My mom and I are spending the weekend in New York, one of the places on her bucket list to visit. She’s never been, and I’d only been briefly for work, so we are here as full-on tourists these two days. I didn’t bring my laptop, but here’s a quick photo tour of our first day from my phone.
We started our Saturday with a walk east from our hotel in Soho to Katz’s deli near East Village. Mom wanted a NY bagel with lox; I wanted blintzes like my friend’s mom used to make when we had sleepovers at their house.
We walked north through East Village before embarking on my Mom’s first NYC subway ride. We both love all the fire escapes in this part of the city, though I didn’t get a great picture of them.
From the subway, we crossed Park Avenue, then Madison Avenue, then Fifth Avenue to arrive at the Museum of Modern Art. Once inside, I found a docent and said, “I’d like to see the Warhols and any Rothkos you might have. Do you have a Rothko?”
He tapped some things into his computer and smiled up at me. “We’ve got two Andy Warhols on the fourth floor, and Rothko is on the fifth. We’ve only got one Rothko, though.”
I was giddy. “One is enough.”
We stopped at the fourth floor first, then the fifth floor for the Rothko. I had no idea the treats that awaited us there. At the top of the escalator was Wyeth’s Christina’s World. Then the Jackson Pollock painting everyone knows. Then Dalí’s melting clocks, Monet’s three-wall wide Water Lilies, Mondrian’s New York inspired Broadway Boogie Woogie, Picasso’s Three Musicians. Whole rooms of Picasso. And then, to my great surprise, van Gogh’s Starry Night.
From MoMA, which I adored, we walked north up Fifth Avenue towards South Central Park and our next stop for the day: afternoon tea at The Plaza hotel.
Tea at The Plaza was our great splurge, our Mother’s Day gift to each other. Mom drank champagne and I sipped the best Gin Sling I’ve ever tasted. Crystal chandeliers glittered above us, and we took our time savoring the sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and lemon curd, hot tea, tiny desserts, the clinking of porcelain tea cups, and the atmosphere of luxury.
After filling our stomachs to bursting, we walked and metroed again (accidentally taking the express towards the Bronx, and having to hop out far beyond our destination so we could get on the right train to go back), this time to Central Park West and W. 72nd Street for another item on my mom’s bucket list: the John Lennon memorial.
“There are three things I remember exactly where I was when they happened: JFK’s assassination, September 11th, and when John Lennon was shot,” she told me.
We came up onto the street from the subway and there was The Dakota, where John Lennon lived and where he was killed. We wandered around Central Park trying to find Strawberry Fields. In its center we would find the memorial. We walked and walked, having turned the wrong way when we first entered the park, but we knew we were close when we heard a guitar strumming and a voice singing Beatles songs.
We sat for some time there, watching the pilgrims and listening to the man on the bench singing John Lennon.
Still full after our tea, we rested in our room for a while. We skipped dinner and drank cocktails and ate sweet potato fries back in Soho instead.
“I really want to go back to that book store in Greenwich Village and see if they have the book I want,” I said.
It’s a John Cheever book, The Wapshot Chronicle, for my Massachusetts reading project. Our library doesn’t have it, and I can’t find it for my Nook either. I didn’t have high hopes that this little book store would have it either, but neither of us was ready to go back to the room, so we walked over to bookbook after drinks, just for fun.
They had it! I’m pretty excited about my single take-home purchase, my souvenir from New York.
Once back in our room, we set our alarms for another big day in the city, and then we slept the deep sleep of the weary.