Monday, June 15, 2009

Things to do in NYC

There is talk in my household about leaving New York some day, possibly sooner than later. That plus the hectic schedule that summer always imposes on us has made me want to make a list of things I have to do in NYC this summer! Either before it gets cold again, or before the city is a plane ride away.

1. Visit the High Line.
The new elevated park opened last week. We're going to try to go take a stroll and experience the views from High Line and check out all the new buildings that have popped up next to it this week.

2. Times Square Pedestrian Area
We're in total crush with the city's Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan who has closed off several blocks of Broadway at Times Square to vehicle traffic, mostly because of her devotion to creating hundreds of miles more bike lanes in all five boroughs. Times Square is still half-Disney, half-Vegas but I'm interested to see the new "park" and to sit in the middle of Broadway without fearing for my life.

3. Summerstage, Celebrate Brooklyn and River to River Festival
Summer in NY is all about free events in the park, from concerts to readings and dance performances. This week I'm going to try to see Wally Lamb and Sharon Olds reading at Central Park, next week the NY Opera is performing the Magic Flute at Rockefeller Plaza, and the last week of June, friends Explosions in the Sky from Austin are performing at Central Park (although their show is a benefit for the Summerstage series and isn't free). I'm hoping to cram in as many of these performances as I can throughout the summer!

4. The Observation Deck of the Empire State Building
It's not cheap, but it's such an NYC institution, I feel like I have to do it at some point. I've gazed at the Empire State Building from every angle around the city; time to view the city from the top of the ESB.

Other than that, boat rides, walks, taking photos, picnics, thrift store shopping on the Upper West Side (apparently the key to finding bargain designer wear) and whatever else I can squeeze into the next few warm weeks are all on my agenda. Gotta love NYC before the winter sets in and I'm a hater again.


Steve said...

Visit Mike, the Upholsterer, just north of Yonkers...

I wrote the below post about Mike, the Upholsterer... the comment below it was posted by a reader (his son, it turns out). These are people who know what is truly valuable.

I went to my local upholsterer, Mike, today to see about some slip covers. Mike is 83 years old. His wife died two years ago at 80 of undiagnosed cirrhosis of the liver. They were married 60 years.

Mike was a soldier in WW II and had 5 days of R & R in Nice, France. On his first day there he saw her walking on the street and he said the one phrase he knew in French and she stopped to talk with him in her broken English. They saw each other over the next four days (a movie, dinners) before he shipped out. When he returned to the States a year later he wrote to her, sent her an engagement ring and she came to the US. They were married shortly after she arrived. She worked as a hair dresser and Mike worked at the local Anaconda copper mill in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and when they closed the factory he went to school to learn the upholstery business. He works by himself and has now been in the same small shop (his second) for 18 years. It's across the street from the empty Wonderbread warehouse on route 9A. He is listed in the yellow pages as "Dependable Upholstery".

Mike has two kids, four grandchildren, one great grandchild and a second on the way.

I showed Mike the material we chose for our slip covers from one of the sample books he gave me. On my way home my cell phone rang, "Steve, it's Mike. Hey I am sorry but they do not carry that material any more. I am really sorry buddy but what can I do? I hate these suppliers - they lie".

I told him not to worry about it - I'd come in next week and choose another material. I am looking forward to it.


mrjunction said...
Mike (the Upholsterer) is my dad, and he is an amazing person. He has more energy in one finger than I do in my entire body. At 83 years of age he still gets up for work, cooks, cleans the house, drives his grandchildren around...all with a smile on his face. He is rarely, and I mean, rarely in a bad mood...even though he has had a tough life.
He grew up poor, and his mom passed away when he was two. His dad, who immigrated from Italy spent the majority of my dad's youth in jail, so he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He grew up with his aunts and uncles who were of a similar age. At 18 he went into the Army to fight the war (WW II). While he was overseas, his older brother (by a couple of years) was killed in action in the Philippines. But even with all of this heartache and turmoil, there is not one ounce of depression in his body...never feels "Why Me?"...never acts like the world owes him something.
My dad never considered himself a success, and at one point in my life I told him that this was unacceptable! He couldn't be more of a success as a M-A-N. My wish is to be more like my father (Mike). The world would be a much better place if everybody was.
My dad, Mike, is my hero.....sounds like a success to me!

karen said...

Wow, Steve, thanks! I don't know quite what to do with this except to say that your post about an everyday hero has reminded me that I really wanted to find stories like this ages ago and post them here. Thanks for bringing me Mike's story and reminding me of all the wonderful stories there are out there.