NYC Part 3

Raven Wilkinson


I slept well – no sirens or car horns blaring, probably because the crazies were in hiding from the cold just like everyone else. Only disturbance occurred at 4 a.m. when yelling, door slamming, and foot stomping jolted me awake. Reflecting afterward, I thought, “Alcohol may have been a factor.”

Spent a quiet morning reading and listening to the radio. Did not want to eat breakfast since lunch would be at noon. Found Car Talk and Wait, Wait… and stayed happy until it was time to leave. It was much warmer (20 degrees and calm, compared to 10 and windy) as I walked the few blocks to the restaurant. Realized (at last) that Ninth Avenue changes name to Columbus Avenue at 60th Street. Anyway, I had walked past Rosa Mexicana on Friday and found it with no problem.

I almost burst into tears when Raven walked in, but she said, “Please don’t.” So I didn’t. She looks just like her mother, whom I called Aunt Anne. She said the same of me. We enjoyed a perfectly delightful time. She was the first African American ballet dancer to perform nationally and internationally, beginning with the Ballet Russe. She retired from dancing in Europe with the Royal Dutch Ballet at age 39 and was back in the States for six weeks when she was invited to dance and then act with the New York City Opera. She continued to do that until just a couple of years ago. Bravo for her!

I showed her photos from O.S. – the cottage damaged in Irene a couple of years ago, which her parents had rented for years from our family, and the destroyed Dock & Dine. She had fond memories of wonderful dinner parties with my parents and hers. I was too little to participate.

Lunch was fabulous. We had an excellent Malbec, a variety we both love. The wait staff  served fresh-made guac, much better than any I’ve had before. It had no lemon but lots of tomato, a bit of onion and wonderful cilantro. It came with two sauces – mild and not particularly hot, plus chips, and tortillas. That could have been my meal, but we decided to forge ahead.

Raven ordered shrimp over rice, a large portion, and I had chile relleno, also the best I’ve ever had. The outside crust was delicate and light, inside, brown rice, cheese, a bit of mushroom, served atop red and green sauce in artistic swirls. We also received a bowl of brown rice and one of refried beans – black beans in this case and all veggie. It was way too much food, but we talked and slowly ate and ate a bit more and talked even more.

At about one o’clock I looked out and saw it had begun to snow. The prediction was for a two p.m. or later start, and I had hoped that I’d be able to get out of NYC beforehand it began. No such luck.

Tomorrow: luncheon conclusion and a long ride home.

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