A grateful heart: My favorite tour guide

Nothing like a little 20-something weather with snow flurries to make a
Californian appreciate winter.

When my sister announced she was leaving Brooklyn earlier this year, I thought: Oh no! We’re going to New York in December. How will we do the Big Apple without our favorite tour guide??

I was only partly joking. I’ve been to New York three times now and always with my sister.

I traveled with her when she moved to Manhattan to attend NYU. We stayed in a nasty little hostel on Bowery across from the CBGB club, hauling most of her worldly possessions in several giant suitcases up five flights of stairs in triple digit heat. We piled them in our teeny room with no ceiling, just thatching made out of trellis fencing. Over a few days, we got lost, lots. We ate black and white cookies in Times Square (like you do). We visited Central Park, the Met, Empire State, Ellis Island, the State of Liberty, and Gray’s Papaya hot dogs, all the big tourist traps. I cried on the cab ride to JFK and I’m sure B cried a little when I left her alone in her  wee dorm room to face living with several strangers in a confined space.

The next trip was for B’s graduation a few years later, a family adventure where B played tour guide for our parents, Mr. T and me. We enjoyed a gorgeous Mother’s Day in Central Park, sipped frozen hot chocolate at Serendipity, and ate the. best. BBQ. at Fette Sau in a back alley in Brooklyn. Oh and did I mention I got to see my sister walk across the stage at Radio City freaking Music Hall, and listen to Hillary freaking Clinton speak at her commencement ceremony at Yankee freaking stadium (the original one)?

The third visit, chronicled in my “Malvinis take Manhattan” post, involved a work trip at a methadone clinic in the Bronx, but B and I got in an entire day of sightseeing, walking 10 miles including across the Williamsburg Bridge to Manhattan. We visited The Strand, New York Public Library (closed, alas), and ate hot nuts from street vendors because it was a whopping 35 degrees most of the day. It was a beautiful sisterly whirlwind.

Although I’ve tried, I seriously can’t fathom our midwinter trip to New York without B to guide us through the subway system and drag us to the best eats in Brooklyn.

But. But! What I’m grateful for: B’s recently taken up residence in the Windy City, which happens to be where the National Communication Association convention is celebrating its 100th anniversary. And it also happens to be where I’ll be spending a few days this week and hopefully a couple days here and there every few years. Here’s hoping I can build a collection of Chicago memories to rival the ones in New York. We’ll see!


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