NYC - And then there were three

Friday, December 17, 2004

Day 3 came all too soon on the heels of day 2. The sun rose, the cabs were honking and somewhere in the distance a siren howled. Every few minutes. Ah, but that's what New York is. It never sleeps for anyone, and if you can't get by on a couple hours a night, you're never going to make it in this town.

With all this in mind, we dragged ourselves from bed at ten again and got ready. Before we left, we called the Dallas Three as they had expressed some interest in seeing Central Park. Of course, they were still asleep and apparently remained asleep until 1:30. Poor kids, they didn't stand a chance.

We all awoke a little parched which was odd as I'd expect New York to be more humid than Saskatchewan, but perhaps it was spending all day and night outside. In any case, we decided that soup was on the menu, and the International Soup Kitchen (made famous by Seinfeld's Soup Nazi) was on the way up to Central Park anyway. Unfortunately, we discovered it was closed. No soup for us! We wound up eating at a little bistro not too far away. The food was rather so-so and Darren was less than 100%, but it gave us enough to last through some intense touring.

Please don't fire me, I'll do anything... ANYTHING.

We continued up 8th until we hit Central Park and, completely by accident though we'd been trying to figure out where it was, Trump Tower. After a quick firing from Darren, we moved into the park and meandered through, hitting the ice rink (and, incidentally, a rather cute pair of Austrian and German lasses, who took our photo). The walk continued, through the famous mall promenade and into the park that Jon recognized from Tony Hawk. The smell of fresh crepes lolled over the hill and on our right, a baby in a carriage with no adult in sight. At all.

Skating in the park

We stood around watching the carriage and wondering what the hell we should do as other New Yorkers travelling through the park seemed to walk through completely unconcerned. Fortunately, we saw a woman on the other side of the bench watching her child in the flowers as well as the stroller, so we were able to move on to the crepes. Which, I should add, were delicious. Sitting on the wall around the pond, eating them steaming hot in the chilly afternoon with caramel dripping out and Jon crackling the thin sheet of ice across the pond.

And then, off, through the Rambles, to the John Lennon monument, the Strawberry Fields. A busker was playing Lennon/Beatles songs on his acoustic guitar and doing an admirable job, we sat and listened for some ten minutes, before leaving and singing "I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends" together.

On the way up the park to the Met, we came across a pile of dog poo. Now, this in itself isn't so big a deal, but the interesting thing was that we had been by the Empire State Building the day before and Darren hadn't even noticed. In fact, we'd even been in the lobby with the big marble "Empire State Building" sign. But not a clue. However, he loudly and excitedly pointed out the size of this particular leaving and was the only one to notice. I took a photo for him to cherish forever.

The Met
The Met was great, everything you'd expect from a world class museum. A lot of amazing Picasso pieces, some work from Andy Warhol, and many other painters whom I'd never heard of but really enjoyed. I believe they also had a very interesting piece from Salvador Dali. We searched all over for a place to have supper, walking in the dark, and wound up walking along Central Park's edge and being yelled at rather randomly by a raving lunatic on the opposite side.

I don't remember where we ate, just that for the length of time it took us to find a subway, we'd have eaten anywhere. Actually, I do remember. We had some, actually, pretty good New York pizza in a little hole in the wall. The BBQ Chicken pizza in particular was great, though the original Vodka pizza was not too bad either. Then it was back to the hotel to rest, recuperate, and possibly get a call from the three. If they didn't call, no big deal, but we were going to be polite for our part.

The boys hit the town
They did call, from where they were having dinner, and I more or less made fun of them in a way best learned from a very sarcastic friend. We were to meet them at a place called Whiskey Blue at 11, on the Upper East Side (Lexington Ave). We checked the place out and it was a decent New York lounge, upscale and cool, so we stayed and had a few drinks. I should mention the bartenders were quite hot and apparently had some sort of infatuation with each other. Just for completeness.

The girls showed up at 11:30, where our boys learned that they had basically set themselves up another date and they were essentially backup. Only Brandy and her gay male friend stayed to chat, which worked out well for Kurt. Darren was (understandably) upset and to his credit refused to play second fiddle to anyone, though unfortunately it soured his mood quite a bit. The night might have been much worse were it not for Kurt's ambitious drive to the hoop and running into Lionel Ritchie.

The subway back, 3AM or so, and Jon is completely wasted and being made fun of by everyone in the subway car even as we apologize. In particular, a young girl sitting across from where I'm standing is desperately attempting to supress the giggles. Darren asks if he can sit down at which point the train accelerates and the passed out bum sitting next to her falls right where he's about to sit. The comedic timing is impeccable and she slides over to allow him to sit.

Jon realizes he's forgotten his credit card and must get back to the bar. Perfect. Dan, good friend that he is, accompanies Jon. This gives us a chance to chat with this really cool girl and - I've got to tell you - discover my Achilles heel with women. It's a great smile and a fun laugh. This girl had that down to an artform and was giggling and laughing well past the point that I realized we were going the wrong way. Eventually, she asks us where we're going, to which I reply Midtown with a smile that I don't think conveyed the knowingness intended. Her and another bemused couple on the train who had observed Jon stumbling down three flights of stairs into the subway mention that if we want to get back to Midtown, we have to get off now. As in, the train is stopped and the doors should shut any second. We stall an instant or two longer, me desperately trying to think up some way of meeting this girl again or at least conveying how nice it was to meet her all the while they cry, "Hurry, the doors will be closing!" We got off the train without saying either.

We crossed the tracks, recognizing that we are now in the Bronx, and while I wait for a train, Darren popped up to check out the surface. The train took about 15-20 mins and sped us back, but though we had only crossed to the other side of the platform, we soon realized that we were not on the same line. We were now deep into Queens on a train alone, but eventually made it back to the hotel. Another late night in the heart of the city.

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