Friday, November 16, 2001

If the economy of New York City is flagging, it sure as hay ain't my fault.

Today was a bona fide tourist day. It's good to have such a day once in a while, because it reminds me what a neato place I live in. But it's tough on the wallet.

First, it was off to the Met for my Painting and Sculpture in New York class. Today was 19th Century European Paintings Day, which in art-nerd-speak translates to Super Fun Happy Good Day. After viewing many a Degas and Monet, I was delighted to discover that my professor and I share the same favorite painting -- Jules Bastien-LePage's Joan of Arc. We both agreed that it was one of the most overlooked, underrated, and downright purtiest things in that wonderful building, and then we giggled, because that's what art nerds do.

Jeffrey's mom is in town, and they explored the American wing while my professor and I were giggling over French impressionists. Then we dined on overpriced Indian food that did ridiculous things to my stomach.

I went to the top of the Empire State Building tonight, which is something that I haven't done since junior high. I had tried a couple of times over the summer, but wasn't too keen on waiting in line for an hour.

But tonight, after going through the newly-installed metal detectors, we saw that there was NOBODY there. Deserted. We went right up to the window, right to the elevator, and right up to the observation deck, where we finally found other people, although not much. Prior to September 11, a nice Friday night like this would have found the place thronged with people.

And the southern view...

I read a lot of magazines after The Thing That Was Bad, and I remember one quote by a little boy who said that it looked like New York had lost it's two front teeth. I haven't had many opportunities since then to see the skyline from afar. Sure enough, there's a gaping hole in the southern skyline. In the dark, the space is filled with an ethereal glow from the lights at Ground Zero. It's a sad, sad sight.

But the rest of the city looks fabulous. I was very happy to see that the northern view is dominated by my favorite building, 30 Rockefeller Plaza (or the Big Pretty Building). Big, white pretty building with millions of orange lights as a backdrop, blue bridges, light vestiges of clouds beneath you. It's a lovely place. I'll miss it a lot come spring.

Time to write a paper and play with my new, pretty, overpriced snowglobe.

It's fun to be a tourist sometimes.