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Step by step account of a week in New York E-Mail

May 2002 New York trip pictures!!!

My New York trip.

We flew into Kennedy Saturday afternoon.† Nicole, who I hadn't seen since we met last year in Cancun, picked me up at the airport and we went home, met her boyfriend, and then went out for dinner.† They selected a really nice Cajun restaurant in queens with AWESOME seafood chowder and really nice blackened catfish. Sunday morning I purchased a seven day unlimited Metro pass for $17 and made my way to Manhattan to meet mom.† The train ride was fine, easy to follow, well marked exits, and I didn't get as lost as I did in Paris.† After sharing a Pastrami sandwich Mom and I had a pretty inspired walk through Central Park to 91st and west end avenue where we lived when I was a young boy.† †

I didn't remember too much from the days we lived there but I can tell you the building sure seemed larger in my head.† Mom ran into someone who remembered her from all those years ago and that was an interesting moment indeed.† We took a bunch of pictures then continued on our walk.† The next stop was Riverside Park.† This stirred some definite memories.† I remember dad trying to ride a skateboard down a hill which certainly seemed bigger when I was a kid, but still looked big and unrideable on a skateboard today.† †

Walking through that park all these years later and seeing the swings and all the kids playing brought back more of a feeling than actual, definable memories.† In a way I feel connected to New York, as if this were truly a journey home.† From Riverside Park we made out way up to the street so we could grab a cab and ride in relative luxury back to mom's hotel.† We had walked over 70 blocks and wow, our feet were tired!† We went for a quick drink to a posh Manhattan bar, you know the type, I was expecting Dieter from SNL to show up at any minute!† The train ride home was an interesting study in group dynamics in an overcrowded urban environment.† An uneventful study, thankfully!† †

Monday started much the same, with a train ride out of Queens and into Manhattan.† This time I stayed on the R until I had reached the 34th street exit.† Quickly found my way to the Empire state building and purchased a ticket for the top.† There did seem to be some heightened security, but nothing too offensive and my camera seems to be unaffected by the x ray machines.† The view from the top was as wonderful and inspiring as I remember it!† Inspiring... yeah, even now with an understanding that the maximum velocity of†a penny from any height is pretty low, I wanted to throw one or two over the edge!!!† I took a bunch of pictures and made my way out of there!† If you've viewed the pictures and are wondering why I was wearing a tie to go sightseeing let me explain.† Monday was the auction preview night.† My mother had several pieces in an auction at Guernsey's and the preview was a who's who of coolness at the old studio 54!† Fun fun fun but alas, no pictures to share! †

Tuesday started much the same at the Grand station in Queens boarding a train to Manhattan.† This time I went straight to the financial district.† Ground zero was sort of a "must see" this trip, and while the magnitude of the open space was compelling, it mostly seemed like a really big construction site.† One artifact I did notice was a Burger King with "NYPD Temp HQ" spray painted on the side of it.... A chilling reminder of what happened here.† I decided not to shoot many pictures, as this area is probably one of the most extensively photographed areas of modern times, instead walking the financial district, getting some interesting pictures of cemetery and a bull, and then strolling through Battery Park.†

Wednesday was a pretty lazy day, I just took it easy, made some calls, relaxed, walked around Queens a little, and readied myself for Manhattan by night.† Went to the Auction and the first items up were a couple of Guitars played by Jerry Garcia.† They went for $850,000 and $650,000 and I was thinking, "Wow, that's a lot of dough!"†† The auction took a few hours and while mom's big painting didn't sell, she did sell a few smaller pieces and seemed quite happy by the time the evening was over. †

Well its Thursday now and I've just edited some pictures, and wrote this.† Itís raining outside so I doubt I'll make it to the Statue of Liberty today.† My flight home is Saturday and I should have made it to at least ONE museum by then!

A few days have gone by and I'm now back in California and no, I did not at any time visit so much as one museum. Itís embarrassing to admit but itís the truth. I guess if I wanted to stretch the truth just a little I could consider the auction previews similar to attending a museum but it wasnít the MET!

Thursday was momís birthday and the day her traveling companion, Goldie, returned to California leaving me with Ĺ of her midtown hotel room. This was a luxury I was looking forward to as I had been staying in Queens and while it was nice, it was not the middle of Manhattan. So I packed my bags and headed off to the subway. Yes, I carried my suitcase on the subway. I had to climb up and down several flights of stairs and bumped into more people than I care to admit!

I got to the hotel room and all I can say is Ahhhhhhhhh LUXURYÖ I could get used to this quick. I walked around midtown a bit (Times Square included), then stretched out and got comfortable. Mom got home around six and wanted to have a quite relaxing birthday and that worked for me. I ran down to the ROXY deli on 7th and bought a HUGE sandwich (see pictures) for myself and Matzo Ball soup for mom. After a wonderful meal we just relaxed and chatted. It was really nice.

Friday I set off to visit the Statue of Liberty. When I arrived at Battery Park I discovered there was a one hour wait to get on the boat for the Statue so I walked a couple of blocks and took the Staten Island Ferry which was quick, free, and passed within photo distance of the Statue. I chatted with a nice couple on the boat who were from the Netherlands. There we were on the Staten Island Ferry and all they could talk about was the Super K-Mart!!!! Commercialism at its best, I suppose. I rode the train uptown to the 8th street exit and explored the village.

This was the Berkeley-esque element of my trip. Funky, colorful, hip, and unusual people, shops, and stuff (see pictures!!!!) Of particular interest was "Mod World" it was there that I saw and photographed "Crook E Monster" and "Oscar the Grouchy Pimp". The entire store was filled with delightful somewhat oddball stuff and the clerk was wonderful. She was a young woman who "ran to" the music of the east village at the age of 16. I told her I wanted to see live music that night and she drew me a map on the back of her business card directing me to the hot spots. So helpful and yes, I saw great live music that night! In fact, I visited two clubs with live music and had a coffee in an Italian restaurant which had a wonderful three piece jazz band playing. My favorite bar was the "Bitter End". They had four great bands and a really fun crowd!

The 3:30am ride back to the hotel on the subway Friday night was another delightful New York experience. Of particular interest were the two jokers standing next to me joking about bombs and the growing discomfort as two trains came and went WITHOUT STOPPING!!!! People were getting tense but nothing came of it, a train came and everyone went on their way. I was happy to get back to the hotel and passed out quickly.

Saturday was an uneventful travel day. The van to the airport took about two hours, our flight was cancelled and we had to catch a later flight, our bags were shipped without incident and the final installment of our trip was 12 hours of travel with nothing lost, broken, or stolen. Iíve written this for myself as much as anyone else and I certainly hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! The pictures are clearly worth thousands of words, but I just had so much to say!

Chris Weir

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