Over the last 4 days, I visited my son Jonathan in New York.

 Here is a synopsis of our time together:

Day 1 - Friday September 19

What a long drawn out day.  I left ottawa early because I was not sure of the travel time and was on the road by 11:20.

Arrived in syracuse at the airport at 3:30.  Parked the car.  Checked in and had a bite.  But mostly sat around waiting.  The plane loaded at 5 and we were about to leave at 5:35 when the captain came on board and told us we would be delayed by at least an hour and a half because of the traffic around JFK.

Everyone was bored and tired and I just caught a few z’s.  The plane finally lifted off at 7:10 and got to JFK at 8:10.  I deplaned at 8:20, met Jon and together we got my bag and then went out for a cab.  We arrived in his neighbourhood around 9 and went to his favourite Chinese restaurant for a snack - which turned into a meal.  Very vegetarian and very good.

We then walked to his 4th floor walk up apartment and I dragged my aching bones up the steep stairs.  In the apartment I met Julius, the orange tabby who looks a little like Garfield but cuter.  He likes to cuddle up to everyone, especially if they give him a pet and a snack!

Very tired and conked out almost immediately after one or two e-mails.  Looking forward to a great time.  

Day 2 - Saturday September 20

Well, one thing about jon - he knows how to pack a day.  Today, I got up, fed the cat and had a quick breakfast.  Went shopping with Jon and then on a walking tour of Green Point, the area where he lives.  It is very Polish.  A lot of the stores have Polish names and you hear Polish in the streets everywhere.  Even the little kids speak Polish!  Then there is interspersed amidst all this polishness, the odd store where everything is in Spanish and as you walk up and down you start to see more and more shorter broader people with dark faces and smaller eyes who seem to be from mexico and south america.  We kept on walking and passed through parks where there were outdoor markets and a festive community air and then ones where there were community sports activities and a track where everyone could run, old, young, athletes and out of shape.  Finally we ended up in an area which was very trendy where everyone wore expensive sunglasses and sat in outdoor cafes, apparently an area in Williamsburg.  Finally, we walked along a street that paralleled the edge of the East River and once stopped to look at the Manhattan skyline - quite a sight!  As jon explained, the appartments here are selling really well because from here you see the Manhattan skyline.  From the Manhattan side you see - Brooklyn!  Not as interesting!
After a lunch of fresh salads which he prepared from the food we bought on our tour, we took showers and took off for Manhattan.  We got off at the first station in Manhattan and walked across the island diagonally, eventually using Broadway as our vehicle for doing so.  Passed outdoor parks and cafes and crowds and crowds of people, Macy’s and Madison Square Park and Times Square before making our way to Penn Station where we took a bus to New Jersey and walked a few blocks to my cousin’s house where we had supper and a reunion with my New York cousins, who all made it!  It was a lot of fun to touch base with them again and to see them in person.  We discussed politics, the past, our parents and their connections - all the usual.  
Luckily, we got a lift home from our cousin who lives on Long Island and he dropped us in Brooklyn before continuing on his way.  Jon thinks our hostess kicked him under the table to stimulate him into offering!
When I got home, I basically fell asleep as soon as I sat down on the bed - kaboom!  
Sleeping here is a challenge in and of itself as I sleep on a mattress on the floor and I wake up every few hours.  Part of the charm of visiting.
Day 3 - Sunday, September 21
Today was another beautiful sunny day in new york.  It eventually got up to 25 or so. 

This morning, after breakfast, we got things rolling by going for a 3 and a half mile jog (jon went 4 and a half) then came home and had showers.

Then after putting on new clothes we set out for manhattan for the day.  We took the train to mid manhattan and walked around 5th avenue, madison, park and lexington.  I went into the FAO Schwartz toy store where they had the giant piano that appeared in the movie “Big” with Tom Hanks and out of which they are still getting a lot of mileage.  A brief visit to the modernistic Apple store followed and then a walk to Metro Cafe where we had a delicious lunch.

From there we went back to fifth and headed north to Central Park.  We spent 3 hours in the park walking all around the lower third of it.  We saw the big lawn, the castle overlooking a pond and went on a ramble through the woods - very wild and free with the feeling of being completely out of the city and in a forest - just gorgeous.  We saw all kinds of street performers, bike riders and walkers and had a popsicle in the park, sitting in the shade and talking about family for over a half hour.

On the way out of the park we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we saw the Turner exhibit (the last day of the exhibit!), bits and pieces of European sculpture, Rodin, sketches by Munch, Egyptian, Iranian, Cypriot and Assyrian art as well a few pieces from the Chinese, Korean and Aboriginal exhibits.  We also took the elevator to the roof to the modern sculpture garden and ended our visit by going to see the Dendur Temple transplanted holus bolus from Nubia.

From there we took the subway to NYU and walked over to Washington Square Park where all the beats and hippies used to hang out.  Jon showed me where he takes his classes and where he works and then we walked over to the East Village where we had supper at a Thai restaurant.  After all this walking we decided just to head home and got here about an hour ago.  I have showered and cooled off since them.

But this is has been another great day and full day in New York.

Day 4, Monday September 22
We had another day filled with walking.  First we had brunch in this dark restaurant with retro and torn seats but delicious food.  Everything was dark brown or black except the waitress’s dress which was bright red decorated with small blue and yellow flowers and a lace collar buttoned up to the neck.  Her red hair was up but a strand hung down loosely over her forhead.  She wore short black boots and you could see the outline of the    black panties she wore under the dress.  I felt happy when she served us.  She lit up the restaurant in a strange way, a bit of colour in an otherwise drab world.
The food was great - I had pancakes.  Then We took the bus to the Brooklyn Bridge through Williamsburg and saw the community of Satmar Hasidim (very isolationist and closed in) including school buses that had Yiddish writing on the side.  We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and I got a great view up and down the East River.
Downtown, we visited the Financial District and Wall Street and City Hall and a few historic churches (one where Alexander Hamilton is buried) before making our way to the site of the World Trade Centre and then heading for Battery Park where we had a bit of a rest before walking over to the Staten Island Ferry which we took there and back again.
The sea breeze was blowing strongly and it was wonderful to be out on the upper deck on the way back.  I could see the whole skyline of Manhattan, Newark and Brooklyn as well as the Statue of Liberty.  It was wonderful but I had to hold my hat to make sure it didn’t just blow off!
When we got back, we decided to hoof it up the west side along the Hudson and then eventually along the West Road which is full of rich people of various ethnicities, until Canal Street when we headed back east.  We explored Tribeca and Soho, where I bought Jon and Rebecca a lamp as a housewarming gift and then wandered through the West Village and Greenwich Village where I saw Clu Blue Note and the Wha? Cafe as well as the site of the Gay riots, before stopping for supper at an Israeli restaurant where we had humus and tahine and other middle eastern dishes.  We went from there to the NYU bookstore where we bought a couple of books (I read one tonight) and then went to sit in Washington Square Park for a father and son talk.  Jon then went to a two hour class while I headed to Starbuck’s and sipped coffee and read the book.  Actually, I had to go to MacDonald’s at first because I discovered only students with NYU ID could access the bathroom.  I came back to Starbuck’s and When Jon came to get me it was already 10:30 so we did not get home until late.
Jon goes to his job at NYU tomorrow morning so we won’t do anything then.  I need the rest!  I think I will just pack, get ready to leave and read until about 11:30 when I will head for the subway and the air train to JFK.  My plane takes off at 3:30 so no harm in getting there early.
It’s been a marvelous busy time and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  But I am glad to be getting back too.
Day 5 - Tuesday September 23
I am back.  And lucky I am too!  I went for a long walk this morning as Jon left for school and decided to follow an alternate route.  Unfortunately I missed an important turn and ended up going a few miles out of the way.  I walked for over two hours before I finally made it back to Jon’s place, got my bags and rushed out to catch the subway.  Whew!
The rest of the day was uneventful but long.  The subway ride took at least an hour and then I hopped the sky train to JFK, arriving there at close to 1 p.m.  As the plane loaded at 3, I had a while to sit and read another philip roth book I bought.   It’s a bit of a downer story - totally unlike other things I’ve read by him and almost the whole book takes place in the mind of a young man who is dying from battlefield wounds.  Strange indeed.
Took the plane to Syracuse and drove from there.  Got home at 8:30 because I stopped for supper and I have been cleaning up my e-mail since then.  I had a hundred and fifty messages to purge or respond to.  Back to the real world and jci nostalgia!

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Entry Details

You’re currently reading “New York Visit,” an entry on Rubin Friedman

September 23, 2008 around 7pm
life, dailies
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