Monday, September 11, 2006
Boston New York weekend and more
On Saturday we took the Fung Wah
bus to NYC. It was really easy and seemed totally fine and safe.* When we got to Chinatown, it was drizzling, and by the time we figured out how to get to the 1 and make it up to the Upper West Side, it was still raining. We brought our stuff up to my brother Ted's apartment. He was gone for the weekend to see his wife Lorri in California. The last time we visited them in their home in San Francisco, they had to leave the next day for a wedding in Italy. So we are always missing actually spending time with them where they live. The apartment was small, but filled with interesting books and CDs. I was befuddled by my brother's apparent new interest in indie music, Esquire
, and Elvis decorations. Also, when I pulled out E.B. White's Here Is New York
(which was excellent), I came across a postcard addressed to "Lori" (but not the same last name as my sister-in-law). What was going on? Did Lorri have some past we didn't know about, like a previous marriage? When Ted called the next day to check on us, I found out that there's no real mystery, just that the apartment is a friend-of-a-friend's named Laura (so that's
why her name was on those magazines) and Ted is moving into his actual apartment on or near Wall Street on Thursday. It will also be bigger, which is good, since Kate (the youngest of my siblings) is coming to NY on Saturday and will be living with Ted (the oldest) while she's interning for Conan O'Brien.
It was raining, so we ate a Mexican restaurant down the street and it was very good. We watched people's umbrellas go "wickety-wackety", as Shannon put it, in the rain and wind. Then we went back to the apartment and called some people we knew in town. Shannon's friend Amanda, originally from the same town in Iowa, came by with a friend of hers named Kevin. We got wet going down the block to a coffeeshop, but it was nice being warm and dry inside.
Amanda and Kevin had to go get a truck, so Shannon and I just spent the rest of the evening at the apartment, watching Breakfast at Tiffany's
and reading (she: Nickel and Dimed
; I: the aforementioned Here Is New York
On Sunday we walked through Central Park from the apartment down to the southeastern corner, then took the subway to Union Square to meet my friends from Toledo, Laura and Chad. They've lived in Brooklyn for about three years, and it's been that long since I've seen them. They took us to this excellent vegetarian restaurant called Zen Palate. Then we all went to the MoMA, which was amazingly awesome. We saw lots of famous pieces and lots I had never seen before. There was a room full of great Jasper Johns paintings, including "Flag", "Diver", "Green Target", the bronze flashlight, and some of the "hatch" paintings (I forget the titles). All of the other artists' most famous works were much larger than I imagined, except for Dalí's "Persistence of Memory", which was much smaller. It was right next to another painting
of the same size which was just as interesting, if not more so.
Laura and Chad had to get back home after the museum, so we said goodbye and walked around on our own. We looked at a design store across the street that had some cool stuff. Then we went down to the Avenue of the Americas where there were booths set up to coincide (I guess) with a concert of Brazilian music at the end of the street. We looked at Radio City Music Hall and NBC Studios (although it was too late for tours). Then we walked down 5th Avenue to look at the shops and churches. We also popped into that cool-looking Apple store, which was just like every other Apple store, just bigger and underground. We took the subway back to the apartment and slept pretty soundly.
On Monday we finished packing our bags and went to (I think) the end of the 1, the stop for the Statue of Liberty (aka "Liberty Enlightening the World"). We looked at the statue from a distance in Battery Park, but the line was rather long and we didn't have time to wait. We went to the National Museum of the American Indian
and checked our bags, looked around for about 20 minutes at some really cool contemporary Native American art, then left (without our bags, so we wouldn't have to carry them). We met up with Shannon's friend from SACI
, Camilla, who came in from Connecticut with her husband of 2 months, Chris. We hadn't seen her since Italy, five years ago. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, where we met one of my roommates from SACI, Lesley, whom I hadn't seen since our little SACI reunion at Maddy's house in January 2002. We met at Grimaldi's
and waited in line for about 40 minutes (making everyone feel touristy, except for Shannon and me, the real tourists) for what was really excellent pizza. We had a lot of fun conversation too. We walked down to the pier and looked at the great view of Manhattan, on a beautiful clear day. Unfortunately, our camera's batteries were dead, so you'll have to refer to the other million photos of Manhattan's skyline on a beautiful clear day.
We got back to the museum and got our bags (easy as wedding pie) and then went to Chinatown. I bought some kind of bubble drink or something that was basically powdered fruit flavoring with some kind of gummy balls at the bottom of the cup. It was weird. We caught the bus half an hour early and had an uneventful drive back to Boston.
We had a fun Tuesday with our much-missed niece. That night we saw Cat Power at the Museum of Fine Arts (the earlier of two shows). It was really good! It was in a small conference-style room that seemed more suited to Power Point presentations, but there was a curtain behind the stage that I secretly (told Shannon that) I wanted to open and have Chan Marshall emerge doing an elaborate dance. She did emerge from a side exit and bowed dramatically, which was almost as good. She played a lot of covers ("In New Orleans/House of the Rising Sun", "Satisfaction" with chorus, "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" with different lyrics). My favorite part was an extended quote-session of Arrested Development in the middle. I won't indulge in repeating the quotes, because Shannon was embarrassed enough at my geekery for knowing what she was talking about. She did a version of "Wild Is the Wind" with a dynamic piano part and a faster tempo than on record. She took a request for her last song. People called out a lot of songs, some of which she dismissed ("Free" was "just me playing around with a drum machine"). She ended up playing "Colors and the Kids". There was an 8-year-old girl in the front row that Chan was very friendly to throughout the show. At the end, she invited the girl (and her dad) backstage for some unknown purpose. The show ended at 9:40, twenty minutes before the late show was to begin.
Wednesday was our last day with Nao. Teresa took her to her daycare in the morning, then we got her in the afternoon.
Thursday afternoon we left Boston. We said our goodbyes to Phil, Teresa, and Naomi, not knowing exactly when we'd see each other again (maybe not for the rest of the year, even). Naomi will be a more highly advanced human being by the time we see her next. We'll miss her gaining the ability to grasp objects skillfully and lift and rotate her head.
The flight back was tiring, but I did get to finish Life of Pi
, which Shannon had read the previous week and raved about. I liked it too. We were reintroduced to Iowa society with a meal at Taco John's shared with Shannon's sister Amber, who picked us up.
Since then, Shannon's brother got married (it was a fun weekend) and I joined the cast of the Elkader Opera House
's production of Annie Warbucks
* The day after we got back from New York we read in the Globe about a Fung Wah bus falling over on its side due to poor driving. Thirty-four people received minor injuries.