The day after Memorial Day I embarked on my second trip to New York City for the month. A week and a half before I had a concert to attend. One hour after arriving in Manhattan that evening, this happened on the Metro-North as I mentioned in my last post. En route to the train station that Tuesday, Twitter was informing me of delays on the Metro-North which turned out to be due to the death of an MTA worker on the tracks. I must admit to you, readers, that I was starting to wonder if there was some cosmic reason for me not to have mass indulgences of music for the month. But I made it on to the train eventually, and after some delay I found my way into Manhattan for a week long stay.
I wish I always felt this calm.
The plan was simple. I took an apartment in Woodside, Queens for all but one night of my stay. During the day, I would play tourist around the City and try to go places I had not seen before, and at night I would be at The Stone for high doses of music love.
Down the street from my apartment
Let me tell you, I needed this vacation. Saw many friends, include some people I’d only known from online interactions, made some new friends and acquaintances, and slept as late as I could. Note the could, because my apartment had sheer curtains and my body will respond to the first hint of morning light. Never mind if I had crawled into bed at 1am.
On Wednesday, I made my first trip to the Brooklyn Museum. Between the Egyptian exhibit, Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, and the fountain outside, it was the perfect first full day of vacation. It was also the day when I started to forget what day it was.
The museum on arrival
I have a love for Jackal anything
Thursday’s venture was to a place I had learned of through a Twitter follow suggestion some time ago. The African Burial Grounds. You can read about the Grounds here. If you go to Manhattan and have some time, I encourage you to visit. This was, without a doubt, the most profound part of my trip. I am still sorting out all I felt there.
The main memorial
Friday I went to a place I’ve seen many times before but can never resist: The American Museum of Natural History. One of my friends was up with his family from Venezuela for the week, and unfortunately I did not get to see the museum with them. Venezuela does not have museums like this, and everyone loved it I was told. For me, some of the exhibits were old hat. I ventured through the current installations about whales as well as the food one.
Confession time: I think I am done with going to see exhibits about food now, unless they discuss specific cultures or time periods. That subtle subtext that everything would be just fine if we all went vegetarian or vegan gets to me every time. But hey, displays of typical Roman, Mongolian, Indian, Iron Age European, and 19th Century diets? Sign me up!
An example of food waste
A more realistic “paleo” meal. Note the einkorn bread!
And the nights. Oh the nights… What can you say about six nights of your favorite band playing in a small venue, when their music has been such a big influence on your life for nearly a decade? And a band you have seen so often that the wall between musician and fan is now non-existent?
It is a blessing.
On Saturday I got up as usual (way too early!) and started to get my day going. A little before 10am it dawned on me once again that I was on vacation. And I did not HAVE to do anything that day. So I got myself back into bed and snoozed for a few hours while having NPR playing on the computer. Later in the day I went to Union Square, walked through their incredible farmer’s market, ate a gluten free muffin, saw the dancers you will see at the bottom of this post, caved to temptation at The Strand, and headed further downtown.
After getting to my hotel on Sunday I made my way over to the New York Public Library, a place I had passed many times before but never entered. Waiting for me in the lobby was my friend Erynn, who was in town for an award ceremony. We both oohed and ahhed over many of the public areas and had literary geek moments. After a side trip to a diner to rehydrate we parted ways, she had had a busy night ahead.
A replica of the library’s famous lion done in Legos, sitting in the foyer.
Between the final two sets, she sent me a text.
“Oooh. I won!”
And I told her she might just win too! Which is how I could say I spent my afternoon with the first every winner of the Bisexual Book Award for poetry!
With all the good, I do have to admit to this. I did some things “wrong” for myself with this trip. I never picked up anything for breakfast so each morning all I would have is some tea and raisins I had packed. Despite waking up around 8am most days my first meal would not happen until at least noon. I did keep up with some of the supplements but did not remember to pack my cod liver oil. Meals often included seafood, as little wheat as possible, but still with wine and carbs. With the stress out for a week and my days filled with spirit-fueling activities, I did not feel as though I was not eating enough.
And here is the single best food I had for the week: an oyster shooter from Ajisai restaurant in Manhattan. Eaten my last full day in the city, before going to the Library.
All too soon the week was over and I dreaded being away from these people with whom I had shared life for a week. It has to happen though.
But talk about saving the best for last. While I was waiting to get inside the Stone on the last night, I saw something to make my eyes go wide. How I did not turn into a babbling idiot for that moment I do not know. Good thing too, because when I went in I was able to make a request for something I’d had an idea of trying to get for a long, long time.
A photo of myself between two of my heroes. For some, you may see this and not have a clue, but trust me. This is bigger to me than when I hugged Eddie Vedder two years ago.
I’ll also be honest. This residency was first announced last November. I had a vague idea that perhaps this week would be my last big hurrah in the northeast. That I would run around New York City, come home, and pack away all my life in anticipation of starting a new job and life somewhere else in the country. I have applied for some jobs but due to the low energy levels that has not been nearly as active as I had hoped. And I have yet to hear any response for any of the jobs for which I did apply.
Next month I turn 39. And I feel like my life remains stalled out. I know the priority now is to get my health on track but for me it is also to move up in the world with my jobs. Looks like this summer is going to be the time to figure out just how to do that for real.
Performer at Union Square on Saturday.