Published: May 2nd 2011April 27th 2011
Finally, we made good on a promised day trip to New York City that had been cancelled three times during the winter because of storms. Three of us, two sisters and our mother’s youngest sister, made up for the previous disappointments on a lovely April Wednesday. We spent less than 15 hours (portal to portal) and slightly more than $150 each (including Amtrak round trip tickets) for this little jaunt!
We chose to sit on the “river side” on the train, and this foggy April morning offered brilliant vistas toward the Catskills as we click clacked out of Albany Rensselaer toward Penn Station! Henry Hudson’s River was waking up from a long winter’s nap and commercial and pleasure craft, including a schooner with square rigging, tug boats tugging tankers, and fishing boats were taking advantage of the spring day.
The 8:05 out of Albany arrived in Penn Station at 10:34 AM. We caught the” A” train ($2.50) uptown heading for The Cloisters, a collection of medieval art in a setting that begs the question, “Was this ancient chapel built here by John D. Rockefeller in the late ‘30s or was it moved here stone by stone from some ancient
This captured unicorn is one of several unicorn tapestries on exhibit at the Cloisters. Now I know why they became extinct!
European monastery?” It's located way uptown in the Bronx at 99 Margaret Corbin Drive adjacent to Fort Tryon Park. Our “Googled” directions told us to exit the train at 190th Street, take the elevator (which was staffed by a uniformed gentleman) and followed the signs. Our walking route took us through delightful spring gardens at Fort Tryon Park. One section was a bit steep with no handrail; but we did it.
The collection of medieval art at The Cloisters is incredible – tapestries, carved statues from wood and stone, and stained glass! The courtyard was just starting to awaken from winter. A great surprise is that for our $15 senior admission, we would also have admittance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and while there is a bus cross town, a woman at the reception desk recommended a “car service” for $20. That was a great discovery. Car service or not, we recommend this “off the beaten path” New York attraction.
The “car” left us off at Metropolitan Museum of art at 82nd Street and Fifth amid hoards of our fellow tourists. We only had time for the rare and outstanding Forbidden City exhibit. We could spend a week
Metropolitan Museum of Art
I wasn't allowed to take photos of the splendid Forbidden City Exhibit!
here and hardly scratch the service. Lunch was a New York”Hot Dog With the Works Lunch” sitting on the steps of the Met. Lunch from a cart we have patronized before, including three bottles of waters was $9.50.
We nabbed a cab for the ride down Fifth Ave. to 434 E. 60th between 3rd and 2nd, so Aunt Ellen could show us the brownstone where she lived in NYC when she worked at Ogilvy & Mather in the 1960’s. We took a detour through the Waldorf lobby from the Madison Ave. entrance to the Waldorf Astoria (301 Park Ave.) and exited on the Park Ave. side with stop at the beautiful Terrace Ballroom which was in full prep for a big shindig – k-9 patrol and NYPD briefing staff as we did our “site inspection”
The Rockefeller Plaza Alley was beautifully decorated for Easter and we chatted with a supposed “fashonista” who wanted us to take her picture. Everyone has a role to play – even the lingerie buyer from upstate.
On our way to Times Square we popped into Christie’s Auction House (49th St. – 20 Rockefeller Plaza) to see if the date for the Liz Taylor preview and
Christie's Auction House
This is where some of Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry will be auctioned in the fall of 2011.
auction had been set. The featured preview of a “strings” auction with several young violinists giving the ancient inventory a work out was an unexpected treat!
We started to slow down a bit (our threesome’s combined age is well over 2 centuries) as we walked down 6th (Ave. of the Americas) and headed to the theatre district and Chez Josephine a bit beyond Times Square, but not before buying pretty scarves from a sidewalk seller - $5 each – 5/$20.
I used Open Table to make our dinner reservations at Chez Josephine (414 W. 42nd St. between 9th & 10th). We got the window table we requested and were welcomed warmly by Jean Claude Baker. Being at this bistro, surrounded by art celebrating the life of Josephine Baker, the American dancer, singer, actress, resistance operative (in France during WW II) and civil rights activist in the US during the 1960s is like being in Paris. Dinner was relaxed, delicious and very French. The accommodating maitre d snagged us a cab on 8th for our 7:15 departure from Penn Station 31st and 7th. We were home by 11PM.
PS --- When the “Loo” calls! We put our stamp of approval on
This woman has a fascinating story. Her adopted son, Jean Claude, wrote a book about her; but Google is also a great resource.
the brand new “necessary rooms” in Penn Station, the main floor lavatory of Christie’s auction house, and the upstairs “salon de bains” at Chez Josephine (if only just because you have to walk clear through the restaurant and get a good glimpse of the art, the grand piano and the other guests).
There are more photos below