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Linkspam: NYC Trip, March 2010

In the middle of March, I went to New York City for about a week. The family was there for the first few days, and then I stayed at triannamaxwell's apartment and got to see a bit more of the city on my own.

I was born in NYC, though we moved when I was relatively small, and this was the first time I spent any time in the city on my own. I still get terribly lost (I can't tell you how many time I got turned around and went a block in the wrong direction before seeing the street signs and going back), but something about the city still feels like home. If I had any doubts about wanting to move there after college, this trip laid that to rest.

We used BoltBus, which is a remarkably decadent way to travel. I had both an outlet to plug in my laptop and internet access, so I chatted with folks and wrote 3/4 of a random bit of fanfic (Ink, if you're curious). It was raining, so the bus arrived a little late but we still got into the city a drop early. A+ would use again. :P

We dropped our stuff at the hotel (the Helmsley, on 42nd between 2nd and 3rd) and then headed to MoMA to see the Tim Burton exhibit. It was very interesting (the man is insane), but not well set up: it was one of those exhibits that had so much stuff crammed in together that you start to overload after a while. It's clear that his style cemented something like 30 years ago, and he's been refining--but not making any drastic changes--ever since. The exhibit was a combination of movie maquettes, doodles, other artists' representations of his work, etc.; I joked to Dad that they had everything the man had ever drawn on, and that there should be art-on-cocktail-napkin somewhere, and lo and behold, by the exit, there was a framed doodled-upon napkin. Irony points for me.

Then we wandered around the shop, which was fun. We get MoMA's catalogue (Dad's a member), but seeing the stuff in person was a lot of fun. It's a good thing I don't have any space at home for knick-knacks; I would not have been able to fit it all in my suitcase.

We had time to kill before the theatre that evening, and we were sort of hungry, so we went down to the area near the theatre and wandered into Cafe Mocha (website's a little wonky, but definitely worth the trip), a cafe/bakery/restaurant with gorgeous desserts. We skipped straight to those and had some completely decadent sweets and very delicious espresso.

Then we saw Stomp at the Orpheum Theatre. The Geekling and I had both grown up on watching the Stomp tape in band and orchestra classes in grade school, and it was actually quieter in person than I'd expected. My favorite routine was probably one done with Zippo flip-top lighters, in the dark, so that you were watching the flames move back and forth in addition to the sounds. Lots of fun, despite the whining too-young-for-the-theatre children in the row in front of us.

And then we went to a Belgian restaurant called Petite Abeille. The rest of the fam had mussels, and I had this delicious baked macaroni and cheese with Gruyere cheese and ham. Mom and I also split a beer flight, which was really fun.

(skip this day if you don't want to hear about my brother regurgitating, the poor thing)
Pret a Manger for breakfast, a nice-but-expensive chain sandwich shop and bakery across from the hotel; they have a really great ad campaign. Geekling wasn't feeling well, but decided he didn't want to stay in the hotel room.

Went to the American Museum of Natural History, where they had an exhibit on the Silk Road, a photo exhibit about the Incan equivalent, and a planetarium show narrated by Whoopi Goldberg (which I started to cry in the middle of, for no reason I can figure). We grabbed lunch between the Incan trade routes exhibit and the Silk Road, and then after the Geekling finished the later exhibit he went to the bathroom and promptly threw up. Mum and I hurried through the rest of the exhibit, and then we all made the executive decision to skip the dinosaurs and go back to the hotel. The bus ride was harrowing, let me tell you.

Once we got back to the hotel, I went running around on the street to requisition tea for the kid, Starbucks for everyone else, and bottles of water. The last one was remarkably challenging; all of the restaurants--even the take-out-ish places--only had fancy sparkling stuff.

The Geekling decided to stay in the hotel, so the parentals and I went across the street to Osteria Laguna, which was a nice-enough Italian place, but relatively unremarkable. And then we headed out to catch the bus...and the kid called to tell us that he'd thrown up again. Mum hurried back to the hotel, and Dad and I continued on to the theatre. (I shan't relate the fight that was necessary to make that decision, because that's no fun at all.)

I found Avenue Q to be singularly distressing, since I don't enjoy having my current situation rubbed in my face. By puppets. There was just enough of Princeton's situation that resonated, and not in a pleasant way. It was funny, yes, and I enjoyed some of the technical aspects (I am a theatre geek, after all), but it wasn't fun at the time. An unpleasant end to an unpleasant day all around.

Woke up ridiculously early for vacation to go the accountant, which was ostensibly why we were in the city to begin with. The parentals have been using the same accountant for at least twenty years, and we just added mine once I started having to pay taxes, and Dad usually makes a pilgrimage each March to see him. But it's been years since any of us have taken vacation--I love my conventions, but they're just too busy to count--so off we went. The Geekling was feeling somewhat better by this point, and it was decided that he had some kind of 24-hour stomach bug. No one else caught it, thank goodness, and he obviously survived the experience.

Then the family caught their bus back down to DC and I hopped the subway to triannamaxwell's to drop off my stuff, deliver cookies to her future-fiance, rearrange the sheet music I arranged for her, and entertain the cats for a little while. The cats either hate me or love me: they think I'm a toy, but they refused to let me sleep all week.

Then it was back into the city to visit the Guggenheim, since I had never been and wanted to remedy that. Unfortunately, most of the museum was closed because they were installing a new exhibit, so I wandered through part of the permanent collection and an exhibit called Contemplating the Void, where people made designs for exhibits using the space of the Guggenheim itself. I'm usually not a modern art fan, but I definitely need to go back sometime when I can see the whole museum.

I also fell in love with a Blue Period Picasso they had on display. It was strangely riveting. I now have a print in a poster tube, sitting next to the other art I really should actually put on the wall.

Then I met up with best_ken_ever--new friend, via allandaros--and we went to Strand Books, which is like bibliophile heaven. We got there in time to wander around the rare book room for a while (I even found a copy of Lucile, but it was out of Dad's usual price range; remind me to tell the Lucile story sometime), and then in the regular stacks. Bookstores are fun.

We grabbed dinner at a corner pizza-and-falafel joint; yummy, but the guys could use some work on the way they take orders. Then we went to Max Brenner, which is a chocolate restaurant. No kidding. I might have died, just a little. I had the Sticky Caramel Chocolate Concotion (page 10), and it was divine. It also looked like a science experiment--the plate looked like a piece of ruled paper, and the extra caramel sauce came in a teeny Erlenmeyer flask--though I didn't get a good picture of it, alas.

Wasn't feeling so awesome in the morning, mood-wise, so puttered around the apartment for a while until I was feeling better enough to go out in the early afternoon. Had forgotten that it was St. Patrick's Day, though; I swear, New York City turns green, it's weird.

Stopped for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien, the highlight of which was the praline spread I put on my bread. They have a branch in Dupont Circle; I have a feeling Dad will be getting a jar for his birthday.

I dodged the St. Patrick's Day Parade so I could get into the Met. I wandered through the Egyptian exhibit to say hello to some old friends (I learned to walk in the plaza around the Temple of Dendur), then went up to see the travelling Japanese and Chinese art exhibits. The Japanese exhibit was selections from someone's private collection, so it had the vibe of "this is Japanese, I will buy it!", but I know enough of the art history that I could still sort it out. Then I wandered through the shop, bought a few postcards, and then wandered through the Greek and Roman statuary until they kicked us all out.

Then I met Pat, a family friend, for dinner at an Indian restaurant called Curry Leaf. Very yummy.

After dinner I went to meet freeradical42--another new friend via allandaros--grab a beer with the folks from his lab, and then went to a weird underground club thing to see Universal Record Database, who are basically an internet-age Guinness Book of World Records. We watched--among others--a woman cover her husband's face with Lucky Charms, another woman cover herself with party hats, and a man bench-press the world's calmest dog. I also got to participate in the world's largest recorded nose flute orchestra. It was like some form of bizarre performance art. It was also pretty hilarious.

triannamaxwell had this day off, so we wandered around Flushing for a while, including a stop at the Flushing Town Hall to see their exhibit on the Chinese New Year, and the significance of the tiger in Chinese art and culture. Unfortunately, it was pretty haphazard exhibit, so there were definitely made-in-China Tigger toys among the "look, tiger things!" stuff.

Then we went to the Garment District, to make a pilgrimage to Mood, the fabric store used in Project Runway. We had a hell of a time finding it, but wandering around once we got there was lots of fun. She may also have found the color for her bridesmaid dresses, so that was amusing, too.

We wandered around some more, including stopping at The Drama Book Shop--somewhere I must go again--and Midtown Comics. It's always fun to hang out with someone who's interests match yours. :D

Then we met up with J, her boyfriend, and proceeded to get horrendously lost while trying to find McSorley's, the "oldest continuously-operating saloon" in NYC. They were packed when we finally got there, so we wandered back out into the street to find somewhere else to go. One thing you can say about wandering around in Manhattan: it's not hard to find places to eat.

We wound up at a bar and grill called Phebe's. Very dimly lit, but the food was great. We've already decided to try to hit McSorley's again the next time I'm up there.

And then we headed back to the apartment via Martha's Country Bakery, which had some divine stuff. We got a collection of desserts, brought them back to the apartment, and chowed down while bitching at Project Runway and then watching Stardust. All in all, a pretty great day.

And then Friday I got back on the bus to go home. Alas. I can't wait to go back.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 18th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
Aw, you left out the best part, where Josh and I were sniping at one another whilst lost and you stood there, long-suffering. ;) Did the chocolate place have anything s'more-ish? Welp, back to the grindstone with me.
Apr. 18th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I'm totally going to get back at you all for that one, yanno.

They had an on-the-table burner and sticks s'mores thing. The people at the table next to us were having it. I thought of you.
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 18th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Good to know.
Apr. 18th, 2010 08:33 pm (UTC)
I would've enjoyed that trip. :-) Museums, restaurants, chocolate, Belgian beer, bookshops. I probably would've skipped the theatre in favor of some bar-hopping, but that's just me. *g*
Apr. 19th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
Well, since theatre is my career path, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to see some while I'm in NYC, even off-Broadway.
Apr. 19th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
Tip: McSorley's is for a Tuesday night, not a Thursday night. Rookie mistake.

Says the guy who lived literally around the corner for two years and two blocks away for two more years and never went there until after he graduated.
Apr. 19th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Good to know. Thanks.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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