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Archive for April, 2012

So, I made my way to Brooklyn and back and I’m here to tell you.  No, that’s it – I’m here to tell you I made it back.  Let’s start with the going.  The week before I was to leave, the pilot on a Jet Blue flight from Las Vegas to New York had a bit of a meltdown.  You know, the kind where to the pilot runs through the plane screaming the thoughtful warning, “say your prayers!”  Oh, I see that I’ve yet to mention I was flying Jet Blue to New York.   What timing.  I haven’t flown to New York for 38 years and the week before I take off, all hell breaks loose at 25,000 feet.  Fortunately, I have years of experience in staying hyper vigilant when flying and, in my own mind, at least, would and could land one of those hurtling masses of steel if need be.  Of course, staying hyper vigilant on a red-eye flight left me feeling like a drowsy bee in a busy hive when I arrived in Brooklyn, but I’m convinced it’s that  hyper vigilance that kept everyone in check on Flight 82.  Such a small price to pay in the end, don’t you think?

If you’ve been following along, you know I live in the woods where the only sounds that come through the dark of night are those of nature – perhaps the Great Horned Owl calls to his mate under the light of a full moon, or an old toad, looking for a like-minded croaker with whom to pass the night, belts out a ribbet or two.   In between there is the silence.    But in Brooklyn, the BQE (Brooklyn/Queens Expressway) is just a stone’s throw (even if you throw like a girl) from the apartment of my favorite of all my children – Nate.  I’m pretty sure there’s a pot hole the size of Rhode Island in the closest lane that every semi hit headed down (or up – I have no sense of direction) between the hours of two and six a.m.  I tried to pretend the sound of traffic was a pounding surf; attempted, without success, to find the rhythm of the passing cars, looked under each sleepy eyelid for any solace to be found in the subtle earthquake-like vibration of the building.  Had I booked a lengthier stay, that pot hole would have been history, but, alas, my time visit came to an end all too quickly.

I was on my own the first two days and took to the subway to make my way to Manhattan.  I felt like it was my first day of school, Nate actually walking me down to the platform and showing me how to buy my Metro pass.  See why he’s my favorite?  Of course, like the first day of school when your mom or dad walks you into class and everyone sees it, you’re pretty much that day’s lunch-punch puppet.   Once he left me there and headed back up the stairs, my mantra was set in place – L Train to 8th Avenue, A Train to Columbus Circle.  Sounds easy enough, but then I had to find the A Train, and know what direction it was headed.  I have no sense of direction above ground (see above admission) let alone underground, so I depended on the kindness of strangers.  And every single stranger I asked for directions was kind.  Yes, kind.  You just have to know who to ask.  You don’t wake the guy sleeping on the bench with last night’s dinner in his hair, you ask the very nice middle-aged woman who will then sit with you and tell you her whole life story in just five stops.   Once in Manhattan I met up with good friend, David Hodo, to spend the afternoon window shopping, but we didn’t last for long because we’re older now and our backs and feet hurt.  Besides, I don’t buy high heels anymore, I buy power equipment.  We found a bench just waiting for us in Central Park and watched the Easter Sunday parade of cyclists, joggers and strolling families as they made their way through the park, which, by the way, was drop-dead gorgeous (and not drop-dead in the way I remembered the park from my youth).

The next two days were filled with “just a ten minute walk” whether that walk was to the corner or from the East Side of Manhattan down to the Bowery.  During my visit, I learned a “ten minute walk” in New York is a ruse much like LAs “just twenty minutes by freeway.”   We visited the Guggenheim for Kandinski, the MOMA for the Cindy Sherman exhibit, and then off to meet Nate’s friend and Eataly’s Cheese/Salumi Monger – Greg Blais.  As chaotic as Eataly was, Greg took the time to put together a stunning variety of cheeses for us to sample.  Add that special sparkle of Proseco and the glitzy Las Vegas feel of the place fell into the background.

On day two, I got a sneak peek of the up and coming Bedford Cheese Shop opening next month on Irving Place near Gramercy Park.   It’s going to be a beautiful shop.  After the tour, we walked and walked and walked, then ate Thai food, then walked and walked all the way to the Bowery for pickled herring and gelato (not in combination).  Nate, Chris and Charlotte ate their gelato, I poured mine into my shoes to cool my aching feet.   And to think I used to walk 50 and 60 blocks when I lived in New York, and I did it in five-inch platforms.  Where did that woman go?

My NBC Studio buddy, and long-time friend, George Mendez, came all the way from Mays Landing, NJ, to spend some time with me.  Three decades had come and gone since I last saw George, but, as cliché as it sounds, it felt as if no time had passed us by.  Since we no longer have three decades to squander, I’m hoping George will find his way to Whidbey Island for a visit sooner, rather than later.

Before I knew it, it was time to Jet Blue my way back to my island.  On the flight home, I had a chance to consider my visit and my favorite’s new life in Brooklyn.  Closing my eyes, I could hear the hum of the city, could feel the pulse of the around-the-clock heartbeat.  Somewhere over the Midwest, the fact that things  had reversed themselves came into view.  Three days prior, my grown son had led me down to the subway the way I led him to his kindergarten classroom his first day of school.  My visit gave me the opportunity to see that little boy, now a man, moving through his days and nights in Brooklyn with his new-found tribe of friends (all quite wonderful, I might add).  And I came home filled with happiness for him.  Besides, how can you not love someone who’s got the chutzpah to wear this hat in New York?  That’s my boy!

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