New York City, 2005

Cris' parents were going to be in NYC for a weekend before heading back to the west coast, so we made plans to visit while they were there. I took an evening to hang out with my local friends as well.

Fri Mar 25

I'd found us a deal on a flight + hotel combo, so it was off to the airport after work at 6pm to catch the US Airways shuttle to LaGuardia scheduled for 8pm. Apparently lots of people had Good Friday off, as both Cris and I arrived in less time than anticipated, and met up in one of the restaurants without planning it (my phone hates him, his phone hates me, we never get each other's messages on time). This was the first time I'd taken the subway shuttle since they reopened terminal A, it looks all modern and stuff. I still wish I'd taken a picture of it in the demolition phase. I grabbed a juice and we waited for his fries to be done, then breezed through security - I didn't even have to take off my boots. No hassle changing our seat assignments (online check in split us up even though I was doing it for both of us), and the flight was almost empty. I think there was one row with people sitting in it behind us, and we were in 14.

The flight was super fast, but the landing, however, was very jarring as the pilot bounced us hard off the runway before settling in to taxi. We got Cris' suitcase and moved outside to find the shuttle to Manhattan. The ticket seller rode the bus with us to the next terminal, and warned us that if we lost the second half of our return ticket, "there would be consequences". He was a hoot. :) Quick trip down to Grand Central Station, and then we walked up to our hotel on Madison, the Roger Williams. The desk clerk upgraded us to a superior room, though I should have taken the 11th floor offering instead of being lured in by the offer of a bigger bathroom (it was handicap accessible) on the 6th - street noise came up fairly clearly. The window was blocked off by a paper sliding screen, and the room was quirkily decorated (boutique hotel stylee). We unpacked and then went for a walk to get cash and a bottle of water for the room. Cris' parents weren't up for anything that night, so we made plans to meet them at 9am at a diner near his sister's condo. We'd arrived at our room at around 10pm, and read for a while after our walk, then got an early night.

Sat Mar 26

The pretty paper screens let in a lot of morning light, despite that side of the building being in shadow, so our sleep was broken from sunrise onward. We got ready and headed uptown to the 70's and made it to Tina's place just before 9. She has a neat studio, packed with books. We all trooped out to the diner on the corner, and I tried their sweet potato pancakes - huge, and thicker than the Watertown Deluxe Diner's interpretation, but good enough that I scarfed down two of them before foisting off my leftovers on Cris.

After breakfast, Cris and Tina and I split off from their parents and headed down to the MoMA. The line snacked around the building into a holding pen in an empty lot, Cris and I made it through in about 20mins and Tina joined us once we had our tickets, breezing through with her membership card. I'm still a fan of representational art. I enjoyed the industrial design exhibits - there's an iPod in there already. :) Thomas Demand's exhibit of photos taken of paper scene recreations was neat (sue me, I'm not an art critic). It's like he makes room sized origami, photographs it, and then crumples up the paper and goes onto something else.

We were getting peckish by now, and decided to try the Wild Lily Tea room for lunch, as both Tina and I like spending time there. Once we'd taken the subway there, we were confronted with an hour long wait for a table and so decided to try Tea and Sympathy, but the line was out the door. So we went across the street to the Soy Luck Club where we were served fancy sandwiches and salads by hipsters. The tea was okay, though the selection was small. I called to make a reservation for me and my friends at L'orange bleue so that we wouldn't have to stand in line or wait for a table. Then it was off uptown again and we hit up Kitchen Arts and Letters, an amazing cookbook shop. I fixated on the shelf filed with books about tea and let the other two browse around me.

Tina was done, and Cris wanted to get some more shopping in before meeting their parents for dinner at Otto's, but I wanted to head back to our hotel to get my charging cell phone and then meet up with my friends. Cris and I shared the 6 line down to 34th, and I bailed there to go back to the hotel while he continued down to the Village. A wrong turn led me to browse in a Border's for a little while, but I reoriented myself and got back okay. Teach me to just follow people instead of thinking about our route. I put my feet up for a little while, then decided to head back out before I fell into a nap (despite the tea, I was exhausted for most of the day - stupid early rising sun). Back on the 6 to Spring St. and I found that the restaurant was only a couple of blocks from the subway stop. I was way early, so I killed some time trying on impossible pants and skirts at Yellow Rat Bastard, and drooling over tea pots and silk pants in the Pearl River Market - I didn't go for tea because dinner was soon.

Meandered back to the restaurant and was entertained by the Parisien bartender and the other French speaking diners. Maureen was the first to arrive and Janette and kest were there soon after. We were blocked into our table and I at least was quite happy not to move until dessert was done. Miss J and I were order twins, both having the fresh pasta and the tiramisu (mmm, custardy). Maureen got the lamb in a hat, and kest the calamari. The noise levels rose steadily through dinner, and by the time we left, we had to edge out past the crowds. Apparently eating early (6:30pm reservation) was a good idea. Maureen's back wasn't up to the climb, but the rest of us made it up the 5 floors to Zoe's loft and joined the gothity-goth-dark party in progress. :) Of course, tony was there, as he always seems to be when I show up in cities close to Boston, and I got to chat a tiny bit with Natalia and her husband Tim (who reminded me of one of my Toronto friends). I stuck with water, dodged a drunk, and talked a lot with kest about her trip to Europe. I was still too full from dinner to try any of the delicious looking food, which was a disappointment to me. Everyone looked fabulous and I felt under dressed, still bumming around in the cargo pants I'd been wearing all day. As 11:30/midnight rolled on, Miss J. led the exodus to Contempt at the Remote Lounge. I walked with her and kest, but bailed out once we got there, fearing an impending headache. Cris had gone to a long movie after dinner (a wine documentary) and was back at the hotel by now, so I called him to let him know I was on my way back. I successfully avoided ending up in Queens and got back to the hotel quickly, er, well, by 1am, since I had a bit of a wait for the ubiquitous 6. We caught each other up on our nights and settled in to sleep, with plans to meet his parents for brunch the next day.

Sun Mar 27

The sun woke us up at around 8:30 or so, I gave up trying to get back to sleep at 9 and took a Lush bath bomb assisted bath - and almost fell asleep again after it, as the hot water was very hot. We ironed our finery, packed up, checked out, and left our bags with the bell boy. We walked a bit, trying to find a subway station that would lead us into a path to where we wanted to go, and finally went underground for the ride up to the The Carlyle. We were early, so grabbed tea and coffee and sat in Central Park for a while, watching the dogs being walked and the bikers climbing a hill off in the distance. The air had that damp chill that prophesies rain, so we left our bench and made our way to the hotel to wait inside. The cafe wasn't open yet for Easter brunch, so we waited in the bar. I was encouraged by the site of pots of tea and strainers in the tea room like area (the gallery) that I had to pass through to get to the washrooms, but ended up with a bag of earl grey tea after my meal. Cris' parents, sister, and cousin arrived soon after the cafe opened at 12:30 and we trooped in. The buffet was heavy on the luxury seafood (lobster claws piled high, smoked salmon slices covering a wooden platter with silver fish head and tail at each end, cooked salmon, jumbo shrimp cocktail) so I went a bit nuts. My stomach had been expecting a breakfast buffet but it was happy to accommodate a seafood brunch. The dessert offerings were fabulous as well, though I stuck to the creme brulee, bread pudding, and cheese plate (I wish they'd had signs, there were some yummy ones that I couldn't put a name to). Photos were taken, the family encouraging me to squish in with them and get in the pictures.

After brunch, we said our goodbye's and went our separate ways. Cris and I headed back to the hotel so he could get his coat, and then we did a quick run through of the Village, hitting Kim's (I found Creature Comforts for cheap, and Cris picked up Cashern and Kung Fu Hustle), and then Generation Records after a brief pause for a fruit smoothie at a street fair. Then it was time to head back to the hotel, grab our stuff, and hike back to Grand Central to catch the shuttle to the airport. We bought sandwiches to serve as dinner while we were waiting at the airport, which was good, as our flight was delayed by half an hour. The annoying part was that we could have taken the earlier flight except that they said the change was only open to those who hadn't checked bags - Cris' suitcase beat us to Boston as it was put on the earlier flight anyway. Cell phone talkers annoyed me while we sat and read, waiting for our flight (who talks about anal bleeding in a public place, really!?!? apparently someone going to Buffalo). We tried to watch my dvd on Cris' laptop, but the drive wouldn't read it properly. The flight back was a bit more full, we had a seat mate this time, but it loaded quickly and was smooth but for one seriously bumpy 10 seconds. The touch down was rough too, but we were glad to be home. Liberated his suitcase, waited around for the bus to the economy parking lot, and were soon on our way home, where I promptly collapsed into bed and didn't move until the next morning.

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