Monday, January 11, 2016

Taking Time ... to Explore the Past: Saturday with Cynthia

I showed a photo of a Fortune from a Chinese Fortune Cookie earlier this month:

Take time to relax especially 
when you don't have time for it.

Well, there's a lot bubbling under the surface at work that makes me feel like I don't have time to relax. In an ironic twist, it's pretty much one of the same projects that capped off my time/my sanity at my last job, but with even more crappy data, tighter deadlines, not a lot of technical support/infrastructure -- AND I have two other components of my job that I have to weigh higher. Because of a way overblown sense of responsibility, librarian learning and leaning, and foreknowledge of potential/inherited issues brought on my previous experiences, I can feel the clock ticking away loudly, much like Poe's Tell-Tale Heart. I also am having some serious work-related philosophical/office cultural/work-style issues, and so ...  I do work off hours. At home. Behind the scenes. In marathon stretches. Where it's quiet. Squeezed in around, you know ... my life. Or lack of one. A lot this "stuff" seems to be just MY perceptions, expectations, and feelings about professionalism in the workplace, or no one else seems to care, care to change, or grow-up, or REALIZE ... etc.

But enough venting. *I* have to be the Force that changes. So I am trying. Trying to make time to relax.

I have semi-new resolutions to which I'm trying adhere this year. And getting the above fortune was a reminder. It's now taped into the front of my Day Planner (yes kids, people still use old-fashioned paper/spiral-bound Day Planners), the final arbiter of my PERSONAL calendar, my appointment book, my ledger, and my reminder receptacle. I am trying to prioritize PEOPLE over work, even if I "think" I don't have time.

Case in point - Saturday, January 9th, my excursion to the City with Cynthia.

If anyone has a busier schedule than me, it's Cynthia, my friend from the Big J days- and it had been way too long. We managed to find a hole in her schedule and mine, a relatively good winter weather day, AND an activity that was affordable AND off the beaten tourist trap.

Cynthia's New Year 2016 rang in with probably the WINNING-IEST of photos, as she was working in Times Square as part of the event crew for the ball drop. Here she is on the rigging ABOVE the ball. Yeah. Hard to top that unless you are a pyro-tech, an aerial photographer, or one of the actual talent.
photo c. Cynthia
We both traveled into the subways at Times Square where I loitered under the Lichtenstein so long waiting due to delayed trains the transit cops began to get suspicious, I had three separate groups of people ask me for directions/ Metro Card help, and I came SO CLOSE to attacking a poor kid who is being trotted out by a Tiger Parent to pound away on a plugged-in Casio Keyboard to be a Tourist Honey Trap and shill for cash in the guise of being a "pianist." Because my goodness, the muscle memory in my fingers started twitching, my not-quite-perfect-pitch ears were ringing in agony, and my mother's AND my piano teacher's voices were screaming in my head about intonation, rhythm, ar-ti-cu-la-tion, and E-MO-TION. (In short, he's bad. DO NOT TIP HIM. Because he may be raising money for his family, but he is not doing the world a favor in the muuuu-sic department.)

Off we went down to the South Ferry stop. (Unfortunately, the OLD South Ferry station on the subway, because the beautiful new one had been wrecked during Hurricane Sandy.) We wended our way north and headed over looking for Stone Street. (Again, Mom, you'll appreciate this. I got my bearing faster and was reorienting Cynthia, a person who has been in NYC longer than me AND regularly works gigs in and around Wall Street. ME!)

Before we got to Stone Street however, we found Faunces Tavern - the oldest building in the City and a historic landmark.
After oohing and aahing at the history and architecture, we looked at the menus posted outside. Brunch was the order of the day, and since it's still a working restaurant,  the area was quiet, and we figured when would we have the chance again - we ventured in and it was so lovely.
There are two sides - the Tavern and the Bar. We ate over the Porterhouse Bar section, which was lovely and quiet and warm so we could catch up. We did NOT do the prix-fixe menu. It just doesn't make economical sense when you aren't drinking the mimosas or Bloody Marys.
I don't know what George Washington or his troops would have thought that I ordered a vegetarian chick-pea burger, with beet-root hummus, and a frisse salad with a side of fries,
 or that Cyn got a bunch of (day-themed) bison sliders,
and that we split them.

I don't how we timed it so well, but we finished up just as the bar filled up for Jazz Brunch.

For being the oldest building in Manhattan, the ladies room was well-appointed. Tight, but well-appointed.

Yes, I took pictures of the ladies room - because I loved the touches. The old tiles. The in-set sinks. The old gas lamp pipes retrofitted with Edison bulbs and cages.
But I REALLY loved this vanity. This wasn't the only old iron Singer Sewing Machine base that we'd seen used as a table base or seat, but I love the fact that the pedal was there, and that there were still things in the notions drawers on the side.

We did make it to Stone Street, which looked MUCH different than my last visit with Amelia and Christine. (Seriously, these were the crowds on Stone Street on Saturday afternoon.) I love exploring New York when the "crowds" are like this. You can be leisurely and focus in on a lot of things.
Cyn doing a selfie with the Bavaria Bier Haus Lion. I may have ambushed him with a full-body hug, but you have to catch the elusive Nettie photo-ops when they happen because I will not redo them. NOPE. I am no fool.

If you want an UBER fancy Brunch in the Wall Street area, apparently Harry's Cafe & Steak at Hanover Square is your bet. Yes, I took a picture of the menu. Because you have to see that there is a  place where Kobe Beef becomes affordable after what Porterhouses for Two go for. This IS the Financial District after all.

And then we went around the corner and I just stopped - because DELMONICO'S.  
 I mean, History.

We then walked up Williams Street and I turned into an architecture geek. There are so few pockets of ye olde New Yorke/New Amsterdam left, and this triangle of New York has seen so much and been part of so much of it - even within the last 15 years.
 Look at the windows. Look at the ... okay. I will stop.

As we got closer to our destination, I also kept finding little notable things like these horned seahorses,
 And my, what big ... globes you have there...

 Before heading up the stairs to the Smithsonian, we had to really think about this bench.
 Or not. (Neither of us won the lottery that night, but things aren't that bad.)

Cynthia's a good friend. 
She laughs at my jokes and thinks I'm funny.

Even when I make her walk some of Battery Park in the dusk and then we fly off in different directions as the work-week resumes.

Look, Lady, here's hoping we both get some Liberty soon to do it again.
And that we get as lucky with the crowds and weather.

 ~ photos by iPhone

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