call me, if you find you’re in manhattan

11 05 2009

next in my “three days” series (united airlines should hire me, except i do mine as a beggar rather than a princess, so i wouldn’t be that valuable for advertising purposes)–three days in manhattan. there’s a grey eye glances song called “manhattan,” which could have been concordance; it’s an old song, and maybe they played it this weekend. originally, they were the pivet point on which the trip was hinged, why this weekend as opposed to any other would be the one i’d finally buckle to the insistent pressure of my very favorite of my chosen-sibs, who’s been living in the city for four years, years during which i’ve been in cny with both feet down, saying “i hate it there i hate it there i hate it there!” and refusing to cross the distance. this time, he bought the train tickets, business class, even, to spoil my little ass halfway to rotten long before i ever set foot on the isle, and i had no choice but to climb aboard. the band did a breast cancer benefit show somewhere in north jersey friday night, and aaric bought us tickets, and the plan was he would meet me at penn station, we’d stash my things at his place nearby, we’d go back to the station to catch a train to jersey, see the band, benefit research, bask in nostalgia (we used to chase them from show to show in virginia & maryland in the late 90s), & come back up late that night, so he could spend the weekend showing me his city.

what really happened was he met me at penn station, stashed me at his place nearby, and went back to work, because corporate law is a fickle business not well suited to making plans, and folks w/expensive contracts don’t really give a crap if you’ve got concert tickets and your best friend from when you were fourteen is languishing moodily in your room. fortunately for all of us, aaric‘s bookshelf had on it the last of carey’s second “kushiel” trilogy, which i hadn’t read and had to (5 down & this one out since last i’d permitted myself an indulgence in epic fantasy, as it tends to be a (glorious) time-suck), and his freezer held cold vodka, and his cabinet/fridge things to mix it with, and his red couch is ever so smushy and comfortable, so my languishing turned out to be a quite delightful way to spend an evening, and while i regret missing out on the show, the nice part is that since it was a benefit, the money wasn’t wasted. i alternated reading on the couch with sitting in the windows watching people on the streets for a few hours, and when eventually he came home we went out, wandered the streets of hell’s kitchen for a while, decided on thai food, had a very tasty dinner at one of the tight, tiny, elbow-to-elbow seating, posh little restaurants in his neighborhood, and then played wandering phone tag for a while w/his friend adam and eventually met up with a crew of folks at a courtyard bar with $3 margaritas and hung out bantering with actors and polished young professionals until last call, by which point i had entirely forgotten thinking i might have something to be moody about.

saturday i learned about grocery-store shopping in the city, how the stores are always in deep basements and you have to know where they are to find them, subterranean florescent aisles of all the the same goods, accessible only through such narrow walkways that everyone’s always in each others’ way before anyone has hands full of bags; it’s hard to imagine how any of the goods got in there! we had a birthday party to prepare for, though, which required snacks and liquor, so a-shopping we did go, weighing the different economies of buying heavy things like soda and ice at the corner store where they’re more expensive but it’s many fewer blocks to carry them home. we rearranged his studio apartment to look less like a bedroom/living room/dining room continuation and more like a dance space (which turned out to be a very important likelihood to have prepared for), and i washed all of his dishes for free (i didn’t know ’til monday that there was a maid, so i didn’t know to ask what her going rate was) and drew on his windows with soap, we ordered saag paneer and tiki masala and naan in for dinner, and he said 8 so around 9 (he guessed 9:03; vince, the first guest to arrive, said it had been closer to 9:09 that he’d sent a text announcing his arrival) people started coming in to mingle and eat the food and drink his booze and hijack his itunes and augment his list with the infinities of youtube and dance and clown and create photo-opportunities that might not all be entirely suitable for lj (suffice it to say that if one had been expecting a small crowd version of a drug-free (at least in sight) queer-as-folk boys party (at least in the first 2 seasons, which are all i’ve seen, the lesbians are known for incredibly dull showers and tea parties), one would not have been disappointed; partial nudity occurred, clothes were swapped, we learned more about amy’s underwear than perhaps we’d wanted to (although we also learned she’s got the body for it) and the birthday boy was gifted with a lap-dance from hot canadian named kenny). i also got to talk philosophy-and-religion for an hour or so with a future lifetime-academic (who isn’t quite sure he knows it yet, but i am), & met a boy named only initials.

sunday i ventured out with a building key all by myself to go down around the corner a couple of blocks to bring us back coffees and biscuits/scones for breakfast, & then we went to spend a few hours wandering central park in absolutely perfect spring weather, sunny, high 60s, a strong breeze blowing elm-seeds in flurries like petals or snowflakes, cormorants sunning their wings alongside painted turtles in the ponds, where mostly we people-watched—small children striding purposefully in their backpacks, middle-school orchestra members milling around in 2s and 3s between sets, plumed horses with top-hatted drivers pulling bored looking families around, women in elegant hats and clunky shoes, men in motorcycle racing-jackets with movie-star sunglasses, an old man (or a young one with a costume beard) inexplicably in full wizard’s regalia, a jazz band by the fountain, a raucous something-like-bluegrass-comedy band with a tuba, every kind of dog (ranging in size and cuteness from earnestly striding long-haired chihuahuas to ungainly standard poodles).

eventually we got hungry, and caught a cab to chelsea, where there was an all-you-can-drink mexican brunch at maraca’s, and the waitresses kept coming back with more plastic toys propped up in new doses of diners’ frozen drinks. we walked back across the neighborhoods afterwards, peering at towering architecture, puzzling at an infinite variety of how-things-work-different-here scenarios of people on and yelling down gaping-stairway holes in sidewalks trying to accomplish tasks that happen behind the scenes at the back doors of stores in smaller towns and suburban strip malls, grabbed a movie for the evening, and contented ourselves afterwards with an evening spent hanging out on the red couch with a film, leftovers from the party and several nights’ dinner. in the morning, there was shouting political news on tv, taken in whilst still in bed (a practice i find abhorrent—no wonder people in high stress jobs are angstful all day long), then some more wandering the streets to pick up coffee on the way back to penn station, and then i spent the remains of the day like i spent the first half of friday—watching the underground graphiti and leaning-beam tunnels and slid-downhill forgotten trashpiles of the city, mansions of new jersey, and the backyards and abandoned stations and garages and green fields and rivers of rural new york slide by the windows of amtrack’s empire service train, where there are plugs by all the chairs so that the working never, ever has to stop.

(actual album will follow–i haven’t had time to build & caption one yet is up now! (click here))

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