Alfie and I are back in NYC!

Central, Morningside and Riverside Parks are Alfie’s favourite places to be – although Bob the cat in the local pet store is his obsession. A lot has been happening since we arrived and only now am I am getting round to posting this with the help of my notes and the many photographs I take every day. On 10 April we flew from Healthrow with Alfie having a comfortable flight lying at my feet on the memory foam pad I made for him. I just had to declare him at Newark under ‘animals and animal products’ and show his rabies vaccination record!

The following day Alfie and I travelled from 116th Street all the way to the South of Manhattan to MTA to get my Senior’s half-price subway card – there have to be some advantages to getting older! Along with my health club card, it makes me feel like a true New Yorker! Indeed, with our many visits here I don’t feel like a tourist. I have a preference for downtown (the villages, SoHo etc) or uptown (where I live) and struggle with the noisy, touristy midtown area. We had a good time looking around Greenwich village with its massive cheese shop.

Alfie is good on the subway and puts up with the noise: he is rewarded by walks in Central Park where he takes up his usual position at Pain Quotidien so he can watch the other dogs as they walked past. Alfie prefers being able to run around in the UK rather than being ‘on the leash’ – mandatory in NYC (apart from before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.)

Once again, Debbie and I availed ourselves of the daily free concerts given by the students of Juilliard – the best of the best. The first one was a tribute to Leonard Bernstein with a succession of pianists and actors. In the following days we enjoyed three more concerts – piano, chamber music and viola – all performed by incredibly talented young people.

At the Lincoln Centre, the New York Philarmonic play at the David Geffen Hall. I went to watch the full orchestra accompany the 1984 Miles Forman film “Amadeus” – really enjoyable.

On Saturday 14 April Alfie and I took the subway down to 66th Street and Broadway and walked into Central Park so that he could play off-leash for a while. At 9 a.m. we went to the usual cafe for me to have coffee and Alfie to dog-watch. We sit in the self-service section. The queue for waiter service grew and grew and suddenly I heard a young guy complaining to his friends (who were trying to get him to sit in the self-service section instead) in a whiny voice “If we sit there we won’t have a waiter!” He sounded like such a spoilt brat I started laughing.

On the Sunday there was a Titanic exhibition at Straus Park – a tiny park between Broadway and the end of West End Avenue. This was to commemorate 103 years to the day since the sinking of the ship. The park is named after Isidor and Ida Straus, the children of Lazarus Straus who owned Macy’s. They were travelling back from Europe and were last seen holding hands on deck. The inscription in front of the statue reads “Lovely and Pleasant Were They in Their Lives and In Their Deaths They Were Not Divided”.

Alfie and I then wandered over the The Pow-wow at the Columbia University campus where the indigenous American Indians students were honoured.

The following day I took the subway to Queens to visit ‘MOMA S1’ and some fascinating artwork, notably the exhibition by Gauri Gill and a parrot with a laser travelling across it.

There was also an interesting performance on the subjects of ghosts, accompanied by a toilet!

Ann and Tony, friends from Rainbow Camp, were visiting their son who is working in New York, so we ended up have coffee in Pain Quotidien at Central Park – in contrast to the weekend it was absolutely freezing but we bravely sat it out, with Alfie on his blanket.

Walking back from the Park to the subway at 66th street, I saw the press  waiting to catch Stormy Daniels (a star of adult films who alleges she slept with the President) as she came out of her hotel to go to the television studios.

On Wednesday 18 April MTA launched the Bowie subway tickets – and Bowie is the subject of my next blog.

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