Saturday, December 10, 2011

On the Avenue... Fifth Avenue

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Yesterday, we had the pleasure of meeting our friends Cesar and Daisy (of Olga Chickaboomskya fame) at Grand Central Station for lunch at an Italian Café called the Cucina Express.  It's in the Metlife Building, which used to be the Pan Am Building (and for me still is).  The building is attached to Grand Central and is a standard short-cut for commuters to avoid the cold of winter (and the heat of summer for an extra block).  For six months in the 1980s, I commuted daily to New York from Connecticut and the Pan Am Building was my short-cut to my office on 56th Street.

THE CHRYSLER BUILDING AS WE WALK EAST ON 42ND STREET TO GRAND CENTRAL STATION.

As we walked from the subway, we headed east on 42nd Street, first passing the New York Public Library and catching great views of the Chrysler Building, one of my favorite buildings in the city.  I love the way it shines in the sun.

GRAND CENTRAL STATION.  GRAND HYATT IN THE BACKGROUND, WHERE WE STAYED IN 1983
AND I GOT DRUNK WITH JERRY'S YOUNGER SISTER.  WE MORTIFIED JERRY BY DANCING
TO THE ELEVATORS SINGING "CAMPTOWN RACETRACK...  DOO DAH."

Lunch was excellent.  When our server first came to the table, Jerry, without thinking, responded to her in Spanish.  Her name was Reisa and she was originally from Ecuador, so she didn't mind at all.  The food and service were exceptional.  Reisa made it even more memorable.

WHILE WAITING FOR CESAR AND DAISY'S TRAIN TO ARRIVE.
JERRY CAN BE FOUND IN THE LOWER RIGHT BEHIND THE WOMAN
IN THE WHITE HOODED JACKET WITH THE BLACK SHOULDER BAG. ACROSS THE WAY
IS THE CROWD OUTSIDE THE APPLE STORE THAT JUST OPENED THAT MORNING.

I LOVED THESE KNIT "HATS" SEEN AT THE HOLIDAY MARKET IN A CORRIDER OF THE STATION.


After lunch, we strolled up Fifth Avenue (in the Christmas mobs) to window-shop and to finally see the ice-skaters and Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.  It's a holiday tradition.  Jerry and I hadn't seen the tree since moving to the West Coast in the early '90s.

On the way, we stopped at Teuscher Swiss Chocolates on Fifth Avenue because Daisy said they had the best champagne truffles, among other things.  They do.  They also charged a month's rent for 10 pieces.  We mixed up a box of 6 for ourselves (should have just stuck to those amazing champagne truffles, although everything was good), and we bought four champagne truffles for my mother who has managed so far to eat only one.  I inhaled my three pieces in the first 10 minutes at home.

We finally made it to Rockefeller Center.  I always love seeing the tree and watching the skaters down below.  For a year in the mid-'70s, I worked for an ad agency in the McGraw-Hill Building on Sixth Avenue.  I used to love to grab a hot dog on the street and sit and watch the skaters (or spend my entire pay check at Sak's Fifth Avenue another block away).  I don't remember such huge crowds.  It was a bit claustrophobic at times and not always easy to get a clear photo.

ONE OF THE "TOY" SOLDIERS LINING ROCKEFELLER PLAZA EVERY CHRISTMAS.

After Rockefeller Center, Jerry and I needed to head back to the subway.  Cesar and Daisy, brave souls, were going to hit some stores and do some shopping.  We continued up 50th Street, walking by NBC Studios and Radio City Music Hall.  Pedestrian gridlock!  We could barely move on the sidewalk and were so happy to get below ground to the subway, which was surprisingly empty for the ride home.

THE TREE AND SOME SKATERS THIS YEAR.

30 ROCK IN THE BACKGROUND.

Any time we spend with Daisy and Cesar is energizing.  It's because of Daisy that we began to seriously consider Sevilla as a place to live; they were there many years ago and she said it was her favorite city in Spain. We hope they'll come back to Sevilla soon.


JUST BEFORE WE ESCAPED TO THE SUBWAY.
A SHOE WREATH ON SIXTH AVENUE ACROSS FROM RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL.

28 comments:

  1. I owned Chrysler once.

    Sorry, this keyboard is dodgy. What I meant to type was "I owned A Chrysler once".

    New Yoik, New Yoik. Give a random stranger a big hug and a kiss from me will you please? (Only kidding!)

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  2. The Owl Wood:
    You are very entertaining. Thanks for the suggestion, though (re: the hug and kiss). I just made $5.

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  3. Those knitted hats are fabulous. Thanks to your photos I feel as though I've been on a whistle-stop tour. Brilliant.

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  4. This was fun Mitch! It's been a while since we've been to NYC. That photo of Grand Central Station is taken from the exact same angle as the painting/print we have of it!! I'll try to link you to it....as soon as I can find it.
    Oh yeah, those chocolates looked tempting too!

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  5. Thanks so much for this...Jim and I visited the Big Apple many years ago....great to reminis again!

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  6. Elaine:
    Those knits were unbelievable. There was lots of great stuff to buy at other booths, too, but no time to do it (which is probably a good thing). I'm so glad you've come along with us! It was an uplifting day despite the streaming humanity!

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  7. Jim:
    I look forward to seeing that painting! Those chocolates... the price was absolutely absurd, but I wish I had another dozen or so champagne truffles right now.

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  8. sophie...^5, Ron:
    Maybe some day we'll all meet there for champagne truffles.

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  9. I love the pictures.
    This is one of the first years in many that we won't be going to New York around Christmas.

    And Jerry speaking Spanish in America?!!?
    He's becoming quite bi-continental!

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  10. Bob:
    And this was our first time in many years to be here in NY around Christmas.

    It's only been 5 months since we moved to Spain, but Jerry and I both find ourselves automatically using Spanish ... buenos dias, hola, gracias, sí. I bumped into someone and said "Lo siento" instead of "I'm sorry." It's comical. The busboy yesterday asked if Jerry wanted pepper on his salad. Jerry said, "sí, por favor." The busboy walked away.

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  11. OMG I love New York
    when we go, we stay at the NEW YORK HELMSLEY right outside the Chrysler,,,,, I miss the city so much
    love pics xxx

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  12. John:
    The Helmsley! How elegant. When I worked in NY, that was another part of my shortcut to and from Grand Central. There was one Helmsley corrider where Leona Helmsley (aka The Queen of Mean) glowered down from every wall. Enough to give one nightmares and a good thing she didn't plaster her photo in the guest rooms.

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  13. That's MY city! Nice to see mid-town with Christmas decor. In high school a couple of friends and I, three little proto-gay guys, would go into the city to Christmas shop, see a Broadway musical, then have dinner at a ground floor French restaurant in the theater district. Madame would serve us a half carafe of wine with dinner even though we were only 16 and 17 because she considered her restaurant to be a piece of French soil in NYC and she played by French rules. We felt SO sophisticated and special! The City at Christmas is magical.

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  14. Will:
    It was wonderful to see again, but it's no longer mine. Exciting, but too much for me! But, I would have loved to have met "Madam."

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  15. Thanks for the update, I'm going to share the photo of the knitted hats and wreath-of-shoes with my collagues from the Guild, they're marvelous.

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  16. In the penultimate pic we see displayed a throng of harrassed faces. No wonder 'escape' was the solution.

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  17. Peter:
    Sorry I didn't get more shots there. There were a lot of wonderful things that I'm sure you, especially, would have appreciated. Wish I had time to get back.

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  18. Raybeard:
    You should have seen the expressions on OUR faces. We were so grateful to escape to the subway. Just not used to that kind of crowd.

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  19. I would trade a funnel hat for one of the knit hats in a second !

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  20. HARRYGOAZ:
    I don't think it should be an either/or situation.

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  21. Hi Mitch,
    I'm still here. Lol..... Looks like you had fun.

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  22. Scott:
    Good to see you back in circulation (after your trauma with daylight savings time!) Looking forward to heading home tomorrow!

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  23. I want the shoe wreath and those champagne truffles and one of those knit hats! The crowds you can keep. Oy vey someone would get hurt!

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  24. Nubian:
    I am in complete agreement!

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  25. The city looks like such fun...and it's just down the street from us...sad how seldom we take advantage of it. We blame Benni (the dog) who doesn't like to be left at home.

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  26. FDeF:
    It is great to get out and enjoy it. We don't get much opportunity when we're here given all the family stuff. I'm sure Benni is worth all the sacrifices you are forced to make1

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  27. Ahhh beautiful New York. She is truly amazing! Looks like you guys had a great time over there. Love ice-skating at the Rock...

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  28. Jeff:
    I was never much of an ice skater, but my sister was really good (she tried to teach me). She skated at Rockefeller once just to be able to say she had. Her favorite, though, was Wollman Rink in Central Park. I could sit for hours watching the skaters at Rockefeller Center.

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