Weekend in New York

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008 | Uncategorized

Midwest Airlines fare sale + Available Rangers tickets = Trip to NYC!

I couldn’t resist the temptation, so I spent last weekend out east. As always, it was a wonderful time. (HUGE thanks to Tony for being such the awesome host/ticket wrangler/hostel. I still owe you dinner, my friend.)

I got into town a bit later than expected on Friday, which meant I wasn’t able to catch lunch with Mr. Tim, so I decided I would just spend Friday wandering about the southern end of Manhattan and finding ways to amuse myself while waiting for everyone else to get off of work. Got settled into the apartment and then hopped the train into the city. Got off at Union Station and headed for the exit, where the charming man in front of me, who was carrying three approximately 10-foot-long mailing tubes, bonked me in the head with them as he tried to exit the station. Ouch! (He almost took out a cyclist once we got outside. Geez, man. High sticking much?) Went over to Utrecht to hit the Art-o-Mat. No luck. Out of order. So the day’s not off to a great start: Late flight, no lunch with Tim, new red mark in the middle of my forehead, no fun new art. Dammit, New York, this is not what I had in mind.

Ok. Back outside. Shake it off and figure I’ll just do what I usually do when life is piling on top of me: go to the bookstore. So it was off to Strand Books. It’s a good thing I was on foot and had to carry around whatever I bought, or I’d have walked out of there with a lot more than I did. But I found a couple NY books I wanted and one novel about a half-dozen people have told me I need to read (“Apex Hides the Hurt”). I also ran into jonmc from MetaFilter. Millions of people in the city, and I stumble into someone I kind of know. Excellent. This is suddenly getting to be more like it.

After that, I wandered around the Village and SoHo. Found some interesting things to look at and shops to check out. Saw the typical New York-y things to see: Street musicians, a walking tour (none of whom knew who Archie Leach was when their guide asked. Tsk.), cabbies yelling at other drivers, a couple of girls taking pictures of the doorway to the building where Heath Ledger died, etc. (No, I didn’t take the girls’ photo.) Had a wonderful day for just walking around. When I left Milwaukee, it was 11 degrees. New York was at nearly 50. Yessir, that’s better. Perfect day to be outside.

Went down to Chinatown after that, in search of the perfect bubble tea. Got my tea and walked up to Bowery, trying to decide if I should keep going downtown or head back uptown, when an older Chinese man stopped and started talking to me. He insisted I was French and wouldn’t take no for an answer (I gave up trying to correct him). Then he proceeded to tell me his family’s history from pre-WWII until the present. All he needed me to do was nod in the appropriate places and smile at his jokes. I did so, he wished me well, and was on his way again. I took what was left of my tea and started back uptown.

About six blocks up from there, I hear someone yelling, “Red! Hey, Red! Red! Up here.” I look up, and there’s a middle-aged man on his balcony. He waves and says, “You’re gorgeous. I thought you should know that.” I smile and say thanks. He smiles back with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and says “even more beautiful now.” Awww. Thanks, mister. You just made my day, especially since I got very little sleep the night before and was feeling very windblown.

I continue on my way again. A block or so later, this truck pulls up as I’m walking down the sidewalk, the driver rolls down his window and yells “Excuse me!” I figure it’s someone asking for directions (which would be the third time that day I’d had to give them), but instead he follows with “Has anyone ever told you you’re beautiful?” For a split second, I wanted to reply, “Yeah. Some guy about a block back. Do you know him?” but decided to go with “Thank you!” instead. He honked a brief honk of his horn and got back into traffic. I walked on, smiling and remembering how much I love New York.

I still had a bit of time before I had to meet Tony and Scott for dinner, so I popped into a pub to catch a happy hour pint or two and sit down for the first time all day. Took a spot at the bar next to an older woman who was reading the paper. I get my pint and begin to watch whatever sports thing is on the TV. From next to me, I hear, “Can you believe it’s been 25 years since Klaus von Bulow?” It’s the woman sitting next to me, who is offering me that page of her NY Post as evidence. Ok. I’ll bite. That’s definitely the most unusual opening line I’ve ever heard from a stranger in a pub. So the two of us get to talking. Actually, she got to talking. I got to listening…to the most eclectic collection of stories ever. She was a former TWA flight attendant, married twice (“but only ‘coz the first one died”), dated her dermatologist (“He’s famous. You’d know him. He was cute, but insane. And his mother keeps calling me.”), is convinced of a Kennedy conspiracy and loves New York, but can’t wait to move out of it. Funniest and oddest drinking companion I’ve had in ages. And then she tried to set me up with the bartender. (“He’s on a soap. Well, he got a bit part on a soap. But I’m sure he’ll be a star.”) She leaned in to talk to him, whispered something to him and pointed at me. I asked him what she said. He replied, “She said you’re in advertising. I’m an actor. I should kiss you.” Only proper response one can throw at a line like that is “Huh. That’s not the usual feeling people have towards people in advertising.” And on that note, I took my leave of the bar and headed off to Katz’s for dinner with the boys.

We stuffed ourselves silly, as one is wont to do at Katz’s and then made a failed attempt to meet up with Sam and Bari and go to Death & Co., which was a little too full to fit us plus the one or two others who would be joining us. So we found ourselves another pub and then went to get dinner for those who hadn’t eaten. By that time, we were all pretty exhausted, so we called it a night and went home.

Got up the next day and the group of us from the night before (minus Tony, who had a trivia event to work) went out to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to check out the World’s Fair remnants and go to the Queens Museum of Art. Bit cold out, but a perfect day for photos — sunny and nothing but blue skies. The World’s Fair stuff was cool, but hands-down, the highlight of the trip was the NY Panorama at the Museum. I’d heard and read a lot about it and seen photos, but it’s absolutely stunning to see in person. It’s HUGE and remarkably detailed. We were all having a great time picking out people’s houses and pointing out little details to each other. If you’re out that way in Queens, make sure you stop in and check it out. You won’t be sorry.

Next thing we knew, it was four hours later, so we headed back home to get Tony and regroup. We all went out for dinner and then moved our tired selves to a pub near everyone’s apartments. It seemed like it’d be an early night, but some of us were out until 4am (some earlier, some later). Thanks, nice staff at Zlata Praha. We had a blast.

And then came Sunday. (After far, far too little sleep.) Rangers game day! Woo hoo! First trip to Madison Square Garden. I think “giddy” might be a good word to describe how I was feeling. It was a great game — Rangers won, San Jose kind of forgot to bring their defense (next time, forget the goalie too, would ya?). Dancing Larry was only a few rows behind us. I’ve gotta say, contrary to what I thought things would be like, the Rangers fans are one polite bunch. Admirals fans do far, far more heckling. (Then again, we’re a minor league market. We have to make our own fun.)

After that, Tony & I grabbed a couple of pints at a Midtown pub and wandered around a bit. Then it was back to Astoria and off to LaGuardia for an evening of flight delays and waiting around for my flight home.

Considering how miserable the weather was back home earlier in the day, the flight went smoothly and the drive home was fine. Or at least it was until I tried getting into my driveway. Nothing like glare ice on a steep hill to make the evening complete. But I eventually got into the lot and went into the house to greet the cats and hear their demands for food. Ah, home.

Again, big thanks to the Astoria crew for a weekend chock full of fun, cocktails and good food (and very little sleep). Many thanks also to the girls’ Uncle Mike and Auntie Christyl for catsitting. I hope the girls weren’t too much trouble.

Photos from the weekend are here. Enjoy.

6 Comments to Weekend in New York

Vidiot
2/22/2008

The pleasure was ours.

Tony
2/22/2008

Indeed it was. That’s how an impulse trip is supposed to work.

Come back any time. Seriously.

tizzie
2/22/2008

That sounds like a total blast!

mom
2/22/2008

I really enjoyed the Flickr photos of the trip. As usual, learned things about New York. Thanks for sharing them.

zhoël
2/25/2008

wow. no wonder you came back all cheery, that sounds like a fabulous quick jaunt replete with *multiple* random “you’re beautiful” commenters. (i think they’re right, and I don’t even live in NY anymore).

czeltic girl
2/25/2008

Awww. Joel, you are the sweetest. :)

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