Tuesday, May 8, 2018

New York City Birthday




I keep saying this, to anyone who will listen:  what I really want in this life is to go places.  As much as I love my little cozy house in the country and all the ways rural life manifests for me, I am not content to just sit in my patio chair shelling peas and wondering.  I want to go.  There’s a whole big world out there!  There’s so much to do, so much to be amazed by.  When I turned fifty last week, it didn’t go as planned, you guys.  I totally meant to celebrate my half-century of life in this world, and to embrace the beginning of the next phase, but instead I wallowed in self-pity and was, in general, a giant ugly pain.  And then I hated that I couldn’t, even at fifty, be a grown-up, which made me feel worse.  I have never yet learned to keep the emotional baggage of my birthday at bay, and I always spend most of the day near tears, for complicated reasons that honestly don’t have much to do with getting older.  I am thrilled to be getting older, in part because it means I am not as yet dead, but also because I feel more free to yell when I want to and when somebody needs it, and to care less about what my hair and backside look like, and because my children are grown, I have more time and resources to go places.  So when my birthday was finally over and I had cheered up a little, Doc and I got on a train for New York.  

A word about train travel.  I’m a little afraid that somebody will find out how wonderful it is to travel by train in the US and ruin it somehow by adding a bunch of annoying rules, but until that happens, I’m traveling that way whenever I can.  I could write long verses of love poetry about train travel—it is so uncomplicated, so civilized and gentle.  So comfortable.  It is patient and kind.  Liberate yourself from the airport security line and take the train.  


I love New York so much.  There is such an abundance of life there.  The theater lights glow golden in the twilight, the same color as the hurtling, honking taxis.  They are everywhere, but still, take the subway; it is so much more pleasant and I am not even joking.  It is clean and efficient, and everyone makes room for each other, and teenage girls get up and give their seats to grandmothers, and kids on their way home from school play rock-paper-scissors and read library books, and if someone bumps your foot, they apologize.  If you don’t know how to find your stop, someone will help you.  I just love it.


Central Park is ravishing.  It is in bloom right now, and filled on a warm weekend with children and dogs and musicians and people (like us) walking hand in hand.  We walked for miles, for hours, dragging up, finally in a sandwich shop on 43rd Street, and I sank gratefully into a chair, planning never to get up again.  





At the MoMA, we finally saw “The Starry Night”, which has its own guard, and a big crowd of people lined up and waiting to take a quick picture with their phones and then leave without even looking at the painting (Doc said, quietly, to me, “You know, they sell postcards of that in the gift shop...”). The Cy Twombly gallery was the one that really made me light up, though; that one up there is from his huge “Four Seasons” work.  They were so wonderful, and I am wildly inspired now.


Of course I bought yarn.  Armloads of it.  I could have bought armloads more.  Much more about that later.  

Until next time, NYC.  #heart

32 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post. You have such a positive outlook on New York. It's refreshing. I did some of those shows on tour. Happy memories. Sorry you were upset on your birthday. Life after fifty has a new set of challenges and losses. Looking forward to hearing about your new yarn!

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    1. I do really love it there. It's always been a friendly place for me. You tour with shows??? Tell me more! xoxo

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  2. Wonderful travel log. New York is on my wishlist.I love that you bought a little bit of Scotland in the form of the Spindrift. I love that yarn.Purl Soho is also on my wishlist! Embrace your age. It's just a number after all.

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    1. I cast on with the Spindrift this very morning! Such beautiful yarn, that. I heartily recommend a visit to NY if you can make it! :)

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  3. As much as the thought of traveling really interests me, I don't know that I will ever get to New York City. I have a friend in Allenhurst, New Jersey that I would love to go and meet up with, then drive into NYC. I don't know if that will ever happen. Until then I am content to go on day trips with my van and my dogs and even sleep in the van during the rainy night. I do love your yarn stash, look forward to seeing what you make from it. Thanks for sharing those lovely photographs of the Big Apple.

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    1. I'm a little bit soft and I don't like confrontation and I avoid crowds in general, and all that seems at odds with a love of NY, but lemme tell you, my experiences there have all been so positive. It is such a friendly, beautiful place. :)

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  4. Happy birthday. I'm glad you got over your birthday self and headed to the big apple. I had my 50th in NYC, not long after I moved there from NZ. I was there almost 5 years and noticed like you that, anyone on a train needed directions, people would be helpful and kind and opinionated. And yes lots of people gave up seats on subway cars for me. My theory is that New Yorkers, in spite of popular myth, are mostly downright nosey, like to chat, and it's really just a big village. Those pretending to be cool probably don't come from there. I had wonderful encounters where people told me their life stories at bus stops and on express buses or the ferry. I miss it. I'm so glad you it poured golden stardust on you. Happy 50s! (they are even better than 40s) xx

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    1. Golden stardust! Yes! That's just how it felt. Walking down Madison Avenue after dark, past all the gorgeous shop windows, hand in hand with my sweetheart on a warm summer night--it was like being in a movie. :)

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  5. Great post and beautiful pictures. I am with you on train travel. With my best friend having moved to northern France I visit once every few months, by train. Everyone says: why don't you drive (5 hrs), but I must prefer to sit and watch the world go by without any stress. Same as travelling to our beloved London from The Netherlands where I live, recently the Eurostar train started from Rotterdam to London. We cannot wait to try that out and cross the North Sea without going to an airport (which we hate now).

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    1. Yes! I've always been a little envious of the handy railway system that's in place in Europe. I think it is such a great way to go. :)

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  6. Happy Belated Birthday. It was a joy to come along with you on your tour to New York. I have been once but doubt I will ever see it again. I have never thought about train travel certainly food for thought.

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  7. Great post. Looks like you had a fab time. Nice wool btw. XXX

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    1. Oooh, was it ever hard to choose. So many lovely things! xoxo

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  8. Kristen! Happy birthday. Glad you had a great day in NY. THIS is actually my plan as well, in three years, to take a bloody big bird and fly for hours and hours (and I get jittery after 8, so I might have to stop and get on another 8 hr again)...and meet my sis, who'll be coming from the Emerald Isle, and we'll have my nirthday in NY. Have coffee and pastry and walk the streets and ride the ferry and go yarn shopping and bread shopping and walk the High Line and do all kinds of NY things.

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    1. Oh Stel, you'll have such a marvelous time! I can't wait to hear all about it. xoxoxo

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  9. Happy Birthday, Kristen! You sound so very ALIVE and exuberant in this post!! I've never had a desire to go to NYC, but now I might want to....
    I'm turning 50 this year as well, though I am afraid I am not approaching it as gracefully as you; I am so not ready to be over the hill, and I DO still worry about the state of my hair, and my (ever-increasing) backside :/
    I'm so happy you had a wonderful trip ~ Tracy

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    1. Thank you so much, Tracy! I can hardly say enough about how wonderful NYC is...well, it's amazing! I did try to be graceful about the big 5-0, but I couldn't quite manage it in the end. I'm not one to worry about getting older, or even whether I look older, but the day without my family felt small and sad.

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  10. Aren't you full of surprises, would have never thought you would want to go to NY and especially on the train but oh what a wonderful trip!

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    1. It really was wonderful! I adore big cities--not sure I'd want to live in one, but they are such great places to visit. xoxo

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  11. Happy 50th - life only gets better - I can promise you that.

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    1. Thank you, Pammie. I'm looking forward to it! :)

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  12. Happy Birthday! I share with you the traditional birthday angst, but I think your solution was perfect! Maybe I'll start planning fabulous weekend getaways to exciting and wonderful places every year to help me get over the meh's!

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  13. Happy birthday Kristen. Funny you should talk about talk about turning 50 as my friend and I have both turned 50 recently and were sitting in my garden today discussing what a watershed birthday it is. My friend commented on how it had made her realise that she wants to travel more and it is also having the same effect on me. On this subject have you come across the Wood and Woodstool blog which combines textiles with travel. truly inspiring. Very best wishes.

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    1. oops meant Wool and Woodstool blog

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    2. Meant to say Wool and Woodstool blog

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    3. It did somehow feel like a Big Deal, and that made it harder, in a way...I don't know, I just felt all the feels that day. Weepy. Yes, I do love the Wool and Woodstool blog, too! :)

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  14. I doubt very much that there would be commuters who use British Rail enthusing so poetically about our train service. Back in the days of steam it was probably as genteel as you make it sound, and on some of the heritage railways we have here, it is a pleasurable experience, but for most people it's over priced, a poor service for which they pay a small fortune for season tickets only to have to spend most of their daily commute standing because the trains are so packed.

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    1. I think I'd probably feel the same way if I had to do it every day, but (and this has been true every time I've visited NYC) all I saw was people being patient with one another, and kind.

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