I didn't write a blog yesterday because of the craziness surrounding my New York trip with my friend Big D. A blog was all planned on and ready to roll, but then the day got ahead of me. Way ahead of me.
My friend D and I had plans yesterday to see Spamalot on Broadway, which was very well intentioned. D told me that the show was around 7pm, so we planned on leisurely meeting at noon to take the train in and wander around Manhattan for a bit beforehand. So I woke up around 8:30 and watched television. After an hour of some bad Saturday morning cartoons (were they always this bad?) I decided to get out of bed. So I stumbled into the living room and performed an elaborate ritual where I checked my email and phone to see if anyone had tried contacting me while I was sleeping. Unfortunately, I decided to leave my phone on silent and when I picked it up there were three messages from D. Apparently the show was at 2.
I hurriedly called him back and showered as quickly as I could. I thought our train trip could still be salvaged, but D had other ideas. He showed up insisting that we drive into Manhattan. So I hopped into his car and off we drove to Manhattan.
I've never driven into Manhattan myself, but having New York in my blood, somehow I know the way. So D and I had relatively little trouble getting to the theatre. There was plenty of time so instead of taking the highway directly to 44th street, we got off in the Bronx and drove down Broadway to Manhattan. It was a beautiful sunny day and the city was humming. I love New York when it's nice out.
I've always been under the impression that it's woefully expensive to park in New York City, but I was proven wrong when we parked at a nice garage on 43rd street. The price was 25 dollars for 24 hours. That's a great deal, especially considering we were parking a block away from Times Square. I may never take the train again.
D and I stepped out into the tumult of Times Square, which I immediately regretted. Tourists love Times Square because they think it's the epitome of New York City. I think it's exactly what the problem is with New York, and with my lineage being of New York, I don't consider myself a tourist. The streets were crammed with obnoxious people desperately trying to get their pictures taken next to the flashy Nokia sign. D and I slipped into a pub on a side street, hoping to find a quick nosh before the show. We also found a modern day Casanova, who was calling every woman on his cellphone hoping to find a girl to spend time with. At one point he called a woman and said "how are you my little Martin Luther King baby?" It seemed to work because he followed up with "Or are you my little Malcolm X dumpling?" Seriously weird.
So we went to the show. Our seats were almost directly on top of the actors, albeit 100 feet above them. Still, the theatre was small enough that any seat was good. We settled in and were prepared for whatever we were about to see.
Spamalot is a very funny show. It genuinely has moments of Monty Python genius. But I had two minor audience critiques. The first is my fault-I have simply viewed Monty Python so often that many of the reprised skits felt flat to me. While the audience was laughing hysterically, I was thinking that I indeed found that joke funny before. Like I said though, I stepped into the show knowing the material too well.
The second issue with the play was its uncomfortable insistence to tear down the fourth wall. D commented to me that recently, a lot of Broadway shows have felt audience participation was necessary. This is just another example of the themeparkification of New York. Broadway is desperately trying to appeal to the masses by willingly sacrificing some of its integrity. Still, the show still had that Broadway shine to it.
After the show, we decided to bolt from the Times Square area as quickly as possible. We walked through the ginormous 42nd street Port Authority station, where we saw many strange and kind of annoying performers. The funniest part of the excursion through the station wasn't the performers, but a clothing shop that calls itself "R.A.G." Now that's good satire.
I dragged D down to Macdougal Street, which is a strip of hip bars and restaurants in Greenwich Village. We had a few drinks in a couple of interesting taverns, and after that my memory gets a little spotty. The great thing about New York is that most restaurants are great and don't make you wait, so D and had a great meal at a little Italian place with very good prices. We bolted when the flamenco guitarists showed up.
The wide array of bars on Macdougal street allowed us to be eclectic. After eating we went to a cool tea shop, where I energized myself and D bought some delicious tea leaves. We went to a place called "The bourgeois Pig" simply to say we went to a place called The Bourgeois Pig." It was a tiny place with enormous cushy chairs packed together so tightly I had to bend my body in funny directions to squeeze into it. I ordered delicious mulled wine and when I asked D what he ordered he said he didn't know. It was sort of a beer and citrus juice combination that was tasty. After watching an unfortunate man who was clearly messed up on some sort of drug get thrown out, D and I decided to leave ourselves.
The rest of the night was a casual visitation of other bars, including a place where one of the regulars told me that house rules were that if I bought a drink, I had to buy one for him as well. I wasn't feeling generous at that point. We ended up leaving Manhattan around 11:00pm and getting home around 1:30pm. All in all, a great night without many lessons learned.