While Coco has been going ahead in leaps and bounds with her blogging, I have been disappointingly recalcitrant. And it's not because I haven't been out there creating stories to share and whatnot, because I have. But I have been suffering rather crippling procrastination lately so I'm deliberately stealing an hour from my Sunday to bring you up to speed on the last few weeks. [And in so doing, I am putting off doing housework - do you see how my life is now?!]
My story starts just before St Patrick's Day - yes, we're going back that far, and me and Dr G headed into town early to participate in an annual tradition - the dyeing of the Chicago River. We found a great spot pretty much right in front of where the little men with the drums of orange powder set off in their boats to putt-putt along and dump gallon after gallon of said powder into the murky depths. The process is slow, but the end result is quite dazzling. Very "Emerald City".
But the winter in Chicago just won't go away, so it was not long before me and Dr G decided we were too cold to stay Downtown (contending with the crowds AND the cold was a bit too much to bear). So we went back to Boystown and had Mexican food for lunch before heading home to thaw out.
Life progressed rather normally for a few weeks after that, and then it was Easter and I decided to visit K in New York City, her new home away from home. The view from her living room window is just breathtaking - Empire State out one side, Chrysler Building out the other:
Naturally I didn't get to appreciate this stellar view until the morning after my arrival, owing to a 3-hour delay at O'Hare. I guess the silver lining is that the sky was this blue in NYC for the duration of my trip, and who could ask for more than that?
I felt fairly confident that I would be spending a few more long weekends in the Big Apple before I leave Chicago so I told K that I didn't care about doing too many tourist things on my first visit. So we walked around everywhere and spent our first full day following K's cousin in and out of fabulous vintage stores to browse the racks of hidden treasures.
We wandered through SoHo, Little Italy, China Town, stopping on the way to see the site of Ground Zero. We walked past a great spot to get a photo of the Brooklyn Bridge (though I resisted taking a photo because I will get a better one up close next time).
On Easter Saturday we lined up for an hour with fellow tourists from across the world to appreciate the Big Apple from on high. We went up to the viewing platform on the 86th Floor of the Empire State Building. Owing to the clear skies, the panorama was amazing. In every direction the view was gorgeous. I don't know the city well enough to know what I was looking at exactly, but you get a real appreciation for just how big New York really is.
We had tickets to "Xanadu" on Broadway and we got to sit up on the stage and be part of the production. When the stagehands issued us with glow sticks at the beginning of the show, I just knew it was going to be a blast. And sure enough, "Xanadu" was as campy and crazy as I remember the movie being. It was difficult not to sing along - but I figured I had better try to keep my mouth shut as this was my first (and probably only) chance to be on a Broadway stage.
On Easter Sunday we walked down 5th Avenue which was closed to vehicle traffic for the Easter Bonnet exhibition. Residents were parading up and down through the crowd, showing off their home made Easter bonnets and it was a wonderful atmosphere. Me and Bec bought a hot dog from a street vendor (so we could cross it off our 'must do in NY' list). We watched the ice skaters in Rockerfeller Center, and then we walked past Tiffany's (surrounded by ugly scaffolding and not worth having breakfast at on this occasion). Past the Plaza Hotel, we wandered through Central Park and saw the tribute to John Lennon (Strawberry Fields - a designated 'silent area' for reflection and quiet contemplation).
We spent a happy few hours absorbing some culture at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and then we had some down time with one of K's friends at a coffee shop in trendy Union Square.
I have not heard anyone say anything bad about New York City. My friends and colleagues love it for its diversity and its diversions; there is always something to do, all the time. The City is not for the faint hearted though, because it's hustle-bustle constantly. But I thrive on that sort of energy and I find it fascinating to people watch. In my experience over the weekend, New Yorkers were polite and obliging and friendly and I would go back to the city in a heartbeat (whether or not K was there). Fortunately I have some pretty generous frequent flyer miles now, so I guess it's just a matter of seeing whether I have any annual leave left....I don't like my chances there!