Sunday, November 23, 2008

A dose of my own medicine (Episode 4)

We woke up late on our first morning in Manhattan, but we were in bed late only because we couldn't sleep all night, and it wasn't from excitement. In our ridiculously over-priced hostel the only furniture besides a useless bedside table was a single mattress with no boxspring that had a wallowed-out center. But what upset me the most was that there was no minifridge and 18 billion Norwegian kids in the house, usually smoking and drinking malt liquour on the front porch.

We tried to get started as early as possible, since we wanted to go to MoMA, shop in SoHo visit with Olivia and make it to Shea Stadium in time for the Mets game.

This schedule, as it turns out, made the entire day into one big tragedy.

Olivia ended up having an engagement that she couldn't miss, so we weren't able to meet, which was a real bummer, because it would be the second time that we were in the same city but our paths didn't cross.

There are people who spend entire days in New York's Museum of Modern art, and we had to cram all we could into just a couple of hours. People spend days window shopping and peeking in at different SoHo stores, but alas, we didn't have the time. We windowshopped, just breezed by a lot of them. I grabbed a coffee and a muffin. Dave did, too. We decided to grab a cab and head to MoMA.

I love that place. Not to mention the fact that they had a ridiculously awesome exhibit on Salvador Dali. Also, a cool architectural exhibit on prefabricated housing through the ages. And the permanent collection was amazing (what I saw of it, that is).

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This couple (the blonde and the guy in the blue button-up) seemed to tail Dave and I from room to room. She stood with him in front of most of the abstract paintings and sculptures, explaining history and concepts, like an art student dying to impress a date.

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And then there was an empty suit, which reminded me a lot of politics. And I'm sure that I missed many very splendid things because there just wasn't enough time.

We really had to hoof it from MoMA to get to Shea in time for the game, so we caught a train from Grand Central Station (which is really both Grand and Central) and headed to Queens instead of heading back to the hostel to change clothes first. It had started sprinkling rather deliberately, and we were wondering if we were going to get to watch baseball at all.

Grand Central Station was amazing, and ridiculously organized. What impressed me the most was the walk-through market where you could buy fresh fish and scallops and then take two more steps and buy a Dutch chocolate cake! You could also buy beer to drink on the way to Shea stadium (!) which is a fantastic idea.

By the time we got to Shea it was gross and rainy, and the gates hadn't opened yet. So Dave and I ducked into the gear shop and I got a Mets hoodie to wear because I was freezing my bejeezers off. We ran in to Shea right when the gates opened, and immediately I could tell why this was its last season standing. The place is a dump! Since it was drizzling, there were puddles everywhere and there were leaky spots all over the place. It smelled like one of my dead grandmothers' closets, too. Good thing the beer stands were open, though, because it was going to be a long wait to see if we were going to play, and the tarp was still covering the diamond.

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Here, Dave is double-fisting since we weren't sure how much longer we were going to have to wait to see baseball.

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Here you see one of the natives measuring the rainfall, looking out to the Astrodome-ish stands of Shea Stadium. Notice the tarp covering the infield...

So, we got to go to Shea before they tore the sucker down. No baseball though. They had already completed the new park, which is right next door. It looks a lot like Ebbets field from back in the day. Maybe we'll get to see a game there sometime.

We were tired, hungry and a little tipsy, so we took the train back to Manhattan, switiching to the red line at Times Square, but instead of hopping on a train we decided to take a couple minutes and check things out before back to the Upper West Side to grab some grub before turning in.

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(kinda fuzzy, but still awesome!)

We quickly had enough of Times Square and we made our way back to the Upper West Side in pursuit of grub and booze.

After way too much searching, the only thing we found that was still seating was a tiny little tapas restaurant called Luzia's. So, as we start to make our way inside to get a bite, a fight broke out across the street at a pub called Jake's Dilemma off Amsterdam near our hostel. People started rushing in there and you could hear glass breaking from across the street. Then all of the sudden four or five men are carrying this guy in a white shirt out of the bar and they drop him on the pavement. Then, the cops show up. Very interesting.

Two beers and some very interesting coconut curry scallops later, we headed back to the shitty hostel to turn in. Nothing may have gone well that day, but I wouldn't say that it wasn't interesting.

3 comments:

Olivia said...

Sorry to hear about the shitty hostel. Yet my friend's place in that neighborhood is absolutely palatial, and must be over $2500 a month!

I saw that empty suit and everything else in that room at the Joseph Bueys exhibition at the modern art museum in Houston some years ago. It was baffling then, baffling now, although I tried a little harder to understand it this time around.

I'm glad you decided to continue your vacation posts, it's interesting to hear what you think of this city.

wanderingtex said...

i really dont like new york, and it is for exactly all the same reasons zou ran into - nothing ever works out! i was there for 2 weeks and got to see oh, pretty much nothing. i guess the best way to see that city is to not make plans and just roam. which bothers me bc im a huge planner - esp when travelling - gotta have rick steves!!

MattJ said...

Hostels are a special kind of hell reserved only for students and australian/south african back packers. They don't even have a concierge so you can discretely arrange hookers and heroin - it's a disgrace.

As for the rest, I think I'm with some other commentsd here - you're hitting a place with so much to see and where the touristy blends with the not so-touristy, planning is probably counter-productive.

that suit is cool.