Friday, January 26, 2001
A trip to New York by train makes for a great mid-winter weekend
No, we didn't take the new Acela Express train that travels between Boston and Washington at a maximum speed of 135 miles an hour. At present that train doesn't run on weekends and costs $374 first class or $240 business class, round trip Boston to New York. On our trip to New York on Saturday, January 13, we took the reserved-seat Acela Regional train that left the Route 128 Station in Dedham at 6:45 a.m., arriving at Penn Station in New York at 10:45. The price of a round-trip ticket was $92.
Our train tickets to New York for the weekend were part of a present that my husband had given to me for Christmas. He had come up with a plan which included travel by train, tickets to the Broadway play "Copenhagen" (which I had wanted to see) in the afternoon, dinner with our good friend Sasha in the early evening, followed by an overnight stay at Sasha's apartment in the southwest Bronx. On Sunday we would catch the 12:50 train back to Boston.
I can't say enough about a mid-winter weekend in New York, especially when you make the trip by train. Of course, there was the early morning hassle of getting to the station on time, but once aboard there were four hours to relax, sit back, read a book, or just enjoy the scenery along the way. It surely beat the drive to Logan Airport, finding a parking space, not to mention the airline, and then landing in New York, with at least an hour-long drive into the city.
When you arrive by train at the clean and well-organized Penn Station, you are in the heart of downtown Manhattan. Once we had checked our suitcase and taken the escalator up to street level, we headed over to Fifth Avenue and then up to Rockefeller Plaza. We had three hours before curtain time at the Royale Theatre on W. 45th Street, so we were eager to make every minute count.
We decided to check out some Audubon prints that were to be auctioned off at Christie's the next week. If we walked briskly, we would have enough time to visit Christie's gallery, catch a bite for lunch, and arrive on time at the theater.
We had heard and read good things about the play "Copenhagen" and we weren't disappointed. It's based on a meeting in Copenhagen during World War II of two great physicists, the Dane Niels Bohr and the German Werner Heisenberg, along with Bohr's wife. The plot revolves around the part Heisenberg might have played in Germany's unsuccessful effort to produce an atomic bomb. We were lucky to see the play before it closed the following weekend.
As for as our choice of a restaurant for dinner, we were successful once again. A recent article in the New York Times had listed, with brief comments, several Korean restaurants in the downtown area. We choose Kang Suh, at Broadway and 32nd Street, in the midst of several blocks of Korean restaurants and businesses and not far from Penn Station. Kang Suh is known for cook-it-yourself barbecues at your table. Included in the meal are an array of side dishesfiery kimchi, a few salads, a dish of garlic slices and hot peppers, shredded turnipsto mention a few. The restaurant had an authentic feel about it, the food was delicious and the Korean couple at the next table was friendly and helpful in advising us on how to cook and eat the food. By 7:30 p.m. we were in Sasha's car and on our way to the Bronx. Later, as we climbed into bed, we could clearly see the Palisades across the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge, still lit up for the holidays, sparkling off in the distance.
On Sunday morning after a breakfast of fresh bagels and lox, we took a walk around the neighborhood, which coincidentally was not far from the street where my husband had spent the first 12 years of his life. There on Netherland Avenue was the Dutch-style stone house, unchanged. It was a moving experience for him to see his house once again, to remember the plot where the family garden had once been, and to point out the third-floor window of his bedroom. As we passed through the neighborhood, names of old friends came to mindthe Gerdys, whose daughter Joan was his nursery school teacher; Christopher Lehman-Haupt, his friend who had lived around the corner. The weekend had been planned as my Christmas present but as it had turned out, it was a present for my husband as well.
As we walked back to Sasha's apartment we realized it was time to head back into the city, to Penn Station and the train for Boston. The drive down Riverside Drive during the day is always exciting. On the left we passed the Cloisters, Grant's Tomb, the Riverside Church, all important sites in the history of New York. On the right were naval vessels in dock, as well as a cruise ship or two.
We arrived at the train station with plenty of time to spare. Being among the first to board, we made sure to select seats on the right-hand side of the car, ensuring a water view as we traveled home. Once again we sat back and relaxed with plenty of the time to recall the wonderful trip to New York, by train.
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito