Thursday, June 9, 2011

June 9, 2011: New York - Pedicure, High Line Take Two, Mexican, NY History, Sherlock

For the first time in months I'm in an English-speaking country - and it's surprisingly liberating being able to talk without mentally rehearsing first! I've flown in to the USA for the wedding of my friends Delores and Quoc. First stop is New York City, where I'm staying with Jenn, with a chance to do a little sightseeing. Then we'll drive down together to Washington DC. Delores and Quoc are getting married just outside of the city in Virginia, at Mount Vernon, the home of George and Martha Washington.

When I got in last night it felt quite late with the time change, but I wanted to stay awake long enough to make the adjustment more easily. So I planned a dinner outing with Jenn and Gloria, at a restaurant serving Southern-style comfort food - fantastically different from what I've been eating in France. I had kale! Bizarrely I have been unable to find kale for sale anywhere in France's extensive vegetable markets; here it was braised and flavoured with a cider vinegar - very tasty. I also had a delicious meat loaf and mashed potatoes.

Then this morning I went for a pedicure - which is such an easy and inexpensive thing to do in NYC, even more so that in Toronto (and something I hadn't even ventured to attempt in France). I had picked out a place I was interested in, and called up and easily got an appointment for first thing in the morning. After getting all buffed up and polished I headed over to the High Line Park. It's one of my favourite things to visit, especially since it's in the early stages of the plants getting established, so I every time I go it's different. But especially exciting this time was that phase two of the park had just opened the night before.

The weather was very hot and humid, so I stocked up with an icy drink at Starbucks before heading over to the park. By the time I got there my drink was half gone, but happily there are water fountains up on the park, so I could refill with water as I went. It was a bit of an ordeal to walk the length of the park in the heat, but there were some great innovations in the new section of the park - a "double-decker" area, a square of lawn that people were lounging on, and a water "run" for splashing in.

After the park I met Jenn for lunch at a Mexican restaurant - again, another cuisine that I've missed while in France. Then off to the Museum of the City of New York. There was an interesting collection of transportation-themed toys (old-fashioned firetrucks look radically different!), a retrospective of the career of Joel Grey (the father of Jennifer Grey, and a well-known theater guy in his own right, although I think the only role I've seen him in is the bit part on Buffy where he almost kills Dawn at the end of Season 5), and a photography exhibition about the New York Green Cart program. This last one interested me the most - the city has been encouraging the sale of fresh fruits and vegetables in food "deserts" by licensing vendors for those areas.

At the end of the day we stayed in with leftovers, escaping the heat and, as it turned out, a wicked thunderstorm. Hopefully this will cool off the weather before we head down to the South!

Water streams down a section of the walkway, forming a splash pad of sorts

The lawn, which I would have loved to have lounged on, if not for the heat!

This stretch of the park had two levels - you can walk above and below, creating a shady level

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