New York City

In Manhattan last Wednesday, we strolled up Fifth Avenue, across Rockefeller Center, and down Broadway to Times Square. From here we passed by Bryant Park and the New York Public Library and back to Grand Central Station.

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The Hyatt Grand Central was a great location on 42nd Street. Across the street was the Central Café where I had one of the best bagels ever along with smoked salmon.

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We discovered Two Boots in a hidden nook inside Grand Central. I liked their pizza with its crisp crust. We explored the food court and the fresh market in this interior maze of corridors with hordes of people rushing to their destinations with determined expressions. It’s a frenzied city with a hectic pace. I liked the Hale & Hearty soup chain. Their soups are the best and very filling. It’s enough for a meal. And pastries are everywhere—fresh croissants in butter, chocolate, and almond varieties; apple Danish; big cookies. Street vendors abound. Naturally, we had to try a kosher hot dog along the way. Do you see a pattern here? I tend to define a city by its food.

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We took a taxi to Penn Station, the first time we’d been in this madhouse. The directions inside aren’t clear so we stumbled around trying to figure out what to do. As we were early for our train to Union Station in D.C., we entered the waiting lounge. Here we took turns exploring the shops and cafes lining the corridors, and I bought us a sandwich at a deli to keep for lunch. Finally, about 15 minutes before departure, the overhead screens lit up with the Track Number. After a bit of scrutiny, we found the proper escalator and trundled down to the train. Here it was a free-for-all for a seat. You scramble onto a car hauling your luggage and grab a vacant space. The seats were quite comfortable, with outlets for electronics and tray tables like on an airline. Cars ahead had card tables for patrons who wished to work on their laptops and a café car that sold snacks.

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This train was a lot smoother than the autotrain we’d taken from Sanford, FL to Lorton, VA. It was a pleasant ride with the scenery rolling by as we passed through New Jersey and Delaware on the way south. I wish our country kept up the rails and encouraged train travel like in Europe. It’s an adventure, and one we don’t get often enough. As we arrived at Union Station, we grabbed our luggage and joined the rush to the exit. We could have taken the Metro to Bethesda but not with all our suitcases, so we hailed a cab.

Coming Next: Malice Domestic

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New York City

New York City: The Sights

Recently I went to New York for orientation as incoming President of the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. This job also put me on the national Board of Directors. Friday night, I met the other chapter presidents and at-large directors as we mingled at the Mysterious Bookshop and enjoyed dinner together at Sammy’s Noodle Shop. The next day was filled with one long meeting where we learned about the organization and more about our roles. I found the sessions interesting and informative. A delicious dinner at Bobby Van’s Grill followed.

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The rest of the time was spent sightseeing. On Friday, we ate breakfast at Carnegie Deli. It was snowing! Thank goodness for my inherited mink coat. I wouldn’t have been warm enough otherwise.

Then we took a cab over to the American Museum of Natural History. Standing across from Central Park, I admired the wintry view.

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Jacket-length outerwear doesn’t work in this cold climate. You need a coat that covers your butt. I also wore a knit cap, gloves, and a cashmere scarf. Plus three layers underneath. The only problem was the heat that hit when you went inside a building. Four layers went on and off so often that I hurt my shoulder.

More on the museum exhibits later. My next free day was Sunday, so we strolled outside to see some of the main sights. It wasn’t our first visit to NY so we could skip all the places we’d already seen and just soak in the atmosphere. We sniffed roasted chestnuts and pretzels as we walked along.

We viewed the skaters at Rockefeller Center and nearby Radio City.

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Then we walked over to Times Square.

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We had to visit Macy’s with its nine floors but were too exhausted and hungry to go shopping. From here we walked to Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue and had lunch. The NY Public Library makes an impressive sight.

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Then we dipped into Grand Central Station to watch the people scurrying to make their trains and to visit the food markets.

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That night, we saw The Lion King. The costumes were spectacular. The way the actors depict the animals was fantastic. It’s a show worth seeing if you can meet the steep cost.

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New York is always fascinating, from the architecture to the eateries, to the jumble of people, and even to the trash waiting for curbside pickup. Steam issues from vents, trucks rumble by, taxi drivers honk their horns. It’s a maelstrom of humanity, but one you can never get tired of joining.

Yet it sure was nice to return home to the quieter life with palm trees, green grass, and balmy breezes. However, I’d better not put away that fur coat. It’s supposed to go down into the forties here. The good thing about our cold spells is that they don’t last long.

View all my photos here: http://fw.to/00nuTlP