The prices of hotels in New York city have become obscene. Last weekend, my wife and I journeyed to New York. We stayed in New Jersey. It’s easy enough to get to the city from New Jersey. You drive to Hoboken, and take the PATH train. In about twenty minutes, you’re walking out onto 33rd Street by Macy’s.
The weather was supposed to be bad that weekend. But after a little rain, and some wind, it was pleasant enough. We spent time on Saturday afternoon in Central Park. Central Park used to be notorious for crime. It still, unfortunately, has some crime, but in open daylight it’s a pleasant place. Here were parents photographing, runners running and, in the lakes, boatmen rowing. Here, too, was Strawberry Fields, where pilgrims, close to twenty years after John Lennon’s death, still go to pay him homage.
We’d walked to the Park from the Frick Museum on Fifth Avenue. The Frick is a good place to view a lot of excellent art when you don’t have the time for the Metropolitan Museum.
The Frick has paintings by some first-rate painters: Rembrandt, Titian and El Greco. But my favorite works there were drawings by Goya, another first rater. These sketches were often of very poor people. It is an exquisite irony that here in the home of the robber baron Henry Clay Frick are pictures of social protest.
The Museum also features paintings by Goya. But these paintings were mainly works for hire, depicting the nobility. They’re not as interesting as Goya’s sketches. The one exception is The Forge, a painting showing, in swirling colors, movement.
After the Frick, we went to the TKTS place near Time Square. We had to wait almost ninety-minutes, but we did get half-price tickets there for a Broadway show.
We ended up seeing In the Heights, an interesting rap musical about Latino life in upper Manhattan. The book was good, and the lyrics were excellent. The music was pleasant, but undistinguished. The performances were strong, with the exception of the lead, Jordin Sparks, from American Idol.
We returned upstate Sunday, but not before making a stop at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken. Because of the TV show Cake Boss, the place had changed considerably a relatively brief time. We’d been to Carlo’s the previous year, and it was a regular neighborhood bakery. Hoboken townies were the principle customers, and an Italian-American woman behind the counter asked us, “What can I get yous?” We’d bought a cake, and the cake was excellent.
This year, a huge line was formed outside the bakery. This line consisted mainly of people who, like my wife and I, had seen the TV show. We waited over a half-hour to get into the place. Behind the counters now were close to twenty young women who’d been hired to take the voluminous orders. At one point, Buddy’s cousin, from the show, appeared from upstairs, and a flood of cell phones was raised to take his picture.
Still, the cakes and pastries we bought were worth the wait. Some things don’t change.