New York was great fun - even better than I expected. Yesterday I walked from Times Square to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, via Central park, which is about two and a half miles, and left me with reasonably sore feet. I love walking when I'm travelling, though. It's how I get a sense of a place. There's nothing to beat it for catching the rhythm of a place, to let you stop being a tourist and become a traveller. I spent a couple of hours in the Met, which is never going to be enough, even if you have a plan. I had a plan - impressionists, modern American art, and the American wing, which I'd never been to. That would have been fine, if Greek statues and Polynesian canoes, and Roman glass hadn't kept getting in the way. And the Japanese special exhibition, which had some of the most beautiful objects I've ever hurried past.
I did get to see quite a lot that I hadn't before, though, and I really liked the American wing. 
From there, it was back across the park to meet [livejournal.com profile] amelia_eve for tea, then downtown to meet [livejournal.com profile] anthrokeight for pizza and drinks. We wandered the length of Bleeker Street (I was looking for Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, but ended up finding a good book shop instead. Obviously he had his house shielded behind the Vapors of Valtorr. I'd probably do the same thing, if I was Sorcerer Supreme.) The three of us ended up outside the White Horse, where Dylan Thomas vomited his last. 
I got dropped off at my hotel, and had a late night stroll around Times Square. What the women got up to, I have no idea. 

I was up quite early this morning and over at the Frick Collection when it opened at 11. I'd never been there before, and I'm glad I took the advice of friends to see it. Not just for the treasures - THREE Turners which I'd never seen before, and Holbein's portrait of Thomas Moore, and, and, and... No, the thing I'll remember is the cherubs. Frick paid a million for a series of four French paintings of a love affair, commissioned by one the Louis' last lovers. They look fine, if a little old fashioned, in the room he had prepared for them. What makes the whole place worth the price of the admission, though, are the cupids painted around and between the masterpieces. Pink, plump cupids, causing trouble and hunting down doves to sacrifice on the altar of love, they are a screwball commentary on the courtly courtship going on in the frames. Think Chuck Jones, and the paper scraps of angels my sister used to collect. I laughed a lot. 

From there, it was off to Chinatown for some great Dim Sum with [livejournal.com profile] amelia_eve  and then back up town to the Apple Store, to charge my iPhone and buy some geegaws which are much cheaper here than in the UK. The rest of the day was spent in two parks, one an old friend, one a new experience. 
The High Line is what happens when an elevated railway gets abandoned, goes wild, and then gets reopened as a park which cuts above 20 blocks or so of the lower West side. Getting there took me through New York's own Chelsea, and I like the look of it a lot. It probably costs too much for me to ever live there, but I liked what I saw of it. Interesting restaurants, tree-lined residential streets, and even a cat. 
The park itself is wonderful. It's very obviously designed and styled, and it should seem too mannered, but it doesn't. I'd love to spend more time there. 
Then a hike up and across town to Bryant Park, possibly my favourite spot in the whole city. 25 years ago it was a junkie-infested plague spot, and then it got itself re-invented as a green space just off 42nd street, with peaceful little cafes, chess tables, and an immaculate lawn. It also had two benches dedicated to two of my favourite characters from detective fiction: Bernie Rhodenbahr, a book-selling burglar who keeps discovering corpses, and Matt Scudder, a sober alcoholic who solves crimes by looking at suspects in a perplexed and disappointed way until they confess just to make him go away. Sometimes they kill themselves, rather than risk Matt knocking on their doors again to explain why bad people shouldn't get away with murder. I took a picture of Bernie's brass plaque ( Bernie likes a drink, and the ladies, and his cat, Raffles) but there was a homeless person sleeping on Matt's bench, and I didn't want to disturb him. 
That left me, I thought, just enough time to pick up my case from the hotel and then trot to the train station. My train was due to leave at 9.00, and to get me in to Providence at 12.15. Instead it left at 11, and now I won't be home until two in the morning. I'm trying to see this as an extension of my holiday weekend, but I know I have to be on a call at 8, and another at 9, and I can't say I'm too happy about that...

Anyway - great weekend, confirming New York again as a city I'm never going to tire of. 

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