Tuesday, December 20, 2011

it just feels reckless

Two weeks ago i went to Manhattan for a concert in the middle of the week.
Just left work and went to play for 36 hours.
Yep, i'm a rebel.
There were several new things on this little excursion, starting with the insanity of taking a trip in the middle of a work week. Who is this responsibility dodger and what is she doing sleeping in my skin? Plus, i've never gone out of town for a concert (Northern Virginia doesn't count, people; it's still in the Balto-Wash Metroplex), i stayed in Times Square for the first time and this is the first time i've taken the train. [okay, sidebar: i did take the train to MA for Kurt's funeral, but all i remember from the trip is my dad walking me to the station and meeting an older lady on the train who said the most shockingly rude thing that i have ever heard; since i don't remember the train or the stations, i'm calling this a new experience]
Let me share just a few words about the train - love it!  It wasn't too busy, the stations were cool, security took 5 minutes, the seats are huge, there's electrical outlets and WiFi and a snack car and the constant clackety-clackety-clack of the wheels. Plus, no traffic. I really, really loved traveling by Amtrak both ways and hope to do it more often.
I stayed in an old timey hotel called the St. James with a gorgeous lobby, rickety wooden elevator that i think Mr Otis installed himself and real room keys on brass fobs that you left at the front desk. It was charming, though definitely the smallest room for the largest price i've ever paid.
I had a co-worker take me to the train station directly from work and was in my hotel room by 10pm.
In the morning after not setting my alarm clock (on a Wednesday, people - a Wednesday) i asked the front desk where i should go for breakfast and they sent me to Junior's on Broadway.
It was lovely to eat my pancakes and eggs leisurely, sipping tea and trying the apple and raisin compote that came as a side dish, while watching the world hustle by on the way to work or shopping or whatever.. In fact, it was such a relaxing meal that i stopped next door at the bakery and bought muffins and croissants to take back to the front desk staff as a thank you for suggesting it.

I had intended to do something touristy like the Observation Deck at the Empire State Building during the afternoon (somehow i have never done that; crazy, right?), but this photo of Times Square sums up the weather for the whole trip:

blech, with a capital BLE
 It was cold and rainy and foggy. I generally like to enjoy my adventures and I knew it would be a long night, so instead i spent the afternoon in my wee hotel room lounging on the bed, reading a book (did i mention that it was a Wednesday? it is simply reckless to lounge in another state on a Wednesday). At lunch time I brought back food from the deli next door and lounged some more.
Around 3:00 i showered and got dressed for the 30 Seconds to Mars world record concert. It was at the Manhattan Center about 14 blocks away so i went outside to catch a taxi.
Ever tried to get a taxi in the rain at 4:00 in the afternoon in New York?
It was full-on raining and the temperature was dropping by the moment so i kept walking thinking that i'd find a taxi somewhere along the way. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
By the time i started seeing available taxis i was only 4 blocks away; after 10 blocks of slogging through a jillion people and puddles i was drenched so it seemed pointless to catch a cab. Thank goodness that i threw my umbrella into my bag at the last minute while packing.
I arrived 2 hours before the doors opened and in the pouring rain the line was already 3 blocks long.
I queued up and balanced my umbrella to read the book i brought along. I really wish i had a picture of me in the midst of hundreds of wet people, holding my umbrella in one hand and Love in the Time of Cholera in the other as i tried to read by the light of a streetlamp.
It was a different experience to be sure.
Eventually the doors opened and the line started moving slowly toward the Hammerstein Ballroom entrance. We weren't allowed to take our umbrellas in, so there were hundreds of them abandoned along the wall; it would have been a fabulous picture, but there was no time to pause as it was general admission seating and being short means you have to run for the front.

to be continued...


Douglas said...

Who is this spontaneously leisurely person who hath taken over your reasoning? I like her : )

Soooo......what did the little old lady say to you? Did you hit her with your umbrella?

Niki said...

D - it was so heinous and heartbreaking that i have never repeated it to another lving soul and i intend to take it to my grave