Easily Amused

Friday, June 15, 2007

A New York Minute

As the teeming masses (that means both of you) have inquired, so shall I respond.

Flying into Newark is generally something of a delight for me, since it usually corresponds with a visit to the island known as Manhattan. A couple of weeks back, Mr Fabulous, who seems to have acquired several nicknames through various nefarious means, accompanied me on one of these sojourns. We arrived on a Saturday in mid-afternoon and had already decided to take the AirTran to Penn Station-NYC and then hop the subway, complete with luggage, to our nearly mid-town accommodations. So of course we took a taxi from Penn instead, because you know what they say about plans and being spontaneous. Or what a huge pain it is to carry luggage on the subway. One of those, anyway.

Check-in: we scored an upgrade from our matchbox-sized room to the shoebox-sized one. That meant a couple of things. First, we were awarded the luxurious high-floor view of the backs of other buildings and an incredible view of ... nothing really. More importantly, we gained access to the hospitality room, effectively doubling our spending budget since now breakfast was on the house. Or in the room, depending on how much we could carry. Combine this with Squirrel Boy's suitcase, prepacked with a variety of portable snack and meal items, and food was not going to be an issue any time of day or night. (Please note acquisition of nickname in the preceeding sentence.) Although I have never found NYC to be a place where I go hungry. Ever.

We finished off Saturday by doing some high-quality wandering around. I noticed that the lights and movement in mid-town seemed to put him in a trance (in a good way, for me) so I used that opportunity to gain the upper hand and accidentally (!) lead him to Lower Manhattan so that I could stop into Century 21, my favorite budget shopping spot in the city. After loading up on just what I needed, including some wicked cool mini magnet of NYC hot spots, we headed back to the hotel. More snacking ensued, as Squirrel Boy demonstrated his Hoovering abilities. Not what you are thinking, though. Like a vacuum, all nearby snacks are absorbed, as in sucked in, leaving no crumbs behind. Me? Protein bar. Boring, but solves the eating challenge.

Sunday was flea-market day, so we waltzed on down to the Chelsea area to check out the local scene. The Negotiator was not able to talk his way into a box of someone else's wacky slides for a low enough price, so he walked, but yours truly picked up 6 plates of knock-off milk white depression glass to coordinate with her other real depression glass. Because, really, what is more handy than carrying around six breakable pieces of china while wandering the streets of New York? Oh, I guess that would be figuring out how to pack it for the trip back to AZ. Some thinker, me.

Plus, after all that lugging around of highly breakable pottery, I was in perfect condition for our pre-arranged bikethebigapple.com Manhattan bike tour. Which I will insist to each and every one of you is the best-ever NY experience. We joined a group of other NY visitors and pretty much rode our bikes in and around the city, from our starting point in Greenwich Village, around and down West St along the Hudson River, through World Financial Center, the Irish Potato Famine monument, Battery Park, and a most interesting dog park. Seems that New York City dogs get to experience actual cement in their dog parks. Nary a sign of a blade of grass for city Rovers, at least near Tribeca. Woof.

From there, we tooled around some more through the financial district, eventually headed to the Brooklyn Bridge, my personal NYC favorite place. I've walked it before, but what a groovy bit of fun to ride a bike over the bridge! We stopped mid-bridge just in time for the sunset; a perfect place for a picture with NYC as a backdrop, and of course, all dressed up in those flattering bike togs and safety gear. We finished out with more roaming around Nolita and Soho before reluctantly returning the bikes and gear to the tour company. Next visit, all bikes, all the time!

Monday: yes, we're still here. Big plans for today include taking the subway out to Queens to check out some ethnic restaurants and explore some more. Big news, though. We've got to be back on Broadway by 1pm to pick up our tickets to the Late Show taping. Potential highlight alert: thanks to some luck on the web, and my personal ability to answer a trivia question about the Late Show and David Letterman, we are in. (Question: The Late Show sometimes does remotes with Rupert Gee. Where are the remotes? Answer: Why, that would be the Hello! Deli.) We pick up tickets, stand in a few lines, answer a couple of screening questions, and in one of the more organized efforts I have ever witnessed (maybe I need to get out more?) we clear every hurdle, return at the appointed hour, and are permitted to sit in the Ed Sullivan Theatre for the Monday taping of the Late Night with David Letterman show. Guest: Regis. (Stage door photo, worth the wait to capture the shot.) Band: awesome. Musical guest: Darlene Love. Letterman: Top notch. Recommendation: Go.

Tuesday: We are up way early, after numerous discussions of whether to opt-out of our previously earned tickets to Good Morning America. (Tickets get you into the studio instead of outside the window, meaning you too can have your picture taken with Diane Sawyer.) We are tired, is it worth it, do I care that I made a poster (I am such a tourist here, I know), can we just sleep instead? So of course, we are there in the wee hours of the a.m., holding my poster, and waiting for the Audience Coordinator to boss us around. Samantha, as our AC calls herself, digs deep and finds out that me and Some Guy (nickname alert, thanks Morgan) met through eHarmony and are now on a trip to NYC together. Which we decide she should have already known, since that was the "essay" Some Guy wrote to get the GMA tickets in the first place. In any case, hilarity ensues as we are the punch line for nearly every joke you can write. Plus jokes that no one will admit to writing. After all that discussion, we make it on air for a grand total of 14/27 of a second. (Thanks, TIVO.) Sorry, Some Guy's Mom, for waking you up at 5am to tell you to look for us on GMA, then to be on for 14/27 of a second intheverylastsecondoftheshow.

Now we have all day Tuesday to play, so we shop consignment, vintage, and sample sales. Results? Vintage T's, Lord and Taylor vintage cropped jacket (to die for, really), funky pearls, and, yes, Versace. I picked up the winter crushed velvet sheath dress and he snapped up some fabulous sunglasses. Yes, they are very cool. No, he may not wear them at night. A stroll into Central Park, a few other sights to behold, tickets to the Tony-Award winning Grey Gardens (earning us both a nap, sorry to say) and the day is done.

Wednesday we depart, but not before more puttering around, more top-notch use of the hospitality room, and a most delightful interaction with some local color. We ate in Washington Square, took pictures of really fun stores, and just took pleasure in all the surroundings. We ate hotdogs from a street vendor, took more pictures of the Flatiron than any one person really needs, and handed out flowers to old ladies. OK, we handed one flower to one old lady, but we really meant it. I found a great souvenir purse, Mr Fair-to-Middling picked out a purse (I have no idea, really) and we headed out to JFK in our luxury stretch limo. No, I made that part up. We took a car. With a driver. Who hated us.

And then, it was really time for a little sleep. So I went back to work.


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