It strikes me that what I usually do when in This New York is write long, rambling blog posts about it. Well, I'm a creature of tradition, so here goes.
I have said before that there is no real point in describing flights, since you've been on one (unless you're *you* or *you*) and you know what it's like. But there were a couple of distinguishing features to this one. The first is that I was sitting in front of a real life sitcom character. Not an actor, one of those stock comic types who only appears in 25 minute segments with an ad break. She had an accent which made your average Miss Adelaide sound subtly underplayed, and she moaned about literally everything. We were a little late taking off and- having kvetched about everything from the location of her seat to the size of those little red blankets to the fact she had to stow her hand luggage in the overhead locker- she announced to the plane at large 'an extra hour I could have stayed in bed this morning. It's a scandal. A SCANDAL'. At this point her husband uttered the only word I heard him speak the entire time which was- I swear- 'Oy'. Just before we took off, the stewardess announced that there were a few seats available in Premium Economy on a first come, first served basis. The moment the seatbelt light was switched off Sitcomella got up and ran, actually ran, down the aisle in order to have first pick. This was impressive, given the hip troubles she has been undergoing and which we had already heard about in forensic detail.
The other aspect of the flight which bears repetition is the film 'Bandslam'. I chose it because I couldn't handle anything heavier, and it's adorable- smart, sweet and funny. It struck me as the kind of film Juno was intending to be, if less ambitious. The gags were easy and witty, without that Juno tendency to broadcast 'you didn't expect me to use THAT word, did you? I am clever and witty and ironic you see'. It also has LIsa Kudrow in it, and there is a rule round these parts that anything with Lisa Kudrow in it is good. It made me cry, but you won't because you're not as much of a wuss as I am.
So I got to JFK, and I got to my hotel which is cheap but unremarkable, in a cheap, unremarkable neighbourhood between Chelsea and Midtown. Johnnie, a university friend who lives a few blocks away, had very kindly agreed to meet up for a welcome drink, which became a welcome (in both senses) Cuban food blowout. She and I gassed for a couple of hours, ate a metric fuckton of food, and then I rolled home.
Yesterday was, as is now traditional, big walk time- this time along the High Line, through to Union Square, and then meandering around the Village before heading to Lower Broadway and the idology office for lunch and remedial computer help. A quick breather at the hotel and then into the sleazy gay underworld. Well, not really. Actually a rather nice russian-themed bar on 51st where Greg drank vodka and I drank beer. The website claimed that, since the bar was in the theater district (which it isn't quite) one might see Alan Cumming or Cyndi Lauper popping in for a drink, or Liza or Chaka dropping by to play the piano. Astonishingly, none of these things came to pass. After a couple of drinks and stuff the 'Jon eats far too much food' aspect of all my holidays took a Mexican turn with some Mole enchilladas (chocolatey sauce rather than adorably blind vermin). We topped off the evening by meandering down to Lincoln Center, where we watched a little of the night's performance of 'Stiffelio' on the foyer screens and since we didn't know the story (despite Greg having seen it just three nights before- early Verdi is like that) decided to make it up, a heady concoction involving priests in fancy dress, a burning cathedral, a Halloween party, and Sibelius.
Today was Brooklyn. Brooklyn without a map. Brooklyn without a map is lostmaking. I got off at a subway stop, walked down some nice treelined streets (I have since worked out that I was most likely in Prospect Heights) to a large arch, which subsequent research tells me is the Soldiers and Sailors arch. So, you know, well done soldiers and sailors.
Prospect Park is gorgeous, all undulating and Capability Brownish. And smaller than Central Park, which for someone who is both lazy and mapless is something of a blessing. I eventually navigated myself to a Subway stop and headed to the Bridge for some pizza (Grimaldi's, which I can announce makes the second best pizzas in New York) and then a nice high up walk back into Manhattan, during which I composed much of this post in my head, like some kind of latter-day blogging Wordsworth.
And tonight it's off to the Met, for the best Rosenkavalier cast that the year 2000 had to offer (I shouldn't be snarky- I'm expecting them to be pretty damn good ten years on). Needless to say, I shall be reporting on this in full. Whether you like it or not.
Favourite overheard comments so far:
(Man on phone, outside St Paul's Church, Fulton Street) 'All I'm saying is you gotta bring some of that fuckin' Macadamia Nut Brandy, man'
(Man in overalls outside my hotel, talking to other man in overalls) 'So he like humped my dog, and since then my dog is all, like, y'know?'
*If you read my previous NY blog posts back in April you'll know the drill by now. If you didn't, well, that isn't my fault, is it?