate and headed over to get a bus to downtown where I was meeting up with Jill for supper. A mix of walking and busing, I finally met her at Dhaba Restaurant for some lovely Indian food. We left and headed back up to Jill’s for the remainder of the evening until it was time for me to leave for my train. By 2am I bid adieu to a lovely tired Jill and a curled up Molly cat and headed to Penn Station. Alas my vacation in the city was drawing to an end.

I’d managed to get a wee bit of a nap at Jill’s, and then I was able to sleep on the train for a couple or three hours on the train from New York to Boston. On the train, I met up with a lovely woman from South Africa and we got talking about travelling, photography and things. She was also going up to Portland, ME and since this had been my third time doing this route, she and I stayed together during the travels. Boston was still as warm as ever, though the TD Center was a bit more air-conditioned than Boston Back Bay. Managed a bit more sleep on the Boston-Portland run which was good because I would have a five hour drive from Portland to home.

Caffeine in, and the soundtrack to Wicked playing in the car’s CD player, I started my drive home. The sun was beautiful and windows open as I headed up the I-95 to the Houlton, ME/Woodstock, NB border, then home an hour later. Phew. Already missing NYC and my friends there. 🙂

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NYC 2012 Birthday Trip – Part 3

Sunday – 29th July – The Birthday 🙂

I actually slept in until nearly 9am. I’d made plans to meet up with Jill – she was coming to meet me by the hostel – to begin our day of fun together. We walked around a bit until we came to a restaurant – I’m blanking on the name, but it’s one we’ve been to before when we were in NYC last March (2011) and gave Jill the first season of the OVS. I’ve yet to find a way to get a chance to pay for a meal when Jill’s around. Started off with French Toast (me) and Flapjacks (her), then we caught the subway over to Brooklyn so we could walk the Brooklyn Bridge back into the city. Despite the overcast day, it was very humid.

I don’t think there are pictures of ME walking the bridge unless Jill took some, as I was doing a fair bit of picture taking myself. But these are some of my favourites:

Brooklyn Bridge Walk. New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Walk. New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Walk. New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

Brooklyn Bridge Walk. New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

Brooklyn Bridge City Hall Subway Station Elevator, New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

Heading uptown, walking, to Times Square. Now, having done TS a few times, I wasn’t thinking I’d make a run back there, but I did want to go to the Swatch store to get a watch, and we did need to come up in that general vicinity as I had to be up there to go to the Gershwin Theater to see “Wicked”, so off we went. About mid-way up, the sun came out and it was getting warmer. Much warmer. 🙂 We went up to the Ace Hotel on 29th Street and had pictures taken on the stairwell. There’s a story behind that, that belongs to Jill, but I was glad to be part of…where everything is going to be all right.

Jill Hurst, Ace Hotel, New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

One of my best friends, Patricia, had decided for my birthday that she was going to get me a ticket to a Broadway show of my choice. So having picked “Wicked” after hearing many wonderful things about the show, she arranged for the ticket. Words can barely express how much I appreciated that. Just wow. I mean, I appreciate all my birthday presents because they are given with thought and love behind them. Not necessary but fun all the same. 🙂 Thanks to Jill as a birthday present I got a “Wicked” t shirt and the program book/poster. We went our separate ways as it was time to go to the show, and we were meeting up later to go for supper.

I’d gone into Wicked, not hearing the music nor reading the book it was based on. And boy was I impressed. It didn’t take very long to get hooked into the show. To put it bluntly: spellbinding. And more than a few times did I identify with Elphaba. Misunderstood, intelligent, stubborn, an odd sense of humour, sensitive & protective…except, you know, having a thing for Fiyero. Defying Gravity and For Good will always give me goosebumps. Just awesome.

Wicked, Property of Universal Studios.

Oh, and I went back and bought one of the Wicked zipped sweatshirt. Obsessed? According to Bettie, I was a Wicked virgin anyway, and it’s going to be a while before I get to see it again. It being rather warm when I came out of the air-conditioned theatre I headed for the subway to head down to the hostel to shower & change for supper.

As the restaurant wasn’t too far away, I walked down to Pepe Verde on Hudson Ave and met up with Jill, then Bettie and her daughter, Barbara. Oh wow, the food was good. And there was plenty left over – leftovers. Just as well we were walking again afterwards. We wandered over to the 911 Message Memorial and read over many of the messages that were turned into ceramic tiles. Just heartfelt.

911 Message Memorial, New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

After that, we wandered over to the Magnolia bakery and got some cupcakes. Jill had some birthday candles but we had no matches/lighters, so they called over a couple of guys who had a packet of matches and they all sang Happy Birthday to me. I’m quite sure I turned beet red, thankful that it was dark out, though. Walking along, we headed down to Washington Square Park, where there was a few musicians playing, with quite a good sized crowd gathered around. I took the shot below just as we were headed back out of the park.

Washington Square Park Arch, New York, NY, © J. Lynn Stapleton, 29 July 2012

We walked over to Brother Jimmy’s on E14th, but alas Brian Malloy – Jessica Leccia’s husband, wasn’t working at that place that night. He’s also managing the Brother Jimmy’s up on 80th & Amsterdam. Jill & Bettie decided they were going to turn into pumpkins and headed to their homes, while Barbara and I stayed for a few drinks and watched some of the Olympics on the big screen tvs. We finally packed it in about 10:30 or so and headed over to the subway station where we parted ways. I finally got back to the hostel about 11pm more than a little buzzed. But hey, it was a great birthday with great friends.

To be continued…