Jumping on a train for a Friday night show may conjure up a bit of je ne sais quoi, but trust me when I tell you, for me, it upends the entire weekend. I enjoy easing into the weekend. Fridays often mean some sort of exercise or maybe my monthly massage, not a dash to the city and a concert that doesn’t really get started until after 9:00. Sorry to disappoint if you imagined otherwise.
Now, in no way am I complaining about a night in the city, my only intention is to point out that trekking to NYC takes me away from my routine, something to which I am quite committed. Fortunately, as I discovered doing a Yelp search, the means for grounding me was available right around the corner from my hotel – Yoga to the People.
Yoga to the People is a chain of yoga studios with locations in 3 states nationwide. There are 5 studios to choose from in NYC, some with set prices for classes and others available on a pay what you will basis. I attended a 90-minute hot yoga class at the W. 27th Street location and couldn’t have been more pleased with my experience.
The studio is on the third floor and isn’t immediately visible from the street. Fortunately, a fellow yogi pointed me in the right direction and I soon found myself in a bright, clean space with helpful folks at the counter. I paid for the class ($10) and rented a mat ($2), filling out a reusable name tag to leave beside my mat for the instructor’s convenience should she have any personal corrections to make.
We had a large area in which to practice and there were probably a couple of dozen attendees. The floors weren’t marked to indicate where mats should be set up so I ended up practically sucking the toes of the guy in front of me (not my idea of breakfast) since he placed his mat approximately six inches away from the top of mine. Eventually I did ask him to move a little and I only wish I had done it sooner.
On a happier note, the studio and the bathroom were both clean with the perfect hint of bleach. The 90-minute Bikram influenced class was great and I will definitely remember this place next time I’m staying in Chelsea. Yoga to the People delivered.
In 2001, I accepted a librarian position at Mohonasen High School. Although I only remained in the district for three years (the position which I currently hold became available and I had to go for it), I made some wonderful friends, worked with some cool students and was introduced to some great music. One English teacher, if you can imagine, during my brief tenure exposed me to Jeff Buckley, Wilco and the White Stripes. Talk about getting an education!
My middle son was a toddler when I got a bootleg of the White Stripes’ Elephant and the song Seven Nation Army quickly became one of the songs he always requested in the car. Repeatedly, of course. It didn’t matter because I wanted to hear it, too. Loud.
Fast forward a dozen years or so, New York City, that same son and I walking up 7th Avenue. We were on our way to catch Jack White at Madison Square Garden… My son is tall, maybe 6’1″ and he looks comfortable. It’s the third weekend in January that he’s been in the city and it shows in his confident stride. He’s got a new phrase he’s been running recently, “you be you,” he says. I love it.
I think I was 15 at my first show at the Garden, just like he is. Unlike Griffin, I never went to a rock show with my mother, not even in my imagination. Never. I understand that taking your kid to an adult-ish sort of venue can define one as a “cool” mom, and it’s a term I’m okay with except for the fact that I think it’s too small of a name.
You see, I take my kid(s) places that we both want to go because I’m a person who has interests. When my sons and I share experiences together we always learn something – about each other, ourselves, something. I love my sons, even adore them at times, but they aren’t my entire world. They’re who I want to share my world with. That’s what I want my children to take away from our outings and shows, trips and vacations.
As far as Friday night’s show in NYC, it was very much like time spent with my guys – really fun and not quite as much as I would have liked. Absolutely memorable.
Three day weekends should leave those fortunate enough to have had 3 consecutive days off feeling relaxed and satisfied. There definitely were some moments during the 72 hours which prompted some pretty positive emotions, but the overwhelming sensation I’m experiencing right now is simple exhaustion.
As I am inclined to do, I scheduled the weekend pretty tightly. My agenda included a ski, some yoga, a house party or two, and a whole lotta driving the Lilly boys where they wanted to go. All in all, the weekend was a success, but not everything went as planned. I mean, really, does it ever?
Lesson 1. Plans need to come with alternatives, options and flexibility. Sometimes the unexpected is welcome, like running into someone special at a party. Those are the moments we’ve got to hold on to.
Saturday I dropped my middle son off at the train station in Poughkeepsie. I resisted the impulse to get out of the car and walk inside with him to help him get his ticket and find the right track for NYC. Griffin’s independent trip to Grand Central Station was the second leg on his journey to his first show at the Beacon. Upon his arrival in the city, he met his older cousin and he went to see a jam band that his father assures me I would have hated. He loved it.
Lesson 2. My children are growing up and I need to encourage the pursuit of entertainment and adventure, even if the thought of sending my 15 y/o son to Manhattan solo is scary. It’s time.
Sunday, my oldest child took the train from Albany to meet me in Poughkeepsie (I had spent the night with friends nearby). We immediately got on the road for an epic trip to Elmira College for a Monday morning tour. The roads were insanely icy as the rain fell on highways that were ever so cold and the drive took much longer than expected. After our visit on Monday, Liam decided that while Elmira had a lot to offer, it was probably too far away from his family for him to continue considering it as an option for the fall.
Lesson 3. Often the road to where we want to get to is treacherously slippery. Sometimes, once we arrive we find that the place isn’t really where want to be. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you make the trip.
I’ve been a Yankees fan my entire life. In elementary school I flipped baseball cards with the boys to add to my collection and when Thurman Munson died while I was away at camp, I convinced the counselors that the American flag needed to be lowered to half mast in the Captain’s honor.
The Yankees’ roster of the 1970s was filled with huge personalities. Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Sparky Lyle were larger than life sports figures who attracted attention both on and off the field and I loved rooting for my guys in pinstripes. They were exciting, often controversial and always entertaining and I watched every game I could, including that magical playoff game in Boston when my least favorite Yankee, Bucky Dent, redeemed himself to me by hitting that 3 run homer for the win.
While life changed in the ensuing years, my love for the Yankees never abated. My team won the World Series during my first two pregnancies and I seriously considered contacting George Steinbrenner to see if he might be willing to sponsor my third pregnancy, seeing that we had a shared history of both being able to “produce” simultaneously. Those late night World Series games were when Derek Jeter first came to my attention.
I recall him as being an earnest, hardworking and enthusiastic player. He limited his drama, unlike the players from the 70s, to the field, and his boyish good looks and shy smile made him an immediate idol. When I learned that he had a close connection to my hometown and oldest friend, I loved him even more. He has been a joy to watch and my team will be hard pressed to fill the gap he leaves in their roster.
At a time when heroes are in such short supply, Jeter allowed us to consider him to be ours. He represented a team, a sport, a city and a country better than anyone else has ever done. Jeter’s humbleness made us proud and I am heartbroken by the thought that there will never been another sports figure with as much character and positive influence as Derek Jeter. Enjoy your next chapter, Derek. You’ll be missed and remembered forever.
Yep, there were three boys and yes, we did visit three islands. Mission accomplished. Here are some highlights.
- We actually got on the road precisely on time. This is such a rare occurrence that I could not let it pass without acknowledgement.
- The drive was uneventful and we encountered no traffic until we got to the Holland tunnel. This was a different route for me, but it made sense to avoid the West Side Highway and enter Manhattan in TriBeCa.
- We parked for free right in front of the hotel. Really.
- After leaving our luggage behind, we hopped a subway to Battery Park and made our way to Staten Island, fortifying ourselves with some Sabrett’s along the way. I eat a hotdog maybe once every few years. This one was with onions and mustard. It was divine.
- After docking, we jumped on a train for two stops and then walked the remainder of the way to Stapleton Pier where we got in line to tour the U.S.S. McFaul. Also present was the U.S.S. Cole, but that line was even longer.
- Our tour was informative and free and the perfect activity for Memorial Day Weekend. Recommended.
- After docking again in Manhattan, we walked to Chinatown where we gorged on soup dumplings, crispy duck, Shanghai noodles, squid with salted vegetables and peppers and, my favorite, green beans with pork.
- A leisurely walk back to our hotel followed dinner, with the boys remaining behind while I hoofed it up to Rocco’s for pastry. It was a beautiful evening for a walk and I was thrilled with the patriotically lit Empire State Building and Freedom Tower.
- Have I mentioned before how much I love the green spaces in lower Manhattan? The west side, with its meandering paths which hug the Hudson is so lovely, particularly in the spring. I couldn’t resist a quick run to start my day, while the boys slept in.
- Our reservations for the Statue of Liberty (obtained online a couple of weeks prior) were for noon. We again headed to Battery Park via the subway and were through security and waiting on the dock in little time. But, then the waiting really began. Waiting for the boat to arrive and unload. Loading the boat. Arriving on Liberty Island and unloading the boat. Waiting to go through security again… The 196 steps which took us to the base of Lady Liberty were the least painful part of the entire process. Unless the National Park Service figures out a more efficient way to get people on and off those boats, I don’t imagine myself ever returning to Liberty Island. If you plan to go there, look into departing from the Jersey side. I think it would be faster.
- The boat ride does provide a fantastic view of lower Manhattan and it is impossible to take in the sights without imagining what newcomers to America must have seen. On a sunny day in May it must have been magnificent.
We were in the car and driving north only 4 minutes beyond my target time. There was a quick stop in Jersey for some diner chow and then it was back to Albany for the Head and the Heart show, courtesy of 97.7 WEXT, at the Upstate Concert Hall. I had a great weekend – hope you did, too!
Almost 6 months to the date exactly, the boys and I are getting ready to head back to NYC for another round of adventures. Our plans for the weekend include taking in some of the Fleet Week events and a visit to Lady Liberty. We’re staying in TriBeCa and once I park my car, hopefully on the street, I don’t intend to be north of Bleecker Street again until we head back to Albany.
Have you ever checked out Fleet Week? Apparently there are ship tours both in Manhattan and Staten Island. I’m kind of wondering if the Staten Island events might be more accessible, once we actually get to Staten Island, that is. We’ve already toured the Intrepid and it would be cool to ride the ferry on a warm, sunny day. Because it will be warm and sunny, damn it, since it is Memorial Day weekend and I said so.
From the little I’ve read, it seems that after we get off the ferry we’ll have to take a train to Sullivan’s Pier. I don’t really know Staten Island at all, but think it might be fun to expand our explorations beyond Manhattan’s shores. There’s also an appeal to just driving south and parking the car without mucking around midtown. Are there any Staten Island experts out there? Fleet Week veterans, perhaps?
Lunch and dinner plans are pretty loose this time around. I’m thinking about a meal in Chinatown and another in Little Italy. We’ve been very happy at Joe’s Shanghai and their soup dumplings are a favorite item of the boys. Maybe a stroll past Umberto’s Clam House so I can share some bonafide NYC mafia history with them, but since the food reviews are less than stellar, we’re looking for other options. Do you have any recommendations for us?
Of course, I’m hoping for an evening run down the west side, around the southern tip and then up the east side of Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe I can even make it to 3 boroughs in a single day! Whatever we end up doing, wherever we end up eating, I’m certain it will be memorable. Can’t wait!
I’m getting kind of excited about spending some untethered time in NYC. I feel like circumstances are aligning. The sun is expected to shine in mild blue skies. The moon will be nearly full and, I predict, spectacular. I have a good idea about what I’m going to wear (cutoff shorts with footless tights, flat shoes for walking) and what I’ll need to pack (running gear, a cute dress for cocktails).
My plans are fluid but include a couple of stops on my way downtown – Macy’s, perhaps, Porto Rico Importers, definitely, Rocco’s more than likely. I’ll be dressed casually so I’m going with a backpack instead of an overnight bag. I like to have my hands free and travel light.
I’ll have a quality late lunch with at least one glass of wine, maybe my first rose of the season. My plans include a nap followed by a run. I want to head south down the lower west side to Battery Park through the Seaport and over the Brooklyn Bridge. The “blood moon” will be rising and whatever music I choose I know will be perfect.
A quick shower off, a little makeup and then there will be cocktails at a swanky place down on lower Hudson where, I believe, Sundays are “pants optional.” Fun will be had. I know how to do this. It’s going to be epic.