What kind of crazy Californian goes to New York in February? Especially this year, during one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory? Well, I guess that would be me. Yes, I’ve just returned from a week in the Big City where I had a chilly, but fabulous time. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in Minnesota that the cold in New York doesn’t scare me. I knew enough to come prepared with a warm jacket, stocking cap, gloves, scarf and insulated boots. Thus prepared, I found temperatures in the 20’s to be invigorating rather than chilling.
Fresh out of college, I lived in New York for three years back in the late sixties, and I’ve visited a number of times since, so New York is not unfamiliar to me. But New York is so vast and ever changing that each visit is a perplexing mix of the familiar with the new and surprising. I come as both a returning ex-resident and a wide-eyed tourist.
And as much as I love playing tourist in New York, I come, most importantly, to be with friends. Two of my dearest friendships, with Bobby Quidone and Phil Magnuson, I made when we lived, briefly, in the same apartment building at 84 East Third St., in the East Village. Somehow, we’ve kept a friendship alive for more than 45 years, and it is a joy to see them on the rare occasions when we get together. My other dear New York City friend, Mary Morgan, is a friend of more recent vintage. Until about three years ago, she lived in the Bay Area, and she returns here yearly, so I’m able to see her more frequently.
And so when I do find myself in New York, I’m torn between rushing about to see what is new and exciting, and just wanting to hang out with friends. In the end, I do a little of each. With only a week to spend, any rational person would compile a precisely-choreographed list of what to to and where to go, so as not to waste a moment. That’s not me. I tend to make it up day by day, but I manage to pack quite a lot in, even so. Here in photos with captions are my impressions of New York c. 2014. See more after the jump, and check back tomorrow for my post on eating in the Big City.
Photo above: I’d never been to the top of the Empire State Building or the top of Rockefeller Center (The Top of the Rock), so that was on my agenda this time. This photo is from the Top of the Rock observation deck, looking south to the Empire State Building and beyond. I feared it would be frightfully cold and windy up there, but it was surprisingly pleasant.