My New York State of Mind Is Not What I Thought It Would Be

I’m back in town after a week in my old hometown of New York City. Aside from the cold and the miserable trip back (the cold was unavoidable; the miserable trip home was courtesy of JetBlue), I have to say that overall, it was a great time. The hubby and I walked a lot, ate a lot, and saw a lot in a week. Most of it I enjoyed; some of it I wish I’d skipped. I’ll spend a few columns telling you about the trip, starting with the ghost chasing that did not have a happy ending.

The first of two places I should have skipped: the Empire State Building. My dad worked there for years, and I wanted to see his old office, find out who has it now, and just walk around the building and reminisce.

Not a chance. Although the Art Deco lobby still looks as spectacular as ever, there is no longer a directory available, and polite but suspicious security personnel will not tell you a thing about who works in the building. Entry above lobby level or below the expensive observation deck is by ID pass card only, thanks to turnstiles installed at the end of each elevator bank. I don’t question the need for security in a post 9/11 world. But whatever childhood memories I was looking for in the building are no longer there, and they are never coming back.

Macy’s flagship store was another disappointment. Crowded (OK, even in my childhood, it was always crowded), glitzy, with too much cheap-looking merchandise, and it stinks as a result of constant spritzing of men’s and women’s fragrance products onto unsuspecting shoppers by cosmetic representatives. How does anyone stand the constant olfactory onslaught? The old Cellar, which was filled with good food, both prepared items and specialty ingredients, has been reduced to a tourist-class restaurant and candy/souvenir shop. No fine meats, produce, pasta and wine. The merchandising floor is a daffy layout of mezzanines and added buildings, so it’s hard to figure out where you are without a map or a guide dog. The wooden escalators, a treat to ride with my Grandma, are still there, still working and still clunky and noisy. At least that part of childhood has not been removed.

I’m done with the tough parts of the trip now. No more complaining. Next column will deal with the good stuff!


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Filed under New York City, thought, travel, vacation

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