Monday, February 2, 2009
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Last Friday I returned to New York for the first time since I moved away last summer.
It was a short trip-- just for the day. Eight precious hours in the city I once called home. I felt like a thief- coming to use and enjoy my favorite things and then leaving just as swiftly as I had arrived.
I woke up in Providence and was on the first morning express train into the city while it was still dark outside. I abandoned my novel in lieu of watching the sun rise gradually with every passing Rhode Island and Connecticut town. All the little towns were still sleeping as we raced through them; homes, roads, trees and lakes were blanketed in snow. It was my very own Polar Express.
I got to the city by way of Penn Station and headed for Bryant Park. Everything was gray and overcast as I roamed around all morning, giving myself a nostalgic walking tour of 5th Avenue starting at 42nd and working my way uptown.
I met KR and AV for lunch at El Centro on 9th Avenue, where we spent the better part of two hours eating and laughing and catching up as it snowed outside. True to form, KR ordered guacamole and AV knew every song that played within the first two or three notes. I walked them back to KR's office and AV's subway stop with hugs and the sincere hope that I would be able to come visit again soon. I had already decided that a day was great, but a longer weekend visit would have to be in order.
Instead of wearing gloves, I opted to walk through a sparsely populated Central Park with a steamy cappuccino in hand; switching later in the afternoon to hot chocolate. After perusing around Bloomingdale's, I was about to leave but happened upon a dress in a stunning shade of blue. It fit too perfectly to be left behind, and thus I could not leave without one of their signature Big Brown Bags.
I made my way up the UES to end my day trip at the Met. I wandered among the Art & Love in Renaissance Italy exhibit, the Impressionists and the paintings from the Jean Bonna Collection. I ended my visit on the second floor, overlooking the foyer below, as a string quartet began to play across the open entry for the restaurant guests who were arriving in droves as 6'o'clock rolled around. It was soothing, and drew other weary travelers in like moths to a flame. I stood there leaning against the banister and soaking in my last few moments in the city. I looked up at the clock and realized, in Cinderella-esque fashion, that it was time for me to go or I would miss my flight. I could not so much feel my feet at that point, so if one of my flats was left on the Met's huge staircase it would have escaped my notice.
I hailed a cab right outside the museum, boarded a plane to Boston and watched the infamous skyline fade smaller from my window seat as we lifted out of La Guardia.
Just as quickly as I came; I went.
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she never had a back street guy
I bet her mama never told her why..."
-Billy Joel, Uptown Girl