Saturday’s late night adventure took its toll. My legs, knees, ankles…essentially every joint below the waist was in distress. Since I didn’t get back to the hotel until almost 2am, and having just walked nearly 4 miles, I made the executive decision to sleep in a bit. The original plan was to get up at 7 and be out the door at 8 so I could hit Manhattan as early as possible, grab breakfast, find the Museum of Modern Art, the. Go exploring.
I was now on to Plan B.
Plan B consisted of sleeping until I awoke, then making it up as I went along. I woke up around 9:30, and was able to *slowly* limp my way to the shower. After a visit to the hotel restaurant for breakfast I walked, very gingerly, to the bus stop. I arrived at the Port Authority just after noon, and immediately made my way to one of the must-see spots on my list: the World Trade Center Memorial. As I feared, my “late” arrival meant there was already a throng of humanity waiting to get in. So I decided to settle for taking photos from outside in order to have time to get other places on my list.
I walked west to the river and found a lovely park on the waterfront. I’m not sure how far away she was, but I was able to see Lady Liberty, and get a photo.
It was about this time that I got a text from my NY friend, Elissa. She and her husband were in the city (they live on Long Island), and they invited me to meet them at one of their favorite places. So, after a bit of wandering (apparently that’s what I do now) and searching for a station which would get me access to the train I needed, I made my way uptown and joined them at Murray’s, a bagel shop on 6th Avenue.
I first “met” Elissa on Facebook through our mutual friend, Michelle. What a pleasure to finally get to meet her and her husband in person after all this time. They were very helpful this weekend with helping me find my way around NY after I would get on the wrong train, and even gave me a great suggestion of where to eat Saturday night. So it was nice to be able to thank them in person. After an all too brief visit, we parted ways and I was off to MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art.
MoMA was due to close at 5:30, and I was getting there about 3:30, so I knew I was racing the clock. Consisting of 6 floors, stores, theaters, and a sculpture garden, I felt like I was on a dead sprint through the galleries, but I didn’t want to miss a thing. The artwork did not disappoint. As is the case with any form of art, there were pieces I didn’t much care for, but the vast majority were impressive and even breathtaking. From the Christopher Wool painting in the foyer, to a sculpture by De Wain Valentine, to the piece by Alexandra Exter.
A surprise for me was the exhibit on the art of Goldfinger. Yes, the James Bond film. This installation focused on the open title and credits sequence, which has become an iconic work in and of itself, and was done by the same man who did the title and credit sequence for From Russia With Love. It was interesting to read his take on using the model (his girlfriend at the time) as a living, moving canvas, upon which he projected images from previous Bond films.
Another pleasant surprise were a couple pieces by Pablo Picasso. A couple paintings I had seen in books before, but also a sculpture of a goat I’d never seen previously. The moment I saw it, I thought of my good friend, Sara, who loves goats. Naturally, I texted her a picture of it.
The sculpture garden was an oasis, seemingly cut off from the rest of the city. In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, construction and traffic, was this utopia of serenity and grace. Patrons milled about, some taking photos, but most just sitting and enjoying the surroundings.
My time at MoMA had come to an end, and it was time to find dinner.
On my to-do list were a few establishments which are known for excellent craft beers. The nearest one to my location at the time was one called Rattle & Hum. It took me a bit to find it (big surprise, I know) but it was well worth it. I tried a scotch ale that was just divine. To eat, I chose their guacamole, and beef sliders, both of which were fantastic. Being an Irish pub-themed sports bar, they of course had sports on the tv. Being in NY, they of course were watching the Jets football game. It was quite the experience being in a room with that many Jets fans. I pretended to have a vested interest in the game, and feigned disappointment each time Sanchez threw an interception. What a fun group.
Upon leaving Rattle & Hum, I quickly realized how distracted I was in trying to find it in the first place. I was so focused on my phone’s map feature. That I didn’t even realize I passed just below the Empire State Building. Stop and look around, kids. A wise man named Ferris Bueller once told us “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
I ventured on, taking pictures here and there, visiting another craft brew venue, and taking in as many visual sights I could. Sadly, I knew I was quickly nearing my cut off point. I’d still have to make my way uptown to catch a bus back across the river to New Jersey, and I wanted to get back in time to get a good night sleep and pack for the next day’s travel.
I hopped on the train, and found a seat. It was packed to the gills, as usual, and there were many who were standing and holding on to horizontal rails. This included a trio of young ladies, each in her early twenties. One of them was clutching a vertical pole with both arms, prompting a laugh from her friends, as well as comments referencing a possible pole dancing career. I couldn’t help but laugh as well since she was taking their ribbing in good spirit and playing along. I decided to come to her defense, and gave her my seat, under the condition that I was not expected to dance the pole myself. “Too bad, you could have made some extra money,” they replied. Hmmm, perhaps if this hotel sales director gig doesn’t work out…
I changed trains on order to get to my stop at 175th, and was once again standing, holding a rail. Not far away was a man and woman I guessed to be in their early thirties. At first glance, I thought them to be a couple. But I noticed that the woman kept looking in my direction and smiling. That usually does not happen to me, so I had to make sure she wasn’t actually looking at someone behind me. Nope, nobody there. It was at that point I noticed she wasn’t wearing a ring. Perhaps he’s her brother? Colleague? Who knows. We exchanged a few more glances until their stop, and they departed, our paths likely never to cross again.
This got me thinking. I live in a city of 1.2 million people, most of whom I will never meet. On a planet of 6 billion people. How random the daily occurrences which lead to interactions with people with random occurrences of their own. We cross paths with some of these again due to circumstances, and others because for one reason or another we forge a bond. Speaking for myself, there are some with whom I am thankful I crossed paths. Hopefully they know who they are.
Just in case, I think I’ll tell them.