#2,522 The Last SMT + Central Park.
by Erin Napier
This morning we did our very last satellite media interviews for our Bank of America partnership and it was a really bittersweet thing. We came to New York this week to do these 24 interviews on a soundstage built 2 days ago in a studio to resemble our living room. We arrived half-asleep at 7:15 am because I stayed up until nearly 2 am finishing At The Water’s Edge (in which the character Angus reminded me for the world of Ben— a man who is chivalrous, huge, burly, bearded, blue-eyed, Scottish, just basically a dreamboat in my estimation) and by noon we had completed interviews with news outlets all over the country.
And after we said goodbye to the amazing team who have been our warm and convivial hosts throughout the Bank of America adventure, we went down to La Esquina to share tacos for lunch. Without plan or agenda, we went back uptown to Central Park to wander and people watch. The park this time of year is hard to capture in photos. It’s just. So. Beautiful. The honey roasted almond carts set up every 20 yards make the air smell so delicious you can taste it. The street musicians make the stroll feel like a jazz concert as young mothers with toddlers in strollers share the sidewalk, teaching their children about the dogs and leaves and runners zoom past, used to and unaffected by the beauty all around.
We’ve always kept to the Upper West Side so tonight we decided to explore the Upper East Side, where we saw The Met but didn’t go inside.
We passed fathers in suits walking sons in soccer cleats to practice. We saw black-clad teenagers stealing kisses in dark shadows on benches. And I had this thought today—New Yorkers spend their lives in a more public space than us small-town folks. We live life in our homes, in our cars. They spend so much time commuting on foot and bus and subway, that life happens in public more often than not.
We went looking for Lyle Crocodile, but he wasn’t home.
I checked my pedometer on my phone and found ourselves at the 7 mile mark as we crossed Central Park at Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir just as the sun disappeared and we boarded the train at W. 86th Street to go get a bite to eat.
The train was so crowded there was no room to sit or even hold onto the poles, but Ben held on to the train and kept his heavy arm around me the whole ride to Tribeca to keep me safe when the train would grind to a halt. I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for him, a man who constantly watches over me, even when I think I’m fine on my own. In my case, I know that two is better than one.
We debated the list of restaurants we’ve still not tried that we have been thinking of for this trip, but ultimately decided we just wanted to go back to our old favorite, the cozy and comfy Ear Inn, the oldest bar in NYC (since 1817) with the best comfort food in the city (like chicken pot pie and shepherd’s pie). This unpretentious dive with warm, charming servers and tiny tables in 2 tiny rooms makes us feel so at home, but a world away from home.
The crayons on the table remind me how much I miss figure drawing.
Oh, New York. You steal my heart and wear me out every. Time. I hope we’ll see you again soon.
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I’m Erin Napier, co-owner of Laurel Mercantile Co. and Scotsman Co. with my husband, Ben. I’m an artist and he’s a craftsman and we help people moving to our town find and restore old houses on HGTV’s Home Town. In an effort to count my blessings, this journal has documented only the good things that happen on each and every day of my life since January 1, 2010. I am a wife, a daughter, a homebody, a bubble bath lover, a book reader, a sentimental, stressed out, slightly obsessive southerner. Welcome!