Really beat. Lousy night's sleep, followed by a day in-transit, returning from a terrific 5-day weekend in glorious, glorious New York City. So, briefly, a series of images, moments, experiences, memories from the past few days.
Nearly 4 years away from New York. Longest in my entire life. And Almost all of that time spent in the very much not-like-New-York Great State of Texas. As the plane bounced its way through a layer of heavy clouds and significant, worrying turbulence on our approach to LaGuardia Firday evening, I was momentarily slack-jawed by the sight of all that water. Rivers, oceans, bridges, in every direction, surrounding this jutting, jagged metropolis. Beautiful, expansive, swirling bodies of water. Living in a desert, you tend to forget about water.
Trees! And birds! And more trees! Trees in Texas are really "trees." More like scrub, but with some attitude. Beautiful, but in a sturdy, tenacious, "fuck you desert!" sort of way. We simply don't have trees that reach upward, stretching and swaying, leafy fingers clawing for sunlight and dew, green and lush and dense vegetation, Darwinian, struggling toward the sky. And in New York -- and particularly on the ride to Stamford, Connecticut Friday evening -- it was in embarassing abundance.
Delicious food, delicious wine, and the comfort of family in the home of my Uncle Pat and Aunt Susan. Mom's there as well. The first moment, of many, where I feel the Northward Pull, the desire to return to New York. I hate being so far away. It used to be that I could return pretty much anytime -- all I needed was a 4 day weekend to make the trip worthwhile. But now it's half a country away, and money ain't growing on trees.
Glorious weather in NYC on Saturday afternoon. Sunny, low 80's, and breezy breezy breezy. Wandering around the Theater District for an hour or so prior to the matinee of Hairspray. OK show -- but not great, not by a long shot. Are theater audiences so desperate for entertainment that THIS passes for brilliance? I mean, 2 good songs, some nice performances, but come on. It felt like some sort of weird fusion of Grease and Little Shop of Horrors, authored, produced and performed by a talented High School class. And $100 for shitty obstructed-view box seats at the Neil Simon Theater. They should be ashamed of themselves. Should have just gone to see the Blue Man Group.
Meeting friends at the Times Square Toys R' Us, and then fleeing that fucking nightmare as quickly as possible. A prime example of Bigger being FAR from Better. An absolute horror show.
$60 for a round of drinks at the Marriott Marquise. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST! That's just 4 drinks! Yeah, I had a double Bombay Sapphire, but goddamn! Still with said friends -- dear friends Pat, Amy, and Rich, as well as Rich's new ladyfriend Lisa. Dear, dear friends all. Yet another Fuck-I-miss-New-York moment. I'm too far away from folks I hold dear.
Flee Times Square and the passing of the Olympic Torch. Just happened to be there that day, missed the whole thing, but apparently there was going to be a big to-do in the square that evening to "celebrate" (a.k.a. promote) the event. Showtunes, local celebs, and I mean, USHER WAS GOING TO BE THERE!!! No one says "Olympics" like Usher. YEAH! Mobs of tourists, streets barricaded all over the place. 1/9 line, take me away! To the Village we go. Ye Olde Stomping Grounds.
Stop at Jeckyll and Hyde's. Man, that place sucks these days.
Head over to The Slaughtered Lamb. Man, that place sucks these days.
These places were SO cool about 10 years ago. Now? Total suck. But still, good beer all the same. Even if it was served in shitty, plastic, logo'd half-yard glasses. You really can't go home again.
Wander the Village, stop and smell the flowers (really! I love those flower stands). Buy some cool, cheap earrings. Briefly entertain getting my nipple pierced. Decide that what we need is a good dose of gay. I mean, this IS the Village. So, on to The Duplex. Not actually a "gay bar." But, I mean, it's a piano bar within stumbling distance of the Christopher St. subway station -- on its butchest day it's about as straight as Lombard Street. By far the high point of the evening. Lifted the fog, brightened the mood, and brought tears to Richard's eyes (important side note -- we were working overtime to avoid melancholy this evening, as Richard is off to Lord-knows-where for a year. Iraq, Afghanistan, who know's fuckall. So, active attempts to keep the Serious Stuff at bay).
Sitting by the East River, upper East Side, Sunday morning/afternoon. Pure bliss. More gorgeous weather. Hanging with my gorgeous, single sis-in-law Kelly (cool, successful, a serious catch -- contact me offline for matchmaking opportunities) and previously noted friends. Sad goodbye's all around, then working out at s-i-l's gym followed by meeting up with oldest, dearest friend Gregory (the man who is responsible for a straight guy knowing So Damn Much about gay bars in the Village -- note that I'm not complaining. Just giving credit where it's due. All straight men should have good gay role models. And should spend some time in gay bars so they get a feel for what straight women have to put up with...).
HOURS setting up a surround sound stereo system. OK, so this wasn't the high point of the weekend. But it works now, and that's cool.
Check in at the Hotel 17 in Gramercy Park -- what a cool fuckin' place! Great neighborhood, incredible building (sort of a dormitory setup -- sinks in the rooms, shared private toilets/shower rooms in each hall). Must have been a sort of women's apartment house in the early parts of last century. Personally I like to think it was a Home for Wayward Women. Girl's lookin' for TROUBLE -- you know the sort of place I mean. Loose women, smoking cigarettes in darkened hallways, biding time 'til lights out. And there definitely had to be a house mistress named Ilsa.
At least, that imagery helped me get to sleep later that night. But, well, that's not an unusual occurence, regardless of where I am...
Stumbling around the Village til after midnight. Drama from a drunken Harold. Heartfelt catching up with Gregory. Fielding passes from charming and less-than-charming gay men with alarming frequency. Apparently, I've become both "cute" and "pretty darn hot" (thank you Ray) as my 30's have paraded by. Fuck it -- I'll take what I can get.
Touristing on Monday -- Empire State Bldg. (but not the top -- too long a wait), Chrysler Bldg., Grand Central (haven't been there since before the renovation -- christ, what a beautiful building). Also, "33rd and Bird," coolest bird store EVER.
More upper east side, sandwiches by the river, taxi to Riverdale, dinner and drinks at a diner with MORE old friends, then back to Kelly's, wander about the neighborhood to run some errands and eat some ice cream, TV, sleep, cab ride to LaGuardia and back to my family.
God, I missed them. And dammit, I REALLY miss New York. Hoping to bring the whole family, together, next year. I need to spend time in my city with my kids.
And I really need to figure out some way to live there, someday. Maybe.
Mood: Kinda beat, but happy. And kinda frisky. Mrowr.
Now Playing: Nada.