NYC 2019: Day 3

Survivable. If there’s one take away from what I’ve seen over the last two days, it’s that people are capable of surviving seemingly impossible situations and coming out of it on the other side. I saw that in the survivors of Auschwitz and in Maddie Corman’s unbelievable story in Accidentally Brave yesterday. And I saw it again today.

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National 9/11 Memorial

Today was dedicated to visiting the National 9/11 Museum. I hadn’t visited it until this point because I knew it would be an intense experience and previous trips were meant to be more “fun getaway” trips. But it just felt right this time. Everyone should experience this museum at least once. Yes, it is depressing and emotionally intense, nearly to the point of overwhelming at times. But it is also an inspiring testament to the resiliency of the millions of people who lived through the experience of that horrific day or were affected by it in some way. While many lost their lives on that Tuesday morning, many more were there helping to rescue those who might otherwise not have survived. Hearing the audio recordings of many who lost their lives that day was a humbling experience, especially those who called their loved ones just before attempting to stop the hijackers.

I downloaded the audio guide to my phone ahead of time, but only listened to part of it as I walked around. I got there at 8:45AM and was the first one in the door. An hour later, it was crowded and almost impossible to see everything around the swarms of people. Which is why I gave up on the audio guide. The most interesting part to me was the historical exhibit (September 11, 2001) which led you first through the day itself, then through the events leading up to it, and finally through the aftermath. The timeline of events on the wall was interspersed with artifacts and videos of news coverage from that day. By the time I was done with that, I knew I had reached my museum limit and that it was time to head home.

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National 9/11 Museum

On a lighter note… food! I had a delicious stack of mouth-watering chocolate chip pancakes at George’s in the Financial District before the museum. Mid-meal it started to pour outside and didn’t let up before I had to head to the museum. So I spent the rest of the morning in rain-drenched jeans and soaking wet shoes. That was fun. Lunch/dinner was at an old “hometown” favorite, Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale in Westbrook, CT. My family used to go there for dinner and it brought back fond memories. If you know me, you know I’m not much of a seafood person, but I had a cup of lobster bisque and a lobster roll (Connecticut style – hot with butter). On the way home, I stopped in my hometown to walk around and do some reminiscing before stopping at Carvel for a cup of my favorite soft serve.

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NYC 2019: Day 2

The weather was uncooperative again today, but the sun managed to peek out for a few minutes this afternoon in between rain and thunderstorms. I think I will have a permanent indentation on my waist from tying my raincoat there every day. The highlight of today was definitely seeing Accidentally Brave tonight. Here are the rest of the day’s adventures:

Buvette Buvette had been on my list of breakfast possibilities in NYC for a while, primarily because of their Jambon Cru dish (steamed eggs on toast topped with prosciutto and parmesan). And since the weather didn’t scream “jump out of bed and go do something” this morning (the restaurant doesn’t open til 9), I decided it was a good day for a leisurely breakfast at this small French cafe. Sadly, it didn’t live up to my expectations, not even a little. Sure, the food was picture perfect, but the rest of the experience left a lot to be desired. The food was pretty boring aside from the presentation and the $8 homemade soda was so strong on the ginger flavor it left my throat burning. It was an expensive breakfast and I can now say “been there, done that”. I should have stuck to my original plan of a Doughnut Plant donut and a walk in Central Park.

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Jambon Cru at Buvette
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Auschwitz Prisoner Uniform

Museum of Jewish Heritage The Auschwitz exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage was my main reason for coming to the city this week. I have long been fascinated by the Holocaust, and plan to visit Dachau when I’m in Germany in a couple of weeks, so when I saw this exhibit was coming to New York, I knew I had to make a trip to see it. I spent nearly 3 hours touring the 20 “rooms” in the exhibit, which trace the history of Auschwitz from the background of Jewish faith in Germany through to the stories of those who survived and lived to tell the story of their experiences. The most moving part for me was seeing the personal belongings of those interred in the camp, gathered either as they arrived or when they were sent to the crematorium. It continues to boggle my mind that all of that was going on while the rest of the world stood by, oblivious to the horrors taking place because the Germans were so good at concealing what was really going on. The photographs by Alberto Errera, a Greek Jewish member of the Sonderkommando, were also striking. He was able to secretly capture four images of the gas chambers and mass cremation at Auschwitz and the film was smuggled out of the death camp in a toothpaste tube. The entire exhibit was very well put together and it was definitely a worthwhile visit.

Ribalta What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. Once I find a place I like, I tend to return. So, for the third time this trip, I found myself revisiting a previously enjoyed restaurant. Ribalta has amazing Neapolitan pizza, but this time I opted for the calzone. It was delicious, albeit a little too much ricotta for my taste. Dessert was an incredible mascarpone pudding/mousse with strawberries and homemade cookies.

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Calzone at Ribalta
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Accidentally Brave

Accidentally Brave I was intrigued when I first read the story behind this play and couldn’t seem to put it out of my mind. So I stopped by the TKTS booth this afternoon to buy a ticket for this evening’s performance. In a nutshell, it is Maddie Corman’s one-woman, first person account of how her world was turned upside down when her husband was arrested on child pornography charges. Maddie Corman does an amazing job of telling her story in a way that is simultaneously deep, raw, and real, mixed with just a touch of humor. As she said at the end, she hopes her story is a service to others. People who are willing to tell their story in such an honest and poignant way are my kind of people. I would go back to see it again in a heartbeat and it should be at the top of everyone’s must-see list.

NYC 2019: Day 1

I certainly didn’t plan for my summer excursion to New York City to coincide with a week of damp, cloudy weather. But such is life. After an early morning drive to New Haven and a train ride from there to Grand Central, I’m here to enjoy a couple of days of sights in the big city. Here are today’s highlights:

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Cookies and Cream cream puff at Bibble and Sip

Bibble and Sip Chocolate. I had chocolate for lunch. I had one of the incredible cream puffs here a couple of years ago and fell in love with this little hole in the wall. Since my last visit, they have expanded their menu of cream puffs (no arguments from me!), so today’s lunch consisted of a Cookies and Cream cream puff and iced hot chocolate. I know, I know… I need to do a lot of walking to burn those calories off!

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My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady I decided I would just wing it on this trip and see whatever show interested me at the TKTS booth when I got here. I knew My Fair Lady was regularly on the list, and kind of had my sights set on that. We had played a medley of music from My Fair Lady in a concert this spring, so I knew I would recognize some of the songs. Thankfully, it worked out. I had a great seat, and the performance was amazing. It took me a little while to get into it, but the music and acting were both excellent and I’m glad I saw it, though it won’t make my top favorites list.

 

Rubirosa I had the most delicious thin crust pizza here on my last visit to New York and decided I needed a repeat. Quality control and all that. I wasn’t able to get a reservation, but there was an open seat at the bar that had my name on it and let me do some people watching while waiting for my food. I went for the tie-dye pizza this time: vodka sauce, mozzarella, and a swirl of pesto on top. It was soooooo good!

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Tie-Dye Pizza at Rubirosa

My plans for tomorrow are kind of up in the air thanks to the weather; surely in a city this big, I’ll be able to find something to do!