Are you sitting down? I hope you’re sitting down, because here’s a shock.
I went into New York this weekend.
Yes! I know! That’s twice within 12 months. What is the world coming to?
Well, what was coming was Vogue Knitting Live.
I didn’t sign up for any classes. I had thought about it when they announced the STELLAR group of knitters who would be there, but I figured, who knows what the weather would be like? (Not an unreasonable question, considering how storm-filled this winter has been so far.) But I had always thought that I MIGHT go in for the day. And since we had snow on Friday morning, but not Saturday… Mom and I decided to go.
Can I just say here how much I love my mother? She doesn’t knit at all, but she’s always happy to go to knitting events like shearings and wool festivals and such to keep me company.
So, Saturday, we got up early so we could catch the 8:14 train into Penn Station. We got one of those double-decker trains, so we went upstairs and chose seats right behind one of the “doubles” that face each other. This turned out to be a wonderful choice because a stop or so later, two moms and their four kids got on board, all dressed “up” for a special day in the city. From eavesdropping … well, is it really eavesdropping when the conversation is spoken at top volume by 3- and 4-year olds? Anyway, we learned that they were all going to the city for Disney on Ice, and they were all very excited. Very. The kids all sat in the seats in front of us, with their Moms across the aisle, and I’ve got to tell you—four children under the age of five can be very, very bad as train companions, but these four were just adorable. Happy. Excited. Just so darn cute.
They clustered at the window with their noses pressed to the glass. They said cute things while eating the snacks their Moms had brought. And when did kids start having such adorable hats to wear? They told jokes, too. My mom and I both broke into quiet giggles when one of the kids said “Knock Knock” and the other three replied in chorus, “Who’s there?” Except for a little fidgeting, and with the help of an iPad movie to help the time pass for them, they were all so good on the train—especially for their ages. We were highly entertained the entire way. There’s something irresistible about little children laughing together, and this group did a lot of that. How can you possibly complain about HAPPY children?
After we got to Penn Station, Mom and I did something that neither of us had ever done before.
We took the subway.
Mom has been adamant for my entire life that she refused to ride the subway. Now, granted, when I was little in the 70s, this was probably a wise choice. The New York subway was notorious (rightly or not) for being unsafe. But recently? It seemed a safe enough choice. Especially considering how COLD it was yesterday. Walking from Penn Station all the way up to 53rd Street was just way too long when we could catch a train for $2.50. So we did.
The fun part, though? I have a good sense of direction, and I plan ahead, so even though I don’t know NYC well (read: at all), I knew where we were going. I knew we needed to take the E-train north. I knew what stop we needed. I knew where the hotel was in relation to that stop. But…
We got to Penn Station and followed the signs to the subway, bought our tickets, and went through the turnstile for the E-train Uptown. But standing on the platform, there were flyers posted saying to use the Express Line. Um … huh? I hadn’t noticed any difference between Express or Local, and this had been the only platform I saw that said E. We weren’t the only ones confused though, and I heard another person down the platform saying, “They said we need to go down the stairs to the the Express,” so I walked further down and, sure enough, there were stairs. I beckoned to Mom and went exploring, all while she’s saying “We should ask someone.” But, yes, sure enough, there was a tunnel to another platform that we arrived at with perfect timing to catch the E train. Excellent.
We got off at our stop and climbed the (many) stairs to the street and paused to figure out where we were. Going by the map I’d studied the night before, I knew we needed to walk along 53rd toward 6th, opposite the one-way traffic, but Mom was sure we needed to go to the left, so … okay, maybe she knows better. We started walking that way (brrr!) but … nope, that’s 8th Street. So we turned around to walk in the direction I’d wanted to go and found the hotel.
We bought our Marketplace tickets and … my God. What a madhouse! Talk about crowded. I said to Mom that it was like Rhinebeck with carpeting, it was so packed. Really crazy! But fun. Lots of vendors selling yarn and odds and ends. And Knitty City had a monopoly on book signings—all day long. I would have been happy just hanging out there all day to meet some of my favorite designers.
As it was, I met Sally Melville, and told her how much I loved her books and that I’d made her Gray Cardigan and gave it to our Realtor when she found us our house. I met Beth Brown-Reinsel and stupidly didn’t think to tell her that I was in the middle of making her “Celtic Dreams” sweater for the second time.
I also stupidly didn’t buy the nifty new “Vogue Knitting Knitopedia” book that debuted there. Not sure exactly how I missed that. You KNOW how much I love books of all kinds and knitting books in particular.
By 12:30, though, Mom and I were both hungry and decided to take a break for lunch. We figured we’d want to leave the hotel, but that we’d look to see what they had first. I headed down the escalator, and Mom said, “But I thought I heard that woman say the food was on that floor?” “Really? I’m pretty sure the restaurant is on the lobby’s level, but…” So we turned around, went back up while she asked and… yep, I was right. Back down. Found the restaurant which (1) was expensive and (2) had a really long line. So we left and paused on the sidewalk to think. “I know right where to go,” I said, and started walking back in the direction we’d come. “Lindys?” Mom asked as we walked by, but no … Europa Café, which Mom loves. As luck would have it, I’d noticed it on the corner when we took our inadvertent detour leaving the subway. (So, chalk that one up to all’s well that ends well.)
After lunch, we headed back to the VKLive Marketplace and hung out in the Lounge on the first floor for a bit, but then started thinking about how long it would take to get home, and how much Chappy must miss us, so we got up for one last circuit before leaving and, as luck would have it, bumped into a few people we knew. Ina (who took our picture for posterity), and Kim and Annie. I missed meeting Pixie Purl’s Brandy, though, which I was disappointed about. We TRIED coordinating via Twitter, but it just didn’t work. (I don’t know about her phone, but Verizon’s web service stinks, and it’s not like I have a smart phone which presumably is better.) I didn’t get to see Joanna Johnson, either, to tell her how adorable her new book is. (But it IS, and you should absolutely check it out.)
Heading back, we stopped at Crumbs bakery. (Conveniently located across the street from the subway AND across from where Mom was sitting while we ate lunch, so that she had time to see it.) Bought tickets, headed down to the E-train Downtown platform, got on the train … and Mom started worrying that it was the wrong train, and making enough fuss that she got ME doubting it, so we jumped off before the doors closed, only to realize that I was right after all and to luckily get on before it left. I told her I was NOT going to listen to her giving any directions for the rest of the day.
Got to Penn Station, accidentally took the street exit from the subway platform rather than the tunnel back to the actual station, but that was okay. We had missed the 3:11 train by now and had 45 minutes before the next one at 4:11. And we won’t discuss that we accidentally turned the wrong way at the corner, but we realized before were even halfway down the block. Went into Penn Station. Went to the NJ Transit waiting area, and Mom started to freak that we weren’t at the right level for the trains. We needed to be downstairs to get the train. “But, this is the WAITING AREA and we’ve got 45 minutes. I am not going to stand down by the tracks for 45 minutes. They wouldn’t have the waiting area with these nice screens posting departures if we weren’t meant to use them.”
“Okay, but my cellphone battery died. Call Dad and ask him to go pick up sandwiches for dinner so they’ll be there when we get home.” I called Dad and he more or less refused. He figured he’d be going out to get dinner, but he wanted a HOT sandwich, not something that had been sitting for two hours. And I did manage to get Mom to sit for almost 30 minutes before we headed down to the other platform to wait for them to list our departure track.
The ride back wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the way in had been. No cute kids. It got dark outside before we were halfway home so looking out the window didn’t work. And I was even too tired to knit on my sock for more than a few minutes.
Chappy was DELIGHTED to see us when we got home. Me especially (because I’m his favorite). He was also adamant that I was NOT allowed to do this again any time soon, particularly because it made his dinner about two hours later than usual.
And if you’re wondering if I bought anything at the VK Live Marketplace?
Just some SOAK, which I needed anyway. I bought three small bottles in different scents for a change. Usually I use the Citrus scent, but variety is nice, right?
Today I’ve been lazy. Or, relatively lazy. I got my review for Freddie’s Blanket posted, finished reading an 862-page book on the Civil War, did laundry, baked an apple pie. (Did you know it’s National Pie Day? Good thing Dad was willing to go to the store for the apples since Chappy refused to give me permission to leave the house.)
I did the tiniest bit of spinning, too, for the first time in over a week. I had a hangnail on my right middle finger that got infected and had to wear a bandaid for a week. I hate wearing bandaids, especially on my finger tips, and that made spinning more or less impossible because I couldn’t feel the fibers properly to draft.
Oh, and my new Celtic Dreams? I got the fronts (I told you it’s a cardigan version, right?) to the same length as the back while we watched a movie last night. (I know. I’m impressed I had the energy to knit, too.) Tonight I’ll join them together and it will finally start looking like a real sweater.
I’ll also be watching Downton Abbey on PBS, too. Have you SEEN this show? It’s wonderful, a 1912-1913 period piece with an Upstairs/Downstairs kind of feel. Really wonderful.