Continuing along with the New York chronicles, we began Friday morning with breakfast at Junior’s, a busy, buzzy restaurant in the theatre district near the Milford Plaza, our hotel. Decorated with Christmas decorations galore, the eatery treated its patrons to the sounds of Christmas tunes mingled with the excited chattering of fellow diners and the clinking and clattering of plates, glasses, and silverware. We loved it. In fact, we enjoyed the experience so much that we repeated it the next morning. If you visit New York and want something a bit more substantial than Starbucks and a pastry on the run, give Junior’s a chance. The price is right, and the wait staff is gracious and accommodating. Three of us had our cameras out that morning, and our waiter actually seemed to enjoy taking our picture(s).
Fortified with grits (a Southern dish that was well prepared at Junior’s), we walked outside in the windy cold and had some conversation with young men who were selling Gray Line tour tickets. To us, it seemed to be the best route since it would enable us to see the city and hear a tour guide inform us about interesting facts. Although most of us had visited New York before, we were (still are) novices and knew we could gain a lot by taking this tour. I’m so glad we did! Did you know that Jimmy Cagney spoke seven languages fluently?
Our primary destinations that day were Chinatown, Little Italy, and the South Street Seaport, and we managed to see them all and have some terrific adventures. In Chinatown, after the five of us were whisked off the street and escorted into a back room by a young, pretty Chinese woman, Joan Ella and Patty purchased some designer bags. I think all of us were interested and intrigued, but there were too many other tourists crowded in there with us for me to even think straight.
Leaving Chinatown, we strolled through Little Italy and savored our saunter down Mulberry Street. Before reaching the South Street Seaport, we managed to glimpse Wall Street and Ground Zero. After a bit of shopping, we piled onto the ferry and took a tour of the New York Harbor. Much to my dismay and sorrow, I soon learned that the ferry would NOT be taking us to Ellis Island, a stop I had been anticipating since August. I LOVE that place! On a prior trip with my daughter Carrie and some friends, we had visited the island, and I’ve never felt the same about immigrants. How must it have felt to arrive in the harbor to the sight of the Statue of Liberty, torch held high, and then have to go through long and sometimes grueling processing? Were they afraid? Excited? Anxious?
Tour complete, we jumped on the Grey Line bus and headed back to our hotel to primp and preen for All My Sons, the Arthur Miller play with Katie Holmes. In my humble and uncultured opinion, the absolute BEST performance in the house was by Diane Wiest. I’m still in awe of her giant gift. When the five of us discussed the play afterwards at Junior’s (had to have some hot chocolate and cheesecake before calling it a night), we were pretty much all wowed by her and her onstage husband, John Lithgow.
All My Sons generated another discussion too…one about family secrets, greed, loyalty, and relationships. Sipping our hot chocolate with huge dollops of whipped cream, we talked about how a single act or quick decision by a person can affect his or her family for generations even though descendents might not even be aware of it…or even of who committed what/when/where. It could be something like deciding to take a job in another part of the country or world, hence affecting schools, lifestyle, friends, and so forth. Then again, it might be something like selling defective parts that result in the death of others…even a son who commits suicide when he realizes how greedy, deceptive, and guilty his father is.
I guess the moral of the story is that our acts have ramifications that we can’t predict at the time we’re committing them. If we could, perhaps we’d think twice before acting.