Furlough Tour: Day Five

New York City!

My wonderful hosts, Keith DeCandido and Wrenn Simms, were challenged to show me Manhattan in one day. All of Manhattan! Not only have I never seen New York City before and thus must do all the silly touristy things, but I have this story I plan to write that involves a great deal of New York detail. That's a bit difficult if you've never been.

First was the subway, where I discovered that a) they look just like St. Louis' Metrolink, and b) they put poetry on the Metro cards. (Also, unlike Metrolink, there ain't no way I'd know which train to take without locals for guides.)

We took the subway to the Empire State Building, which included a walk down Fifth Avenue. I saw the real Macy's, and I swear I wished we had an extra half day. I'd love to look around in the original Macy's!

Approaching "Empy" was a bit disconcerting: it's like scenes from a half-dozen movies kept playing over in my head and overlaying what I was seeing.

And this is what I saw...

Just like the movies!

This is the north view. You can see the wide expanse of Central Park to the upper left.

The funky art deco building to the left is the Chrysler Building.

Jimmy requested a picture of the Statue of Liberty. Alas, this was as close as I got.

This is the new World Trade Center. It's not done yet, but they're getting close. We did not have time to visit the memorial.

The original Macy's! This is where the Thanksgiving Day parade ends, which apparently is a giant cluster to attend, because they've never been.

My friend the pigeon enjoyed the view with me.
When we came down to earth, Keith and Wrenn treated me to lunch at a lovely tavern called The Ginger Man, which had a huge beer list and tasty food. We stopped at a cheesy tourist shop so I could pick up some burnt offerings for the family, and then hailed a cab for Central Park. Along the way I spied St. Patrick's Cathedral and the 57th Street shops like Dior, Prada and other places in which I can't afford to breathe.

Then Central Park! Speaking of seeing movies overlay in my head... here's a fountain in every other movie. In fact, as I am freaking writing this, my hosts are watching an episode of Person of Interest that features cops meeting at this very fountain!

I had many more amazing photos spoiled by the birds sitting on her head. I asked Keith if there was any noise that would make them go away for a moment so I could get a clear shot. "In New York? No."
Detail of the fountain base. There was a group of street dancers performing nearby, and someone was doing a fashion shoot with bridal gowns on the steps.

From Strawberry Fields, not far from where John Lennon lived and was murdered.

A pond in the park with a lovely view.

The Romeo and Juliet statue outside the theater where they perform Shakespeare in the Park.

Belevedere Castle, which is now a weather station. I could write a bunch of stories around this.

There were so many other places I wanted to go. Shopping. Museum of Natural History. Drive through Broadway and Times Square. Visit the Statue of Liberty. See the Brooklyn Bridge. Coney Island. The inside of the New York Public Library (I spied it around a corner from the taxi).

But we had to hustle back, via two subway trains and a bus, so we could get changed and rush over to Brooklyn for my signing. Along the way we snagged dinner: pastrami sandwiches from a Jewish New York deli. Om nom nom.

The signing went fine, if not spectacular. Many thanks to Singularity and Co. in Brooklyn for hosting me! We had a fine chat and some wine, and best of all: my friend Orenthal came! Orenthal Hawkins and I have known each other online since God was a little girl, and he came all the way from New Jersey to attend the signing.

I am so delighted to see this wonderful place, this city that captures so much of our imagination. I've been told I must come back when I can stay longer and they can show me more... and therefore so will they. I was stunned to find that Keith had not been to the Empire State Building since he was a child, and Wrenn had never been.

Then I realized it was like us in St. Louis and the Arch: we only see the wonders of our home towns if we are showing them to someone else. I've been wonderfully blessed on this trip to see beautiful and amazing places in this country, redefining the way I think about places I've only seen on maps. So if you take nothing else from my little adventure, rethink the place in which you live. If you were a tourist in your town, what would you want to see? Go find it, and see it with new eyes. There are wonderful things right there, and you never know what adventure you might find.

Because I did see the Brooklyn Bridge. Just for a moment, and in the dark. But it was just like I imagined it.

Missed Opportunity of the Day: Oh good lord, name it! The Statue of Liberty, shopping in Macy's, the Museum of Natural History, Times Square, the New York Public Library...
Thanks: to Keith and Wrenn, hosts extraordinaire who barreled me through a whirlwind tour of New York and then came to the signing.


  1. You got a hug from Orenthal? I'm so jealous! LOL Had I known, I would have told you to give him one from me too. :)
    The pics are beautiful - love reading about your journey. :)

  2. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Yay! Orenthal!


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