New York City: Greenwich Village and Chicago the Musical


For months, I’ve been planning on visiting my brother, Tom, and his girlfriend, Gabi during my spring break.  They moved to Brooklyn during the Fall and from what they’ve told me it looks like a cool place.

On Thursday,  I took the 3:15pm train from South Station in Boston which arrived in New York’s Penn Station at 7:21pm, where Tom and Gabi picked me up. Gabi made reservations at this restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called Bea, a great little place with a theme of black and white photographs and old movies.


Tom and Gabi at Bea


I had the macaroni and cheese; Gabi had the margarita pizza with pancetta; Tom had the pork dumplings. We shared some of our food with each other and it was delicious. As I was going to the bathroom, they were playing La Bamba by Richie Valens, one of my favorite songs of the 1950s.

I would definitely recommend Bea. The decor, food, and music were all amazing.

Gabi got a text from her friend Eva, saying that she was going to perform to a bar in Brooklyn called “Flowers for all Occasions.”  We took the subway to the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, where the bar is situated.  “Flowers for all Occasions” is exactly the type of place I wanted to go to when I decided to go to Brooklyn: a weird little, hole-in-the-wall, hipster dive bar. It is decorated like an elementary school art classroom (silver foil, cardboard traffic cones, and paper mache monster heads on the ceiling; Christmas lights and splotches of paint on the walls),  weird music is played, and it has the highest concentration of people with mullets that I’ve ever seen. It is an interesting place, very artsy and crazy and I would love to go back.


Tom and Gabi at Flowers for all Occasions


Eva Performing

After breakfast on Friday, Tom, Gabi, and I took their dog,  Tyson, for a walk in a cemetery near where they live. When we were done with the walk, Gabi and I took a train downtown to find the nearest TKTS kioks. Tom had work, so he and Tyson returned home. At TKTS, Gabi and I tried to figure out what show we wanted to see. We ruled out Anastasia, our first choice, because it was getting mediocre reviews. The tickets for Carousel, our second choice, were too expensive, so we decided to see Chicago. After getting our tickets and walking around for awhile trying to figure out what we were going to do, we stopped at an Au Bon Pain to get a snack and use the bathroom.

Tom and Gabi have another apartment that they rent through Air B&B and Gabi had to return home and it get ready for guests, so I crashed on the couch for about an hour, watching Youtube videos and cuddling with Tyson. When Gabi was done, we took the subway to the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. We walked through Washington Square Park and under the Washington Square Arch.


Feeling Small

Gabi had a gift card for a restaurant chain called Bareburger, so we went to one in Greenwich Village for lunch. I had a hotdog in a pretzel bun which was absolutely wonderful but the service at Bareburger was terrible. Our waitress was a total space case. After lunch, Gabi showed me this bookstore called “The Strand” which has racks and racks of every book you could possibly think of. I felt like Belle during that scene in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast gives her his massive library.


I’m in Heaven

I bought A Game of Throne, the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series The Last Olympian, the last book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, some pins for my backpack, and a pair of Abraham Lincoln socks for my friend Jasmine.

Our next stop was a nail salon called “Think Pink” where Gabi got a manicure, then a consignment shop called “Beacon’s Closet” where I bought a pair of tights with a black seem a long the back which looks like stockings from the 1940s. Gabi was looking for a pair of shoes to wear with an outfit for a wedding and got these really nice black heels. We looked in an Urban Outfits until it was time for our six o’clock dinner reservation at a restaurant called Rosemary’s, where Gabi sometimes work. Rosemary’s is truly a gem; the food was fantastic and the service was exemplary. I had the rigatoni in marinara sauce and the tiramisu for dessert, both of which were wonderful.

Our tickets were for eight o’clock and we barely made it to the Ambassador Theater in time for the show. We walked in during the open number “All That Jazz.” I’ve seen the movie version of Chicago a number of times but I haven’t watched it in a while, so I’ve almost forgotten how good the music is. Gabi and I thought that the actress playing Roxie had great comedic timing but we didn’t much care for the actress playing Velma. The actor playing Amos, who sings “Mr. Cellophane” one of my favorite songs in the score, had the best voice in the main cast. One of the problems we had with this production was that we couldn’t always understand what the actors were saying. For the most part, we enjoyed Chicago. 


Where’s my exit music?

I’ve been to New York City many times but I’ve usually left before five in the evening. One of my favorite things about this trip was that I was able to stay out fairly late and experience some of New York City’s nightlife. Today I talked to Gabi about the possibility of me returning again in May after this semester is over.


Downton Abbey: The Exhibition


Lady Rose’s Pink Evening Dress

The present I got from my mom this year for my birthday/Christmas was a ticket to the Downton Abbey Exhibition in New York City. I learned about it on Thanksgiving while I was watching the National Dog Show and it was advertised frequently during the commercials. This morning, my grandfather drove Mom and me to Perth Amboy, where my mom’s friend Kathy lives. We went to the Perth Amboy train station from Kathy’s house. I have to say that Perth Amboy is a total shit-hole; everything looks rundown and is covered in trash, specifically the train station.

We, me, my mom, Kathy, and her daughter Kimberly, took the train to New York City’s Penn Station. From there, we took a cab to where Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is held. We were about an hour early, so we went to a nearby Prêt à Manger for a snack. It was bitingly cold today. Standing outside on the platform at the Perth Amboy train station or in line to get into Downton Abbey: The Exhibition were more than I can handle. At Prêt à Manger, I drank a cup of Earl Grey to help myself warm up.


Downton Abbey Servants Uniforms

The exhibition began with a short video of Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey’s butler, welcoming us and saying, in the politest way, that he finds our interest in seeing the servant’s quarters, and the clothing we are wearing, odd. Its first floor is set as “downstairs”: the world of the servants; the kitchen, the staff dining room, and Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes’s sitting room. There were displays of props and costumes from the show such as servant’s uniforms. Mr. Carson’s desk, and Mrs. Hughes’s keys.


The Kitchen and Uniforms Belonging to Daisy and Mrs. Patmore


Servants Dining Room and Outfits Belonging to Anna and Mr. Bates


Office/ Sitting Room and Outfits Belonging to Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes

My mom badly twisted her ankle a few weeks ago and so was pushed in a wheelchair by Kathy today. One of the guides helped us out when we took the elevator up to the second floor. I thanked him for his assistance and said that Mr. Carson would be proud of him. 


Downton Abbey Dining Room

We sat through a video of clips from Downton Abbey which show its central theme of the preservation of tradition in the face of changing times before we went into the second part of the exhibition which was set up as “upstairs”, the world of the aristocratic Crawley family. There were areas set up to look like rooms in Downton Abbey such as the dining room and Lady Mary’s bedroom. Props and costumes such as the Crawley family jewels and the beautiful evening dresses worn by Lady Grantham and her daughters.


Lady Mary’s Bedroom


Countess of Grantham’s Pearl Tiara and Necklace


Flapper dresses worn by Lady Rose, Lady Edith, and Lady Mary


Flapper dresses worn by Lady Mary and Lady Edith


Turquoise and Bronze Evening Dress worn by Lady Mary


Evening Dresses worn by Lady Mary and Lady Edith


Crawley Family Jewels


More Jewelry

My Favorite part of Downton Abbey: The Exhibition was the third floor which was dedicated to costumes from the show. The costumes I liked best were Lady Edith’s beaded blue evening dress, Lady Rose’s presentation gown, and the wedding dresses. Mr. Carson, along with Lord and Lady Grantham, appeared again to bid us goodbye.


Evening Dress Worn by Lady Edith, Lady Mary, and Lady Sybil


Lady Rose’s Presentation Gown


Wedding Gowns Worn by Lady Mary and Lady Edith


Wedding Gown Worn by Lady Edith


Wedding Accessories

Like with a Disney World attraction, we exited through the gift shop. There were two Debrett’s etiquette books that I wanted but they were fifty dollars each and I only had thirty, so I bought a beautiful pair of earrings. Kathy’s son William met us outside of the exhibition and called an Uber to take us to Penn Station. While we were waiting, I took pictures of the costumes in the display windows. 


Dress and Coat Worn by Lady Edith


1920s Evening Dresses


Flapper Dress Worn by Lady Rose

From Penn Station, we took a train back to Perth Amboy.

Bag Girl Goes to Salem: Peabody Essex Museum and Witch Museum


My film studies professor told us about an exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum called It’s Alive which features posters and props from classic horror and sci-fi films. It piqued my interest and so Jasmine and I decided that we would go downtown today since my only class was canceled and Jasmine did not have class until 3:05.

We were able to take the Salem State shuttle downtown. I had also wanted to see the Friendship, a reproduction East Indiaman ship which is sometimes docked in Salem harbor. Since it opens at nine o’clock, whereas the P.E.M. does not open until ten, we went there first but the Friendship was not in port. So we waited around until the P.E.M opened.

The It’s Alive exhibition is part of the collection of Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist for the band Metallica, who is a big fan of horror and sci-fi films. We walked through the doors, which made the creaking sounds often found in haunted houses, and saw posters for classic horror movies such as Frankenstein, The Mummy, and Dracula and film clips of their famous scenes projected onto the walls.


There was a piece of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory which zapped “electricity” in the form of light projection.


as well as posters for films such as Lon Chaney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Jean Cocteau’s La Belle et La Bête

The next part of the exhibition was made up of posters for famous sci-fi films such as The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Metropolis.

My favorite exhibits were of props from the films Invaders from Mars and Invasion of the Flying Saucers which we dummies of alien creatures.

We also got to see posters for more recent horror classics such as The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

On our way out, we saw a cut out advertising the 1933 film King Kong.


Because we are Salem State students, Jasmine and I can get into a number of museums here in Salem for free. One of them is Peabody Essex. Another is the Salem Witch Museum. Jasmine and I went there to get tickets for the one o’clock tour and then got lunch at our favorite pizza place. The first part of the Salem Witch Museum is a room with wax displays telling the story of the Salem Witch Trials. We sat in the center and lights came up on each of the displays and a narrator tells the story.


The second part of the museum explores the changing perception of the witch from wise and kindly ancient wise women, to satanic hags, to modern-day Wiccans.

I saw an add on Facebook this morning saying that the Residence Hall Association was running buses downtown to see the Halloween parade. I went to the seminar room of our residence hall around four o’clock and met up with Jasmine around four thirty. We enjoyed pizza from our Omega’s, one of our favorite places before boarding the bus. To our surprise, instead of just watching the parade, we got to be in it, marching to represent Salem State University. Our bus dropped us off where the parade was to begin. I saw a trio of people dressed up as Ghostbusters as we were walking in.  


The parking lot was filled with cars decorated with different themes such as movies like Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Jaws, Pirates of the Caribbean, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

The parade was set to begin at six thirty but since our group was at the very end, we did not get to leave until another forty-five minutes later. Jasmine and I volunteered to hand out candy to children as we passed. We also had our faces painted. I asked to be made to look like a broken porcelain doll, but I ended up looking like I have that grayscale disease from Game of Thrones. Jasmine was made to look like a black cat.

We walked through downtown Salem from the docks, where the parade began, to the Hawthorne Hotel, struggling to manage crowds of sugar crazed children. Salem is one of the best places to be during the month of October and today was an excellent kickoff to Halloween month.  


Bag Girl Goes to The MFA Boston


Since 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of 1967’s Summer of Love, The Museum of Fine Arts is showing an exhibition on this seminal moment in American pop culture. Mom and I were eager to go see it after falling in love with the work of artist Peter Max during our cruise.


Orpheus and Cerberus by Thomas Crawford

Today was the perfect day to go into the city: sunny and pleasant with a crisp autumn coolness. We took the 10:13 am train to Boston and arrived around eleven o’clock. By the time we got to the MFA, around 11:30 am, I was starving and ready for lunch. After getting something to eat, we went to see the Summer of Love exhibition. 


Summer of Love Album Covers

After getting something to eat, we went to see the Summer of Love exhibition. It was in a small gallery and mostly displays of album covers, some of which, I imagine, were designed by Peter Max, since I know that he collaborated with the Beatles on their cover art. What the Beatles were to the sound of the 1960s, Peter Max was to its look. 


Summer of Album Covers

The Summer of Love exhibition had its own little gift shop, where I purchased a beautiful book on Max’s work with a foreword by Neil Degrasse Tyson of all people.


Summer of Love Album Covers


Ancient Egyptian Beadnet Dress- Art of the Ancient World, Gallery 105B

I had made a list of my favorite works of art on display at the MFA and which galleries they are in. First on the list was the ancient Egyptian beadnet dress on display in the Art of the Ancient World wing, Gallery 105B. In a little activity sketchbook that they were giving out for free, I sketched all of my favorite artworks, starting with the beadnet dress.  


Mrs. Billington as Saint Cecilia by George Romney- Art of Europe, Gallery 141

Next was Mrs. Billington as Saint Cecilia by George Romney in Gallery 141 of the Art of Europe wing, a painting I saw on the MFA’s Instagram page this morning and felt that I had to go see. We also looked in an exhibit of eighteenth-century porcelain, which I wanted to take all of home. 


The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent- Art of the Americas, Gallery 232

Upstairs in Gallery 232 of the Art of the Americas wing hangs one of the MFA’s most iconic possessions: The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent who is one of my favorite artists. Aside from sketching an outline of its composition in my book, I also drew the two giant Japanese vases, similar to those found in the painting, which flank it on either side. We finished up our tour of Art of the Americas by looking at depictions of the elegant and privileged lives of the turn of the century elite done by Sargent, Cassatt, and Whistler.


Haymaker and Sleeping Girl by Thomas Gainsborough- Art of Europe, Gallery 246

Returning to Art of Europe, we passed through galleries of eighteenth-century rococo furniture, including my dream bed, to Gallery 246, where the next artwork on my list hangs. Thomas Gainsborough’s Haymaker and Sleeping Girl is a romantic image of a rustic country lad staring longingly at a refined young lady, asleep under a tree.


Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer by Edgar Degas- Art of Europe, Gallery 255

Last on my list was Degas’s Little Fourteen Year Old Dancer in Gallery 255. The section of the MFA dedicated to the nineteenth-century French Impressionists is one of my favorites in the whole museum. One of my new favorite paintings in the MFA’s collection is La Japonaise by Claude Monet which features his wife, Camille, wearing an elaborate kimono. 


La Japonaise by Claude Monet- Art of Europe, Gallery 252

Mom had me check to see what time the train was coming. The time given on the MBTA ap was 3:15 pm, so we made a dash back to North Station. After checking the schedule there, we found that I had been wrong; the train to Gloucester was not coming until 5:30 pm. There was a train to Beverly coming at 4:30 pm, so we had Dad pick us up there.


Bag Girl Goes to Old Sturbridge Village


I have not been to Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge MA since I was six or seven, which is going on fifteen or sixteen years ago. Today, it was open for free as part of the state’s “free Fridays” program, so my mom and I went there to meet Ruth,  an old friend of her’s. The drive from Gloucester was about an hour and forty minutes.


Old Sturbridge Village is a collection of buildings from all over New England that are preserved how they might have looked in the early nineteenth century, specifically the 1830s. The first building we looked at was a lower class house which smelt sweetly of dried apples and herbs. Out in front of it was a large, enclosed pasture where sheep grazed. I was able to feed one of the sheep a handful of grass; it tickled when the sheep nibbled away the grass.


The next two buildings we visited were religious meeting houses, one Quaker, the other Congregationalist. The Congregationalists are now known as the United Church of Christ, the church to which Ruth belongs and is an ordained minister. Near the Congregationalist meeting house is the parsonage, where a minister like Ruth would have lived in the 1830s.




Among the other buildings we saw were a schoolhouse, a cobbler’s shop, and a potter’s kiln and workshop. 

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At the farthest end of the village is a small dairy farm, where I got to pet a two-week-old calf named Norman. Inside the house, some women were making cheese. I knew from watching a number of documentaries on historical farming that a substance called rennet, a digestive enzyme found in the lining of a calf’s stomach, is used to curdle milk and turn it into cheese. The barn was filled with sweet smelling freshly mowed hay.  

We had to choose between a ride on a river boat or a hay cart since we had to pay for both of them. The hayride was what was chosen, which I felt was something of a rip-off. It only did a quick loop around the village square which I felt was not worth the six dollars we paid for it.


Near the square is the finest house in the village, an elegant home which is where I would choose to live if I was a nineteenth century Sturbridge resident, and a store where I purchased a sandalwood fan (my old one broke), some postcards, a book on crocheting, and a book called Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. 


Also near the village square is a bank, where I flirted with a well-dressed gentleman and asked if they gave out student loans. We popped into a house where they were making a quilt and knitting comforters, and a reproduction store with displays of goods which would have been sold there. My favorites were the fans and jewelry. 

On our way out of Old Sturbridge Village, we passed through its vast gift shop. I bought a packet of columbine seeds and a copy of The Hamilton Affair, a romance novel based on the marriage between Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler. We had a picnic of damp cold cut sandwiches on a grassy knoll near the parking lot. Mom and Ruth caught out while I did a preview read of The Hamilton Affair. I had to be at work in Gloucester by five o’clock. The traffic driving home was heavy and I had just enough time to quickly change my clothes and dash off to Market Basket.


Bermuda Cruise Part 3: Homeward Bound



Bermuda Cruise Part 2: Island Adventure

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Bag Girl Goes to Bermuda: Day 7


Bag Girl Goes to Bermuda: Day 6


Bermuda Cruise Part 1: Bon Voyage