Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Apple That Bites Back, Part 2

Oh, arch nemesis, thy name be procrastination. The memories must remain fresh in my head to continue typing what joys I experienced two Saturdays ago. A faithful reader mentioned that I ended the last entry on something of a cliffhanger, that the action kept building and building and then poof, end of entry. Well, to rectify that, I present to you the second day’s entry:

At around 11:30am, I woke up to ask myself what had happened the night before. My mind raced while I stayed in bed for about fifteen minutes. Thea emerged from her room, surprisingly well composed and not groggy considering she was here- there-and- everywhere last night and did a bit more jumping than I did. She took a seat on the bed and we tried to debrief about the evening, but to no avail. Sure, we could mention bits and pieces of what I mentioned in the last entry, but that’s it. The pace was much too rapid, the alcohol a little too free-flowing, and the memories a tad sparse. But that’s how any Friday night should go, right?

Yeah, about last night...

As good as our collective minds are, however, we knew we couldn’t spent the whole day backtracking. After getting ourselves spiffy clean and dressed as smart as could be, we set out for a nice semi-brunch (not quite breakfast, not quite lunch, and only on the periphery of brunch) at a good ol’ fashioned Irish pub for old times’ sake. Thea had the crab cakes and I had the bangers and mash (NYC Food Count: 4), and though that meal was several days ago, I still regret it. Don’t get me wrong, the food was good, but the sheer weight of it was… well, oof. A Chicagoan in New York indeed.

We needed a walk to use up as much bangers and mash in the tummy as possible, and we made the decision to go to the Museum of Natural History, the setting for Ben Stiller’s classic 2006 hit Cameos in Period Costumes aka Night at the Museum.* The sun was shining, traffic was steady, people were active, and everyone enjoyed a relatively normal Saturday afternoon in Manhattan. And then…

We were across the street waiting for a bus from the accident when it happened. We both saw the Mercedes speed through a Madison red light at 79th street, where it collided with two more cars at 80th before pulling a 180 and hitting another car and into the store. We joined other pedestrians in approaching the crash site. I called 911 (the operator asked for my number! Chicago, learn a lesson!) while Thea tried to gather as much visually as possible. Luckily, no one was too badly hurt, but a few pedestrians around us had to let loose. One woman ran behind us to a corner in order to cry, another woman ran after to console her.

However, I’ll always remember the loud Jamaican lady who screamed out hysterically in an “I told you so” kind of lecture, pointing at everyone as if the accident was our fault, yet blaming the driver for not being careful enough. I was about to snap at the lady since she wasn’t helping any matters by being morally superior to everyone else, but that would do no good, either. The funny thing is, now news reports say that the driver lost control and that the accident was probably due to mechanical failure. I hope Jamaican lady reads that and feels salty like the ocean to the east.

Thea was still out of breath while my thoughts were scrambled all over. Since New York is never a boring town, we left as soon as the fire trucks arrived, as the bus arrived at just the right time. We hopped on board and tried to process all that. The bus drove through Central Park, but I feel like I missed some of the sights because we kept replaying the crash in our heads. From that point on, we were much more cautious about when we cross streets.

So, we made it to the museum, where we found a fulldome video show called, aptly enough, Cosmic Collisions. We (perhaps morbidly) joked that we saw cars collide, now let’s see planets collide. We bought our tickets a half hour early and spent time "interacting" with various beasts of old.

Running of the Theas. Coincidentally, at the other side of the museum...

We made our way to the show, narrated by the great Robert Redford, and we had many, many audible gasps throughout. Being a space geek, I highly recommend it. And the next time I’m in NYC, I’d love to spend more time at the museum.

We do things big.

Hiking up to some galleries not too far away, Thea and I did battle (re: ran around inside) a giant Bamboo Iron Dino Snake. All in a day’s work, I suppose. You could climb inside and the snake curls upward. The snake itself is made of some heavy duty metal, but it’s held up almost solely by bamboo. The floors inside (the “bottom” of the snake) are made of bamboo as well, though held together by plastic straps and feeling like they could give way at any moment. There was even a warning sign saying that only three people were allowed. Of course, six fully grown adults went in, but what did we care? We saw cars and planets crash.

I found a way out, but it's not going to be pretty!

Off we went to a few more galleries before we stopped over at Union Square for some nice desserts. If we filled up on semi-brunch, we sort of sapped our energy from all the activity and excitement of the day. Thea bought a thick, creamy brownie and I had a large Red Velvet cupcake, one of my few weaknesses (NYC Food Count: 5. But since it was Red Velvet, we’ll up it to 6). On a side note, Red Velvet cake was invented at the Waldorf-Astoria, according to Steve Cohen. Oh, Waldorf, you’ll always be in my heart…

Also, a thing about Union Square… outside of concerts and Formerly Known As at Big Chicks, this was the largest concentration of hipsters, urbanites, and fashionistas I had ever seen. Tight jeans everywhere. Blazers and kaffiyehs in the midst of humidity. Huge sunglasses and chuck tailors all over. Ill fitting t-shirts and fedoras surrounded us. For such a humid and sticky day, everyone was surprisingly chill. There was no mob mentality, they were much too frigid for that.

Pictured: Union Square's Ratio of Hipsters Per Square Inch

Seeing all these young people make connections, I suppose, prompted us to try and contact our old friend Joey. A few years older than us, he was part of the triumvirate we formed ten years ago at our mothers’ college reunion. We’ve seen each other sparsely since then, but the three of us hadn’t been together in that time. Living in NYC to earn his JD at Rutgers, the time was ideal for us to reunite. And, much to our surprise, his brother Jeremy was also in town, also graduating from Hoffstra with a BA degree in film. Ten years is a long time for us not to see each other as a group, and Thea and I became excited/agitated/frustrated/nervous/enthusiastic to see Joey again, but we had no idea what we would be truly up against until dinner. In comparison, suddenly the Bamboo Iron Dino Snake didn’t seem so bad…

To be concluded….

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