NYC - Day Two

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Day two began with a door slamming, announcing Jon's arrival. Jetsgo had delayed him and cost him a night of pub hopping in the village. Though who knows how many other places we'd not be allowed in with five guys instead of four. Kurt and Dan were both mildly hungover, though Darren and I were fine as we'd stopped drinking earlier and partaken in the mythical pineapple shoepolish beer, whose healing properties are largely undocumented.

Today the plan was to get downtown. Dan had brought a Lonely Planet with a walking tour in it, and as I seemed to have the most knowledge of the city, I became the tour guide by default. It soon became apparent to them that I had gone native, however, jay walking in front of traffic and exclaiming "forget about it". They could hardly keep up.

The Brooklyn Bridge
We made a walk to Chinatown but ended up just shy on the south side, before turning towards City Hall and the Woolworth Building. Our path took us to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, which we decided to hike up to get a good view of the city. We walked up to the first pillar, looked around, and then Darren & I jogged all the way back while they walked.

We made our way past the Woolworth building and through the streets of downtown towards ground zero, stopping at a church on the way and being yelled at for *someone* leaving their coffee cup stabbed to the fence. We also stopped at a place in Tribeca for a decent meal at a reasonable price and weren't disappointed. I don't like Reubens, but Jon's Reuben was unbelievably tasty. Also tasty was my apple pie a la mode for dessert - I felt like George Kostanza after he managed to combine food and sex. No wonder Americans take credit for apple pie.

A cross at ground zero
Ground zero was haunting and somber, yet still the vultures with their wares persisted in selling books capitalizing on the tragedy. A lone cross from the girders of one of the towers remains, rising from the concrete ashes, the foundations are a gaping wound in the soul of Manhattan, and you can feel it. Surrounding buildings are in various stages of repair and reconstruction. We walked to Wall Street, not far away, and the NYSE, guarded by heavily armed soldiers more at home in Colombia than the streets of a major North American city.

After walking through Battery park at the southern tip of Manhattan, it was on to the Staten Island ferry at sunset, past the Statue of Liberty, and into a quiet and small pub with the most stereotypical New Yorker we met as bartender. I believe the term I coined for him was "charmingly sarcastic". It seemed to fit. We came back to Manhattan after dark and got a beautiful view of it glowing warmly. The subway sped us from the terminal to Little Italy where we stopped at Benitos II (across the street from Benitos I, but they say 2 is better than 1). The food was okay, the house wine a mistake, and apparently wine and coke taste decent together.

The Producers at St James
It had all along been the intention to see if we could score a ticket to a Broadway show tonight, and so we went back to Time Square, not knowing what time the shows played. We got to the booth where they sell for half-price and discovered the shows start in five minutes and tickets for $55. Darren & Kurt backed out, and Dan, Jon, and I grabbed tickets and hurried to St. James to see Mel Brooks' The Producers. We got in just as the curtain rose, which was impeccable timing in our minds. I discovered I absolutely need glasses for far away stuff but the musical was enjoyable even from the second-last row. Good acting, a funny story, and some genuinely Brooks-style humour.

We went back to the hotel and picked up the other two, who apparently had done some picking-up of their own. We went out with three girls they'd met from Dallas, all of which seemed fairly nice on first visit. We were looking for somewhere close and ended up in a rather cool lounge on Times Square where the drinks really weren't ridiculously overpriced. I got a sampler of the various beers they brewed (five) for $12 and it sustained me through the night. I came to the conclusion that American blonde/light beers are terrible, but the darks are decent.

Times Square at night
I didn't really end up getting to talk much with two of the girls, but the blonde one I did talk with was nice enough though distant as well, so I presumed a boyfriend or something back home. Apparently not. Another girl I talked to for a while, an engineer from UT, very down to earth, and apparently into Kurt. The third girl didn't so much as look at me. At least not until I had some drinks and was convinced by the grand piano calling my name to tinkle the keys. Suddenly, according to the other guys, she was staring at me the whole time. But Darren had her wrapped up in my opinion and I was fine with that as I wasn't really interested in any of them.

We (Darren/Kurt) got their info and told them we'd call tomorrow. We went back to the hotel and called an end to a long day. This time we didn't get to sleep until about 5:30. Good times!

No comments: