June 24, 2012

Spring Break: New York City

I had only three days in New York City, but it was a total blast. What made it so was meeting up with friends who lived there. (I should have a lot more pictures, but I was having such a good time that I forgot entirely about having a camera unless I was alone. I think I took five pictures in total—all else came from the Web.)

On the advice of a friend, I got a room at the West Side YMCA for a third the cost of a bad hotel room in Manhattan. It was a few yards from Central Park and two short blocks to the metro in one direction and Lincoln Center in the other; what a great location! The room was like a dorm room, quite spartan but with a flat screen TV, and the bathroom was down the hall but private when you used it. I plan on staying there again. Who goes to NYC to stay in your hotel?

I arrived early Monday afternoon, having taken two hours to get from LaGuardia to the Y on the SuperShuttle. (There was no special reason for having taken so long, just a lot of traffic. Plan on that when you come here.)

After a nap and leisurely time in Central Park, I took the subway to Bryant Park to meet Eric for the first time. Eric blogs over at Sore Afraid about his new life with his husband and newborn twins. He is sweet and brilliant and we had too little time together. That was to become a theme for my visit.

Eric and I walked from the park to St. Clement’s Theater to see the dramatic reading of Tony Adams’ new play, “A Letter From The Bishop.”

I’d seen a preliminary reading in Ft. Lauderdale, and this one took it up several notches. This play really needs to be produced. I wish I had the connections to make it happen, because it could change the hearts of many on the subject of marriage equality. There was a small after party at a bar down the street, where I chatted with cast members. I met Joe Jervis, proprietor of Joe.My.God, and his friend Dr. Jeff, and I recognized a few other faces from the Interwebs, but there was no way to talk with everyone.

Tony’s sweet husband Chris had to return to work, but he graciously gave me a detailed outline of what he recommended a newcomer should see. I had requested tips for what a tourist might overlook, and he gave me enough choices to fill several weeks. I used his advice on Tuesday, when I met up with Patrick (of Loose Ends). Patrick and I have met a few times before, when he came home to Indiana. This was our first meeting in his second home of NYC.

Patrick met me at Columbus Circle and we headed down to Chelsea to The High Line, a park created from an abandoned elevated railroad track. We both had umbrellas and we needed them, but the constant gentle rain meant we were practically alone in the park.

We did the entire length of the High Line and exited to try out Chris’ suggestion for lunch, Pepe Giallo. Oh. Em. Gee. They had the best food I’d had in years. I allowed Patrick to have one (one!) rigatoni of my salmon pasta dish. Mmmmmm.

After lunch Patrick and I toured galleries on 24th St. (under the High Line) and decided there was one worth returning to, C24’s exhibit of portraits fashioned from layers of cut and tied tulle. Fascinating.

The remaining galleries were puzzling or boring. All of them were manned by two attendants who apparently spoke only when addressed, otherwise staring into screens and quietly clicking away.

I lasted about five hours before I needed a nap, so I bid Patrick goodbye at the subway and headed back to my room. I was to meet David (of the now-defunct Someone In A Tree) at his museum later in the evening. I had managed to stumble upon the one day each year when all of the museums on Fifth Avenue (Museum Mile) are open and free to the public from 5 to 9PM. I planned on seeing one or two before having a late dinner with David, so I lay down to rest before grabbing a cab to the other side of Central Park.

I woke up at 8:15. Guess I really WAS tired! I barely made it to David’s museum before it closed. He was looking especially spiffy in his suit and tie, and we raised our umbrellas in the now-pouring rain to head down to Astor Place and a tiny Thai Ramen restaurant. (“You did say you wanted something different, right?” David asked. Of course!) The food was good, the conversation was great, and David and I parted ways at the subway. I slept in.

Wednesday was reserved for Tony, who was still resting from the chaos of producing the play’s reading. He met me at the door and we took off for the Leslie/Lohman Museum, where an exhibit of photographs of The Piers was on display.

It was a fascinating piece of history of New York City gay life, which is changing faster than we can comprehend. Some bemoan that, but isn’t that the nature of life? We all wish to cling to the best memories and discard the pain.

Tony took me to Pinto, another tiny restaurant that served delicious and light Thai food. He led me by the Stonewall Inn, also on Christopher Street, central district of all gay life in New York. That center seems more diffuse now, a sign of the acceptance and openness long overdue. When Tony heard that I had not seen in person the Bethesda Fountain, scene of several weddings he officiated, we took off for a stroll through Central Park.

While I never tire of conversation with Tony, my body was complaining, and I went back to my room in late afternoon. I slept for twelve hours. I had wondered what my energy level would be, having not really tested it since treatment stopped. I think I’m good for about five or six hours of activity before I need to nap for few hours. It’s going to take some time to get back up to speed, but that’s okay.

Well rested, the next morning I got in line on the sidewalk to board the Megabus to Connecticut.

Update: for those who are counting, this brings my Personal Confirmation count of Internet friends to 21. Woohoo! Who's next?


Ur-spo said...

what a great conversational question: 'if you had only three days in NYC, what would you do?"

Rox said...

I'm so glad you went to NYC and took us along! It's a bucket list item for me...thanks for the sample!

Mary Lacey said...

Dear Betty,

It sounds like a wonderful trip! Patrick must have LOVED having the chance to hang out.

I remember when Tony's treatment ended, we had the same feeling you did--now there's nothing for us to do, what do we do? It sounds like you are approaching the question in all the right ways--friends, food, walking, naps. We have you in our thoughts. All our best, Mary and Tony and Laceyland-at-large

Cubby said...

I would love to hangout in NYC. Sounds like you had a fantastic three days.

Kathie Brown said...

Birdie, I have stayed at that Y also years ago before the towers came down. I am glad that you had so much fun. I laughed when you said Chris gave you a years worth of info on places to see! I am also glad you got to see Tony's play. I have not seen it or read it,yet. Perhaps soon. I hope you are healing well. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Ari said...

What a fabulous tour through NYC, you made the most of your three days. I have lived here for over twenty years and there sure have been changes. But there is nowhere like it in the world and you really took a slice out of the Big Apple during your three days.

tornwordo said...

Me? I'll be in NYC the 3-8. You aren't by chance coming back so soon?

I hope I get to see the same peeps as you whom I've met once before - except Patrick.