Apparently, they heard I was coming. Or maybe there was just a parade. Or both.
I looked up and realized I was passing Trump Tower. SIDE NOTE: it really is just a normal building. There are not, in fact, the sounds of angels singing or cash registers ka-chinging through the air. Just, ya' know, a painfully overstated building. Yet, from across the street, you could see the Starbucks sign through the window. I had not yet had a beverage that morning. So, yeah ... me ... in my upcycled Poor Pitiful Pearl club T ... having a Starbucks ... in Trump Tower. That's just really, really funny.
Lexington Street Fair. This was exactly - EXACTLY - the kind of experience I was wanting.
Ending at Grand Central Market (no fear, SGM, I will be back, my darling), and certainly, the big daddy Grand Central Station. I didn't have a clue that I was even going to land here. Just walked where I felt like walking and kept finding amazing things. Not to mention, Grand Central Station has potties. It was serendipity for my bladder.
Just before leaving the hotel, I checked Facebook and noticed a private message from an old friend, Matt Gierhart, who lives in the UK. My husband was Matt's youth minister more than a decade ago. I'm sure I was more of a blur to him, and most of the students were a blur to me (I was on a nice cocktail of weight gain and postpartum depression, back in those days). Yet, Matt noticed I was in the city, let me know he was, as well.
In what can only be defined as a clenching moment on the Amazing Race, we texted, nearing one another and finally (yup, we did) passed each other on Lexington, before FINALLY running gleefully into each other's arms ... or something like that. But yeah, we did walk right past each other at one point. Anywho, he bought me a bagel and let me talk his head off. He is utterly fascinating and a man who doesn't let life tiptoe by him. Such a treat!
Parting ways, I decided it was time to enjoy Washington Square. Heading to the subway, I passed Bryant Park and was able to catch some of the Dominican Day Parade. This was, by far, one of my favorite parade experiences. You never, not once, did NOT want to be dancing.
I spent the next hour, or so, enjoying people. Lots and lots of people (well, and pipes). Perfection.
Popped on the subway again (seeing my first NYC subway rat - whooop!). Headed toward the Lincoln Tunnel for what I believe is the BEST hidden treasure in New York City. Last Rites Tattoo Theatre. Seriously. This is Paul Booth's place. Yeah, if you know ink, you know Paul Booth. NOTHING LIKE IT. Everyone was so kind, and let me take pics as I enjoyed the gallery (amazing, by the way). Standing in the clean space of the gallery with the background buzz of people being inked in the next room. Beautiful dark art. All of it. The gallery, the walls, the people. Totally non-descript door. Have to be buzzed in. If you don't have the address, you won't find the place. It was heaven. It was total "Christine heaven."
Super impressed that New Yorkers have found a way, in fact, to actually put Jesus in a box.
Heading back to the hotel, passed Central Park, Ed Sullivan theater, ya-da-ya-da. Ended my evening with another amazing treat. If you have read me for years, you have occasionally noticed comments by "Anonymous in New York City." She and I have shared emails over the years. She is anonymous for a very good reason (and if I told you, I'd have to kill you). Anywho, in hearing that we would be just blocks from one another, she offered to buy me dinner. To which I said, "Um, OKAY!" Come to find out, she was not a 45-year-old man who planned to chunk me in a cab and throw me in the Hudson.
Truth be told, I'd buy her a car to have the opportunity to absorb her. She's an amazing woman who makes me laugh, shares many commonalities with me and adores every other inch. She took me to Uncle Nick's in Hell's Kitchen ... because, well, she is a genius. We talked for hours and hours, and she even walked me back to my hotel, which I thought was super sweet. Anon in NYC, I was pretty sure I adored you before, but now there is no doubt. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for taking time to share your life with me. It was truly a pleasure!
And then finally, because this post is not quite long enough, we were just about to land in Austin (EARLY, mind you), but had to circle for another half hour until Air Force One could take off. Cause that's just the way I roll.
Yet again, to be continued. Next, I will introduce you to some of the amazing women I met over the weekend.