This post is really long. I tried to include enough pictures to make it interesting; they just made it longer.
Last weekend, Johnny and I were able to make a little getaway to NYC. We’re only a few hours’ drive away, and a friend offered us a place to stay. We left on Friday after work, and after sitting through the perpetual Hartford traffic jam, had a pretty smooth trip. Along the way, I think I saw Pope Francis advertising the Annual Bishop’s/Archbishop’s/Cardinal’s Appeal for every diocese we drove through. He sells, I guess. We also saw this one, which I think I’ve noticed before. As always, I have to wonder whether that 1-800 number connects to Father Ed, or Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
I was glued to the Google Maps directions as soon as we got into the City, but it was surprisingly easy to find where we needed to go. Kudos on the signage, New York.
We were lucky enough to find a parking spot on our first trip around the block, but Johnny’s parallel parking skills are rusty (to say the least), and my skills of directing him are positively tetanus-ridden. I would’ve been standing on the sidewalk yelling unintelligibly till midnight except that a kind New Yorker stopped and talked Johnny through it (this guy’s solution involved veeeeery gently touching the car in front of us, which I never would’ve advocated. “Hey, everyone expects it. You gotta do it,” was the explanation.). Once we parked, we didn’t dare move the car again till we left on Sunday. Commence walking.
A major attraction of this trip for Johnny was to see as many churches as possible, so Saturday morning, we walked a few blocks to Immaculate Conception for morning Mass.
Mass was great, and then we went to a little diner for brunch. On the way there, our New York friend made sure to point out the corner where she once saw Jimmy Fallon. Johnny had heavenly peanut butter banana pancakes that I’ll have to recreate once Lent is over.
After brunch, we walked up to St. Vincent Ferrer, which was definitely a highlight of the trip. The exterior was impressive enough, but once we got inside, I was speechless.
The darkness inside made the windows all the more stunning by contrast, and it was absolutely silent, except for my camera shutter, which resonating to an almost embarrassing degree. Luckily, we were almost the only people there.
There was no shortage of side chapels and little devotional spaces; in short, it was an introvert’s dream church.
Once we were back out in the sunlight, we strolled through Central Park on our way to the Met. It was a beautiful day (see below: no coat!), and there were lots of families out in the park.
The Met was, as expected, fantastic. We were there for a few hours and just barely scratched the surface (we weren’t lingering, either). Below are just a few of the great things we saw (click to enlarge).
At some point, we realized that we were starving, so we regretfully left the Met (never did make it to the William Morris section). We headed to what was the next highlight of our trip: Eataly. So much food! So many hazelnuts and pasta shapes and flavors of gelato! We got a fantastic lunch, took it outside to eat, and then went back in for post-lunch gelato (for him) and espresso (for me). We were somewhat proud of the fact that the only grocery item we picked up was a large tube of tomato paste for under $4 (a great deal no matter where you’re shopping). And then. We got to the checkout line, where we fell victim to the strategically-placed fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. I think those will come out tonight as antipasti for St. Joseph’s Day.
Very full and happy, we walked to St. Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan parish with beautiful mosaics. We had to wait for the Vigil Mass to finish before we could walk around, but it was worth the wait.
The side altars:
Sunday started with a trip to St. Agnes, with which Johnny absolutely fell in love. He’d move to Manhattan just to be able to attend church here every week. Everything the choir and schola sang was sublime, including this Mass setting and Panis Angelicus. I’m grateful for the little 5-person choir at our parish back home, but it really is wonderful to be able to experience a different level of music every so often.
Our day included lots of other site-seeing, but my camera was acting up, so there are mercifully few pictures of it. We had brunch with friends, and then walked to Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and the NY Public Library.
We also stopped in at St. Patrick’s, and let me tell you, they are not messing around with that renovation. We walked through the whole church, and I still have no idea what it looks like. Someday (a few years from now, I’m guessing), we’ll have to go back and see it in all it’s restored glory.
Untold miles of walking later, it was time for us to pack up and head home. Luckily, it was much easier to get out of our parking spot than it had been to get in, and the trip home was entirely uneventful. It will surprise no one who knows us that our only souvenirs of the weekend are a tube of tomato paste and a postcard from the Met. And a few blisters. No regrets.