We saw our first French one man show. The show was performed by a well known French comedian, Gad Elmaleh. It was his last show in the USA. In Paris you can see him in big theatres, but, in NYC, he did his show in the City Winery, a bar restaurant where pizza and burgers were being served as he told jokes. We were seated at a table with a good view and had drinks. It was possible to eat, but not mandatory. Gad spoke with the public and made jokes about the differences between France and the US so for us, it was very relevant. For example, he spoke about the French thinking that there is too much air conditioning in the US. I agree with him, but not Michele… A reoccurring debate.
The show was excellent and really funny. Thanks Gad for this great time.
We found it. A beautiful house.
It is centrally located in Manhattan. It is furnished, spacious and has seven fireplaces.
The best feature is perhaps the courtyard garden, a perfect place to relax and spend a few much needed peaceful moments. When we visited, we didn’t want to leave. It just felt right.
There is only one problem. The house is not open to inhabitants.
The Merchant’s House Museum (29 East Fourth Street) is the elegant house of a former merchant constructed in 1832 that has been transformed into a museum. Much of the furniture and objects belong to the family that once lived here. When crossing the threshold, I was transported to another era. It is possible to take a self guided tour of the house. The guide book offers information about the different rooms and also explains customs and traditions during that period in New York’s history.
The museum also highlights the contrast between the well off merchant’s family and the staff that kept the house running smoothly.
We spent a lot of time in the garden, enjoying the crisp autumn weather. It was reminiscent of a secret garden as large buildings can be seen surrounding the courtyard and the garden itself seemed hidden away, protected. I would recommend this to anyone who wants a glimpse of New York’s past.
I really like corned beef. This salty meat is great in a sandwich with a juicy pickle on the side.
I realize that we frequently speak about food, but, it’s true that food can say a lot about a culture.
As I am in New York now, I am able to go to well known Katz’s Delicatessen when I am seized by a corned beef craving. At Katz’s, there is a bit of a ritual surrounding the purchase of a corned beef sandwich. Upon entering, everyone is offered a ticket. Make sure not to lose it as anything you order will be written on the ticket, and it will be checked when you leave. Next, you have to carefully choose your counter to place an order. Behind the counter, skilled and focused employees cut generous slabs of corned beef or pastrami based on your order. A sample is offered, leaving you hungry for more.
Don’t forget the pickles! Katz’s offers large pickles, real pickles. Pickles are actually an ongoing subject of debate between myself and Damien. Damien prefers little, spicy “cornichons” that are often found in French grocery stores. I grew up eating big, thick pickles. Damien tells me I eat cucumbers and I retort that his version of pickles are too small This is what can happen when you’re married to someone who grew up in a different country and has different tastes! In the end, though, our differences make life more interesting.
Enough about pickles, back to Katz’s. Over one of the tables, there is a sign proclaiming that a famous scene from Harry Met Sally was filmed at the table below.
If you are hungry, head to Katz’s.
Every year around mid-September, Little Italy celebrates San Gennaro organizing a street fair during 11 days. It’s located on Mulberry Street, the main street of the Italian neighborhood. The ambiance is really nice, it seems like a Christmas market with italian color. The street, closed to cars, has a lot of restaurants and food stands. We already ate, so we just took a sausage sandwich and then some pastries, a Cannoli and my favorite a fried Oreo. Delicious!
Sunday afternoon, we took the A train all the way up to the North of Manhattan. After getting out at 190th street, we crossed Fort Tryon Park and finally arrived at the Cloisters. Complete with a tower and portions of French cloisters, this is not something that you would expect to find in Manhattan.
It is a tribute to the art and architecture of the Middle Ages. I really enjoyed the lovely little gardens. Signs explain the different types of plants and what they were used for in medieval times. Inside, there are also some very beautiful stained glass windows and the magnificent and well known unicorn tapestries. The Cloisters are a bit hidden away, but this only serves to enhance the museum’s appeal. It is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon.
One sunny afternoon, Damien and I went for a walk along the High Line. This elevated park is located in the Meatpacking District, a neighborhood previously known for its slaughterhouses which today boasts restaurants and stores. Abandoned freight rails were transformed into a park. No attempt was made to hide the tracks and instead they serve to enhance the High Line’s appeal. A structure that narrowly missed being demolished is something now enjoyed by many people.
My favorite part of the park looks a bit like an open air theatre facing a large glass window and offering a view of the street below. The window serves as a frame making a typical New York street suddenly seem different. The street becomes a stage with an ever changing décor. Here, the passage of time is measured by the number of taxis that zip past below. The High Line allows visitors to see New York from a new perspective.
This Sunday, we were at a tugboat race & competition. What was it? More than ten tugboats raced along the Hudson River (arrival at Pier 84). After, there was a nose to nose pushing contest followed by a line toss competition. When the sailors disembarked, the show continued with a spinach eating contest. The first to eat a can of cold spinach would be the winner and elected the new Popeye. Anyone could participate, but I preferred not to. There was also a spinach eating contest open to kids. To win, the children were advised to eat with their hands and to hold the bowl over their heads when they finished. Do you think that I told you everything… not really, I forget to mention the mascot on one of the tugboats, a donkey sailor. Yes, a real donkey! He was on top of a tugboat eating his hay during the competition. He was wearing a life jacket and sailor hat. I thought that he was there for the spinach eating contesting, but actually he wasn’t. We enjoyed our morning!