I had no clear idea what to expect when Rachel and Noel suggested to meet up Wednesday evening to see the Thanksgiving Day balloons. The balloons will fly in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. So much I knew. They had declared it a must see for me, so I agreed. My focus was more on seeing the two of them however. But why not see the balloons as well, especially as the inflating took place right here in my neighborhood.
I was supposed to meet Rachel and Noel at 6:30 pm in front of the Museum of Natural History on Central Park West at 81st Street. I planned to take the 1 train down to 79th and then walk over. On Broadway I turned into 80th Street and crossed Amsterdam Avenue. When I arrived at Columbus Avenue there was a police barrier. It was not possible to cross. I could only turn right, towards 79th Street. There crossing was possible but I had to pass a maze to do so. People were directed into the maze from both directions and we had to walk up and down half the blow twice to finally arrive at the crossing point. On the other side of Columbus Avenue again I could not turn left but just right. So I got to 77th Avenue, where part of the balloons were standing, readily inflated for tomorrows parade. It just was not clear yet if they would be allowed to fly. A storm was threatening to spoil their show. As I was late already I ignored the balloons, made my way to Central Park West and easily found Rachel on the stairs of the Museum. We hugged and she questioned me about my new place and my feelings about going home soon now. When I told her that I had spent no thought about possible difficulties to get here, she laughed and said “you really have become a New Yorker”. Noel was still stuck somewhere in traffic downtown. It took her a while to reach us. When she finally arrived we walked towards 81st Street where more balloons were parked. Spiderman was there, the Wizard of Oz as a Newcomer in 2013, a Smurf and others. The balloons are huge, really huge. A web with attached sand bags was holding them on the ground.
Having passed the balloons on 81st we turned left on Columbus to see the others on 77th Street. At 79th Street we were not allowed to simply pass but had to go through the maze again. I understand that it helps to organize the masses crossing the Avenue. But we didn’t want to cross at all. So I didn’t understand that. On 77th Street we found Snoopy and Ronald McDonald and the toothless Dragon. For every balloon the year of its first flight was displayed. Looks like there is one new balloon every year. I admit seeing them was absolutely impressive.
Rachel and Noel had in mind to go to Café Lalo afterwards. I of course happily agreed. So we walked up Central Park West again but were stopped at 81st Street. There we were not allowed to walk straight ahead to 83rd Street. We had to pass the balloons and the masses of people on 81st Street again. I didn’t try to understand it.
Café Lalo was pretty busy although Tom Hanks was not standing outside and Meg Ryan was not sitting in there sipping tea.
We caught the seats at the window bar and ordered hot drinks to warm up. Rachel and I both had a quiche, Noel had a waffle with strawberries. The quiche was served with a small salad and was very tasty. But best was to chat with Rachel and Noel again. Both of them definitely belong to the people I will miss.
I had started the day writing yesterday’s blog post but was interrupted by a message from So Ang. She had half day off because of Thanksgiving and asked if I wanted to meet her for lunch. I still had to buy wine for the Thanksgiving dinner and gifts for the kids, so I knew this would eat up my day. But there are not so many days left to meet Soh Ang, so I accepted.
I stopped writing and walked to the wine store at 107th Street. There I asked for a wine to have with a turkey and got confused. I would always serve white wine with a turkey. They told me it should be red. I finally bought a bottle of white and a bottle of red but am still surprised about red wine with turkey.
Then I took the train to Times Square to look for kids’ stuff at Toys R Us. That’s hell. I didn’t find anything. It’s just too big, too crowded and too noisy. Soh Ang arrived when I just had given up. We looked at some menus around Times Square but agreed that we were not willing to pay tourist prices for our lunch. So I suggested to walk over to 9th Avenue where we would find all kinds of restaurants and they would offer lunch specials. We ended up in a Turkish restaurant where I had a plate of Hummus and an Adana Kebab. After lunch I showed Soh Ang my cookie heaven, Schmackary’s on 45th Street at 9th Avenue. I tried an Oatmeal Butterscotch, Soh Ang had the Maple Bacon. We both took home a Yogi Bare. My Oatmeal Butterscotch was rich and soft. Very nice, but the Maple Bacon will stay my favorite. Soh Ang loved it as well.
We tried to catch our trains at 50th Street subway station but it is a station with separate entrances – and we took the wrong one. So we had to go downtown one stop to 42nd Street to transfer to uptown there. The trains were super packed. We squeezed into the second one. At 42nd Street we parted and I walked over to Times Square to catch the 1 train there , being pushed in a mass of people going home early from work or on their way into a holiday weekend.
At 79th Street I got off to finally get my gifts for Toya’s kids. I first went into Zabar’s to check for kitchen supplies and lunch boxes. Zabar’s was pretty busy. The Upper West Side was stocking up for the holiday. Same thing at Barnes & Noble. I bought the kids’ recipe book I had seen on Tuesday for Amira and a card game with funny faces for Laila and as well found a suitable present for my goddaughter at home. So much easier to find and buy nice things there than at a multi-story toy and trash temple.
What I learned today:
I have become a New Yorker