Tuesday, June 26, 2007

NYC Pride Parade and meeting new friends

Day two of the all parade weekend. This year was the first year in the last five that I have missed the Chicago Pride Parade. Luckily I was able to catch the bigger (and gayer) NYC Pride Parade. Actually you could say I saw it twice in one day since I viewed it from to different locations that were 2-hours (parade time) apart so some of the floats were repeats. Okay that doesn’t make complete sense but oh well.

I met up with Tony to catch the beginning of the parade in Midtown. Practically every parade in Manhattan runs along 5th Ave. at one point. Usually 5th Ave. is packed ten deep for parades, but I guess the majority of the population opted to view the parade in the Village. Therefore, Tony and I were able to get front view spots which yielded awesome up close pictures of the dancing boys and dressed up queens. Okay I should put out the disclaimer….I am into men (straight men), but am fascinated by extravagant drag queens and really buff men dancing around in skimpy underwear (just because they like to take it in the butt doesn’t mean I can’t look). Nuff said.

After a couple of hours watching the parade from Midtown, I put on my fairy wings (Halloween costume) and headed down to the Village….or Gaytropolis as Rob calls it. Now that is where the party is. Rob lives in a prime spot along Christopher Street which is equivalent to north Halsted in Chicago (rainbow village). Anyway, he invited us over to watch the parade from his rooftop. The view did not disappoint since we were practically on top of the parade (it ran right next to his building).

We drank wine coolers (hey it was a hot day) and watched the parade. Since I saw the parade at the start and end (starts in Midtown and ends in the village), I got to see some of the floats twice. After closer inspection, I noticed a lot of churches in the parade. Seriously, legit catholic churches with floats and marchers supporting the pride parade. Interesting? Another thing I noticed is that every “group” had at least one token drag queen. I guess it was a requirement. Some group’s token queen looked as if he was the unlucky (or lucky depending on point of view) one who pulled his name out of a hat and had to borrow clothes from his mother.

The sponsored floats were handing out standard issue parade items like candy, beads, and condoms….wait what? Yeah I guess Trojan sponsored one of the HIV floats (makes sense, use a condom, help prevent the spread of HIV, etc). Anyway, I was given a handful of condoms for just standing there (when I was in midtown). All of the condoms were magnums! Talk about wishful thinking. He he he.

While on the rooftop, Dana and I started playing “spot the straight guy” on the adjacent rooftop. Luckily some of the men started making out so it narrowed down the field a bit to guess from. Anyway, they were not nice guys because they started chucking water balloons into the crowd and parade. Normally this would be funny but take into account that we were 9 stories up and the balloons hit the ground like missiles (now imagine what it would feel like to get beamed in the head with one). Anyway, they were targeting the float riders (I don’t know if they thought they could knock on off or something) but occasionally would launch one into the 10 deep packed crowd (the village was the place to be to watch the parade so the streets were lined with hundreds of people). The cops eventually spotted and busted them on their rooftop (don’t ask me how they got up there, but hey they are cops).

Since I was in the village, I decided to drop in on Ryan’s friend Jon who also is somewhat new to the city. We have been playing phone tag for months and he told me to drop by his apartment after the parade since he also lives in Gaytropolis. I did not get much background on the guy from Ryan, but here is what I learned. He is a Canadian and a total player (yeah oxymoron or what)! Seriously, while we were chatting to get to know each other, he got a text from a lawyer girl hook-up of his. I offered to go if he wanted to call her back, but he said “naw it is purely sex, I bet she texts me in a half hour saying she is coming over”. She evidently works 80 hour weeks and uses him as a release. I ask if they talk at all and he said “well yeah of course, you know for like two minutes, then the clothes come off, it is great she doesn’t even stay afterwards”. Okay help me out, is this every guy’s perfect girl? It reminds me of Sex in the City’s Samantha. While giving me the tour, the kitchen held the most laughs. The lone cooking pot on the stove had a layer of dust on it because he never has cooked. Seriously he eats out every day and therefore keeps his kitchen free of dirty dishes. He was proud that he stocks the mini-fridge (what is with Manhattan apartments and mini-fridges, am I the only one with a full side model?) with food just in case his shag buddy gets hungry. When I called him out on it and opened the door, I saw a box of cookies and a half gallon of milk. Okay what is she…Santa Claus? Anyway, I had to leave shortly there after because she did text him to let him know she was coming over in ten. Ah ha ha, relationships in the city.

Here are the pics from the parade:

Super Heros! (the sign says "together ten years blah blah blah"...awww)

Altoids will be my new favorite mint!

Rob and Dana on the rooftop (she had the best story about getting her car towed and riding around in a cop car I swear...maybe another post)

Mmmmmn dancing almost naked men!

Who let this guy in?

Tony and I.

The official Drill Team of the Pride Parade

More Floats...more Halloween costume ideas...

Look mom...faries!

This was the butch/femme group....damn bitch got in the way!

I don't know how they walked 3 miles in platform heels. Rock on queens!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mermaid parade!

Hold on to your sequins, tassels, and tissue paper…it is PARADE TIME! Sofar, the city is batting 0-3 for good parades. The most interesting part in all of the previous parades I have attended (Macy’s, St. Patrick’s, Puerto Rican) have been the eclectic crowd. This past weekend held two of the most spectacular parades I have ever seen! Due to the quantity of pictures (yes it was that good), I have to split the post into two.

Saturday morning I drug myself out of bed to hop on the hour long train ride down to Coney Island. Lets just say Friday night was a rough night. Anyway, I figured if I was going to sleep, I may as well get a tan at the same time. Right off the train station is the famous Nathan’s eatery. You may have heard of the place from the ESPN 4th of July hot dog eating contest (FYI, a group of us are already planning to watch the contest in person…so look for the blog post to come). I indulged in the classic Coney Island combo of hot dog, fries, and lemonade. Granted everything greasy tastes good when you are severely hung-over, but I would give this place only 4 out of 10 stars (I had maybe three fries before chucking the thing). Oh well, check yet another item off of my “while in NYC” list.

Now I have previously lamented about how much I miss the Chicago beach, so imagine my utter joy at seeing the expansive Atlantic coastal beach! The sand was fine and clean. The water was just cool enough and crystal clear (not kidding I went out to 6 feet deep and could still see the bottom easily). The only draw back was the salt water. I was covered in salt sores from the dried water. Due to my SPF 30, I got a good deep tan all over except the back of my legs which got lobster red! I attribute it to the lotion rubbing off on the towel since I was often sitting up watching the surroundings (ie the mix of people also enjoying the beach). Have you ever burned the back of your legs (or more particularly, the back of the thighs)? It makes sitting hell unless you can replace your desk chair with a bicycle seat. Oh well, at least it gives me an excuse not to shave.

Around 2pm, I was joined by Bree, Ali, Rob, Dana, and Aubrey. We all were in the area to watch the annual Mermaid Parade which went down Coney Island’s main street before turning on to the boardwalk. Okay the mermaid parade is notoriously known for topless women! Basically all of the exhibitionists put on fake fish tail thongs, throw on some netting or sea shells in their hair, and strut around bare chested like the mermaids. Due to a 10 or 20 year old law in NYC, women have the right to walk around topless since men already have that freedom and otherwise it would be unfair. Just like the women’s locker room at the gym, the women walking around naked are never the ones with the good bodies. Well the same bodes for the parade. I have never seen so many swinging in the wind droopy boobs! At first, my group was excited to spot a topless woman (oh the novelty of it), but after five or six cringe inducing pairs were spotted, we all lost interest. And no, I did not take any pictures of the naughty bits because I can’t post it anyway (for fear they would close down my chronicle for lewdness). The gay men were also out in full force dressed as very dainty mermen. I guess it was a dry run for the pride parade taking place the next day.

The most scandalous float award goes to the lovely ladies at stripper USA! Actually it was a strip joint, but I was too busy watching the gyrating women to remember the name of the place. I am not a lezzy….trust me, what these women were doing would cause anyone to stare! Imagine three extremely buxom women (all soooo fake that their tits were pointing up!) in G-string bikinis. Okay, maybe not bikinis, more like dental floss. The small strip of material failing to cover their nipples was about the thick as my thumb. Well these ladies would bump, grind, swing, etc on top of the float and with each move, their naughty bits would pop out. The highlight was when one laid on her back on a raised platform and spread her legs WIDE! I could almost see up to her esophagus! Of course the very next float was full of children dressed as pirates. They were all gape mouthed pointing at the ho-riffic women. Well they were bound to get their sex education sooner or later.

After we had our fill of T&A, we headed off for a bite to eat. Amiee, my running friend, gushed about a great pizza place Totonnos. The joint was off the beaten path (ie in the shady part of Coney Island), so my friends thought I was taking them to some abandoned lot so I can mug them. Actually the boardwalk was crazy busy, so we were hoping this little known gem would not be crowded. Uh..wrong! The line was practically around the corner! The place had six tables and two people cooking up the pies. The line was at least 90 minutes to the door with an additional 30 for cook time. I tried to be savy and ask the pizza maker if we could place an order for carry out or delivery (just around the corner) in order to bypass the looooong line. I guess this was the one day out of the year they don’t take non-dine-in orders. Damn!

We headed back to the crowded boardwalk and hit up a grease shack. Now the shack did not have a line, just a mob of people standing in one place. You basically elbowed your way up to the register and shouted out your order. People were shoulder to shoulder and it was as tense as being the first in line at the airport ticket counter. Everyone was eyeing each other and jockeying for a position. After about 30 minutes, we pushed our way up to the front only to find out they were out of hot dogs, hamburgers, milkshake…basically they only had things you could fry left (fries, onion rings, corn dogs, milky pizza…wait you get the idea). Okay they better be damn good if we duked it out and paid their outrageous prices (my small onion rings and lemonade was $5). Uh….wrong again!

After the disappointing food, Rob, Dana, and Aubrey left for the comfort of the city. Ali, Bree, and I stuck around to see the side/freak-show. Ali actually wanted to frolic in the ocean, but he did not have a swimsuit. I guess some other people were in the same situation (or they had no idea that underwear is not a suitable swimming attire) because we saw plenty of guys in boxer or briefs. On rather round old man was wearing an enormous pair of red briefs (yes they really were briefs because Bree saw the fruit of the loom tag and everything). The funny thing is that he stuck his walkman in the convenient front pocket. Ah ha ha ha….oh my retinas are burning. Anyway, Ali just splashed around in his clothes in lieu of stripping down to his skivvies. Due to the hour and the effective power of the sun to drain you of all energy, we skipped the side-show and headed back to Manhattan. From the elevated train platform, we were able to see the parade was still going strong…four hours later! Rock on mermen, rock on.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Mr. Rebound

The night that did not end started outside the bar Pianos down in the lower east side. Bree had an out-of-town friend visiting and she wanted to go clubbing. Our club of choice is Libation only because Fadel works there and usually scores us VIP room and free bottle service. Well since the club usually does not get going until 2am, we decided to meet at the Pianos bar across the street at 11pm. Even with a train delay (I was seriously stopped between two subway stops for twenty minutes) I was the first to arrive (as always….am I the only one who attempts to arrive on time). The line for Pianos was around the block and they were charging a $10 cover. Okay for a bar that we were going to just kill time at, a line and cover were just not worth it. I decided to walk around the area to find another “kill time” bar without a line and/or cover. Well I turned the corner and heard “Lindsay!” shout out. I look to see my work friend Angelica. She is the girl I crammed for the PE with, and unlike most typical engineers, she is awesomely cool! Anyway, she was out with her roommate (Insuik) and friend (Rose), both of which I met at her house party last month. Well to be obvious, they all are very nice and very cute Asian women. They were just leaving dinner and heading off to another bar (VIG) down in Soho. I decided to join them and texted the gang (Ali, Josh, Bree and her friend) of the venue change. A cosmo later, the gang showed up very intoxicated. The bar is set up with two rooms…the front was crowded and had the actual bar, the back was quite, dark, and very lounge like with comfy benches and chairs. My Asians stayed up front while the gang enjoyed the comfort of the back lounge. Well I tried to be Miss Popular and swing between the two groups during the night. Well my Asians are really sweet and cute (but with a hint of naughty) so all the Asian guys in the place were circling them like sharks. I stopped in to talk to Insuik and the tall Asian guy she was standing near asked me “hey, do you even know her?” Well I guess I interrupted his attempt to hit on her but Insuik called him out by blurting out “you think she doesn’t know me because….she’s not Asian!” Ah ha ha ha! Seriously, I was the token white kid in that crowd but who cares anyway.

On my way to the gang in the back, I ran into Bree. She was having a fight with her shoe. Evidently, she stepped in gum (or something sticky) and was having one hell of a time trying to get it off. Okay imagine a slightly intoxicated (who am I kidding, I think she was drunkity drunk drunk) girl dragging her leg along the ground like a gimp. Then she took off her shoe and started to scrape it against the wall and table. While she was moving around (with pizzazz), she bumped into a guy and his friend. When I looked up at him (he is 6’-3” tall) I suddenly realized how gorgeous he was. Okay I have picture proof his good looks were not the result of beer goggles. I apologized for Bree (at this point she was so infuriated with her shoe that she flung it across the room) and used it as an excuse to talk it up with handsome hottie! Oh and I owe Bree big time for “bumping” into him. Turns out he is tall, blonde, smart, funny, very athletic, a successful merger businessman, and track star wiry (seriously not an ounce of fat on his gorgeous hard body). Basically my friend Melanie could say “my type to a T”! Okay how lucky am I!!!

I chatted up with the guy before excusing myself so I could check on Bree and the gang (and to let him get back to his large group…oh and not to smother him). Before I walked away, he made it a point to tell me exactly where he would be at the bar (good sign right). After about ten minutes it was time to check on my Asians and get a drink at the bar (and get a water for Bree even though she did not ask). I saw him at the other end of the bar trying to get the attention of the very large male bartender. Luckily for me, Rose knew the bartender (Ron) and he quickly b-lined over to serve us. I asked him to send a shot down to the good looking guy at the end of the bar (ha, I figured it would be a nice gesture…and a way to get him drunk so I could take advantage of it….did I mention I am a predator). Anyway, the guy (okay his name is Sean) looked relieved to have finally gotten the bartender’s attention, and was even more surprised to see the shot. He toasted me from across the room. Later, I was lounging with the gang in the back when he approached me (alone). His friends were leaving to go dancing and he insisted that I join them. Normally I would not ditch my friends, but Josh and Bree gave me the thumbs up since he was such a hot slice. On my way out the door, I said goodbye to my Asians. I asked if anyone wanted to go dancing, and Rose responded “hell yes!” Okay back story on Rose. She is 32, single, and a bit innocent (but totally not…you know the type of girl you bring home to mom but who secretly has edible panties on)! She is living life like a 21-year old and has no shame.

Okay Rose and I met Sean outside with his friends. He was with three guy friends and four girls. One of the girls was dating one of his friends. The other three girls were friends with the girlfriend and had staked claim on the remaining guys. Well as you can guess, the girls didn’t care for Rose and I (those random girls) because we were invading their territory (and I was clearly the interest of the most good looking one….ha ha take that pretentious bitches!). Anyway, obviously it was the girls who wanted to go dancing even though they were all wearing high heel pointy toe shoes which make for very muted dancing unless you have a Chinese bound foot. I told them about my sweet deal at Libation and we headed off in its direction. Well after two blocks of walking, the girls started complaining and the guys started questioning the location of the club. Okay, I was certain about the clubs location but the guys were drunk enough to question which way was North, etc. Three of them tried to google it, but evidently google was down at the moment (my theory is that they were too drunk to work their blackberries).

Anyway the girls didn’t want to walk anymore (even though I was wearing 4 inch stiletto leopard print heels…..yes they are mad sexy…and I was still fine with walking) so we popped into the nearest club Happy Ending. Actually, the guys had been there before and really talked it up on the way over. The club is in the basement and was a former massage parlor/spa. Therefore, all the walls and floors were tiled. I sounded interesting enough but the downside was that the place gets steamy fast! Well we walk in and there are maybe 15 people there. Huh? The guys were embarrassed since they were just raving about how cool the place was. Rose and I didn’t care and marveled at the tiled walls and massage rooms/private lounges. Actually I was glad the place was not busy because I didn’t want my make up to melt off, and plus we were able to get seats in the lounge. Well the individual massage rooms off the main area had tiled benches and glass partitions therefore making them mini-lounges. The only problem was the lack of privacy since the wall was glass (and therefore everyone in the main lounge could see you even if you could not see them). Well most of the rooms were either empty or occupied by a small group of people. The one on the end (the one we sat in front of) only had a guy and girl in it. The girl was on the guy’s lap and they were making out like crazy. Well they would smooch and then stare into each other’s eyes, whisper something, kiss, hand slipping under the skirt, hand unbuttoning the shirt…well you get the picture. Yeah the consensus was that they were going to “do it” right in front of us. At one point the bouncer came into their room. We all thought he was going to stop it, but he just picked up the empty glasses around them and left. Rose leaned in and whispered, “okay I know I shouldn’t look, but I cannot stop staring….does that make me a pervert”. I told her “no, in fact, if I watch ten more minutes of this….I’m going to throw Sean down on the floor (you know in a good way)”.

The girls wanted to move on to club with more people, so we hit the pavement again. The good thing about Soho and Lower East Side is that there is a club practically every block. I don’t recall the name of the next place but it was on Stanton and Chrystie. Of course it had a line and a very fierce looking giant bouncer in sunglasses (okay 3am…who wears sunglasses unless they are a serious bad ass). Normally you can get bumped up in the line if you have a lot of cute (or seriously skanky…wait that is one in the same for NYC tricks) girls. Even with six girls and four guys, we could not edge our way up. Finally one of the guys (the funny Italian) shouted over to the bouncer “hey…sunglasses…yeah you, any way we can get in before last call?” Well those were not the magic words to say, and therefore we were forced to find another club. We walked east on Houston a few blocks to an after hours club. Again the guys talked this one up, and once again, the place only had a dozen people inside. They covered by saying “well this is an after hour place and it is only 3:45am now…so it will pick up once the other places start to close down”. Wrong! At 4am, they turned on the lights and the cleaning crew started to clean up around us. Uh…what next….sleep!
I wanted to claim my trophy, and luckily we both lived uptown. Just as we hailed a taxi, the funny Italian friend jumped in with us since he also had to go uptown. Sean shot him the “thanks douche bag cock blocker!” look which made me laugh since boy’s intentions can be soooo obvious. Needless to say, we worked out the cab situation and both got home in the wee hours of morning. The lesson of the story is that I still got mad game! Mothers, hide your sons...I am back!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Just your average Puerto Rican Sunday

I was woken up at 5:30am Sunday morning by my friend (and look-alike) Rachel. 5:30am…..I am not kidding! She was returning from a trip to Israel and the flight schedule made her wait till Monday to catch a plane back to Chicago. Because she was coming off of a major time zone difference, our objective for the day was not to sleep until 9pm (no napping either which is usually a staple to my weekend activities). To get us out of the house, we ate breakfast at my favorite brunch place Vinyl. Soon every friend of mine will be forced to eat there by me….I should get stock options since I give them so much business.

Anyway this Sunday was full of “only in NYC” and “only this day” events. We walked over to 5th ave. and checked out the Puerto Rican day parade. Now you may have heard about how crazy this parade is from Kramer on Seinfeld, but seeing it in person is a whole other thing. Obviously I am not Puerto Rican (or even the slightest bit darker than freckled pasty white), but the parade is on my to do list (like the St. Patrick’s day and Macy’s thanksgiving day parades which both blew FYI). Okay the crowd was ten deep and sporting Puerto Rican flags of all sizes. If waving a giant 6 foot long flag didn’t fully express their pride, they were clad in Puerto Rican flag apparel. Seriously, they put the flag on caps, bandanas, shorts, skirts, tops, etc, it was in full effect. Anticipating the crowd’s wardrobe choices, Rachel and I tried to blend by sporting red, white, and blue shirts (well she had a cute red and white striped shirt and I had a blue shirt….hey we tried at least). If one thing is to be said about the women in the crowd, it would be hoochie-riffic! Seriously, the women were in skin tight pants, short skirts, midriff baring tops, and door knocker sized gold earrings! Like Halloween, for every hot Latina you would see dressed like the common street whore, you would see twenty dimpled and lumpy women squeezed into what I believe to be jazzercise outfits. I will never look at white leggings the same way ever again! Okay do not hate me, admittingly I have lumps and dimples but at least I know how to dress as to not advertise their location (looking at these women was like looking at the surface of the moon!).

While at the parade, we took what pictures we could of various floats and people (remember crowd at least ten deep). Okay explain this to me….shouldn’t there only be just one Miss Puerto Rico? Well I saw dozens and dozens of girls/women with crowns, tiaras, and sashes. Every group had one and some even had a few! Is a crown the new fashion accessory of the spring or were people too sympathetic and decided not to only crown one winner and therefore bestow everyone with a crown? I can thank Rachel for one particularly funny moment of the parade. She said “oh I think some one famous is coming, he has his own float, no I cannot see who it is but his name is on the float, let me see Ricky Marteeeen”. I said “who the heck is Ricky Marteen, I guess he must be famous if he has his own float” and got my camera ready. Well as he got closer, I got a look at the float when some guy moved his big head out of the way. Turns out it was Ricky Martin the singer (not Marteen)! I teased Rachel for the next hour about her pronunciation. Another star who we saw in the parade was Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo). My stupid camera has an auto focus feature, so all the shots of her I have are crap because she would move when my camera was busy focusing in another area. Curse my camera and its five second delay. Are really odd sight to see in the parade was bagpipers. Am I at the right parade….hmm oh well I guess those guys get bored waiting for the next St. Patrick’s day parade to come around again.

After two or so hours watching the parade (I would estimate we were watching the parade from 10:30am to 12:30pm), we moved on to our next activity of the day. We walked down to the Madison Square Park (where “The Garden” used to be but now it is just a park down on 23rd street) for a BBQ festival. Yet another “only in NYC” only “this weekend” activity to soothe the anti-tourist traveler. At the festival, you could sample a dozen BBQ tents from different restaurants. The drink sponsors were Heineken and Snapple. Being parched (and wanting to avoid the temptation for a booze nap), we wanted to get a Snapple drink. Although there were Snapple signs, inflatable bottles, and sample tables all over the park, you could not buy a bottle of the stuff! Yeah we even saw the Snapple lady signing autographs, but she could not even get us a bottle. We settled for a Wendy’s frosty and dipping fries before planting ourselves down in the park. For the next hour we people watched and fought off the urge to nap in the warm sun.

After being completely lazy we decided to head on to the next venue. We hopped on the train to the Upper East side. To our amazement, the parade was still going on (it was 4pm!) when we slipped into the Guggenheim Museum. Luckily we had our fill of playing “I don’t get it” and “is that art” when the museum closed. While heading back over to the subway stop we noticed that the parade was still going on (the time was 6pm and the parade didn’t look like it was getting any thinner…with a start time at 10am, that gives it 8 plus hours of solid parade)! At least the drunk rowdy crowd gave us amusement while waiting for the train.

On our way back to my apartment, we made a quick detour to Radio City Music Hall. For my gays out there, Sunday June 12th was the Tony Awards! We stood outside the venue among the tuxedo and evening gown women. I bet it would have been more exciting if we actually knew any of the Broadway stars (or at least those who are nominated). I figured the red carpet would be the best place for us to spot a familiar US weekly face, but the real photographers had every square inch of that sucker covered. Oh well, check another off the ‘to do’ list.

The evening rounded out with dinner at a classy Japanese joint. Here is my advice…if you don’t like sushi or fish, don’t eat at a Japanese place…you will have like four options. Also if you don’t want the lining of your esophagus to dissolve or your sinuses to be cleansed, don’t drink sake (pronounced sack-aaaa according to Rachel).

Pickles...from the surface of the sun!

Friday started off in a big way…..wait I mean drunk way. Ali stopped by and we finished half of the new bottle of rum my old roommate Jordan gave me after returning from a Caribbean vacation. We then met Josh down in Union Square before heading off to Brooklyn. Josh was meeting up with a college friend who also happened to be his New Years Eve make-out. We didn’t venture more than one or two stops into Brooklyn because the group was at a club in Williamsburg. We ended up walking a good portion of the neighborhood since we were drunk and completely lost. The best was taking advantage of the view from the waterfront. Okay the rum caught up to me, and I don’t remember the club (but I was told I tried to dance….horribly!). Anyway, I am told that Ali and I hopped on the subway back to Manhattan.

Saturday morning came all too quick. I promised to meet my running friend Aimee for brunch. She and a few other friends ran the women’s only 10k race in the park. She said to meet her around 10:30am. I warned her that I most likely would not be running since I like to sleep in on Saturday (oh and party all night on Friday). At 10:00am, I rolled out of bed, threw on the nearest articles of clothing and headed out the door. I made my way up to the park to watch the finish. After watching completely defeated women cross the finish line (you know the ones that are panting, whose running is nothing more than a shuffle, and they spend much of the race walking but decide to sprint the last 50 feet to the finish line because of the encouraging crowd, then they practically collapse) I figured she had already passed (she and I run at the same moderately slow pace but we hardly ever stop to walk).

I dragged my feet to the brunch place a few (or 10) blocks away, and thought it would be brilliant to market personal scooters to severely hung-over people. I finally found a supermarket that sold Gatorade so I could start nursing myself back to health. Okay those who have been in the same state know that two comforting things are Gatorade and food (usually greasy). Well the brunch place would not open until 11:30! Are you kidding me? I am ready to start devouring my own hand or at least busting open the front down! I begged Aimee to pick one of the hundred other brunch places in the Upper West Side but one of the girls in the group insisted on this place. Ugh! To make matters worse, the picky girl waited until 11:30 to show up as if she knew the place would not open until then even though the agreed meeting time was 10:30! Well when we were finally seated, I was quite the unhappy camper. All of the girls were like “oh it is soooo funny you are soooo hung-over, must have had an exciting night, well I went to bed early so I could run 8 minute miles in the 10k race…etc”. Yeah sooooo funny indeed until I put my fist in your mouth! Okay I was cranky but thankfully not violent. The waiter picked up on it and made sure to be hovering with the unlimited mimosa pitcher! Yeah one good thing about this Cajun place is the free unlimited mimosas from 11:30am to 3pm. A few alright dishes later and we parted ways so I could go back to bed.

I didn’t get much sleep because my friend Dave called and wanted to hang out. Neither of us had an agenda, so we just walked around Union Square and the Village. The highlight was discovering this random street corner where the building almost came to a point. You may have seen the Flatiron Building (the real skinny building at Madison Square park), but this building was much more extreme. The building housed a line grill diner that I would have sampled if not completely stuffed from brunch. We took a closer look and they actually used the small point to store cups and plates, etc. Ah the hidden gems of the city not found in any tour books.

On a final note, I have some advice to share….never ever heat up a pickle in the microwave. For dinner, I heated up the remaining half of my po-boy sandwich from brunch (I make a habit of saving half of my restaurant meals because 1. they are usually too huge to eat in one sitting and 2. I cannot cook to save my life, but microwaving is easy enough). Well the sandwich had pickles on it. I guess the juices in the pickles heated up and retained said heat. When I began to chew on the sandwich, the roof of my mouth was scorched by the pickle! I tried to move the hot item around and proceeded to burn parts of the side and my tongue before spitting out the hunk of food. I had to roll ice cubes around my mouth for the rest of the afternoon and it still felt tender/funny two days later! Damn you pickles!

Monday, June 04, 2007

I'd pay a dollar to see that again

Nothing like Saturday morning construction to startle your slumber much too early in the morning. I figured I was up so why not go out and explore the city (yeah I do that a lot). That day just happened to be the 31st annual Hell’s Kitchen yard sale. Okay, okay, people living in Manhattan don’t have yards (or garages) but it is just a figure of speech. They blocked off 44th between 9th and 10th. Basically, it was less than two blocks from my apartment, so I had no excuse not to check it out (plus I loooove yard/garage sales). Well the vast majority of it was crap. Even the 50cent clothing one woman was shouting about was not fit to donate to the Salvation Army. Here are some gems I did walk away with.

My ‘proud of where I live’ and ‘just in case I forget my zip code’ tank top. Actually some gay guy and I were trying on the same ones and decided to go in together to get the special (one for $10 but two for $16).

I could not believe that I found this shirt. The front side is typical button down Hawaiian shirt with a big “N” over the breast pocket. The back is shown below. Those from Nebraska know this is vintage Husker wear. I asked the lady where she got it and she said “oh my old roommate left it, I think she was from Wisconsin”…..errrr wrong. Go Big Red! Okay for a $1, I had to get it in case I head out to any Husker games this upcoming football season.

They had CD’s out the wazzoo! Seriously, you could get any kind of CD for $1 or $2 each. Those who know me, know that I am huge music fan. You get that way I guess when you wear headphones at work 9 hours a day for the last five years. Plus our internet radio is spotty, so CD’s are the best bet. Anyway, my dozen or so album purchases ranged from nostalgic Boyz II Men and Salt N Pepa (I had the cassettes a long time ago in Junior high), current releases like Good Charlotte and Offspring (okay I highly recommend the GC album and my guilty pleasure is Offspring), and classical soundtracks/musical scores like The Perfect Storm, The Piano, and Dances with Wolves (okay don’t knock musical scores, they are awesome if you are into fantastic displays of musicianship and non vocal evoking of emotion).

Okay, I didn’t buy anything from this guy, but it totally reminded me of a past story. Back in Chicago, I moved more in four years than most people move in their entire life. Some times it would be my choice or some times the land lord would throw everyone out. Anyway, every time I would move I would have a yard sale to eliminate some excess unnecessary baggage (mostly clothes). Anyway, one time I set out a box full of my old bras, slips, garters, etc. Normally I would just throw that stuff out or donate it if it was in good condition. My mind set for that yard sale was to donate everything that didn’t sell. I figured why not put out the lingerie box since no one would buy it and I would have it all ready for the mass donation. Well this middle aged guy shows up and starts poking through all my stuff. I knew something was up when he asked me what men’s size would my shoes be. I’m a ladies ten so that comes out to an 8.5 in mens. The guy was ecstatic and grabbed all of my pumps and sling-backs. Anyway he continued to poke around until he found the bra box. He asked how much and I was a bit taken aback. He gave me a $20 bill and told me to fill the bag with the best. I asked him if he preferred any to which he said “oh you got a red one in there….yeah, throw in that red one”. Ewww…some man out there is wearing my bras and walking around in my heels. Well I told this story to my Chicago friends. Emily was also moving so she decided to have her own yard sale. The problem is that she lived in a downtown high-rise. She instead posted all of her stuff on Craig’s List (including some old bras thanks to my inspiring but creepy story). Well I guess some guy emailed her and said “I am a male living in Chicago and I will take your entire collection of bras off your hands”. Ah ha ha ha.

Sadly Saturday night was not nearly as exciting at the day time. After a quick drink with coworkers I sneaked back home to get a good nights sleep. One of the pitfalls of living near/in Times Square is the stupid publicity stunts people try to do. Months ago David Blane did this magic stunt or something and it proceeded to shine bright lights into my apartment all night. Well this Saturday it was Chris Angel’s turn. All night I had to put up with flashing lights, booming bass, and loud bullhorn speeches. All right turn into a rabbit already. Damn you Chris Angel! Turns out he would continue to torment me again on Monday morning. I don’t know if he was just finishing his stunt or redoing it for the media, but seriously, 6:30am on a Monday morning? It may have started earlier but that is when they decided to turn up the volume on the bull horn. Die die your sleep hating monster!
For the final note, I would like to share the “walk of shame” I witnessed this morning. On my way to work, I saw a guy in a polo shirt and gym shorts walking on the sidewalk. He had a pair of rolled up jeans and a toothbrush in his hands. Okay either there is something wrong with his jeans (I am not going to even speculate) or that is the gay man’s way of marking a shacker. He he he.

Check us out, we matched our drinks to our outfits

It was hard to start the weekend without my faithful drinking buddy Farrell, but I sure tried to party for the both of us. Friday started out early when I met Dave and his co-workers out for happy hour down in the Village. Before heading out, I was in the mood to be flirty and cute, so I donned a brown and white polka dot dress. Okay, Maria knows what I dress I am talking about, but it makes me feel adorable. Later on it would prove to be a wise choice because of our venue choices. Anyway, while we were enjoying conversations with our company and simultaneously making fun of the NJ meat heads (seriously, who wears a skin tight teal polo with a popped collar with a body builder body?) we received a call from our Chicago friend Betty. There was talk of her moving to the city, so this may have been a vacation/apartment hunting trip. She said she was with “the girls”. I groan at the thought of “the girls”. I was hoping she met some other group of girls, but that was wishful thinking. They wanted to meet us at some totally pretentious bar down in SoHo. Okay, I have had enough experience with out of town guests that I see a common trend of picking bad bars just for the image. They read about a bar in a review or magazine, and decide that must be the “it” place. Then when we show up at the place, it is totally dull, full of people dressed up for each other, and an all-around not fun/friendly experience. Well the bar/club they chose was no different. Dave and I showed up to the swanky place. Everyone was in groups of three or four. There was zero socializing among the groups. Basically everyone was there to talk only to the people they came with and drink highly over priced drinks. Okay now remind me the reason why this bar is soooo appealing to visitors? Thankfully I had dressed the part and was not in my customary jeans and fun top. When the girls finally arrived (an hour late, very inconsiderate of them), I was ready to go. Granted, I wish I could have hung out with Betty longer (she is such a doll), but a dentist visit is more enjoyable than creating conversation with the girls. Plus I had called Josh and Jeff and was meeting them up at Bowery Bar (a very noted bar of yester year and often mentioned in the Sex in the City book). After 15 minutes of polite conversation, I dashed out the door and jumped into a cab heading off to NoHo. Turns out the line at Bowery Bar was too long so we settled for the packed fun place across the street. Now this part of the night starts to get blurry since it was close to 2am and I had been out since 7pm. I think Jeff and I were picking out girls that Josh should talk to. I have a feeling we were those drunk annoying people at the bar, but who cares about image among strangers anyway.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Farewell Farrell

Thursday marked a very sad day in my NY experience…Farrell moved. This brother like friend helped me make a place for me in a huge unknown city. After almost a year of adventures (see previous blog posts), he is heading back to the greener (and cleaner) pastures of Kansas City.

On Wednesday, Bree and I met up with Farrell and his adorable mom in little Italy for dinner. Okay adorable is commonly used to describe children, but seriously, his mom was 5’-0” tall and super petite and I wanted to pick her up and put her in my pocket. She said during dinner that her sister is sooooo short at 4’-11” to which Chris pointed out that it is only one inch shorter than her. She then told him the idea that her sister is under 5’ is makes her so short. Anyway she was soooo cute and really added to the dynamic of the evening.

We had a delicious dinner in little Italy. The waiter practically just ordered for us, and he did not miss. I would have licked the plate of my dish if I didn’t think anyone was watching. Little Italy cracks me up because every surface that can be painted was covered by the Italian flag. I am kicking myself for not snapping a photo of the painted fire hydrant. Mulberry street (ie the main street of little Italy) is like walking down a state fair carnival fairway with food and game vendors flanking the sides. We stopped in a trendy looking rice pudding shop where little Italy stopped and SoHo took over. It only sold rice pudding but it was in all the flavors of ice cream like rocky road, etc. The store signs were hilarious…”go ahead a eat, you are already fat” or “we won’t tell you the secret ingredient that makes our pudding taste so good, but we will tell you it is the same thing that give Viagra its kick”. Ah ha ha.

After parting ways, I met up with my running friend Amiee at Rudy’s (how could I not since I live a block away from it). Anyway I was glad I wore my cute blue dress to dinner because she introduced me to her friend Andy. She has wanting to set me up with him for ages but I had always been dating someone. Anyway he is supposedly a wildly successful investment banker who owns a condo in Hoboken. Add to the list that he is laid back, athletic, and tall….basically every mom’s dream son-in-law. We are going to try to meet up next week.

Thursday was the final night of Farrell-pol-looza because he and his mom were flying back in the morning (early in the morning). We met up at Irish Rogue for dinner and drinks. After two beers, his mom started slipping out amusing stories of when she was in college. Evidently she drank a bottle of Wild Turkey on her 21st birthday. Since then she has not been able to drink (or smell) any brown liquor. Note she is maybe 90 pounds soaking wet, so I can see how awful a bottle of whisky would affect her. At one point Chris asked her to “earmuff” it because he had to share some scandalous information that would upset her. Well she obediently “earmuffed” and cracked us all up in the process.

The most interesting thing of the night was the couple hopped up on aphrodisiacs. There were drunk (well I would hope so) and grinding up against each other at the bar. We were hanging out on the upper floor which has a more lounge feel with couches and lower volume music. Well the upper floor has a lone unisex bathroom. Basically you open the door and there is the toilet. The horny couple thought they were all sneaky (nothing funnier than watching a drunk person try to act sly) and went into the bathroom together. All of us (Bree, Ali, Josh, his friend?, Farrell, and his Mom) saw them go in and we immediately broke out in a bunch of “you know what is going on” looks and groans. We kept that in the back of our mind, but continued to have a blast drinking and talking. About an hour later Bree and I asked each other, wait they have been in there a long time! Okay whisky dick does prolong things, but now we were starting to get worried. We told the bartender about the couple and how we now thought they were either in trouble or passed out in the restroom. The bartender got the bouncer to pound on the door. He leaned over to us and said “I hear voices in there so….” The couple eventually emerged and the entire bar started clapping. They were so oblivious that I don’t think they realized EVERYONE knew they were having sex in there. The cherry on the top of the hot fudge Sunday story was Bree’s discovery. As we were leaving the bar, we passed by the no unoccupied bathroom with the door wide open. Bree all of the sudden pointed and said “look those are her underwear”! Sure enough there were a pair of woman’s underwear bunched up on the floor. Well I assume they were hers because it is pretty hard for a woman to suddenly loose her underwear (okay okay, some girls it comes quite easy, but physically, you know what I mean). I pity the clean up crew.

So ends this chapter. Farrell you will be missed!