This is what Trevor, front desk concierge, and I say each Friday while I am taking Monkey Head Maya out for her morning pee in the park. This week was a fun one. I survived circling the sun 49 trips and am now gearing up for a helluva 50th! Geranium and I went for drinks with some of my clients and tonight we are going to meet the Hot Tub “Wet Bandit” who is in town. Saturday is up in the air and Sunday we are going to see Lightbulb and the Asian Fireman.
Here are some pics from the past couple of weeks. I know I have been remiss on posting this but I have been busy.
First of all I apologize for not posting for a couple of weeks. I have been up to my eyeballs with work, Geranium has been out of town, St. Patrick’s Day and its been tough to post. The past two weeks has been spring break for a bunch of schools. Rather than the beach some folks from Memphis and Northwest Arkansas made a trek to The Big Apple.
Now I was doing a bunch of work and with the St. Patrick’s Day weekend I wasn’t able to meet up with anybody. Then again does my former slinger of spirits and her high school daughter want to meet up with my boring ass or go see a Broadway show? Also in town celebrating spring break was my former roommate’s wife and college senior daughter with some friends. Lastly was one of my Twitter buddies since she was running the Brooklyn Half Marathon in ball shrinking temperatures.
I pride myself on being a fairly good tour guide to our various guests who have visited New York. I can show someone the grave of Hamilton and then in 20 minutes we are standing in the middle of Times Square watching all the tourists. Well these 3 different groups who came to NYC this past week you may want to ask them for their itineraries and or how the fuck they got tickets to some of the stuff they saw. I was impressed to say the least. Here is a short list of stuff that they did;
Rockefeller Center/St Patrick’s Cathedral
More Plays and Musicals that I care to think about.
Top of the Empire State Building
Good Morning America Taping
Ryan and Kelly Taping
Brooklyn Bridge (I mean could one of you come over and took my dog out?)
Fearless Girl down in Fidi
Bunch of Pizza Joints
Here are some of the pics that they posted. Granted I didn’t get permission to post any individual person pictures but I was able to steal these pics that they posted. Still pretty cool that you can do all this stuff in a couple days.
Seriously you guys did a bunch of stuff this past weekend. I hope you guys had a blast.
Looks like New York City is going to be a favorite destination for a bunch of our friends from Memphis and from all parts of the world. We love it and hope that our schedules mesh so we can spend some time catching up. One question that we get a lot from our friends is “How far is it from where you live?”
If you look at the greater part of Manhattan north of 14th Street it resembles a rectangle. The streets are mapped out in a grid and it is pretty easy to give directions; instead of saying “1300 First Avenue” you can say “1st Avenue between 71st and 72nd.” When we lived in the UES we found that it was a bitch getting cross town. However, when going North and South it was pretty easy. To give you good way to put the city into quadrants; 5th Avenue is the East/West Line and 59th Street is North/South Line. People would ask us all the time where should they get a hotel. We found that even though it was chaos 24/7 around Times Square it was the best starting place because of it being centrally located in Manhattan. The Surrey and The Mark hotels are very nice hotels but being tucked up by 77th and Madison Avenue makes it hard getting downtown or around the city. Same goes with the Upper West Side. (Sorry UWS Holly)
When we were looking for places to live we found that Downtown Brooklyn was a really good option for a number of reasons. For starters it is 2 subway stops from Manhattan. Add to that we have over 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from to get into the city. This really helps when lines are down on the weekend. We looked briefly at Long Island City over in Queens to live but ruled that out when looking at subway options. The L line was slated (at the time we were apartment looking) to be shut down and the 7 train always has issues so that was ruled out.
When saying that having 13 different subway lines to pick and choose from is a big deal let me explain further. If I want to get to the West Side of Time Square or Penn Station I would take the 2/3 from Nevins Street. If I wanted to get to the East Side of Manhattan and say Grand Central I would take the 4/5 also from Nevins. If I was going to the West Village I might take the A/C from Hoyt & Schermerhorn. And If I was going to say a certain cigar joint in the UES I would take the Q from DeKalb. (Confused Yet?) Let me tell you about a little secret that a lot of New Yorkers use on a regular basis. Google Maps is your best friend. To say that I use that app more than anything is an understatement. It can give you quickest the subway routes and if MTA has their act together it can give you a pretty good spot on schedule.
Now with anything there are always exceptions, and even Google Maps can fail you from time to time. If it is the weekend they will take down lines and or stations for maintenance. Sometimes Google gets that news but in the case of yesterday when there were electrical fires because of the snow and ice. This can create some anxiety if you are not used to the subway but the uniformed agents on hand are always helpful to give suggestions. Hell even fellow New Yorkers are happy to give you advice. It is almost a game with some people in giving the best suggestions. Trust me.
That being said here are some aprox travel times from our joint in Crime-Free Downtown Brooklyn direct to various spots in the city;
Downtown Brooklyn to Grand Central – 28 minutes via the 4/5
Downtown Brooklyn to Times Square – 30 minutes via Q or the 2/3
Downtown Brooklyn to Cigar Inn in the UES – 34 minutes via the Q
Downtown Brooklyn to 9/11 Memorial – 20 min via the 4/5
Downtown Brooklyn to Empire State Building – 25 min via the B or Q
Downtown Brooklyn to Red Rooster in Harlem – 44 min via the 2/3
Downtown Brooklyn to Maya’s Dog Groomer – 39 minutes via 4/5
Downtown Brooklyn to Yankee Stadium – 47 minutes via the 4
Downtown Brooklyn to Mary Louise’s Office in Summit NJ – 1hr 22 min via the 2/3 to Penn Station then NJ Transit to Summit NJ (I suspect she goes to Japan to avoid this commute)
Not that I don’t love Taxi’s or Uber/Lyft but you will pay more and 99.9% of the times be delayed due to traffic depending on the time of the day.
I would get this question pretty much every time I would talk to my fellow coworker, eye-talian and lover of smoked meats, Guido. I honestly told him that it wasn’t like I was avoiding this joint. It seemed like anytime that I was in Grand Central with some time to kill, waiting for a Metro North train the damned thing would be closed. Back tracking a bit – a couple of weeks ago Mary Louise was returning from a work trip and found herself in Grand Central so she had lunch there. She gave it glowing reviews and said it wasn’t as touristy as one would imagine.
Last Friday Mary Louise was, once again, out of town I found myself in Grand Central around 4:30. I was feeling somewhat peckish so I went looking for food before my long commute home (New Yorkers are you reading this?) So here I was, coming down the ramp, and saw that Oyster Bar was open. I knew that the dog was fine having been taken out by the dog walker so I decided to hang out at Grand Central for the Late Afternoon!
First of all, this place is frigging huge! I had no idea how big it was because it looks very small from the outside. I found a spot at the bar and God Bless Carlos, the server, he was as busy as a one legged man in an ass kicking contest. I found a home at the “shucking bar” since the majority of the oysters are broken here. I was sitting between a mix of Midtown attorneys finishing up a weeks work and tourists who were pissed that it was taking so slow. I knew I was in the right spot because Carlos ran by me 3 times with various requests/specials and he liked that I was quick with my response.
I started with a half dozen and I told Carlos to pick the best of the bunch. *Disclaimer – I don’t know much about Northeastern oysters so I always trust the experts.* After enjoying the 6 best oysters I have had in a while, I watched one of the chefs make a soup from scratch about a dozen times. I really didn’t need any soup but I always appreciate someone who loves what they do. I asked Carlos what soup I wanted and he suggested the Oyster Pan Roast. This is pretty much a clam based soup with cream and tomatoes. Frigging Tomato Soup with oysters? I am in!
Guido – You are right, I have been remiss on visiting the Oyster Bar. I am now a fan but still have an issue being only open during weird working hours!
Springtime in Memphis would normally mean one thing for us. Frequent trips to Hot Springs Arkansas to bet on the horses at Oaklawn. We hadn’t been to any of the tracks up here so this past weekend we decided to head into Queens on the A Train for a trip to Aqueduct Race Track.
For those of you who have never played the horses Aqueduct runs from early November to mid April and their big race is the Wood Memorial. Typically those horses that win the Wood will be running in the Kentucky Derby so it attracts some good horses and jockeys. Having never visited Aqueduct but hearing all kinds of opinions we were wide open with our expectations.
For you Memphians who play the horses think Southland Greyhound park but with Long Island accents. We found what I would equate to as the Jockey Club in Hot Springs but with an overpriced buffet and a very expensive beer list. We had a good time and thankfully the racing Gods were good to us and we broke even.
It was a good time and we were able to check this off the list. We will probably be back for the Arkansas Derby.
Apologies to my 14 readers, I have been kinda busy as of late. Mary Louise and I had some friends in town and went out to ABC Cocina to have lunch with them on Saturday. We hadn’t eaten there and we had a great time catching up. That evening we went back into the city and had dinner with the Landlord at a Little Italy establishment. Sunday Mary Louise headed out on the road and is in Spain for a couple days. Then she goes to France for a couple more days. Then she finishes up in London this weekend.
Because I am such a humanitarian I decided to head across the pond on Thursday night to hang with her over the weekend. Granted because she has her a nice hotel room in Westminster close to the Thames river doesn’t suck. As of now we have plans to see Papua New Guinea Mike on Saturday and The Thompson’s on Sunday. Other than that we are going to wing it.
My former work wife (the domestic one) moved up to middle management and has her a nice corner office in the Garment District. I would visit her from time to time and noticed that she had 3 picture frames but no pictures in it. I would suggest to her some options but she has other things going and never got around to it.
Last week she had to head to the head office for training. Who knew that selling tourists tickets to those double decker buses in Times Square needed so much managing and training. She was gone all week but last Friday I was going to be in the office for some training as well. Since she knows that #robocares I figured I would take it upon myself to put in some pictures in her picture frames for her. DISCLAIMER – I did text her husband prior to me doing this and he was on board.
I think she liked my effort at re-decorating her office.
Sorry that I was not posting last week much. We had a trip to Northwest Arkansas for Family Christmas and to catch up with our family and we were busy last week.. This year we decided to fly Non-Rev and boy aren’t we glad that we did. The first flight from LGA to XNA were a whopping 8 people on the flight. I guess the first full week back in 2019 not a lot of business trips to Walmart or that part of the country.
The visit was great, we got to see some of the cousins that we normally don’t see and catch up with lovebug and her mother. Later after a rousing round of Ugly Santa we headed to the Razorback LSU basketball game. That part kind of sucked as the Hogs came back but missed free throws are always a killer.
Editors Note – I am not sure when I am going to publish this post. But in order to give a you proper understanding of my next statement today is the day that the President walked out of the Boarder wall/Government Shutdown meeting with Democrats.
Damn I miss that Anthony Bourdain isn’t here anymore. I could really use his commentary on current administration and his thoughts on immigrants coming into this country.
We lost a bunch of good people this past year. We lost Maddy our beloved Monkey Head, who would have told me that 4 months gone we still miss that fluff ball. I will get to that later but we also learned a bunch of new things about ourselves and we saw a bunch of cool stuff living here in the North East. Let’s dive in shall we?
Music and Shows are always big on our radar. We went to more Losers Lounge Shows than I care to think about. Tribute to Barbara Streisand was a good one. The Last Waltz was so-so, but we enjoyed the shit out of the Disco Cruise around the Hudson with the band. We also saw some concert shows this past year. Thanks to a certain someone who po-po’d on a ticket Mary Louise got to see “The Piano Man” from a suite. We caught Phil Collins at the Barclays and listened to some Elvis Impersonators on Long Island Off the beaten path we got to see the Airshow on the middle of Jones Beach for Memorial Day. Mary Louise also got to see some Broadway shows; Frozen, Waitress, One on this Island with different friends. I would be remiss to say that I saw David Byrne this year. Still one of the better shows I ever saw. Yes I said that again.
We had a bunch of different friends come up and see us too. We got to hang out with LoveBug one weekend and had a blast with her. But we can’t forget when EGP and Cali rolled into town and attended Slavic Easter Sunday Mass with us. Northwest Arkansas came over one weekend and we even had our favorite Venezuelan make an appearance while we were in the city on a Sunday. Our former dog & house sitters came to town and we got to see some Memphis BBQ guys roll into town one weekend. The invitation is always open to come see us. We have 2 hotels very close to us if you have to stay close to our joint in Brooklyn.
We explored our new neighborhood of Downtown Brooklyn and found a whole bunch of new Dive Bars to frequent. By the way, and I have said it before; Moving in New York really sucks. The good news is that we are in our new home and we really enjoy living here. Of course the Muphranks have accused us separately of being bad influences. I will just say that it isn’t our fault that the mixologists at a couple of Park Slope bars over-serve patrons. We also went to the Rose Mansion this summer with Z(squared) and I even enjoyed it (just don’t tell anyone) but didn’t take a selfie there.
Sadly we said goodbye to some really good people this past year. Yes the loss of Anthony Bourdain is still a shock to me. But what it really does is cry out to people that on the exterior people may have their shit together but inside they need help. You can never know so here is my advice. Be good to people. Don’t be a dick. You have absolutely every right to disagree about politics but you don’t have to make it personal and attack people’s character. Stop and think about what you say or about to tweet. If you are a bully then you should automatically get to have your nuts kicked in. End of story.
Have a good day and remember what I said earlier; Don’t be a Dick!