Sunday, June 28, 2009

Epic Road Trip 2K9: New York - Bronxville and NYC

Current Headphone Fillers: Sigur Ros,The Roots, Dustin O'Halloran, Ben Lee

Let's just start this post with a warning: I might ramble. A lot can happen in one week in NY.

To start off I am going to give a short account of my adventures on the way to Bronxville from Penna. Now, I am excellent with directions and maps. Growing up in a car, bored out of my mind taught me to read a lot of signs and amuse myself with the good old Rand McNally. (yes, i totally use X,Y grid to find towns) And my very dear T lent me two of his - and they have been put to more use than anticipated. So, when I got the helpful hint from a friend with an iDouche that there was a Shell gas station with diesel (LoLa's fuel of choice) on Route 1 in Easton NJ I got off of the current toll road and paid $5
. (Again, blow me, toll roads) I pulled over and checked out the map. Turns out this little town is a good 20 miles or so up the road. Needless to say it was the 'long, long way' to get to NY. Either way, it was nice to get off the big highways and go through lots of small towns and needless traffic lights. Note: Civil engineers don't believe in left hand turns in Jersey. You have to 'exit' to the right and loop around to go straight through the traffic light. Good thing I noted this, because my Shell station finally appeared on the horizon with something akin to a halo around it - on the left side of the northbound highway. Sigh. This New England newbie traveller did not know that all Jersey gas stations have an attendent by law, so I hop out of the car to fuel up. Long story short, I am the only person out of their car at the station. After topping her off I head to the restroom...and while this will not get anymore personal than that I would like to note that while Jersey might have excellent service at the pumps they do not believe in latches, locks, or disenfectant in regards to their bathrooms. I got very creative.

The remainder of my journey to Bronxville was quite uneventful. I figured that whatever I saved in tolls by driving on Route 1 was made up by the $8 it cost to cross the George Washington Bridge. Go figure.

I haven't seen another Georgia plate in hours. Florida, yes, but they don't count. They are like cockroaches. All over the place and impossible to get rid of.

Bronxville is full of family. Wine. Superb food. Loud voices. I spend two days there and then Wednesday I head to the city to visit with Elena and possibly catch up with other peoples. The train ride finds me lacking nothing but my cell phone, which was left on the bed in my rush out the door. Last minute craziness is routine in that family. Despite my lack of mobile communication I make it to 1745 Broadway just fine and then head out for the long walk to the MET after dropping off my suitcase. Central Park is quite a sight to see with all the tourists, locals, and winding paths. I decided to be brave and cut through...sort of. Map in hand and a general idea of my bearings I set out. A good 30 blocks later I made it! I paid for my cute little button, and headed for the cafeteria. After eating an overpriced, but delicious sammich I selected Sigur Ros as a soundtrack, and made my way to the modern galleries. Although I possess a mild appreciation for classical art, I have more interest in sculpture, modern, conceptual, abstract, and industrial design. Favorites were the greek sculpture hall, the rooftop sculpture garden, the lower floor of modern, the special exhibit: Model as Muse, and sitting on the front steps afterwards. Plethora of pictures are on facebook.

Three hours later I headed back to Rand
omhouse Publishing to pick up my cousin and suitcase. We headed out for her birthday/last day of work celebration. Good times and great beers. Topher ended up being able to meet me around 7 I got catch up with one of my longtime friends. We met before I went to college; we were kindred spirits right away. I haven't seen him in about 5 years - but it was just like before, comfortable. He is living in Brooklyn (which I am mildly jealous of) and doing what he loves - music and design. It is nice to reconnect with people who are happy in life. Adventurous. Seeking and not being afraid of new places and things.

That night I once again found a new place to rest my head. A tiny little loft bed in the basement spare room of Elena's new apt. It was cozy to say the least. But hey, it had a reading light!!!!

Thursday: Despite the excessive amount of rain we headed out early to pick up my cell phone from my very gracious uncle at Grand Central Station. Afterwards we found a nice hot breakfast, some coffee/tea and then walked to the Museum of Modern Art. was like heaven. I have never been to the MoMa and it
was pretty freaking awesome. While my company did not seem to connect with the sketching and conceptual art we were able to meander a bit more slowly through the photography, design, architecture, and printing/paper galleries. Some of the pieces were very moving, and I think I might have spent more time absorbing the art had I been flying solo. However, it was still a great experience and I feel subsequently more educated on certain concepts that I have seen evident in a friend's work. In fact, I was reminded of his on more than one occasion. It made me pause. And reflect. And remember.

The remaining tour of the city included a quick stop at the Palace Hotel where Gossip Girl is filmed, a cute little cupcake shop for some birthday dessert, and Rockafeller Center. Dinner that
night was courtesty of takeout mexican food from around the corner. Deliciousness. I headed down to Frim Fram around 9. Even though most of my family is appalled that I would be riding the subway after dark, I was far from hesitant about another adventure. Public transportation is still 'fun' for me. I had some good dances, and some not-so-experienced dances. The DJ'ing was good when it was the local DJ. I wasn't a fan of the guest. I met some Philly kids and even saw some southern faces (Christine!) Overall I felt my $8 was worth it, and left exceedingly sweaty and tired at 1am.

I headed back to Bro
nxville on Friday morning to grab a change of clothes, dinner, and the 7:22pm train back to the city with my cousin Coale. We met up with three of his college buddies and wandered down 8th to figure out how to get tipsy before heading to a party. We found a cheap sushi place that didn't card and drank terrible cold saki. Gross. The food was good, surprisingly, and they filled up on beer. Afterwards I introduced them to the genius of 20oz cokes and rum mix. It did the charm, and the boys were feeling good by the time we got to the Columbia frat house party. Ok, so I went to hang out with the boys because my Aunt was freaked out about 'going into the city at night', but here I am at midnight, with a bunch of 19-year-old boys at a freaking FRAT party in NYC. was surreal. Complete with the skanky sorority girls, two kegs, two beer pong tables, loud pop music, and popped collars (don't forget matching old man loafers) the party was a hit with my company. We stayed until 1:30 and then headed back to GCS to catch the 1:53am train home. 'Cause shit, we were not waiting until the 5:30.

The train ride home was epic. We finally found three seats together (Dan was staying the night with us) and got ready to chill for the
next 40 minutes. A girl walks onto the train with her friends...I didn't really notice her until Coale said nonchalantly "Nice tan lines". Yeah, like you can say that to an overgroomed suburbanite girl from NY and not get a response. A verbal battle ensues between them. She sits down. 10 minutes later her beefy (but short) male friends join her and she apparently tells them about how mean Coale was to her. They start yelling at Coale, he yells back, and even though my cousin is 19 he is 6'1" and built like a football player - because he is one. They don't back down though due to their numbers...or maybe drunken stupidity. Now, I am in no way going to get into a brawl on the 2am train to Bronxville. So, I try to calm Coale down; meanwhile Dan is next to me saying "Man, I would have your back but I am too drunk". Everyone on the train is either laughing nervously or annoyed as piss. Eventually they calm down. Some guy tries to speak Zen wisdom to my cousin, and I start talking about wanting a chicken biscuit in the best southern accent I can muster. It draws laugher and after the offending party sits down we settle in for the rest of the train ride. When we get off at B-ville we get a few more offensive remarks thrown in our direction, but luckily no fists or other objects. Good job Coale.

The rest of my visit was not worth spending your time reading. I ate more fabulous meals courtesy of my uncle, visited Whole Foods in White Plains, bought another pair of jeans (because I underpacked for the cold northeast) and watched some mindless tv. I had no idea that New York had to go to work, or that there was a reality show for the annoying guys that sell you OxiClean. The more tv I watch the less I regret my choice to remove it from my life =)

...and that was NY in the most condensed version I could muster. My highlights were: the museums, Frim Fram, navigating the subways by myself, seeing Topher, my cousins, and lots of walking.

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