Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

My Photo
Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Umbrella, Umbrella


To quote the New York Times article regarding the street vendors, "you can say it over and over 'umbrella, umbrella, umbrella' and it sounds like a song or you can say it drawn out 'um-brell-a' and it sounds like a prayer," which ever way you choose, you will get customers. A t least for the first few days of unrelenting downpour, after that everyone in New York has an umbrella if they have gone outside in the past week.

My $5 umbrella got used up in the 4 days I was in New York. It has poured non-stop for 8 days. Over 14 inches of rain at Central Park in October, beating out the former record of 13.5" and it is only the 15th. This morning the rain had stopped but of course I am on my way out of town. I did squeeze in a 7:00 a.m. stroll in Central Park with my friend Maureen and her 16 month old son TJ. He was pretty excited to actually get to run around outside and covered a lot more distance than usual.

My sojourn here in New York was a test of positive thinking and attitude. It would have been really easy to just sulk and complain as I got soaked again and again. I was determined to see NY despite the weather. I bought tickets to ride the double decker tour buses and sat covered by a thin white plastic poncho that read "Grey line Tours" on top of the bus as it poured. I sat there until I couldn't take it anymore and then went down stairs where the windows were so steamed up you couldn't see out of them. Every time the bus lurched to a stop (every half block at least) a waterfall of rainwater poured down the stairwell onto the floor of the bus and then streamed like a river under the seats, soaking anybody's shoes that were on the floor. My feet are stained black and blue from my shoes and socks.

Eventually I would tire of the bus and get off wherever and start walking while trying to keep my cheap umbrella from turning inside out in the gusts of wind. I did make it to a matinee of THE PRODUCERS which I thoroughly enjoyed. Likewise the MOMA and the Met were wonderful. I met Maureen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday evening for a drink and then wandered around the museum for a couple of hours. There is a wonderful Rodin exhibit and everything from Islander Art to 18th Century furniture to modern art. The building itself is lovely, especially the lobby which we looked down upon from the balcony as we sipped our drinks and listened to the string quartet. It was a fabulous "new York" thing to do.

Four days ago I had no real idea how New York was laid out and what was where. I now feel like I have a pretty good grasp of that and am capable of taking the subway or buses most anywhere in Manhattan. There's nothing like learning from your mistakes. Manhattan is fairly easy to figure out once you get oriented and know Uptown from Downtown and East of 5th Ave from the West side.

Part of my bus pass included a visit to the top of the Empire State Building. I decided to give it a go yesterday and made my way over there. I went inside and saw a sign which said "0 visibility". The up side was that there was no line. I decided to do the 'Skyway Ride", a virtual tour of New York. I figured it was one way to see something in the rain. We sat down in seats and then a bar came down over our laps and the movie began. It was narrated by Kevin Bacon and the seats moved so that we felt like we were flying around New York. Afterwards we were lead to the elevators to go to the observation deck. We were not on the ground floor since we had just seen the movie and there was construction going on by the elevators on our floor. The walls were torn out and it looked like we were in a condemned building. On the 80th floor we got out and transfered elevators to go up to the observation deck on the 86th floor. We got out and looked into a cloud. Zero percent visibility was completely accurate. All-in-all a little less than the ideal experience. But at least I can say that I have been there.

Some other highlights from NY were having dinner with Maureen two nights in row and eating very tasty food, seeing a movie with her (just like old times), feeling the energy of New York, going to Evensong at St Thomas' sung by a boys and men choir, good bagels, great deli food, fabulous museums, abundant public transit, spending time with Maureen, Trey and TJ and meeting a nice subway worker when I first arrived in Penn Station who helped me get a subway ticket and gave me correct directions to my destination.

I will write more about New York a little later. It has been harder to get internet access than I thought it would, so I ahven't been able to post very much. More soon to follow...


Post a Comment

<< Home