Where’ve I been? Playing tour guide, of course. I mentioned a while back one of my longtime reefing friends was coming to visit. I’ll call her Bella, because she’s a beautiful person. She came, she stayed, we walked, we rode the subways, and I laughed a whole lot. And of course, lots of eating. On a tight budget, many of the more traditional attractions are off limits, but there is still plenty of NY flavor to be experienced. Gave her a New Yorker’s NY experience, complete with 5am wake ups and a high school open house. Whaddya mean that isn’t a real tour? It’s city life once you’re beyond clubs and late night bars when you aren’t one of the wealthy and fabulous.
I didn’t take photos of all the food consumed, but I’ll just say between me and one of our other reefing friends–I’ll call him Blue, because blue is my favorite color and he’s currently sporting a fabulous steel blue mohawk, Bella was able to experience a broad variety of international flavors unavailable in her southern town. Yah, yah she says it’s a city, but population < 30,000 = a town to me. The first day was all about the food–and a little walk through Central Park.
The second, I took her to the Met–after introducing her to the subway, Metrocards, and a city bus. The Met is my favorite museum, and the admission price is a recommended donation. In other words, you can give what’s comfortable and still enjoy the full experience. Sort of. The Metropolitan is huge, I don’t recommend trying to cover the whole thing in a day. Better to choose a couple of exhibits and take them in fully. Which we did.
After the museum, I had to introduce her to a dirty water hot dog and a knish in front of the steps to the museum. I don’t care what your budget is or isn’t, what the weather is or isn’t, these are integral NY experiences.
Bella was able to explore further with Blue, traveling by subway to the outer boroughs, experiencing a smaller gallery exhibit, and even catching the LIRR to meet with another friend and see Oyster Bay. We had a small gathering of fishy friends at my place over the weekend, such a treat to laugh in person–and of course, show off my new tank. Our Long Island friend even brought me a cup of live sand from one of her incredible reef tanks to “seed” mine. Yes, we’re nerds and proud of it.
Yesterday was her last day in the city, so I took her back to Central Park and headed uptown, then to St John the Divine–one of the most breathtaking sights of the city, in my opinion, and certainly my favorite church. Bonus, it’s another “recommended” donation, you pay what you can to enter.
I posted exterior shots here on the blog several months back, now I’ll take you inside. In addition to the incredible architecture, stained glass, community classes offered, and private school (love the way you hear children singing and giggling from below as you walk through the cathedral), it is used as a gallery, and there are usually a few temporary exhibits on display in addition to permanent ones.
One more exhibit I want to revisit before it leaves–and take Art Child and Blue with me–It’s a collaborative effort of interfaith and international artists (along with some other photos of the Cathedral mixed in):
Bella had only one request for me this visit, she’d heard me mention, maybe seen photos, of the rice pudding I make. No problem. It takes hours to cook, but it isn’t labor intensive. I made it on Sunday while she and Blue were out sightseeing, since they planned to come back here for dinner. Of course, my oven has been acting up, and when I dished out the pudding, more than half my arborio grains were, well, crunchy. Oops. We were still able to share and enjoy my favorite part of the new apartment. Sunrise or nighttime, clear or cloudy, it’s a hell of a view.