|Times Square - ready for New Year's Eve|
|Late afternoon, Rockefeller Plaza|
Anyway, we strolled up Fifth Avenue past one designer store after another, paying our respects to the most outrageous of American consumerism. After passing the Plaza Hotel and keeping both FAO Schwarz and the Apple Store at a safe distance on our right we headed into peace and tranquility of Central Park. We stayed on the eastern side of the park until we reached the Metropolitan Museum of Art, although we did stop and say hi to "Alice" and her friends along the way. . .
|Alice in Wonderland and friends, Central Park|
|Standing in line to get into the Metropolitan Museum of Art|
But it was a wonderful experience. We got the chance to spend a few choice minutes with some of the world's greatest art -- how cool is that, eh?
Anyway, one young woman who wasn't waiting for the loo was, however, waiting to be seen -- Faustine Leo, cousin of the painter Karl-Heinrich Lehmann who, coincidentally, painted her portrait when she was just 10 years old in 1842:
|"Faustine Leo (1832-1865," by Karl-Heinrich Lehmann (her cousin), 1842|
|"The Little Dancer" by Edgar Degas|
|That's Victorine Merine dressed as a matador in the far center painting, right by the arched entryway|
|"Young Lady in 1866" by Edouard Manet;|
that's Victorine Meurine, again; she would also pose in Manet's scandalous work, "Olympia"
|"Saint-Philippe du Roule" by Jean Beraud - I swear the woman holding the little girl's hand was staring right at me|
|"Fishing," 1862-63, by Edouard Manet|
|"The Monet Family in their garden at Argenteuil," 1874 by Edouard Manet|
As we were about to pass out of the park onto Central Park West I caught sight of this statue put up in honor of the men of the Seventh Regiment (presumably from New York) who died in service of the Union during the American Civil War.
|Memorial to the Seventh Regiment, Central Park|
|Memorial to the dead from the USS Maine, Central Park, Columbus Circle|
|Redeye Cafe on 7th Avenue, just south of Central Park|
We found a quiet booth near the front overlooking 7th Avenue, and enjoyed a wonderful late and leisurely lunch sitting in front of a spectacular Peter Max painting.
|Peter Max painting in back of our table at the Redeye|
Our time here was at an end and we headed back to find our bus. No sooner had we returned to the Port Authority and found our gate than we learned that Peter Pan had overbooked the one-day excursion fares it was offering on its website (the reason we took the bus in the first place). But the company did the right thing -- it had no choice, I suppose -- and arranged for an additional bus to make sure everyone got back to Providence. In fact, not long after we got to the gate, we got aboard and tucked ourselves into two seats as the bus pulled out into commuter traffic some 45 minutes early.
I found myself gazing out of the window, relishing not having to drive through snarling New York traffic and find my way off Manhattan Island in the dark, watching hypnotically as the lights of the Great City come on. we sped north up through Harlem, over the Triboro Bridge and eventually onto I-95 pointed north to Rubetown, capital of Gritworld (where the state motto was recently changed from "Creatively stealing your money since 1639" to "making a bad situation worse").
Funny thing, though. With all of our walking up and down some of the fanciest parts of the Big Apple we didn't come across one pastry shop, nor one bakery. And that seems explains so many things, we thought. . . . so many things.
Have a wonderful New Year!