I :heart: NY (In Which I Miss My Chance to Take a Greyhound on the Hudson Riverline)

What’s this?  A blog?  The things I’ll resort to when stuck solo at Newark Airport for two-plus hours (finally posting this almost a week later as I was waiting on buddy Sendil to upload his pictures for my own personal use). I started writing a Facebook status about my favorite moments about my recent New York trip, but it became bloated for a status update. I thought a short blog would be more appropriate.

1. Dining al fresco at Pure Food and Wine. The food — raw and vegan — wasn’t anything amazing on the palette, but the cozy table for three in a surprisingly serene garden was perfection. The crisp rosé didn’t hurt.

2. Meeting various Howard Stern staffers. The catalyst for this trip was that my dear friend Sendil won the opportunity to tour the Howard Stern studios and sit in on the after show — the ‘Wrap Up Show.’ In addition to catching a rare, split-second glimpse of a gruff King of All Media, we met all the back-office crew, including some of my faves — Benjy Bronk, Jason Kaplan, Sal Governale, and JD Harmeyer, who stammered as much to me about Cincinnati geography as he does to Howard about his love life. Everyone was far nicer than they needed to be, and I will remember the morning always. Hey now!

With Steve Brandano

Self-described cougar hater Steve Brandano hates being this close to a 38-year-old.

3. Sing Sing karaoke. You pass around a wireless mic and everyone just sings along in supportive fashion while sitting along the bar. You buy tickets for each song you want to sing, which keeps things fair. It was a great crowd, we had a fantastic and enthusiastic bartender, and the songs sung included Hanson, The Killers, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Proclaimers. (Thanks to Molly for the recommendation!  One day, I hope to venture here together.)

3. Playing Sunday afternoon ping pong at a subterranean dive bar in the West Village. Ping pong, shuffleboard, foosball, and pool tables were lively, while a guy in the background played jazz piano. Craft beer flowed from the taps, and wine was served out of low balls. What’s best, I felt like the only tourist there.

4. Central Park carousel. There was no one who wasn’t a tourist here, obviously, but the day was beautiful, the music was oddly quirky (Mary Chapin Carpenter, calliope style), and at $3, it’s the best tourist-trappy deal in Manhattan.

Central Park Carousel

Round and round (what comes around, goes around, I’ll tell you why-y-y-y)

5. Lucking into Book of Mormon tickets. Having bought tickets to the Chicago performance two years ago, only to miss the performance due to a shellfish reaction, I never thought I’d end up seeing this show. But asking at the box office six hours before the Saturday evening performance yielded a box seat.  Even Gary Dell’Abate said this was a miracle.

6.  Realizing that I love Chicago. One of my life’s biggest regrets is not moving to New York City right out of college.  Back then, I was used to roommates and ramen and limited living space. By the time I came to another life’s crossroads, I’d gotten used to my 800 square-foot apartment for $450 a month, and didn’t think I could appropriately downsize. New York is bustling and happening and great and unlike any other American city, but Chicago’s pretty fantastic, too. And more my pace. So as I sit here, tired and sad to have this trip in the rear view, I’m also happy to be headed back home.

Thanks, Sendil, for a very memorable trip!

Thanks, Sendil, for a very memorable trip!