Eighth post from Jackie & Alfie, NYC 2019

Up at 6.30 a.m. on Saturday 8th June to walk Alfie in a sunny, fresh and quiet Riverside Park before a quick packing session and a pick-up from Luis who drove me, Debbie and the dogs to Bay Head to visit Debbie’s brother Russ and wife Stephanie – 2 really lovely generous people who have a beautiful house on the bay with a frontage of the glistening water that surrounds the swimming pool and jacuzzi.

The drive went well – the news last night was full of the chaos as people tried to leave the city and got stuck in a new one-way system below 50th street. It took some people  nearly two hours to move 500 yards….. the joys of driving in NYC!
Two hours after leaving, we arrived at Bay Head and Alfie became super-excited as he remembered that the Atlantic Ocean was literally across the road. I dropped every thing and took him and Ellie-dog to the beach where we had a great time with me throwing the balls to them and, because of the strong waves, eventually falling over into the sea: I was surprised at just how warm it felt: like the sea in the UK but after all that is the other side of the Atlantic!
The dogs were so happy playing/paddling in the water and were both exhausted when we returned to the house for lunch on the terrace – fish tacos from Surf Taco.
Two good friends of Russ and Stephanie stayed overnight: Joe and Mona. We had a great time in the pool and jacuzzi. While they relaxed on the outside I swam 100 lengths of the 41” pool, that Stephanie and I worked out is .8 of a mile: much needed exercise! The jacuzzi was deliciously hot so we enjoyed that too!
Joe brought good beef to make hamburgers so we sat on the terrace eating the barbecue. I shared some of it with Alfie. It is so relaxing at Bay Head – watching the sun go down and the sky turn red on a perfect sunny summer’s day was a real treat.
The next morning I took the dogs for their morning constitutional before we had breakfast and then spent another hour and a half on the beach. The waves were even rougher today so I wore my swimming costume and, sure enough, got knocked off my feet and ended up under the water. Sadly, it was again too rough to swim. Stephanie collected shells while Debbie sat and chatted to her brother as I threw the ball for both dogs again.
Salad on the terrace was followed by relaxation in the shade. We picked a really good weekend to come. I still cannot believe I will be leaving NYC in a matter of days.
I swam another half a mile in their delicious pool before supper followed by the jacuzzi as the sun went down. This feels like such a holiday!
Monday morning rain was forecast so I got up early to take the dogs for a walk on the beach. They were less enthusiastic than the previous two days. We had a walk along the road after before rain stopped play – we returned to dry off and have breakfast (pancake, egg, strawberries and blueberry sauce for me with lots of coffee – yum!). Afterwards I swam half a mile and Debbie and I enjoyed a really hot jacuzzi before lunch.
Just before leaving, I walked the dogs to the park by the yacht club before sitting on the terrace in the quiet and misty weather waiting for Luis to arrive to drive us back to Manhattan. On the news was the report of a helicopter crashing into a building at Broadway and 50th (I know that area well) so when he finally arrived I told him not to drive through Manhattan but to take the George Washington bridge, further up but closer to where Debbie and I live.
Sadly, we heard that the pilot of the helicopter had died having performed a crash-landing on the roof of a 54-storey building having taken off from the 34th street heliport.
It was raining heavily when we arrived home. My new reduced price subway card had arrived in the mail – It is nice to have it as I feel more of an honorary New Yorker!
Summerstage in Central Park was happening at 8 p.m. with 4 opera singers and a pianist.
Alfie and I took the subway to 66th and walked into the park and rather than go into the arena to sit for 2 hours we walked around the park listening to some of the performances as well as the birdsong at dusk, while Alfie enjoyed sniffing around and saying hello to a few other dogs. I shall miss Central Park.
After a good sleep I awoke feeling under the weather: the air-conditioning at Bay Head definitely didn’t suit me, and after a walk off-leash with Alfie in Riverside Park I went back to bed after breakfast. Michelle popped round to say goodbye – she is going into a closed order of nuns in Maine at the end of the month. Debbie will miss her terribly.
Whilst in Riverside Park Alfie and I bumped into Danny the gardener and he asked if I had checked out the plants I had planted during the volunteer day – the rain of the recent days had established them well. It is nice to think there is a tiny corner of New York where I have left my mark!
I then commenced the sad task of sorting out what to pack – and what to leave behind as I cannot take everything. Luckily Debbie has enough room for storage.
Before going to the vet for his check-up, Alfie and I went for our usual trip to the lovely hidden garden that is ‘Tavern to Go’ for me to have one of their delicious coffees and Alfie to rest by the plants with the breeze and the birds.
There was a freshness in the air and after last night’s rain the sky was completely blue and the sun had arrived to dry everything up.
The subway train on Central Park West to the vet was even closer than our usual train, so we took the B train to 110th street and walked to one of Alfie’s favourite places in NYC – his vet practice (simply because there are 2 cats roaming around and he gets pretty excited about it). He saw both cats almost as soon as we walked in.
The veterinary nurse told me that it was on his notes that the cats needed to be kept away from him!
He had his worming tablets that have to be strictly given between one day and 5 days before he travels and I realised this time that they make him feel sick and stop his appetite for a day.
This evening they had the annual “Museum Mile” where a chunk of 5th Avenue that contains a number of famous museums gets shut down and people get to enjoy themselves walking in the street and visiting various museums for free. Debbie and I strolled through Central Park to arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where we visited the roof terrace and a very interesting sculptural exhibit. I asked one of the staff if Debbie could touch it and she was allowed.
It was a lovely evening for taking pictures of the view.
On arriving downstairs, we popped into my favourite space, the American Wing, with the lovely sculpture of Diana the Huntress.
Ambling up 5th Avenue, we came across ‘New York City’s Lesbian and Gay Big Apple Corps Marching Band’ playing jolly music and having a twirl. There was also a church welcoming everyone and giving out rainbow stickers.
It had a travelling exhibition of paper birds.
New York has gone rainbow mad as they host World Pride month. Macy’s unveiled their windows on that theme and everywhere you go there is a very definite nod to inclusivity and tolerance – the opposite that is coming from the right at this moment in time in this country. It feels somehow like a huge ‘up yours’ to the bigots. Right on!
We then went to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum that is full of interesting designs and inventions. There were buzzing lightbulbs, iridescent dresses and a paisley exhibition
There were 19th century imitation flowers from Germany and a beautiful light fitting on the staircase.
The garden has a lovely large exhibit entitled ‘Petrified River’ that people are encouraged to touch, which was nice for Debbie.
My last full day, Wednesday 12th June, was sunny and breezy. Alfie and I had breakfast in Tavern to Go where, as usual, he enjoyed lying in the ‘secret garden’ as I refer to it. He rested afterwards in the apartment while I got on with packing.
Dave, Debbie’s lovely brother, turned up with his gorgeous golden doodle who is playful and easy-going and we ended up taking a walk in the shady area of Riverside Park.
Debbie and I then hot-footed it down to Bryant Park where the New York City Opera were putting on a great show with the chorus and some of their soloists, finished with the world premier of the final song from their new show ‘Stonewall’ and there was the usual nod to rainbows, LGBTQ rights and tolerance.
Recently, the New York Chief of Police apologised for the police behaviour 50 years ago this month when they raided the Stonewall Inn, inadvertently leading to this soft-militancy of today.
We walked back in the evening sunshine to the subway and home where I finished off packing and deciding what I had to leave behind. We had a bagel and salad as my ‘last supper’, feeling quite sad to be saying goodbye.
I set my alarm for 3.45. Yikes, how horrible that was. A shower to wake me up and then a walk in the park with both dogs off leash before setting off for the subway station. I was too trusting. The overnight work that should have allowed for trains to recommence at 5.00 resulted in an announcement, finally, that the first train wouldn’t arrive for another 25 minutes. Poor Alfie had to follow me back up the stairs and on to Broadway where I picked up a cab that took me straight to Penn Station and I was miraculously able to get the 5.32 train. The taxi driver was a really helpful guy from Guinea and the traffic lights turned green in succession on a very quiet road – so all was well!
At the airport things went smoothly with checking us in and visiting the ‘dog rest area’; and the flight left on time but was delayed 25 minutes on arrival as we had to keep circling until we were allowed to land. Despite the delay, the checks on Alfie, the MASSIVE walk from the airplane to the passport control, the wait at passport control, the fact that my suitcase was one of the last out, the fact that the officer who should have been at the red channel (I had to declare Alfie) wasn’t and I had to phone and wait, Alfie and I made the Megabus by the skin of our teeth, thank goodness!
On the plane Alfie and I sit at the bulkhead so that he has room. An unpleasant Australian guy told me I was in the wrong seat (I was much happier to move to the window) and then huffed and puffed, going several times into premier service to try to get an upgrade so he didn’t have to sit next to us. I was so glad when they moved him over to the other side of the aisle – so he didn’t get his upgrade – and instead a really nice bloke called Alexander came and sat with us (he didn’t like his seat further back in the airplane) and was lovely to Alfie. We talked about various things and watched the same 2 films together: ‘A star is born’ and ‘On the basis of sex’ about the early days of Ruth Bader Ginsberg (a star of the US Supreme Court who had a little walk-on part at the end). It was a very moving and enjoyable film. She is so loved by the Left.
So ends our 9 week adventure in the Big Apple, forever in my heart. Here are a few more photos that I took randomly over my time there.

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