New York City, Days 4 and 5

It’s 11:16 p.m. on Friday, April 1, a day that began with snow (April Fools! not.) and ended with dry streets and only slightly warmer temps. We got mighty wet this morning watching the last of the Today Show — we saw the tail end of the Sasha Cohen skating show at the Rockefeller Center skating rink, and Ann Curry walking back to the NBC studio surrounded by her minions, but taking time to talk to the crowd.

All those talking heads are so friendly. Yesterday Elizabeth and Noah met Andrea Canning of ABC, when Townsend, our Park Slope host (and husband of Bridget), took them on a tour of the studio. (He works for ABC News, as a lawyer for Good Morning America.) When they walked by her office, Elizabeth noticed a Canada bear on her desk, and pointed it out to Townsend, who went into her office and asked what the Canada connection was. She explained that she was from Ontario, and Townsend introduced the kids. Apparently she was very nice. Also beautiful.

I missed the tour because I had arranged a Daily Orange reunion with my Syracuse pals, Tom Coffey and Dave Bauder. After the tour, the kids went to Dylan’s Candy Bar with Bridget and Teddy. (William stayed at his dad’s office to assist him in his lawyer duties.)

Elizabeth and I were late meeting everyone at ABC because her haircut took longer than we’d expected. Noah had come a little earlier with Bridget and the kids. While Elizabeth and I were waiting in the lobby by the security desk for Townsend to come and get us, a woman entered the lobby, breezed past security without showing any ID, and headed up the lobby escalator. The security guard said, “Excuse me, Miss. Excuse me!” and then, when the woman turned to see what the fuss was about, said, “I’m sorry, Miss Sawyer.” And that was how Elizabeth and I saw Diane Sawyer, all frowzy-haired and normal looking, with her gazillion-watt smile.

Elizabeth had gazillion-dollar hair, after spending nearly an hour and a half at Ouidad, getting a cut and some sort of deep conditioning treatment, all of which left her with a glorious mop of corkscrew curls that looked and felt softer than her hair has felt in years. I will not say how much we spent, but suffice it to say it cost more than the monthly rent on the one-bedroom apartment I rented overlooking the State House in Concord, New Hampshire back in 1982. But it was worth it. Although it will be more worth it if she can get it to look remotely the same way again. Today was a bust: since it was pouring rain and she hadn’t washed her hair, she stuck it back in a ponytail. But at least she only complained about how much she hates it two or three times, which is an improvement.

Today we went to the Museum of Natural History, where we spent a lot of time in the butterfly exhibit. The butterflies were amazing — so many different kinds and colors. Uncle Dave proved to be a real butterfly magnet (though I think he’d rather be a babe magnet): they kept landing on his head, and people kept stopping to stare at him. Hours later, as we were leaving the museum (and long after we’d exited the butterfly exhibit), someone walked by us and said, “No more butterflies on your head.” It was the security guard from the exhibit — she’d picked him out of all the people in the crowded hallway!

Noah, too, was a butterfly magnet. One landed on the side of his head, like a barrette. Another, a huge one, landed low on his back. If it had been just a few inches lower, it would have been on his bum. I couldn’t help wondering if butterflies DO land on people’s backsides, and what would happen if someone sat down with a butterfly on their backside. I guess that’s why there are no benches in the butterfly exhibit…

We also went to an exhibit about the brain, where I learned that being able to rub your stomach and pat your head at the same time is a sign of coordination, so I was shocked to discover that I could actually perform the feat. But when I went to show Elizabeth, I developed performance anxiety and started rubbing and hitting my head and she started laughing hysterically and I began to doubt what I had thought was my newfound prowess. Children. They have no respect.

Ellen Shapiro, my People pal, met up with us as we were leaving the museum, a leave-taking that was delayed when Elizabeth discovered her camera was missing. The security guards were very nice and called Lost and Found but it hadn’t been turned in. We spent 20 minutes running around trying to find it, and when we got back to the lobby to leave, without it, a security guard named Michelle told us it had been found! Someone had turned it in. Pretty impressive — although the Lost and Found folks told us people usually do turn in big-ticket items. So there you have it: if you are going to lose your electronic item, lose it at the Museum of Natural History. Not at the Vatican Museum where our camera bag went missing.

We hung out with Ellen at the Shake Shack (the ice cream — fluffernutter– was the smoothest I’ve ever had, and it also tasted good) and then headed downtown to do more shopping before meeting up with my SU roommate, Stacy Schneider Spiegel and her daughter, Samantha, who is a senior in high school. Uncle Dave met us, too (he’d gone home after the museum). We had the most wonderful reunion dinner, after which we headed to Times Square for — you guessed it, more shopping. (Good Shabbas to all…)

We convinced Noah to go into American Eagle Outfitters to try on jeans, something I’ve been trying to get him to do for a month. Amazingly, he was willing, and we picked up a couple of pairs. If you buy something at the store, you can get your picture taken and posted on the Jumbotron outside for 15 seconds. Uncle Dave and Noah were camera shy, but Elizabeth, Stacy, Samantha, and I posed — and got our pic on the Jumbotron. Whoopeeee! (nobody asked for our autographs, however.)

Tomorrow: home again home again.
And now, GOOD NIGHT!

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