Sunday, December 21, 2008

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

Greetings from New York City and the borough of Brooklyn! I'm sitting in one of those circle chairs in the loft of Heather's lovely apartment. From the window that is right beside me I can see the rooftops of nearby buildings (she lives on the top floor of hers - and gets a stair workout every day, let me tell you), the Williamsburg bridge, and the skyline of lower Manhattan. I also see a lot of dripping. It has been snowing for the past week or so, but last night the temperature must have risen above freezing because I think it's actually raining. Despite the constant complaining of Sarah and Heather, and the fact that I almost slipped and died several times yesterday, I liked the snow. I felt like I was getting an authentic New York experience.

And an authentic experience I am getting! The title of this post refers to my survival of the NY transit system. It also refers to several conversations we've had about Heather actually living here. We both feel that after dealing with what this city has to offer, we can handle pretty much any other city in the United States. Maybe even world? I'm sure each metropolis presents its own challenges, but just listen to this tale of woe. Friday night I arrived pretty late, due to traffic right outside of DC. The bus, DC2NY, was GREAT, by the way: clean, friendly staff, safe-looking passengers, in-flight movie (I can't help but call it that), footrests, and a free bottle of water.

So arriving at Penn Station around midnight, I piled out of the bus with the rest of the passengers and followed the crowd down into the subway. And it was very different from the bus, let me tell you. After following the very confusing signs to the E train, I had to get a metro card. I already had figured out what type I was getting: 7-day unlimited. I tried to pay with my my debit/credit card, but it kept asking for a New York zip code and then wouldn't process the order. I finally figured out I should press the "ATM card" option and I got my card. I got on the right train, but then missed my stop to switch over to the L train. Once I figured that out, I got off, hopped across the platform and got on a train going back. At the 14th St/8th Ave metro station there was a little hike to get to the train I wanted. But what should I find after lugging my heavy bags all that way? That the L train has no service to this stop on late nights during the holiday. Instead, we were given a pass for the bus outside which would take us all the way over to 1st Ave where the train resumed service to Brooklyn. It was one crowded bus. Having reached said station, I got on a train which went backwards to 3rd Ave, then turned around and took us to the Bedford stop across the river, at which point I had to get off that train and get on another one which took me all the way to Heather's neighborhood. Hooray! I have marks on my shoulders from where my bags were digging into my skin. I guess I should have packed more efficiently? A rolling suitcase probably would have helped a lot.

Anyway, the rest of the trip has more than made up for it, and I'm less than halfway through my stay here. Yesterday, Saturday we just slept in. Sleep, glorious sleep. I had gotten about an hour's rest the night before, and Heather had had a stressful week, so we all just voted for a relaxing day. Around 2pm, she, her sister Sarah, and I all went to Bedford to eat at the vegetarian cafe Bliss. I had the soup of the day (guaranteed vegan - that day it was split pea) with a warm wheat roll. Heather had the same. Sarah even mangaged to find something she could tolerate, French toast with amazing looking blackberries and bananas on top. Then we came home to meet the locksmith for the mailbox, clean the living room, and chill out for the rest of the afternoon. Heather made some delicious salad while we were waiting. I also got to take short nap to refill my sleep reserves. Then, around seven o'clock we headed out to see...the Nutcracker!

It was such a thrill to see the Lincoln Center, after reading and hearing so much about it. So many famous people - dancers, choreographers, and everyone else who has touched the world of dance in America - have come through that building. I remember reading a book when I was younger about a little girl who got to dance the role of Clara in NYCB's Nutcracker, and this was just like I remembered. Balanchine's version is quite distinctive. It's very fairy tale and child-centered. The costumes and sets are brilliant. The choreography was all speedy and neoclassical and, well, Balanchine. It was very interesting to see that after being around so much classical Russian Vaganova stuff. I got to see the famous Dewdrop costume which I had read about and seen once in Pointe Magazine. The girl who danced Dewdrop was amazing, by the way. Let me go find out what her name was. Oh yes, Sara Mearns. I think that was my favorite part. Some of the costumes were a little too gaudy and colorful for me, some of Blanchine's tweaks were just a little too weird (extra music added in the middle of Act I?), but Dewdrop was amazing and the peformance as a whole was spectacular. It hardly felt like two hours before it was over. I definitely need to go back - and in fact I am planning to go back to Lincoln Center on Monday to visit the New York Public Library for the Peforming Arts.

On the way home we were going to stop for sushi, but since it was closed we went to a Thai restuarant across the street. I got crispy tofu in red curry sauce with brown rice. Mmm. And there were leftovers...yes! We put in The Santa Clause (in order that my Christmas movie education might be furthered) and I fell asleep halfway through. Which brings us to now.

Today we're planning to go to 12 o'clock mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral (if Heather and Sarah ever wake up) and then see a lot of the famous sights in midtown. If it keeps raining, our experience should be very...authentic...but fun nonetheless. Well, off to start the day!

2 comments:

Lynn said...

erg NYC during Christmas!? soo jealous ;)

Emily J said...

That is a hilarious account of the subway system. Two visits under my belt, and I'm still too scared to try it on my own.

I'm glad the bus ride was pleasant, though. How much did the ticket cost, if you don't mind me asking? (You'll also have to let me know about the return trip, too, when it occurs.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

Greetings from New York City and the borough of Brooklyn! I'm sitting in one of those circle chairs in the loft of Heather's lovely apartment. From the window that is right beside me I can see the rooftops of nearby buildings (she lives on the top floor of hers - and gets a stair workout every day, let me tell you), the Williamsburg bridge, and the skyline of lower Manhattan. I also see a lot of dripping. It has been snowing for the past week or so, but last night the temperature must have risen above freezing because I think it's actually raining. Despite the constant complaining of Sarah and Heather, and the fact that I almost slipped and died several times yesterday, I liked the snow. I felt like I was getting an authentic New York experience.

And an authentic experience I am getting! The title of this post refers to my survival of the NY transit system. It also refers to several conversations we've had about Heather actually living here. We both feel that after dealing with what this city has to offer, we can handle pretty much any other city in the United States. Maybe even world? I'm sure each metropolis presents its own challenges, but just listen to this tale of woe. Friday night I arrived pretty late, due to traffic right outside of DC. The bus, DC2NY, was GREAT, by the way: clean, friendly staff, safe-looking passengers, in-flight movie (I can't help but call it that), footrests, and a free bottle of water.

So arriving at Penn Station around midnight, I piled out of the bus with the rest of the passengers and followed the crowd down into the subway. And it was very different from the bus, let me tell you. After following the very confusing signs to the E train, I had to get a metro card. I already had figured out what type I was getting: 7-day unlimited. I tried to pay with my my debit/credit card, but it kept asking for a New York zip code and then wouldn't process the order. I finally figured out I should press the "ATM card" option and I got my card. I got on the right train, but then missed my stop to switch over to the L train. Once I figured that out, I got off, hopped across the platform and got on a train going back. At the 14th St/8th Ave metro station there was a little hike to get to the train I wanted. But what should I find after lugging my heavy bags all that way? That the L train has no service to this stop on late nights during the holiday. Instead, we were given a pass for the bus outside which would take us all the way over to 1st Ave where the train resumed service to Brooklyn. It was one crowded bus. Having reached said station, I got on a train which went backwards to 3rd Ave, then turned around and took us to the Bedford stop across the river, at which point I had to get off that train and get on another one which took me all the way to Heather's neighborhood. Hooray! I have marks on my shoulders from where my bags were digging into my skin. I guess I should have packed more efficiently? A rolling suitcase probably would have helped a lot.

Anyway, the rest of the trip has more than made up for it, and I'm less than halfway through my stay here. Yesterday, Saturday we just slept in. Sleep, glorious sleep. I had gotten about an hour's rest the night before, and Heather had had a stressful week, so we all just voted for a relaxing day. Around 2pm, she, her sister Sarah, and I all went to Bedford to eat at the vegetarian cafe Bliss. I had the soup of the day (guaranteed vegan - that day it was split pea) with a warm wheat roll. Heather had the same. Sarah even mangaged to find something she could tolerate, French toast with amazing looking blackberries and bananas on top. Then we came home to meet the locksmith for the mailbox, clean the living room, and chill out for the rest of the afternoon. Heather made some delicious salad while we were waiting. I also got to take short nap to refill my sleep reserves. Then, around seven o'clock we headed out to see...the Nutcracker!

It was such a thrill to see the Lincoln Center, after reading and hearing so much about it. So many famous people - dancers, choreographers, and everyone else who has touched the world of dance in America - have come through that building. I remember reading a book when I was younger about a little girl who got to dance the role of Clara in NYCB's Nutcracker, and this was just like I remembered. Balanchine's version is quite distinctive. It's very fairy tale and child-centered. The costumes and sets are brilliant. The choreography was all speedy and neoclassical and, well, Balanchine. It was very interesting to see that after being around so much classical Russian Vaganova stuff. I got to see the famous Dewdrop costume which I had read about and seen once in Pointe Magazine. The girl who danced Dewdrop was amazing, by the way. Let me go find out what her name was. Oh yes, Sara Mearns. I think that was my favorite part. Some of the costumes were a little too gaudy and colorful for me, some of Blanchine's tweaks were just a little too weird (extra music added in the middle of Act I?), but Dewdrop was amazing and the peformance as a whole was spectacular. It hardly felt like two hours before it was over. I definitely need to go back - and in fact I am planning to go back to Lincoln Center on Monday to visit the New York Public Library for the Peforming Arts.

On the way home we were going to stop for sushi, but since it was closed we went to a Thai restuarant across the street. I got crispy tofu in red curry sauce with brown rice. Mmm. And there were leftovers...yes! We put in The Santa Clause (in order that my Christmas movie education might be furthered) and I fell asleep halfway through. Which brings us to now.

Today we're planning to go to 12 o'clock mass at Saint Patrick's Cathedral (if Heather and Sarah ever wake up) and then see a lot of the famous sights in midtown. If it keeps raining, our experience should be very...authentic...but fun nonetheless. Well, off to start the day!

2 comments:

Lynn said...

erg NYC during Christmas!? soo jealous ;)

Emily J said...

That is a hilarious account of the subway system. Two visits under my belt, and I'm still too scared to try it on my own.

I'm glad the bus ride was pleasant, though. How much did the ticket cost, if you don't mind me asking? (You'll also have to let me know about the return trip, too, when it occurs.)