On Saturday Josh and I had brunch in Hell's Kitchen. It was so hot that our favorite diner had shut their large windows and door to keep in the cool air. Over plates of breakfast food, Josh K. looked a little sullen.
"I think I need a break from this town," he said. "It's not that I don't like it here, because I do like it, but I think I need to get out of here for a little while."
I knew exactly what he meant.
One of the great truths of living in New York is that you have to leave it if you want to keep loving it. Even a day trip can work wonders.
I had an idea.
"Josh, why don't we catch a train tomorrow and head up to Beacon, New York? It's supposed to be a gorgeous ride, and they have the Dia museum up there."
For the first time at brunch Josh's eyes brightened. "I'm in."
We finished our brunch and walked out onto the street, heading northward to Central Park. We stayed on the shady side of the street to avoid the heat.
We walked up through the park to Bethesda Fountain . . .
. . . and settled in on the lawn just to the right of the fountain. Earlier we thought we'd settle in at Sheep Meadow, but it was clogged with clumps of people. At Bethesda we had the whole lawn to ourselves.
From our perch on the lawn we watched street dancers put on a somewhat acrobatic show near the west staircase of Bethesda. We watched an Asian wedding party take photos at the fountain. Josh and I read for a while, then ogled guys, gossiped, and soaked up some sun.
On Saturday night Josh, Dylan and I sat at the Columbus Circle fountain, eating a Whole Foods take-out dinner of sandwiches, sushi, and fruit.
Afterward Dylan and I headed back into Central Park and walked up to the Delacorte Theater, located in the park, to see The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Romeo & Juliet.
The reviews were right: The show was fantastic. Lauren Ambrose (Clare Fisher from Six Feet Under) played Juliet, swooning in one moment and bursting into real tears another. Camryn Manheim (The Practice, The L Word) worked it out as Nurse, playing up the bawdy comedy sometimes not emphasized by other productions. Romeo (Oscar Isaac) was sexy and equally as convincing as Juliet's lover.
One of the coolest parts of seeing Shakespeare in the Park is being in the theater itself, tucked into Central Park near 81st Street, with almost a third of the circular theater open to the park beyond. The show begins an hour before sunset, and as the show progresses it gets dusky, and then dark, which certainly suits the plot of Romeo & Juliet.
Afterward Dylan and I walked down the deserted Central Park West, arm in arm, until we found a cab in the West 70s and headed home.
On Sunday morning Josh and I set off on our adventure out of the city.
We went to Grand Central . . .
. . . and caught a Metro North train to Beacon, New York. (Yes, JK is taking a picture of me taking a picture of the train. Just because we're dorks like that.)
Just minutes outside of Manhattan the landscape turns into rivers, rolling hills, sailboats, and small mountains. We looked out the window for much of the 90-minute ride.
"I feel so much better already," Josh K. said. I did, too.
Josh K. and Josh H. just up the hill from Dia:Beacon, the 240,000 square foot modern art and installation space.
(A sign that you're becoming more of a New Yorker: in your head you begin calculating that you could fit 300 or 400 apartments in that amount of space. It's a frightening impulse.)
The cafe at Dia:Beacon, where the Joshes had an afternoon snack which may or may not have included a really yummy brownie.
Explore the Dia's wonderful collection here. (Pictures aren't allowed inside the exhibition space, otherwise we would have brought you a series of great photos.)
On the train ride home Josh K. fell asleep. I opened a book (Middlesex is amazing) and read as the train sped through the countryside. I looked over at Josh, his mouth falling open as he slept, and smiled. Later, when he awoke, he looked out the window and tapped my leg. I set down my book and we both looked out the window.
"Beautiful," I said. He nodded.