It’s a small world, after all


‘It took me nearly as long to get to Roosevelt Island as it did to get to the Amazon River’

I didn’t get his name, but I’m betting it was ‘Tony’. He was the guy manning the gate that lets you into the waiting area to ride the tram back from Roosevelt Island.

One of my besties (hi, Laurie!) and I had spent a most marvelous time strolling around the Island, checking out the new monument to Mr. Roosevelt, the old Smallpox Hospital (where they used to quarantine the poor sufferers, bless their hearts), and even the new Cornell Labs (where they let us in, but only so far in; they have very nice light fixtures in their cafeteria).

Monument to Mr. R. One of my other bestie’s sons really really wants to skateboard here

You can’t go in because it is ‘unstable’ (not that I’d want to), but here is the Smallpox Hospital in all its tumbledown glory

Anyway, Tony and I got to chatting, as is my wont when dawdling with friendly strangers, and found that he used to work for a film editing studio where I would occasionally be involved in a TV commercial edit. Ah, the Six Degrees of City Separation!

But back to Roosevelt Island, figuratively if not literally. I hate to admit it, but it was my very first trip there. Which is pretty amazing, since I’ve lived in New York like a zillion years, and R. Island is really close by: it’s just one subway stop away, and the tram is about 8 blocks from me — and those are the short blocks, not the long crosstown ones.

In all my years of New Yorker-ness (more than 30; less than 50), I had also never been to the New York Botanical Garden. About a month ago another pal (howdy, Ms. Smith!) coaxed me up there to see the Chihuly exhibit, which had Chihuly’s clever glass sculptures dispersed amongst the flora. (That Chihuly-adorned ‘fauna’ at the top of this post is me, posed artfully in front of one of his works.)


What the heck, here’s another one. Cool, huh?

This garden is also really close by. It’s called the New York Botanical Garden, after all. But it was (and is) in the Bronx, which means, to me and many of my fellow Manhattanites, that it might as well be on the moon. I have, however, been to Staten Island. Twice. Once to get to the beginning of the New York City Marathon, which yes, I did in fact run — more than one time, even. And once to get to a lovely graduation party thrown by the parents of one of The Child’s Stuy High buds. But I have yet to ride the Staten Island Ferry, which is how you get to the Statue of Liberty. Which — nope — I have not been to yet either.

Even my Favorite Sister, who doesn’t even live here, has been on the Staten Island Ferry. AND visited the Statue of Liberty (visible in the mists in the background)

Even The Dude has been to Brooklyn more recently than I have. He went there with The Child to check out an electric motorcycle. Which he liked, and bought. (No, it doesn’t have ‘a really long cord’.) The Child told me later that she had to keep hushing him. He tended to exclaim out loud in wonder at the hipsters. (‘What is that guy thinking with that neck beard!’ Etc. etc.)

The Child hushing her Dad deep in the heart of Hipster Williamsburg (as opposed to Colonial Williamsburg)

And Queens, the remaining of the Five Boroughs? Queens, we go to nearly every week, that is if you count zooming (er, crawling) through on the Long Island Expressway. But we have been to the U.S. Open (tennis, not golf) which is held in Flushing Meadows, which counts as Queens.

But what’s that about the Amazon River, you may be asking? Well. If things worked out, technology-wise, you are reading this because I successfully ‘timed’ this piece to publish all by itself this week. Because The Dude and I have wrenched ourselves away from Manhattan and are smack-dab in the middle of the Amazon Jungle. On a boat on a river, tracking down elusive and exotic birds. Yup, birds. And hoping not to get eaten by fish. (Yup, there are piranha in the Amazon. For real.)

Very ‘African Queen’, eh? Our home away from home for two weeks. Photo copyright Bret Whitney

See you next week. I hope!

New York City (virtually, anyway). November 2017

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26 thoughts on “It’s a small world, after all

  1. I grew up on Long Island, and we went into the city for meals and shows on special occasions, and school field trips, but we only went to touristy things with visitors. First time I took the Statue of Liberty cruise was when Neil and I stayed in Brooklyn for a week, with frequent trips to Hipster Williamsburg.

    • R. Island has a super-fun tram, and Staten Island has an equally super-fun ferry (see the movie ‘Working Girl’ for proof). Tho I have, alas, not yet experienced it for myself. On my list for 2018!

  2. josypheen

    The child is looking really beautiful in that photo, even though she’s also looking very unimpressed at the dude! 😀

    I hope you have an amazing trip in the Amazon!

  3. The Amazon, wow! I have been to the statue of liberty even though I live all the way up in Maine. It was raining the day we were there and we climbed to the observatory on wet stairways. At one point when I got discouraged and my legs hurt a college choral group starting singing patriotic songs in beautiful harmony. The accoustics are excellent and it was a memorable experience. Last summer I went to the botanical garden in Boothbay Maine for the first time even though my friends and relatives have been raving about it for years. It is so easy to miss treasures in our own back yard!

  4. I’ve been to all boroughs except the Bronx, so sounds like I need to get myself there to see the Botanical Garden the next time I’m in NYC. I lived in Manhattan (briefly), but if I was to return to NYC I think I’d live in Brooklyn. I absolutely loved it when I stayed there this summer. Hope you enjoyed the Amazon river!

  5. I’m soooo confused! Or time traveling! I thought you were back today; yet this posted today and not last Tuesday – or….. is it last Tuesday already? holy caboli.

    • Oi! ‘Best-Laid Plans’, and all that! I wrote this before the trip, and set it up to publish on Tuesday the 7th while we were gone. (Or at least I thought I did.) But, alas and alack, the gods ignored my scheduling request. Guess they were channeling all their energies to save me from piranha. Which, fortunately, they did. But we did get to watch piranha go crazy in a feeding frenzy. (Thanks for your patience, and stay tuned for deets next week!)

  6. Ruth Meisenheimer

    The African Queen trip is amazing, and so was the Chihuly exhibit when I saw it in the Missouri Botanical Gardens! Safe travels!

    • Thank you, Ruth! So glad I got to see the Chihuly. It was amazing, and much less dangerous than the Amazon! Stay tuned for Tales of Piraña and so on and so forth coming soon! xoxo

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