Tuesday, June 24, 2008

new york city: the journey

I realized I forgot my camera before I even got on the plane. I considered running home real quick and picking it up, but I didn't want to risk missing the flight. If I missed the flight, it would have a total waste of the JetBlue voucher that Tom gave me for my birthday and it also would have meant that i'd have to hurry and book another flight with less legroom and no free tv. Then THAT would mean I'd have to go home again and get my portable dvd player. So I figured I'd just go without my camera. All of the following pics are from Maria's camera.

On the way over, TNT was showing Starship Troopers. I watched a lot of that, but flipped around to Cartoon Network and VH1 Classic. The guy next to me was watching Starship Troopers too, so I always knew when the commercials were over. NPH is in ST. Remember that? I brought along two books and two magazines, but didn't crack any of them thanks to JetBlue and its media stimulants.

I rested, but didn't really sleep by the time we touched down at JFK at about 5:30 AM. I hate taxis, so as usual, I hopped onto the wonderful JFK Airtrain (a big reason I prefer JFK to LaGuardia). This was not before having the usual Airtrain metrocard trouble that I have every time I go. See, you take the Airtrain to the subway terminal, but the Airtrain costs five bucks which you pay for after you ride it if you're arriving in the city. After that, you need to buy another metrocard to ride the subway. The signage doesn't explicitly spell out the whole ordeal and I think they get a lot of people paying too much for an Airtrain pass when they wanted to be buying a metrocard subway pass. Anyway, during all this hubbub I met this guy named Mike from Salt Lake City who was visiting his friend in Brooklyn. I sort of helped him through the process even though I had to re-figure it out myself. It was his first time in NYC and he was eager, but skeptical.

So about 45 minutes later I arrived at Maria's apartment where we napped the morning away. She took work off. When we awoke we took a short jaunt through Wall Street. Maria lives at the heart of the financial district, which means her neighbors seem more stressed out than the rest of the city (except for her neighbor in 7F who, by the sound of it, has found a really really exciting way to relieve stress).

After the Wall Street adventure it was back to the apartment because I desperately needed to shave. I had grown quite accustomed to receiving compliments about the 'stache, but since it made my upper lip too hot and it had a bunch of food in it, I decided to shave it. Maria didn't want me to shave unless it was my decision and it totally was. Honestly, it was hard to keep it long enough just to show it to her once I came to New York.

That afternoon, we wound up near Times Square. I think this may have been the day we went to The Burger Joint, which is a favorite grease festival of Maria and her peeps. Pretty damn good. It's well hidden behind a curtain in the lobby of a ritzy hotel.

Rather than seeing a broadway show we hit a movie. I always feel a little bad when I see a movie in New York, when I could be doing hundreds of other things; but hey, a movie is a movie and I'm always up for it. Plus the theaters there are pretty neato because the auditoriums are stacked on top of each other and you need to take like five escalators to get where you're going. Anyway, we saw Get Smart. If I were in a worse mood I may have liked it less, but I thought it was pretty good. Honestly, I was shamefully looking forward to seeing it. Over the past few weeks I've been giggling to myself at some of the tv spots while others in the room seem to be rolling their eyes. See if you can guess the part that had Maria and me in stitches.

Did we eat again after that? Maybe.

We found ourselves back in the apartment that night which was fine because we had so much How I Met Your Mother and The Living Daylights to watch. I also brought my guitar controller for the Wii. With Maria's controller we were able to have an actual real guitar match or two. Her roomie, Chelsie joined us. Chels is quite adept and eager at the thing. After that, we introduced Jaclyn to the dice game. We spent Friday night in, but had a blast the old fashioned way. I got some awesome Chinese from down the street.

Saturday was a lot more New Yorky. We hit up the Broadway show Xanadu which was pretty funny, especially the female lead. It's based on the movie starring Olivia Newton-John and is about an ancient Greek muse who inspires a struggling artist to open a roller rink. Maria and I watched the movie together a few months ago. It has some golden moments, but for the most part it's semi-disastrous. To give you an idea of what kind of movie it is, I'm pretty sure it's Phoebe's favorite movie on Friends. Anyway, the Broadway musical had all the great music from the movie, but poked fun at the movie a little to much for me. I thought they could've relished the camp a little more than just stabbed it so much. Tony Roberts is in it. He did some great stuff in Annie Hall, a great film that's a lot about New York.

There's a really fabulous comic book shop called Forbidden Planet. Maria said she totally went in there a while ago and thought of me. I bought some multi-sided dice and a replica of the original Star Trek phaser. I also got a sweet video of a Starship Enterprise model with working lights. I'd put it here, but for some reason, the video I got from Maria's camera isn't working on my computer. If I ever get it working, I'll stick it on my and J.R.'s Star Trek blog.

For some reason, this is the only picture I got at Forbidden Planet. I had to take it because I think it's a misuse of an apostrophe.

That night we did the only thing we planned in advance, which was going to Ninja New York. It's a wonderful restaurant that's run by ninjas. They lower you down into a secret cavernous lair and then sneak up on you whenever they can. Chelsie, Jaclyn and this Dan guy (who works at VH-1 Classic!) came along.

We got a couple of sushi rolls and some crab cakes. The following video shows a ninja preparing the clams special that Dan got. If you watch you'll see the ninja pick up the fire a couple of times.

Sunday was church of course. I really liked the ward. The gospel doctrine teacher gave out full size candy bars. Afterward, we just happened to have a linger longer. I couldn't pass up a sloppy joe, but Maria resisted because she wanted to go to he Shake Shack afterward.

I must admit, I liked Shake Shack's food more than Burger Joint's. The burger patties were thinner at Shake Shack and I like that a lot more. I like it going down easy like sandwich meat. Even the cheese fries were really good and they were really just cheez-whiz on crinkle fries. I made a mistake of getting a hot dog instead, so I had to finish Maria's burger. The hot dogs didn't treat me too right this time. If I have one thing against this trip, it's the hot dogs. They've been better in the past.

Here are some photos from the roof of Maria's building.

Monday morning we hit Battery Park and saw the Statue of Liberty from a distance. That blob to the right of Maria is the statue.

We did get better pictures of the statue, but I like this one of Maria. I guess I could actually bother to put up a better picture of the Statue of Liberty, but instead I'll just say, what, you've never seen a photo of Lady Liberty before? Look it up!

After that, just for fun we went to Barney's New York. I really only know Barney's from that Saturday Night Live sketch with Jimmy Fallon as the really snobby pretentious clerk who works there who is always folding shirts and looking down at the clientèle. You know the one, right? Fallon invariably cracks up whenever he does that character. Anyway, it was pretty trippy in there. Maria looked at a few shoes and most of them were about 700 bucks. There were a few jackets for like $2,500. Our clerk seemed pretty pretentious, but very helpful (perhaps all those Jimmy Fallon sketches has made Barney's salespeople want to be a bit more approachable). After trying on a couple of $100 cardigans (and frantically trying to re-fold them correctly) we started to head out.

On the way out we looked up, and we saw... guess! You wouldn't believe it. Here's a hint -- the second most profitable living Beatle. YES! RINGO FREAKING STARR! Ringo Starr went shopping with me at Barney's New York! So instead of leaving I said to Maria, let me stay and hang out with Ringo. So we played it cool and just kept shopping on that same floor. Fortunately I didn't weird him out since there was plenty of stuff to legitimately shop for.

I'm not sure what it is, but I uncharacteristically get star-struck when the moments come. I've been trying to work on my non-creepy celebrity approach dialogue, but I haven't thought up a really good one that makes me seem non-gushing.

Anyway, Ringo bought the same hoodie that I tried on. It could very well have been the exact same one since Ringo is probably my size. Like many people you see in movies or on tv, he's smaller in person than you'd think. I totally was like Ringo Starr is shopping in my wake! He looked good too. It was fun to hear him talk all Beatlesly. He and his wife (or whoever she was) got the same guy who was helping me to go find a t-shirt of a specific size so that they'd have two. The t-shirt said "peace" on the front. If anything, Maria and I agreed that our conversation with him should have been: "Really, Ringo? A "peace" t-shirt? Don't you think that's just a little too obvious?"

Anyway, if we didn't run into Ringo I wouldn't have found this snazzy track top marked down to $50 from $100. I think it adds seven years of sophistication.

I had to catch the plane after that and Maria and I said good-bye. Even though it wasn't planned as well as we would have liked, we had a great time and she was really good to cart me around. For those of you thinking about visiting, you'll enjoy it. Maria will treat you right and her place is really roomy and nice.

Anyway, on the flight home, Mike (the guy I met on the way in) said hi to me on the plane. He was in a much better mood than when I saw him last and said he had a great time as well.

Bravo showed Beverly Hills Cop.


Blogger Maria said...

Thanks for taking photos while you were here-I don't know why I didn't already take care of that.

Shopping with Ringo was pretty awesome.

Maybe I lost my phone, so I just have my blackberry.

June 24, 2008 9:19 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Nice re-cap, Jon. The ninja restaurant sounds like a good time. And I really like your new track top.

June 25, 2008 3:28 PM  
Blogger SRA said...

That's heartening, Jon...I'm thinking of going to visit over my b-day at the end of March next year (yes, I'm that much of a planner)...

June 26, 2008 1:22 PM  
Blogger Rhett said...

I printed this post out at lunch with out pictures and it was 6+ pages long double spaced. Did you even write a paper that long in college?

June 27, 2008 12:29 AM  

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