Sunday, August 7, 2011

Positive Perfection

Last week at this time I was waking up in New York City. sigh

It was such an amazing long weekend of friends, walking, food and memories. Thanks to my friend, Karen, who gave up her Friday to hang out with us and arrange our housing for the first two nights. Karen's friend Kari Jo and her family were out of the City so they graciously allowed Steve and I to stay in their empty apartment. What a gift! Thank you!!

Ahhh... Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the city? And by *the city* I mean New York (because I AM a New Yorker at heart, and to us, there is only ONE TRUE city.)

In August of 1996, I packed my bags, sadly kissed my mom and dad goodbye and boarded a plane headed for Manhattan. I didn't have an apartment yet. But my roommate, Jennifer (she went by Jen back then ;) ) let me live with her in her studio apartment which we lovingly called *the box* for a few weeks while we apartment hunted.

Well, we hunted, and we hunted. We got rejected. We got turned down. We signed a lease only to pick up the keys and find out some girl came in the day before us and payed cash. We got our down payment back. Then promptly moved in with some great friends who let us live on their couch for the next six weeks while we hunted some more.

We finally found the perfect apartment for us in the Gramercy Park area. I lived there for the next three years. It was a heavenly place to spend my early 20's.

We were just a few blocks from the Flat Iron Building. My favorite building in all of NY. So on Saturday morning, Steve and I headed back down to my old neighborhood. It was a glorious morning and we enjoyed every minute.

An interesting observation for me on how the city has changed is the cupcake/bakery obsession that has hit the City. When I lived there it was the Gap and Starbucks. You couldn't walk more than two blocks before you could buy a pair of jeans and a grande iced latte. Now it's cupcakes. I would seriously weigh 500 lbs. if I moved back.

They even have cupcakes on wheels. So, naturally, we had to try one while sitting in the shadow of my fav building with a glorious view of the Empire State Building.

We tried the French Toast and bacon cup cake. It was a bit much for me.

Jamba Juice was also passing out a free energy drink only adding to the perfection.

After we were fueled up we headed over to my old apartment. Such fun times. Such a different life.

On our way past, a girl who looked to be about the age I was when I lived there and some friends were hauling out a very old very crunchy Christmas tree. Yep, time to get rid of that thing, kids! Oh to be young again.

The old apartment was one block off of Gramercy Park. This is the last private park left in the City. That means you only get to go in if you have a key to the park. You only get a key if you live in an apartment ON the park. So people like Madonna and Julia Roberts have keys. Not people like me.

By the way, I ran into Julia Roberts walking her dog several times while living there. Each time I ended up just walking past because I couldn't think of anything clever to say. All I could come up with was, "Nice sweater" or "I really love your movies". Yep, best to just keep on walking!

One day a year there would be a *neighbor day* in the park. They would open the gates and let any old riff raff in. I would take a book and read in there until they kicked me out. Classy, I know!

We visited one of my old haunts. A coffee shop called 77 Irving. It used to be on a different street and it used to be a secret. Now it's super popular. But still cute. Once I had coffee with Ann Curry from the Today show there. This time we had coffee with about 75 of our new best friends.

We strolled down to the Union Square Farmer's market. Most Saturdays I would head down there, if not to buy, then just to look.


More feast for the eyes.

One of the real reasons we headed to the City was for a friend's wedding. Unfortunately, I didn't pull my camera out during the wedding or the reception. I was enjoying myself too much to dig for it.

As it turns out there were about 20 people from our time overseas. Some whom I hadn't seen in about 10 years. It was a real treat. The reception was out in Flushing, Queens at a Chinese hotel. We were there for over 5 hours and we ate the whole time. It was a 12 course Chinese dinner and it was heaven on earth!

In between the wedding (which was on 5th Ave. right near Central Park) and the reception- about an hour subway ride away- we killed time walking in the park. This was always one of my fav things to do. However, it was about 100 degrees (without an exaggeration) and we were dressed for a wedding. Steve was wearing a suit. It was a good idea for about 10 minutes. The problem was, we walked for about an hour. By the end we were sweaty, tired and really grumpy. Thankfully, we recovered and were able to enjoy the reception and our friends!

Sunday was a fun day of brunch with friends (where once again, I was so lost in the moment I forgot to get a picture with them. Sorry, Queeners!) Then Steve and I hopped on the subway and went downtown to SoHo, Chinatown and then tried a new experience. The High Line.

This might have been my favorite thing all weekend. The old elevated train tracks that carried cars of meat into the old meat packing district have now been transformed into a city park. It goes from 14th St. to 34th St. and is an amazing view of the city. We loved it!!!

Then we hopped back on the train for a dinner at a lovely side walk cafe. Maine lobster roll and homemade chips? Yes, please and thank you!

After our first two nights at the apartment, we moved out and headed to a night at a hotel. We stayed on the Upper West Side at a very cute place called On the Ave. It was a bit more European and we loved it. Our room was clean and spacious and on the 16th floor there was a balcony with patio furniture.

We were able to relax, enjoy some rest and conversation and some coffee up there.

The weekend was such a great balance of friends, memories, delicious food, relaxation, conversation and culture.

It was exactly what I needed after these grueling months of chemo and stress.

We headed back home Monday afternoon. But not before one last stroll through Central Park and a delicious brunch at a side walk cafe. We arrived at the airport with enough time to hop on an early flight. They were predicting rain and flights are easy to be delayed from there. We arrived at our connection in D.C. an hour and a half earlier than expected. Only to find that because of storms our flight would eventually be totally cancelled for the day. Our 6:30 pm arrival home turned into a noon arrival THE NEXT DAY. So, perhaps not total perfection. But close enough!


Cindy Q said...

So fun to see you. Come back SOON! The city and your friends miss you lots.

Stacie@HobbitDoor said...

So fun! What an awesome trip!So happy you had such an amazing getaway.

Colleen said...

Thanks for giving us a taste of The City. I've still never been there. Ken is not a fan of big cities so I guess I need to plan a girls trip to get there some day. I am so glad you got to go there and have such a great trip. You deserved it!

Laura Normandin said...

Wow sounds like a great time. I also love the Highline, need to go back soon. Such an unusual way to see the city. Glad you enjoyed yourself, sorry about the heat!

eva said...

that is one fabulous weekend. it was great to catch up wit you, E! :)