Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday in New York

Yesterday me and my brother Kyle hopped a train to New York City for a day trip! I had such a fantastic day! The main reason we went was because I desperately wanted to see two Dirk Bogarde movies that are only available to view at The Paley Center for Media (blogged about those here.)

The day began with a rough start. My brother is a big railfan and insisted that we sit on the right side of the train so that he could have a better view of the rail freight yards (???) that we'd pass on the way to New York. The train was already crowded by the time we boarded, but there were still plenty of open seats for us to choose from. Despite my protesting that we should sit on the left side where the benches seat two, he dragged us into a three seater and assured me that my giant pocketbook in the third seat would ward off any new passengers who wanted to squeeze in next to me.

I should add here that I have a weird, strange phobia about sitting next to strangers. At the movies, on trains and buses, in cars, anywhere.. I really can't stand having to sit next to a stranger. Anyway, so there I was positioned between my brother and my giant purse, headphones on and reading The Bell Jar. Things were going smoothly. Then at the very next stop, not even ten minutes after we got on the train, this old lady comes over and hovers above me, staring at the third seat with a "MOVE THE PURSE" glare on her face. I gave my brother a cold look, moved my bag and then discreetly inched as far away from her as I could.

For the next sixty minutes I did all that I could to not notice her reusing the soiled tissues she had crammed up her coat sleeves. It didn't help that the train tracks to New York seem to be on a leftward leaning slope, so I spent the entire trip with my leg muscles contracted and feet planted so firmly on the train floor that I'm surprised I didn't leave footprints. I was not going to slide into her and her used tissues.

When we finally arrived in New York, I heaved a huge sigh of relief, informed Kyle that I will never EVER, for the rest of my life, ride in a three seater when two seaters are available, and went upstairs into Penn Station.

The rest of the trip went much smoother than the train ride, thankfully! To make up for the tissue-lady situation, Kyle let me spend almost a whole hour in H&M shopping -- only mentioning once (a new record) that there was a McDonalds next door, and he wanted a coke. (Even when we are nowhere near a McDonalds, he brings this up at least twice per hour.) I finally found red tights, which I've been lusting after ever since I saw Anna Karina wearing them in A Woman is a Woman. And only $5! Score!! I also got two really cute dresses and a new pair of sunglasses. All in all, though, I was overwhelmingly disappointed by the fact that the 80's and 90's had thrown up all over the store. Seriously, who thought that neon lace leggings and gold sequined shoulder pads deserved a comeback??

After H&M (and McDonalds) we stopped by the Empire State Building, snapped a few photos (okay, I took a few and Kyle took 400) and then headed for Rockefeller Center. I've been there before, but not since Sunday in New York became one of my favorite movies of all time and I've been dying to get back there ever since. You know, Rod Taylor and Jane Fonda meet when she goes to the skating rink to find her brother. I had no clue that it was a 16 block trek from the station -- if I had, I probably would have called a cab -- but nevertheless we made it there in one piece, took some pictures (I took a few, Kyle took 400) and then we grabbed lunch. I had originally thought it might be fun to go to the 21 Club (when in Rome..) but gee whiz, they charge $30 for a hamburger! There didn't seem to be any vegetarian options either, except for a mushroom thing that I wouldn't eat anyway. So we just grabbed sandwiches and pasta at a little cafe across from The Paley Center before heading in for the movies.

I had e-mailed beforehand to make sure that the two programs I wanted to see were, in fact, available, and also to ask how I could see three hours worth of film with a one hour ticket. I guess this is a rare request because when I got up to the viewing room the guy enthusiastically asked "Are you Kate?!" I replied, totally unsure of how they knew who I was since I had paid with cash. "You want to see Blithe Spirit and Little Moon of Alban!! Come over here and we'll set you up!!" He was really excited -- either he's a huge Dirk Bogarde fan or he just really loves his job.

For more about the movies and my mini Dirk Bogarde marathon, click here to read the post on my Discovering Dirk Bogarde blog.

After we were done with the movies, I thought it would be neat to continue my Sunday in New York on a Wednesday adventure and go back to Rockefeller Center to eat at the cafe that Jane & Rod ate at in the movie! Things have changed since the 60's. When Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor ordered simple toast and coffee, I don't remember the waiter glaring at them with the same hateful intensity that we received when we ordered coke and fries. Okay, Waiter! So the cafe is obviously a little more high-falutin' than it was when the movie was made, but that's no reason to look at us as if you wished you were shoving the utensils down our obviously-going-to-leave-a-small-tip throats.

Me and Kyle got a kick out of our surly waiter and continued to make fun of him whenever he left our table. We must have looked hilarious though; most of the people in the restaurant had on suits and here was Kyle with a "Hi! I'm a tourist!" backpack, baseball cap and jeans. I, of course, didn't look much better but at least I didn't have the backpack making me stick out like a sore thumb ;-)

After we finished our "meal" (and left a rather good tip considering our waiter's crummy attitude) we stopped by the NBC shop (why do they sell so many golf balls??? It was weird!) to get our dad a birthday present. Then we started the long trek back to Penn Station, stopping at every vendor along the way, on the lookout for a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses for Kyle that my parents had instructed me not to let him buy, but I did. (That turned out well.)

We managed to find a two seater on the train, though it was unfortunately situated in the same car as a hoard of senior citizens on some kind of group trip. It looked like we had walked into the grocery store on a Tuesday afternoon. Luckily they kept to themselves (albeit loudly) and I enjoyed a nice peaceful ride home while Kyle took pictures of whatever was outside the train window.

The peon (with awful wind-blown bangs) eating with the well-to-do

Me and Kyle at the Empire State Building
(note to self: pin back bangs next time you go out on a windy day)

Cafe from the outside (would have looked better if the rink was there)