joy magnetism: Je ne cherche pas, je trouve




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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Je ne cherche pas, je trouve

Magnet #1289 - Picasso quote

So now I've missed Picasso at two museums, the Met and the VMFA in Richmond. But each place left me magnets to buy, so of course, I picked up a couple.

The translation for this magnet? I do not seek, I find.

Today, I did a bit of both.

Ya'll know that I've been here in NYC since 1995, and so by now, I ought to be an old hand finding my way around. Well, I'm here to tell you, I still get lost in this town.

This morning, I ran out of the house, hurrying to get to Amy Ruth's in Harlem by the mandated 10:30 for my Harlem Food Tour. I made sure I had the address (113 West 116th Street). And by rote, I got on to uptown 1 train, thinking it was up by Columbia, and forgetting that the 1,2,3 trains split somewhere uptown.

I got off at 116th, and spent a good couple minutes wandering west of Columbia, pulling up my map on my phone (which I totally should have done before I left, obvi) ...and realized that I hadn't a clue where I was going, as all signs pointed East. A lot east.

I decided I was not going to be beaten - plus I paid Groupon $60 for the tour (normally $95), and by george, I was gonna make it! Off I went across Columbia's giant quad, emerging at the 400 block of West 116th. 400!

I kept hoofing it. As I approached Morningside Drive, I realized, whoa, that's a huge cliffside drop-off, where'd West 116th go??? That's when I first learned what Morningside Park was, and off in the distance, was what I could only (hopefully) assume was the rest of West 116th.

So I ran (in my flip-flops) down the steep steps. No, seriously, like a lot of steep steps until I finally found West 116th - the 300 block! I was like, seriously! 300!

It was now 10:45, and I was figuring that if my Harlem tour started at a good place like Amy Ruth's, then I had a bit of time. Still, hot and sweaty, I found Amy Ruth's, and fairly flew in expecting a big group of people waiting for me.

Only to be greeted by a couple, who were also on the tour (who had been waiting since 10:30). My new friends and I sat there until 11:30, contenting ourselves in good conversation about tours in NY, San Fran, publishing, social media, their SO adorable new granddaughter Ella Simone, and yes, magnets.

But do you know what? The tour guide was a total no show! We were none too happy about it, and neither was our new friend Sharon, in charge at Amy Ruth's. She couldn't believe we'd been ditched by this tour guide, and made copies of our Groupons, and checked in on us as we took up a table waiting for the guide.

Of course, after such gracious hospitality, we decided we should stay and eat - we were starving, having spent a lot of time watching other folks get their meals.

Result?

Ya'll. If you're ever up in Harlem - shoot, not even! If you're ever hungry for chicken and waffles? Make your way up the 2/3 to Amy Ruth's to eat. They serve soul food so good, you'll think you're down South, instead of...West 116th Street, Harlem, New York City.

So very, very good.

In the end, while we didn't get the full-on Harlem Food Tour we were seeking, we definitely found a great place to eat, and learned that sometimes, strangers make the best companions! Thanks again for a lovely time, @chinhansen and Phil!



N.B.: The second I got home, I asked Groupon for a refund for the tour, given the no-show, and they quickly responded with apologies and a refund. Though I'm surprised that a Groupon vendor fell through, their customer service is A-ok!
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