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A New York State of Mind

October 21, 2019

Sunrise over the Upper West Side

I’m going to backtrack because I forgot to write this down.


Staying in upstate New York with my old housemate Robina Bobina, she invited me to come to New York City with her and her boyfriend.

I said no, of course. I’m not my mother’s daughter just so I can leap into things all willy-nilly when invited. It’s the anti-pleasure principle. But Robin was persuasive. Her boyfriend, Michael, would drive, and his family owned a pied-a-terre across from Zabar’s and we would have a grand time.


Zabars – my final resting place

Coincidentally, before she ever mentioned this, I had told Robin I wanted my ashes to be put in a cookie tin and placed on a high shelf at Zabar’s so I could rest in peace in my happy place.

(Zabar’s is a grocery store/deli like no other. It has a cheese section that brings could take months to properly explore if you didn’t want to risk lactose overdose).

So then I said yes. I got to meet Michael, a super cute dermatologist with a super zippy Audi. He and Robin are goofy about one another in the sweetest possible way.

We got to Manhattan on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend and it was perfect. The weather was just softly warm and lovely and the city was deserted and not at all noisy or overwhelming – NYC at it’s most poetic. You could almost hear Rhapsody in Blue swelling in the background.

We ate Indian food and strolled up to Magnolia Bakery to finish stuffing ourselves with Banana Pudding (Robin and Michael) and Lemon Bars (me). This was pretty much the whole weekend – eating and walking, walking and eating.


Instagramming our Barney Greengrass

On Saturday, we breakfasted at Barney Greengrass and parted ways – Robin and Michael to go walk through her old Riverside neighborhood and go shopping, me to get a haircut and see my friend Suzanne, whom I have known since the days when she used to publish a blog called “CUSS and other rants.”

Suzanne and I of course ate out. She had run 13 miles that morning. Hey, I got a haircut, so that’s pretty much the same thing, right? We had Druze food. Good golly, Miss Molly, I love New York and its cornucopia of world cuisine. We walked around and hung out at her place, which is conveniently only about 6 blocks from Michael’s family’s apartment.

I spent the afternoon – guess what – walking around, taking photos, gaping at the Nobel Monument like a tourist, and playing Pokemon Go. A perfect afternoon. I stopped at Milk Bar to get a highly overrated slice of Milk Bar Pie and to watch other tourists take photos of their ice cream.

That night Suzanne, her husband and I went out to eat (of course) – New York pizza this time – and walked around and then we just sat around their kitchen table and drank water and laughed our heads off because of stuff like Justin buying these as a subtle protest of his new open-plan office where he has to share a table with his boss and others.

The next day, a long-awaited pilgrimage to the Noguchi museum in Queens, where we met up with another old blogging friend, Neil Kramer. Isamu Noguchi is my favorite modern sculptor, with work that is solid and light at the same time. One of Noguchi’s works just stopped me in my tracks at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art years ago, and I had always wanted to see his former workshop and museum. We drove Neil back to Manhattan so he could eat Thai food with us and then go to a movie.


Isamu Noguchi, supergenius

That night, we strolled around Central Park and down to the East Side and watched Brazilian drummers and dancers in the park, celebrating after the Brazilian Day parade. In the morning, we made the trip out to Queens to see Michael’s grandmother, the fabulous matriarch of a sprawling, funny Jewish family whose members keep several different levels of kosher and can talk at length about whether Zabar’s rugelach are the safe for one of the cousins. They told family stories around the kitchen table, reminiscing about vacations and summer camp and who played what musical instrument, just a beautiful family time.

Amd then back to upstate. It was a weekend as full and interesting as NYC itself. I didn’t do many of the typical tourist things (desserts excepted) but it was perfect. Labor Day Weekend in New York City – highly recommended.


Central Park at night, with those weird skinny buildings everyone hates

  1. Robin permalink
    October 21, 2019 23:35

    That’s one of those weekends I file in the, Such A Pleasure/Won’t Forget file. Love you.

    • October 22, 2019 05:04

      Thank you so much for inviting me! It was so much fun. You and Michael are great travel partners.

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