Tuesday, June 1, 2010

It's a hell of a town (New York, New York)

There was, unintentionally, a devilish theme to our Memorial Day weekend in New York City.

It all began with a desire for a change of scene. The Handsome Husband had booked tickets to The Screwtape Letters, an adaptation of a C. S. Lewis book and there was certainly devilry there.
When we arrived in town on Saturday, we headed down to the Union Square area to check out The Strand, the famous used book store. Alas, I was feeling a bit woozy and dehydrated so we did not linger there nearly long enough to suit the HH*. However, he was very gracious and solicitous, buying cold drinks and finding us a cool place to sit. From this little rose garden we watched the comings and goings around Union Square.
After an early dinner, we saw The Forest, starring Dianne Wiest. The theatre was quite small and we had front row, floor level seats. Much of the action took place inches from us and we couldn't stretch out our legs for fear of tripping the actors. Really. As for the play, think: Chekhov, with a sense of humor.

On Sunday morning, the HH went to mass while I went to hell - Hell's Kitchen, that is, to check out the weekend flea market. (The inflated devil at the beginning of this post marks the flea market's entrance.) One of my favorite bloggers, Eddie Ross, often writes about this flea market - or did when he lived in the city.

But on this Memorial Day weekend, the booth owners were looking bored and the crowd was thin.

I liked this Greek goddess holding a book, below, but not enough to pay NYC prices for it. (Especially not with the Ballston Spa village - wide garage sale coming up this month. Now there's the place for bargains!)

The heat began to get to me once again, so I headed back toward our hotel...

and noticed this imprisoned garden on the way. A sign on the fence said it had won some beautification award in 1998. Trouble was, the chain-link fence surrounding it was the densest mesh I've ever seen, and with its forbidding height and barbed wire topping, the garden looked incarcerated. So who gets to enjoy it?

Back at our hotel, the HH decided to go for a swim. It was a nice pool, but unheated, so few were actually using it. Still, it was pleasant to have a spot to sit outdoors.

On Sunday, we met the HH's cousin Stephen for dinner (below) and then went off to our original destination, The Screwtape Letters. Again, we were front and center in a smallish theater and were inches from the actors (spitting distance, quite literally.)

On Monday, we returned to The Strand so that the HH could get his fix. I discovered several copies of Saratoga in Bloom , which hasn't been released yet, but review copies had found their way to The Strand already. With some guilt, I bought a copy. Does plugging it here make up for the fact that the author probably didn't make a dime on my purchase?

On our way out of town, we stopped at Wave Hill in the Bronx, a public garden owned by the City of New York.

It's a pretty spot and the gardens were pleasant but not spectacular.

I don't suppose the city has lots of spare change just now for primping up posies in a posh area of the Bronx.

I liked the vistas from Wave Hill, looking toward the New Jersey Palisades...

and down the Hudson River to some urban skyline.

It was a good weekend and I would have happily stayed longer. Alas, there is this inconvenient thing called work.

* HH = Handsome Husband