Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hell of a Town, Part the Second

Before I return to my narrative, here's a funny thing I forgot to mention: When we got back to the hotel on Sunday night, after moving Mimosa out of her dorm, we were hot and sweaty and dusty and tired. I had promised to take her somewhere for dessert (since I didn't get to town in time to take her to dinner — thanks again, Connecticut), but at that point I really only had the bandwidth to navigate us back to the hotel and get the car parked.

(And I totally forgot that I had emptied my own suitcase already to bring to her; even though I'd brought extra bags just for this reason, I left them all in the car, also my corkscrew — and I had the feeling that once the car was parked, I would have to pay to extricate it, even if I only needed to retrieve something. So the next few days became all about a quest for free bags; I managed to pack all my stuff [1] repacking Mimosa's one suitcase, [2] using my own Betsy's Wedding Convention tote bag, and [3] filling a Duane Reade plastic bag with my dirty laundry and empty Diet Pepsi bottles. This should impress Brunie, who knows how much stuff I tend to bring for a three-hour tour.)

(Duane Reade, by the way, is NYC's Walgreens, it is everywhere, which I found very amusing, having just watched The Night Of, in which Duane Reade is an important character. But I digress.)

SO, we're at the hotel and I spy a gift shop, with cold sodas and such. "Yay!" I said to Mimosa. "We can get something to drink." I grab a Diet Pepsi for me, a Vitamin Water for her, and two Magnum ice cream bars — the promised dessert! With great joy, I hand them to the cashier, who rings up my purchase. NYC veterans will not blink at what happened next.
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: That'll be $17.96.
  • Me: WHAT? 
[a pause]
  • Me: Wait. How much . . . ?
  • Stone-Faced Cashier (begins to tap each item): This is $4.99, this is $3.99, this is $4.99, this is $3.99.
[my mouth falls open]
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: Do you want a bag?
  • Me: I guess . . . not. 
[I hadn't realized yet that yes, I wanted a bag]
  • Stone-Faced Cashier: Do you want a receipt?
  • Me: No. Well, maybe to show my husband.
When we got to our room, I ordered Mimosa to savor that ice cream bar. She assured me that every bite was worth five dollars. In fact, that became our phrase for the rest of the visit. "Is that yummy?" "Going down like five dollars, believe me."

On to Tuesday morning and our mystery destination!!!

*              *              *              *              *              *              *              *

 W H E R E ? ?

Our hotel served free breakfast from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and I generally arrived around 8:30, had several cups of coffee, and then investigated the entree of the day. On Tuesday I enjoyed a small cheese omelet, wheat toast, and some turkey sausage — quite tasty!

I then texted Brunie and said, "How fancy is the Russian Tea Room? Do we have to dress up?" She immediately reassured me: "I wore a T-shirt and capris." Hurray!!!

(The Russian Tea Room is the thing I spotted on the Hilton Rewards list — and it was only a few blocks from our hotel!!!!)

After a relaxing morning of reading and crossword puzzles, Mimosa and I headed out for lunch at the Russian Tea Room!!!!

I ate this borscht! And loved it!!!

So swanky! So delicious! We had a wonderful meal and, with our nifty discount, saved a ton of dough. Thank you, Hilton Rewards!!!

We then walked two blocks to Central Park, where I sat and texted people and Mimosa scampered about because she's young and spry. Plus, she didn't finish her Russian Tea Room dessert. For whatever reason, I didn't take a single picture — but Central Park is perfectly beautiful. Perhaps you've heard?

Next destination: An important pilgrimage.

I'd been bugging Mimosa basically since she got to NYC to go pay her respects at Stonewall, but it just never worked out. Today, we determined, was the day:

Her godmother Brunie made this hat. I can't even.

I was bummed that the Stonewall Inn wasn't open yet — definitely on my list for my next visit.

A visit to Stonewall almost demands a certain dairy-based follow-up:

Mimosa had one of these:

While I opted for this:

And it was hella good, even though I was still slightly full of chocolate hazelnut mousse cake from the Russian Tea Room. But how could I not get a Big Gay ice cream?? Though I do regret, a bit, not ordering a Salty Pimp, simply to say the name. Next time!

We subwayed back home, veterans now, and took a little walk through Broadway.

Last subway ride — I'm a pro!
Martini's most-want-to-see show.
And then it was again time to fling bra, fling shoes, put our feet up, and drink cold drinks — for just a bit, because we had still another Major Milestone ahead.

Dinner was simple: Mimosa really wanted me to try NYC pizza, so we stopped at the first joint we saw:

I liked the thin crust and it was perfectly tasty, but I'm not really sure what the big deal is. Then again, I am not really a snob about pizza — I pretty much like all decent pizza. And maybe for your best example of New York-style pizza, you don't go into the first joint you pass by . . . ? Anyway. Perfectly tasty!

And then — Broadway, baby!!!

I'd tried to get tickets to Dear Evan Hanson, which just wasn't going to happen without breaking the bank, and all the various day-of lotteries seemed too worky. So I turned to my Broadway guru Sister Hart, and she said:
If you can't get any seats for Evan Hanson, I *highly* recommend Come From Away. You'll laugh, you cry, and you'll leave the theater dancing!
The reviews were fantastic, and I was able to get reasonably priced seats (though almost in the back row) — Come From Away it was!

The more we read about this show, the more excited we got.

Of course I had to drink champagne! I told the bartender that this was my first Broadway show (which now I think is not correct — Zanny, wasn't the play we saw on Broadway?), and he said, "Well, I have very bad news for you, because it's all downhill from here — you're going to have a hard time topping this one."

Here's a synopsis:
Based on an inspiring true story. September 11, 2001 was an ordinary day in isolated Gander, Newfoundland—until it wasn’t. Thirty-eight planes were diverted to its doorstep on that fateful day, making this small town unexpected hosts to an international community. The camaraderie that followed reminds us all of the power that comes from opening up your heart and your home.

It is a magnificent play, and we loved it beyond words. One of the actors is nominated for a Tony, and she was divine! We are rooting hard for her.

We walked home, feeling as satisfied as two humans could be.
Though by this point, I have to admit, I also had the feeling of being done — Russian Tea Room, NYC library, Stonewall, Broadway show; I'd seen and done what I wanted, and now I was tired of jostling through crowds all the time and smelling city smells. Plus, it was getting warmer, our beautiful breezy days were turning sultry and muggy. Time to go home.

Mimosa is sad to leave her beloved city.
I put my faith in MapQuest!!!
We drove swiftly home, only getting bogged down in Connecticut twice, and rewarded our perseverance with another stop at Rein's:

Mimosa drew me as a pickle.
And now we're home, jaded veterans of the big scary city. Seriously, though, it was such a great trip; it is still not "my" city, but NYC is completely demystified for me now. I can find my way around, I have mastered the subway, I plan to go see my daughter a million times next year. All is well.

And what a joy it was to do all this with no knee pain!!!! God bless my darling surgeon.


Lady C, still and forever a BADASS


  1. The first picture shows Fiddler and Lion King. Is this 1997? Next time I see you, I expect to see YOUR own rainbow knitted hat.

    1. New York is timeless!!!!

      (I will NEVER wear any variation of those gross hats. I totally support the sistahs who wear them, but ew.)

  2. So happy you came, saw, ate, and conquered! Hope to see you next time!

    1. Absolutely!!! Next time is all about you and me.