Day 3...

It's another cold night in the Big Apple. We've just returned from a rather lovely meal a half block from our hotel - the Milo Melo, or the Melo Milo, or some such thing. Anyway, a delightful, nouveau Italian restaurant where we ate too much, and thus waddled home to the Carlton.

The day began with the discovery of our own neighborhood coffee shop. Booths and friendly service. Complete breakfasts starting at an unbelievable $2.95. I splurged and got pancakes AND Canadian bacon and juice and tea for $3.75.

Well fortified for the cold, I once again forced Gil to march for miles, back to the insane frantic-ness of Times Square (Daniel, couldn't find the Lincoln Highway marker; even after asking a policeman and maintenance person) and then to Macy's again. Stood in line to buy a cashmere scarf and extra gloves. Gil found gloves for his frozen little hands, too.

Waited in line interminably at the Gray Line tour bus place. If only I could reorganize their entire operation, I'd be much happier. Such advanced concepts such as APPROPRIATE SIGNAGE, HELPFUL employees, NOT accosting tourists with ticket sales at every intersection, buses that RUN ON TIME, etc. Today was our UPTOWN tour. The only seats left were on the open top section. I was thankful for my TWO scarves and TWO pairs of gloves, but I still slowly froze to death, with Gil not too far behind. Our tour guide Gabby stopped the bus in front of St John's the Divine cathedral just outside of Harlem so we could rush out and buy cups of coffee around which to warm our hands. On this tour, we went by the Dakota apts where John Lennon was killed 21 years ago (very sad), the Apollo Theater in Harlem (See Gil's Harlem sidebar, below), and Jackie Onassis's apt on the east side of Central Park. We finally bailed, chilled to the bone, in front of the Metropolitan Museum.

At "the Met," we found ourselves in line again, this time to the cafeteria (I had the simple idea of having a warm cup of tea to warm ourselves and plan our museum visit..). The cafeteria must serve thousands of people every day (every hour??). Bought pre-packaged sandwiches (not very good, I'm afraid) for about $10 each (note from Gil...this is the most expensive sandwich I've ever bought and arguably one of the worse...see photo). Poor Gil. I keep making him stand in line. (another note from Gil...the Met is a worldclass museum with what is possibly the best public art collection in the country. We had about 3 1/2 hours to view it and wasted, yes wasted, 45 minutes of it standing in line to eat an awful, expensive sandwich...sheesh).

The Met is absolutely huge, so we decided to focus on certain Old Masters paintings, American artists, and Impressionists. In a little over two hours, we managed to hit the highlights, which - for us - included Van Goghs, many Rembrandts, Sargents (lots), Manet, Monet, Hassam, Cassatt, Hals, Bruegel the Elder, Whistler, and Rosa Bonheur, among others.

One of the non-painting highlights was a gentlemen we called "Fur Coat Man." Imagine among all the other museum patrons a very tall white man (6' 5" at least) clad in a full length (real) fur coat. He was accompanied by a rather short woman in a black fur coat. The darndest thing.....very imposing.....Gil bagged him with the camera, see photo.

(ed note: We have reason to believe that the man we "bagged" was none other that the famous architect Rem Koolhaus!)

The Met closes at 5:15, so we bundled up and headed out again into the dark and cold. Let's just take a taxi home, we decided, rather than walking 60 (!) blocks home. FIne, except the zillions of taxis that went by were all engaged, it being rush hour. We finally found a bus to board - our very first public transportation in NYC. We used the Metro cards we purchased months ago on the web. We remembered laughing over the website when viewing it back home - it demonstrated over and over and over again just exactly how to put the transit card into the machine on the bus. Well, as you might imagine, it turned out we couldn't do it right; the driver had to stop everything to help us silly tourists. Guess that website was pretty useful after all...

The bus line stopped just a few blocks from our Hotel, so we found our way home with no problems.

Tomorrow - train ride day!!!

Best wishes to all, and photos to follow,
Becky and Gil

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