A Metropolitain Christmas Wonderland all tied up in a diamond bow from Fendi
Ok, so New York is nearly everything. Paris still wins, but just barely. Now I'm left wondering, why does anyone live anywhere else? 4 days in the beautiful, bedecked, bedazzled City has left me yearning for more interesting digs. New York has it all, even drowning in Xmas tourists, even freezing its full-length-fur-coated behind off, even demanding every last cent for you to breathe its rarefied air. Sign me up!
We spent our days bundled to the gills, but soaking in the bright sunshine. We had the incredible luck, thanks to dear friends, to stay in the spectacular Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, right on the waterfront with the giant buildings of lower Manhattan about 800 feet away across the river. Reflecting morning sunshine, gleaming lights at night, they were there amidst the tugboats and helicopters, nestled between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, visible a little ways to the left. I sat in the window with countless cups of coffee and bagels, and dreamed, communing with New York City, thanking the gods and musing on he possibilities out there.
Speaking of possibilities thanks to another dear friend who is also a magical, successful writer, I got to have a meeting in Soho with Penguin/Dutton children's books, and at Union Square with Disney/Hyperion children's books, my own copy of "Dizzy's Dream" in tow. The meetings went fabulously, I received a warm receiption and all kinds of great advice, suggestions, referrals and inspiring direction. Stay tuned for much anticipated developments, I am quite optimistic that 2011 is going to be a very good year. I capped off the possibility-list by dropping my portfolio off at the New York Times! It is there as I write, keep your virtual fingers crossed. My delightful friend also took me to a super fun book party at the "Book of Wonders" bookstore, celebrating its 30 year anniversary. What a charming store! A full-length glass case full of collectible Oz books caught my eye,( including one signed edition selling for $75,000!) I met all sorts of children and young adult writers, and Peter the owner was so hospitable and jolly and regaled us with hilarious bris stories!
We had a magic afternoon in Central Park. All the leaves are off the trees so you can see all of the huge, beautiful buildings around it. I ice skated with my friend Bill and his wonderful daughter Jane, I marveled at how cute everyone seemed to be in their puffy winter wear, although not so cute in their full-length fur coats. I saw the Children's Gate as written about by Adam Gopnik. And everywhere, Christmas decorations, garlands, music, lights. Unbelievable!
Then we took in all the crazy wonderful Xmas windows down 5th avenue. 5th Avenue was Humanity Insanity. Thousands of people. But sooo exciting! Bergdorf Goodman's Xmas windows are true art, a sparkling Jules Verne holiday fantasy. We made it to the NY Public Library, huge lions and everything. Their Xmas tree is gorgeous. Then we
subwayed back to Brooklyn for a wonderful latke dinner at Gayle's, all of us --Bill Kate, the kids and the Forman Tuckers together for the first time. And Willa singing the Hanukkah song! It was a soul-bolstering evening.We saw the Lion King. It moved me to tears! The singing is outstanding, the art direction amazing. I mean of course it is, being Broadway and all, but what a treat! And Times Square has become the wierdest, most futuristic Blade-Runner candy-coated, giant flat-screened wonder of all. I can only handle that in small doses.
We went to the Met. First we tried to warm up by running up 5th avenue, but my legs got tangled up in Cora's long legs and I FELL DOWN. I left a bit of skin on 5th Avenue, to remember me by. Then we moved over to Madison Avenue to escape the bitter wind and for me to cuddle my throbbing wrist, and wow, what a neighborhood!! The incredible penthouses, the scrolling cornices, the rich and the wealthy, the ancient stone churches, and... OWEN WILSON! He biked right by us on the sidewalk! Cora was in heaven.
The Met was its own huge, glorious self. What I loved more than the Picassos, Van Goughs and Gaugins were the 18th century French furnishings and porcelain. How delightful, how delicate, how delicious. I took tons of photos of vases and urns, crazy armoires with steel bullheads and hooves. Ahhh, the whimsy of it all. They even had an entire Parisian storefront that they'd resurrected inside!
I know I'm late to the party. They've been making those "I heart NY" tee shirts for decades. But I do heart it, with a new passion, and it's never too late to create a new adventure.