My cousins are in NYC celebrating their 60th birthdays. They have wanted to do this for a long time-maybe 60 years?
I love that they want to sit in on the View...watch Joy and Whoopi take on Elizabeth-the Right, and maybe get some free goodies. I can understand that and I would join them if the View was filmed in Tucson, but not NYC.
There was a time when I spent both my free time and money in the city. New York is "the city" if you are cool and live within 200 miles. Back then I thought I was very chic, very sophisticated, and very hip whenever I went into the city.
My pals and I would get tickets for Letterman or Saturday Night Live; we would go to a coffee house in the "village" when Starbuck was only a literary reference. We would take the subway uptown, downtown, midtown. We would buy Willi Wear and Norma Kamali.
I would speak enough Japanese to get a few free dishes at a sushi bar before California rolls were invented. The Prixe fix dinner was our French friend and the Met and Guggenheim were the eye candy dessert.
My knees shook coming down the narrow stairs from crowded Lady Liberty's crown; and we got souvenir glasses from Top of the World revolving bar in the World Trade Center.( I should never have sold those at my yard sale in 1984). We hiked to the top of the Empire State Building and got lost in Chinatown after having a Sunday full of dim sum.
In Little Italy we ate the best puttanesca, had the most authentic espresso and had the guilty pleasure of incredible tiramisu. The restaurants were all a shade of shadowy red,(maybe to hide the blood baths?) the waiters either courtly men, or grandmas keeping the bread and butter baskets filled.
I drove my VW convertible, my friends new Toyota, or Penn's States bus with a group of screaming yet to be enlightened students in downtown Manhattan. We yelled and shouted and cursed always in quest of the perfect parking spot but always ended up in a dismal spot for an outrageous fee.
Clean bathrooms were found at the library in Midtown, at McSorley's in the Village and at an old grad school pal's apartment on the edge of Harlem.
I vowed to move there before Sex in the City was a TV show. However always after 3 days or 3 Broadway shows I would be out of money and ready to go home.
Patti Lupone was Evita in first run, songs in "a Chorus Line " weren't cliches, and Barbara Walters was lunching at the Russian Tea Room, High Tea was still affordable at the Plaza and there were still long lines outside Studio 54. These are my memories of New York.
I am now 3000 miles and thirty years beyond celebrating any occasion in the Big Apple.
Now lunch out is at Grandma D's along old business 10 at a picnic table with my dog Dharma munching a toasted hot dog, while I enjoy a sloppy Joe. Dinner is at one of two Mexican restaurants and the bill for my husband and I comes in under $25.00 and that includes our margarita and beer.
We occasionally splurge with a latte from Tom's in the tumbling down old antique store, or a dipped cone from the drive thru Dairy Queen.
We went to see Spy Kids in 3d in the 100 year old theatre while our shoes stuck to the floor and celebrated St, Patrick's Day with $1.00 lime jello shots in the Palace Saloon where Warren Earp (Wyatt's not so famous brother took a bullet in his vest.
I shop for clothes at Bealls where the closest to upscale duds is a Jjill or Coldwater Creek shirt with tags marked off 80%. wait until Monday when I get an extra 15% off with my over 50 senior discount.
Ah and the cleanest bathroom is the Maid Rite feedstore where I buy my horses hay and grain. I drive to town in my husband's pickup truck or my ptcruiser convertible-(some desires stay the same). Parking is free; I almost always park in front of where I want to shop. I smile when I pass Rex Allen's statue and his horse Koko's grave. The landmark of downtown.
For my 55th birthday I walked our lighted alpaca in the Apple Festival Parade, gave the kids lining the street candy canes, and took Pizza Hut hand tossed home for my birthday's haute cuisine.
I am not sure where or what I want to do when I turn 60, but New York city doesn't beckon, to me anymore. Its allure has been lost. I am changed-I laugh at the thought of being chic.
I no longer need to travel to celebrate. Every day in the desert is a special occasion,but I am thinking when I turn 60 , I am gonna paint my horses nails gold and ride in Willcox's Rex Allen Day Parade.