Thursday, June 02, 2011

Last night...

Yesterday was a little of control. We had plans to spend half the day in the city with my dad doing a double decker bus touristy trip and then to head back early to have a rest as I was going to Jules' girls' night out.

We walked down Atlantic Avenue to a diner which looked good but was pretty basic. It's true about serving sizes here; an order of eggs comes with lots of bacon, fried potatoes and toast - all for $6.25. The bagels are good here.

Then our first subway trip into Grand Central Station, which is just stunning... I could have stared at that amazing ceiling for hours. A walk to meet dad and Irina at the Waldorf and we were off on our bus tour.

Sitting up on the top deck gave us a great view but also made us very hot and we all realized we needed hats, pronto. So we hopped off at Times Square and spent a fortune at the big souvenir shop.

We then hopped back onto another tour and ended up going through Soho, Greenwich Village, past the WTC site and lots of other interesting places. We had a great guide who was very informative, funny and entertaining. I didn't want the tour to end. It almost didn't as we got stuck at one point waiting for a guy who had left his wallet on the bus during a previous tour to catch up with our bus in a taxi.

By the time we got off and headed back to the Waldorf for a late lunch it was 3:00pm. So much for having a relaxing day and being home early. The Waldorf is a seriously old world classy sort of place, with prices to match (it stands out because food is generally very cheap here). Will's Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich was $15 and he didn't want to eat it because there was no "jelly" and he doesn't like peanut butter (both issues were discussed at length during the ordering process). My ridiculously priced Club Sandwich was very good though.

Then we had to hightail it over to Grand Central Station again to catch our train home. After a long wait we walked in the door at 5:30, leaving me 25 minutes to refresh before heading out for the evening.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Momofuku Ssam Bar. Momofuku has legendary status with my sister and she loves/worships it's chef/owner David Chang. This bar is part of his empire but not the main restaurant. It's small and very loud and funky (meaning uncomfortable for old fuddy duddys like me).

Our group squeezed (triple emphasize squeezed!) into our table and proceeded to scream into each other's ears for the next few hours. The food was a set menu and each dish was amazing. The sparsely worded menu didn't really provide much of an idea of what we were going to get. All I can say it wasn't a great place if you are either Kosher or a vegetarian. The whole "butt" (pig of course) served sang choy bou style with lots of various accompaniments was a "wow" sort of dish.

It was a welcome relief to fall out onto the street sometime later. Despite New York's stifling hot weather and humidity the air outside was so refreshing after the sweat box which was Momofuku Ssam Bar. After all about half of NY's population was squeezed into an area about twice the size of a phone box.

At this point we decided the night was too young to call it a night and teetered over the road to what Jules called a "dive bar". It was so fabulous and such a contrast. A small, simple, quiet bar which would definitely have been my local had I been living in a parallel universe as a single working girl in NYC. Just the front bar and a small back room, a single female bartender, a jukebox and a handful of regulars (including a super hot guy who looked like RW in a certain light or maybe it was the couple of cocktails I had ingested earlier??).

Things fairly quickly took on a David Lynch film-like quality when a strange little dude came in and befriended us. Then we took another couple of steps into Twin Peaks world when a handful of young Navy boys came in looking for a good time. Jules' friend quickly roped in a couple of them to pretend they were strippers (Jules was morbidly terrified of having a stripper there). These boys were already pissed and one went into a convoluted story about his nickname, gained in Iraq, on account of his hobby of stripping for no apparent reason.

Being a pathetic old worry wart I was a tiny bit concerned this would not end well. Before we knew it Jules and her friend R were sitting out in the small back room being straddled by two cute young Navy boys. I stayed on the outskirts but the horrified look on my mother's face told me things were getting a little crazy. Apparently they weren't but mum was being horrified in advance. I'm fairly sure no wobbly bits saw the light of air.

Soon we called it a night leaving some of Jules' friends to carry on partying and headed home in a cab with a hilarious singing driver. The weirdness continued.

It was a great but thought provoking night. I really loved meeting some of Jules' friends who I had previously only heard about. I enjoyed meeting Marvin's lovely sisters who are as gorgeous and smart as he is (remember what I said about diluting your gene pool by joining our family Marvin).

Seeing the young Navy boys at the bar made me a little sad. They were just like Forrest Gump, young, naive boys from somewhere down south. They had been to Iraq. They were drunk and lonely and looking to distract themselves for a few hours. They didn't seem much older than Will which just made it all the more bizarre. Fresh faces, barely shaving, gentle manners like boys out for the day with their mother. Yet they had probably seen the most horrible things, possibly killed other people. Surreal.

I collapsed into bed and slept properly for the first time since we left home.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Your last paragraph is so true. I kept thinking it, and just wanted to buy them a drink instead of the craziness that happened and hope they just had a good night at that bar, or elsewhere.