Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Greatest City in the World!!!!

When checking in for a flight, you should not forget to remove your pepper spray from your purse. I speak from personal experience.

Holly, you may wonder, what were you doing with pepper spray in your purse? Well, that is for me to know and you to hopefully never find out.

On Thursday, I tagged along with John to NYC. He had business to attend to, and I had architecture to photograph, so it was a mutually beneficial excursion.

We arrived Thursday afternoon. Our first night we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. Not really. We stayed at the Doubletree, which is across the street from the Waldorf, so it’s almost the same thing.

There were men with machine guns outside of the Waldorf. Either someone really important was staying at the Waldorf or they heard about me and the pepper spray and decided to take extra precautions. Who knows.

We were only a few blocks from St. Patrick's Cathedral and Times Square, which is a horrible place that no one should be subjected to. Times Square is commercialism on crack. I nearly had a seizure. The wood-fire pizza place we were directed to by Doubletree’s knowledgeable concierge was, unfortunately, within the buzzing theater district.

John’s Pizza (brick-oven pizza of scrumptiousness) is in a deconsecrated church. I ate beneath a stained-glass ceiling. I think all good pizza should be eaten this way, like a religious experience.

Thursday night, John dragged me to a cocktail party. Where people were mingling. And networking. In fact, the whole point of the cocktail party was to gather people in the high technology industry so that they could network with one another.

This is my nightmare.

The event was located at a trendy restaurant/bar in Times Square. I was wearing a name-tag that indicated I was from The Firm. Twice, I explained that I was not a lawyer, but a lawyer’s wife. The third time I was asked, I went with it and explained I was indeed a busy and important attorney who traveled to New York often for business. The children were home with the nanny and I was, of course, exhausted, and I had left my business cards in my office. It’s quite easy to play busy and important. After becoming tired of lying, I found a safe, dark corner to hide in.

Afterward, we went out with John’s friend and client to one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants, also in Times Square. Here’s where it gets icky. We ordered a two-tiered tray of raw seafood. Clam, oysters, mussels, shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crab: raw. Not cooked. Slimy and slippery and slidy down the throat. I’m still here, so apparently this whole cooking our food thing is just another big huge time-waster.

Business was over by Friday, and Holly-time began. I dragged John to Rockefeller Center for an NBC tour and a trip up to the observatory deck. This didn’t happen. The frugal tourist DOES NOT pay $35 to schlep around Rockefeller center. The frugal tourist makes up her own tour. I dragged John all over Manhattan on “Holly’s Literary Tour 2010!!!!” It’s as exciting as it sounds! We hit used bookstores, the Strand, and famous literary landmarks. For lunch, we ate at the White Horse, the very same pub where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death. In fact, I sat in the very same seat where he had his final drink. To be cautious, I ordered a diet pepsi. Quite frankly, I’m surprised the pub still retains its liquor license after what happened to Dylan Thomas.

Later, we stopped for a drink at Pete's Tavern, the OLDEST establishment of its kind in NYC. In this tavern, O’Henry penned the famous story “The Gift of the Magi.” You know the tale. The wife sells her hair to buy her husband a watch band. The husband sells his watch to buy his wife barrettes. It’s all ironic and a little tragic, but hey. They love each other. And that’s the important thing.

I could not convince John to stop by the literary garden in Central Park, and was also unable to convince him that buying a $30 hair product at Sephora in fact paid homage to the wife in the O’Henry story and therefore fit into the literary theme. But these are sacrifices you have to make when you are married.

That evening, we hung out with my friend, Christine, and her husband, Scott, a five-star chef who is allergic to gluten. We took a taxi to Korea town for dinner. We ate at a restaurant where a man played a shrill string instrument atop a fake cave. We ate Korean barbecue: meat wrapped up in a large piece of lettuce. There was a white grand piano atop the fake cave, too.

You can’t make this stuff up.

After dinner, I was gung-ho about visiting a Broadway karaoke bar, but I forgot the name and address of the spot and, honestly, my three companions seemed relieved about that, which has made me realize that I desperately need a karaoke partner. Male or female, the ideal partner should be able to carry a tune so as not to embarrass me but (and this is important) should not under any circumstances out-stage me. Unfortunately, this rules my sisters out. Call me for additional details.

Christine is a vet tech to the animals of the rich and famous in upper Manhattan. She attends to the German Shepherds who live atop of Macy’s. Did you know there are German Shepherds that live atop of Macy’s? They come out at night, after the store is closed, and sniff out any homeless people who might have decided to spend the night in the furniture department. I’m dead serious.

Christine has the life I wanted. She walks to the library every Saturday, goes to frequent book signings, has an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline, and lives right around the corner from a great gelato spot.

She also lives down the street from a blood clinic. As we walked around the city Friday night, Chrissy pulled out her “Gallonaire” card. She has given a gallon of her own blood to the clinic. (Not all at once. Over time.) She was kind of bragging about it, but whatever.

Each time she gives blood, she receives points that she can redeem for various prizes. She has traded her points for each of the Twilight movies. Please take a moment and contemplate the irony here.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Saturday, we had breakfast and said goodbye to our friends, who were, ironically, driving to visit family in Rochester. (It was a weekend filled with ironies.) John and I had time before our flight so we wandered for a couple of hours before we hopped in a taxi and left for JFK. Which is a horrible, horrible, place. Absolutely awful.

We flew JetBlue both ways, the same airline where that flight attendant who flipped out and went down the emergency chute worked. Our flight was boring and our attendants sanguine, so that was a bummer.

I’m just going to put this out there. New York City is the greatest city in the world. I know this is a controversial statement. Some will certainly argue that London, Paris, or Cleveland is the greatest city in the world. They are wrong. Sure, the people in Manhattan are a bit rude, but you would be edgy too if tourists were constantly bumping into while taking pictures and it took you 20 minutes to drive 1.4 miles.

I punched in the numbers and our family could definitely live, uncomfortably, in a shabby 3-bedroom, 1200 SF apartment in Manhattan if we ate mainly Raman noodles and drank tap water. However, rushing my kids around via subway and the bus seems like a hassle, and a diet of Raman and water might give them rickets, so we’re going to wait until they graduate before we make the big move.

Of course there are pictures! I may frame some of these. Not to brag, but there are some halfway decent shots, here.

Where O'Henry wrote. And drank.

Reading Thomas' poetry at The White Horse RIGHT where he drank himself into oblivion. Jack Kerouac also wrote here. At least, that's what someone wrote on the women's bathroom door. I'm inclined to believe it's true.

Book stops:

Frick. It's the Frick Collection.

St Patrick's shots:

I call this the Doors and Windows series:

Empire State

Columbus Square

John feeds a legless homeless man we found in the park. I believe he was a war veteran.

I told you I didn't make it up.

Holly and Christine, 2010

I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Does anyone?

The Writer from the film Stand By Me


Traci Michele said...

Wonderful pictures Holly!

Dad said...

You didn't go INTO the Frick Collection?

Dad said...

The pictures of the city are great, though. May want a print or two.

Natalie said...

I love the pictures! This is where the hubs and I went for our honeymoon. We did the NBC tour. It was fun. We also did a couple other (one of which we left after lunch because it was so boring we literally fell asleep on the bus). Times Square is a huge shock when you first see it! We had so much fun (despite some of the things that would put a damper on a honeymoon like leaving a camera with pics from the wedding in a taxi cab and not getting it back and getting a room in your hotel room that I kid you not once you brought in the luggage you had to crawl on top of the bed to get to the other side...this is why you don't cut a suite in half).
I think the blood donation for twilight stuff if great! lol Too funny! I am glad that you had a nice time! :) I really want to go back. :)

We all go a little mad sometimes.... said...

OOOoooo LOVE the one in the doors and windows section with the two doors and the tree branch! GREAT SHOT!
Also I wish we lived closer to each other because I LOVE me some karaoke! I can never find anyone to go with me either - GR! LOL
I also kinda love the crazy brightness of the Times Square! A little shock never killed anyone... well not me anyways LOL