And lo, after two days of reconnecting with my family, my boyfriend did some to join the fray. This was a thing that had caused me endless nerves over the preceding couple of weeks, but suddenly it was happening, and people were saying ‘hello’ and there was hugging, and then it was over (By which I mean, the meeting was over. It did not go that badly.), and we continued our weekend with one extra recruit.
Washington Square Park: Do you like yoga? Do you like curry? Do you like being stomped on from every conceivable angle by people in a rush to eat free samosas and then do (ill advised, considering the aforementioned samosas) headstands? Then the Indian fair would have been for you! This was a completely unexpected thing that happened to be happening when the boyfriend and I were trying to meet up with the rest of the family. I’d made a mental note to look for my sister’s orange dress to be able to spot them. This suddenly became a lot more difficult in a park filled with people in Hare Krishna robes.
The Highline: This was New York’s wedding central. Brides at the base, brides wandering around the park itself… Each one trailing a photographer and a bored new husband. A touch awkward for the first meeting between parents and boyfriend? Perhaps. But studious ignoring won the day and we had a nice time. What’s not to like about a park built on an old, raised trainline? Not only could you see directly into peoples’ windows (no lie, my favourite thing), but there were sun loungers that rolled up and down the left over train tracks. And ice cream sandwiches. And a bar. And the bloody sunshine! What more could one want?
9/11 Memorial: For a place of tranquility and remembrance, it seems strange that one currently has to spend a good half on an hour being yelled at by police officers and various other kinds of security, and going through airport-style security before you actually get to see it. I assume this is because it is not yet open and security will eventually calm down.
The memorial itself is, or course, touching and appropriate and sensitively done. They don’t need some snarky British blogger being flippant about the place because that’s just kind of her thing, and therefore there isn’t a lot else that needs to be said.
Staten Island Ferry: The citizens of Staten Island must get seriously annoyed at the boatloads of people who ride the ferry over there only to immediately turn back without once setting foot on any land that isn’t made of ferry terminal. But, whatever. It was a nice day, we’d never done it before, and it’s not my local economy suffering because of an incredibly high tourist bounce rate. And really, since Hurricane Sandy took chunks out of Ellis Island and forced it to close until 2014, this is the only way to upskirt the Statue of Liberty. Or as good as.
And I highly recommend Staten Island, too. It contains at least one person (who plays the violin) and its Ferry terminal smells like popcorn.
Brooklyn Bridge: We didn’t actually cross this, but it’s still a nice part of the world. This is due, in no small part, to the presence of a Wafels and Dinges truck (which was the entire reason I dragged my entire band of ragtag followers the 8000 miles from the ferry on foot) and a group of shirtless men doing gymnastics (which was an unexpected, but not unwelcome, bonus).
Interest was added by a distant shouting and a constant stream of orthodox Jewish men walking past, which turned out to be a huge protest. I couldn’t be arsed to stand up and walk the two minutes around the corner to go and have a look, so I did some pretty heavy research for at least two minutes on Twitter and Instagram. So I don’t want to hear any flack from anyone about the political apathy of my generation. I googled. In the street, dammit!
Weather Forecasting: This was not technically an outing, but it was something of an event. Having watched the weather forecast predict doom and gloom on TV, I (somewhat racially insensitively considering the nationality of the boyfriend) dismissed the entire country as a one full of people who would write off an entire day if they thought it would rain for five minutes. And to be fair, they do do that sometimes. They have been spoilt by living in a country where the sun comes out from May until September pretty much everywhere and pretty much without fail. I was wearing scarves indoors in July last year in good ol’ Wasteford. So yes, they do sometimes write off a day for the sake of a little bit of rain. This was not one of those times. It tipped it down all day.
The Museum of Natural History: As the old proverb goes, ‘when it rains, resort to dinosaur bones and space’. After a soggy walk through Central Park we ended up abusing my ‘company that must not be named’ privileges again and broadening our minds. Or at least, wandering around the foyer pointing at things and talking about ‘Night At The Museum’, because who doesn’t love Ben Stiller? I also learned about Black Holes which, to paraphrase a ten minute film, are some scary shit.
Cafe Lalo: I’ve mainly avoided talking about food on here, because I generally do not give it enough thought and people tend to disagree with me and, well, you’ve seen how long these posts have been without the help of lists of all the burgers I’ve eaten (half a ton, at last count). But holy cheesecake, Batman! A brief Yelp search for ‘cheesecake’ near the museum, motivated largely by the desire to find a roof which did not have fossils under it, scared up this Aladdin’s cave of cholesterol.
It had a cabinet with a row of cheesecake in it which, when you bent down, turned out to be two rows. Bending down lower revealed a third. If you dropped it like it’s hot you’d see four complete layers of cake. I’m pretty sure they’d all be amazing because, well, I’ve met cake. If I didn’t want to live to see 24 I’d be there every day.
The Future: I have two brilliant friends who live my dream life in Brooklyn. They are also my boyfriend’s friends (and the reason we met, which is a story too sickly to go into when I’m still thinking about cake) and my family’s friend’s too, after they came to stay with us last year. So naturally, while everyone was in the same town, we had to be in the same room and eat the same food and just generally get together. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we played Uno. As all lovely nights should go.
Tuesday was the kind of ‘packing and mooching around’ day that typifies the end of a Masters family holiday. The boyfriend proved his mettle once and for all by traipsing round after us in the mall listening to us ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over things that, for him, are every day occurrences. If there’s a list of people who deserve a medal somewhere, his name should be added. Nay, engraved. Even if this list is only on paper. It was just that impressive.
And all too soon it was time for everyone to fly away home. I wish I could pretend I did something monumental and poetic and wistful after bidding goodbye to all of my loved ones for another good few months at least. Something worthy of the sad goodbyes I’d just had. You know – wave a hanky, chase people to airline gates, stare at the rain out of a window…
I bought a stuffed pizza in order to eat my feelings, and finally got around to cleaning my bathroom.
But the moral of this entire weekend is… Stuffed pizza is a thing. Nobody need ever feel lonely again.