Last weekend, I visited my friend Amanda and got a chance to enjoy the holiday season in New York City, which is a giant place with giant buildings and a subway system that, once you figure out which letter of the alphabet train you need to be on, actually makes sense (though I’ll admit I do find it difficult to remember two numbered streets…my brain was never wired for numbers).
It’s great to visit the city with someone who knows her way around. Amanda smoothly delivered me from one destination to another: delicious French toast at a little French restaurant in Brooklyn, window shopping around Bryant Park, visiting a craft fair at The Knitting Factory, and late night martinis at Vintage. Speaking of food, I think my favorite meal of the weekend consisted of a pepperoni pizza at Patsy’s, then dessert at Serendipity – a tiny restaurant where you have to put your name on the reservation list about two hours in advance (no joke). I had English breakfast tea and a slice of peanut butter pie covered in hot fudge.
I finished it. Of course I did. I knew from experience that if I didn’t finish it, that uneaten bite of delicious pie would haunt me well into the new year (or until my next visit to NYC). When I was done I considered the serious possibility that I may never be hungry again. [If this entry doesn’t fill you up with enough foodie-goodness, check out the most recent issue of the GSLIS InfoLink full of ways to bake up some holiday cheer: http://web.simmons.edu/~lislive/infolink/.]
In honor of the season, we went to a tree-lighting celebration at the Park Avenue Church on Sunday night. It was cold out, and as the evening progressed we spoke in glowing terms about things done indoors, wearing pajamas, playing with Socrates and Macaroni (Amanda’s cats), being warm, etc. So we took a cab, but the driver stopped and, with apologies, let us out about a block away – it looked like there was an accident up ahead, so he couldn’t take us any further. Well, the obstruction happened to be the event itself – a couple hundred people poured out onto the street in front of the church, singing Christmas carols and waiting for the two tall pines to flicker with white lights. It was lovely.
On Monday we visited the New York Public Library with my friend Lauren (I’ll probably post more about this meeting later). They had one of the limited handmade editions of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, on loan from her U.S. editor, Arthur Levine. Of course, the little book was behind glass and we could only get a look at the beautiful title page, but it was still exciting to see it in person. You can get more views of it if you check out amazon.com. I haven’t read the book yet – it doesn’t have the same must-read-this-immediately urgency that the Harry Potter books did for me – but it’s certainly on my to-read list.
Now I’m back in Boston, a smaller city with somewhat shorter buildings and a unique and erratic subway system that is familiar to me with all of its unpredictability. Back to my own city at holiday time, this somewhat-delirious mix of end of semester frenzy and holiday celebration.