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I first went to New York with my mom as a 15 year-old. We took the train from Fredericksburg, and my mouth had its own set of railroad tracks. We checked out Princeton and Barnard, and we went to a Broadway show starring Matthew Broderick. We went to MoMA.

I went the following year with the newspaper and yearbook staffs of my high school for a conference at Columbia. We ran into Paul Schaffer and ate at the soup café that inspired the Seinfeld “Soup Nazi” episode.

I applied to NYU and got a scholarship. I didn’t go.

Then it got interesting. My first year at U.Va., I dated a New Yorker. He worked at Abercrombie in the financial district and got picked up to do a modeling job for Teen People from it. I visited him in the city for New Year’s, and we stayed in a studio loft with some kids he knew who went to Wesleyan. I remember hearing about cuddle parties and thinking that they were more spoiled than the silver spoons in the south. He took me to a vintage tee shirt store called Search and Destroy on Bleecker where I found a shirt for a roller rink in Fredericksburg, where I used to go to birthday parties. We went to a couple of parties but opted to go home before the last, and McCauley Culkin was purportedly there. It was perfect.

After we broke up, a break-up about which I will only comment, “It sucked,” I looked into transferring to NYU for film school. My ex and I road-tripped to Vermont, where his mom had moved, and came back via New York for my transfer interview. To be 19 and foolish is a luxury I am relieved I will never again have! He set the alarm clock for “pm,” and I missed the interview. I believe he has moved to France.

I went to visit two college friends and attended a wedding at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. I remember being stressed the whole time: I had just finished casting Room Raiders in Austin, and when I got back, I was going to move to Dallas for two months to cast there, living with a woman I’d never met and driving to 200 homes on roads I’d never driven. And I had communal pneumonia.

And then this. I was asked to represent our office at an event. It happened to be my sister’s birthday weekend, and she happened to be staying with me at the time. She came with me. With my sister, anything can happen. And for the love of God, I needed another good trip to New York City.

She and I stayed at the Hyatt in midtown, next to Union Station. I would recommend this location to anyone—a lot of sites were walkable, and cab fares never exceeded $10. As soon as we arrived, we walked to the Madison/Park/5th Ave shopping districts. We didn’t buy any clothes, but we definitely both bought wigs! Word to the wise: don’t buy a wig unless you are balding or your boyfriend is turned on by neon pink bobs. (Or you’re a teen pop star idol who has lost it and shaved her head at a tattoo parlor.) I learned a long time ago that I am not a pretty brunette, and long nylon hair looks like… long nylon hair. If anyone’s interested, though, I’ll sell it for a discount… for $60. ($#!%!) After my event, we met one of her best friends from college and her roommate, and a gentleman friend of mine from Charlottesville who had moved to the city, at Dos Caminos in midtown. Holy guacamole! About the guacamole! She and I also shared ceviche and puffy tacos.

My sister and I experienced the Louvre together, so we like art. Inevitably, the next day, after putting in a half day of work, she and I set out for MoMA. We love that museum—the art is provocative and innovative, and it doesn’t hurt that much of it is so (since I’ve already discussed the merits of it…) famous. We decided to walk shortly through Central Park before cabbing the rest of the way to the Met—until we suddenly found ourselves in front of it. It was 40 blocks! We agreed that if we had to choose one museum to visit, we prefer MoMA. Many of the rooms in the Met have low ceilings, and it’s carpeted. The tourist experience is more stressful as a result. However, there is no better museum in the US to see ancient art—spectacular. And it’s inevitable that a Media Studies major would feel more compelled to see a video installation of kitchen appliances coming to life than a 15th century Spanish fresco of a sea battle. It’s a shame. I wish I could be the one to say, “A Dutch aristocrat’s portrait! Cool!” Not gonna happen.

That evening, we went to the Hudson Hotel for a drink—loved it. I had learned about Ian Schrager’s hotels from my brother years before, and for our parents’ 30th anniversary, we gave them a New York getaway and put them up in the Morgans. I think the glitterati had moved on from the Hudson by the time I made it, because it was easy to find a table, and the group next to us wore acid-washed jeans and plaid shirts. Might I add—it was Friday. Nay. It was still exciting to see the yellow illuminated floor and faux-antique furnishing. I can’t decide if I think it’s more “2001” or “Clockwork,” but I love the styles of both.

I had made reservations at Nobu, but the earliest we could get in was 10:40. Hungry (!), we decided to arrive at 10 to see if we could sit early. Honestly, at that point, I was just drunk! I’d like to add that it was annoying that there were empty tables when we arrived—we could have sat an hour before and I could remember what we ordered. I do, however, remember being invited by the table next to us to a dance club not far away. Twist our arms…

The next afternoon, we moved in with my sister’s friend and roommate in the East Village. Their location was perfect! We walked to the Village and window-shopped, and they even humored my tourist impulses and encouraged me to take as many pictures as I wanted. (Two was all it took!)

That evening, we celebrated my sister’s birthday at Otto, Mario Battali’s new concept restaurant. I was told that the experience was about the wait, and so true. The front bar was a party! Everyone was young and pretty, but all eyes were on my sister with her hot pink bob! We actually ate and drank more at our table there than when we “sat” for dinner nearly two hours after we arrived. All I can say is that our server was very good at what he does.

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MoMA!

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Matisse.

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Monet.

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Warhol.

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Van Gogh.

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Image.

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Bodies.

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The Hudson.

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Nobu.

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And some bald man’s chocolate goodness.

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