03.22.2018 – 03.25.2018 NYC Trip Number 3

Second day in NYC – first full day — 3 PM. The previous stress of travel not here–sleep aid and wife help mitigate some of it. Snow on first day of spring had caused most flights in to be cancelled, but not ours. We arrived in a medium snowstorm, not a full blizzard. It wasn’t as cold as I half-expected it to be. Walked in snow toward Bryant Park (we are staying on W 36th St) and ended up stopping at the same soup place I’d eaten at before on the second night I went to Bryant Park to hear jazz the last time I’d traveled here. Public Library was closed. Took some pictures but ended up coming back to hotel early. Had two Manhattans at the hotel restaurant and a burger. Today we went back up to Met Museum of Art. It wasn’t as crowded as it had been the last time I went. Only one asshole guard. Walked back through Central Park to Times Square–purchased tickets to show tonight–first time I’ve ever been to a Broadway show–will be tonight… Mobs of people pushing ads for shows/tours down at Times Square. (oh, and Guggenheim was closed, of course, so we didn’t go.)

Had an exceptionally weird dream last night. Was warded a superpower (didn’t get to choose) where I could hit any ball thrown at me as a home run. So, since two teams (A’s and Angels) happened to be having spring training in Austin, I talked them into letting me try out. A’s wouldn’t give me a spot on their team, but the Angels did. My excitement over getting to play pro-ball at the age of 41 was diminished when my friend S from high school dropped his little sister on her head and wrecked her spine and paralyzed her. I spent the rest of the dream in a weird battle with a dream amalgamation of real-life enemies. Finally, I reached a truce with this dream enemy, but realized my dream truck was stolen.

New York so far has been fun to visit but that’s about it. It is definitely a young person’s city for chasing a young person’s dreams, and there is no way in this life I could force-fit myself into belonging here. But, I also don’t seem to be having the same highs and lows I did the last couple of times I visited–highs where NYC almost becomes a thing to worship and an idol. And, lows followed by moments of anger when too many people have bumped into me or yelled at me. Maybe this is a microcosm for what life inevitably becomes for someone as they get older–the great highs of greedy anticipation of epic experiences yet to come are repeatedly dashed and curbed–but the lows are also eventually tempered and stymied as endless moments of anger, depression and drama and eventually just dissipate into a lot of nothing. That said, it’s not as if I feel I’ve become a lukewarm, nothing of a chump. It’s more like I’ve finally figured out how to live calmly and enjoyably in a more realistic worldview. I could bemoan the fact that this outlook on life probably would have helped me excel more and potentially thrive here some twenty years ago–but, it’s taken me twenty years of hard work on myself to get to this place.

Setting out for South Manhattan today. The musical show was surprisingly entertaining — $169/person got us second row center seats where we could pretty much see every last little detail. Performers were pretty athletic as I guess Broadway dancers are supposed to be. I was constantly worried about them falling into the orchestral pit, but I guess that’s the dad in me. B. Peters was was the star–she was pretty nimble for a 70-year old old — she clearly has been doing this her entire life, and when she dropped a baton accidentally, she made hay with it — turned it into something comedic.

Leaving the show–you could clearly see that Times Square is 100% family friendly even late at night. A lot of people seem to prefer this destination as a trip for the pre-teen to make the kid feel like a special grownup. This will probably be our last visit for like ten years so I felt like it was well worth it to splurge on the tickets, and not cheap out a bit to sit farther back. Today we will see the Flatiron building, Washington Square, Strand Books, possibly WTC and Battery Park–maybe the Empire State Bldg. if the lines aren’t too long.

No dreams to report today–I had fragments of craziness but no real stories. I feel like I have something more to say soon about the mid-life, immature indulgences at OR–where I ate, drank and caroused too much with people 10-15 years younger than me (at lunch, mostly) but that’s for another time.

Top of WTC — pretty Disneyfied–wasn’t expecting so many blockers just to see a nice view out a window. Drank whiskey up there–we went to Strand Books before this–I could fill my house with the entire art section. Also saw Union and Washington squares plus the big WTC water memorial. It made me sad to see people taking selfies and just plain sad in general. The entire business of how 9/11 was handled by that presidency and how Iraq was a war formed out of manipulating people–it brought back a lot of sad memories and reminders that Bush did as shitty a job as Trump has so far–maybe shittier. Bush might be a nicer person, but he was as much of a fuckup clown. And, also, on a personal level–memories of what a fuckup clown I was during 2000-2009–maybe still? My own private issues that I wrestle with–plus the moments throughout the day, especially a day like this immersed in so many people where I can see how I’m still such an unformed person. But, during the years of Bush, my mid-late twenties, I was utterly clueless about so many things and so full of fear–so convinced that I’d mostly figured the world and myself out.

The dream of one day living in NYC hasn’t ever completely died–but it’s been deferred to another life. My ability to get past the kinds of things that don’t matter when it comes to impressing the world–it has only improved incrementally.

An analogy would be the way I sued to think so many superficial things might impress a girl I favored–like TC–whose entire set of male family members served in the Marines. I thought on the Senior Trip that she’d be impressed with my brother’s old USMC sweatpants. Never mind that I had no intention of joining any branch of the military at the time, or that I’d never bothered to ask TC what kinds of things she liked, or even bothered to listen to her and treat her as a human being. She was always just some kind of freakishly beautiful goddess–which meant she was somehow rendered subhuman and more than human at the same time–which was almost certainly not how she ever wanted to be treated. The same goes for my attitude about one day living in a place like NYC–each time I have visited here, I have treated it as a kind of mystical place where one has to become something more or less than human to live here. Getting to live here involves more effort than “appeasing the gods” with a pair of I Heart NY sweatpants–but it isn’t just the deified and angelic and the demonic that live here– plenty of rather average, normal and probably pretty boring people make their homes here, too.

Weird dream about my mom. We were setting coffee mugs to dry out on an odd stand. Mom decided she needed to dry used tea bags on the pegs, and this was of more importance than drying the mugs. I got in an argument with her over this and then she left the room and I heard a voice say, “Do you hate your mom?” I replied “I do. I really do.” I’ve never ever thought or said this in the waking life (or the sleeping life, before last night). My mom came back and I asked her where the mugs were supposed to dry if we were putting tea bags on all of the pegs. She said, “on a plate, of course.”

I woke up feeling bad about saying that I hated my mom–even in a dream. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of what the dream might have meant.

Yesterday, the walk back took a little longer than I’d expected, but I was happy to walk it though I think A’s getting tired of walking everywhere. We were going to eat at Keen’s Steakhouse, which is a few doors down from our hotel, but it required reservations (or an hour wait), so we went to a place called Brendan’s a block down, and the steak there tasted great to me. Today, we are sticking closer to the hotel: Grand Central Terminal, NYPL, Morgan Library, MOMA, maybe the Empire State Building.

I’m missing Liam a lot and Taffy, too. I think this trip was about the right length for a trip without our son. I am looking forward to when he’s big enough to travel with us.


And that concludes what I’d written down in my travel log. We ended up visiting the Empire State Building, Macy’s and United Nations Building on the last day, the day we flew out (25th), and got caught up in a March for Our Lives march going on when we made our way over to the MOMA.

The MOMA was pretty cool, but way too crowded at the time for my taste. Modern art needs a lot of space and silence to be appreciated–the experience with a much smaller collection at the Ft. Worth Modern is probably better.

The flight home was uneventful. We sat directly behind first class, and had any number of little tiny micro-engagements with the guy in the seat in front of us and the precious curtain they pull down to keep the riffraff from using their bathroom. Why anyone would want to spend a thousand dollars extra for a little more leg room and a few token amenities is beyond me. I think it’s more about people needing to sit on a pedestal and look down at others, no matter how small the pedestal is and how deluded they are about their importance.