Sunday, October 12, 2008

New York, New York, Is Everything They Say, and No Place that I'd rather be. Where else can you do a half a million things, all in a quarter to 3?

After an amazing morning in surgery Friday, I took the afternoon off and flew to NYC, FINALLY, to see my sister who moved there over a year ago. My family, driving me to the airport, was demonstrably sad about my departure mostly because they all wanted to go with me. I understand; it's hard to be the one left behind.

Emily took the train out to meet me at JFK, then we took a taxi into the city. We went directly to our restaurant in the trendy Meatpacking District. Although it was after 10 pm, fashionably dressed hipsters were just starting their night. I felt a little shabby in my tired makeup applied 13 hours earlier with flat airplane hair, pulling my rollaway suitcase, but I was very happy to be there. Emily had called earlier to make a reservation and was told that she didn't need one. Now there was a roped off entrance with a guy at the door and a list; anyone not on the list had to wait in the line.

Emily said she'd called and gave her name. He couldn't find her name on the list (of course) so sent his buddy inside to check the master list. He came back out and said nothing and kept working the line. I caught his eye and said, "Did you find us on the list?" He nodded silently and let us through the ropes.

Inside we checked my bag and waited again at the hostess stand. Emily was annoyed because although the place was hopping, there were available tables. "It's just this New York game they play," she said. "They make you wait so it seems like they are more important and in demand." But soon we were led to our table.

The Buddha Bar is this cavernous dark space, huge by NY standards, with a 17 foot Buddha statue at the end. The walls are painted black, the lights are low and most of them red, and Bollywood techno was blaring. Behind the long bar were tanks of illuminated live jellyfish. It was so dark we had to move our one table candle closer to read the menu. I loved it.

Emily suggested we just order a bunch of appetizers, since it was late and that was the best thing on the menu anyway. So we ordered fillo wrapped shrimp, spring rolls, and sushi. Also a bottle of wine. "And for your entrees?" said our waiter. "Oh no, we're just having appetizers." The waiter, shocked, pulled back with his hand on his chest. "I don't know if I can do that! Let me go check!" Emily was fuming. "Seriously?!? He thinks after all that we ordered we are going to eat entrees, too?"

The waiter returned and said if the chef, very serious about his cuisine, had seen the ticket with just appetizers he would have torn it up. But! he assured him that we were very nice ladies, and he granted an exception since we were ladies. Then he brought the bottle of wine, showed it to Emily, then ran off with it. "Now you see it, now you don't," I told Emily. When our waiter finally returned with the wine, Emily teased him that she thought he wasn't going to let her have it. "Well, this is a nightclub," he said. "I don't want to be opening it in the aisle and jostle someone." Some nightclub - almost no bar, no dancing, just tons of tables with people eating dinner. In Texas we call that a restaurant.

The food arrived, and it was beautiful and everything tasted exquisite. We agreed the best was a yellowfin-jalepeno roll. Finally we got a cab and went to Emily's apartment. It is beautiful, with parquet floors, marble in the kitchen and bath, and huge windows overlooking Ground Zero. Just past the financial district, you can see the Hudson River. It is amazing. Emily made me play Dance Dance Revolution before we went to bed.

After a lazy morning we met some of Emily's coworkers, another pair of sisters, for brunch. These girls were so nice, and they obviously thought a lot of Emily. The food, again, was so good. I got a mushroom omelette with a mixed greens salad. The salad was so fresh and tasty, but then I found a paper towel mixed in with the leaves, wilted in the vinaigrette. I told the waittress, and she promptly apologized, removed it, and brought us a free creme brulee french toast! My meal was free and at least 3 people apologized.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and in the 60s. We went to Emily's office and to the farmers' market. There were bushels of apples and lots of grapes, unlike the current market in Texas. Also, TONS of heirloom tomatoes. Don't worry, I took lots of pictures. We each got a cup of apple cider, and it made you weak in the knees. It wasn't too sweet or too cinnamon-y, just concentrated appley goodness.

We changed into bike shorts and Tshirts, walked past Ground Zero (nothing to see but a fence around a huge construction zone) to the Hudson River Park, where we walked along the river. Many families were out, enjoying the green space and sunshine. At the pier, the parks department was offering free kayaking on the river. We put on lifejackets and scooted barefoot on to kayaks. The river was a little choppy and it was only about 0.25 seconds before our butts were wet. However, it was so nice to paddle around in the very protected area between the piers, I could see why Emily often does the kayaking. Also, in a city that sucks you of money at every turn, it was FREE!

We had to hustle our cold wet butts back to get ready for our evening out. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant, Ciro, which was great and I would have liked to linger and order more courses, but we had to get to our show. Emily got tickets to Wicked, a musical about the Wicked Witch of the West (as in Oz), and it did not disappoint. The singing was so good, but also the costumes! The dancing! The set! Really worth it.

After walking around absurdly bright and crowded Times Square, we hailed a cab to take our tired feet home. Today shouldn't be as busy, but should be just as fun. I'll let you know...


Boilerdad said...

Sounds like you had a great time. It just makes me more jealous I couldn't come, though.

peevish said...

Boilerdad? That is hilarious!

Wow Jenn, I'm jealous. It sounds like great fun, except of course for all the obnoxious New York annoyances. I hope your Sunday is just as good. Hi Emily!

Anonymous said...

Ah, it brings back such great memories. We were in NYC last fall, staying at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. Great views of all the lights and could even see the Statue of Liberty between a couple of buildings in the distance. If you have time, try Carmen's Italian restaurant--although better if you take a group, since the portions are family-style and huge! Delicious!!

mainlyclearskies said...

What a great trip! I'm glad you had a good time.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Peevish, Boilerdad is just too funny, Mr. A!!!!! I am so happy you made the trip, you are having a fab time and you are with your big sis. Would love to be a fly on the wall and hear all the conversations you two are having.
Love you both, M

Anonymous said...

Oops I meant of course lil sis. You are the Big Sis!

get2eric said...

Boiler Dad????
What the.........
That is soooo kuuul.

Glad you are having a good time Jenn and Em.

Laura said...

You got to see Wicked?!
I'm wicked jealous, as a true Mainer would say. Have the book, but haven't read it yet and haven't made it to the show, though I've tried during my last two NYC business trips!