I couldn’t believe I was walking six blocks to eat at a food cart on the corner of 53rd and 6th last Saturday. But I couldn’t have asked for a better day in New York City (as long as there isn’t something like Free Lap Dance & Blow Day that I don’t about) so I ventured onward, got in line, and like a pro confidently ordered the combo platter, extra white sauce, a little red sauce, and an iced tea. I almost scoffed at the mere five drops of red sauce he dotted atop the bed of rice, lettuce, chicken, lamb, tomato, pepper and onion but I remembered that my good friends on Yelp warned me that more than five drops could easily melt one’s teeth and gums (they were right). My only mistake was trying to pay with a $20 bill I was trying to break – I was chastised in a rather non-threatening way by the man in the yellow shirt (not the yellow hat, that would have been a Curious George story and this blog is mostly based in truth) and meekly handed over the $6 in exact change that I had in my wallet. There was an open spot on a nearby ledge between a somewhat primped older blond woman with her suspiciously unkempt younger boyfriend and a young Asian couple sharing the same combo platter, so I joined the others as I watched the parade of tourists look upon me and my foil tin with disdain as they ambled toward the Times Square Olive Garden. My meal totally kicked their meal’s ass at half the price and I got to eat outdoors, so fuck ‘em. Enjoy your Taste of the Venice Canal.
Well-nourished, I rambled north to Central Park to try and find a dead body for the next episode of Law & Order, but with all the sunbathers out there I couldn’t tell who was dead and who was alive and it became quickly apparent that they didn’t like getting poked with a stick even if it was for their own good. Luckily, there is plenty of other entertainment and people-watching on the weekend that won’t get one arrested. So I spent two hours wandering every inch of the park up to 72nd Street, except for an amusement park type section (Victorian Gardens) that reeked of kids, and we all know how they frighten and confuse me. I moved on and stumbled upon the SummerStage, which sounded more like the Big Easy than the Big Apple, and discovered it was the Celebrate New Orleans concert. I almost went in but they were checking backpacks and I was afraid of getting arrested because, hey, who knows what’s in that thing? Besides, the large crowd frightened and confused me so I sat outside on the grass for a few minutes and enjoyed the fine sounds of Jon Cleary for a while without getting jammed into the bleachers with a bunch of other cheap sons-of-bitches looking for a freebie. I continued on to find some street performers that were more hype than show and some performers that were better than ones I’ve paid to see (have I mentioned how bad The Cars sucked in concert? Not the New Cars, who I haven’t seen, but probably won’t so you’re on your own on that one). Further on up the road was a fenced off roller disco where I borrowed a sequined shirt and schooled the crowd with my junior high Le Freak routine. The hula hoop clinic was the next stop, but I didn’t want to show off (not to mention my disappointment at a lack of a “grinder girl” clinic. I turned around at Strawberry Fields (it was definitely nothing to get hungabout). In fact, I’m guessing one of the guys from Candy Flip must have died or something since there appeared to be some sort of memorial and a bunch of people were leaving flowers all around. I’m going to miss them. A trip along the main road back gave me a chance to gawk at hot roller girls like urban toreadors, scoff at bikers riding anything less than $1000, consider a career as a pedicab driver, realize I don’t like horses much unless they’re racing, watch just enough of a pick up soccer game with shirtless guys to not feel gay, yell at people in the row boats to watch out for the rabid ducks and feel very fit as I dodged tourists stuffing their faces with ice cream. Bottom line: Central Park rocks. If you’re in NYC for a weekend, Sid says definitely spend some time checking it out. I was there 2+ hours and wish I had had more time to explore.
I made it back to the Pod Hotel where my room was ready. Not so much rooms, hence the name. It’s more a very high-end flophouse for people that don’t want to otherwise pay $300 - $400+ per night. For about $129 with a shared bath, or $199 with a private bath, you get a very nice, clean room slightly smaller than a jail cell but without the dangerous roommate. I had a twin bed and a tiny desk compacted in my 6’ x 12’ room. Free wireless and an iPod docking station. What more can you ask for? Besides, if you spend more than 8 hours in your room on a visit to NYC you’re wasting your time and money and might as well just gone to Des Moines for vacation.
I showered up and got ready for my next adventure.