New York, New York… Is there anyone who says (sings) it better than Frank Sinatra? I don’t think so!
I was in New York this week. Although I’ve been in Manhattan on numerous occasions, this is the first time in many years that I’ve been in the Big Apple strictly for pleasure. Four free days to wander the streets soaking up the energy in glorious Indian Summer weather was a real treat. With some new adventures and a few places I wanted to revisit, the city did not disappoint.
We stayed in a small hotel on 6th Avenue close to Central Park offering a convenient location to walk the city. An added bonus was the French influence around every corner!
On my first trip to New York, many years ago, we stayed at the St. Moritz Hotel located across from Central Park. I was overwhelmed. At that time, in the 70s, ghettoblasters were the “it” toy, and it seemed like every second person was walking down the street with a boom box on their shoulder with music blaring. Card sharks were on every corner…taking money from unsuspecting tourists while trying to keep a few blocks ahead of the police. And the shopping was to die for!!! The St. Moritz Hotel has changed hands several times since then undergoing a massive renovation and is now operated by the elegant Ritz Carlton. In an effort to relive that first experience in New York we stopped by for a glass of wine in the cozy, dimly lit Star Lounge surrounded by warm wood trim and rich fabrics and carpets. This dreamy room is nothing like what I remembered from so long ago…
Saturday has always been the “shopping” day to me, and a Saturday on 5th Avenue was a feast for the eyes! All the window displays were outstanding appearing to be in a contest to see whose window would outdo the rest. The fashion, the jewelry, the shoes and handbags, and the accessories are works of art. It was like walking through a museum of fabulousness! The only disappointment (minor) is that Saks Fifth Avenue is still under renovation. The store is open but is very disjointed. It will be beautiful again and I look forward to seeing it when it’s completed. I don’t think you can ever take the “retail” out of the girl!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also on 5th Avenue, is well worth a walk through. The first cornerstone was laid in 1858 and completed in 1878. Over three years beginning in 2012 the church underwent a major restoration inside and out. Part of the work done was the installation of a geothermal system (believed to be the largest system in NYC) replacing the existing steam radiators and air conditioners. Over the years many celebrities have been married at St. Patrick’s or their funeral services were held there. Caroline Kennedy was baptized in this church, her uncle, Robert Kennedy’s funeral service was held there and an interesting entry found in the church’s marriage register lists the names of Francis (F.) Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre, however, they were married in the adjoining rectory. The funerals of many victims of 9/11 were also held in the cathedral.
On the day we visited St. Patrick’s, the bride and groom, pictured above on the church steps, was just married and another ceremony was in progress as we walked through. Also, to my delight, the organs were playing the most beautiful music reminiscent of a music history course I took many years ago…
The highlight of the day went to, “Beautiful”, the Broadway musical about Carole King. I saw the show in San Francisco several years ago, however, it was equally as special the second time around. The Tapestry album will always mark a significant period in my life and it was highly emotional (in a good way) to hear this music again. As the show starts with the first notes from “I Feel the Earth” the tears started to flow…thank goodness for waterproof mascara!
Before making our way to the theatre, we stopped for wine and cheese at the Plaza Hotel. The hotel is beautiful and ornate and, although, it’s very expensive to spend the night there it doesn’t cost a penny to walk through and appreciate it’s beauty. Fresh flowers are abundant throughout the lobby and lounges. This arrangement of miniature roses, part of an autumn display, along with tall vases of tiger lilies greeted us as we passed through the revolving doors.
Next week I will continue with part 2 of the New York adventure.