Big Sticks

21 Jun

So…I honestly don’t know how we continued to get up every morning at a decent hour to go on day long walking excursions, but we did it again on Day 4.  We caught a cab to Teddy Roosevelt’s boyhood home on 20th Street. The driver was the least aggressive cabbie in the city, so when we finally arrived, we missed the tour for that hour. Since TR’s house is the only home on the street, we easily found a place to grab a bite.

Hanging out on TR’s stoop.

I was by far the most jazzed person on the tour. I’ve been reading about Teddy for years and LOVE him. Say what you will about his politics and love of mooses and bears, he was the most kick ass President. Try and argue with me about this…you will lose. Apparently, after he died, his wife, Edith, (the second, bitchy one that I didn’t like) and sisters decided to make his boyhood home a museum. That means most of the books, furniture, lamps, and wallpaper are all the exact same as when he lived there.

Our guide in the Blue Room.

Of course I couldn’t use the flash in  a museum, which is why my photos look like a nine-year old took them. It was a three-story house with really steep staircases. I couldn’t believe that none of the kids ever fell down the stairs and cracked their heads open. The Blue Room was the entertaining room because it had the most light. The library was the next room, with less light…because when you have children with horrible eyesight, that’s the smart thing to do!

Me, in the horribly lit library.

Mittie Roosevelt, Southerner, Mom of a future President, lover of cleanliness and super pale. I’m sure I could have been friends with her.

There were seven servants in the house which seemed a little superfluous to me. That’s two people per floor, plus an extra. Jeez! Mittie, TR’s mom, used to dress her maids in lavender colored uniforms. The guide told me that Mittie would take two baths, one to clean and one to rinse off…making me love her more. Supposedly Scarlet O’Hara was based on her, making her almost cooler than TR in my book.

Wallpaper in the dinning room.

Scenes from Germany. Wallpaper in the nursery.

Something the tour guide stressed was that this was the house that helped shape TR into the man who became the coolest US President. I thought about that as I looked at the wallpaper in every room. I remember what I thought about when I was staring at the wallpaper in my house as a kid and wondered what TR used to think about when he looked at the paper in his house. They didn’t have TV or radios, so you know he must have done his fair share of day dreaming.

The fitness porch behind the nursery.

Behind their house was street long, exotic garden full of tropical birds for them to enjoy as they ate dinner. (Some rich dude up the street paid for it.) Since all the kids were weaklings and had medical problems, Theodore Sr. (the dad), built a gym for the kids to build up some strength.

I don’t know how fast I could climb those stairs in a corset…ouch.

There is a museum on the first (servants’) floor, which sit underneath those big stairs, but was being redone while I was there. For some reason, I thought this was the house that Mittie and TR’s first wife, Alice, died at. (On the same day and Valentine’s Day…horrible, right?) I was wrong, that was their “country” house on 57th Street and is now a Shoemania store. How depressing.

After the tour, we started walking north. Let me point out that there are a LOT of hair/wig shops from 20th St. to 34th St. A LOT! To the point that I thought someone was going to come out, snatch Kim up and chop off all her hair! (She had ridiculously thick hair…good for a nice weave I would think. Actually, I had corn rows as a kid, so I would know. Baller!)

Kim at the NYC Public Library.

We made it to the Public Library and headed inside. There was an exhibit in one of the hallways that showcased an art contest Google had put on for school kids. With my love of time travel, this was right up my alley.

I know where I’d go…do you?

This makes me want to color.

Markers or Crayons?

Watering Hole.

The Library is huge and full of people…in the middle of the day, so lot of unemployed people I suppose. We couldn’t take photos in some of the rooms and yes, we saw the staircase that Carrie stood on during the ‘Sex and the City’ movie.  Actually, there were TONS of staircases and after climbing our fair share of them, we were done with that spot.

I thought this was the Empire State Building. It is not, clearly, I need to wear my glasses more.

We were headed to the Burger Joint at the Parker Meridian Hotel on 57th. Kim told me they had awesome burgers there and who doesn’t like burgers? I was game. We got lost on our way there. Not really lost, just thrown off course because, regardless of what everyone says about NYC being on a grid, it’s NOT! Broadway cuts all kinds of caddywampus across the island and jacks everything up! (At least for us newcomers!)

By the time we made it to the Burger Joint we had walked over 37 blocks and more than 2 miles. (I had to calculate the miles when I got home…I’ll figure out the total on my last/next blog about the trip.)

The suspended item in the sky is a HUGE bucket of cement.

We did get to see how construction is done high in the sky. From far away, I thought that bucket of cement was a piano. I know they have to build stuff but, God, I hope that bucket doesn’t fall on a car or someone’s head. It seems a little dangerous and too close to people as well.

After 37+/- blocks, Kim was ready for some yum yums.

The burger place is TOTALLY hidden in that swanky hotel and justifiably so, it’s pretty much a dump hole. Luckily, we grabbed a seat right before a large group of PAs from the Directors Guild came in. Apparently they were screening that cinematic masterpiece, ‘Men In Black III.”  I thought the burgers looked like something your dad would half ass make in the backyard for 4th of July weekend, but they were surprisingly melt in your mouth good. Not the best I’ve ever had, but I would totally go back…as long as I could get a seat!

The Russian Tea Room…oh, well, my stars, so it ’tis!

The Burger Joint is on the same street as the Russian Tea Room. For the consistent readers of my blog (Mom and Roger), you know about my ridiculous obsession with ‘Tootsie,’ and should not be surprised that the Russian Tea Room was on my MUST DO list for New York.

Although I sashayed right in, doing my best Dorothy Michaels, I did not order a “dubonnet with a twist…” but I certainly considered it. We were clearly tourists and our server was sick of dealing with people like us. Now, I don’t blame him, I work at the BIGGEST tourist crap hole in America, BUT I like money and had he been a little more schmoozy, I would have gladly shelled out $90 for tea, instead of $44. I know tourists suck guy, we could have commiserated over that while I gave you a fatty tip. Could being the key word in that sentence.

It had started to rain while we had tea, so hailing a cab became an impossible task. We had walked 37 blocks. What was 16 more! When we got to Strawberry Fields, the rain had stopped and barely anyone was around, so we thought we’d try getting another photo.

First Attempt: Not groovy enough.

Then we heard a guy say, “Two fingers ladies, you didn’t hold up two fingers. Do it again.” What the hell, Cecil B. DeMille?

Attempt #2: Hippie Approved.

After we did it the correct way, the man told us he has been doing the daily art on the Imagine circle for 19 years and said, “Welcome to the city, welcome to the jungle.” That wasn’t ominous or anything. We walked the rest of the way out of Central Park behind a lady walking her baby in a carriage. She got to hear all about the different ‘Law and Order’ murders we could remember from Central Park. I’m pretty sure she thought we were psychos.

Beer and Strawberry Daquiris…an American tradition?

That night we headed up to the Bronx for our first Yankee game. I can’t give less of a crap about sports, but what I did/do enjoy is rubbing the fact that I got to go to a Yankees game in the faces of those who would have LOVED to have gone.  I actually really did enjoy myself. I found it ironic that I began the day at the home of the man who talked about big sticks and ended my day at the home of the big stick! Everyone there was super friendly…again, no meanies in New York. We grabbed some nice Hebrew Nationals before finding out seats, our only hot dogs of the trip. (Of course they were good, but I still prefer my Mom’s BBQ ones the best.)

Ketchup twice in one day…this is heaven!

The stadium is gigantic and we did get lost a few times but everything was clean and it was a fun game. I just wish it had been a little more suspenseful. I mean the Yankee creamed the Rays, it must have been embarrassing for them.

We found our way into the museum. I got to see all their championship rings and trophies, Babe Ruth’s uniform and got one of the best quotes of the trip from a random New Yorker, “Hey, this place is like a museum.”

Yes, it surely is.

I threw all of these balls perfectly into the case.

I don’t know much about baseball, or the Yankees, but what I do know about them, I learned from the Bob Hope episode of ‘I Love Lucy.’ All I could hear in my head was Fred Mertz saying, “Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio!”

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3 Responses to “Big Sticks”

  1. Maybelline June 21, 2012 at 8:54 AM #

    Seven luscious layers, baby!

  2. Suzanne Blender June 21, 2012 at 9:54 AM #

    Looks and sounds like tons of fun!

  3. silverscreenings June 21, 2012 at 6:47 PM #

    I am living vicariously through this New York series, and am SO SO jealous you went to a Yankees game! Great photos too.

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