Some of my boys from college proposed a big New York weekend a while back, when they found out the UW would be playing Duke at the Madison Square Garden. In the end, only a few of us could actually make it, and the game turned out to be awful.
It did turn out, however, to be a great weekend of catching up with New York friends. I stayed with Fancy S and Belgie, who are awesome, lest I don’t say it enough.
So I own a sock-monkey hat, which people are very impressed with. I remember watching Harry Potter and seeing Luna Lovegood’s enchanted lion hat. What is the point, I thought, of NOT owning a goofy animal hat?
Seriously? Are there drawbacks? Head: warm. ears: warm. Onlookers: impressed.
Fancy S agreed, to the extent that she bought herself a sock monkey hat at a booth on St. Mark’s. She was happy! And warm! And halfway down the street, a little black girl walking with her mama tells Fancy S, “I like your hat!”
I didn’t have too many food objectives when I went to New York, but I did want to get a lox bagel from Pick-a-Bagel. Here’s a photo from my memory… So I made my way down to Battery Park City, past the WTC (Freedom Tower is going up nicely, finally) and got to Pick-a-Bagel, and it was CLOSED FOR RENOVATION. Guh.
Now by this time my left knee was stiff; all that New York walking. And to compensate for the left knee, my right ankle was getting all stiff as well. So I was moving slow.
Add to that, hungry, and disappointed that my favorite bagel place was closed. My phone told me that Shake Shake was around the corner, in the old Lili’s Noodle spot. So I got myself a shack burger with cheesy fries, cheese on the side. It was ok.
I walked by the Whiskey Tavern on Saturday, but it was packed with dozens of slutty and douchey Santas. Apparently Saturday was Santacon, which is a shit show. Sunday, however, was Santa-free, and when I walked into the Whiskey Tavern, Rob immediately greeted me from behind the bar. A few minutes later, another bartender was finishing a conversation he was having with another customer, exclaiming, “I almost made out with that guy!” indicating Rob. I looked him in the eye and said, “yah, I can see the appeal.” The other customer laughed into his beer.
Then the bartender shook his head, despondent, saying “the other day I saw him with his shirt off….” Rob was nowhere in sight, so this performance was for our benefit.
Next thing I know, Rob is sitting next to me, shaking my hand, commiserating with me about SantaCon. Even when I was living in Manhattan, I was only an occasional customer over a span of about four months (March Madness until I moved away in June). Then I was gone for a year and a half, and here’s Rob, shaking my hand, remembering my name.
Rob came by a little later, to say goodbye, asked if I’d be around when he came back from his errand. I doubt it, I said, but it was great to see you again. I finished my drink, chatted with the other bartenders… and there was a moment when we were all throwing ice cubes into another customer’s cleavage. I ordered a pickleback for old times’ sake, and it was delicious. When I went to settle my tab, they told me nope, the pickleback was on Rob.
This man keeps buying me a drinks! Is he trying to get me into bed? It’s probably not going to work… probably… I’d definitely help him move, or pick him up from the airport. I told another bartender, a younger guy, about the man-crush I was developing for Rob, and he said, “yah, get in line!” shaking his head in frustration.
The next day, I couldn’t resist, I went back for another pickleback before my flight. Rob teased me about showing up two days in a row, and about my sore leg, saying I was out of New York shape. He was impressed by my thank-you gifts for Fancy S and the Belgie… I had bought some asian pears, persimmons, and a dragon fruit on Bowery.
The asian pears were bigger than my fists, and so were the persimmons. I was practicing my Chinese with the vendor: four persimmons, four pears, and a dragon fruit. Four of these? he asked… and four of these? And four dragon fruit?
No no, I said, one dragon fruit.
Oh, he said, oh good. I was gonna say, four dragon fruit is pretty 厉害。 “厉害” (lìhai) is a funny word, it means something like “intense, hard-core,” or as my kiwi friends would say “full-on.” It made me wonder if dragon fruit had some kind of erotic properties. In any case, I only bought them one.
There are other stories to tell about my weekend in Manhattan, and some to keep to myself. I’m not sure when I’ll make it back, but I hope it’s soon. I’m definitely a Seattlite, and even if my career takes off and I can live the jetsetting lifestyle I’ve always dreamed of having, I’m sure I will stay in the 206. But I sure would love to spend some more time in New York.