Just completed my whirlwind trip to the Center of the Universe. It was all rather last minute – I got an invitation from my friend Justin to his partner Michael’s 50th birthday party. I’ve known Mikey for more than 20 years, hadn’t seen him or Justin in too long, so I decided to do my second surprise drop-in of the year.

Of course, the big drawback of such sneakiness is having to go AWOL on Facebook. Very difficult not to be blabbing my status updates every ten minutes per usual…

Arrived Wednesday evening and was quickly ensconced in the charming apartment I’d found on It was half the price of a hotel, spacious and the location on East 7th could not be beat.  And it was a ten-minute walk to Katz’s Deli, which is where I had dinner that evening.

Explored some of the bars in the ‘hood and had a fun, early-ish night. Thursday did some shopping and had lunch at Balthazar – steak frites and vin rouge. It was expensive and worth every penny. And I must say, the service could not have been more gracious. The place was mobbed, even at 230 in the afternoon, but the hostess found me a table for one with only a five-minute wait.

Back home for a nap, then changed into my plaid-iest outfit ever before heading to the birthday festivities at The Summit Bar (a really charming place on the Lower East Side that makes fantastic cocktails). My arrival was indeed a big surprise and was well-received. So great to see Mikey and Justin – plus a bunch of folks I knew from my NYC days, nearly 20 years ago…  Made some new friends too… It was a really sublime evening, one that I didn’t want to end. Sadly, though, my picture-taking skills are inversely proportional to my booze intake – thus, every photo I took that evening was like a blurry shot of Bigfoot and thus not suitable for publication…

Slept in on Friday, did some more shopping (hey, it’s NYC), lunch at Pulino’s, then a night at the theater: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. I loved it. And, despite the fact that it is rollicking rock-and-roll comedy, I still found myself getting a bit verklempt when the show started. There’s something really magical about seeing a show on Broadway – must be all that talent up on the stage…

Very nice dinner afterward at Maria Pia, a little Italian place on 51st – had a hearty bowl of homemade pasta with bolognese sauce, which was perfect on a blustery winter night. Had a few drinks at Posh before heading home.

Saturday was another excellent day. Brunch at Minerva with my new friend Ralph; late afternoon wine with my friend Teresa; then a very tasty dinner with Mikey and Justin at Cookshop on 10th Avenue, followed by after-dinner whiskeys at Colicchio and Sons. It was really a perfect day…

Got home late, hurriedly packed (always fun after wine and whiskey), arranged for a car to collect me at 630AM, slept (briefly), at JFK for an on-time departure at 815AM, back home in SF by noon. And I can’t wait to do it all over again – soon, I hope!

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