Une semaine merveilleuse à NYC

Four trips to NYC in the last six months – I was going to say I’ve fallen back in love with the city, but I don’t think I ever stopped. I simply wasn’t spending time there…  Now I just need to win the lottery so I can afford an apartment. Sigh…

Arrived Wednesday without incident and was welcomed with antipasti and a bottle of wine chez Ralph. A good night’s sleep and then a morning walk before work to Murray’s for a bagel with cream cheese and bacon (dairy and pork on a bagel – so many rules broken!). Swung by Rocco’s for a cannoli, only to discover it was being “remodeled” – at the demand of the Health Department. Quel dommage! If there were any rat feces in my cannoli last time I visited, I didn’t notice.

Dinner Thursday evening at Le Gigot. We sat at the bar and had a good meal – steak for me, boeuf bourguignon for Ralph. We had excellent wine and a very friendly bartender, who I regaled with jokes (“Would I? Would I?” “Hunchback! Hunchback!”). I’m sure he breathed a sigh of relief once I’d finally left. Oh, and Ralph shushed me at one point, if that gives any indication of my demeanor…

Friday spent working hard – and discovered how to tether my netbook to my EVO. The 4G connection on my phone was WAY faster than a wired connection to Verizon DSL. Oh these modern times!

Took a lunch break and got a turkey sandwich at Torrisi Italian Specialties. I’d read that the pepper sauce on the sandwich combines with the mayo to create heroin. I would not argue with this hypothesis… Also had a quick stop at the New Museum to see Cronocaos. A fascinating take on the preservation of architecture in the modern world…

Friday night, Ralph and I headed to Lincoln Center to see War Horse. The story was perhaps not the most subtle or nuanced piece of theater – but the horses on stage were completely magical. There’s really no other word for the puppetry that brought these animals to life – they were the most engrossing, engaging and poignant characters on the stage. I’m honestly welling up with tears as I write this, just remembering how incredibly alive they were, whether they were galloping around the stage, rearing up on their haunches or standing nearly still, nickering while their ears twitched. It was a theater experience I will never forget.

Post-theater dinner at Rosa Mexicano, a really cool looking place just down the street from the theater. Guacamole made tableside, margaritas, giant slabs of beef – all was right with the world…

Saturday: le shopping! Made the usual stops at Uniqlo, Topman and Ben Sherman. I bought the most adorable pair of cropped khakis from Uniqlo – and they fit perfectly! Sadly, though, to quote Michael Kors, the crotch was insane, so I had to return them (by which I mean I told Ralph to return them once I’d flown back to SF since I’d forced him to pay for them – because I didn’t want to try them on at the store and figured he’d have an easier time returning them if they were on his credit card. So really, I was just being polite!). Also, a trip to K-Mart (in Manhattan – I know!) so I could pick up a beach chair. Priorities, people!

That evening we saw The Normal Heart. It was preachy, statistics-laden, heart-wrenching, polemical – and marvelous. Joe Mantello turned in an amazing performance. And Ellen Barkin (!) delivered a monologue in Act II that elicited sustained cheers and thunderous applause.

Dinner was going to be at Maria Pia, a nice little Italian place I’ve been to after the theater a couple of times. But the kitchen closes at 11PM! In New York! On a Saturday night! WTF?! Boo, Maria Pia!

So we wound up at Uncle Nick’s for some Greek mezes – roasted peppers, tzatziki, scordalia, etc. All really tasty. But the tastiest thing of all? Our adorable Greek waiter. Seriously. Handsome as the day is long, with a charming smile and a twinkle in his eye. He must rake in the tips from all the swooning ladies and dudes-who-like-dudes. Quel bateau de rêve!

Of course, since we were in the neighborhood, a visit to Posh for some drinking and dancing was in order. It was as fun as always…

So, Sunday. We didn’t arise quite as early as we’d hoped. But we still managed to make it onto the 1:30 ferry to Sandy Hook. A wonderful ride past the Statue of Liberty and then a lovely afternoon laying on the beach and walking along a huge and nearly empty expanse of sand adjacent to the main beach. The water was too cold for swimming, but what a wonderful afternoon. The boat ride home took us under the Brooklyn, Williamsburg and Manhattan Bridges – twice. It was a perfect day…

A late dinner in the East Village at Arcane. It was late and still delightfully warm out. Cucumber-coconut soup and pork curry for dinner, reggae music and a leisurely walk home. It was a perfect evening…

Monday was for walking. A subway ride up to the Armory to see the amazing Ryoji Ikeda installation, which was rapturous. A stroll down Park Avenue, where we debated which building was sufficiently lovely to actually warrant buying a co-op in the boring Upper East Side after acquiring winning lottery tix. A snack and a couple of glasses of rosé at The Drunken Horse, followed by a marvelous walk along the Hudson.

Dinner that night at Morandi, where I had a very delicious and dainty plate of hand-rolled pasta with lemon and parmigiano. Ralph had a veal cutlet that was larger than his head – and had no problem eating every bite. For dessert, I had a plate of excellent cannolini and some moscato d’asti. Another wonderful evening.

Home to pack, a brief but good night’s sleep (530AM pick-up!), on-time from JFK – and I was back in my office in SF before noon. And already plotting when I can make my next visit…

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