Monday, April 30, 2007

Experiencing New York

The Boy and I had a great New York experience this weekend. First, we went to visit the apartment and had lunch at EAT, Eli Zabar’s fancy upper east side diner/picnic food extravaganza. The food was good, but pricy for what it was. Better than most diner food, but we were left unsure whether it was worth $40 bucks for a steak sandwich, soup and sliced cucumbers. However, the people watching was great. Lots of rich UES ladies with perfect hair and hip ensembles.

Later, we headed downtown for a movie. I had gotten tickets to see some movies at the Tribeca Film Festival, and we went to the first one on Saturday.

I picked 3 movies – one I thought The Boy was sure to like, one I thought we’d both like and one for me.

The one I picked out for The Boy was a low-budget horror flick called “Mulberry Street” which is about a rat-borne virus that turns people into giant, rat-like zombies who go around attacking and eating each other.

The movie was OK—not too scary but kind of gross—and the writer and director get extra kudos because it provides subtle commentary on the war, government management (or mismanagement) of emergencies, and greedy landowners.

The best parts of the evening, though, were (1) the anticipation leading up to going into the movie – standing in line with the other people with special tickets, waiting for the theatre to open, and (2) that they had MnMs, so I was able to enjoy the movie with my favorite movie watching combo of popcorn and MnMs (3) listening to the Q&A after the movie with the director, screenwriters and members of the cast. The theatre was packed, but it felt like you were part of something small, cool and creative.

The funniest part of the Q&A was when someone asked what was the most expensive part in making the movie. They said that the rat, shown in the movie’s beginning, was the same rat that appeared in the end of the movie “The Departed.” Renting that rat for a few hours was the most expensive part of the project. “He was the highest-paid actor in the movie,” deadpanned the director.

After the movie, we walked uptown a bit to have drinks at The Modern, the next-door bar and restaurant to the museum. We've had bad service there before, but tonight they were on their game. Some cocktails, a little bread and cheese – it was all good. Then we took a $9 cab ride back to our apartment and dreamed about the days to come when that is the end of our journey. Alas, we picked up our car from the parking garage and drove back to Jersey.

Monday, April 23, 2007


So I'm a bit of a history buff, and I try to collect history books about places I am visiting or, in this case, places I have moved to. I've been hankering to dig into the Big Apple's lore.

New York has such a rich and fabled history, so imagine my surprise when two trips to the bookstore turned up almost nothing. In fact, the hilarious irony was that I found at least half a dozen books on Texas history!

I did finally turn up a gem - New York, An Illustrated History. I have been geeking out on for the past few days - and LOVING it. It is fantastic. And, to make it even better, the book is a complement to a multidisk PBS series. (Attn, Santa!)

Anyway, I've learned about the lineage of Wall Street and Water Street, the original name of New York and where the name Bronx came from.


New York was originally settled as a business colony - not a religious colony like the other colonies in the New World. From the get go, the main objective, was to make money. Under Dutch rule as part of a Dutch Trading company scheme, the area spent the first 40 some odd years of it's life known as New Amsterdam. In order to keep themselves safe from the native Lanape peoples and from the increasingly greedy British explorers, the colonists built a wall around their new community (Now known as Wall Street). Being Dutch, they were also partial to canals, so dug a few into the interior of the colony so it felt more like home (canal st. and water street). When the British took over, they changed the name of the city to New York. The Bronx was named after the man who settled the area - Bronck.

Belly and Burger

It was a beautiful weekend - breezy, sunny 70s. The whole city took on a whole new feel as people previously locked inside ventured outside to enjoy the sunshine. The Boy summarized it like this, "The clouds went in and the belly's came out," referring to the abundance of women we've seen the last few days showing off their mid-drifts.

To celebrate the good weather, we waited in line for an hour and a half at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. It was long - but worth the wait. The Boy recommends the Shake Burger, cheese fries and the strawberry shake.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Seen and Heard

Heard in the elevator at work:

4 co-workers enter the elevator.
(to Girl 2)
Where are you running off to?
I've got a date. A first date.
(to Girl 3)
What about you? Aren't you going somewhere?
Yes. I am going somewhere, but it's not anything as exciting a first date. I'm getting a masage.
The group ponders her statement. Then GIRL 1, a conservative looking type, breaks the silence.
Well, at least you know you're gonna get touched a little.
Yes! Isn't that what everyone hopes for on a first date?
(the whole elevator laughs)
Seen on the subway:
A large troll enters the subway and sits down next to me. He has a bag from Wendy's full of hot, smelly, food. He proceeds to first pull out a cheeseburger and eat it in a loud, smacky style, licking his fingers and sucking his teeth all the while. When he's finished, he rolls the wrapper in a ball, grabs the subway's back door handle by his seat, opens and throws his trash out while we are moving.
Then he reaches into his bag, opens another cheeseburger, eats it loudly, and again throws his trash out the back door of the moving train.
Finally he fishes out a chocolate milkshake, sucks it down, smacking and licking, cleaning his fingers as he goes. He throws it in the bag, throws it out the door and sits there continuing to smack his lips, lick his fingers and suck his teeth until we, thankfully, reach my stop.
I contemplated telling him what a foul and inconsiderate litterbug he was right as I jumped off the train, but he was kind of big and clearly brutish, so I just stewed about it all the way home. What a loser.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Visitors from the Big T

The Boy and I were excited to host a couple of visitors from the Big T, former co-workers of mine in town for a conference.

Martha Stewart's Rival and the Mary Tyler Moore Girl joined us for dinner at Cookshop on Monday, probably one of the better meals we've had in the city. The service was great, my martini was good, The Boy and I shared a great wine called Maverick something, and the food was decent - not as good as The Chef's, though.

Speaking of the Chef, he's offered up a quick tour of his work digs tonight, and then we're all heading to the East Village for dinner at EU.

It's good to see and talk to folks from home!

Umbrella Wasteland

The nasty weather pummeling the country resulted in the deaths today of dozens of innocent umbrellas. The umbrellas, already weakened by cheap plastic, were no match for the swirling sustained winds in a vortex between buildings in downtown Manhattan. The umbrellas were huddled together in their last desperate attempts to stay alive, resulting in a macabre scene of death and destruction. The umbrellas are survived by dozens of wet humans.

Monday, April 09, 2007


"Shed a tear 'cause I'm missing youI'm still alright to smile.Girl, I think about you every day now.Was a time when I wasn't sure.But you set my mind at ease.There is no doubt you're in my heart now.Said woman take it slow.It'll work itself out fine.All we need is just a little patience. Said sugar make it slow.And we'll come together fine.All we need is just a little patience(inhale) . Patience...Ooh, oh, yeah"

I used to love listening to Guns n Roses. As the days of waiting to start construction on our apartment turn into weeks and months, I'm reminded of their song "Patience." Indeed, I am learning both how to have patience and how to give up a certain amount of control. We waited months to close on the sale. It took weeks and weeks to find a contractor that we trust, 2 weeks to get approval from the building architect, and now as we push into spring, we are waiting still for the building's board to take a cursory look at our request before we begin.

I've had to just resign myself to the process. To take deep breaths. To drink martinis. Nobody is going to rush this process, and emails, phones calls and tantrums aren't making it go faster. Looks like a June move in.

It's kind of ironic. We tried so hard to speed up our apartment buying process on the front end in the hopes we could spend Christmas there. We'll be lucky to celebrate the 4th of July!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

No Service, No Sale

As many of you know, The Boy began wearing glasses a few years ago. While his vision isn't that bad - he only really needs them to drive, etc. - he has come to rely on them quite a bit. So after accidentally throwing away his glasses [we think! still haven't found them at any rate!] he spent several days squinting his way around the city, walking into posts at train stations, etc.

So, late last week he had had enough. He made an appointment with an optometrist and asked me if I would meet him later to pick out frames.

Since we moved here, The Fashion Mister and The Chef have been gently trying to resculpt The Boy into a fashionable New Yorker, providing commentary on everything from his shoes, jeans, shirts, underwear and hair. Eyewear was not missed by their discerning gaze.

So The Boy was a little nervous about choosing his new face. He needed an objective third party.

I met him at his office early Thursday evening and we walked over to the store where he had gotten his eye exam. We looked around for a few minutes. I didn't really see anything I liked, but it was hard to tell. See, in New York, they don't have all the frames sitting out where you can just pick them up and try them on at your leisure. They were all in cases and required a salesperson to bring out each pair to show you.

Problem was, the sales person really wasn't interested (or able) to help us. She had another customer. We hung out for about 15 minutes. She finally came over and pulled out only the few frames we asked for. She didn't make suggestions or try to be helpful in any way, and eventually wondered off again, so we did too.

We found a place down the street that had a very helpful sales lady, but even though we found a pair or two that The Boy didn't hate, he got cold feet at the end so we left.

We saw another store right near the Path station - the door was open wide, so we walked in. Their selection looked cool and groovy, and I thought this might be the spot for us. That is, until the salesperson behind the counter coolly told us that they were closing in three minutes, so basically, to hurry it up. He brought out a couple of frames, then wondered off. Another sales person came up and said, "Look, I'll show you just one more pair. We're closing and I want to go home."

Needless to say, we didn't need that attitude! I couldn't believe it. I know New York rents have to be high. And it's not like glasses are a high volume business. One more sale that night could have made their evening.

Instead, we took our business to Hoboken on Saturday to a store called myoptics that was recommended by both The Fashion Mister and The Chef. They had a great selection, fairly helpful service - providing both recommendations and funny commentary. The Boy ended up buying two really great pairs of glasses - just in case he throws one away again!