Showing posts with label the boathouse restaurant. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the boathouse restaurant. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Morons in Manhattan IV

(Continued from Morons in Manhattan III)

With it’s storied history, architecture (though much of it is disappearing), and inimitable culture, New York City truly seems to have a life of its own.

Walking the streets of Manhattan is, more often than not, an interesting and unique adventure—it always is for me anyway. I should clarify that when I write ‘walking the streets,’ I don’t mean the touristy, packed-like-sardines parts of the city.

Take Times Square for example. If you've ever been there, you know what I'm talking about. I can't stand being there for very long, especially during peak hours.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been to NYC enough times to know my way around almost as well as the locals do. Walking the side-streets or lesser-known areas which usually have relatively fewer people is truly a much better way to experience the city, rather than following the well-known paths that ultimately lead to over-crowded tourist spots.

Much like a blank canvas to a painter, Manhattan can be the perfect backdrop for you to create and discover a uniquely colorful, eventful, and sometimes unpredictable set of experiences—even if it’s only for a few days of your life every year.

For me, it could take a year (maybe even two) of living in Suburbia to cumulatively experience the kind of excitement and fun that I would experience after just one weekend in NYC.

I mean that literally; and honestly, it's not for lack of trying.

But as I’ve said before, the most important variable that makes New York City unique are its people, make no mistake about it. I'd be hard-pressed to name a more diverse city in the U.S. It's one of the many things that fascinates me about the city.

Much to my dismay, I don't reside there. Because of this, I always have a strong desire to suck the marrow out of the few days I’m there every year; which is why I usually pack each day full of activities.

The day we had breakfast at the café on 23rd Street was no exception.

In fact, the day’s itinerary was so jam-packed with things to do and places to see, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to do everything I had wanted to do.

The itinerary I put together was very ambitious, but I definitely felt it was do-able.

This was the first time TD and his girlfriend had ever been to New York City, so I wanted them to experience as much of Manhattan as possible in the three days we were there.

Our first destination after leaving the café on 23rd and Broadway was the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It was a bit of a hike from 23rd Street, but we decided to walk as far as we could toward the museum to really take in and absorb the city on the way there.

As I mentioned, walking around NYC is one of my favorite things to do when I’m there. There's no better way to discover how great the city is than by walking around.

So I took us west on foot from 23rd Street, passing the Flatiron Building and continuing until we reached 8th Ave. Once we reached the corner, we took a right, going north into Chelsea.


From what I've read, Chelsea was once solidly Irish and housed a good deal of the workers who loaded/unloaded various warehouse peirs and truck terminals in the 1900s.

These days, I often hear Chelsea lightheartedly coined as a Gayborhood, due to its large gay population. The demographic or stereotype that I've often heard to describe the neighborhood has been that it's well populated with gym-toned gay men, affectionately referred to as 'Chelsea boys.'

Apparently, it's also become an alternative shopping destination, and the West Chelsea Arts District is home to over 370 art galleries and innumerable artist studios, making it a veritable hub for Modern Contemporary Art.

Anytime I’m the Chelsea area, I always think of the lyrics that Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows penned for a song named…you guessed it, ‘Chelsea.’

In fact, on our walk through Chelsea I began singing the lyrics to that song out loud in my best A.D. impersonation, which was, in retrospect, a bad idea.

“Never go to New York City these days…somethin’ about the buildings in Chelsea just kills me.”

Before I could continued, TD immediately rolled is eyes and began either mocking the song, or me (perhaps both), singing his own version of my butchered version.

“If he keeps singing this song now, someone please just kill me…”

Everyone within earshot were probably nodding in agreement with TD, thanking him for intervening in what was surely a horribly bad rendition of the song.

After a few death-glares from the people walking by me, I relented and spared my Chelsean audience from further torture.

About ten blocks later, I started feeling thirsty.

I noticed there was a Duane Reade store up ahead, so I told TD and company I was stopping to get a drink, and they decided to wait outside while I went in.

Predictably, there wasn't anything exciting going on inside, except perhaps for the interesting sight of a girl wearing super-short, beige daisy duke shorts with big, brown girly-boots up to her knees.

After muttering, "Hmm, there's something I don't see every day," I walked to the counter with some snacks and a beverage whose contents I'd already chugged half-way by the time I reached the cashier. I fumbled through my pockets before finding some cash to pay the cashier, then headed for the door.

As I walked out with my plastic bag, The Diva asked, “What did you get?”

I was feeling playful, and responded in my imitation of gay character Anthony Marentino from the HBO Series, Sex and the City:

“Well, apparently there’s not an anal beads section at Duane Reade. So I settled for some pencils and soap.”

TD smiled and joined in with his own feminine lisp, “Oh stop it you filthy pervert, we can’t use those here anyway…”

“Oh yes I can, sailorboy! You just try and stop me!”

“You’re such a gyspy savage,” he retorted.

“Oh stop it, you sonofabitch!”

As we laughed in amusement at the fact that: (a) we're basically idiots, and (b) we would be great as gay men if only we could fix that whole being-into-chicks thing, the Diva listens to our light-hearted, lisp-heavy voice impersonations and looks on with a curious expression—as if she’d just discovered someone had pissed in her ice cube tray after having finished a cube-filled drink and crunching on a pee-cube unwittingly.

"Wow, you guys do that really well! Are you guys sure you’re not gay?” TD’s girlfriend asked, with one eyebrow raised.

TD and I let out hearty belly-laughs and I replied, “No, but since I think we fit into that metrosexual category, I guess that makes us sort of gay, in a non-gay way.”

“Dude, being metro is totally like being gay-light, or something like that…we’re totally gay!”

She paused, and a puzzled look came over her face.

“What’s a metro…” she began to ask.

I was about to roll my eyes at what I thought was another 'playing dumb' moment, when she stopped, smiled, and said, “Ha-ha, I’m just kidding!”

"Nice! You almost got me!" I said.

We all agreed that TD and I may not be hot enough to be allowed to be gay, got a good laugh out of it, and continued with the self-effacing jokes as we walked.

Yes, moments like this confirm our moronic dickishness, I know.

Anyway, much to my surprise, we made it about twenty blocks before Little Ms. Sunshine decided she needed to use the bathroom.

Again.

This time, however, I had a full bladder myself, and was glad to stop at a bathroom somewhere.

We looked around and there weren’t any places we could stop to use the bathroom where we were, but I did notice what appeared to be an upscale restaurant about half a block ahead.

I must hold my bladder quite a bit when I’m in town, because I've noticed I always seem to hold it until the last second when I visit, and by the time I decide to relieve myself, I’m pretty much at Pee Defcon 5.

So I devised a plan to have TD distract the hostess with questions, while I snuck in behind him to use their bathroom.

It was like taking candy from a baby.

I successfully made it past the maître d' and into the bathroom area with no one noticing.

As I opened the men’s room door, a pleasantly crisp, clean smell rushed to my nose.

It was a huge, very clean, lavish, marble-tiled bathroom.

I was so impressed, I stopped to look around and check things out. As a result, I almost forgot to unzip my pants and nearly pissed myself. But, I quickly snapped out of my stupor and huried to the urinal, barely getting the old boosh-canoosh out in time to do my business.

“Ahhhh!” I sighed, in relief.

Then I looked down towards my feet and noticed it. The coolest thing I’ve ever seen in a public bathroom.

“Oh man, sweet! This place rocks!” I said, out loud.

What’s the reason this restaurant rocks, you ask?

Splashguard on the urinal. That’s right.

And it was a marble splashguard at that.

Pretty snazzy I’d say.

I know I keep saying this, but sometimes it’s the simple things in life that impresses me the most.

I mean, how often do you see that, right?

Um, never.

At least not in the States, anyway.

I realize it’s probably strange to get so excited about a restaurant urinal, but I must say, this was a nice urinal. I'm talking the Holy Grail of Urinals my friends.

Anyway, about half-way through doing my business, I hear a guy walk in.

He walked over to the urinal at the opposite end of mine, and was rambling on about some nonsense, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it because he was talking like he had a sock stuffed in his mouth.

I thought he sounded a bit strange, so looked to my right and realized that he was simultaneously urinating, eating, and talking on his cell-phone.

At first, I cringed at how disgusting I thought this was, but then I shrugged it off and just figured he was just in a major hurry or something.

I finished my business, testing the slashguard's effectiveness, and I'm happy to report that it performed admirably. No Splashes.

Afterwards, as I was walking out, I thought about it and realized the difficulty of this feat, then thought to myself, “that man’s a genius!”

I immediately told TD about the guy in the bathroom, and his reaction was the same as mine.

“Dude, that’s pretty gross.”

“But you’re right, it is kind of impressive. I mean I’m imagining that now, and it would actually be pretty tough.”

“Ew, that’s disgusting!” said Ms. Wonderful, her face wincing in a way which indicated that the thought of this type of multi-tasking offended her delicate sensibilities.

Shaking her head in disapproval, she said, “You guys are actually impressed by this? That's not impressive, that's gross!”

TD replied, “Yeah, I mean it is pretty gross, I guess. But still...”

“I know you don’t have a penis, but stop to think about it. That's hard!”

“Ew! No thanks! I don’t even want to talk about it, much less think about it!”

Clearly, she was not impressed by his rationale.

Can't say I blamed her.

I cut in and added, "You're right, I guess that is pretty nasty no matter how difficult it is; but the splashguard...the splashguard thing is pretty cool, you have to admit."

Both of them replied, in unison, "True, true..."

After the bathroom multi-tasker and splashguard conversations lost their novelty, we continued our journey, walking a few blocks more then turning on 40th Street, going toward 5th Avenue.

By the time we reached Bryant Park, we realized that we were starting to get behind on time.

So, to keep on schedule with the itinerary, we hailed a cab up to The Plaza Hotel, and walked the rest of the way from there.


When we arrived at the fountain in front of The Plaza, The Diva noticed someone dressed as the Statue of Liberty and wanted to take a picture with them, so we humored her and took the damn pictures, before continuing along the East side of Central Park for about 20 blocks until we finally reached The Met.

When you don’t live and walk in NYC all the time, you forget that 20 blocks is a bit of a hike if you’re not used to walking that much!


We sat for a few moments to have hot dog, the staple of any self-respecting New Yorker's street diet. TD grabbed my camera and took a photo of me and The Diva while we sat outside the museum.

When I looked at the picture he took, I noticed that an Asian girl to my right was 'what-the-fuck-ing' me with her face as TD took the picture.

Check it out, it's kind of amusing.


Anyway, after a few minutes we got our lazy asses up and started walking toward the museum.

As we approached the steps, we noticed a slew of rickshaw/pedicabs (those bicycle-carriage guys) to our right, lined up outside the museum on 5th Avenue, ready for action.

We laughed and dismissed them, all in agreement that using them wasn't really worth what they were overcharging—and besides “that’s too touristy,” we decided.

Famous last words.

After walking 30+ blocks, then walking around the museum for 2+ hours, my friends and I were feeling quite worn out.

By the time we decided that we'd seen enough of The Met, my feet were feeling sore, and I could tell everyone was feeling cranky, to say the least.


As we walked out of the museum, feeling both tired and hungry, we looked at the bicycle-carriage guys again and had an entirely different opinion of them.

We all gave in and did the tourist thing without much resistance, agreeing that we needed to get to our next destination as fast as we could, without having to walk there.

That destination being The Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park. With this in mind, picked the pedicab with the most sitting space, and off we went. The poor guy had to schlep all 3 of us.


But, I must say, the ride was definitely worth it considering how old our fatigued and hungry thirty-something year-old bodies were feeling (The Diva being fourty-something, of course; just wanted to point that out simply because it brings me joy).

Plus, it was something we'd never done before, so while we were on the back of the bike, we rationalized it as a 'new experience,' instead of viewing it as a sell-out of our agreed upon anti-tourist principles.

Looking back, I guess it did contradict our agreement to not do tourist things, but what can you do. Sometimes, you have to contradict yourself.

As native New Yorker, Walt Whitman would've said, "Do I contradict myself? Very well then, I contradict myself. I am large...I contain multitudes."

Considering the fact that I'm basically a walking contradiction, I use that quote a good deal of the time to explain the things I do; and I'm fine with that. I'm kind of proud of it actually.

Especially when it means I can be lazy and take the easy way out.

There, I said it. Whatever!

All things considered, I would take the pedicab again. We did have a ton of things still left to do, so we would need to pace ourselves and conserve as much energy as we could save.

Afterall, The Boathouse Restaurant awaited our palates, but the last game ever played at Yankee Stadium that night was the climax of the day's itinerary!
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