Yen says (casually) one day, “I think we need to go explore a city.” And then admits he hasn’t been to NYC in a few years. And so, because we actually do things like this, I booked a hotel and a bus, and we took off Friday afternoon.

You know I don’t like the bus. I don’t know what my problem is, really. Some of it is that I think if I were in my own car, I could go faster. I could go around all this stupid traffic. On the other hand, I couldn’t nap when I’m tired, and I’d pay through the nose for parking once I arrive (and once I find parking). Some my paranoia, too, stems from struggling with local buses in the UK way back in the ’90s (oh so long ago) when I never had correct change and couldn’t understand the drivers deep in the Scottish Highlands well enough to know exactly how much exactly how much they were asking for. It’s all so stressful for me. But I liked this trip. I liked booking in advance. I like traveling with someone who is as chronically early as I am (not a usual trait in a Vietnamese, apparently). And I liked, you know, cleanliness.

So we left Cambridge at 6pm Friday and arrived rested and relaxed about 10:30pm. I found us a nice little hotel right on Lexington with a good view (which you’ll see in a moment). The only bad thing about that arrival time is that food choices become difficult (unless you’re into diner food, which we’re not). We ended up in a strange, strange little place that was rocking dance music and slightly-post-college kids who had nowhere to dance and so had to dance in their chairs (arms out and wiggle your bum – you’ve got it!). The music was so loud we couldn’t hear each other, and they were playing tunes my bootcamp teacher uses to get us moving in the morning. The waiter was dismayed when we didn’t order anything that required a blender and a bendy straw, and we left 40 minutes later feeling sincerely old and ready for bed.

Oh, as usual, you’re going to get a mix of photos by me and Yen. I feel bad not crediting him each time. Your rule of thumb is this: if I’m in the photo or if it’s particularly well composed, it’s his. If it’s a photo of something silly, it’s mine.


We started with a little walk that took us by a building we both admired very much. I wish modern buildings involved all kinds of interesting carvings still.

We ended up in Grand Central because Yen wanted to check out the Apple Store, which is perched on a balcony and rather strange.

I liked the zodiac on the ceiling a lot.

Usually when I’ve been to NYC, I hang around wherever Roo is, because she’s generally the reason for visiting. So we were much more touristy than usual, which was nice.

The weather was ridiculous for January; it felt much more like March with temperatures in the mid-40s most of the time. We decided that a walk through Central Park was the only thing to do.

I’m probably the only person who would make Yen stop and do some birdwatching even when there’s so much more interesting stuff going on. But no, we came up on these two Hooded Mergansers, and I forced him to take photos for me.

Then we just continued around the reservoir in proper counterclockwise fashion.

Then we ended up at the Met. Dad, I want you to know that Yen paid the full “suggested” price. He’s good people.

I was just beside myself because they have a Saint-Gaudens Diana. Forced Yen to stare at her for an unreasonable amount of time (poor man).

We liked this little boy. “Rock on!”

I was pretty blown away by all the Tiffany stained glass.

That last one’s not Tiffany, of course, but I liked it.

Here’s Mr. I-Can’t-Believe-You’re-Taking-Another-Photo-of-Me Tran.

All the armor was pretty great too.

And, you know, the sculptures. We were in this place a long time.

We also got to check out the new Islamic Art wing. Here’s a big of a ceiling.

Let’s see. Then we went down to Rockefeller Center to look at the skaters (amateurs!) and headed to the Top of the Rock.

This is the chandelier that’s down at the bottom of the Rock.

We headed over to meet Roo, Doug, and Yen’s cousin, David. But had a little extra time to snap a photo of me in Washington Square. Watch out: I’m HUGE!

Dinner and drinks with all of the above. So good to see everyone. I miss Roo ridiculously!

On the way home, we thought, “What the hell? Let’s complete this tourist day.” And so we stopped off at Times Square. There are so many lights there that it’s basically daylight.

Oh, did I show you the view from our hotel room?


I woke up the next morning with a serious tightness in the hips/pelvis area. All of that walking on concrete isn’t normal for me. Best thing to do, of course, is walk it off. We headed for the Brooklyn Bridge.

On the other side, we took David’s recommendation and stopped for brunch at River Cafe. Much fancier than we were expecting, but they didn’t kick us out. And the view was definitely worth the price. The food was excellent too – don’t worry.

We wandered around the little parks there at the foot of the bridge. It was much colder and windier than the day before, but still unseasonably warm.

And at last we took the ferry back to the other side.

Nice hair, eh?

We caught the bus and headed home again – made it by 8:30. Easy.

Next? Well, we’ve decided the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC would be fun. Much harder to time, but I think we’re game. Stay tuned.