C. and E. go to NYC
--We took the train from NC to NY. If you’re on the train for long haul you’re asked to sit in the back of the train. This way, it’s easier for the conductors to keep track of which travelers are going where. Be that as it may, it makes for a strange socio-economic division of humanity whereby the middle class people--who are just going for a Fun Jaunt on the Train-- sit up front, and the poor people, who simply can’t afford the price of air travel, sit in the back.
--Another fact of the train. By in large, people who live along the train line live in trailer parks.
--E. wrote some novel on the train and C. texted her boyfriend for pretty much the whole way which was I'd say about 123849329534784 hours. Still, it wasn't entirely not fun.
--We arrived at 57th St. at about 9. Our hotel is exactly next door to the Director's Guild Theater which is where E. and her mother had seen a panel about the Tea Party when they came up for The New Yorker Festival; the panel included David Remnick, Jill LaPore, That Asshole Dick Armey and (sigh) Anthony Weiner who should have stuck it out, so to speak, in E’s opinion. I mean: look at Newt Gingrich. He left his wife for another woman while SHE HAD CANCER and he could’ve been the next president except for the Greek cruise problem. E’s point is: the memory of the public is short.
--Our hotel room is AWESOME (C's word) and AWESOME (E’s word also). It has three rooms, a fabulous architectury tub and huge windows that look out over Batman-Gotham-style NYC towers.
--We went out to a "deli" and split a $23.00 pastrami sandwich. It was $23 because of location, location, location. It was so big that E never ever in her life ever ever wants ever to eat another pastrami sandwich ever. One of the two men seated next to us had a ginormous BLT. At one point the other guy looked at the BLT guy and said, "You have mayonnaise ALL OVER your face." The BLT guy shrugged. Then the other guy said, "I can't even look at you." It was amusing to C. and E.
--We saw the Alexander McQueen show at the Met. He was a genius who sewed his complicated heart onto his very complicated sleeve. It was a remarkable, scary, sad, enthralling, exciting, tremendous exhibit. It seemed to E. that the designer was afraid of women and the way he conquered his fear was to deconstruct them and then reconstruct them so he could understand what they were made of. We both loved the show. E. loved a buttoned Jack the Ripper jacket and C. loved a dress that had been dipped in mud. The McQueen exhibit requires and deserves a lot more than this paragraph.
-- We ate luncheon pretzels in Central Park and watched the nannies.
--We walked on Fifth Avenue wherein C. was complemented on her outfit by the salesgirl at Bendel's (which, if you don't know, is tantamount to being complemented on your car by the guy at the Ferrari dealership).
--We ate supper at La Parisienne which is one of those Greek diner-type restaurants with a menu as long as your arm and prices that are niiiice and small. When the elderly waiter saw C. snitch a piece of feta from my plate, he brought her her own little dish of it.
--We bought $5 sunglasses on 14th street;
--We bought Grandma an awesome plastic watch on 6th in Greenwich Village and saw a baby dachshund in a store window;
--We walked to Washington Square and watched the assorted schoolchildren/people making movies/guy making a mandala out of sand on the pavement/dogs of all sizes/druggy banjo players all having a good time.
--We walked down to Soho on Lafayette and stopped into a shoe store which was so amazing that E dropped a bundle on art-shoes for C. even though the sales girl said "they don't have shoes like this in NC, do they?" whereupon E snappily said, "no, but they have the internet there.”
--We walked into Chinatown deep enough so we were the only visible white people and looked at a cat looking at fish; did you know there are like 30 different kinds of shrimp?
-We walked into Little Italy and got lured into one of those cheeseball-Italian places to eat salad served by the classic rude waiter who laughed at E when she wanted Prosecco which she guesses is more for dessert than for lunch but once she drank it, she didn’t care about the stupid waiter.
--We bought Sophie a weird gift on the way out of Little Italy due, probably, to the Prosecco;
--We took the train up to Harlem and went to Amateur Night at the Apollo. It interested us that the emcee yelled into the packed house, “Who here from New York? Brooklyn? New Jersey? North Carolina?” Those four places. We clapped and screamed for a host of singers, one dancer and a sax player. The emcee was funny, especially when he mimicked white speech by overenuciating. There was a dance contest on the stage featuring people plucked from the audience including a stylish broad from Rotterdam and a beautiful Asian girl in a shiny shirt who had no chops. People were booed off the stage when necessary which was hard on C and E, as they are both too prim for such things. The experience was interesting and fun but it would have been better had there been fewer white people, she said ironically.
--We went to MOMA, where E was appalled at how much C. doesn't know about art and realized that since now NC is Last in the Nation in per capita student spending, it was immediately necessary to resort to homeschooling, so she talked at length about Dada and pointillism and painterly borders and modernism and Modigliani and Gauguin and Dali and Picasso none of which she knows anything about.
--We went to Times Square, a truly truly horrible place where C, an excellent shopper, spent an hour picking out the perfect nail polish color: Ocean Love Potion. (Green.)
--We walked up to Bryant Park and ate in a deli with lots of young suits;
--We walked into the NY Public Library which is celebrating its 100th anniversary and had this tremendous exhibit of their fabulous stuff including a copy of Dickens's David Copperfield from which he did his public readings which was all marked up, by him, for his benefit, with his stage directions; Malcolm X's notebook; Jack Kerouac's glasses; Virginia Woolf's walking stick; a Gutenberg Bible; ad infinitum. This, needless to say, was E's favorite part of the whole trip and C. liked it very much as well. E. asked C. what she remembered from this same exhibit and she said, "those anti-Nazi pamphlets (hidden in) packets of seeds and tea, and that lock of Mary Shelley's hair."
--We walked down to Grand Central Terminal where we people-watched until C's Aunt Ellen met us, having come up from Danbury to do so. We walked together to a Korean bar-b-que place which, E hastens to say, is not all that much like an NC bar-b-que place. There we ate way too much meat and bibimbop and seafood pancakes but it was so good we couldn't stop.
--We walked back to the hotel to store the leftover chicken and cellophane noodles in the room fridge and then took a cab to a movie theater to see a production of The Company which we were too late for. So instead, we saw Woody Allen's newest, Midnight in Paris, in which we meet Dali and Gauguin and Picasso and Modigliani's mistress and Gertrude Stein and E. kept elbowing C. and saying, "we saw his picture TODAY" until C said, "please stop. You're hurting me."
-E. wanted to go to the American Folk Art Museum but we arrived there 1.5 hours before it opened;
--After some quick reorganizing, we took the train to Herald Square so we could be like every other Japanese, Swedish, French, German, Russian, Polish, American tourist in the entire goddamn city of NYC and get our own stupid-ass pink shopping bag full of stupid-ass, oversexed, overstuffed bras from Victoria's Secret which was having a Big Sale. "Charlotte," said Mommy, "if I do this for you, that is, if I spend a portion of my precious precious life in the Store of the Underwire, will you go with me to the Folk Art Museum totally uncomplainingly?" She nodded, pink-cheeked with excitement. There at the underwear store we stood with ALL MANNER of other women: every nationality (as I've said), every size, color, economic goddamn bracket, political persuasion, etc while she carefully picked out bras and pantalettes, and then went and tried them on while E slunk into a corner and waited for her to wait in line so she could try on the 1/4 yard of yellow/pink/white whatever. And do you know what E thought as she slunk there? She thought this: I am glad that I have a daughter who feels pretty enough to indulge herself in this crap. Yes, this is what she thought. Which just shows you that the human psyche is a complicated thing.
--Then we went to Macy's where E bought Sophie a birthday tee-shirt for $45. A tee shirt. It's a good thing it's Friday because E is running out of money.
--Then we took the train back to the American Folk Art Museum which is nice and small and was veritably empty and we saw quilts and weathervanes and all manner of things made of popsicle sticks by old Black ladies from Mississippi.
--Then we ate falafel from a Halal King Tut street vendor who treated us like we were a couple of Nefertitis.
--Then it rained and C watched a movie while Mommy took Bath Number Three in the architctury tub and read a travelogue by some guy named Patrick Leigh Fermor which has just been republished in a beautiful edition which she got a lot of bathwater on but will pass on to her brother Jason nevertheless because it's his kind of book.