Wednesday, November 17, 2004

NYC Trip Recap

For my first offical post as a blogger, wanted to make it Drinking Relevant. Believe me, there was a hell of a lot of drinking on this little vacation!

NYC Trip Journal:
Friday (27 Aug) - made it to the airport OK, got into LGA on time, got out of the car at Ed's place (Upper East Side, near Cornell Med and Sloan/Kettering) just as we was walking in. Got a couch and a hi-speed internet connexion, so was in business from that end. We started in on the Glenlivet, caught up, and started gathering the boys for going out that night. Had dinner up there at a nice Italian pizza place, then cabbed it to "GStaad", a trendy bar in Midtown, and then to "The Gaslight", another yuppie-bar on the edge of the West Village, aka The Meat Packing District. Got home around 5am.

Saturday - woke up very late, cleaned up, and had a late brunch at the Starlite Diner (think Seinfeld), near Ed's place, where we had lots of coffee and exchanged witty banter with Carolina The Fiesty Cute Greek Waitress. After that, Ed's "friend" Dorothea came over, and we took the subway to Queens to go to PS1. PS One is an old public school that's been renovated into an add-on of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). On Saturday afternoons, they have a huge party outside in the courtyard. So we had drinks at an Irish pub on the way, then more drinks there, then we went in to check out the art. There's some pretty cool things, but mainly it's stuff they don't want to show much at the main MoMAs. Caught the train back to Manhattan around 9ish, got a quick dinner of Pizza By The Slice, and headed down to a punk rock concert at Arlene's Grocery in Greenwich Village. The guys playing were all friends of Ed, and all dressed up to play the part of early-80s British punk stars...but by day, they're all doctors. Also met up with his sister and a few other guys there...they were having a Jamesons promotion there that night, so we scored some free drinks, and I snagged a 3-ft tall inflatable Jamesons bottle which I then used as a pillow for the rest of my stay ;). After that, we went to this other bar for an after-hours party with the band.

Sunday - Struggled to the Starlite again, but had a low key day of doing some shopping around the upper east side, and laundry. We met up with my old friend Sarah and her husband for dinner. Went to bed early ;).

Monday - Wandered Midtown while the fam was busy getting to town. Went to the wrong subway station, took the wrong train, and walked out in the Diamond District. Which was just fine as it got me to the part of town I was going to just wander around in anyway. The Diamond district was kinda interesting, wandered East and happened across the Kabbalah Center. They've got all these free paper boxes all over the city, so I wandered in out of curiosity and air conditioning. Looked interesting, got a book, and wandered back out, towards Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, which turned out to be right across the street from the UN. Nothing much there usually, but I got "lucky" and happened up on a protest. They were a pretty lame bunch, and only a few hundred of them at most. I wandered into the crowd a bit, but there wasn't anything really interesting, and they *stank*. I couldn't penetrate very far into the crowd because of the sheer stench. The "Billionaires for Bush" crowd was kinda funny in a "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" kind of way, but their costumes were more "construction paper and glitter" than "thrift store creative". Wandered back to chat with the line of police cops, they were nice guys. Funny thing was there were a couple of protestors who would go and talk to the cops, but they were pretty far out there. Mainly what I saw was some people earnestly trying to prop up their paranoia of living in some kind of "police state". After that, I scoped out Times Square for the half price Broadway tickets, and dropped by the Cornell Club building for a drink, some more air conditioning, and to get a window-sticker for the new car. Had dinner down in Union Square with my old friend Leda, who also happens to be Ed's ex-girlfriend of a good 4.5 years. She still hates him ;), but we had a great time. After dinner, I took the subway up to the Upper West Side and met up with my parents & cousin for a few drinks that night, as they'd just got into town earlier in the evening.

Tuesday (31 Aug) - James Beard House Dinner Night. Met the parents early in the day at Battery Park, we rode the Staten Island Ferry (as good as a harbor cruise, but free), then went up to South Street Seaport for lunch and to get cheap Broadway tickets. Walked through Lower Manhattan to the WTC site, went in St. Paul's church there, which is now a 9/11 memorial. Then stopped by the Village to find the James Beard House, then split off to go change. That night was Jon's (my brother-in-law) big dinner. Getting to cook at this place is like the Academy Awards of the chef world. Six courses, a minimum of 6 glasses of various wines, and 10 dead animals on the menu ;)! So good that at least half-a-dozen Texas delegates skipped the RNC to come, including a US Rep and the governor's sister. Sometime before dessert we decided that the next morning's activities were cancelled ;). After the dinner, Ed and I went back to the Gaslight for a bit more partying, then went down the street to the Hotel Gansvoort, where we used our We're Wearing Suits power to walk past the line and right in to this great 19-th floor penthouse bar.

Wednesday - Slept in (shock). Got food and coffee early enough to get changed and meet up with the family down in Times Square. Went to the matinee performance of "The Producers", a really funny Mel Brooks musical. Then we got tickets to "Avenue Q" that night, which I thought was hilarious, but the parents weren't thrilled about. It's a bit raunchy, and very much for the college or 20-somethings crowd. Half the characters are Muppets, but they sing songs like "The Internet is for Porn!". And there's full puppet nudity/sex. Mostly, it's a bit edgy and full of mid-20s angst. I loved it ;). In between, Sis and I made a quick run through the Guggenheim.

Thursday - Met up with the family for a late breakfast, went off with sis and bro-in-law to hit the museums. Spent half a day in the Met, and a couple hours at the M.o.Science and Natural History. Then met the parents, and we went out to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees beat Cleveland (...after losing 22-0 the night before). Met up with everyone later on the Upper West side for drinks later that evening.

Friday - Family leaves, return to "party mode" ;). Morning mission was to get tickets to "Wicked", so I went directly to the theater and scored 4th Row Center for less than the scalper was charging for balcony seats :)!! Went over to this huge art & antiques mall nearby, but didn't find anything I liked and in my price range. Saw some nice 16th century Japanese swords, for around $10K though ;). That took most of the day, walked all the way back to Ed's place from there. Then we hit Wicked, which was by far the best show I'd seen there. Great seats probably helped ;). Met up with some of the guys at this dingy bar where they had PBR on special...great guys, but sometimes they have no taste ;).

Saturday - Slow recovery throughout the morning, then we picked up Ed's Mom's ghetto-van on Roosevelt Island, and went to this afternoon/evening BBQ with some of his old friends out on Long Island. I lounged, and it was good. Later that evening we headed down to the West Village for some more partying...met up with the guys again, but this time at a happening dive bar with $3 drinks-anything in the house. I put a dent in their single malt Scotch collection. For NYC, any drink under $7 is a steal. Funny incident--our huge group gets split up, so a bit later we make the attempt to regroup by cell phone. So my party (the late-stayers) head off to this other place to meet up with everyone else. There was one guy (EBret) we were still trying to contact, with no luck, since he'd wussed out the previous weekend. On the way to our rendezvous, we stopped at another bar for bladder relief...standing outside a beer later, I call him, he picks up, we start figuring out where everyone is...and I look to my left and he's standing about 3 doors down. Turns out the bar/pit-stop we were at was directly underneath the apt. he's moving in to. So we carried his stuff up and resumed the party ;). Another 5am night out in The City.

Sunday - Recovery, packing, and a really great dinner, with equally lousy service, in Little Italy. And desert/coffee later. Realized I don't care for Italian-style cheesecake.

Monday (Labor Day)- Wonder why I'm coming back to Corpus the whole flight(s).


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