I have a daunting task ahead of me... once again Melissa's visit, just spanning the weekend, produced so many adventures, pics and laughs that I could write a novel! But I will try and just highlight the main points!
So Melissa flew in Friday night and after a mandatory stop at the luxury outlets in NY (outlets like you have never seen-- many of the stores are just pointless for us to even go into as even at outlet prices, we'd go broke) we met Tom for dinner at our hangout here Tabor Tavern. She got to meet a couple of our neighbors too. The weekend was starting off pretty well and it only got better.
Sat morning we got up early and trained into the city. It was very warm, but overcast and thundershowers were called for. Both of us being from Seattle, didn't even consider bringing an umbrella. Whats a little rain when you are from the rain capital of the world?
Our first stop was at Union Square. Melissa was here in Oct so there was no need to hit Times Square and some of the other touristy sites in mid-town. Union Square on a Saturday in the summer (or spring) is packed with the farmers market, flower market and the art that I love. Melissa was excited to buy some ramps (onion like things that are in season now and only grown in the NE). I had a hard time matching her enthusiasm for them, but glad I helped in making her so happy.
We headed next to Gramercy Park--an area I have never been to before in the city. This area is highly affluent. The actual Gramercy Park is private and requires a key for entry. The apartments around this area are amazing. After stopping for a beverage (at noon) at Pete's tavern--the oldest bar in NYC--we headed furhter into Gramercy. Right about now is where my prior umbrella comment is important. It started with just a couple drops and before we knew it we were running through puddles headed towards an apartment awning to take cover. This rain looked as though if it hit you it'd be painful. We stood here for a good 10 min before we wondered just how long we'd be here.
As we stood here waiting, this older, very short woman approached us pushing her shopping cart and carrying her umbrella. She took pity on us and asked if both of us could fit under her umbrella with her and she'd walk us to the drug store to buy umbrellas (who says New Yorkers are rude?) This offer, while very nice, was pretty much impossible since we towered over her. After politely declining, 'Marian' had a better idea: "go to my synagogue" she said. "They just had a party and there is plenty of food left. Go----eat". Our attire hardly was synagogue worthy... but she persisted and then clinched the visit for us with the information that the building is a national monument and the basement was used for the underground railroad during the Civil War and--it was just around the corner. As the rain let up we left her (not without hearing about her niece who was working at Microsoft and making "bread" and her occasional "fawget ehbout et" comment) for the umbrella stand and then for the synagogue.
Long story short--we were greeted by some very nice people at the synagogue and we were taken down to the basement and witnessed the ORIGINAL underground railroad tunnel completely untouched. We looked past the chairs and tables that the congregation stored there and took in the history as we stepped in and touched the brick and imagined the people and the emotions that passed through this very tunnel. We knew that this would be the highlight of the day.
After some very good mexican for lunch and a visit to a famous cheese shop, grand central station and a street fair that spanned, I swear, nearly the entire street of Lexington (that we can only describe was a tribute to gyros as nearly every booth was a gyro booth) we went to the Morgan Museum/Library. This, became the second highlight of the day.
On display were 3 of the only 50 remaining copies of the Gutenberg bible. They were amazing to see--almost un-comprehensible. JP Morgan, this his house at one time, had an astonishing library that rendered us speechless upon our entry. We saw original Shakespeare, Goethe, Milton, Dickens and so on. Too many to even list. I cannot describe the room to do it even slight justice.
We then headed to the 3rd highlight-- Duran Duran concert in Central Park. After another short, but very wet downpour, we danced the night away to some old 80's classics. What a night! What a day!
Sunday we headed to the shore and spent the day at Pt Pleasant beach laying out and wandering the boardwalk and then heading to dinner with Tom, John and Lisa. Another very full day and the weather was so beautiful! 100% sunny and hot!!
We had such a great time and I wish she lived closer so we could do this wandering more often.
I am attaching some pics from the city and the shore.