Most of my friends either became empty nesters this past year or will become one in the next year or two, which means CHANGE and in some cases, significant change. Some couples choose to downsize to smaller homes in less expensive towns, some move into the city, some get divorced, and others spend a lot of time talking about all of the above. These real estate/lifestyle decisions can have a huge impact on your circle of friends. Until your last child graduates from high school, your friends, for the most part, have probably been around since you met as nervous new parents in kindergarten. Of course, over the years, some fall by the wayside, but at least for me, my friends up until that point were those I met when my daily life was very different.
While I had a few friends who already lived in NYC, moving here left me without my regular circle of girls and couples too, which brings me to the concept of dating after 50. The title of this post refers to meeting new people and being open to doing so, which is not an easy thing to do at our age. Old friends know and love us, warts and all; not necessarily the case when you’re dating someone new. But after 50, it’s important to show your true self as you have little time to waste being someone you’re not. Since I moved, I’ve said yes to anyone who offered to “fix me up” with a new friend they thought I’d really hit it off with, and for the most part, these setups have gone well. And after a few “dates,” we’ve even moved on to include our husbands. My advice is to say yes to anyone who wants to introduce you, and have faith that the person has a very good reason to do so.
Tuesday’s 70-degree sunny day was a well-appreciated gift. I had plans with a new friend (see above) to meet at noon on Park and 19th. Our only objective was to walk south and find somewhere to eat lunch outside. We ended up at a favorite spot in the West Village, Via Carota. We were able to get a table outside, and we toasted the day with an Aperol Spritz. The food is also fabulous.
On the walk home, we stopped at the new outpost of il laboratorio del gelato a favorite of mine on the lower east side that recently opened on University, close to Union Square Park. The flavor profiles of the gelato are unique and so delicious.
On Friday night, Tom and I had tickets to see Romeo and Juliet at the NYC Ballet. I Texted Rex for a rec for pre-theater dinner and “he” suggested The Ribbon. While the food was totally decent – fresh oysters and excellent burgers, it was filled with loud, jumping toddlers. This happened to us on another Friday evening when we went to Hillstone. I’ve learned my empty nest lesson: do not go to popular American restaurants on Friday night before 9 pm. I love kids, but not when I’m out for dinner on a weekend. The ballet, by the way, was beautiful. I highly recommend it.
Saturday we met up with our daughter and her college roommate at Dante in the West Village. A NYC landmark since 1915, when it was a meeting house for Italian immigrants. It has been newly re-opened by an Australian family who has tried very hard to stick to the roots, while also adding a very Aussie spin. We enjoyed our meal – if you go, you must order the almond milk pancakes. I will think about that dish again and again until I return!
Tom and I have been enjoying our new Movie Pass. We still can’t believe that you can pay $7.95 per month and you get to go to one movie of your choice every day. This weekend we squeezed in Phantom Thread and 15:17 to Paris (great story, terrible movie). If you love movies, and you haven’t signed up, do it!
We were happy to welcome friends from Rye Saturday night for cocktails in our apartment, and then we all walked over to Boqueria. You can make a large party reservation (6 or more) if you agree to the $49/pp family style tapas meal. It is so much food; we had to take the paella course to go (but we didn’t forgo the churros). The place was jammed with a great vibe, and if we had a slightly larger table it would have been even better.
We ended the week at brunch with some new friends (see above) at an old favorite, Minetta Tavern, which happens to be on the same block as Dante and has the same sort of history. It originally opened in 1937, and boasted Hemingway as a patron. Later on, in 2009, Keith McNally reopened the spot to serious fanfare – it was impossible to get a table. The buzz is now gone, but the place still packs them in, and you know you will have a great meal regardless of what you order.
Have fun. Be bold.