I'm not sure where my fascination with New York City started. Maybe it was simply all those 90s sitcoms like Seinfeld and Friends I that watched religiously through my 20's. Maybe it was the answer the fireman gave to the question in 2001 of why he went back into the burning towers to save someone: because I'm a New Yorker. In 2004, I would listen to "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" from a mix CD Ted made me and cry and cry when Elton sang about thanking the Lord for the people he'd found in New York. Then Steve Earl wrote this song with lyrics like, "livin’ in a city where the streets are paved with good intentions and a people’s faith in the sacred promise a statue made." Not long after that, I watched all 14 hours of Ric Burns' New York, and I was hooked. I had to go. I had to see for myself.
So right now, I'm living a dream of mine. We are here for an entire month. Ted lived here for six years, and we're staying in the apartment of an old friend of his who's gone home for the holidays. We've been here now six days and already so many wonderful moments have happened. I find myself tearing up at least once a day. I don't want to forget anything, so I hope no one minds that I plan on using this space as a journal of my favorite New York moments every day. I may not post every day, but I do plan on noting each day an experience that I want to remember.
Day One: While not being able to sleep our first night here, I got out of bed and stood at the window looking down at the street, watching the garbage collectors do their job. I have no idea why this process was so interesting to me. But it's a moment I'll remember.
Day Two: in the evening, we took a walk to 34th street past Madison Square Gardens. Ted was wearing his famous furry hat, the one he bought for $10 on the street in New York over ten years ago. It makes a statement. A man standing outside the arena pointed at us and nodded approvingly as he shouted to everyone around, "Now there is a man who knows his hats!"
Day Three: I can't narrow this one down to one (though in the future I will try; this was just a busy day). First was looking through the glass to the sweetest Piglet I've ever seen, the one owned and loved by Christopher Robin Milne, currently on display at the children's room of the Central Library, along with his friends Pooh, Kanga, Eeyore, and Tigger. Did you know that the Winnie-the-Pooh stories are based on these stuffed animals? I couldn't help tearing up for the first time this day. Second, wandering the streets of the West Village with Abe asleep in the Ergo, we got a bagfull of bagels from Ted's favorite shop. We then ate our toasted ones (mine whole wheat everything) with Mexican hot chocolate. It was euphoric. I almost cried but not quite. Third and last: Abe has been obsessed with going to South Ferry, so we went. I cried when I first glimpsed Lady Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance from the Staten Island Ferry terminal.
Day Four: Abe and I took a leisurely walk to visit Stumptown Coffee (which has no sign outside; you won't find it if you haven't looked up the address). I got my favorite shot so far, one of Abe resting inside the store with a couple kissing on the other side of the glass. We walked back home and did this:
Day Five: After catching the tail end of the Christmas parade in Little Italy and eating the most amazing canoli you can imagine, we high-tailed it through a snowstorm to have dinner with these people.
Day Six: Snow day in Central Park, with frolicking dogs wearing doggie snowboots, a couple of rides on a borrowed sled from a boy in green glasses named Milo, a hot dog snack, a lady in high-heeled black leather boots doing a jig to a saxophonist rendition of "Rudolph," all followed by hot chocolate and strudel at The Plaza.