Sunday, December 18, 2016

Magical Mystery Memory New York Tour

For the last 12 years I have had a wish to someday go back to New York.  I used to go to New York several times a year when I was working, to go to the shoe shows or to the garment district to work on clothes and shoes for several catalogs.  I would normally stay at the Warwick, at 54 and 6.  The Warwick was built by William Randolph Hearst in 1926 for his love, film star Marion Davies, and his Hollywood friends.  It is old world class and charm.  I was last in New York in 2004, as a middle-aged career woman, slim, fairly stylish, and totally in love with my new husband Carl, and the city itself.  Fast forward to 2016.  And, I do mean FAST forward.  How could this be?  I am now looking forward to Medicare coverage on January 1.  Carl and I have been married 13 years.  I carry around extra padding, and don't have a clear idea about what is in fashion.  In November, Carl casually suggested we go to New York in December, my absolute favorite time to visit.  Before the sentence was out of his mouth, I had flights booked and a room reserved at the Warwick for three nights.  I still remembered that I just needed to pack black clothes and comfortable, black shoes.  I wasn't too sure about the Lands End puffy knee-length jacket, but it was the warmest and it was the required black color.  Of course, the Sunday we were to fly out, we had our first big dump of snow.  The flight was a bit delayed, but after a good de-ice, we were on our way to Laguardia. 

On the approach to the twinkling city, I spotted Lady Liberty, something I looked for on each trip.  I had reserved a car, Call 7, a car service that is new since I was there.  Took us a while to find the pick-up point, but it went well after that.  The Warwick looked exactly the same.  I bet it still looks very much like it did in the Twenties.  The lobby bar, Randolph's is still there, the furniture is even the same.  Not shabby, at all, just quality style that is timeless.  After checking in, seeing our room with a 17th floor view of 6th Ave., we decided to see if the cocktails were still as yummy.  I believe this is the bar where Carl first had an Appletini.  The waitress has been there 19 years, so that is why I remembered her. 
I had a yummy Black Sparking, blackberry puree/orange liquor/champagne, and Carl had his Appletini.  Two each.  With tip, almost $100.  Welcome to New York!

Monday we enjoyed a wonderful breakfast in the hotel restaurant, Murals.  The entire wall is a 1937 mural by American illustrator Dean Cornwell.  Someday I should get a picture of that!  I didn't get a picture of that bill, but, again, it was almost $100.  I am seeing a pattern. 

My first stop on the Magical Mystery Memory Tour,  was to the European grocery store a block away, Ernest Klein.  At Christmas they have displays of European cookies and candies that are delightful!  On the way there, we passed Robert Indiana's famous LOVE art install.

You can tell that Carl and I are total losers at taking selfies.  Maybe that will be my 2017 resolution.  Anyway, we bought a few goodies and went back to hotel to grab a taxi to take us to Soho.  We should have taken the trains, but they have the cutest new taxi-vans there, and I wanted to experience near-death again!

Purl Soho was our destination.  I have been a fan a Purl Soho for many years.  Online they sell beautiful, lush yarns, and fabulous fabrics.  Patrick and Sarah and Addy, upon learning of my trip to Purl Soho, generously provided a gift certificate!  I was a bit giddy!  I was very surprised to see that the store is pretty small.  It is New York, after all.  Each yarn choice, each fabric bolt has been hand curated to be the finest.  The shop was busy with all ages of customers.  Carl quickly decided to walk around outside a bit and find a Diet Coke.  The staff was very friendly, and helpful, and extremely patient with a 90+ customer that was a bit confused.  I finally decided to buy a pattern for a sweater, called the Addy, and some beautiful wool yarn in a paprika color.  I also bought some linen/wool yarn for a scarf, and a notebook that was made for designing knit patternwork. 

Almost each trip to New York I would walk to the Crate and Barrel flagship store on Fifth Avenue.  I was surprised to learn it had moved to Soho, but pleased to see if was just a few short blocks from Purl Soho.  Christmas, again, is such a fun time to be in stores.  I could have spent a couple hours, and the required $100, but it was so HOT in there!   We actually found that most all New York places were way overheated!  No one else seemed to notice....but Carl and I thought it was awful!  We decided to walk from there to a Christmas Market at Bryant Park.  We were lucky the whole trip that the weather was cold, but very pleasant!  It was a nice long walk, taking in the sights.  We meandered through the booths.  I could have spent a bunch, again, but decided just to purchase felt taxi ornament.

Next stop was Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the ice skaters.  But, tragedy almost happened!  I always wear my handbag under my coat, but somehow the strap became unhooked and it fell on the taxi floor.  Carl just happened to look back to spy it and grabbed it before closing the taxi door.  Yikes!  Money!  Id!  Credit cards!  Phone!  God bless Carl!  We looked at a few store windows on Fifth Avenue, then on another few blocks to our Hotel.  On the way, I got asked about subway directions from a young woman.  That made my day, because I always got asked in the past at least once for directions!  I must not look too out of place!  (by the way, most people had on black, knee length, puffy coats!  I am sure they weren't the bargain Land's End variety, but I didn't feel out of place.) 

We had a little time before our dinner reservation, so we decided to drop another $100 at Randolph's.  This time a guy waited on us and asked if he knew me....I looked familiar and he thought he had waited on me before.  Maybe, but 12 years was a long time ago!  Our dinner was at Red Eye Grill, by Carnegie Hall.  I picked that place because I used to go there with various vendors.  A memory trip, again.  The food was delicious!  We walked back slowly, looking at the lights and festive windows. 

On Tuesday we had decided to take a harbor tour, down the Hudson, around the Statue of Liberty, and into the East River, a 1.5 hour cruise.  Somehow we were given the wrong information over the phone, and when we showed up at Pier 63, the only tour was 2.5 hours, around the entire isle of Manhattan!  It was a cold, but sunny day, so we decided to go for it! 

It was a guided tour, and our host was very entertaining and knowledgeable about New York history and architecture.  Relaxing and educational.  We had an early dinner reservation because we had tickets for a Broadway show, so after the cruise we decided to avoid the heavy traffic and walk the 1.7 miles back to hotel.  We did go through Hell's Kitchen, and some other interesting New York neighborhoods, but we survived.  A quick change and we were off to dinner at Gallaghers, an old New York steak house in between our hotel and the Oneil Theater where we were going to see Book of Mormon. 

Turns out, dress is much, much more casual than 12 years ago.  I do believe we were the most dressed up, but it was fun to have a fancy date!   The play was very funny, but Carl did comment that he wouldn't take his grandkids to see it.  On the walk home, we saw Times Square and more seasonal lighting. 

Our flight was early afternoon on Wednesday, so we took another car to the airport.  The driver took a very interesting route, and, at one point, I thought we could be in trouble, but he just was avoiding traffic.  It was a fixed price trip, so fare padding wasn't the case.  I did leave my favorite smart gloves in the car, though, which made me pretty sad.  Again, my selfies are pretty bad! 

We have been home now for 5 days, and it is a great hotel!!!  The bed is super comfy, and there is a whole studio full of yarn and fabric!   Carl had commented in Purl Soho that he thought our place had more yarn and fabric than was there.  Not sure that was a compliment.  Anyway, the trip was magic.  I enjoyed visiting all sorts of New York memories, and making some new ones.  Will we go back?  Not sure.  I have a few other places I would like to see again.  I will enjoy knitting the yarn I bought and trying to recreate the Black Sparkling cocktail.  If you got to this point in this long story, I thank you for hanging in there!  Jerilynn