Monday, May 23, 2005

i heart ny -- and nj

There's been so much going on I don't know where to begin! Let's see...

Saturday, Mat and I stepped into the city. We took the train in from New Jersey and figured out the Subway all on our own, getting downtown to the financial district and the World Trade Center site. Mat hadn't been there before and wanted to see what it was like. Then we walked uptown through Chinatown to the Village, looking for lunch. It was a hot day and we passed by pizza places and a few Subway sandwich establishments, our stomachs growling and feet growing more sore by the minute. We turned a corner to backtrack to Washington Square park and on the way walked by this little deli that was advertising sandwiches. Hungry, we stepped inside...and found food heaven! The store seemed endless, and was filled with shelves of food and a large buffet. When I say large I mean the largest one I've ever seen--sushi, salads, fruit, cooked veggies, various meat dishes steaming, soups, deli meats and cheeses...all piled high and welcoming us in. A sign posted said "$5.49/lb--gourmet, organic foods prepared on the premises". Mat and I looked at each other, mouths dropping.

After getting salads and sushi, we sat in the park and ate, shaded by the trees and watching all the people walking by. On the way out we got a little box of fruits (mango, raspberry, pineapple, strawberries) and took it with us uptown. We took the Subway to the Guggenheim, where we walked up the spiral ramp, looking at all the artwork: Picasso, Chezanne, Kandinsky, Rebay, Buren.

Then: Central Park on a Saturday. Joggers swarming around the Jackie Kennedy Onassis reservoir while I ate an ice cream and Mat took pictures. Kids playing catch and frisbee with their parents while we lay in the grass. A jazz quartet playing for money. Strawberry Fields and the John Lennon memorial. A strange gathering of bongo players having fun and boogeying by the bottom of the park, 59th street.

After exiting the park, we walked 20 short blocks down 8th Avenue to Penn Station at 34th Street. Waiting to meet our train back to Jersey, I dragged us to Macy's so we could ride the escalators all the way to the shoe floor. (Needless to say, I was in heaven for a few brief minutes.)

Sunday, we went back into the city with our cousins Deena and Paul (who are my and Mat's ages, respectively) to meet thier older brother Frank (in his mid twenties) and his fiancee Sara. Though it was threatening rain, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge (old, historic, crowded with tourists) and then went back to Manhattan so Mat could check out Times Square and its neon bombardments. Which we did (it truly is like another world, with every available surface covered in state-of-the-art TV screens and electronic message boards, not to mention giant replicas of Cup-o-noodles with steam rising out of the top) and then got something to drink at the Times Square Brewery before coming home on the train. (And now that I've just turned 21, I ordered a drink in the US--more symbolic than anything.)

So all these details are probably boring you all silly, so I'll just finish up by saying that when we aren't in the city we've been hanging out with our wonderful grandparents, not to mention our aunt and her kids. Today Grandpa and Granny drove us out to a few parks in the area to see the views and the abundant trees of the "Garden State". It's been such a good time seeing our family...hard to believe this trip that we looked forward to so much is nearly over! I'm going to miss everybody.

I better go so we can get back over to thier place for one last dinner gathering. I think tonight we're ordering in Chinese. I'm also going to miss the leafy trees and spring weather.. maybe I can take some of it back with me?

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