That Virus. And a Weekend in New York City

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).

keep your distance

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

Leaving NYC..

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!!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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41 Responses to That Virus. And a Weekend in New York City

  1. Robin Goldstein says:

    Enjoyed your post and my God you are gorgeous!

    • Catherine says:

      Robin. Thank you for such a lovely compliment. Looking to my 65th birthday in a few weeks, it makes me very happy to read your words! XOXOXOXO

  2. Theresa Peters says:

    Oh wait, NOW they showed up.

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Marsha L. Calhoun says:

    I’ve been wondering how you were doing, and enjoying your previous posts because they made me smile, which is something I’ve been needing. This NY post does the same, so thank you! And thank you for what you are doing for us all by going to work to support your clients. Take care of yourself and your wonderful Frenchman and your readers (like me): we relish and depend upon your upbeat postings (all of them, since even when they are sad your joie de vivre shines through)!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marsha! Thank you so very much. Yeah. It’s been tough because it’s been crazy at work. When I come home I’m literally pooped and I’ve been going to bed around 8PM! Hopefully this virus will begin to be contained and we can return to our normal lives! Take care and stay well! XOXOXOXO

  4. Ilyse says:

    you look beautiful. Thanks for sharing, as always! Gorgeous wig. We’re the same age, and I went to Moser Secretarial School downtown Chicago. But I have retired. Stay safe and be well

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Ilyse! Thank yu so much. Glad that you enjoyed the post and you like the wig!!!Oh i absolutely loved Katie Gibbs and loved being a secretary! I dunno. I just loved it! Be well and stay safe!! XOXOXOXO

      • Ilyse says:

        Me too – we dressed up big time back then – we had a store in Wabash called Joseph’s and my first big purchase was a pair of green snakeskin slingbacks. Those were the days! Stay safe too and thanks for sharing with us Cathy!😍

  5. Thanks for sharing your trip. Goodness it wasn’t that long ago and look at NYC now. I guess I won’t be going to NYC for may opening. It seems like everything will be shut down for quite a long time. Lovely reading your blog. Thank you.

  6. Suzi says:

    Thank you for posting. It helps get us thru this. Be safe.

  7. Debbie Henshaw says:

    Thank you for your positive blog and words! I always enjoy your blog and especially enjoyed this one during these most unsettling times. Wishing health and happiness to you & your family. 🙏😊🤗😎

  8. Momcat says:

    Stay well friend. In Canada all but essential businesses are closing and all who can are being instructed to work from home except me as I work in a hospital but we’ve closed clinics and all non essential surgeries are cancelled. We carry Purell in little bottles….Stores, dine in restaurant, churches, theatres etc. all closed country wide. Yes, social distancing sucks especially when my 95 yr old father Is not allowed visitors to his retirement home or we can’t attend the funeral of a young friend who passed this week won’t last forever and it’s for the greater good even if our border has to be closed to non Canadians. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better, I worry because I have a nephew living in San Fran and one in NJ. Watching what is transpiring south of the border is nerve wracking…..Glad that some state governor’s and mayors are stepping up to protect everyone. Yes we have to be positive but pragmatic too. Common sense was never needed more than now.
    Let’s wash our hands and share virtual hugs, may we all stay healthy in these challenging times!

    • Catherine says:

      Momcat. We’re twinning in the fact we are both working outside of the home! This social distancing sucks. But it does not surprise me. People are constantly on their cell phones socially distancing themselves from human contact! This is no different. I feel for the stores and restaurants that have closed and look forward to when this pandemic is over!!!! My kids, knock on wood, are all safe and that’s my main concern. Take care, be safe and stay well! XOXOXOXO

  9. Leslie Haws says:

    Thank you for this! Beautifully written with wonderful photos. This had to have taken quite a bit of time and I thank you big time for this opportunity to have a bit of relief from our new reality.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Leslie. It did take a bit of time but the good thing is it kept me busy and I’m very happy to share the pics. I’m truly glad you enjoyed this post! XOXOXOXO

  10. Juliet says:

    Love your posts – but this one seems especially precious as you keep being normal in the best possible way. And it is good to keep blogging – it keeps peoples spirits up and its also a valuable way for everyone to check in and see who’s out there. Times are difficult right now – there is no getting away from that, but celebrating what we can is so vital. We will get through this xxx

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Juliet! Yeah. I’m trying to be as “normal” and positive as possible. It’s becoming increasingy difficult but we shall overcome! XOXOXOXO

      • juliet brown says:

        You will overcome – and you’ve built a lovely little community here, so if you have down days – you have us. We can all take turns keep each other going, there are always good people commenting on your blog so I feel really confident that even though we haven’t met each other we WILL pull through

  11. Sonia Lal says:

    Wow. I am surprised you went. But great pics!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sonia. We just lucked out. The virus hadn’t reached the epic proportions and it wasn’t yet being touted as a danger. The next week, it was! XOXOXOXO

  12. Wishing this virus stuff would blow over. Happy to hear you’re enjoying going to work. Stay safe out there!

  13. Mary says:

    Thanks for this post, I like a virtual holiday to take my mind off all what’s going on. Sounds like you had a good time, stay healthy! Mary.

  14. Sandra says:

    Your post brought back some memories for me as we lived in West Nyack for 8 years before moving to Westchester. Nyack has always been a haven for artists. It seems as Bonaparte has artistic family on both sides. Does he enjoy these pursuits as well?
    I’m living in downtown Chicago now which is similarly a ghost town like NY.
    Thank you for your blog and here’s hoping there’s more France in our future!

    • Catherine says:

      It’s funny because his family always expected him to be a writer. He came to the States because he didn’t want to follow the family’s expectations. However, he is the rather creative man! But he swears he isn’t! Very interesting, it is! XOXOXOXOXO

  15. Cyndy Floor says:

    You are actually lucky to be working at your office . We are in semi-quarantine in Brazil and it really is no fun to be in the house all day. Even with maids and a rooftop pool. It is all food, TV, internet, repeat. Not even sure if I can get back to the States!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cyndy! Damn. I hope you get back here at some point. But, I am lucky to have a bit of normalcy in the fact I can drive to an office! XOXOXOXO

  16. Audre says:

    We’re all exhausted from processing our new reality and you take the time to create content to entertain us. Thank you for the distractions!
    Love your perspective and statements like, “the secretary has gone the way of Pan Am” Priceless.

  17. vavashagwell says:

    You were lucky you went to New York City when you did!! Looks as if you had a great time.
    I’ve been working in the yard, doing some sewing (garments), and generally pretty content to be away from people. I do call my extroverted friends though, to check on them. I do wish they’d lock Dufus up in the Oval Office and not allow him to hold “press conferences”. That Dr. Fauci though, he’s great!

  18. Miss Bougie says:

    Thanks for the breath of fresh NYC air. I needed that breather! Love going there.
    We were going to be off to Madrid for a long weekend for our 35th anniversary, but the Corona had a different idea. We’re on lockdown since last Monday and everything got cancelled. ☹️
    We’re only allowed out of the house to go to work (you need a statement from your employer that you can’t work from home), for doctors visits, trips to the shops and pharmacy, or to help an elderly family member. Beaches, parks and forests have been closed, no horse riding, to the chagrin of my daughter, no water activity (boating, paddle etc), no fishing or hunting. You can jog no further than 1 mile from your house.
    I think the Corona is not to be trifled with. Italy is in a bad shape and we must all do our bit so we don’t end up having the same situation. Unfortunately some people here in France are flippant and nonchalant (Gallic shrug, anyone?), not taking the threat and new social rules seriously, thus endangering others and, ultimately, swamping the medical system. Nurses and doctors, my heroes!
    Stay positive, stay safe, you Cathérine and your family, and to all the members of this community. Tous mes vœux de France.

  19. Debby Winter says:

    I love New York City and your photos are so crisp, what kinda camera and lens are you using?

  20. annadusseau says:

    Great post, Catherine. Thanks for sharing! x

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