New York City is certainly one of the few places in the world where the enormity, scale, and sheer spectacle of a space shuttle parked underneath a giant rubber bubble and perched on the stern of an aircraft carrier can conceivably be concealed by the enormity, scale, and sheer spectacle of the surrounding environment.


Kid One and I serendipitously stumbled across the shuttle Enterprise, a 75-ton OG of space, on a boat ride down the Hudson River. We had two days in New York City and not much planned, so as soon as disembarking from our Lady Liberty photo-op, we scrambled to check out the monolith up close. I didn’t know that, after a lifetime of never seeing a spacecraft in person or even thinking to seek one out, this would be the first of two to cross my path in one month.

Imagine the size of an aircraft carrier:


Now imagine walking onto its deck and into a giant rubble nipple:


To find this:



Underneath the tarp, the Enterprise was as dimly-lit as the Degas pastels at the Musee d’Orsay and the room as respectfully hushed as university stacks during finals. It’s hard to capture how surprisingly large the Enterprise is. Here’s another photo from the ground:


now one with Kid One for a sense of scale:


What a fabulously full day so far: breakfast in Bryant Park a three-mile walk, a river cruise, and shuttle visit. Yes, all before lunch. And now we were hungry. After such a close brush with the heavens, the only place left to go was hell. So we walked the 10 blocks or so to Hell’s Kitchen, a not at all scary area jam-packed full of restaurants for every taste from mofongo to espresso – Thai, Greek, Latin, Italian, French – take-out or family-style.

We went for our first New York-style pizza, eating at Pizza Plus, where the oregano-laden aroma lured us in even before we noticed their organic whole grain goodness:


And before we saw how they give back to the community:


My slice was a devilishly delicious hot sauce and chicken with mozzarella . . . especially perfect because I’ve been loving Crystal and Louisiana hot sauces lately, blended with butter and poured over prawns or chicken drumettes. I’d never, ever thought about swapping it out for pizzaiola sauce. Hell’s Kitchen was the perfect place for such a great find. Mental note to duplicate soon.

hell's kitchen