late last fall, after the dust had settled (literally, if not politically) from the WTC attack, my girlfriend gay and I decided to take a trip together to new york. for gay it was a chance to spend some non-work time in her favorite city: she is partner in a gift store in san francisco, Wishbone, and most of her trips to new york city had been spent inside the convention center for the gift show. it was also an opportunity for both of us to visit a lot of our mutual friends who live there.
and of course it was an opportunity to see the WTC site first-hand.
we were lucky to have our friend al 'trading places' with us, visiting san francisco while we were in new york. he offered us his apartment, which was close to those of several other friends and provided an opportunity for me to get to know brooklyn a little bit.
for a weekend-only trip, I feel as though we saw quite a lot. we got around mostly on foot and subway, crossing the brooklyn bridge twice. several years ago, travelling with my mother in ireland, I discovered that tour busses/boats are actually a great way to see a lot, and get a general feel for a new place. we took a ferry tour around the south tip of manhattan, and our tour guide was really great. I was convinced that he had been a radio personality, but apparently he has just been doing ferry tours for 30 years.
the highlight of the trip, though, was the food. we ate at a half-dozen restaurants, all delicious. in particular, I enjoyed Frank, a family-style italian restaurant with excellent gnocchi. we spent an evening getting soup dumplings in chinatown: our 10-person party was narrowed down to three people because everyone cancelled or got sick; but the food was delicious and it was an opportunity to meet a new friend, Lomi. juniors, in brooklyn, lives up to its reputation for cheesecakes. I am not sure how authentic veselka's ukranian dish with guinness is, but I am in favor of cultural mixing (especially when declicious and/or beautiful).
it was cold, but the fall colors were beautiful. in particular, I loved the older houses in brooklyn heights, and the brownstones on manhattan's west side.
though we arrived late in the day, we spend a little over an hour in the museum of natural history on central park. this may now be one of my favorite museums in the world: I can't wait for an opportunity to spend more time there.
I am sure that opportunity will come soon. gay has since moved to manhattan for school, so I have even more friends living on the other coast.
I have a theory about san franciscans and new york: san francisco is such a 'cool' place that people who grew up here simply can not consider living someplace with less of a reputation. to be sure, some people move to los angeles: that seems to be a great schism, the density and bustle of new york versus the weather and attitude of los angeles. I really enjoy visiting both places, but feel at home in neither: there are not enough hills/trees/nature for me in new york; and I would prefer not to drive everywhere as in los angeles. but I have been known to eat my words before.