We took a trip to visit Mark's family in New York. (Tuesday, Aug 25) Our flight left in the early afternoon, served a complimentary meal that was decent, and arrived a little early. The oddest thing was that all of the seats had little LCD screens on their backs, so everyone was watching a different movie or news show or flight progress. I wanted to turn my screen off, but--unlike the other screens in front of Mark and The Child--there was no option on my screen to do so.
At JFK, we took various trains and subways to our New York City friend's apartment. At Jamaica Station we saw a mother raccoon and two babies crawl along the tracks, scale a short wall, and disappear under a metal cap of a building wall. As a warning that my sense of direction was even more scrambled than it usually is, every train that we took traveled in the opposite direction that I thought it would.
LGL had to work the morning, but he stayed up to greet us and chat a little bit. We fell asleep to the sounds of traffic.
The next day (Wednesday, Aug 26), LGL snuck out to go to work before we were up.
After a quick breakfast, we walked about four blocks from the apartment to Central Park. Everyone told us the day was wonderful, as it was (a humid) 78F (previous days, there had been a heat wave). We wound around a bit on some of the paths, but Mark knew that I'd want to see (and photograph) the Bow Bridge, and the Bethesda Terrace Fountain.
What struck me about Central Park was that it was cleaner than a lot of Eugene Parks. Along the way we saw lots of granite or marble embedded with mica, and a family of turtles (which I startled) staying out of a bright green algae bloom by sunning on a long rock.
The Bow Bridge (http://www.centralparknyc.org/things-to-see-and-do/attractions/bow-bridge.html) looks like something out of a Disney Movie. At first I thought it might be Fiberglas, but Mark told me it was cast iron. Given all the quatrefoils and embossed knot work, that's impressive.
We went on to the Bethesda Terrace Fountain (http://www.centralpark.com/guide/attractions/bethesda-terrace.html) , but more impressive were the carvings in the plaza surrounding it. As Mark expected, I rushed off to try to digitize every square inch. I kind of lost track of time....
A Eugene-looking man in paint-splattered overalls stood before the archway and released gigantic bubbles from a bubble-solution soaked string contraption. A guitarist filled the chamber with music from his six-string. Painting of the seasons lined the place, but they seemed like faded memories of the seventies; I enjoyed the sculptures and textured stone more.
It was time to go so we could meet LGL for lunch. We walked --uh, South-- toward the end of the park, stopping for about ten minutes to watch a magic show, wherein one of Mark's twenty dollar bills was made to disappear and then reappear from within an uncut lime. The magician, dressed in short-sleeves, was very good, making things appear and disappear. I think his best trick was pointing to his "invisible" wrist watch and making several invisible watch jokes at various intervals, and then pointing to his real watch, which had appeared on his wrist without anyone noticing.
Mark was in charge of navigation, so we detoured through a fancy hotel where you can still sit for tea... which I want to do now (hmm, how to incorporate sitting for tea there with a visit to the MET, which is in the middle of the park...). We were supposed to meet LGL at a lunch placed called Hamburger Heaven--but it was closed for renovations, so we waited for him at Sach's across the street and looked at expensive jewels.
After a lovely meal at an Irish-ish pub, we walked LGL back to work, and then headed for The Strand Bookstore. The Strand is sort of like Powell's City of Books, only smaller. I'd say that the selection of Powell's is larger and includes more titles, but The Strand was less industrial.
I went to their occult section, and saw the usual Wicca 101 books -- I almost got a copy of Penszack's "Gay Witchcraft: Empowering the Tribe" -- and some of the pictures of fit nude men (with ritual items strategically placed) helped me to understand why the Eugene Library can't seem to hang onto a copy... but... it didn't speak to me as much as it would have a me twenty years ago. I wound up purchasing a book of New York stone sculptures, and Helen Wrecker's "The Golem and the Djinn." (It turns out that Bethesda Terrace Fountain plays a large part in Helen's book.)
Mark took us to the Village. I must confess the balls of my feet were bothering me. There was an uptick in cute guys, and the difference between Washington Square and Central Park was the difference between The Eugene Weekly and The New Yorker.
Oddly, it's pollen season here, too.