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May 25

NYC

Though it’s substantially colder here than what I packed for (highs seem to be in the low fifties, when weather.com told me last week while I was packing that it would be the low- to mid-70’s), I’m still having a swell time.

Sunday was a long travel day, but upon finally arriving I cheered up due to the immediate prospect of Japanese food (all I’d eaten so far was a handful of cereal and a Cinnabon …mmmmm…. cinnabon). Across the street from Jeff’s building (warning: possibly the worst website ever) is a great little place called Komegashi, where I got a noodle thing (cold soba) with tempura shrimp and a dipping sauce I cannot remember. Lesson for the future: just because the food comes on a little platform with a little bamboo mat across it, please do not assume that there’s a “floor” under the platform. Frustrated with trying to dip noodles into the dipping sauce, I dumped the dipping sauce on the noodles, where it rained down through the bamboo mat, onto the table and very nearly onto my lap. Oops.

Despite my sadness at misinterpreting the structural integrity of my plate, the evening was cheery in the end because we stopped at BABO, a tea house and gelateria — right across the street from Jeff’s place on the other corner!!! Life is *gooooooood*! I had “meringue” and mint chocolate chip and they were both marvelous … this place has excellent gelato.

Monday I worked. The VoIP stuff is behaving well, so telecommuting from here is really not much different than telecommuting from home, though it’s strange to be able to look out the window and see NYC. Monday night I decided that we must go experience Indian food in a neighborhood that all the Chowhounds said was chock-a-block with good Indian food (and is even apparently known as “little India!). So we caught took the Path (train)(1) two stops to Journal Square, walked a few blocks, and found *wonderful* food at Rasoi (where they were kind enough to make my Chicken Tikka Masala *very* very mild!). I’d also read on the Chowhound boards that an Indian ice cream shop was a must-visit, so even though we were bursting at the seams, we stopped in at a little ice cream shop where the owner apparently just wanted me to experience the full breadth of indian ice cream!

He said: “Today, you are the lucky ones. We will try all the ice creams. I will prepare for you a tasting…” and proceeded to lead me through tiny tasting spoon after tiny tasting spoon of indian eggless ice creams. Sometimes I knew the flavor (lychee= ick; pista=pistachio=mmmmmm), sometimes he could translate (gulkand=rose petals=WEIRD!!! Like eating perfume), and sometimes he knew the indian name and not the english translation (chicku=very odd), so I just tasted and enjoyed (or, in a few cases, not). The flavors that I was accustomed to (chocolate, english toffee, etc.) were very rich and quite good, but the fun was in trying the ones you wouldn’t find at the Harris Teeter.

I don’t know quite what I did to deserve such fine treatment, but when I finally decided on a large with english toffee and mango (thereby blending the familiar and comforting with the exotic and strange), he proceeded to add another two flavors to “make it look good” for me! I think I ended up with pistachio (it’s green at any rate) and some variant on the rose one. Because I was so full, I ended up taking most of it back to the apartment, where it awaits me (perhaps a snack this afternoon…)

Tuesday night we had a run of extremely good luck. After taking the ferry over to midtown, we discovered that there was a free-with-ferry-ride bus that would take us to 42nd (we had tickets to Spamalot on 44th). It was getting a bit late (already lmost 6 and the show started at 7) and I was getting a bit panicky about dinner, so we’d decided that when the bus stopped we’d just get off and find some quick (and hopefully cheap) eats to tide us over until after the show).

By some stroke of incredible good fortune the bus stopped right in front of (I think) Gray’s Papaya, the best “cheap eats” in all of NYC, according to many of the articles I’d read. Two hot dogs and a fruit smoothie for $2.75!

Then there’s Spamalot. LMAO! ROTFLOL!! And extremely surreal too, as Hank Azaria and David Hyde Pierce and Tim Curry spoke lines that I’ve heard (both watching the movie and recited by friends) hundreds of times. (caution: maybe some spoilers here, though I don’t think they really count, as all the reviews talk about the same thing, and we’re really not talking major plot twists here. Or even major plot, for that matter.) There were many references to other musicals (West Side Story, for instance) and performers (Liza Minnelli, I think) that all somehow got worked in to the somewhat re-directed plot about finding the grail and making a musical (!). Everyone could sing (which, I suppose, was to be expected, being that it was a musical and all, but I was still surprised when Tim Curry (as Lancelot) started really belting out a number (but then I realized that Rocky Horror Picture Show was also a musical!). Hank Azaria had many of the intrinsically funny and quotable bits, like the taunting French Knight, Tim the Sorcerer and the main Knight Who Formerly Said “Ni”). This worked exceptionally well, as Hank Azaria can do silly accents like no one’s business. One of the songs (“This is the Song that Goes Like This”) was a parody of the overwrought lovesong that’s found in most musicals (particularly those by Andrew Lloyd Webber) and contained one of my favorite verses ever:

And then we change the key!
Now we’re into E
That’s awfully high for me
But everyone can see
We should have stayed in D

I would see it again tonight if I could just to catch the bits I missed.

Post-show Jeff indulged me and we took the subway(2) to Serendipity (as featured in the John Cusack movie by the same name), where I had a frozen hot chocolate (honestly just a really good chocolate milkshake, but it was fun to go there, having seen the movie).

(1) I have discovered my personal trick to riding subway trains: stand perpendicular to the direction of the motion, preferably with a pole in front of you, though one to the side will also work). The reason this works (for me) is that most of the “jouncing” on trains is side-to-side as the train slews and careens on the track. By placing my feet shoulder width apart and orienting perpendicular to the motion, I absorb most of the back-and-forthing through the motion of my hips, which are quite accustomed to rocking side to side. When the train does abruptly brake or lurch forward, you still have that pole in front of you to grab onto to *and* my arms are stronger in this direction than they are when extended out to the side (or worse, over my head!). This discovery was a major revelation and has contributed greatly to my ongoing train comfort.

Interestingly, it doesn’t work for Jeff. My suspicion is that his hips don’t know how to rock-and-roll (he suffers from the curse of the white boy) and so he’s not effectively absorbing the motion.

(2) Subway signs LIE!!! Walking towards Spamalot, we passed a subway entrance that said you could take the R train from there. Upon leaving Spamalot I consulted my directions to get to Serendipity and noticed we could take the R to 60th & Lexington, get off, walk two blocks and we’d be there. So I directed Jeff back to the same subway entrance…

…where we walked down two flights of steps (which I still have to do one foot at a time, thanks to the bum knee), through, I dunno, *three* subterraneancity blocks, *down* another flight of stairs, down two rather steep ramps, through another block or so, then down an elevator (thank heavens we found the elevator) to reach the platform! The sign should have read something like “get on trains N and P right here or you can walk underground for a mile and get on train R”. Wow.

Tonight we see Star Wars. :-)

Permanent link to this article: http://ginalikins.com/2005/05/25/nyc/

1 comment

  1. compositeur

    Subway signs LIE!!!

    Sorry, this gave me a bit of a chuckle. “They do????” Sounds like you got a tour of the famous avenue-length tunnel at Times Square, between the A/C/E line under 8th Av. and the 1/9/N/R/etc. under 7th Av. Plus all the fun adjacent alleys & stairways. Yeah the signs won’t tell you when it’s a boondoggle just getting to the platform. They also won’t tell you when routes get suddenly swapped around without notice & now the __ train goes to ______ instead of ______. If you’re lucky you might get an unintelligible announcement over the vintage 1962 speaker system.

    If you’re unlucky you live in Queens & need to ever go anywhere on the weekend, when the entire schedule is unofficially turned on its ass in a slightly different way each time. This has been true nearly every weekend for the past 10 years but somehow it never gets posted. Purported reason: “necessary track work.” Real reason: “get to pay less workers & still raise the fare.”

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