Monday, February 20, 2006

Starting to spread the news

Ah, New York City. It's frightening how much of my knowledge about Manhattan comes from the Spiderman 2 video game and Die Hard with a Vengeance - scarier still how accurate those guides are. Thankfully, for the first time, I got a real tour around the city courtesy of some friends. This was a far better way of seeing a city than just dutifully checking off items in a list of tourist spots - not that there wasn't some of that.

Some things I learned: taxi cabs are freakishly easy to come by. They're cheaper than you'd expect (relatively speaking of course). Garbage trucks run almost daily to every neighbourhood. The city and subway really are clean. And if Jerry Seinfeld really lived at West 81st Street and George Costanza really lived in Queens, there's no way they'd be friends across that distance.

There's really too much to say about the trip, so here's a quick list of the best places I saw around town:

Mandarin Oriental, a high-rise bar with high-cost cocktails and a view right out of Lost in Translation, minus the Tokyo skyline and a scantily clad Scarlett Johansson.

Pastis, a Parisian-style brasserie that has the best French toast I've ever had. Considering the decor, maybe this shouldn't have been a surprise to me.

Rue B, a low-key neighbourhood bar with great pizza located on Avenue B in the East Village that also shows New Yorkers are not above a good pun.

Rosa Mexicana
, an upscale Mexican eatery famous for its guacamole that they make right in front of you from scratch. Tomatillo sauce is the new salsa as far as I'm concerned.

Magnolia Bakery, every bit as gloriously delicious as you'd think it was from watching SNL.

Among the other awesome, but more conventional sites I saw: the Met, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Times Square, SoHo, the meat-packing district, the Brooklyn Brewery, a Broadway show (Spamalot, with David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria and John Cleese) and the list goes on.

Then I had what I suppose many people have in New York, a celebrity encounter. I heard from friends who had seen Drew Barrymore and that shaggy Stroke Fabrizio Moretti. Others had seen Donald Trump. Me? I saw a greatly dishevelled and weak Nick Nolte, using a cane to get into an elevator. I wasn't so much dazzled by celebrity, as I was sad for it.

A big thanks to the friends who made the trip worthwhile, residents of a cool apartment in the East Village that was way more fun than any hotel - but I'm willing to bet just as pricey. A funny note about the picture - it looks like it was taken at an off-kilter angle, until you realize the fridge is level.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great trip Ryan!