Visit from Matthew: Italian dinners, baseball store, Frick Museum

2013-11-23 20.48.18 Matthew had been in Washington, DC for an education conference and took the train to Manhattan for a quick visit.  He has been to NY a couple of times and was not interested in typical tourist sights but just walking in our neighborhood and visiting some of our favorites.

We recognized him as he got off the subway, although he looks a bit different that what we are used to.

Grow Your Mo ad

Grow Your Mo ad

He has a mustache (“Grow your Mo”) as part of Movember, the month that is devoted to men’s health awareness.  He started clean shaven on November 1 and intends to shave it off on Dec. 1.  So far he has raised a couple hundred dollars towards his charity goal.

We started out with pastrami and turkey bagel sandwiches from Tal Bagels, our favorite bagel shop and right in our neighborhood.  Next we took the subway to Soho and the boys shopped at Uniqlo, my new favorite store.  Of course, it was a total zoo, but they persevered and each got a couple of sweaters and some new pants and jeans.  From here we walked up to the NYU Greenwich Village area and dropped in at Bergino Baseball Clubhouse.  This interesting little store features baseball memorabilia as well as unique baseballs.  The owner and the guys had a great time talkin’ baseball, and he gave us each a sip of smooth bourbon in baseball shot glasses.

Dessert at Grano

Dessert at Grano

We headed over to the West Village for dinner at Grano, our great find when the Hills and Stampers visited in October.  Maurizio, the owner, was not there on this Saturday night, but his wife was just as warm, and we had a delicious dinner and fun time.  She chatted with Matthew about how their twin daughters are schooled in New York, and they compared notes about education.

Cozy bar at Marlton Hotel in the village

Cozy bar at Marlton Hotel in the village

Finally, we ended the night a few blocks away at the Marlton Hotel, an old classic that is being renovated.  The owner of Bergino had recommended the bar, and we enjoyed espresso and after-dinner drinks in the cozy living room near the blazing fireplace.  We braved the cold and wind to take the subway home and then all fell happily into bed.

Frick atrium

Frick atrium

On Sunday we forged out into a cold and windy day and walked up to the Frick Museum on 70th and 5th Avenue, about 1.5 miles from our apartment.  Henry Clay Frick was one of the moguls of NY around the turn of the century and made his fortune in steel.  He was an industrialist, financier, and art patron.  He was good friends with Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, but fell out with Carnegie who actually attempted to have Frick assassinated.  Frick built the mansion in order to make Carnegie’s home look “like a shack.”

2013-11-24 14.06.39

Frog fountain at the Frick

Frog fountain at the Frick

The entry to the museum is an enclosed atrium with fountains and plants that change with the seasons.  Today it was a warm and welcoming respite from the blustery outdoors.

The Frick is home to a fabulous collection of old master European paintings and many are still hanging exactly where Frick had them hung originally in 1914.  The first floor of this ornate estate exhibits works from Piero della Francesca, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Fragonard, Renoir, Monet, and Turner.  It also includes sculptures, porcelains, Limoges enamel, and ornate 18th century French furniture.  We wandered from room to room marveling at the furnishings and listening to the descriptions of art works on our audio guides.

The Frick was featuring an exhibit entitled “Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Hals:  Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis” and we had timed tickets to view it.  It consists of only 15 paintings, but each was exquisite and each had an audio narration.  We learned a lot about the lives of the painters in the 16th century and also about each of the paintings.  I particularly was interested in the small oil entitled “The Goldfinch” (by Carel Fabritius, 1654), as I am currently reading a novel by that name (by Donna Tartt) that includes a detail of the painting on the book jacket.

Ordering at Via Quadronno

Ordering at Via Quadronno

We spent almost three hours at the Frick and had to leave as the museum was closing.  We sprinted for about three blocks to Via Quadronno, an Italian restaurant that we had dined at in 2011 when visiting New York with Elizabeth and Mark for the first time.  That adventure started our whole move to Manhattan, and it was only fitting that we ended our NY stay with one more visit.  We enjoyed a nice bottle of Chianti and three different pastas, all wonderful.  It brought back happy memories and did not disappoint!

Den at Via Quadronno

Den at Via Quadronno

We popped on the subway home but the boys continued on past our stop to Soho to pick up their hemmed trousers and jeans.  Arriving home around 8 pm, we all had time to watch the Broncos vs the Patriots…..but only for a while.  Den fell asleep at half time, I made it to the final play of the fourth quarter when it was 31-31, and only Matthew survived overtime and a Bronco loss.

Lego logo constructed from Lego tiny figures

Lego logo constructed from Lego tiny figures

On Monday we went shopping at Rockefeller Center and had great success, especially at the Lego store and at the Metropolitan Museum store.

Lattes at Rockefeller Center skating rink

Lattes at Rockefeller Center skating rink

After making our purchases, we went downstairs to the café and enjoyed lattes and mochas while watching the ice skaters outside.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks Fifth Avenue

On the way home we enjoyed the holiday lights of 5th Avenue and then bid a farewell to Matthew.  He was eager to get home to see his family as he had been gone a full week.  We were delighted that we got to spend a few of our last NY days with him…….a very special time.

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