Monday, November 14, 2011

Manhattan Mayhem

An early morning moon over Lake Anna, VA, viewed from 25,000 ft.

It's been a long while since I've spent some quality time with the young 'un, so early Friday morning, long before dawn reared its sleepy head, it was off to the Greensboro airport to catch a plane for New York City (via Washington-Dulles). A couple of relatively brief hops later, I was on the ground at La Guardia, where I soon met Allison, though not without a wee bit of confusion. Note to kid: passengers on United Airlines usually disembark at the United Terminal. We cabbed it back to her Manhattan apartment, where she introduced me to my grandcat, Sutton, and promptly put on some episodes of Dexter, a show I've never seen, and made me watch them. Sometime later, I discovered I was completely hooked. For the rest of the long weekend, Dexter was playing constantly anytime we were not out and about. Then the nefarious child got me playing Angry Birds on her iPad, and it was at that point we began to fear there would be no leaving the apartment for several days.

The bully and the troublemaker: Allison "Shogunmouse" and Sutton Rainey

Leave we did, however—for some geocaching. There are a few not far from her place, so we went out around the neighborhood and did a little hunting (and finding) as well as grocery shopping. Since we're both operating on a fairly tight budget, we opted do most of our dining in. The kid is not a half-bad cook and, that evening, provided us with some fabulous beer-butt chicken. Last night, we had some of her homemade buffalo wings, which completely rocked (I kicked them up a notch with some habanero sauce, of course). We also discovered at her nearby grocery store these little individually packaged Table Talk pies, which we determined are delicious beyond the bounds of reason. The chocolate eclair and blueberry varieties are especially noteworthy.

Several times over the weekend, I discovered I could not shift from this position.

Saturday evening, we lit out for midtown Manhattan, met Allison's friend Andy, and paid a visit to New Hane Sushi in Midtown East, an unassuming, very small, and absolutely wonderful little joint that made us all holler a bit. I ordered the fusion sushi plate, which was a dozen different types of sushi, all served with different sauces—every one fabulous. From there, we grabbed a few caches and then headed to the Empire State Building, for a late-night visit to the observation decks. I've been to NYC a number of times, and I'd visited the top of the World Trade Center back in 1999, but this was my first Empire State Building experience. I really, really enjoyed it, particularly the 86th floor, where you can go outdoors...and claim a virtual geocache—"The Empire Strikes Back" (GC4D7F). Your ticket to the observation deck entitles you to a free drink at the ground-floor Empire Room bar, but it was closed for a private function. Thus, Shogunmouse, Andy, and I decided to discover some nearby watering holes. We tried one called The Mason Jar, which specializes in bourbon. I opted for a dirty martini; I probably should have sampled the bourbon. From there, we found a little restaurant called The Barking Dog (where a very friendly dog named Wilson actually did attempt to get service but was permitted to sit only in the outside seating area); I have no idea how good their food is, but the bartender— whose name was Sonia, I believe—treated us more than right, and we enjoyed a number of happy concoctions.

Afterward, Andy went his way, and the child and I caught a cab back to her place. Hard to recall for sure, but I think we watched some more Dexter.

New Hane Sushi restaurant on 3rd Ave.

View north from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building

L: Andy Callander and Damned Rodan at The Barking Dog;
R: There's no cache here, but there ought to be.

Last night, it was out to the Holiday Cocktail Lounge on St. Mark's Place, where Andy regularly plays guitar and sings at open-mic night. It's a decent little dive bar in the East Village, and it was here I discovered the Fugazy Fireball, a powerful little formula of jalapeno-infused tequila, lemon juice, and pama (pomegranate liqueur). A dynamite drink, to be sure. Spicy and tangy, with a lingering pepper burn. It was also here that I succumbed to irresistible pressure from my daughter, borrowed a guitar, and belted out a song ("Love My Way," by The Psychedelic Furs, or something akin to it). Most enjoyable. During a break, I went out for a walk through the Village and soothed my caching fever.

Today, the flights back home. All smooth, except for there being no air conditioning inside La Guardia, and the heat was bad enough to give me a case of the near swoons. Unhappy Rodan!

A couple of random New York moments. Seen from the bus while heading down to Midtown: some guy walking down 2nd Avenue carrying a car door. Today in a restroom at La Guardia: a dude farted so hard it shook the whole row of stalls. Potent wind!

Finally, a strange case of synchronicity—or cats texting each other. Sutton, Allison's special needs (and thoroughly sweet) cat, has a habit of sticking his feet in his water bowl and then jumping on people. I experienced this a couple of times, and yes, you get some kind of wet. Although Frazier has been known to dip his paw in the water bowl to test the temperature, Sutton's brand of gratuitous paw-soaking has never been among my cats' bad habits. It wasn't, I should say...until I came home. This evening, Chester and Frazier have both soaked their feet and gotten me—not to mention the floors and furniture—quite damp. Yes, I've already called Allison to air my grievances, but I'm not sure any felines were listening.

I leave now to dry off. G'night.

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