Every year, like most families, we come together for the holidays and New York is were we meet. I usually take a plane, but this year I decided to go by train. Amtrak’s Crescent train connects the Big Easy with the Big Apple and stops also in Birmingham. While Amtrak is lately often in the news, and not in a good way, I recommend this experience, and I know I will do it again.
No airport security stress, no worries about flight delays, and the freedom to walk around and have a meal in a dining car was worth the 17 hours trip. And what could be a prettier first sight than the beautiful Grand Central Station.
Spending the holidays in New York with my son and daughter-in-law is always special and together with family and friends we welcomed 2018.
We are all big Muppet fans and one of our favorite outings was a visit to the Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City, Queens. The museum’s core exhibit is about the creative process of making moving images, but this visit was about the latest addition to the museum. We were not disappointed, the new permanent Jim Henson Exhibition is fascinating.
A classic, but an absolutely must see when in the city during the holidays is George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The performance by the New York City Ballet was held at the David H. Koch Theater, inside Lincoln Center. I have seen the ballet before and yet I am again and again mesmerized how one of the great 19th-century children’s stories can come alive on stage. During intermission it was so cute to observe the little girls meet with one of the ballerinas.
The Sugarplum fairy and her dancing Sweets, the huge Christmas tree, and the larger-than-life Mother Ginger impress, but for me the most amazing scene is the dancing Snowflakes and their queen. It is so beautiful that I wished snowfall would greet us when leaving Lincoln Center; it didn’t.
Soon it was time to say goodbye, but not before paying a visit to the Morgan Library. The museum is a treasure trove of books, medieval manuscripts, drawings, prints, and musical manuscripts. The building in itself is an architectural landmark I never tire visiting.
When my son and I visited the library had private letters and original music on display from a rotational exhibit called Treasures from the Vault.
For me, the highlights were a letter of Jane Austen to her eight-year-old niece Cassandra, in which every word is spelled backward; and letters written by and addressed to Alexander Hamilton and his family. The later and Franz Schubert’s manuscript of Der Winterabend moved me to tears.
It was good to be back in the Big Apple and even better to be with family and friends. Can’t wait to plan the 2018 edition.