Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A HELLUVA TOWN!

Sometimes there are posts that just seem too big to blog -- so I'm going to take a cue from my more clever, funnier, thinner, and better looking friend, Franklin, and start writing and the beginning. I will stop where I need to and continue on next time from where I leave off. (Let me add yet another reason for my slow posting. I was in an auto accident on Tuesday and injured my right index finger. You can't imagine how slowly I type with only 9 fingers!)

LET'S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING...

We flew to New York towards the end of the most restrictive of the new carry-on guidelines, so we were well prepared and had absolutely no problem getting through securityin a timely manner. Of course it was 5:30 in the blessed morning, so there weren't any people around.

So -- uneventful flight, arrive in Newark, AirTrain, New Jersey Transit, and Boom! We are in Penn Station. The cab ride ($15 with generous tip -- oh, I feel just like Andy Warhol) to the hotel was a bit slow because of noontime traffic and because the cabbie took 44th St. instead of taking 42nd to 1st...anyway, we got there, checked our bags, and dove right into our first day in New York. Unfortunately, we did it sans camera, as I had forgotten to retrieve it from a bag we left at the hotel.

Even without the camera, though, we still had a great time. We had a slice of NY pizza at Pizza Rustica, a block from the hotel, then walked to the NY Public Library, which isn't, we found out, open on Mondays. We went down to the Empire State Building, then to Habu Textiles, which had been one of the top things I wanted to do.

I've got to say, Habu was a major disappointment. I had apartments in New York that were bigger, and I lived in studios. The yarn was hung on rods in a sort of walk-in closet (maybe walk-thru is better?) and I seriously had a bit of claustraphobia set in. And their yarn just didn't feel as softr and luxurious as I had expected. The bamboo and silk yarns all felt a bit like butcher's twine to me. Oh -- and the teensy-tinesy showroom was hot...something I can't excuse. Myfanwe and Norbert ended up laying down in the hallway outside the shop. There was a lovely group of women visiting from California who were shopping at the same time as I was -- they were so nice to refill our water bottle in the ladies' room for me-- and they didn't buy any yarn either.

I'm sure I am forgetting something, but the next thing I know, we are back at the hotel.

So -- our hotel was located directly across the street from the United Nations. Which, if I might remind you, was still up to its ears in the situation in Southern Lebanon. There were a lot more people booked in the hotel than they expected, methinks,because they couldn't give us the kind of room we booked. It was, actually, significantly different. Smaller. Without a kitchen. And the A/C running full-tilt didn't get the temp below 72 degrees...and, being the hottest man in America, I sweat more in the hotel room than I did in outside in the sun. I didn't sleep well at all.

(They did, eventually, move a refrigerator into the room, which increased the liveability for us. But they never could get the A/C running so that I was comfortable.)

Anyway -- we do the pool bit and showers and hop onto the 2nd Ave. bus, headed to the B&H Dairy, one of my favorite restaurants from my days in New York. The B&H is a little...and I do mean LITTLE kosher dairy restaurant with cabbage soup that is out of this world! I had the spinach blintzes and cabbage soup, Myfanwe had a whitefish salad sandwich on challah and cabbage soup, and Norbert had the macaroni and cheese and gazpacho. Oh -- and I splurged and had an egg cream. Divine! Dessert was obtained from the (unfriendly) kosher bakery two doors down from the B&H. As far as I was concerned, we could go home that night...I done what I came for!

After diner we walked a bit around the east village, then hopped on the 1st Ave. bus, which dropped us off in front of the United Nations. Nothing makes you feel safer than getting off the bus in front of well armed, well trained guards.

Stardate Tuesday, August 20



Up and at 'em bright and early -- ok, we were bright, but the skyline was not. At least not yet. We got our only rain of the trip, and it was while we were still in our jammies.


We ate quickly -- yummy cheese danishes from the unfriendly bakery -- then hopped on the 2nd Ave. bus to the end of the line at Battery Park where we stood in line, went thru security, then got on a ferry to Libery Island where we stood in a line to stand in a line to go through even more and more stringent security to stand in a line to get into the museum. Oi. Norbert loved it, tho. (He says Liberty and Ellis Islands were the highpoint of the trip for him.)



To be perfectly honest, while it was cool to see the replica of Lady Liberty's big toe, it wasn't really worth the cost and the wait. I would have been happier taking the Staten Island Ferry for the view and saving $40 or so.



Ellis Island was, at least to me, much more interesting. I ws taken by the beautiful architecture and moved by the stories of people who had entered America through this awesome portal. (My favorite quote, from a film at Ellis Island, was an old Jewish man saying "And the white bread they were having in America, it was like cake already." Oh, my, I love that.)



I was saddened, though, by the condition of the majority of buildings at Ellis Island. One would think our government would be able to put them to good use.

As you can imagine, we were pretty tired after all those lines...oops, I mean after so much activity, so after swimming and showers at the hotel we ate at The Oriental Noodle Shop on 45th near Lexington, which is my friend Joel's favorite noodle shop. Norbert ordered chicken lo mien, Myfanwe ordered a green bean and beef dish, and I ordered the crispy beef. It turned out rather peculiarly, in that I liked Myfanwe's dish better than my own, Myfanwe liked Norbert's more than hers, and Norbert liked mine more than his lo mien. But in the end we were all happy.

NEXT...

Since I've already blogged most of Wednesday for you, next time I will pick up with Wednesday dinner. Until then, peace out.

5 comments:

Sarah said...

Wow, surprised Habu was so "bleh".

Sounds like a pretty good trip so far!

Diane said...

I like Ellis Island much better than the Statue of Liberty too. So much history. I loved all the artifacts!

Dee said...

Your shot of the Ellis Island Tower is awesome! It IS so sad how the buildings have fallen into disrepair.

Sahara said...

As a New Yorker, I'm emabarassed about Ellis Island. I guess when people re-invent themselves, they don't want to revisit their past. Or, maybe times are changing so fast, that the recent past seems sooo long ago.

I appreciate your honesty about Habu Textiles. Some knitters treat the place as a sort of temple. I went in the spring, so I was spared the heat. I was both surprised and dissapointed. I think Habu is a better store for weavers than knitters.

Folks in Boro Park aren't friendly and they are rude. It is with great admiration that Bronia's heart hasn't turned to steel after what she has been through––such pain. I hope she made up for the others.

BTW, if you haven't found oval challah pans yet, I will ask the food editor at work. Also, I live in a neighborhood with many Hebrew-Americans and Israelis, in the Bronx, and I can get on the case for you. You can also call Teitel Bros. in the Bronx. They are Italian-Jews who own a specialty food shop.

Aidan said...

Sahara:

I did find the oval challah pans! Not the ones I was looking for -- these were prefab, not as heavy as the made-to-order I had seen and heard about, but they will do me just fine. (I had two little oval pans, but they didn't make a loaf big enough for Shabbat dinner.)

I am happy for the cool weather. After the High Holidays are over, I am looking forward to making a batch of chocolate-chocolate chunk challah!