Posted by: Kate | May 26, 2008

Basking in the Afterglow

We’ve safely arrived home, and I can therefore confidently, and without the risk of jinxing anything, pronounce the weekend a smashing success. Really perfect, wouldn’t change a thing, unreasonably lucky to be living my life… you get the idea.

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Willem handled all of the details. We stayed in a very upscale, swanky hotel across the street from the Lincoln Center, on the corner of Broadway and West 63rd, for those in the know. Here. It’s not cheap, and while it’s more of an indulgence than we could swing often, it was a seriously amazing way to have a semi-honeymoon. Once every eight-ish years seems reasonable for that kind of extravagance.

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The hotel offered a “Romance in New York” package, which includes a bottle of champagne upon arrival. It worked just fine.

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Saturday was spent with some sightseeing and tourism, out to Liberty and Ellis Islands. The sorts of places that require a lot of standing in line – even with advance tickets – and a basic working knowledge of such abstract concepts as patriotism and immigration and American hubris… that is, not the best thing to bring kids to, which makes the decision to leave the kids upstate with my mother all the more fortuitous.

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The Official Historical Sites were interesting enough, and Willem and I are of similar enough tourist styles that neither was staring intently at every minuscule detail while the other gazed skyward with an air of ineffable boredom. We wandered, nodded enlightenedly, moved on.

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Having been to Europe, I carry a vague disdain for the United States’ approach to historical preservation. In Europe, they’re comfortable with time. They live with it. You can stand on the spot where Julius Caesar was assassinated, crawl through the bookcase blocking Anne Frank’s hiding spot, trudge jet-laggedly upon the mosaic work in the Paris Opera House, and it’s simply understood that you’ll behave yourself. It has lasted this long, and that’s wonderful, but someday it will break down and fade away and that’s just part of the larger circle of things. In America, if something is a hundred years old, it’s roped off and protected from those idiots we allow to freely roam the streets – that would be ourselves – even if it’s just some odd chunks of rock and mortar from an old fort. Even if we lost those rocks for several dozen years. By God, now that we’ve found them again, they’re old and therefore must be important. And held just past arm’s length from those savages out there.

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Ellis Island was well-done, though the exhibition of Indian and Chinese music in the great hall was a bit distracting and more than a bit strident. We forgot it was there for 50 years, so treating it as fragile and untouchable would have been a bit ridiculous. A lot was roped and glassed off, but they salvaged the original sinks and use them in the bathrooms now, so it’s a start.

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The Statue of Liberty is tall and over-photographed, and I was relieved to learn that you can’t climb up to the crown because of fire codes, not out of fear of terrorism. At least as far as they’re willing to admit. Because I have to think there are many bigger, and easier, targets for the terrorists just within a mile radius. We had to go through two separate rounds of airport-style security just to get near the statue, but at the end of it all we were able to look directly up her skirt. That made it was all worth it.

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The main reason for our trip was my Christmas/birthday gift from Willem: front-row balcony seats to South Pacific. A fabulous show, really. Kelli O’Hara is the female lead, and she just nails the character and the voice beautifully. Paulo Szot is the male lead, and his voice was a smidge overtheatrical – if that makes any sense – with enough vibrato that I couldn’t understand his words when he was singing. But, really, a gorgeous production and a wonderful night and even the drunken idiot who fell on the woman behind us didn’t ruin, or even really impact, the experience.

The next morning, Willem found a French patisserie and we took our pastries and cappuccino into Central Park to watch all the white people jogging determinedly past. Then we checked out of the hotel and drove up to my mother’s house, back to our real lives. The four of us went with my mother and sisters to a Binghamton Mets baseball game – they lost, heartbreakingly so, but put on a fabulous fireworks display afterward – and today visited one of Broome County’s famous and free hand-carved wooden carousels before driving home.

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It’s not often that more than 72 hours pass in which I wouldn’t change one single detail, but it happened this weekend. And now I have a bit of time to bask in the afterglow before my alarm goes off in the morning and it’s back to work.

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Responses

  1. Wow, you really had a blast! Every once in a while, you just have to indulge yourself, and this sounds like a perfect fancy getaway with lots of fun stuff. Watching people jogging while eating French pastries is going on my to do list. Way to make something wonderful even more satisfying.

  2. A weekend in NY with a Broadway show is definitely my cup of tea. Sounds perfect!

    Be sure to stop by my blog. I’m hosting a giveaway.

  3. oh Kate – it all sounded heavenly. To get away with just your husband. sigh –

    I just received confirmation for next summer – my husband and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary in Hawaii. I cannot freaking wait. I think I’ll be able to leave a 12 month old by then.

  4. Great travelogue, Kate. I always wondered what was under, her…, there. Beautiful pictures, too.

  5. Our trip to upstate NY was similiarly perfect. Once we got past the pukage, that is…

  6. Sounds fantastic! I’ve yet to hear ClareBear’s account of NY but I’m sure it’s on its way. She’s there for a week. We have the same attitude to marginally old stuff. Not far from me is an old decrepit homestead where Elizabeth Macarthur (the lesser known wife of merino breeding John Macarthur. She ran the show while her more famous husband spent time in England defending his duelling habit). There’s nothing but a shell and a cyclone fence to keep people away. The thing really should be bulldozed . . . symptom of living in a ‘new’ European settlement I guess.

    Oh . . and that’s my kind of hotel package!

  7. That looks and sounds just wonderful!
    I think I know what to tell hubby to do for our 10th Anniversary!

  8. GREAT trip! balcony seats to south pacific. nice. 🙂

  9. I can only dream of weekends like these at this point!!

  10. […] mode, and then sobbed some more.  The hotel was, shall we say, a few (hundred) steps down from the last one we inhabited in New York City.  It hovered just over the bare minimum of my personal standards for […]


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