Monday, October 13, 2008
Where did the time go?
Oh my god, where did the time go? We had a fabulous time in NYC.
The BoltBus was terrific. It was clean, modern, roomy, and on time. I definitely recommend it. We arrived 1 block from my friend Lisa's office at 3:00 so she took our luggage up to her office while we explored. Our 1st stop was at the Barnes & Noble to buy a laminated 'pop-up' map of Manhattan. It was great because it folded/unfolded easily, didn't tear, and slipped into my front pants pocket. It is a NYC essential, and a bargain at $6.95. Armed with our nifty new map we walked down 7th Ave, turned onto W 23rd, stopped in at Ricky's Drag (and Halloween) Store, then headed up 8th Ave, and back to meet Lisa at 4:00. We took the 1 train to the 7, and the 7 across the river into Queens where Lisa lives. Spouse took a late afternoon nap while Lisa and I talked.
Around 7 or so we changed clothes and took the train back into Manhattan for dinner at 1 of Lisa's favorite restaurants Basilica at 9th Ave and W 47th St. Its a narrow, dimly lit place with exposed brick walls on both sides; quite cozy and attractive. Lisa and I both had a glass of Pinot Grigio, then I had the tortellini in cream sauce. Oh... my... god. It was absolutely delicious! Lisa and Spouse both had gnocchi which they enjoyed a lot. We talked politics, gay marriage, living in NY, and the 2 hours seemed to fly by. Then we caught a cab up to McAnn's at E 58th St and 1st Ave. where some new friends of Lisa's were performing. Sarah Hayes sang jazz standards accompanied by 3 excellent musicians on piano, drums, and string bass. As I raised my Cosmo to drink I saw it was back lit by the candle on the table, creating the most beautiful glow of blush in my martini glass. I imaged my cheeks were nearly the same shade. We sipped cocktails and enjoyed the jazz. Could anything be more quintessentially New York?
Fri morning Lisa went to work and we took the train into Times Square where we purchased tickets for a Grayline bus tour that took us past Macy's, Greenwich Village, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron building, Soho, Chinatown, Little Italy, Lower East Side, East Village, Tribeca, Rockefeller Center, the United Nations, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum and Katharine Hepburn's apartment. The double-decker bus allows you to hop on and hop off at any stop, and the tour guides offered lots of interesting facts about NYC. We hopped off in Greenwich Village to meet DavidDust at Garage restaurant where we ate lunch. We had lobster sandwiches! If you can imagine it, David was even nicer, sweeter, and more handsome in person than he is in his blog! We had a great time and looked forward to getting together with him again the next day.
We picked up 1/2 price tickets at tkts to see "Gypsy" Fri night (word to the wise: bring cash because tkts does not take credit or debit cards), then headed back to Queens for a little snack and to change clothes. Back in Manhattan we found the theatre at W 44th St and 8th Ave, stopped at Starbucks for a mocha frappacino, then went to the theatre. We really enjoyed the show, but I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of Patti Lupone's singing in this show. Nobody can sing "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" like Patti, but somehow I didn't think her singing translated in "Gypsy". There seemed to me to be too much variation between her straight-tone and vibrato singing. It was almost like a switch she turned off and on. But I was blown away by Laura Benanti who plays Louise/Gypsy. After the theatre we walked 24 blocks to Mare on 8th Ave and W 21st St in Chelsea where we ate dinner shortly before midnight. We walked all that way because it was an absolutely beautiful night. We opted to eat at a tiny table on the sidewalk so we could get fully intoxicated with NYC. I had seafood risotto. We took the 1 train to the 7 train back to Queens and crawled in bed at 2:00.
Sat morning we sat in Lisa's kitchen drinking coffee and talking until 1:00. We had such a good time that the time got away from us. We took the train into Manhattan and met our friend Michael at 7th Ave and W 28th St, near his office. The three of us walked to New Venus Diner at 8th Ave and W 23rd St and had a terrific late lunch. We hadn't seen Michael since our last trip to NYC 4 years ago so we had a great time catching up on all the goings-on in our lives. I had a Greek frittata. Afterward we strolled down 8th Ave into the heart of Chelsea and ducked into Rainbows and Triangles at 8th Ave and W 20th St. While inside I saw a man who looked very familiar, but since he didn't seem to notice me, I didn't say anything. As we were leaving I accidentally bumped him with my backpack, and as I turned to apologize I realized how I knew him. "You look very familiar" I said. "Do live on Capital Hill in DC?" I asked. His eyes opened widely and he replied "I used to." Then I said "Your name is Rhett, right? You're friends with Michael S. We met you at his house, and then came to your house with him for dinner several years ago." He smiled and we re-introduced ourselves and chatted for 15 minutes or so. What a funny coincidence to meet an old friend from DC in NYC. But it gets better.
Back out on 8th Ave we said goodbye to our friend Michael, then headed toward the Village for our little NYC blogger meet-n-greet. Jesse, Bam Bam, and YOU met us at The Monster at 7th Ave and Grove St, followed by DavidDust. It was great to meet them! Jesse was even sweeter, funnier, and cuter in person than in his films! Bam Bam was great too. I must be honest and say I was very excited to meet YOU, as I have admired and been inspired by his writing. We talked, we laughed, we drank. Where did the time go? I couldn't believe it when 2 hours had gone by and our group decided to go across the street to Marie's Crisis, a showtunes sing-along bar! We sang our big gay hearts out in the dark, dank basement until Jesse, Bam Bam, and YOU had to leave for a birthday party. DavidDust and Spouse & I stayed a little while longer and talked. On the way back to the train we ducked into Rawhide at 8th Ave and W 23rd St in Chelsea because we'd heard they had Go-go Men (not boys). It was so dark we couldn't see a thing, and were out of there in 3 minutes. Then it was back on the train to Queens.
Sun morning we sat and talked and drank coffee with Lisa in her kitchen again until nearly 11:00. As I was telling her the story of meeting Michael S's friend Rhett, she asked me if Michael S had a twin brother named Mark. My eyes nearly popped out of my head as I answered yes. As it turns out, Lisa met Mark S through a mutual friend! So let me spell it out for you: Lisa and I lived in the same neighborhood and went all the way through school together. Spouse & I met Michael S when he moved into the same neighborhood we'd just moved to, then met Michael's twin brother Mark shortly thereafter. Mark went to college with Debbie, who introduced Mark to Lisa, who Spouse & I were staying with in NYC. Is that not completely insane? Lisa, Spouse & I had brunch at Aubergine Cafe in Queens. I had a delicious sandwich of smoked turkey, granny smith apple, and cheddar cheese. Then we returned to Lisa's, packed up our stuff, and took the 7 train into the city for the last time. We caught the BoltBus and enjoyed an uneventful ride back to DE. We stopped for a delicious and filling dinner at Meding & Son Seafood. Spouse & I both had seafood platters, then returned home.
It was a fantastic trip! Although the forecast had originally called for a chance of showers, it didn't rain and wasn't even cloudy. It was perfect weather for being outdoors on foot, which we were. A lot. What absolutely killed me was everyone with the scarves. Granted, I understand that a scarf looped around the neck is a fashion accessory, but not when its 75 degrees outside! I honestly saw one guy wearing shorts, a t-shirt, old suit vest, and a scarf looped around his neck. Where else but NYC?
Crush du Jour: Dane Cook