When the temperature drops in New York City we can only think of one thing: where to go for sun and fun? Don’t get me wrong. Festive holiday times in Manhattan are fantastic! There are a million things to see and do. Every year I make a point of checking out all the store windows on Fifth Avenue and beyond. And I’m never disappointed. Of course there will be no Lord & Taylor display this year. I find this a bit sad. The 104-year-old store was shuttered for good in January 2019 – definitely the end of an era.
One of the best winter trips my husband, Peter and I took was our first visit to Hawaii. I remember it well because we left on Christmas Day. We had never traveled on December 25th before but, because of our work schedules, we had to do it. “Don’t worry,” I said, “The plane will be empty. Nobody travels on Christmas Day.”
What was I thinking? The airport was jumping and every single seat was taken on our flight from NYC to Hawaii. At the time, this was the longest flight I had ever been on and I was rather nervous so I took a huge map and taped it to a wall in our apartment. Then I took a red Magic Marker and drew a line from New York to the island of Oahu. Every day I looked at it and muttered, “I can’t do this.” Looking back, I believe I was being absurd, but at the time it was all very real.
LET’S DO TWO ISLANDS
On the island of Oahu we stayed in a small hotel that was built around a pool and had kitchen facilities. It was located one block from Waikiki Beach and had a parking space for our rental car. We usually ate a quick breakfast at the hotel and went out for dinner – however off-and-on we decided we wanted a home-cooked meal so we drove to the local supermarket.
The 60-unit condo where we stayed in Kauai
This is where I discovered something we don’t have in NYC to this day. I was picking up spuds for our steak-and-baked potato dinner when I said, “We need wine. We’ll have to find it.” Peter pointed so I looked and couldn’t believe my eyes. There were bottles of New York’s Sutter Home Chardonnay almost next to the veggies. In Hawaii, they sell the booze right in the supermarkets themselves. It’s a great idea.
We drove all over Oahu and then decided to island hop. We left everything except essentials, in our room, told the desk we’d be back in four days as we booked a flight to Kauai, also known as the “Garden Isle.” Once there, we checked into a terrific condo that was owned by a Japanese gentleman who had posted a polite notice on the front door, “Please Remove Your Shoes Before Entering.” We dutifully obliged every time.
TASTING REAL PINEAPPLE
In Hawaii, they put pineapple on everything. Grilled steak-and-pineapple is delicious I found. We had pineapple in our salads at the Princeville Resort when we ate outside at an elegant restaurant that overlooked the Pacific.
Later on, I decided that I had never tasted “real” pineapple before our visit to Hawaii.
A SPECTACULAR TRIP
I must admit the highlight of our entire trip was the helicopter tour we took down the Napali Coast in Kauai. To this day it’s still fresh in my mind. I insisted on taking the most expensive tour offered and I was right. When they were prepping us for the flight one of the owners explained the reason for their fee. “Our major expense is maintenance,” he said. “We check every helicopter after every flight to make sure it’s 100%.” (This is exactly what I wanted to hear.) Then he went on to tell us that we had Bose headphones that were very expensive so “please handle them carefully.”
The helicopter to the Napali coast
WITH A “WOW’ ENDING
It may or may not be true but, according to legend, when Mark Twain saw the eye-opening Waimea Canyon (10+ miles long, 3000 ft. deep) at the end of the Napali Coast he called it, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” As we flew slowly into this spectacle the music coming to us through our headphones was a perfect match: soaring, dramatic, overwhelming – I was so moved I almost burst into tears.
The mind-boggling Napali Coast – Photo courtesy of Travel & Leisure, The Adventure Issue, July 2019
A view of the Waimea Canyon (The Grand Canyon of the Pacific) as seen from the helicopter
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I’ve never liked cheapskates. I once worked with a guy who – when we went out to lunch – would make sure he only paid for what he ordered. And when it came to figuring the tax he made sure the other person paid the extra penny. The result was that, instead of just “splitting the bill” there was a lot of bookkeeping and figuring going on. After awhile no one would go out with him.
On November 1, 2019, I decided to visit MoMA on 53rd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues to see the final result of this stupendous project that opened for all to see on October 21st. Frankly, I was amazed at the number of people who showed up. After all, it was a Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm. People should be at work – or at school I thought. Or, was it because this was the day after Halloween? Obviously, I’m a bit out of it because MoMA was like Times Square on New Year’s Eve – but not quite. Everyone was very well behaved and incredibly focused and interested in the art.
On Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – the first day of Yom Kippur – we headed out to our favorite Kips Bay Theatre (2nd Avenue and 31st Street) for a 6:20 pm showing of Downton Abbey. Kips Bay currently has a terrific deal: If one signs up for an “Insider” card (it’s free) you can see a first run movie at any time during the day or night on Tuesdays for $6.00 – which is pretty incredible. Or, paraphrasing The Godfather, I’d say, “That’s an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
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