I know, I made you all wait seventeen billion years for a Susie and Amy take on New York City recap. In my defense, I wrote many posts in advance this week because I knew I’d be getting in really late Tuesday, work would be insane Wednesday, and Thursday night I’d have rehearsal. (I’m stage managing our annual Director’s Showcase that opens in two weeks – Thursday we’re setting all the light and sound levels, so it’s a big rehearsal that I need to pay attention to and be mentally present for, i.e. “Amy can’t be checking her phone every five seconds to see what’s funny on Twitter.”)
But here we are. New York CITY! A city of MAGIC and WONDER!
You know I’m going to give you the play-by-play on the entire day whether you want it or not, right? Sure you do. You know me well enough by now.
But first, listen, I know I was going to take ALL THE PHOTOS? I took none. We were talking and talking and walking and I just wasn’t in a photography mood. I was in a hanging-out mood. And a soaking-up-my-favorite-city-in-the-world mood. I know. I am the worst bon vivant ever. I really have a new appreciation for how REAL bon vivants, like Ken, can not only bon vivant, but share the entire experience with the interwebs at the same time. Nice job, Ken. Way to go with the multitasking. I obviously am not up for the job of bon vivantery, and perhaps need to take a remedial course.
OK. SO! On Monday night, I was very excited and could not sit still. I have an issue with being excited about things, in that they make me not able to sleep, and also jittery like a speed freak. SPEEEDD FREEEAK! So when I finally realized, huh, I should try to get some sleep, considering I have to get up super-early, it was already too late to get any sort of respectable night’s sleep. I did my best, but it was still only about 5 hours sleep. That’s not a lot. I had heavy eyelids the next morning.
Did you know the sun is up at 5am? I mean, barely, but it totally is. It was as much of a surprise to me as it is to you, I assure you.
I got all ready and took off for the first step of my journey: the drive to Poughkeepsie.
See, your options for going to New York City from where I live are multitudinous. You can:
Drive (but then where would you park your car? No one drives.)
Take the Megabus, which I have not yet attempted
Take the Amtrak, which is pricey but FANCYPANTS
Drive to Poughkeepsie and take the MetroNorth train that the commuters take, which is surprisingly inexpensive and quite nice
(I suppose you could also fly but what kind of rich weirdos would do that? Or take a jet ski or something, whatever. Or a hot air balloon. Or ride a horse. But we’re talking about NORMAL ways to get there.)
So I decided on the Poughkeepsie/MetroNorth route, which I’ve done before and like very well. It’s easy, your train brings you right into Grand Central, very few weirdos ride that train, and all is well, sugarplums.
The drive to Poughkeepsie was easy enough. I was sleepy but also excited, so it went quickly. (It’s about an hour and forty-five minutes.) There were a lot more commuters than I thought there would be. Apparently, people start their day that early on a regular BASIS. Huh. I’m so sorry, people of the world, that you have to get up so early. No one should have to do that. Also, SO MANY ANNOYINGLY SLOW 18-WHEELERS ZOMG.
I got to the train station, I parked in the parking garage because I was confused about what might or might not be free parking outside of the garage and didn’t want to get home at 10pm and find I’d been towed, because I don’t know where the garage is and also who has money to spring their car from car-jail? Certainly not me. It was only $3.50 anyway. Then I bought my train ticket (round-trip, in case I spent all my money in the city and had to sell my hair or something more lecherous to get home) and sat and happily waited for my train, until a nice lady said, “you are aware the train’s coming on that track over THERE, right?” and it was a track with a billion people waiting on it, and I had WONDERED why so many people were over there but thought they were going somewhere else. Because I can’t read track signs, apparently. No, that’s not even it. I didn’t even KNOW to read track signs. The train that left right before mine had left from the track I was sitting at, so I thought ALL New York City trains would be leaving from that track. Because I am a country mouse.
So! On to the correct track, train arrives, onto the train, easy as pie. Hour and forty-five minute ride into the city. Which I slept through most of with my music playing in my earholes because I was one sleepy kitten. Also, if you’re sleeping, no one sits with you, I found out. Huh. That’s nice. I’ll have to use that in the future.
We pulled into Grand Central and I was WIDE AWAKE and a little nervous I would get turned around walking to Susie’s hotel, but when I walked out of the station, the street I needed was right there! And her hotel was just a few blocks away! And then I was NERVOUS NERVOUS NERVOUS.
Listen, I’m totally socially awkward penguin. What if I did something ridiculous? What if I was embarrassing? What if we hated each other or had nothing to say or I said something offensive and then all day I was THAT GIRL and it would be the worst, most longest day of poor Susie and Susie’s husband’s life? I kept giving myself the, “YOU ARE BEING RIDICULOUS CALM DOWN GOOBER” pep talk as I walked all fast like a native New Yorker. I like to blend in when I’m in the City, only because if you don’t people are all, “PSHAW TOURISTS!” and then give you the stink-eye. This seems to work well, because people tend to ask me for directions. Then I am immediately outed as someone who does NOT live there, because I’m all, “Adoyyy, I don’t know where that is” even if it’s right in front of me. IN MY DEFENSE, I can’t even give directions to my own house. Or office. Or my theater. In the place where I have lived for almost a decade. I am directionally handicapped. What? It’s a thing. IT’S TOTALLY A THING.
So I arrived at Susie’s fancy hotel (it was VERY SWANKY, that’s what you get when you are a big prize winner – there was a DOORMAN. I felt like ELOISE) and was whisked up to her floor by the fastest and quietest elevator known to man and then I was in front of her door and time to ring the doorbell and SOCIALLY AWKWARD PENGUIN and eeep!
(BTW, I don’t even know that Susie knew I was nervous until now. I didn’t tell her I was. Unless she could tell because I was a dork, I don’t know.)
I rang the bell! There was a flurry of activity from behind the door! WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHAT WILL HAPPEN!?!??!?
What happened was, it wasn’t awkward. At all. (Well, listen. Not for ME. Maybe it was awkward for Susie. She will have to tell you if it was awkward for her. She also has more experience meeting “the internet people” than I do, so maybe this wasn’t even a big deal for her, I don’t know. Also, bee tee dubs, Dad was so pleased I wasn’t murdered, either by my internet people or by any of the ne’er-do-wells in the big city.)
We hugged and talked and talked and talked and I met her husband who is just adorable and then we talked and talked and talked some more and I squeed over her free book loot from the conference, and she totally gave me some freebies (YAY! Reviews forthcoming!) and then we had to get going, because, BIG DAY AHEAD!
(Oh, you want to know about Susie, right? This is going to be one honking long post. OK. She is awesome. She is intelligent and fun and witty and tough as nails and wacky and I can’t say enough good things. We laughed and laughed. Listen, I love to laugh. So much. It’s nice to laugh over a text or a tweet, but you can’t even compare it with laughing with someone in person. She was the person I had in my head when we were talking all that time online, plus also better. It was really wonderful. So stop, I’ll get all teary-eyed and have to explain to my coworkers what’s going on and no one wants that.)
First stop: The Strand.
The Strand is an amazing bookstore with 18 miles of books in it. Soak that in for a minute. 18 MILES OF BOOKY GOODNESS. There are 4 floors and all of them have books. There are corners where you can get lost and there are books upon books and it’s one of my favorite places, especially because I live in an area where bookstores are not all that prevalent.
So we totally took the subway to get to The Strand. I researched it before we got there so I was all BOOM BOOM BOOM here and here and pop on HERE and get off HERE and TAH DAHHHH! However! Susie’s husband is MADE OF MAGIC. Let me tell you why.
He’s been to the City once before. However, he kind of just, I don’t know, sniffed the air or something and knew where we needed to be, and made it so. I think he might have a map in his head. In contrast, I’ve been, oh, I don’t know, ten times? Maybe? And I’m lucky if I can backtrack a block to see a street sign to figure out where I am so I can call for help. I TOLD YOU DIRECTIONAL HANDICAPPISM WAS A THING.
There are other reasons B. is made of magic and also WIN:
He apparently used to work for the people who made avocadoes and has a magic avocado hat. I love avocadoes. How can you not love someone who has a hat that says “avocadoes” on it?
He totally didn’t seem to be annoyed by me at all. And listen, sure, I’m adorable in small doses, but he had to put up with me for a whole DAY. And if he was annoyed, he didn’t act like it at ALL.
He cuts his OWN HAIR. When I expressed surprise at this (because it looks like normal hair, not mental-patient-hair), he very coolly said, “I watched what they were doing, then I went home and did it myself.”
Piggybacking on that last one – he’s one cool dude, yo. Cool like Frosty. I mean, sure, maybe he’s not always like that. Susie can attest to the veracity or non-veracity of that statement better than I can. But he was so laid-back I was just in awe. No, not like a cool holier-than-thou douchebag. Totally personable and funny. But just, shit, I don’t know, cool. Mostly this always amazes me because I’m like whatever the opposite of that is. Spastic? You say the opposite of that is spastic? Yeah, fine, whatever, I’m Queen of the Spasmoids.
Anyway, on our way to The Strand, we realized we were full of ravenous starvation, so we looked around for a place to eat and found a Thai restaurant called Spice. I like things that are spicy. And also Thai food. It was entertaining inside because there was that UNTZ UNTZ UNTZ music like it was a dance club, and also flashing lights, so that was a little disconcerting, but the food was delicious and not overpriced and the chairs were slidy molded plastic and your ass felt like it was in a spaceship.
THEN THE STRAND. Fortified with delicious spiciness, we forged onward.
I didn’t have a million dollars to buy all the books like I wanted, so I could only buy a few little things. Susie bought me a PRESENT, which was very exciting. It is a book I want to read (and she wants me to read, so total win-win) and we’re going to make it a whole blog-thing which I won’t go into yet. I got some anniversary prize goodies there. Just a couple, because I’m poor. But some. SOME PRIZE GOODIES! From New York City! For my winner!
Then, after a brief stop for coffee which disappointed Ken because it wasn’t tea (sorry, Ken, it was one of those chain sort of shops – The Bean?
I don’t think you’d have approved of the tea, had we gotten it) we walked for seventeen years because the next place we wanted to go was kind of between subway stops and it SEEMED like a good idea but it really was a lot farther than we planned. But even though it was a seventeen year walk, it wasn’t that bad, because it was all in the East Village so there was a lot to see, and we talked and talked and gawked at pretty architecture and wacky things we saw along the way that I totally should have taken photos of but like an asshole I didn’t. LIKE:
A man wearing his cat as a hat (no, seriously, a live cat – Susie took a photo of this, so maybe she’ll post it)
The weirdest Halloween store display window (in June? yes, in June, I don’t get it, either) you’ve ever seen, with every superhero, but wearing oddly-fitting costumes, and also a werewolf and the clown from It and, for some reason, two Iron Men, one of which was a skeleton, so it was like Iron Man was being stalked by his own death (again, Susie took a photo of this, so you might get to see it after all – she was better about such things than I was)
A beautiful church kind of smooshed in-between office buildings
All the most adorable brownstones, all of which I wanted to immediately move into
Then we went to two ice cream shops that Susie and B. wanted to try: Big Gay Ice Cream (there are totally all the unicorns on the walls)
A woman screaming that no one would give her chocolate ice cream
A squirrel who was carrying a Styrofoam cup around in his mouth and sometimes it would flip up like a hat and it was AWESOME but there was no time to take a photo because he dropped it
A man who was screaming “nemesis!” into the air, perhaps at the chocolate ice cream lady, as she was totally nemesis-worthy
A man wearing cargo shorts and doing what seemed to be insanity-driven tai chi in the street while picking up trash
A man who said, “Don’t scare my pigeon friends!” as we walked past him so we had to walk past with silent feet so as to not scare the winged rats (I totally hate pigeons so much)
Then Susie’s friend was getting out of work, so we found a little bar/restaurant nearby (because listen, WE WERE TIRED OF WALKING) and sat and drank pretty pink margaritas and chatted and then the friend came and she was beautiful and vivacious and had the best tattoos and there was MORE chatting and laughing and chatting and laughing more and it was just a lovely, lovely time.
Oh, and that’s where I got my ONE photo in New York, which a lot of you have already seen, but: ME AND SUSIE IN NEW YORK CITY!
Then it was time for me to head back, because bon vivants need to work the next day and have a long trip home. So we headed back to the hotel, where I picked up all my things, and after many hugs and much sadness, we said our goodbyes and I headed off for Grand Central, still the prettiest train station in all the land. Oh, and on the way back to the hotel, in the subway station, there was a band? WEARING TERRIFYING MASKS. That was worrisome.
And I told B. that even though I hate everyone on principle, I quite liked him, and when he asked why I hated people, I told him they always let me down spectacularly. So he very solemnly said, “Oh, I’m sure to do that. You just have to give me TIME.”
I very much enjoyed B. Of course, I love Susie more than pudding, and meeting her in person and having her be JUST AS AWESOME AS IMAGINED was probably the highlight of my year, but B. was totally an added bonus. I like added bonuses, they remind me of the surprise in the bottom of sugary cereal boxes. Like decoder rings or those wacky wall walking octopuses. Octopi? Octopodes? Whatever, leggedy squishy dudes.
The ride back to Poughkeepsie was pretty uneventful, as I spent the entire time on my phone. Except, listen up, people on the train, it is OBNOXIOUS to buy a large serving of something disgustingly fragrant and then sit right in front of me. If I wanted to smell – I don’t know, vinegary garlic? – all the way home, I’d have bought a Styrofoam container of that for myself. And, as you can see, I did not do that. So you shouldn’t, either.
Then, the drive home, in which I yawned an average of once every 14 seconds, which was nice, and also some guy decided it would be fun to play late-night highway chicken with my car. No, I don’t think I’ll do that. Because it leads to late-night-someone-will-be-scraping-one-of-us-off-the-road, bub. And I’d like to get home, Dumbcat’s going to be nervous I’ve been gone so long.
Then home and bed and very little sleep and today I was SWAMPED WITH WORK but I still wrote you a post, because I love you. Aw, aren’t you the cutest things with your faces and such?
So, there’s NYC in a…well, not a nutshell. In a longboat or something. I had a great time, meeting internet people will NOT always kill you (and sometimes it actually is AMAZING) and I still am madly passionately completely in love with New York and want to live there for the rest of my life the end. Susie (and B., who doesn’t care about the internet), thank you for such a wonderful day. I had the best time. Someday we will do it again when we are rich and famous bloggers who can afford to do all the bon vivantery ALL THE DAMN TIME.
You have until MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to comment on this past Sunday’s post (I even put it in for you, so helpful, am I) to be entered into the drawing. Most of my usual suspects have, but some of you have not! I will not call you out or anything, but there are a few of you who should TOTALLY comment so you can have a shot at winning. Also, people I don’t (yet) know well – comment! Maybe you will win! The two or three things I know are going in there are awesome and fun!
Now, for your SECOND most popular post of the year – which remains popular, proving creepy puppets and whiny dentists know no seasonal boundaries…
What have we learned from your love of this post? Pretty much that you’re all awesome, that’s all I have to say about that. I love this post. It still makes me laugh. Also, Bumble! Aw, Bumble, you’re my fave.
Until tomorrow, chipmunks! Enjoy your Fridays!
(Oh, title’s from one of my favorite Rufus Wainwright songs, “14th Street.” I think you’ll all like this video. Well, it’s not a video, it’s one of those silly fan video things. But, all the NYC photos! Certainly more than I took on Tuesday. Sheesh.)