The thunderstorm that held me up on the night of my arrival cleared the air somewhat, following a heat wave in New York, although high temperatures and a muggy atmosphere were part of my stay. Blue sky could be found – if I tipped my head back far enough to peer up between endless tall buildings. Somehow, majestic trees flourish in Brooklyn, and a trip to the Botanical Gardens was even more refreshing.
After observing Cousin Pam at work in a panel discussion on my first morning, we lunched with hordes of people watching actors and actresses singing their hit songs from current Broadway plays. Sending her off to work in a subway train going one way, I boarded another, which took me to the Museum of Natural History.
My head filled with displays of the Universe, animals, ocean life, trees and more, I headed for the food court. Picking up a cool dessert, I commented to the cashier: “Lots of money!”
She sort of grinned but just said, “Spoons down there.” Nope – all gone. When I went back to her, her eyes twinkled as she now said, “I’ll charge you more if a spoon is there.”
Nope! Although much more was within those many floors, I decided to leave to find nearby Central Park. Approaching two attendants I asked, “Where can I find fresh air?” One lady pointed, but the African-American announced in a loud, high-pitched voice: “Fresh air? In New York? You want fresh air in New York?” Everyone within hearing distance cracked up as her words echoed around those lofty hallways.
After I’d contentedly wandered some of the lanes and walkways within the park, the subway took me close to my next rendezvous. Walking to find the restaurant, I reached an intersection that had me gawking like an idiot. People were walking, sitting, and staring at ads in neon lights flashing high up and down on the buildings. Beside me stood a man-shaped, human-sized Statue of Liberty coated in green paint; beyond him another man was being covered with blue lines to resemble an Australian aboriginal.
“Where am I?” I asked a pleasant- looking woman. “You’re in Time Square,” she grinned.
After our delicious Japanese dinner, it was time to meet my other NY cousin. Ward and friend Dennis had arranged for us to see a show – a preview, so not yet charging for tickets.
The locals figured this one could do with a bit of work. Their comments, as they dissected “The Last Smoker in America” over drinks and nibbles when it was over, exactly matched those of the critics when the show was launched to the general public a couple of weeks after I came home.
“It needs work,” was the consensus. “It’s got every stereotype ever used.”
But we had enjoyed some good laughs and appreciated the talents of the players. Ward and I managed several other happy times together – we had even more years to catch up, perhaps 45 of them!
And so it went on, as both families showed me snippets of their lives in that huge city. It was cleaner than I had anticipated, people friendly and helpful, and I felt safe in the places we went. One young lady smilingly gave me her seat on the subway.
But what of your sister Alice, you may ask? Weren’t she and her cruise ship due in port while you were there? Indeed they were and yes, we saw each other often. Unfortunately, she was experiencing health problems, so could not “play” as planned.
The time we spent together, all of us, one place or another, was precious and memorable. A spur of the moment decision to fly right across the continent, to see them, was one of my smarter moves….