I live in Truro, she lives in Connecticut. We’ve both been to New York City many times. For me, it’s been about work. I could tell you what’s on exhibit at every major museum. She goes for theater and knows every little out-of-the-way neighborhood place.
We met online, and we’ve been seeing each other for three and a half dog years (six months). It was time to find out if our relationship would travel. And if you’re a shop owner on the Outer Cape, as I am, you dream of a few days away in October.
We made a few plans: She wanted to take me to a show and dinner at her favorite little Thai restaurant. I really wanted to visit at least one museum. And we agreed to leave some things to chance.
Our plan combined splurges with budget-conscious moves. What really helped was the chance to stay at her friends’ apartment in Greenwich Village. In exchange, those friends will stay at my place in Truro over Thanksgiving.
Summer traffic gone, the drive to New York is easy enough. But we wanted to avoid the hassle of parking in the city. The solution was to make Westport, Conn. our first destination. From there, you can hop on Metro North for the last leg to Grand Central.
The Westport stop might seem counterintuitive on such a short trip. But treating it like part of our getaway worked: a drive past the fall colors we don’t see on the Cape got us to Westport in time for lunch.
The town is an old haunt for both of us. We were taken aback by the lineup of upscale stores along Main Street. But there was the beautiful, lazy Saugatuck River running through town as it always had. The historic Westport Playhouse, opened in 1931, once frequented by local residents Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, is still there. And the view across Long Island Sound at Compo Beach is as spectacular as ever.
We got a head start on our New York experience with lunch at Gold’s Delicatessen, 421 Post Road. The counter is stacked with smoked fish and nova, but we went for hot corned beef (for me) and liverwurst (for her) sandwiches on rye, served with a couple of pickles on a paper plate.
We ditched the car in Fairfield and boarded the train. This satisfied our bargain-hunting instincts: parking is $6 per day on weekdays and free on weekends, when there are plenty of spaces. The hour-and-a-half ride to Grand Central Station cost us seniors just $18 round-trip.
Here’s how we mixed it up for the next 48 hours:
Day One: A Village Walk
We decided to play it loose that first evening. The Village offers great people watching, and we needed the walk.
We strolled Bleecker Street, Cornelia Street, Carmine Street, Christopher Street. The sidewalks were filled with people. We meandered in and out of shops, checked out a few menus. I felt instantly on vacation. We noted there was live music at the Blue Note on West 3rd Street, but ended up at the Independent Film Center at 323 6th Ave. We got ourselves a pair of $12 senior tickets and saw “Laundromat,” starring Meryl Streep. It was a thrill just to be able to walk around the corner to the movies.
We found dinner down the block afterward at Dos Toros. Yes, it’s takeout. And it’s a mini-chain. But it’s one with California roots, including a focus on sustainable practices. A good carnitas burrito is comfort food and not easy to find on the Cape.
Day Two: A Museum, Views, Dancing
After coffee at the apartment, we walked to the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea. I had never visited, but I collect folk art and appreciate Himalayan art, so I was curious.
The Rubin is a peaceful oasis in the middle of 17th Street. Start at the interactive “Wheel of Intentions,” where you can send yours into the universe.
Our $14 senior tickets and the museum’s free audio guide swept us into three blissful hours with the collection of Himalayan, Tibetan, and Indian art. I was intrigued with the lost wax casting process used to make a 19th-century Himalayan sculpture. Curried cauliflower, potato samosas, and arugula salad made a terrific lunch at the museum’s atrium café.
Next, for a belated birthday surprise, she suggested Gulliver’s Gate at 216 West 44th St. — a world of miniatures in a gigantic 49,000-square-foot space in Times Square. Walking through the spectacular locations created by seven design workshops around the world made me feel like a kid again.
You can wait in line to get a good view of the city’s skyline, but we found a way to skip the line and relax into it with a drink and a bite. At the View Restaurant on the 48th floor of the Marriott in Times Square, the revolving floor makes a 360-degree turn every hour. We didn’t even have to wait for a table.
We’d been wanting to find time to dance all summer, but with my work schedule it hadn’t happened. Lucky for us, she had read that Tito Rodriguez and his salsa band were playing a free concert at Lincoln Center’s David Rubenstein Atrium. We danced the night away, surrounded by a crowd filled with as many students as seniors.
Day Three: Two Great Shows Plus Cheesecake
We met some of her New York friends for brunch at the Hollywood Diner at 574 6th Ave. This landmark is open 24 hours a day.
Then we managed to see two Broadway shows in one day: Dear Evan Hansen and Come From Away. This took some planning: one at 2 p.m. and one at 8 p.m., with dinner in-between. Before we left the Cape, she used TodayTix, an app for buying discounted tickets up to 30 days in advance.
In between we had dinner at her pick nearby, the great little Pongsri Thai at 244 West 48th St.
I know this is controversial, but I think the cheesecake at Junior’s on 45th Street is sublime. Mine was topped with fresh strawberries and a birthday candle.
The return the next day meant a dash to Grand Central and a nap while riding the rails back to Fairfield. On the drive back to Truro we marveled at all we had seen and done in 48 hours. Yes, Lila and I agreed, our relationship traveled well.