Sunday, 10 August 2008

Final New York Days

And so my last week in New York comes to an end. Friday I had the MPRE (professional ethics exam) which I'm pretty sure I failed, but will find out in 5 weeks - not too fussed if I have although it will slow down my admission to the NY Bar, and will have to come back and take it again. It was quite tough taking another exam after the relief of finishing the main bar exam!

Anyway, I was much more focussed on actually having some fun this week, with no studying (well, see above anticipated failure - there may have been some studying I should have done, but whatev...) and me and Boy having recovered from our respective colds/manflu.

And so we went - to breakfast, to lunch, to dinners, to the American Natural History museum (dinosaurs and lizards!), the Brooklyn Botanical gardens (pretty trees and flowers, lovely!), Wednesday I visited some chums, Thursday, the Brooklyn Museum - which was a real treat, lots of Egyptian Antiquities. Actually they have an amazing collection, I didn't really expect that (in little old Brooklyn) but it's actually up there with the Met and the Natural History Museums - 3rd best collection, or best museum or something in the whole of the US actually! It has trouble attracting people from Manhattan actually - I guess people have the same prejudice/ misinformation.

So for a lovely day, off the beaten track I strongly recommend a visit to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum next door. They're both at the top of Prospect Park, in the lovely Park Slope area - and it won't be full of other tourists. If you like Ancient Egyptian or African stuff you'll appreciate it. We just watched Cleopatra (the Taylor/Burton version - not that there's another there?) so it was quite a good point to visit.

I must say, NY museums are quite pricey- I can't imagine going as a family with kids, which is often when you'd want to go, surely, to somewhere like the Natural History Museum? - at generally about $20 admission plus extra for special exhibitions, you're looking at over $100 for the average family - before you've even stepped foot in the cafe or the gift shop! Some museums do have suggested admissions so you can give less, and some have free days once a month or so, but it does make me appreciate the great resource that is London Galleries - all fantastic and free!

Yesterday, our penultimate New York day, was also Boy's birthday. Now for various reasons, we've never actually spent a birthday together in our many years, and given we'd just finished this round of tortuous exams, this was an occasion not to be missed. I asked Boy what he most wanted to do on his birthday - and he said ride bumper cars.

By which I assumed he meant bash the hell out of me in a bumper car, but I was game. And so after gifts in bed, and a fantastic brunch in Downtown Brooklyn (Eggs Norwegian with perfect poached eggs and chips, solid cup of tea (rare, round here - why do they always give you a cup of hot water and a tea bag? Don't they know you need boiling water to make a decent cup of tea? So if you give me a cup of hot water it's likely to be far below boiling by the time it gets to me and I can actually dunk my teabag? And why put the milk in the water if I ask for milk and thus make it worse in two ways - by making it even colder and mixing the teabag with the milk - which is obviously and MORTAL tea sin? DON'T you understand how I need a decent cup of tea? And wtf is with the flipping non-dairy creamer, don't you know that stuff is crap?! And don't you have anything other than Liptons which is just brown floor dust?!! Is PG tips or a Tetley too much to ask?!! -

Woah, serious tangent. Ok I feel strongly about tea. But seriously, know that milk in with the teabag is wrong. Where was I?

Yes - so brunch, mimosas and an excellent (I'm told) corned beef hash. Yummy. Sated and happy, we headed to Coney Island - a tacky seaside area - not quite Blackpool or Margate, but maybe that's just because it was a gorgeous, sunny day and so it looked nice. But otherwise, not a great piece of urban planning - spoils the lovely beach view! We went on the big ferris wheel - with swinging cars that made my poached eggs consider a reappearance - and the bumper cars, where I bumped and was bumped equally.

After some icecream (massive triple-baller, naturally) and a walk along the Boardwalk, we headed back to change and drop off shopping from the morning. Then to Central Park and a dance show - we had thought we were seeing something Mozarty but it actually was a Samoan interpretive dance show inspired by Mozart's Requiem. Yes. Exactly.

Now, consider how much sense interpretive dance usually makes. Now frame that in the context of a foreign language - well poetry in a foreign language, and different cultural references and norms as to movement, music, sound and physicality generally. Add in the fact that we got there just as it was starting and so had no time to look at the programme, it was a tad baffling. Mostly people shuffling about the stage very slowly, or in a quick stepping way that reminded me of our mouse...but very interesting even if we had no idea what was going on. I assumed it was about death, and I think that was in there somewhere!

We had time for a night-time walk through Central Park, which really is a magical place. You really have this feeling of being in the middle of something - somewhere important, and somewhere important in Central Park, and Manhattan generally. Or New York city generally. Then we crossed Manhattan to get to the Brooklyn Bridge, which we planned to walk over to get to our dinner reservation. It was full of Frenchies, and to be avoided if you're afraid of heights (look down through the gaps in the boards and you will see down onto the motorway or the water) but a lovely view of the Brooklyn and Manhattan skylines.

We dined at the lovely River Café, which was lovely. Even though I nearly landed on my face walking to our table on their nightly waxed floor (and on leaving, but we were the last couple to leave so by then it was empty). The staff were attentive and helpful, we had a window seat and a view of the entire Manhattan skyline (think of the view they always show in films - or on Friends - lovely) and the food was amazing. Lobster out of the shell (how they managed it in one piece I have no idea), cooked in butter and I don't know what else - crack, I presume, nothing natural can taste that good). Unfortunately, the floor was a bit overwaxed for my soles' liking and I nearly face planted...on the way in and out.

Oh well - luckily I'm not easily embarrassed any more!

And so we got a taxi back to the flat, then had a nice candle lit glass of wine before going to bed...unfortunately we kinda fell asleep and started smelling burning. A big pillow/cushion thing on the bed had caught aflame...Boy helpfully tossed it on the floor, not realising the drop and roll thing wasn't really intended for synthetic items - and so natch, we had to dump the cushion, and leave burn marks on the rug and floor - slightly affected the ambience as well!

Still, no injuries and overall - a fantastic day, that really captured the magic of a good New York Day. It's a big, dirty grimy, expensive city like any other, so I'm sure that bad New York days really suck. But I can't help wanting to return- and soon. I will definitely look into an LLM programme there.

If only to be able to taste more buttery-crack sautéed lobster!

*sigh* - as they say, I think:


Law Minx said...

I KNOW I've said it a thousand times before and that I am the most boring person in the entire ETHER when it comes to matters repetitive, but I remain simply EMERALD with complete envy with regard to your stateside hiatus!
I havent been for YEARS, and your lovely posts bring back to mind all sorts of wonderful tastes sights sounds and smells.
New York is indeed a wonderful town!! :)

Mel said...

You know, I don't mind making you envious because then you remember your fab times there, and then maybe you book a flight and go and have another fab time. (new shoes, minx mobiles, and bank managers notwithstanding).

Then it would be a good thing, not a bad thing :)