I took a spur-of-the-moment trip to NYC one day during Christmas week to hang with Marilyn. Originally, Marilyn's granddaughter (Mar was a child bride) was supposed to come, too, but she blew us off. (Thanks a lot, Liz. Bite me, babe.) But we had a wonderful time, made all the more fun for me by the fact that my kids had been off school for two weeks. The luxury of spending 8 hours without hearing plaintive cries of "Mo-o-o-om!" Lots of laughter, adult conversation with a dear friend, the stimulation of New York, and some yarn ho-ing. What could be better?
We met at Penn Station, and Marilyn wanted to check out Seaport Yarns. This place is unbelievable. The owner used to have a marketing firm and about five years ago, converted her suite of offices into a yarn store. You go into a nondescript office building, take the elevator up to the fifth floor, and you walk into a little reception area. Signs direct you down a hallway and -- WHAM! Hallways and former offices literally full of yarn. Some on shelves, some in bins and baskets, some on tables. Yarn falling out all over the place. At first there is so much and it seems so disorganized, you can't even begin to make sense of it. Then you start to see some rough organization, mostly by manufacturer. Every brand of yarn from Araucania to Zitron. Tons of handpaints, tons of colorways, tons of fibers (meaning type of fiber; I didn't see any spinning supplies). Marilyn asked the owner if there was anything she didn't have, and the only thing she could think of was qiviut, and the Koigu hadn't arrived yet. I scored an old Rowan magazine that I didn't have, and bought some Diakeito Diamusee Fine to make socks, at Marilyn's urging. (Well, it's not like she had to twist my arm.)
In our travels, we passed Ground Zero. I hadn't been there since 9/11. What struck me most wasn't the size of the crater, or the conspicuous lack of the World Trade Center, or my memories of 9/11, but at how the site itself didn't make me feel anything. I've thought about 9/11 a lot, and I knew people who died (2 guys I went to college with), and I've been very moved by all the images I've seen, the stories I've heard, the things I've imagined. But the site itself left me cold. It may be because it looks like a construction site: chain link fences, construction equipment moving along, that sort of thing. It also had to do with the bizarre tourist trap feel it had. I saw tons of tourists with cameras and video recorders buzzing around the site, casually snapping photos -- cheesy grins, arms around each other's shoulders -- as if they were standing in front of the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty. Feh. To me, that site is sacred ground and should be approached reverently, not as a place to be ticked off on your Fodor's inventory of must-sees while in New York.
Our afternoon trip was to Soho, and of course Purl, which is a polar opposite of Seaport Yarns. Where Seaport is huge, Purl is tiny, claustrophobic even. Where Seaport is sprawling and disorganized, Purl is very tidy and organized. While Seaport had a variety of price points and a staggering number of yarn lines, Purl's selection was more limited and definitely tended toward the higher price points with lots of luxury and unusual fibers. Unlike Seaport, Purl's space was definitely designed with yarns and a certain sense of style in mind. I picked up some Koigu Kersti for a baby gift (remember that baby sweater I mentioned for the judge I used to work for?) and some striping Lorna's Laces.
Perhaps nicest of all, my yarn crawl made me appreciate Rosie's all over again. Because even when I go to other yarn shops that are wonderful, I still like Rosie's best.
Okay, enough of the Pollyanna routine. On the train ride home, I had a brilliant insight. Or "A Modest Proposal," one might say. I hereby propose that all cell phones cut out after five minutes. You get five minutes in case of emergency, to firm up plans, and so on, but then -- dead air. This would prevent future incidents like the one on my train, in which a first-time pregnant woman yammered on the phone to her friend the whole trip. "And I don't want to gain too much weight, blah, blah, and my husband and I are picking colors for the nursery and I'm so glad we're on the same page about what we want, yadda yadda, and then the doctor said I've never seen a vagina as infested with yeast as yours, blah, blah, blah." Okay, I made that last part up, but you get the idea.
I couldn't help myself: I shushed her.