Friday, March 02, 2007

Bottle of red, bottle of white (part the second)

Saturday was a sleep-in sort of day. We didn't get up and moving until after noon. That's a lot easier to do when there are no clocks to be found other than the kitchen one that's stuck between 3:30 and 3:45.

The coffee caraffe was passed around like a pot pipe and all of us sucked down cups of the brown elixir like junkies.

Josh's roommates and friends John and Stephanie headed out first to take in a movie that neither of them really wanted to see, but what with the Oscars coming up, they felt like they should see it. It's hard to argue with logic like that, so we just wished them well and started plotting the day's assault on the city.

Food - once again - provided the catalyst needed to get us moving. We decided on Chinese and Eileen showed off some of her cruise-directing strengths by picking 69 as the restaurant of choice. It wasn't that impressive of a pick though because I would picked it out of a list too - but probably for the more obvious reason that it has an awesome name.

Harlem to Chinatown takes you underneath pretty much the whole stretch of Manhattan, but it's not a long ride. We climbed back into the light of day and wandered into the vibrancy of Chinese New Year celebrations. Dragons danced along the sidewalks - stopping at the doors of businesses to bring them good fortune. Bells and drums drove away not only evil spirits, but any sense of gloom that might be hiding in the nooks and crannies of the day ahead. From high above, streamers and colored confetti would occasionally shower down like rainbow rain.

The food was good. It's not stellar, but it was quick and tasty. The table one over was filled with brass from the nearby NYC police department building. You gotta figure that if it's good enough for New York's finest, it's gonna be fine for the San Francisco 3.

After eating, we took to the streets again and wandered about Chinatown. A helpful hint for tourists - the easiest way to tell you're in Chinatown is that most everyone is Asian and all the signs are in various forms of Chinese and other Asian languages. The dancing dragons were also an excellent giveaway, but you can't count on them year round.

I also discovered that you can indeed find batteries in Chinatown. In fact, it's sort of easy which is a bit disappointing in a weird way.

At some point, it became imperative that we find the Manhattan Portage store. Funny how nebulous sorts of ideas can crystalize into necessity in a short time when you've eaten some good Chinese food.

The Magnetic Field's song 'Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side' kept running through my head even though we were blocks from the L.E.S. What can I say - I'm from Wisconsin, we don't get close to locations in song lyrics very often. Fortunately, Eileen and Josh were up ahead so they didn't hear my off-key humming - although it's possible that I could have passed it off as indigestion.

Our quest took us to an area just south of Houston St. - Soho to those in the know. I'm not sure if we wandered across part of Tribeca along the way, but since I never saw Robert DeNiro I'm going to guess we didn't.

With the crossing of Canal St., Chinatown gives way to Soho. It's just another of those New York wonders - kind of like crossing a Disney street and finding yourself suddenly in Tomorrowland instead of Storybookland.

Soho is the land of many galleries and has the highest concentration of people wearing black in the city where most people wear black. It's also a neat little area despite it's trendiness.

We found Manhattan Portage despite some sort of solar flares that adversely effected Josh's normally unerring sense of direction - something to do with reversing the polarity of the earth's magnetic field (not to be confused with the aforementioned group of with a similar name). Eileen bought a bag. I bought nothing as the limitedness of my budget sunk in. Josh went to find a bathroom somewhere.

The bathroom happened to be in a bar around the corner and it also happened to sound like a great idea to go there and have a drink - or several - before heading up to see Andrew's play. We were going to be seeing Kafka performed - you would want a drink too.

I'm going to skip the great bar story that included a somewhat stylish woman, an occupied women's room, the choice to use the men's room and Josh's psychic abilities predicting that the woman would exit the men's room precipiticely in four, three, two, one...told you so. Suffice it to say that it was a truly excellent moment.

After that truly excellent moment, we headed uptown to meet one of Eileen's high school friends, Nancy, for the play.

The play was great. There, I said it. It was great.

I wasn't expecting much, to be honest. It was off-off-off-Broadway and then a couple blocks further if you get my meaning and that doesn't often bode well for the play goer. This, however, was a wonderful exception.

The play was 'The Trial' and it was directed by Eileen's high school friend Andrew. I wish it were running longer, I would actually recommend it. It was well done from start to finish and performed on a small - very small - space, where the audience is essentially right there on the stage. Pulling that off is no small feat, but the actors did a great job of it and we all enjoyed it a lot. I for one did leave shaking my heading and muttering something like, 'fucking Kafka...' though.

Josh's new fiancee, Ladybear, met us and we all went to a bar a couple blocks up where Andrew and cast showed up shortly after. Drinks were had and my favorite quote of the night was uttered by the lovely Ava (the lone female in the play). Cue the earnest thespian face, leaning in across the table, left hand giving the Italian sign for 'delicious'...

" was like golden fucking caramel...being spoken," said Ava.

From there it was a foursome - the SF3 and Ladybear - and a trip to the Blue Ribbon Bakery. At least, I think that's where we ended up. As it turned out, those crazy solar flares also caused some restaurant confusion to occur.

Ladybear elaborated a bit on her uncanny ability to know how to pick up any woman over our late dinner. The irony that the one superpower I could really use was, in fact, given to a woman was not lost on me.

The subway trip back is impossible to describe, but believe me when I say that it was a classic destined to rank high in the annals of New York subway riding lore. There were bright blue stretch pants, high school boys in matching jeans and striped shirts, and words exchanged by two guys with their zippers open to begin with, followed by some dry humping, the offer of a jacket, and the exchanging of vows between the tart in tights and a penis. All this, and I wasn't even drunk - although half the train was it seemed.

The theatre of the absurd was the perfect nightcap.


dbackdad said...

Hoo-hoo. Great stories. Glad you had a good time.

tshsmom said...

WHAT?! No VIDEO of the subway performance? I'm soooo disappointed.

I'm glad that you lost track of time (and direction), and had a good time!

Shawn said...

Yeah...sadly, the subway remained unfilmed. It might have been bad form to film a guy asking a girl in bright blue stretch pants if she would take his penis in matrimony. She hesitated a moment until she seemingly realized that this was indeed just an offer to marry his penis and not him.

Joe said...

LOOOOVE The City - by the way - I'm Back! For now . . .

Shawn said...

Joe! My favorite counting guy. I'm glad you're back. Cheers.