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A final look at our most awesome New York City adventures, made special by the fact that darlin’ Maren got to join us for a spell! We met for brunch at the Beehive Oven in Brooklyn, a postage stamp of a place with snazzy food and equally good service. I noshed on the picnic platter and had no complaints – pimento cheese, pickles, deviled eggs, ham and biscuits. Yes, ma’am. A friend of mine once asked if I hailed from the South, my devotion to biscuits, grits, Tabasco, and pimento cheese more than a passing fancy. The truth is simple, I am a Westerner, through and through, but if the food is delicious, I want it in my mouth.

We took the subway to Brighton Beach and walked to Coney Island, which tickled me in ultimate tourist fashion, I suppose. I mean, seriously, how many places can a person DO that? Cool. Cool. Cool. It was fun and silly, and straight out of the movies, with the hubster and I dipping our toes into the Atlantic for the first time! The skies were threatening and the wind fierce, but that water was WARM!

We took the subway back into town, thinking we’d spend a couple of hours at the Guggenheim, but with a line of people numbering in the h u n d r e d s, we changed our plan right-quick and spent the better part of our evening at an Upper East Side deli eavesdropping on the cutest bunch of elderly ladies and pondering relativity. They were what we would consider rich, each with a driver and a penchant for expensive delivered flowers and yogurt parfaits from Dean & Deluca, but when the conversation drifted to a couple they knew who bought an apartment just to store their winter clothes, and we all gasped, “Can you imagine?!”, the next upper echelon was revealed.

And finally, the A R T ! Bushwick has more murals in super-close proximity than any neighborhood I’ve ever visited. They are of every size and subject and painted by highly skilled hands. Every corner brought a new delight!


Hey there, and happy Friday!

Look at all of the light: the brilliant, almost white, bleaching stately apartments on the Upper West Side and one of the most handsome subway stations, ever, to the low light of shade and the moody brilliance of night time. New York, you are gorgeous!

We had a second sidewalk lunch made fancy with beer for the hubster and a pretty cocktail for me. I went out on a limb and ordered a cold soup, which I normally think of as an upmarket euphemism for vegetable juice. To the chefs at the DB Bistro, I’ve been schooled! That beautiful bowl of sunshine was an absolutely delicious surprise.

We splurged, along with what seemed to be half of the tourists populating the streets of Manhattan, on a trip to the top of Rockefeller Center. Hundreds of us ogled its beautiful interior before we jammed through security, and at least one of us, ahem, yours truly, got taken out of line for forgetting to remove a Swiss Army Knife from our belongings. I just about cried when I thought I would have to discard it, having bought it in Switzerland on my honeymoon and carted it practically everywhere for the past twenty-three years. Thankfully the kind security officer gave me (and us) the option of coming back, as long as I promised not to stash it in a planter box on site. My solution, while definitely not on the premises or on my person, was probably just as illegal, but it was there when I returned. A hearty huzzah and a fine lesson learned!

How about that view? I chose the Top of the Rock because the top of the Empire State Building doesn’t have a view of itself, and what a great loss that would be for the Colleen Sohn photo archives. I don’t know the names of the majority of the buildings pictured, and am too lazy to look them up, but dang, they are a sight! The Chrysler Building, my absolute favorite in the Manhattan skyline, is not nearly as visible as I would have liked, all weird angles or obscured by glass, so we walked (surprise!) until it was photo ready and, a fine bonus, got a shot of Grand Central Station decked out in it’s late night splendor. At that hour it is a near ghost town, too. Another great day!



New York City on September 11th. I got to eat at a sidewalk cafe in Brooklyn, something I had always wanted to do. Inspired by countless fil-ums and television shows, I suppose, the slant of light, the notion of being still while the city in all its aliveness walks and breathes and honks its way to somewhere.

We walked a lot that day, spying locations both intentionally, in the case of Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, and by sheer chance, at the Maritime Hotel, made special to us by Bored to Death. Gosh, I love that show. We met our friend Tom on the High Line and had drinks at the Frying Pan, and walked downtown to see the 9/11 Memorial, a swarm of people and the physical sensation of so very many names, my fingers skimming the letters, a blind woman searching for meaning.

We will part ways with our friend here and walk to Little Italy and the Festival of San Gennaro, eat pizza as good as our memory of it at Lombardi’s, and stroll the neighborhood where we first stayed for ten days more than twelve years ago, that simple unimposing building located at 5 Prince Street, bank of windows glowing with the feeling of home, and a near literal hop, skip, and a jump from Bowery and the New Museum.

We’ll walk up Bowery to 14th Street and Union Square, on the way taking my favorite picture of the day, the one just above the Bowery Electric photo, that best captured my mood of the moment, of being happy amongst a sea of humanity on a warm summer evening, all of us separate and doing our own bidding, yet a fingertip distance from one another and thusly connected.

By the end, we had clocked more than nine hours on our feet, which in that dizzy happy tourist way felt like nothing until we plopped down on the subway for our ride home to Queens and laughed aloud at our throbbing feet.


A road trip to the Big Apple! Our streak of toll-less roads is now over some $22.90 later. It was worth every penny and crazy-wild to see highway signs for New York City. The hubster and I were wide-eyed and giddy at the unfolding of the island of Manhattan across the George Washington Bridge. I’d been awake since three, my brain refusing sleep, but after being cooped up in the car all day could not wait to walk, and will, over the course of our four day visit, go hog wild in this department, clocking in more than twenty hours.

We bought pastry at Circo’s, chocolate cake for the hubster and a lobster tail (sfogliatella) for me. We ate our treats on a park bench, watching runners and galloping dogs on leashes, and listening to the chatter of a handful of languages that were not our own. Utterly delighted at the musicality of foreign tongues and our sweets, mine tastier than an ancient memory of it and better than the hubster’s, too.

Though I was succumbing to fatigue and the hubster called me his little bobble head for my sleepy resemblance to one, we walked on. It was hot, and we stumbled across a great bar, enjoying surprisingly good frozen margaritas (I normally feel cheated by them) and our kind of music on the hi fi before calling it quits. A great first day!


We got up early Sunday morning, before the sun, but not because we were pressed for time. Despite walking for more than four hours on Saturday, and going to sleep late, we’d had enough rest. A luxury. To be away from the million and one needful things that mire us at home to a million and one possibilities, what to do next? As is often the case, we chose art and nature.

This is Griffis Sculpture Park, more than 250 sculptures tucked away on 450 acres of parkland. It is art, in large part, that has to be earned, via curving backroads, pathways snarled with tree roots and rocks and twigs, up grassy slopes and under tree branches, a glimpse across a pond or a massive field of goldenrod, positively alive and singing with bees, crickets, cicadas, too.

It was a fine end to the weekend, and it got me thinking, about luxury and choices and how we arrive where we are. Our airbnb was beautifully utilitarian, with chipped edges, cracked tops, and strategically placed objects hiding all the worn out places. And yet, it was perfect and ever so lovely, not only for the inventiveness of our host’s decorating choices, we need not toss the imperfect aside, but for the fact that every comfort was considered. A fan next to the bed, nicely scented toiletries, a fantastic cast iron frying pan, a sweet kettle, boxes of tea, tins of coffee, a fine coffee pot, beautiful pottery from which to sip. Then there was the thoughtfully curated collection of books and art (many painted by our host), ever so much lining the walls. We don’t need new and shiny to feel luxury. We need love and care.

When we lived in Portland and had owned our Subaru wagon for more than a decade, friends kept asking us when we were going to replace it. It’s so old! Scratched! Dinged! But, we argued, it was a great color, long paid for, ran beautifully, and got great gas mileage. And, without a car payment, we had more money to spend on what matters to us, like travel.

The hubster and I are often gently reprimanded or told “it must be nice” to travel so frequently, and, to be quite honest, it really, really is. That being said, we’ve earned it! We save like the dickens and forgo a lot of expenses that many people deem necessary. We don’t have cable (but do have Netflix); own one car; don’t get manicures, pedicures, or color our hair (never have, and it’s getting very grey up there!); have a pay for what we use phone plan; don’t eat out a lot; don’t drink a lot (but it’s still plenty); and the biggest of all, chose not to have children. None of this feels burdensome or sacrificial, either. It feels right and good and perfect, actually. But if you start tallying expenses, say just for cable, even a cheap plan can run about $600 a year. That’s two weekends of travel for us, one if were splurging. It adds up!

Maybe it’s the fact that though I grew up poor, I rarely felt it. I never had a lot, but I always had enough. I kept clean (a bath every three days, whether I needed it or not!), had dolls and stuffed animals and a near-infinite collection of library books to keep me company, a tidy room, great food, a park to play in, and friends nearby. Yet there were people in my same position and even some who were better off who were perennially sullen and angry characters, cheated by their lot. They were constantly embarrassed, by their parents, their cars, the houses they lived in, their clothes, their shoes, all they did not possess. It was a terrible poverty of mind.

It never made sense to me, and it still doesn’t because I am of the mind that I’ve got the whole world, and if I don’t embrace it, I will never have more.

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