So two weeks ago Bonaparte decided to surprise me with a weekend in New York City. Of which I have been meaning to write about.
And then the Corona Virus took precedence over our lives. I don’t necessarily mean Bonaparte and me, but I mean all of us. Our world. And since returning from New York, things have been different.
Everyone at the company I work for is now working virtually with the exception of a tiny skeleton crew. In the area I am in, it was three of us. It is now downto two. Yes! I am one of the lucky ones who is still getting dressed, getting into my car, and driving to work every day.
That’s right. I’m happily going into an office every day. And allow me to say, it’s a very clean environment!
Alas, it isn’t a bad thing because the office has been cleaned down accordingly and there’s nobody to bother me. Thus, the beauty of “social distancing” (a ridiculous term but I get it).
Caveat–I’ve created social distancing ever since I moved to Pennsylvania! I’m a pro at it!
Quite honestly, I could go on and on and on about what has happened to our society with this Corona Virus. But I’ve decided not to. We are all aware of how our lives have changed and so I’ll focus on the positive.
And so, I’ll tell you about our trip to New York!
New York! Still the most beautiful skyline on earth and I always get a kick out of snapping a pic whenever we approach!
Let’s go back a couple of weeks. Shall we?
Bonaparte surprised me with an overnight stay at the Marriott Midtown on Lexington Avenue.
Overnight bag packed and hair at the ready, I was excited to get back to New York!
It’s our regular stay place in the city. The location is great. The staff is greater and the rooms are wonderfully charming.
He also wanted to drive up to Nyack. It’s where his grandfather André Girard is buried. A little backstory here. After WWII, my husband’s grandfather moved to the States. He was working as an artist for various advertising companies and was pretty successful. It was then when Bonaparte moved to Nyack with his mother and sister for a couple of years. He doesn’t remember much because he was very young. But he remembers Nyack and the nice times he spent there.
The weather was on our side and it was one of those spectacular late winter Saturdays. It was still cold, but you could feel the air becoming warmer. As though winter knew it was getting ready to make an exit but kind of wanted to hang around a bit longer. The sun was bright and warmed things up even more.
We thought it was great that there was hardly any traffic on the Jersey Turnpike and we were even more shocked there was no traffic on the Palisades Parkway leading upstate.
And might I add that I’ve never seen the GW this empty–and I crossed this bridge a countess number of times over the years, even when I lived in Manhattan!
And as we approached the tip of the Hudson Valley, I had an immediate whoosh of comfort. I miss New York. I miss Long Island. I miss the City. And I miss the sleepy vibe of the artsy communities north of the city. Nyack is one of those communities.
Streets lined with small shops were literally empty. But we chalked it off with the notion that when the warm weather arrives, throngs of people would be out and about. The Virus never really entered our thoughts.
We drove by beautiful old homes, loaded with character and history.
I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that a half-hour outside of Manhattan, gorgeous Victorian homes can be found–for an expensive price! I’m also fascinated that to me, anything north of NYC is Upstate!
And then we arrived at the cemetery to visit Bonaparte’s grandfather.
Bonaparte’s maternal grandfather, Andre Girard was an incredibly interesting man. He was extremely active in the Resistance during WWII and was a very talented artist. You can read more about him in the blog post I wrote quite a while ago. Holocaust Stories. A Family Torn Apart
It was good for my husband to visit his grandfather. We hadn’t done this in a while. Rest in Peace bon-papa.
When we left, we drove past the house that my husband lived in for a while then headed down to the city.
Here’s the house my husband lived in for a couple of years as a very, very young child before moving back to Paris. He has little but fond memories!
It wasn’t until we arrived in Manhattan that we realized, like Miss Clavel of Madeline, that something was not right. It’s one thing when traffic outside a city is light, but when the city streets in NYC are almost void of cars, cabs, buses, sirens and horns, you know something is going on.
Like Miss Clavel, we knew something was not right. But for us, it was in the middle of the day!
That was the “aha” moment that this virus was “keeping” people away from my hometown.
Madison Avenue. Middle of the afternoon. A Saturday. There’s just a handful of cars. I’ve never seen it like this!
And in the past, Laduree has always had a line outside. This time it was different and no wait. I got to stuff my mouth with macaron!!!
We arrived at the hotel a bit early and were prepared to leave our luggage at the desk while we explored the neighborhood. Instead, we were surprised to learn not only was our room ready, but due to low volume of guests, we were upgraded!
The room was great! A corner room which lent itself so well to multiple views. It was roomy, immaculate, and wonderfully cozy and comfy. Bonaparte was gleeful over the big-screen TV and I was overjoyed at the decent lighting!
Our upgraded room. Corner views. Big screen TV (for a hotel, this is big screen)…
…a wonderfully cozy bed with decent lighting..
And the views! Look at how empty the street below is. That’s Lexington Avenue. It’s always jammed with traffic…..except these days.
You can keep your trendy, streamlined boutique hotels, I prefer the charm and homeliness of old-school..
Grand and with a history!
And as evening approached, a more spectacular view!
The restaurant where we had dinner was just up the street. A walk of a few blocks. Le Relais de Venis L’Entrocôte. I’ll tell you, since our favorite Les Halle closed, this has been our go-to restaurant when we are in NYC. Why? It’s because the food is consistently good. The menu is but one choice. Steak. And Salad. And the steak is done to perfection. And the dessert choices are wonderful.
Since this was at the boundary of “The Virus” and just before “social distancing” became a thing, we were wondering if we would be but a handful of people out to dinner. Our thoughts were wrong about a “handful” of people because the restaurant was mobbed. Which was a great thing for business.
Please enjoy our dinner with us!
Somebody special is mulling over the wine list..
The salad is divine. No heavy vinegar taste and super-simple..
The sauce, a secret recipe that was impossible to decipher, is the best sauce I’ve ever had. Served over the perfectly cooked (blue, in my case) steak and oozing over to the frites, it’s consistently a great dinner!
And the profiterole dessert is so good that it turns me from a human being into an agressive and territorial dog!
Sunday brought about a sunny and clear one. Our plan was to hit MOMA, The Museum of Modern Art. It’s funny because when I was younger, I abhorred Modern Art but as I’ve pro-aged, there are some aspects of it that I enjoy—such as photography and the social messages.
We had a great time and the admission for “seniors” is at quite the discount.
Here’s a little sampling of what we saw.
The day we visited was International Women’s Day which had me snapping all things woman! This is a Leger painting.
Picasso’s Girl Before Mirror
Frida Kahlo Self Portrait with Cropped Hair. I LOVE this one so much! I wonder why? Could it be the fallen hair? Yes! It is!
This photo was my favorite of any displayed works we saw. It was taken in the 1950’s and I don’t recall the photographer. But it has been haunting me ever since I saw it. Look at the young woman’s face. She isn’t hateful nor angry. She’s full of hope. My God, to think we were like this. Let’s hope we never return to those times. I just want to hug this woman!
A view from MOMA. One car. That’s a piece of work!
Always fun to spot a Jacques-Henri Lartigue photo. This, a self-portrait photo taken when he was a boy (he received his first camera as a gift), made Bonaparte very happy!
After a couple of hours, it was time to get the car and drive off. And might I share the parking lot we used while visiting MOMA. The indoor parking spaces offer no discount on the weekends—or rather, the discount they offer isn’t much. However, if you find an outdoor lot, you’ll save money. Another funny thing is that even though streets were void of traffic, parking spots on the street were still impossible to find.
This is Carlos. He works at the parking lot and he was the greatest attendant ever! If you need a parking lot, stop by to see him!!
Here’s more random photos for your entertainment!
Fifth Avenue along Central Park. All the bikes are in place because nobody is around!
This is a bittersweet sight for me. What is now the MetLife building used to be the PanAm building. I attended Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School in that building and sady, the secretary has gone the way of Pan Am. It’s very depressing to me. But change goes on…
A restaurant on the East Side across from where Bonaparte used to live when he came to the States as an adult. Looks good so I’ve referenced it for next time!
You can have your fance lunches but for MY money, Sabrett Dirty Water Dogs are one of the greatest gastronomical delights on the face of the earth. With sauerkraut. And the bun gets mushy. I’m in love!
Ugh. Call me a discerning snob but Times Square is now an exercise in vulgarity. Chain restaurants. Chain stores. Disney. Bleh!! It was so much more refined and characteristic when the “working girls” and drunks were there. Trust me on this. My dad was a NYC cop and always told me Times Square was one of the safest havens in the City due to the amount of undercover cops. Now it’s just cheap and disneyfied!
Another view from the room!
An eerie emptiness on Broadway
En route to the Holland Tunnel. This was the heaviest traffic of the weekend!
Back home after a great little overnight, we had no idea of what the coming week or weeks ahead would offer. We’re not in a good place right now. And due to the nature of my work, in an advocacy company for those who need disability, many of whom are very ill, I’ve been very busy. But I am vowing to try to do more “happy” and positive posts for reading.
Thank you. Stay well. Stay safe. And be careful. I love you all!!! XOXO And I hope you enjoyed this visit to NYC!
Thank you for your patience. Thank you for remaining to support and read and be friends of this blog. We are in this together. And together we will come back stronger!!