I'm quite happy living in suburban upstate New York. We have a house with a fenced backyard, to the delight of the household's helpless mammals, and live more than comfortably on the salaries of a college professor and a government lawyer.
But every so often I need to go to an actual city: walk the streets, eat in new-to-me restaurants, watch the people, look in the store windows, listen to the street musicians and the conversations and the traffic, check out the billboards and the subway advertisements and the named street corners, maybe get in a dose or two of high culture.
This weekend I took advantage of SteelyKid and Chad being away and popped down to New York City to visit some friends. Saturday mid-day I walked up to the Fashion District, admired bolts of fabric in hues that you just don't see in the Albany area, wandered briefly through stores with more kinds of buttons and zippers and whatnot that I could shake several sticks at, and picked up a few useful things for my current stitching projects. Then I headed toward Bryant Park, where I gave a couple bucks to a street musician drumming the hell out of an assortment of buckets, and enjoyed stretching my legs in the sun.
Of course, and I promise I'm not making this up for dramatic effect, just as I was thinking how nice it was to get my city fix, I turned the corner and found someone being sick at a payphone stand. (I didn't look to see if there were actual payphones there, under the circumstances.)
And today I came home to a delighted SteelyKid who taught herself to do somersaults while she was away (!!) and collected two rocks, an acorn, and some leaf-buds on our first walk of the season. I've caught up on my e-mail, done various necessary Con or Bust things, and when the laundry's done I will gratefully collapse into my extremely comfortable bed.
It's good to have been away, and good to be back.
- Holiday Inn on W. 26th: new furniture, digital cable, switched my room type without fuss or rate change, but not particularly comfortable beds and, most significantly, mold in the shower that was not removed after I mentioned it Saturday. (Maybe it was particularly persistent mold, but I'm not sure it was even attempted, and regardless.)
- Gaetana's: we had a thin pepperoni pizza and pumpkin ravioli with brown butter and sage, both of which were perfectly what I want when I order those items.
- Café Zaiya: quite inexpensive Japanese baked goods (extensive) and meals (a few basic). I didn't have any of the baked goods but they seemed well-received, and my udon and tempura was just fine. Not designed for extensive hanging out, but they didn't kick us out, either.
- Meskerem: it's really weird to have Ethopian not served family-style, but we just all ate off each other's plates. And it was tasty.