A park in New York’s Chinatown was awash in blossoms last week.

Photo by Tom Ross

A park in New York’s Chinatown was awash in blossoms last week.

Tom Ross: 3 days in The City

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Tom Ross

Tom Ross' column appears in Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4205 or tross@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Tom here.

— The possibility that Manhattan would be plastered with spring blossoms during the week following Easter never crossed my mind in February when we made plans to visit New York for the first time in almost 27 years.

Central Park was flat-out gorgeous April 9, as large crabapple trees, their limbs drooping to the ground, painted the town pink, and so did we.

Would you believe I flew two one-way legs — Denver to Hartford, Conn., and New York (La Guardia) to Denver — for less than $275 combined, including the checked luggage fees? That left a little room in the budget to paint the town. Although my nightclub days seem to be in the rearview mirror, we bounced all over that lively city between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

New York is a collage of sight and sound. From the top-hatted hotel bellmen blowing whistles to flag down honking taxis to a little park in China Town where elderly gentlemen play traditional instruments while little pink petals drift to the ground like snowflakes. It was a visual and sonic feast.

And the entire three days we spent in New York was like that.

We went from standing in the subway station on Lexington Avenue listening to the roar of the approaching E train to stumbling into Farinella Bakery Pizza for a couple of slices. Who knew that mid-town Manhattan would offer better pizza than Venice? A half-hour later I was standing awestruck at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in front of Van Gogh’s paintings of sunflowers and Gauguin’s exotic portraits of Polynesian women.

The next night we had the rare pleasure of watching the celebrated actors Angela Lansbury, James Earl Jones, Eric McCormack (“Will and Grace”), Candice Bergen and John Laroquette (“Night Court” and “Boston Legal”) performing in a play called “The Best Man.”

Not surprisingly, Lansbury and Jones stole the show from the younger actors.

New York is a great place for people watching (you can’t avoid the throngs anyway), and for me it was a toss-up between admiring elegantly dressed families strolling through Central Park during Passover and the multi-ethnic crowds in Chinatown.

We felt pretty pleased with ourselves after discovering a restaurant in Chinatown where the majority of people were speaking Mandarin. When a woman asked if she could share our table and then said, “How did you find my favorite restaurant?” we knew we were onto something good.

We took in an exhibit of sculpture made from crushed cars at the stunning Guggenheim Museum, world famous because it was architected by Frank Lloyd Wright. Next we squeezed into the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue with a throng of techies eager to touch the latest iPad. Our nerves jangled, we escaped by ducking into a wine bar — Antica Bottega del Vino — on East 59th Street, whose other location is in Verona, Italy. Finally, we feasted on raw shellfish at The Brasserie on East 53rd.

New York, New York — it’s my kind of town for two or three days. But it sure felt good to return home to Steamboat.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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