Friday, October 26, 2007

NYC for you and me

Since I can't go outside and play in the ashy smog filled air, I may as well sit down and tell what I did last weekend in Manhattan.

We left Los Angeles over an hour late (my bags were in the overhead compartment - wheels in for greater space usage - so there will be no tales of lost luggage this trip) due to weather issues surrounding New York City. Once we were in the air we circled over Ohio, Iowa and Detroit. We were supposed to land at 11:20, then 12:30, then we were told it would be closer to 2 am. Then the pilot came back on to say a spot for landing had opened and if we could make it, we could land in 20 minutes. We were over Detroit. They seriously told us all to buckle up and you could feel the plane begin it jump to hyperdrive.

Once we are the ground we phoned our friends who had offered to pick us up in Newark (it was cheap, shut up) and told them not to bother. It was raining, it was late. We'd get a cab. Turns out Stephen and Mike were already in Newark, napping, and were ready to pick us up.

Then we got slightly lost on some side streets in Newark. I locked my door. At last the right road, the right tunnel and Voilá! Manhattan.

Stephen and Mike have a small apartment and their friends David and Pat graciously offered to host us. We got there around 2:30 am and everyone said "hello," "good night," and we we're off to bed. No party party in Manhattan Friday night.
This is the view from David and Pat's living room. Empire State building on the left, Chrysler Building small to the right of that. I love that Chrysler building. As I lay in bed Friday night I figured out if I placed my head on the nightstand on top of two pillows I could see it as I fell asleep. Aside from being unable to breath it was perfect.
Saturday morning came and I dragged Lyle out to breakfast with Larry and RJ. Trust me, Lyle begged to sleep in. Breakfast was at 10 am. RJ and Larry had to head out of town at noon. No rest for the weary. We were staying near Chelsea at 7th ave and 14th st. We walked down to the village. Got lost. Phoned. Got lost. Got found.

After breakfast we decided to wander back to the apartment. It was a stunningly beautiful day in October in New York. I wished I 'd packed shorts!

On my way out the door to catch our plane on Friday I'd bought tickets to see "The Ritz" on Broadway. We'd talked about Xanadu or The Color Purple and all sorts of other shows. But tickets were around $120 for each of us and that's half a plane ticket to some exotic locale. We hesitated. When the offer for 30% off tickets to "The Ritz" came through it added up to $120 for both of us. So I grabbed them. Lyle kept saying he'd rather be sleeping as I dragged him to a matinee in the old Studio 54.

Funny stories about Lyle and his first visit to New York when he was 18 and his friend knew everybody. Somehow Lyle wound up at Studio 54 watching Mary Tyler Moore get her groove on. I think there was an Andy Warhol sighting in the VIP room as well. But he can get his own blog. Back to me.

Rosie Perez was fabulous as Googie Gomez and in spite of himself, Lyle had a good time. He said he had really low expectations so that helped. He kept looking at the the theater and saying it seemed so much bigger the last time he was there...

After the matinee, we decided to walk back. From 54th to 14th. It was windy, but just nice to be outside. Finally I let him go home and have a nap. Not me. I went to Loeman's, Filene's Basement and TJ Maxx. They were nearby and I was saving Century 21 for Monday. I bought one lousy T-shirt. Sucks to be so picky.

At last it was Saturday night and we could go to Stephen's birthday party. He held it in the private dining room downstairs at Jane on Houston. Great nibbles before dinner, terrifics cocktails! The meal was delicious, but most importantly the company was phenomenal. I ate a lot. I drank a lot. I promised everyone there a guest room in LA whenever they want to come out. Seriously, Pat, David, Lewis, Jenny, Marci, Michael, Frank, John, Chris... uh, now the names are starting to blur together... come on out!
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!
The birthday boy puts on a show.

Sponge Bob showed up to give Stephen some birthday love.

So we killed him and ate his remains.

After dinner a group of 6 of us decided to go out for continued drinking. At last my party evening in the city that never sleeps!
But you know the group is getting a little older when the other half of the group just meets in front of the bar with their dogs and that seems more entertaining than all the people inside.

Mike, me and Stephen
(we'd changed into our "go out" clothes from our dinner togs)

After a round or two of drinks, we called it a night at 1:30 am. How can that be? I begged other people to stay out, and though they weren't interested in going on, they had many suggestions on where I could continue by myself. But let's be honest, by myself I am boring. I am a total wallflower. To the shock of both Lyle and our host David, Pat and I were home by 2.

Sunday we were up at the crack of 9 am. (that's 6 am in LA) and no one else was. Lyle and I headed out and took a walk from the apartment down to SoHo. Found a place to have breakfast and by noon (at last!) Stephen and Mike were awake. Since they live in SoHo we just popped over and tormented them in person.

Stephen and Mike are in the process of buying a three bedroom condo above Harlem on 145th near Amsterdam. Our plan was to take a tape measure, go visit, see it for ourselves and help Stephen get every wall measured and written down so he can make great plans with his furniture.

It's a newly developing area and we found it a quiet neighborhood in all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan.
The view from their window facing North.
(Just for Billy, those cranes in the middle are building the new Yankee Stadium.)

After the tour, we decided to walk down to 125th where it's really Harlem (the Apollo Theater is on 125th) and it was once again a lovely day to be out walking. Heading south on Convent, we stumbled through New York City College and it's amazing campus. Stephen didn't even know it was there.
New York City College.

Sunday night we just hung out with Stephen and Mike. It's nice to have nothing to do and just get caught up.

On Monday we had a full morning. I got up at 7 am, got showered and made my way out into the morning commute with all the other New Yorkers. I was headed down to the World Trade Center subway stop and the mecca knows as Century 21. They open at 8 am! For the uninitiated, Century 21 is like Marshall's or TJ Maxx on crack. I always have an exhaustingly good time.

But not last Monday. Having recently gutted my closet of stuff I don't wear, I came to realize that I have loads of "special" items and not as many "basics". Well basics never seem to go out of style and therefore don't really migrate to off-price bargain stores. Once again, it sucked to be so picky. But I didn't want to buy just to carry a bag home. And I did ultimately go home bag less. (sigh)

I picked up Lyle and we went off on his quest for Monday, Balthazar. Balthazar is one of Lyle's favorite restaurants in New York and located in SoHo. We saved it for Monday because on the weekend its far too crowded. We went in about 11:30 to get a jump on the lunch rush.

"2 for lunch?"
Yes please.
"I'm sorry, we're not serving lunch yet."
Oh. Um, okay, then I guess we'll have breakfast.
"I'm sorry, we're done serving breakfast."
Well then. I guess we're screwed.

We were able to sit at the bar and have a coffee while we waited out the half hour break the restaurant takes between meals. Our friend RJ popped in and we squeezed in another quick visit with him before lunch. While we were having lunch, Frank from Saturday's birthday party stopped by to say hello. Suddenly I felt like a native!

After lunch we went to Dean & Deluca to purchase our evening meal for the flight home. It pays to plan ahead. My prime rib and Lyle's salmon were infinitely better than the wrap sandwiches the airline was selling for $5. Not to mention the dozen homemade Oreo's we bought.

Then it was that strange lag time before a daytime flight. No where to go. Can't go too far. Always watching the clock. But don't want to sit at home. Si I took us up to the ABC Carpet and Home store. Got us lost. Got us found. Got us tired. Took us in to an H&M (I know they have that here in LA, but they are much cleaner and more open in Manhattan).

Then it was car service to the airport and a delayed flight (again!) home. Any wonder I had a sore throat by the time I got home? I think I try to fit too much in.
Did anyone seriously think he'd get away without a building on his head?


Rachel said...

Those are good pics! You look like you had a great time.

Carolyn said...

Love the Sponge Bob cake. It was fun to see him sitting up instead of flat on his back. Sorry shopping was such a bummer. For future reference, I am a size 6 and I love orange but loathe purple.
What's the difference between birthday party togs and going out wear?

Jim said...

Birthday party: I wore dark Levis with a white french cuff shirt adn a striped tie.

Go out: changed shirt to black v-neck t-shirt.

Black Calvin Klein loafers for all.

Stephen said...

Mike and I loved having you both in NYC! Just one question: Who is Frank? No Frank on the guest list, but can't wait to hear who felt you up like a local at Balthazar. Dined last night with Julie and Lee. After celebrating my birthday for the last 32 days, even I'm sick of me. Julie had lots of fun stories about his time with Cindy Crawford. We are in full marathon prep mode for Mike. Think of him on Sunday!

Christopher said...

I love love LOVE's the epitome of NYC!!