Snapshots from New York.

Dear friends,

I’ve been resisting writing a travelogue post about my recent trip to New York City.

Mostly because it would bore you death, not because I wouldn’t love to do it.

As much as I’m a small-town girl, I adore cities, especially New York, and there’s nothing more I’d rather do than write at length about every detail of my six days there. (Mr. Mom will affirm this. I think he’s tired of my one-track conversation, but he’s still politely listening).

So for your sake, I decided to consolidate my favorite impressions and photos into a Top 5 list.  By the way, Kate would have a totally different list. This is Joan’s opinion only and everyone knows Joan is one opinionated broad.

Joan’s Short List of New York City Wonders (in no particular order):

MOMA ought to be designated one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I got goosebumps and shed a tear or two during the few hours we spent there. Really, it was sublime overload. It made me think heaven is probably filled with art. Anyway, besides works by Dali and Pollock and Monet and Rothko and Mondrian and Van Gogh and so many others that made me marvel, I was absolutely smitten by this piece by Edward Ruscha:

The gallery text reads: “In capital letters, ‘oof’ floats against an empty blue backdrop, suspended somewhere between image and language and between iconicity and absurdity.”  Ruscha’s delicate balancing act is deliciously irreverent and ironic and reminded me why I love modern art. And you know what else I love about MOMA? Cameras are allowed! I took a slew of photos of both art and gallery text as a personal memoir. Thanks, MOMA curators. You totally made my week.

Broadway simply can’t be beat as an entertainment destination. I had the good fortune of seeing two shows and wished I could have seen 10 more. “Jesus Christ Superstar” was brilliant — a post-modern vision of the passion story with a soundtrack that everyone my age knows well. I couldn’t help singing out loud to most of the songs. “Hosanna” was especially well staged with a chorus line waving giant aluminum palm leaves.  And “Nice Work if You Can Get It” with Matthew Broderick was two hours of old-fashioned Gershwin fun chock full of eye-candy costumes, slapstick humor and more songs you know all the words to. My next dream vacation is to spend five days in Times Square doing nothing more than seeing as many shows as can be crammed into 120 hours. By the way, the discount tickets line in Times Square is a bargain one should not lightly dismiss. Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, you have to wait in a long line. But it’s also a fun way to pass a couple of hours. I wouldn’t be smiling if it weren’t.

Ground Zero is hallowed, mystical ground. There’s a vibe to the place I can’t describe — except to say it’s simultaneously reverent and celebratory. I almost passed it up thinking it would be overrun with tourists (it was), which would ruin the moment (it didn’t). My last trip to NYC was in 1999, at which time I stood on the observation deck (107th floor) of WTC 2 and took in the wondrous view on a cold but clear winter day. This trip, I laid on the grass of the Memorial in silent meditation and concluded the view of the emerging four towers was just as spectacular.

Buddy of Cake Boss has it going on! The man is not just a TV star — he’s a pastry God. I was all set to conclude the whole “Hoboken Baker” schtick was just a hefty fork-full of reality-television schlock. But his baked goods were ungodly good and unbelievably fair-priced. Props to him for not jacking up his prices in the wake of his television success. And next time you go to the Big Apple, make time in your schedule to visit Hoboken. (You can get there in 15-20 minutes from almost anywhere in Manhattan on the Path 33 subway line.)  Hoboken is totally underrated, which I’m sure has everything to do with the fact that New Jersey is its surname.

Street performers are one of the coolest free benefits of big cities and NYC abounds with talent. Kate and I sat and watched these two  guys near Times Square for quite a while. I couldn’t help but give them a few bucks. I always give street performers a few bucks. I mean, if they’re going to the trouble of entertaining me for free, how can I not give them a little legal-tender appreciation?

With gratitude {for the trip of a lifetime and 144 hours of uninterrupted time with my sweet CupKate},

Joan, whose face is hurting because she still can’t stop smiling