"Allyson, it's two days".
"TWO days and a little bit more".
He could not be swayed, I was going along, like it or not. Ripped from the very source of my being, my husband was taking me to New York, without children, for two days, and a little bit more. Owed, like everything else, to a deep and buried neurosis, only to be revealed in years of intense therapy (or a glass of wine and a few runs of Mommy Dearest), I am terrified at the idea of leaving the girls. Not that I worry, I'm quite certain that my sister is fully capable of preparing three meals per day, dressing and bathing children and setting them off for school, I simply miss them when I am away. Of course I am not terribly familiar with the idea, in five years I have been apart from them twice, once dragged along to California on a business trips with Jack and once I was sent, kicking and screaming, to a truly delightful fortieth birthday party for my friend Heather who quite rudely held her party in Denver, where she lives. That I absolutely enjoyed myself both times is completely beside the point. This latest wild romp to New York makes three angst ridden occasions where I have been separated from the very ones who make me crazy.
Despite all my best effort, the idea began to grow on me. I began to compile my list: the Frick collection, the Biography Bookstore, Fishs Eddy, Books of Wonder, the Eloise shop at the Plaza, Bemelman's at the Carlyle, Bryant Park, Murray's. My interest grew with each addition and as luck would have it, it was Restaurant Week in New York. New Yorkers, I've been told, eat out more than anyone else on earth, and so it follows that when visiting New York you should do as the natives do and eat from every corner. That I have never seen an Applebee's in Manhattan makes it even more enticing (although please note that TGIFridays seems to have cornered the market on mass produced tourist friendly fare; I believe it possible to find fried zucchini on every corner in Midtown). Reservations were made, plans were outlined.
The dear old friend with whom I was to have dinner with Monday night called in sick. It rained, and rained, and was 57 degrees. A nice change if you are dressed appropriately but not welcomed when you decide to walk across a small island in wool pants, a turtleneck, boots, and a long coat, carrying a ridiculous amount of children's books, in search of Eleanor Roosevelt's Greenwich Village apartment. Jack's meeting ran three hours late, and when he finally returned he brought with him a headache so severe that he spent the next two hours on his back unable to move his head. My own appetite had been left in Chicago having spent the days prior holding a now recovered flu ridden child. All that Manhattan had to offer, culinarily, was lost on us. At 11 pm we walked to the corner market, bought microwave popcorn, and returned to our charming hotel.
It was a lovely trip. I love New York, I love my husband for, among other things, forcing me to go, and I love corner markets, open at all hours, that offer fresh flowers, baklava, curried chick peas and microwave popcorn.
Although I did miss my girls, they would really love the Madeline tea at Bemelman's.