The DP and I celebrated my 7th 39th birthday in Manhattan. It was Manhattan done right: some work (though alas, not enough to write off the trip), seeing old friends, getting angry at the changes in the city -- and enjoying what still remains the craziest, coolest city in the world.
The best Italian meal we've ever eaten at Felidia. Modified traditional service (head waiter, busboys, sommelier, table service waiter) and stunning food -- house cured meats as antipasti, fresh lobster ravioli with butter, chives, corn and cream, and salt-roasted cod. Simple food immaculately prepared and served with competence and grace. I've rarely felt more comfortable or at home at a restaurant -- and given that it shares the block with the Bloomberg headquarters and Le Cirque 2000 in the UES, it's not a homey or comfortable neighborhood, unless you happen to be a billionaire.
The Top of the Rock. The observation deck at Rockefeller Center, at dusk, on a perfectly clear and still night. While I loathe programmed experiences with a passion, the view of Manhattan and the Mid Atlantic region was magical. There are pictures.
Shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue. I love my clothes. I hate shopping. I found exactly what I needed (and then some), with the help of young Mr. Alex.
Running in Central Park on sunny September afternoon. The park was full of people. It's possible one might see more different shapes, sizes, shaded, sexes and ages of people somewhere. But I can't imagine the collection framed by more beauty. I will never forget looking back at Midtown from the Great Lawn -- with, I should note, Blondie's "Rapture" playing on the iPod. It's also fun playing "rich person slalom" while running down Park Avenue.
Strolling in Brooklyn and back to Manhattan. I've gone to NYC more times than I can count or remember. I've been to Brooklyn three times, the Bronx twice, and Queens twice. After Sunday I think I can say that I prefer Brooklyn to Manhattan. It's retained what made NYC specials: a sense of place.
I'm trying to think of a better birthday, ever. But I can't. It was the perfect weekend, and the perfect gift.