Monday, January 14, 2013

New York January 2013

We decided some time back that we wanted to do another week in an apartment in New York City. We like pretending that we live there for a short amount of time, and its nice to be able to take the dogs with us. Last time we rented an apartment in the Village. This time we decided to move a bit north and try Chelsea. Next time we’ll try the Upper West Side, maybe!

On Friday January 4th we drove to New York, leaving New Hampshire around 10 AM and arriving in the city before 3 PM. The trip went very smoothly, with no traffic issues for a change. The apartment in Chelsea turned out to be wonderful. On the first floor (only one flight of stairs), its a roomy studio, with a nice bathroom and a small efficiency kitchen. Once we are settled we take the dogs out for a short walk. We were worried that Cosmo would be freaked out his first time in the city, but no. Cosmo proves to be faithful to his breed. Westies are game, and Cosmo is game for the city. He is happy, interested, and downright gleeful. He plays nicely with the dogs in a nearby dog park. Harper on the other hand is seeing or smelling lots of scary ghosts. She is upset and scared, and doesn't want to poop either. This is a mystery, since she’s the dog that has experienced the city several times now.

Friday night we meet Sarah's high school friend Liz at Eataly, a nifty market / restaurant a few blocks away. I have wine and gnocchi, and we catch up on each others lives. I love Liz! 

Harper is okay loose in the apartment, but Cosmo can't be trusted yet so he goes in the crate when we are gone. When we return we can hear him crying loudly. Uh oh, that's not good. We don't want to keep the neighbors awake! Fortunately we have no plans to stay out past 10 most nights. He sounds pitiful, but there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s not the crate, it’s that he is sad to be left behind in a strange place. He seems to do a bit better if he can see Harper, so we experiment with putting the crate on the bed. This seems to help a little. A Kong filled with peanut butter and kibble helps even more, but too much peanut butter upsets Harper’s sensitive stomach, and we can’t just give a Kong to Cosmo, so this solution can only be used sparingly.

My goal this trip to New York is to have fun, relax, and to not eat like a pig. We can eat lots of good food; I just need to stop eating when I'm full. This is easier said than done since I really love to eat. I recognize when I'm getting full but I also have a habit of eating fast so sometimes the fullness signal doesn't come in fast enough. And if what we're eating is especially yummy I hate to stop even if I'm stuffed. But I'm trying to learn to eat slower, and pay attention to the signals my body sends.

Saturday morning we eat a light breakfast in the apartment. Lee takes the dogs to a self-service dog wash that's several miles away. They look lovely when he returns and they're pretty tired too.

Then we walk down to Chelsea Market for lunch. This is a converted warehouse that is now filled with little shops, groceries and restaurants. We walk through the entire thing and decide on Thai. I like the thin beef noodles I have, but it's not very flavorful, and not spicy at all.

Then we hang out in the apartment for a while, walk up to Whole Foods to get salad for dinner and then it's off to see Once. I loved the movie, and the music. It's such a nice story, involving two people that admit their attraction to each other but stay faithful to their partners. I loved the set for the musical, a Dublin bar with mirrors, and minimal prop changes to change the location of the action. And there was a great preshow, with musicians standing around on stage, playing Dublin music as if it was a real bar. They even let audience members come on stage a buy a drink! It's a romantic, uplifting show, sad, funny, and very musical. It deserves all the Tony’s that it won this year. And it was pretty cool to see it soon enough that plenty of the original cast was still taking part, not to mention that its been less than a year since we visited Dublin in person.

On Sunday for my morning run I run along High line and the Hudson, around 4.5 miles. It’s in the 30s, cold but not bad. We have brunch at a neighborhood restaurant and then take the dogs to the local dog park. I put my new polarizing filter and lens hood on my camera, and wander about taking pictures. I love what the polarizing filter does but I actually need some advice on using a lens hood. It’s supposed to help avoid glare and sunspots when taking pictures on a sunny day, but I still run into problems.

That evening we meet Eugenie for cocktails at Dbar, on 19th St in Chelsea. I googled best cocktails in Chelsea to find this place. We walk in. it’s very small and stylish, all black and chrome. We tell the bartender we are meeting a friend. He asks,  “Is she a cute little old lady in a red coat?” Oh my...if Euge is now an old lady what the hell am I? She's still cute though! That's great.

Dbar turns out to be a black gay bar; they didn't mention that on Yelp. Euge and I both get Manhattans, and mine totally knocks me on my ass. I think they needed to be stirred. We have a lovely drunken conversation about God knows what. Just like old times a little bit anyway.

Then Lee and I hop on the subway, uptown to 72nd street, to a restaurant named Sushi Yasuka. We have sautéed mushrooms, black cod, the 6-piece omakase and lots of green tea. Delish, reasonable, and wider aisles so no danger of being doused with hot tea

On Monday our plans are to meet Chris and Adrian in Queens and try the dim sum there. I anxiously plan out how to get to Queens on the LIRR. This is the first time we venture out of Manhattan on one of our city trips. It turns out to be pretty easy. We get off at the Flushing Main Street Station and are suddenly immersed in Chinatown! Fish balls, scallion pancakes, dumplings are being sold right there on the street. We find the dim sum restaurant, Jade Asian Something. It’s a huge room of course, full of Chinese, and us. But the dim sum is just okay, not enough of the dumplings that we like. I think maybe all the Chinese in the room have been away from Asia too long! But such a fun area for walking around, and the egg tarts from a nearby bakery are pretty good.

Then it’s back to Manhattan. Chris and Adrian are staying right by Pen Station in the New Yorker hotel so we help them check in. This is a nice Art Deco Style hotel, and they got a great deal on Groupon too. Then we all walk over to our apartment to hang with the dogs, relax, eat snacks and drink tea. Then it’s off to dinner at a restaurant in the east village called Calliope. It was recently reviewed in the New Yorker. They gave it a great review and they were right! It was fabulous! We get appetizers, lamb neck, halibut, glasses of wine, coffee, and an apple tart. Rats, my moderation flew out the window, but my, it was good.

On Tuesday we go on another tour at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side. This one is about the various shops that were in the building at different times, including a German beer hall, a kosher butcher, and an auction house. We walk over to Balthazar’s for lunch. It’s a classic French bistro with delicious food. We say goodbye to Chris and Adrian, go rescue the dogs and spend the rest of the afternoon in the dog park in the sun.

We have dinner at the Red Cat, right around the corner from our apartment with Steffen, my friend Bob’s boyfriend. Steffen is doing as well as can be expected. He is being strong, and seems determined to survive this blow, for himself and for Teddy, their cute dog. There are no results on Bob’s autopsy yet but Steffen did find a copy of his will while going through some papers. He says he is thinking of learning to drive! Good for him. He is a sweetie....maybe he’ll drive up and come and visit us someday.

We can tell by Wednesday that we are starting to feel ready to go home. We are lazy in the morning, but decide to take the subway uptown and visit the Met in the afternoon. It’s a long walk across Central Park to the museum from the 81st Street stop. We visit the Matisse and Photo exhibits. The Matisse exhibit shows various painting pairs and triplets that he produced over his lifetime. He would paint the same scene using various techniques and colors, changing all kinds of little things from one picture to the next. It was fun to decide which one I liked the best. The photo exhibit was about photo manipulation before the age of Photoshop. All I could think was how much more difficult it was to alter an image back then. I like to take pictures and mess with them a little, but I don’t think I would be nearly as interested in it if it was still as complicated as it used to be.

We go back to the apartment, rest a bit, take the dogs to the dog park. Book of Mormon is the finale for our trip. It was so hard to get tickets for this show. We have seats in the orchestra, but they are off on the side and I almost think it would be better to have been in the balcony this time. Its a funny show, irreverent hardly does it justice. But it’s not as offensive as you might think. I’m not sure what a devout Christian or Mormon would think, but I kept thinking the show makes the point that all religions believe in things that on face value are wacko. So it takes faith and a bit of suspension of reality to keep that faith. The show is not at all sentimental, and it is obviously by the same guys that did South Park, but the songs are catchy, the acting is great, and the story is really, really funny.

Book of Mormon was a great way to end our trip. We are glad to be home, back in our little house in the woods. I saw some deer in the woods behind our house, the dogs are so glad to be back in their house and yard. I love going to New York. I used to think I wanted to live there, but not any more. I’m very glad we live where we do.

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