The theme of Mom’s last visit was all Brooklyn; She never stepped foot in Manhattan. The theme of this trip turned out to be taking the subway to faraway places—that is, when we weren’t hiding from the cold in our apartment. Last week brought the kind of cold that makes you wish toes weren’t a thing. Once they are numb little blocks it ain’t so bad, but the freezing process is brutal.
We tend to get stuck in a Williamsburg/Lower East Side/East Village rut so it was refreshing to expand our NYC horizons.
Our first adventure was to Inwood, at the northern tip of Manhattan, to visit The Cloisters. Before the long trip we loaded up on egg and cheese bagels and donuts at the 7th Ave Diner & Donut Shop. The trip is a good hour subway ride, but though we would scoff at driving an hour to a museum in Chicago, an hour on the subway is an experience in itself. Plus, subway time is never lost time because it’s just a built-in period to read.
Once at 190th St. we trekked through the treacherous Fort Tryon Park, with it’s snowy paths and icy stone steps. (As a nurse, you’re always acutely aware of fall hazards. In fact, worrying about teetering patients becomes so ingrained that when I bumped into someone on the street last week, instead of getting annoyed and scowling like a proper New Yorker, my immediate reaction was to ensure he was O.K. (in my pediatric nurse voice) and steady on his feet. He was a bit confused, but in the hospital a fall on your watch means incident reports and a disappointed nurse manager. )
Anyways, we made it to The Cloisters, a charming castle overlooking the Hudson River, without so much as a stumble. We decided that one of the most boring occupations must be a security guard in a museum. However, if that were one’s destiny, The Cloisters would be your best bet because there are windows and sunlight. Oh, and lemon trees. Lemons are always a nice job perk.
Our favorite exhibit turned out to be a cute carpenter, perched high on scaffolding as he worked on a new exhibit. Not to subjectify men or anything …
For our second adventure, an hour on the F train took us to the Indian neighborhood of Jackson Heights. In Chicago we live right next to the main Indian neighborhood but have always been surprisingly disappointed by the Indian food in New York City. With no real plans in mind we got off the subway and simply wandered around looking for a restaurant (with a bit of help from Yelp). We peaked into colorful sari shops, browsed the Patel Brothers’ grocery store and passed stoic Sikh men with bright turbans standing guard in their jewelry shops. Finally, we settled on a restaurant. Though still not as good as Indian food in Chicago, we were especially pleased with the little pot of rice pudding everyone is given at the end. Much superior to fortune cookies.
P.S. Mama gave us my favorite blanket, which she crocheted years ago. It’s amazing how warm a blanket with holes can be.