Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tripping Around Westchester, NY

Westchester County is one of the more popular areas of New York State, but I have to confess I didn't know much about it before Mom and I were invited up there by some friends. Blame it on too much TV - I watched Sleepy Hollow and X-Men First Class - both set in Westchester, but as with so many media depictions of real places - not too accurate.

So what is the real Westchester like?

We took a bus down to NYC Port Authority and the subway to Grand Central Station, where we had a quick but satisfying lunch. There was a visually arresting mini-exhibit in the food court, featuring paper artists Rob Ryan and Laura Cooperman, part of a collective effort called On Paper.

The Rob Ryan studio writes about the process of creating the original artwork.

The train ride was bright and scenic. We love taking trains out of town, it feels like a proper adventure!

Our first impression of Westchester was that even with the busy population, it was an old, green place, full of what Mom calls 'grandfather trees'.

We had a great dinner at our friends' place! They outdid themselves with barbecued pork and chicken, sautéed spinach, and the most delicious yucca dish.

The next day we headed out to sight-see. We saw Sleepy Hollow, as in our previous post, but that wasn't all that we got to see.

The whole Hudson area is historically significant, forming the backdrop for the American Revolution as well as much of the early days of emigration from Britain and Europe.

These days it is thoroughly American suburbia, full of beautiful houses with sprawling gardens and parks. But many Westchester districts keep their historic buildings well maintained and ready for visitors. We passed beautiful public buildings, some pretty churches and places we read about in books.

The Warner Library
The First Church of Christ, Scientist - apparently every church has a Reading Room.
Hartsdale Canine Cemetery - the first American pet sematary or cemetery.
The Castle on the Hudson
Nob Hill
During our trip we managed to squeeze in some shopping at the many outlet malls around the Hartsdale and White Plains area. The Dalewood Shopping Center, Midway Shopping Center and a cluster of stores along Saw Mill River Road were just a few of the places we visited before lunch.

And what a lunch. Dimsum rules!

We stopped by the magnificent Central Seafood restaurant in Hartsdale and had several plates of dimsum, as well as a platter of roast duck, and finished with handmade tofu and custard tarts for dessert. Read their NYTimes review

Then our friends drove us back to the station for a nice sleepy train ride back to the city. On the train we were entertained by snippets of conversation between two old men a few rows behind us, a visiting Brit and his local American companion - telling stories about the New York City they knew decades before.

What a fascinating close to a lovely weekend. 

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