Trip Report

First Day


There’s so much to say. First of all, I’m going to write about my pre-flight anxiety in a separate post, because it was big and bold and ultimately, beautiful. One thing I almost wrote here before I left, was that I’d rather die in the air, than live afraid on the ground, but the superstitious in me erased it soon after I typed the words. The important thing is that I got on those planes and fought back the fear and lived a little. So there you go.


I arrived in New York jubilant. Relieved, exhilarated, overwhelmed and stupid. The very first thing I did at baggage claim is to accept the offer of a man to take me to his taxi. And after walking through underground passages, down dark corridors and across narrow streets, we arrived at his vehicle, decidedly not a taxi, but a nice big black car that would cost me $65. A scam, yes. But it felt so impossibly New Yorky.


A half hour later, I arrived at my hotel near the Brooklyn Bridge and laid on the bed. My brother texted me to say he’d be working a bit late, and I briefly contemplated making my way to the hotel bar. My pulse mimicked New York’s instantly — I absorb energy like that — and I wanted to be up, alive, awake. But the moment passed and I let the adrenaline and nervousness of the past several months sink into the mattress, as I lay there like a snow angel. Soon enough, I called Kizz and we made plans to meet at the hotel. Within a half hour, my brother’s girlfriend, Jill, met us, and then, my brother, Marky. After a drink, we decided to eat and Jill and Mark led us into Brooklyn Heights. After living in downtown Chicago for several years, I immediately made the comparisons to my hometown. Brooklyn Heights reminded me a lot of Chicago’s Lincoln Park and I poignantly realized how much I missed city living. There’s a bittersweetness about remembering your past. In those moments, you glimpse the other dimensions, the other doors, you might have entered, as you hold your present life under the microscope. I had a lot of those moments on my trip, but each night, I still returned to the photo book of my children and husband, knowing I ultimately chose exactly the right door. Not perfect, mind you, but exactly right.


Enough with the poignancy. Here’s the good stuff: we ended up at a tapas restaurant, called Bocca Lupo, where I ate pizza and meat and cheese and something with fennel in it, and the resulting taste explosion brought me fully into the moment. I was in New York! I don’t have to wake up early! I will have wines! And subway trips! And uninterrupted conversations! This was gonna be good.


And it was. After dinner, we walked to the Promenade, I think it was called, where I could see the tip of Manhattan and the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty in the distance.




After contemplating how much bigger my world had become, we eventually made our way to Mark and Jill’s apartment and talked for a few hours. The next morning, I slept in, and it was glorious.


Feet into New York


I met Jill later Thursday morning and after a bagel, which I had no idea could get so big and doughy and life-altering, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge.


Brooklyn Bridge


Man, that was beautiful. But then this happened:


The Blood Blister


Luckily, I first managed to walk to Ground Zero (a construction site now) and Century 21 (no one ever told me about this discount store, which if they had, may have changed the course of my life forever, a life that would surely be spent in debtor’s prison). At the latter, I purchased some Aerosole mocs, but it was too late. I hobbled my way through New York each day after that.


(I just had an epiphany: this is getting long and ultra detailed. My second epiphany is that you don’t want to wade through the details. My third epiphany is that I’m gonna wrap it up.)


Other things that first full day in New York: a delicious meal at Mercer Kitchen in Soho, complete with wine. (And oh how I miss wine in the afternoon, followed by an evening with no where to be but at a place drinking more wine.) Marky and I also saw Wicked that night, an amazing production with equally stunning costumes and big theatreness, but a little disappointing in storyline and musical numbers, if I’m to be honest.


OK, speeding it up now. My friend, Lis, now waited in my hotel room, having just arrived from Chicago, so Marky and I met her at midnight after the show, and took a circuitous and kinda daunting tumbleweeds-flying walk to the Clover Club, where we ate steak and hardboiled eggs and talked and drank until 3 AM. It was 4:30 before Lis and I went to sleep, because we had so much to catch up on, and strangely, I never once got tired.


On Friday, the multi-tasking, super-planny, kicky dressing, sweet and sassy Jill took us to breakfast at a diner, then to Central Park,


Central Park


Fifth Avenue, Times Square,


Times Square


and ultimately back to Soho, for lunch at Otto, where we happened to see Mario Batali, eating at his very own restaurant. (Upon texting my brother this news, he replied with, “Awesome! He’s a weird shape.”) And indeed he was. So we drank lots of wine. (Weirdness is as weirdness does.)


A buzzed shopping spree followed, where I bought a purse for $8.00 with a large tag inside proclaiming “GENUINE FAUX LEATHER!” To wit, I forget what else I bought, but I’m hoping pictures will remind me. In addition, “to wit,” is used out of context. And to sum up, I don’t care.


That night? Dinner at Mr. Chow (excellent), and an excursion to “BAR,” in the East Village, where I implored the 15-year-old DJ to play something other than Toto. I think my exact words were, “For God’s sake, I’m about to turn 40. Can you play some Kanye?” or something equally as anachronistic.


Saturday morning, Lis and I decided we’d see a Chorus Line, but then we instead opted to hobble to Mark’s apartment and watch the re-run of Saturday Night Live where Denise ate a cat. This was followed by a double decker bus tour, with a stop at a West Village bar natch,








a good cry at this sign,


Left Bank Books


some apartment karaoke, and dinner at the Queen.


The End.

(Except that it wasn’t. I lived. And so perhaps it’s the beginning?)


p.s. I left the pre-dawn bacon burger part of the trip out on purpose.


16 Responses to “Trip Report”

  1. What a trip.

    I haven’t been to NYC since 1998!

    Thanks for sharing.

    PS–I used to live in La Jolla, and I miss it!

  2. vodkamom says:

    That sounds like it was a fabulous, fabulous trip! The toe mishap was unfortunate, dammit, but still it looks like the trip rocked!!!

  3. Steph says:

    I’m still jealous! It looked like an amazing, amazing trip. Plus? You looked hawt! Even with the big, blistered toe. :)

  4. NYC is onte of the greatest cities in the world! So glad you had such a fantastic time!

  5. Thank you for bringing me to NY with you. I’ve never been. I especially liked the life-altering bagel.

    {{{KISS}}} on your toe.

  6. I am so glad that you were able to brave the flights and enjoy your time in NY. It looks like you had a great time and you hit all of the right spots. I look forward to reading more.

  7. Wait a minute, you END with a bacon burger tease? Not nice.

    I want to emphasize how pleased I am that you swallowed your fear for this trip – I am thrilled for you! Traveling has become the thing I love to look forward to most in this world (after watching my kids become excellent people).

    Love the reflections about choosing doors.

  8. kate says:

    the moral of the story is:

    do not fear airplanes

    fear the bad shoe/long walk combo

    you lived!

    you are the girl who lived!

  9. I’m jealous, a life altering bagel and Times Square?!

  10. Da Goddess says:

    I’m really stoked you had so much fun and even happier you came back. I would have gladly read three more pages of details just so your excitement over the trip could swallow me whole and let me live in those moments with you. That’s kind of how it felt with the parts you shared. You’re such a damn good writer.

    Genuine Faux Blogger

  11. It looks like an amazing time. And there’s no better way to appreciate your life than to step outside it for a bit.

  12. we_be_toys says:

    I think you were amazingly terse, considering it was New York, the city that never sleeps – who could sum it up in just one post? Not me, that’s for sure.

    I loved the book “Wicked” and I’ve heard good things about the musical, but I’m pretty it would piss me off, since they seem to forget the damn book a lot. But still, I bet it looked good!

    Your poor piddies! I guess that comfortable shoes will be a must for the next trip, eh?

  13. Cripes, woman! It looks like you physically lost your toe! Gah!

    Despite that bit of pain, that trip looks like it was an awesome experience. I also would like to have that quote plastered somewhere I can see it daily…

  14. Karen says:

    Wow! What a terrific trip. And even with the banged up toe, dahling you look MAH-velous!

    I’m glad you made it through the whole flying thing. :o)

  15. SeaBird says:

    I am living vicariously through you on this fabulous trip to New York. And, yeah, Century 21 is sooo dangerous.

  16. […] I’ve tried very hard to face many of my fears and over the past three years forced myself to fly to New York three times, read my writing in front of people, and let spiders live occasionally instead of […]

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