Tuesday, October 06, 2015

NYC: Petite Senegal and the Metropolitan Art Museum

Sunny day in East Village
Sunday, the day after I went to the American Museum of Natural History, and Maty's visit with friends in the Bronx, we took the train to East Village in Manhattan to meet with my friends JR Tracy and Paul Haseler. JR and Paul are brothers in the international fraternity of Advanced Squad Leader players. I tell you, the very best rewards of being a gaming geek are the hundreds (literally, hundreds) of friends I've made because of it. Here in the United States and all across the world.

JR and Paul,
JR lives in Chelsea, in Manhattan, and graciously reached out when he heard I was coming to New York. So we met up for brunch at a place called The North Spy, famous for its corned beef hash and biscuits. Trust a Manhattan native to know the best places to eat! Maty, whose culinary tastes are as refined as they get, loved the corned beef hash (as did I) and we both enjoyed the company. The last time I saw JR was about 20 years ago at a gaming tournament in Maryland, and I'd never actually met Paul before (he being from Sydney, Australia). But, of course, as friends with a common hobby will do, we conversed animatedly throughout our meal.

Le Petite Senegal in Harlem
Afterwards, Maty and I made our way up to Harlem, where I had heard was a Senegalese neighborhood, Le Petite Senegal.The rain that greeted us when we arrived in New York gave way to beautiful sunny skies and pleasant temperatures. We emerged from the subway at West 116th Street and Lennox, and soon began to notice men dressed in traditional Senegalese boubous and hearing people conversing in Maty's native tongue, Wolof.

Maty finds her countrymen
Maty was thrilled, of course. She was soon laughing and speaking with random people on the street.

Maty, making friends in Little Senegal
We found a Senegalese restaurant for lunch, where I had yassa chicken. It was very good, but I hold that there are very few in this world who can prepare Senegalese food as well as my wife.

Yassa chicken
We wandered around the neighborhood for a while. I found a hat I liked in the market and we descended into the subway to make the long trip back to Staten island.

My new travel hat
Next day, Monday, Maty was too tired to go out. I was tired, too --we'd been going hard for the last three days --but I could not sit idle in our rented apartment while Manhattan beckoned. So I set off alone to journey into the city, while Maty stayed behind to watch her Lifetime movies.

Pigeons roost on a stony thinker in Central Park
My objective for the day was the Metropolitan Art Museum in Central Park. I took the 1 train from South Ferry up to 59th Street and emerged to a sunny, mild October day: perfect weather for a walk in the park.

Workers enjoying the park
My stroll evoked memories of the last time I visited New York City. That was in 2000, almost a year to the day before the infamous events of 911. Brother Eric and I had walked through Central Park back then, and our route more or less corresponded to the route I took on this occasion. Vague recollections emerged on the Literary Walk, and at Bethesda Fountain.

Skyline above the greenery
Soon enough, I came to the Metropolitan Art Museum, where people entered and emerged like so many purposeful ants.

I entered eagerly. 
I spent a good three hours viewing masterwork paintings and sculpture, art from Africa, medieval armor. It was an overwhelming sensory experience, as well as an emotional one. I include, without commentary, just a few of the sights I beheld.

The Death of Socrates

Stained glass

General Washington crossing the Deleware


Medieval cavalry

Suit of armor and polearms

Mr. Satyr has a not-so-little problem, eh?
Okay, couldn't resist a little ribald commentary on that last sculpture. Heh.

I was spent by the end of my museum tour, so I trekked back to 59th Street and took advantage again of New York's superlative mass transit system to eventually arrive back at our apartment on Staten Island. Maty and I ordered out for Indian food, which was delivered with alacrity. This is New York City, after all.

The next day would be our last full day in the city and the last day we would have together. We slept well that night.

No comments: