TRAVEL TRIPS (click on the name)

JEFF GROBERMAN's Road Trip to See Africa
JEFF GROBERMAN's Road Trip to See the Eclipse

May 14 - 21 2017  Posted Aug 25

I returned to New York this Spring to celebrate my daughter Melissa’s graduation with a Dual Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology (May 14 & 15) at Columbia University and my 80th birthday May 18.  This was my second visit in less than a year as I’d previously been to visit Melissa in July 2016 which gave me a chance to visit her college and provided my first impressions of the city.

This time ‘round I took an overnight flight via Cathay Pacific ($600.00 Cdn).  Dinner was served and there was lots of leg room for comfort.  I arrived in New York at 7:00 a.m. ET (4:00 a.m. PT).  First on the agenda was to go to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to store up on groceries as restaurants in New York are very expensive. 

Monday, May 15:  Attended grad ceremony inside the church, housing 500 graduates and 1,000 in the audience.  We had front row seats next to a giant screen.  The graduates paraded in, accompanied by a brass band.  There was a brief speech by the Head of the University and a procession of graduates who were individually named.  This was followed by a grand reception inside the University where I met Melissa’s fellow grads and their professors.

Tuesday, May 16:  Full University Grads’ Outside Ceremony.  89 degrees F and at least 15,000 in attendance!  After ten minutes in the sun, I retreated to one of the tents with a screen to watch the proceedings; that ten minutes gave me a sunstroke.  Afterwards I met my daughter at the University book store to buy shirts with the University logo and a picture frame for her certificate.  I was exhausted from the heat and shopping, so went to a nearby massage parlour for a 60-minute massage ($45.00) which was wonderfully relaxing.

Wednesday, May 17:  Started the day with a manicure for $8.00 and then to get a facial that my daughter booked for me as there was a Mother’s Day special for $55.00 (normal price $85.00).  First time in my life.  Believe me, I felt and looked 20 years younger!  That evening after dinner at one of my daughter’s favourite places, we went to see the play Oslo Accord at Lincoln Centre.  It was well acted and balanced.  Incidentally, they won Best Play at the Tony Awards and were also nominated in three other categories.  We almost missed it as we thought it started at 8:00 p.m. when it began at 7:00! (it was a three-hour play with two short intermissions).  There was a 3-month waiting list to see it (the play has now closed).

Thursday, May 18 (my birthday):  We first went to a take-out salad bar called Sweet Greens (there are quite a few of them around).  Vegetarian or non.  For $10.00 you get enough to feed two.  My daughter booked us to go sailing from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The boat took no more than four passengers and champagne was served during the tour.  It was 95 degrees F so a good day for sailing!  We went around the Statue of Liberty and even climbed on the front of the boat.  We met a wonderful couple on board and exchanged photographs via e-mail. 

When we returned to shore, we didn’t want to go home yet so visited Central Park and the 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial site and then took in the movie Paris Can Wait with Diane Lane.

Friday, May 19:  Went to the Museum of Natural History where we had a private guide – Jennifer Chan (Melissa’s school chum from Crofton) who assists with curating new exhibits and sometimes for friends only conducts private tours.  I saw the Mummy movie here and can swear the museum was used as I remember seeing the Mummy’s.  In the evening we saw Phantom of the Opera, but to get to the Majestic Theatre we had to go at least ten blocks as several roads were closed due to a crazed guy who killed one and injured a dozen others by driving his truck on the sidewalks.  We did, however, make it to the theatre on time.

Saturday, May 20:  Time to meet my nephew from New York and two nieces from Detroit who flew in for the weekend to celebrate my daughter’s graduation and my birthday.  Before meeting them, Melissa wanted me to go for brunch at another of her favourite places – this one in Soho, called Delicatesen.  I had a wonderful sort of Belgian French Toast – 4 inch square with cherry cheesecake inside it.

  Afterwards we met my nephew and nieces at Saks Fifth Avenue.  We spent the afternoon at Central Park, took lots of pictures, then went to dinner at another of Melissa’s favourites – a Persian restaurant called Ravagh in Manhattan (11 E. 30th Street between 5th & Madison Avenue; Telephone 212-696-0300).  There are two other locations but this Persian Grill was the best and the menu had very reasonable prices.

Sunday, May 21 – My last day.  65 degrees F just as the first day I arrived.  My nephew invited all of us to a barbecue at his apartment in Brooklyn which is now the most popular place to live.  Buying a place or renting one is going out of control.  To buy a place you must pay broker’s fees; otherwise you can’t go in to see the property unless you agree to pay the fees if you buy it.  The area is so clean and there’s a park that is four miles around but there are beautiful sites inside and out. There is also a triumphal arch monument – The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, New York - dedicated “To the Defenders of the Union, 1861 – 1865”, which reminded me very much of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.  After sightseeing the area we came back for the barbecue done by my nephew.  Salad and dessert by Melissa which we all loved. I had packed my bags as Brooklyn was closer to the airport so I took a UBER pool from my nephew’s to get there.

In the eight days in New York I walked at least 20 miles and climbed up and down stairs in the subway over 2,000 steps.  I bought a weekly subway pass for $32.00 unlimited use and I strongly recommend it.  It helps if you know the subway system (thanks to my daughter!).  Sometimes the subway skips some stops and you won’t know when so you may have to get out and take a cab or go to the appropriate subway.  Don’t take a cab through heavy traffic downtown unless you don’t want to go via subway - or if you have three or four people, take a cab.  If you love shows, musicals and/or plays, go once a year like some CBC retirees I know.

Tips recommended are now 20% or higher.  Food in high-end restaurants is expensive.  Unless you belong to WestJet, I recommend Cathay Pacific.

After all the walking I now fit into many of my pants.