last week we headed off to new york/connecticut to attend a friend's wedding. this was rupert's and my first trip back to new york since graduating from college nine years ago (and my first trip back east in as many years). i honestly didn't think i would be away so long from my first real home-away-from-home. new york city is the first place i lived on my own, away from my family. i have memories of and longings for that city (and my youth) that will never leave me. but after settling down back home in los angeles and starting a family it became appallingly clear that i could really never go back to that place as the same person. a decade is a long time. things change. but i managed to find essences of both the person and the city from nine years ago on our trip.
here, there, and everywhere ... in a few short days
our friend's wedding was beautiful, although, admittedly, we missed the ceremony. we ran up to the church just as they were coming out. the 2.5 hour drive to connecticut took twice as long because of an accident and we just barely made it to the reception. my college friend (who lives in nyc) graciously came up with us to babysit the kids while rupert and i were at the reception. he and i were able to enjoy some grown-up time with friends we hardly ever get to see. and it was really worth the trip (and, frankly, the hassle) to see our friend D looking so incredibly happy and enamored with his bride.
the day after the wedding we headed back to the city and an afternoon at coney island at the insistence of our friend B. there was a concert going on so it was extra-packed and loud and really not very stroller-friendly, but i guess it's something you should experience if you're in new york. i rode the cyclone, which is more thrilling than you would expect from a rickety old wooden coaster. i screamed and laughed and it was totally worth the six bucks. rupert, maya and ian ate a nathan's famous hot dog, but you'll have to ask them how it tasted because i didn't eat any of it.
the next day was a super-gorgeous summer day with low humidity. it was, literally, a perfect day for going to central park, which is what we did after a dim sum brunch in chinatown with my best friend from barnard (the aforementioned friend who came to CT with us). we were joined by friends B+L and their lovely, talkative daughter juju at the park. the kids had a blast at the heckscher playground water feature, as did i. i love that so many of the city's parks have some kind of water feature; what a welcome reprieve from the heat. after saying good-bye to our friends we hopped on the train again and got off at rockefeller center to walk down fifth ave for a bit, with a pit stop in front of the public library, before getting on the D train at bryant park to go back to brooklyn, where we were staying.
for some reason the next day was raining. we went ahead with our plans to go to the american museum of natural history, but everyone else seemed to have the same plan and it took forever to get inside. what a fantastic natural history museum, though! i hate to say it, but the la one is pretty darn dinky in comparison. maya threw a tantrum (surprise! surprise!) as we were going through the mythic creatures exhibit, so i had to zip through it, which was a bummer since that's what i really wanted to see. regardless of maya's mood and the rain and the crowds, it was a scientifically magical (or magically scientific?) place to be for a few hours.
despite the rain we walked a few blocks to hop on the 1/9 train uptown to visit my old haunting grounds :: morningside heights where columbia and barnard are. rupert has fond memories of the fried crab wontons at ollie's so that's where we had dinner. it was almost surreal to be sitting in the same restaurant (albeit cleaner and more modern) we frequented as youngsters, but now with our own youngsters, ordering the same food. i was bummed about the rain because that meant we couldn't stop long enough to take pictures of the places i took for granted 13 years ago but are now slowly fading from my memory.
because maya couldn't possibly be a happy camper for over an hour on the subway, we made another pit stop en route to brooklyn, this time in times square. i really did not want to stop here because it's pretty darn cheesy and always crowded with tourists, but i gotta say, there's something about times square in the rain that gives it a very cool ambience. rupert took some great shots of the neon and puddles and fog. and guess where we got back on the train? bryant park, of course!
sadly, that was our last day in new york. we headed back home on tuesday morning, which was another beautiful day. the only excitement was maya breaking stuff at the gift shop in the airport. it took a full week for me to recover from this trip, probably because, like my trips to japan, i always dredge up memories and my heart strings are tugged. memories, wishful thinking, some regret, and lots of planning for the next time we travel.
some observations :: no more tokens but the subway smell is the same. is it possible the city is cleaner (or are my expectations lower)? lots of harry potter reading going on. were there always so many chinese people? hee hee!