Friday the 14th of August was the day I'd been looking the most forward to on the entire trip. Because Friday the 14th would be the day I finally got to meet Irina in person! We've been e-mail friends since 2003 but never met, so when she heard I was coming to NYC (actually before it was even settled for sure), she immediately e-mailed me to come down and spend a day with me. Naturally I JUMPED at the chance :)
And it did NOT disappoint :) Not many photos taken today. I was too wrapped up in talking to remember to take more than a couple.
Anyway, I woke up that morning to discover that the crutch definitely did help - as sore as my feet had been yesterday, they were absolutely fine now. That is NOT par for course on sight-seeing trips. Usually I'd be limping everywhere after a day with so much walking. Instead only my shoulder hurt a bit, but I'd already arranged for a massage when returning to Denmark, so I decided not to worry about that.
At 11:15am I left the hotel and headed off on my own to find the nearest subway station and the train that'd take me up to 86th Street as I was meeting Irina at the Popover Café at 11:45 for brunch. I'd completely overestimated the time it'd take me to get there though, so I was about 20 minutes early! Good thing I've learned never to go anywhere without a book ;)
Irina arrived shortly after 11:45 and we recognised each other straight off :) We went in, found a place to sit and immediately proceeded to talk each others' ears off ;) I'm thrilled to finally have gotten to meet her in person :)
The food at the Popover Cafe was absolutely delicious, but SOOOO rich. We ordered a basket of popovers and strawberry butter, and popover "egg popeye" - eggs with spinach and salmon. So yummy, but I could only eat about half of it. Definitely a spot I'd recommend for others. It's mostly a brunch/lunch place though.
After brunch the plan was to walk through Central Park to get to the Met which was directly on the other side of the park. Well... we found the park without any problems, but it turns out that both of us are firmly devoid of any form of homing pigeon instinct, so instead of walking straight and reaching the East side, we instead came out 14 blocks further South - still on the West side. Lars is never going to let me live that down.
Undaunted we set out again, and thanks to the GPS function on Irina's iPhone we managed to make our way through Central Park and find the Met! This is where I got my big surprise of the day. Now, I like art museums as much as the next person (probably a tad more so actually, depending on who 'the next person' is), but this is the most fun I have ever had at an art museum. Irina has a masters degree in art, and thus was able to teach me SO much about the different pieces - not just American art either, but African and European as well. It was incredibly interesting, and I hope she'll forgive me for saying so, but she was extremely cute in her enthusiasm for teaching me.
The Met was a very confusing museum though - layout-wise I mean - and we had some difficulties finding our way through. It's hard to explain, but it was as if the levels didn't "match" and therefore we kept having to go up and down stairs and elevators in order to get around. We couldn't stop laughing about it - especially as we kept ending up at the very same elevator! It must have had a magnetic pull on us.
What I most wanted to see, and Irina most wanted to show me (I think) were the American paintings, as we really don't have many of those here. Unfortunately the American Ward was closed for reconstruction, and many of the pieces loaned out to other museums. Thankfully we discovered that some had been put in storage and could still be viewed (they just weren't "presented" nicely). I'm glad, because this is where I found my favourite pieces in the entire museum! One was "Madame X" - not the least because I was fascinated by the story behind it. The other was "Camp fire" by an American painter who mostly took photographs and therefore ended up using a lot of the same visual 'techniques' (for want of better word) in his paintings. I just LOVED the colours and the way he showed the fire and the sparks.
Since this post is insanely long already, I think I'm going to separate day 3 into two posts, and sign off here. Still to come - book-lovers going crazy at The Strand, celebratory Champagne and an interesting dinner at Queen of Sheba :-)