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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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September 24, 2011

A Very Wet but Exciting Big Apple

I drove over to Virginia on Thursday and had, thankfully, a very uneventful trip. I did see a few places where the leaves are changing colors in the hills so I imagine in a couple more weeks it will be getting quite beautiful. Got to Chris's in record time, really and we got ourselves all packed up for our trip to NYC.

Our train left at 9:20 a.m. and we needed to take two subway lines to get to the station so we got off to an early start. It was a very grey and gloomy looking morning and at some point on the way, I noticed it had started raining pretty heavily. By the time we got to Penn Station, it was pouring rain there - people coming into the station from outside were soaked about up to their knees. We had our umbrellas but with that kind of rain I decided I was going to try one of those poncho things. Chris got one too but of course, our legs still stuck out and by the time we got to the Morgan Library (5 blocks) we were pretty well soaked from the knees down and I was squishing in my shoes. Of course, it wasn't raining nearly as hard by the time we got to the library.

The library was really enjoyable. We had lunch in their cafe and it was very good and then we visited the exhibits and such. The library itself was built by J.P. Morgan to house his apparently ever-growing of antique books, documents, and whatever else struck his fancy. The library, his office/study and his librarian's office are in this building and they are all lovely rooms. Additions have been added, one by his son to house more of the ever-growing Morgan collection and one more recently which was built primarily to accommodate provide underground vaults for the huge collection, a concert hall, and a student reading room. Chris said to be sure and mention that the collection includes three original Gutenberg bibles. It also includes the Lindau Gospels with its incredibly gorgeous gold and jewel-encrusted upper cover created circa 880. You can find images of the cover on Google but there's no way they can do justice to its beauty.

We weren't allowed to take pictures anywhere but in the public area where the cafe was located and also this very interesting installation of Chinese calligraphy.  It is titled "In the Living Word" and when you see the whole thing, it includes the dictionary definition of the Chinese word "niao" (bird) on the floor of the gallery written in the simplified text created by Mao.  These characters then "break away" from the confines of the literal definition and take flight through the installation space.  As they rise into the air, the characters gradually change from the simplified text to standardized Chinese text and finally to the ancient Chinese pictograph for "bird".  (information from the exhibit literature)

Later as we were leaving, a string trio were playing in the cafe area so we stayed and listened to that for a bit.

Once outside we were glad to find that it was just raining very lightly.  Still used our umbrellas but weren't in danger of drowning!  In fact, it made me feel very cosmopolitan to just stroll along the big city streets filled with "umbrella-ed" people all going who knows where.  I took this picture of the front of the original Morgan Library building.  You don't enter here but as I said, the original library, office/study and librarian's office are all inside this building.

By the time we left here, we decided we might as well visit Chris's favorite restaurant "Artisanal" at least for a well-earned drink and a nibble if not a full meal.  But of course once we got there, it was so wonderful to sit down in a warm, dry place that we decided to linger until a relatively decent hour, and then order dinner.  Which we did, and as usual, it was pretty wonderful.  The fact that Chris has been there so many times that they greet him like a long-lost family member certainly makes the whole experience very enjoyable. :)  The picture below is of the "cave".  When Jamie and I went to NYC together and stayed with Chris, we got to sit in here for dinner, but I don't think I took a picture of it then.  It's filled with refrigerated cases of cheese and one feels quite special sitting in there.

This is taken in the dining room looking into the cave behind that iron grate.

Then, another walk back to Penn Station to get our checked suitcase, and then to the Port Authority bus station to catch the bus to Tea Neck, and finally check into our room, where speaking for myself, I slept like a log!


Chinch said...

Sorry you had such wretched weather but happy you got to see the Morgan. I love that place and really like the new addition which as I recall was quite controversial at the time it was being built but then has there ever been a building project that wasn't?! Looked at your IGMA report first and hope I get to go to one of those shows with you sometime. What dazzling workmanship! 54-count linen? Yikes!! But so beautiful. And darling cats in darling chairs. Looking forward to seeing what you and Chris bought/won. Hope you have clear skies and a happy day in NY today. Love to you both.
PS I think it's Teaneck but Tea Neck is cute :).

Christopher said...

'Twas certainly a good trip, if a bit unusual in the torrential pounding rain to start the weekend, and the smoke and fire-evacuation of the train station to end the weekend! I always love seeing the Morgan Library & Museum, and it was worth the drenching, just to get that $8 book on the Henry VIII Book of Hours. And of course Artisanal... say no more!

January said...

Slog, slog, slog! But sounds great overall!

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