Friday, June 8, 2018

New York City - A Place Apart

Our two months in New York City have been nothing short of fantastic.  Everything about this place delights me.  The people, the art, the architecture, the graffiti, the parks, the museums, the streetscapes, the gardens.  NYC is a feast for the senses.

Joe has now graduated from his bread baking course at the International Culinary Center.  He worked incredibly hard, got good grades, learned a ton and worked alongside the nicest classmates.  I am so proud of him for following his dreams.

The icing on the New York cake was being close to our daughter Molly, son-in-law Jordan and darling 19 month old granddaughter Josephine in Boston.  'Grandma Greyhound' bused up to visit them every couple of weeks.

I cannot believe we’ll be back in Squamish tonight.  It will feel surreal to be home after being on the road since the beginning of December!   

I said to Joe that we will look back on this New York experience as one of the best times of our lives.  

This city’s energy is palpable.  I feel it the minute my feet hit the pavement outside the apartment building’s door.  There is something different happening all the time.

Whether it’s a dad pushing a baby stroller down Avenue A wearing a full length floral skirt or a tall woman in traditional African dress smoking a fat cigar as she sashays down Broadway or a stooped elderly man defiantly pushing his oxygen tank and its tangle of tubes slowly down the middle of East 12th Street.  I have loved it all.

Another thing I have loved was having so much time to explore New York City on my own.  I had a lot of hours to fill as Joe was gone for ten hours a day, five days a week.  Each week gave me 50 hours to myself.  I enjoyed every minute spending time with 'me'.

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline.” – Ayn Rand

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park

An underpass in Central Park has the perfect acoustics for opera.

Overlooking 10th Avenue from the High Line.

We were blessed to meet the kindest New Yorkers who had us over for barbecues, gave us tickets to off-Broadway plays, invited us to concerts, texted us tips and best of all became our friends. 

New York's botanical garden was an oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.

I took the subway every single day.  I'm quite proud of my transit skills.  I never got lost and always arrived at my destination on time.

Our time in Boston was precious.  This baby called us Ma'am and Pop-Pop.  Works for me!

Mama Molly and her baby on Mother's Day.

Big Mama Nanc and her baby on Mother's Day.

I don't know what it is about posing for photos, but toddlers just seem to love it!  Mother's Day 2018.

A couple of hipsters at a local Boston coffee shop.

It was such a treat to see friends from home!  Ashleigh and Rob were in NYC to celebrate their anniversary and we got together a couple of times for drinks, dinners and a play.  We had so much fun.  (Some might say too much fun.)

One of our evenings with Rob and Ashleigh was spent at 'Beauty & Essex' on the Lower East Side.  The front of the house looked like a pawn shop until you entered a back door which opened up to a beautiful restaurant.  Not only that, but Britney was pouring free champagne in the women's restroom.  A bathroom with a bar is my kind of toilet!

The calm courtyard of the Frick Collection.

Graffiti is everywhere.

There are beautiful community gardens in and around the East Village.  It was such a treat when we'd discover the gates were unlocked and could go in for a bit of a wander.  

Most evenings found us at the Spotted Owl Tavern for happy hour.

It was a wet Loisaida Festival, but the rain did not dampen anyone's spirits.

There are a couple of times each summer when the setting sun lines up perfectly with New York City's grid of streets; 'Manhattanhenge'.  Sadly, the sun went behind a bank of clouds just before it dipped below the horizon.

Even though Manhattanhenge was a bust, we had a great time crowding into the middle of the intersection with all the folks to take photos.

Beating the heat in NYC.

“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.” – Simone de Beauvoir

The Washington Square fountain turns into a swimming pool on hot summer days.

The finest bread bakers in all of New York City.  
(Photo credit: Javiera Montoya)

At the end of each school day, the students took home as much bread as they wanted.  Joe stuffed as many baguettes into his backpack as he could.  He soon discovered that his pack grew too heavy on his long walk back to the apartment every afternoon.  To lighten his load, he gave his baguettes away to the people he met on the street.  Joe named himself  'Bread Santa of East Village' and a new project was born.  Joe figures Bread Santa gave away hundreds of baguettes over the course of 8 weeks.
Bread Santa and the Ladies Liberty.

I was lucky enough to be Bread Santa's elf on a couple of occasions.

These characters were happy to share a baguette in Tompkins Square Park.

Moe the butcher was one of Bread Santa's regular customers.

These two were all smiles when they ran into Bread Santa on the street.

Everyone seemed genuinely grateful for Bread Santa's generosity.

This woman couldn't stop giggling when she learned Bread Santa's story.

Bread Santa's biggest fan?  His granddaughter of course!

Carnegie Hall was the location for the International Culinary Center's graduation ceremony.

The ICC graduates and their guests filled the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall.

Joe receiving the coveted ICC wooden spoon.

Joe and his classmates were all smiles after walking across the Carnegie Hall stage.

Joe and his baking instructor Chef Johnson Wu.

It wasn't until after the graduation ceremony was over that I realized I didn't get anyone to take a photo of us.  So we did what we always do and took one ourselves.

Thank you to everyone who made these past two months in New York so memorable, especially the city herself.  

We both wish we were staying longer.  

I cannot wait until we return.

“As for New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.” – Pearl S. Buck

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

NYC - Third Time's The Charm

The old saying goes, "Third time's the charm."  And in this case it certainly is true.  This is our third time in New York City (the other two times being in 2011 and 2012 for short visits during Spring Break) and this experience is exceeding all of our expectations.

We are currently living in NYC for a total of two months while Joe studies to be a baker at the International Culinary Institute in SoHo.  We arrived at the beginning of April and will stay until the beginning of June.

Joe says he has never worked so hard in his life.  He returns to the apartment absolutely exhausted every afternoon. 

We are staying in the East Village and love living in this neighbourhood.  The energy in this city is palpable.  It is so alive!

While Joe is at school I am left to my own devices.  I am either traipsing all over NYC with my camera in hand or travelling up to Boston to visit with my eldest daughter and her family. 

A wall in SoHo.

The Flatiron building.

There is nothing I like more than bagels, lox and cream cheese.

Katz's Deli in the Lower East Side.

Sheep Meadow in Central Park.

David Bowie art installation in the Bleeker Street Subway Station.  (I also went to the 'David Bowie Is' exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.  It was amazing!)

The Highline.

Grand Central Station

Brooklyn Bridge

NYC from the Manhattan Bridge.

Spring took her own sweet time to arrive in NYC.  
Tompkins Square Park.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art.

We met a couple of self-proclaimed hustlers in Harlem one afternoon. 

Fried chicken and waffles.  Best dinner ever.

Central Park

Central Park

DUMBO - Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

The view of Manhattan from Brooklyn.


Coney Island

Coney Island

Josephine and Grandma sharing a laugh in Boston.

A three generation selfie at the playground.

Early morning fun with Elmo and Daddy.

A rather chilly picnic in Central Park with some of Joe's classmates and their families.

No matter where you walk in this city, you will stumble upon art.  A small sample of 'Neighbors' by photographer John Raymond Mireles.

We had the good fortune to see our friends' band Betty in concert.

The 'Oculus' building at the 9/11 memorial site.

Reading Room at New York Public Library.

The opening reception of Meryl Meisler's photographs of the Lower East Side in the 70s and 80s.  (And no, we don't know Meryl.  We just read about the event in the NY Times and showed up!)

'We Come In Peace' by Huma Bhaba on the Met's rooftop terrace.

The 'Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination' exhibit at the Cloisters was just that.  Heavenly.

We have now been in New York City for a month and I have loved every minute of it.  This place is like no other.  It is exciting and interesting and creative.  Each day offers a new experience.  I can't wait to wake up in the morning!

I feel so free while I am walking.  I am anonymous here.

I can't wait to see what the next month brings.