Sunday, October 22, 2006
New York Weekend - The Long Version
This past Canadian Thanksgiving I packed my suitcase and took myself to NYC to visit all my friends. It was the first trip in over a year, (I'm shocked myself!) and it was well overdued.
I stayed with two friends, Cynthia in Brooklyn at her new apartment and Theresa in her apt in Manhattan. As I expect, I was treated very well and effort was made for home cooked meals! I felt so special!
It was really a whirlwind.
I had taken the GO bus and TTC to the airport on Friday. It was very doable and not too challenging. The suitcases were relatively light. I was really pleased with the new connecting train between Terminal 1 and Terminal 3 at Pearson International Airport. It was relatively convenient and gave the airport a more 20th century feel to it. At least more on par with other airports I've been to with their inter-terminal trains.
The trip started off right since the customs person at the airport was so super nice. She smiled, repeated herself without attitude, was friendly, thanked me for information and even wished me a good trip. She was the best customers person ever! I was so pleased!
The plane was overbooked and delayed and the announcements went out for volunteers to give up their seats for $200 travel certificate and guarentee seat on the next flight. I half considered it, but it's a matter of poor information. I had no idea when the next flight is, and could not consider it with out the information.
An hour later and the offer became $250, but still no more information. I looked around, no takers either.
An hour later and it was nearly time to board and the offer became $500, dinner, hotel and the flight is first thing tomorrow. Ah.. now we have information. I knew for sure I cannot take up the offer, but people around were talking to see if they can do it. One couple bet that the offer becomes $700 in another 10 minutes if there are no takers. A couple more announcements and then came the threats that they will boot people off if they don't have volunteers. A poorly worded offer became in informative one for about 10 minutes before it became a threat. Nice.
It was a good thing that the customs lady was so nice that all this rolls off my back. Maybe it's also that I'm not as stressed as I used to be, so it's easier not to be annoyed.
I started off Saturday in the Flatiron district/Chelsea area. I got my haircut with my favorite hairdresser Vita at Artista Salon and she did a great job as always.
I shopped in the area and manage to hit the Union Square Market for a quick look and some photographs.
Afterwards, I headed into Hoboken by PATH to meet Jocelyn for lunch. Yes, Jocelyn and I had the same entree: lobster ravioli.
Then back to the SOHO area to check out the knitting stores. The Point was so crowded! It was a nice store with a good selection of yarns. I can see if I had that in my neighbourhood, I'd be in there often. But I don't think I would have travel for it.
My next stop was Purl and Purl Patchworks. Both spectacular eye candy and it was fun. The yarn shop was much too crowded, but the staff was pleasant and was happy to stash my huge shopping bag behind the counter while I shopped.
I walked away with a fabulous colourway of Manos and a black sheep tape measure of my very own. Oh yeah!
At the fabric store, it was quiet (relatively) but there was a steady traffic of people. The staff was once again super helpful and the prices were decent. I decided that I had to go home with some fabric and picked out three.
I managed to squeeze through the crowds in SOHO on a saturday, I'd forgotten how bad it was, to Balthazar's and picked up 2 bagettes for dinner. I took my huge bags of shopping and the bagettes and made my way back to Cynthia's listening to an animated conversation between some Mets and Yankee fans. It was a very New York moment for me.
Sunday was another fun day. It was my relaxed schedule day. I had a late start but managed to move into Manhattan. I wanted to go back to my old neighbourhood to check out what's changed and what hasn't and take some photos. I got to drop by at Candle 79 for lunch. It was super busy but I got in at my usual spot for lunch. The menu has not changed too much, so I had my order of my favorite plate there: BBQ seitan sandwich (sans onions) with polentta fries and a bit of salad. I have been craving seitan for a LONG time now. I'm happy to report that it was just as good as I remembered it. I definitely savored the experience since I don't know when I'll have good seitan again. However, I am tempted to try to make the pollenta fries at home.
I went to catch up with my favorite booksellers (Bonnie and Joe) and Mystery Bookstore: Black Orchid Bookstore. Yes, I got some books. It was great fun to sit and chat. I really miss the 'village' feeling and environment of New York. People are surprised when they hear it, but NY really operated like a collection of very small villages. You know your shops and neighbourhood haunts and it's so easy to always stay in your area for amenities and never make it cross the 'major' cross streets into another area.
A quick stop to Agata and Valentina to pick up some "Super Chocolate" coffee. It's the most chocolate flavored coffee I've ever had. I haven't found anything like it anywhere.
Then to Jenny's for the Metrostitchers event and a nice relaxing time catching up with friends and being surrounded by stitching.
Monday was an attempt to finish the rest of my tasks for the trip. I wanted to try to find some things I needed. I had a lunch date with my old friends from work, so I headed into Jersey City and had a birthday lunch with Dave (his birthday), Jocelyn, Marc and John at Markers. It was super nice to hang out with them. I really miss the people at work. No, I however, really don't miss work. No surprise there. And really, do not miss the trek into Jersey City.
One of my favorite items I came home with was this knitting book from Kinokuniya: ISBN4529041409.There are so many gems in it. You can see more images. Yes, it cost more than if I had purchased it in Japan, but it's cheaper than a trip to Japan. So, well worth it. I'm looking forward to tackling some of the projects from it. It's got some of the most informative illustrations even though I don't read Japanese.
Tuesday, I had to make for the airport at a very early hour for my flight back home. It wasn't delayed and I had a nice view of the sun rising on Manhattan as I took the taxi to the airport. Even the Taxi driver noticed and commented on my lingering look back at my former home.
I'm the honest kind so when it came time to declare at customs, I had to declare that I did do some shopping and put down a number that got me sent to the paying customs duty station. After walking the extra long path to there, I was surprised when the customs lady told me that, get this, I didn't have to pay taxes that day since it's their policy to forgive some of them for the sake of encouraging honesty. Who'd heard of such thing? I was so surprised, but really in a very happy way.
What a great way to end the weekend! I can't wait until the next trip!