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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Took a walk about 5 this afternoon, after the session and before the banquet. Great to have a little time to explore on my own.

Walked back down Montague St., in Brooklyn Heights, where we had walked late Thursday night to visit the Promenade and the postcard views of Manhattan. It's an eclectic little neighborhood, a beautifully restored street. (Took a bunch of pictures and hope to do a slideshow and maybe set it to music, if I EVER get time...you can see the pix with captions on Kodak Gallery.)

What was amazing to me was how different this street is, just one block west of the hotel, compared to Fulton Street, one block north, yet both diverse, lively, fun. Montague Street more a restored-historic-district-type place. Fulton Street a archetypal New-York-City-street-busy-busy-busy type place.

I wanted to get a good walk in, but there was so much to see I kept stopping and I'm sure my aerobic workout was pretty weak.

How I wished I could have shopped at the little market with fruit and veggie of ever shape and color tumbling in neat bins outside. Or had dinner at the Irish pub near it. But I settled for nosing around the delectable deli, picking out a lemon meringue cookie and a bottle of organic Honest Tea in jasmine and trying to ignore the armies of cookies, cupcakes, pies, and treats in the case, and the deli case of gourmet goodies.

And of course I couldn't go by the wine shop without stopping, not with the sign in the window that said, "wine tasting today." The owner helped me pick out a little something local...and I tasted a very sweet, very smooth organic African wine.

When I got to the little park before the promenade, I was amazed at how full it was, at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Folks just sitting, some reading, some talking, some having a snack like me. Others walking up and down the long promenade that is above the highway and has the postcard views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Ate my snack, took some pix, and had to turn around and get back down the street to prepare for the evening's formal dinner.

I hadn't taken any pictures as I'd walked down the street, but I just had to on my walk back. I didn't want to forget that street, the people, the day.

I figured I probably had "TOURIST" above my head like the Arby's hat anyway, so whatever!

I chose the opposite side of the street to return on, so had good angles on the architecture of the restored buildings,and the places I had been. But OH,did I ever have to rein in myself from spending too much time and money at the used book shop, or explored the below-street-level pet emporium, or having an iced tea on the sidewalk cafe of the Italian place, or lingering too long to listen to the sounds of the guy sitting on the sidewalk playing sax, filling the street with sound.

Yea, I liked it there.

Back at the hotel, got dressed up, and off to the banquet. A not-bad filet mignon for the main course. A rather wonderful caramel pyramid dessert that really was worth attending the conference for....

But the city beckoned, and we had to answer.

Back on the subway, which all of a sudden was making a little sense to me in its organization, after years of bafflement of how anyone got anywhere on it!

I was dying to "take the A train" (I think the Big Band reference was lost on the girls). But the F Train came first so we took it to The Village. We'd driven through it the other night, and I knew it was somewhere I'd like being. I was not wrong.

We walked down...oh man I forget the street but we ended up in Washington Square. Got some pix of the arch. The park full of people and dogs and music. NYU nearby, so lots of college student types. It was FULL--the college kids were playing guitars and singing (at least three groups of them), people with their pets, people just sitting, other tourists taking pix of the Arch. It was so warm and pleasant to be out and about, and I was not sorry we'd left the banquet early.

The streets just alive the same way, even though it was after 10 and the sidewalks would be rolled up in the Fort. Cafes spilling out on the sidewalk, comedy clubs inviting us in, music floating around us, shops, tattoo parlors. Almost all open, doors opened to the warm night and the flow of people. We wandered in and out of places. Bought some pretty things at the cutest little shop run by an Oriental lady who was friendly and helpful, and had gorgeous jewelry, hair accessories, clothes and "pretties."

Went into a t-shirt shop that had "designer" t-shirts, none of which had prices, and I had to go by the axiom, if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it.

But across the street was a t-shirt shop I could afford but was not brave enough to buy! Full of t-shirts in the "smart-ass" variety, which I thought would crack Matt up...if only I had more courage to get him the t-shirt that said, You Can't Fix Stupid (and must worse).

We wandered back to the park, where we sat a moment, called Greg and filled him in on the scene. We were beat, so back to the F train and "home."

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