Monday, September 08, 2008

24 Hours in Manhattan (Or Happy Birthday to Me)

My 32nd birthday came and went in a whirlwind. I had dreams of writing a long post of all things I am grateful for this birthday, but I haven't even gotten around to drafting it yet. That will come later, probably after I've forgotten that I am grateful for them.

It was a great weekend. YG did another super secret birthday trip, and I had no idea where I was going until we passed the exit for the Tappan Zee and I realized we were headed to Manhattan again. I had figured somewhere local like Maine or the Cape, and then when I saw we were going south, I guessed the Jersey shore or Long Island, but it was Manhattan again, and it was perfect.

We stayed at another Kimpton Hotel on Park Avenue, near Grand Central. We walked around a bit in the heat and had drinks at the Roylaton and I got sad for a bit, realizing that my time to live in New York City had probably passed -- that I didn't take advantage of it in my 20s and that I probably won't be taking advantage of it until I'm much older and my imaginary children have gone off to school. I love visiting, but the crowds grate on my nerves and I find myself being bitchy and awful. Luckily, our hotel had the cure. First, they delivered a bottle of wine and cake, followed by a bottle of champagne. YG and I drank our own proseco, purchased at the wine shop in Grand Central, and went to dinner at Artisanal , downing more wine and buckets full of yummy cheese and chocolate fondue.

After dinner, we were roaming the streets of the city and decided to go to the top of the Empire State Building. It was relatively quiet and the humidity had changed into a breezy and warm night, and we stayed up there for a while, looking at the lights and the water and my home state.

The next day we had cake and coffee for breakfast and lounged around in the hotel-provided bathrobes, talking and reading. I just finished Ethan Canin's America, America. YG read it first and loved it, and I devoured it in a week. After the rain started, we walked over to MoMA and took in the photography and several of the Picassos. YG and I have the same philosophy about museums and art in general. We seem to like the idea of them more than actually visiting them, but we picked out the things we wanted to see and limited our time. This was amazing in person, and for a rainy day in NYC, the annoying tourist factor was relatively low.

We walked in the rain along 54th Street. YG had to buy a bigger umbrella because the downpour was relentless and we stopped for drinks at a no-name bar to escape. We met my family -- everyone (my parents, nana, brother, sister, and aunt) -- at Lattanzi for an early dinner, and I opened up my presents and just chatted, as if it were any normal dinner in the city.

We drove home that night because I had my 5K at 8:30 the next morning. It poured the entire way, but we made it. The rain cleared out in time for the race, and I finished in 32:51, the fastest 5K I've ran so far, and a SIX MINUTE improvement over my time last year. I met YG for brunch and we enjoyed the rest of our Cambridge afternoon.

All in all, a pretty great birthday.

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