New York, New York is a fabulous town. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down. People ride in a hole in the ground... New York was the sweatiest city I've been to in a while, and I've been in New Orleans and San Antonio recently (the latter actually voted the sweatiest city in the US). But, it was worth the extra deodorant and the bead of sweat that inevitably forms above my upper lip when I'm very, very hot. We left early Saturday morning and immediately got lost. I forgot that the exit to the 15 was right after the Champlain Bridge, realizing this only as I saw signs for the 89 and then the 91, knowing that I had missed the exit to take me to the 87. Using a rather undetailed map, we navigated through rural Quebec in a general southerly direction. Have you ever noticed that driving through that part of the world, all signs point to the little village of Venise en Quebec? We would actually take roads opposite to the direction of this tiny vacation spot, but always ended up seeing signs for it. Ironically, we finally passed through it to cross at the Alburg, Vermont customs station, a wise move according to the customs officer who told us that there was a two hour wait at Rouse's Point (where the 15 becomes the 87). We arrived in New York at around 6:00 and drove down the Henry Hudson parkway and over the Brooklyn Bridge, easily finding L's friend's place in a sweetly gentrified neighbourhood minutes from this historic bridge. We went for dinner in a cute Lebanese restaurant where I had a starter of yummy raw lamb and finished with a lovely stuffed squash. We walked to the waterfront where we had an excellent view of the Manhatten skyline and the missing World Trade Center. Along the fence facing the river, you could see the strings and ribbons used to attach the flowers and other tokens people left as memorials. The next day, we ventured into Queens, the temporary location of MOMA while it's under renovation and the permanent location of PS1. PS1 had an exhibit of contemporary artists from Mexico City. All of us were eager to see it because we had all spent time there and had fallen in love with this amzing metropolis. Francis Alÿs’ work was the strongest, I think, showing typical scenes of people carting things around the city. He showed a fantastic video piece in Montreal a few years ago documenting the dragging of a large block of ice through the city until there was nothing left of it. MOMA had a show called Tempo, but we had so little time before closing that it was simply too ironic to rush through a piece about time. Instead, I wandered through the permanent collection, which was greatly reduced because of the size difference between the Manhatten and Queen's locations. They put out all the icons of modern art: Van Gogh's Starry Night, Warhol's Soup Cans, Picasso's Desmoiselles d'Avignon, etc....I spent a lot of time in front of a huge Pollock. There's just something about those drip paintings that pull me right in. We ended the day in an incredible tapas restaurant on 60th at First Avenue. Very good. Very expensive. Very worth it. The next day was pure shopping which ended at the newly renovated Grand Central Station. We ate in the tony Oyster Bar. Nostalgic for Maine, I ordered a lobster roll with creamy cole slaw. Nummy. On the way home, we did visit MassMOCA, a huge complex reminiscent of Banff in its mandate. Worth the detour and worth keeping abreast of the exhibits there. There was nothing particularly striking this time around, except for the complex itself, a renovated electronics factory full of light and brick and wood. Excellent canteen. Wonderful washrooms. A bank machine that didn't charge a service fee.

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