Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Turns Out, It's a Hell of a Town

I believe I have been to New York City five times, though the first two hardly count — I went on a bus to the American Girl Doll Store (which seems so funny to me now, but back then it was Mecca and my girl was a True Believer), and I'm not sure I ever even went outside. Then, of course, I had my Wicked Glammy Movie Star Weekend with my dearest pal Zanzibar in 2013, and that was a visit that shall never be surpassed.

I returned to Gotham last August, and that was easily THE WORST experience.
  • It was hot. 
  • We were staying in Brooklyn, not near anything I wanted to be near.
  • My knees hurt, my feet were swollen, and I could barely walk. 
  • And at the end of the trip, we left my firstborn angel, my darling daughter, the fruit of my loins, in the big scary city all by herself. Well, all by herself amid 8.491 million big scary strangers, two of whom were her snotty pig roommates who did not impress me one iota at first meeting.
Yeah, that was not a fun trip.

But I have now completed Journey Number Five, and while neither Zanny nor J. Tilly made an appearance, it was nonetheless a blinding success from start to finish. And at the end, I got to bring home my girl! There is little that can top that.

I drove my own car — no Siri, no GPS, just some printed MapQuest directions and my own aging wits. And as always, I marvel over how the entire state of Connecticut comes to a halt on its highways. What the hell, Connecticut? How do you stand yourself???

I consoled myself with a lovely Mother's Day lunch at Rein's Deli, a place I've loved longer than my own husband. I had a Pickled Bloody Mary (just one though, remember my aging wits), and it went down gooooooood.

And then I drove into the city! And LAUGHED! Ohmygod, New Yorkers are terrible drivers!! (Who knew?) And if they just obeyed the traffic lights, there wouldn't be all this gridlock. But they didn't, and there was.

I missed one green light because I was being New England-proper (or California-mellow), but I didn't make that mistake twice; the second the light changed I charged into the intersection, all four inches of it that were available to me, and waited waited waited endlessly for a taupe-colored limo to make its way through.

Right then a police officer on horseback arrived, which made me laugh some more. Oh, yeah, horse guy, you're just what we needed here!

Finally the stupid limo had moved enough for me to get by, but then a guy tried to turn left in front of me. I slammed on my horn and yelled "NOOOOOOOO!" He threw up his hands in disgust and said something, but I didn't care, I sailed through the intersection yelling, "YOU CAN ALL BLOW ME!"

Readers, this is not a sentence I say often. Or ever, really. But when in New York, you gotta channel your inner New Yorkian. Or longshoreman. Whatever. I was a BADASS.

Sunday night's task was to move Mimosa out of the dorm room she's been sharing with yet another Human Pig — dear lord, you cannot believe the filth and crap piles my daughter has been living with. There I was, attempting to eradicate a semester's worth of gunk with Clorox wipes and elbow grease. But we did it, and we got her packed, while the Human Pig slumbered on the lower bunk next to us. What a weirdo. But it's over now.
Not an actual picture of their room — but close.
I did meet Mimosa's RA, who my daughter always describes by shrieking, "She's SO LITTLE!" See for yourself. She's an adorable girl and was very good to my daughter.

So little!!!!!!
I had no trouble finding my way around the Village; as many pointed out before I left, New York is actually way easier to navigate than Boston, as it's built on a grid. I never got lost, I never got scared. Woo-hoo! We made our way to the Hampton Inn, paid to park the car in the adjoining garage (I ultimately paid less than $200 to park my car in Times Square for four days, which seems like an amazing deal to me), and didn't see it again until we left on Wednesday.

(One of my friends, when hearing my plan, asked if the car would be safe in the garage. How the hell do I know? Where would be a safe place to park a car packed full of my daughter's college life? It reminded me of one of my mother-in-law's best sayings: "Don't park the car where it will get stolen!" She had many such gems, God rest her soul.)

On Monday, Mimosa was itching to show me around her 'hood, so back to Greenwich Village we trooped, only this time via subway — and it was so funny; we had only to glance at the subway map with the slightest of frowns marring our lovely brows, when a man materialized to ask if we needed help and offer guidance.

Subway babes!
 This happened over and over. The ethnicity and age of the man varied, but it was always a man.
  • Me: Why do you think all these men keep offering to help us?
  • Mimosa: Because we're redheads with great racks.

The Village is gorgeous. We hung out in Washington Square Park, so pretty . . .


 . . . and then had lunch at Mimosa's favorite place, Umami Burger.

  • Cute Host Guy: Have you been here before?
  • Me: Me, never; my daughter, a hundred times.
  • Cute Host Guy: OK, so shall I tell you the story?
  • Me: Yes!
  • Cute Host Guy: Umami Burger originated in California . . .
  • Me: As did I!!!
It was YUMMY. They bring four sauces — including the famous Umami catsup, which was amazing — and I deeply dislike catsup. But this was like a cross between catsup and barbecue sauce (which I also dislike), sort of sweet and savory and smoky all at once, and I really liked it. The other sauces were garlic aioli, a mildly spicy Ranch dressing, and a hot sauce, served on little Chinese soup spoons. So cunning! So tasty! We also had caramelized Brussels sprouts and a pickle plate. Crazy good!!!


Thus fortified, we set out on the subway again. Other than a Broadway show, there was one thing that I simply had to experience in Metropolis.

The mothership!!

New York City Public Library! The lions are named Patience and Fortitude, and I believe we're both feeling up Patience. Then we went inside . . .

Honestly, I was a little disappointed. Many of the rooms are kinda stinky (it's wicked old), and it was ridiculously hard to find books!! But we loved the Children's Room.

The original Winnie the Pooh collection. Weep! Weep!

It was a marvelous day, but we were really happy to collapse in our air-conditioned hotel room, feet up, bras off, icy drinks in hand.

Our room was lovely and roomy, which I'm only mentioning because Brunie had warned me that it would be shoebox size. But it was as big as any other hotel room I've ever stayed in. We were on the second floor, the free breakfast was tasty and ample, and there was free-flowing ice just a few floors away. I was happy as a kitten.


Mimosa was ready to send out for pizza and call it a night, but I had this itchy feeling of I'm in New York, I should DO something, though honestly I was fairly knackered as well. We compromised by "doing something" incredibly easy, though it did mean walking nine blocks.


Popcorn and Peanut M&MS for dinner. So fun!!!

When we got home, a nice hotel lady called us over and asked if we were Hilton Reward members. Much to my surprise, I am! (Maybe I signed up during one of my Film Festival weekends?) She then offered us a "little taste" of an upgrade — for the next few days of our stay, we could experience the Cadillac of Hilton Rewards, and she gave me a list of restaurants and other venues that would give us a 15–20% discount.

I pored over the list . . . and saw something that I really really really wanted to experience.

But now I'm tired and must go to bed. Stay tuned for Part 2!!!!

Lady C, Badass!!!


  1. Two comments that will never come from me: "You can all blow me" and "Redheads with great racks."

    1. Never say never, babycakes. With enough margaritas in you, I feel pretty confident about coaxing at least the second one.