Buy Oliver a Cup of Coffee

New York, New York

Drove from Richmond to Union Station in Washington, DC to catch the Megabus.  A great deal, depending upon how far in advance you buy the ticket it can range from $19 to $35, but is generally around $25 for a five hour ride.  It travels quickly with only one brief stop in Baltimore, is a roomy double-decker with a bathroom, is air conditioned and has wi-fi.  Pack a lunch.  If you are on a budget park at the park-n-go in Vienna and catch the train in so you don't have to pay for parking at Union Square.  If you arrive early, you can generally pay five bucks and take an earlier bus.  They leave every half hour or so.  It takes you right into Manhattan. Union Station is a beauty.

Chose the back seat on top as did a long-legged young man who would become my friend.  The ride gave me time to learn the photo editing features on my new phone so I could take crazy pictures of the embroidery on my dress

 and surreal pictures of Baltimore.

and add a peculiar drama to other scenes along the way

Stuck in clogged traffic on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel I missed the car waiting in Manhattan to take me to dinner, so I caught the subway to Central Park.  I love the immediacy of life in the subway.

I met my sister and brother-in-law for a fine meal at Marea on South Central Park.

Followed by a cigar at the Havana Club.

A bit of an explanation may be in order for those friends who know the former me, quite vocal about loathing the smell of cigar smoke. I still believe there is a time and a place. The time is when you want one and the place would be a cigar club. The Havana Club I understand is well-ventilated.  I didn't smell any cigar smoke, but then most of the celebrities whose names I recognized on the brass plaques of the compartments in the humidor were doubtless in the Hamptons for the summer.  I had never been in a cigar club, so I opened the glass doors and checked out the humidor.  It was there I met a man who was unwrapping a box of cigars into his humidor compartment.  When I expressed interest, he asked me if I had a camera.  His mafioso accent and the expression of his body guard compelled me to promptly promise that what transpired in the humidor stayed in the humidor.  He gave me two cigars from Cuba, one for my sister (who wouldn't smoke one if her life depended upon it, but I told him I had come with her, so he presumed...) and one for me.  My brother-in-law was suitably impressed with my score in the humidor and looked a little sad that he didn't get one until my friend came around the corner, saw there were three of us and offered one to Joe as well, who would now as a practical matter, get two in the deal. He is very generous and deserves a nice surprise.

Note the cedar sticks for lighting a cigar.
The quality of the cigar which changed my world forever.

The new me...

Enjoying the wine, the cigar and the view out the window at the end of my couch.

The next day my sister and took her dog fo a walk in Central Park, had our hair done and went shopping for shoes.  She was appalled that I only had one worn pair of flat sandals.  I had come straight from work in Richmond and have made it a rule to not wear heels for less than $120k a year, so there you have it.  She was to learn that finding shoes for Frodo feet is a feat.  Her driver took us from store to store while I sat in the back and took pictures out the window.

texting relevant ones

 to my bus buddy who was working on a 1920s movie set.

Upon successfully completing the finding-shoes-for-Frodo mission we went back to her apartment and changed to go out.

The limo was waiting to take us to
in Greenwich Village
to see the greatest trumpet player alive

Arturo Sandoval.

Everyone was pretty stoked after such a stellar performance.

I slept on the pull-out sofa bed with the curtains open so I could dream of New York.

Sunday morning we had salmon and lox at Barney Greengrass's deli, circa 1908.

Then Caleb, who is interning this summer at KPMG in Manhattan and I walked down to Riverside Park, with me snapping photos of architecture and flowers along the way.

Then we parted

 and I caught the Megabus back to Richmond

snapping photos

with my new iphone until I fell asleep... listening to the women next to me, three best friends for forty years, talk softly.