|Why we came to NYC ...|
We race to Billy Bishop Airport to catch our flight. Our son left an hour before us on an earlier flight to join his boyfriend. Porter has revamped its lounge and there we see two good friends heading for Boston for a wedding - a happy coincidence.
We have been coming to NYC since our university days. In the early 1980s, the downtown core of Manhattan near Times Square was a rough place seemingly overflowing with peep shows, shabby retailers and very desperate looking individuals. But we were braver then (or more oblivious to harm) and we fared well. I remember seeing films at St. Marks Cinema (now long gone) and then dancing down Broadway together at night after we saw a Rogers and Astaire film. We were quite happy to sack out in a $50 a night not-so-reputable hotel in Times Square and wander the city in search of adventure.
|Art Deco fixture in the lobby of the hotel|
Excited to be in this hotel, a historic 1902 building which has housed the likes of Hemingway, Dylan Thomas and 1960s folk heroes like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan, we were intrigued by the Art Deco decor. Alas, the room (small, spare and mildly disappointing) was not what we expected. The lobby which promised much does not correspond with the floor we are on, which resembles a downscale south of the border motel with curious white stucco walls and ugly mosaics of exotic flowers. The view is abysmal. The sky is not visible from the lone window. So ... whatever. We are here to have fun we decide, not sit in a hotel room and sulk about our accommodations.
|The Stonewall Inn today ... preparing for Pride|
|Judy Chicago's The Dinner Party|
After the museum, we search for a hospitable place to eat close to our hotel and we find one at Amelie Wine Bar, 22 W. 8th St. Elegant French cuisine served and the place rocking with attractive young couples and groups of pretty girls (what are we doing there?!). Rob ordered hand-seared brook trout with green beans and I ordered Gratin De Raviolis Du Royans (both excellent) accompanied by beer and rosemary flavoured lemonade. The food is excellent but at a price. Not for the fiscally faint of heart. Without dessert or tip the bill was close to $90 American.
We are close enough to The Strand Bookstore, 828 Broadway, my favourite bookstore in the world - and we walk there within minutes. I find a book of poetry among the thousands of books. I have been searching for this volume for a while: Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters.
Close to The Strand is a tiny, perfect gelato place called Amorino, 162 8th St. for pistachio gelato. Small in size but worth the crowded seating for a taste.
We walk back to Washington Square, which is lit up like a Christmas tree and there is an Afro-Caribbean band playing. The odd tourist starts to wiggle and flail, even a few kids chime in. We giggle and text our son, who is with his boyfriend in another part of the state. Not brave enough to dance ourselves we laugh a bit at the eager dancers. He says, "Let them be happy." So we wish them well and go home after a very long but fruitful day.