Our New York Marathon—Day 1
Monday, May 30, 2011
We were up at 4:15 a.m. to catch our plane to La Guardia, off the ground not long after 7 a.m., and in a cab weaving through traffic at supersonic speed by 10. So began our latest adventure, wherein we will care for Willis—a very fat and well-coddled cat—at his home in a Lower East Side third floor walk-up apartment.
It is only our first day here, and we vowed to take it easy, since we will have over two weeks to play and explore, but Manhattan doesn't take it easy, and we couldn't help going with the flow. So, here's what we did today:
· met Lois and her daughter, and went over their detailed instructions for keeping Willis in the pampered manner to which he is accustomed. Also got the lay of the apartment (no air conditioning, a couple fans), and the neighborhood. By the time we were done, we had a huge list of restaurants and ice cream shops within a few blocks walking distance and concluded that if we aren't careful we could be as fat as Willis by the time we leave.
· walked up Second Street to peruse dining and great grocery shopping options—Trader Joe's and a huge Whole Foods store, where, too hot for a picnic in the park, we bought sushi, a sandwich, a cupcake and some designer juice drinks to eat in their café in front of a big window overlooking Union Square.
· spent a long time talking to the nice lady in the bullet proof booth at the metro station, figuring how the subway worked and our best deal option for riding--a seven day metro card.
· found the New York Welcome Center—the quietest spot in the city, with very few tourists and only a couple staff members. The Savannah welcome center is three times as busy on a slow day. Nonetheless, we purchased a passport book to save us 40% on admission to attractions we plan to visit, and we got a coupon sheet for reduced price tickets for a bunch of Broadway shows.
· called American Express to convince them that we really were here and would like them to stop declining our attempts to purchase stuff.
· bought tickets to the Broadway show Sister Act for tomorrow—12th row center 30% off.
· visited Times Square and the Broadway Welcome Center, where we wrote a wish on a piece of confetti that will be released when the ball drops on New Year's 2012.
· ate dinner at one of our little neighborhood restaurants, Frank's, where they only take cash, and the kitchen is a tiny open spot behind the bar. Four cooks and a dish washer dance around each other making dinner in a floor space about four feet wide and ten feet long. The kitchen lighting is very dim, except for the occasional flaring of food being flambéed in the pan.
Is it any wonder that by the time we got home after dinner, we could hardly keep our eyes open any longer. If there was any noise from traffic or patrons of the bar that occupies the lower level of our building, we were blissfully unaware in our exhausted state.