Tuesday, March 29, 2011

NYC, March 2011, Day 6

Today is the last full day in New York of this visit, and Barbie needs to spend it resting in bed.  We got her some room service eggs and toast, and we are hoping that she will feel better for tomorrow's flight.

In the meantime...  I got invited to lunch at the "second best burger place in Manhattan" and after that I need to run an errand.  The burger is with the Barrys, which means walking a half block from the Ritz to the Plaza to hop into a cab with them.
I sat in the front seat next to the cabbie, which I do not mind.  The Barrys (father, mother, child, nanny) definitely filled the back seat, and when I sit up front with the cabbie I enjoy peering into that little world. You see all the things on the front seat and floor that are normally completely private to said cabbie.
This picture is hilarious.  To me.  It is probably not even funny to you.  There is no reason for it to be funny to you, because you have not walked around the East Village and Williamsburg with the Barrys like I have.

By the way, you probably can sense by the amount of sunlight that it isa beautiful day in New York.  Instead of being 35 degrees, it has warmed up to the high 40's.  And, amazingly, even when you are from California, after you endure under 40 weather for a week and then suddenly it is 47, you find your body is saying, "Jacket?  We don't need a jacket.  It's warmer."  And that is my California body.  I imagine to the New Yorkers it feels like the Caribbean today.
The Upper West Side Shake Shack.
I love how neighborhoods where nobody would want to eat at, say, Burger King, end up embracing the gourmet burger and fries under the auspices that more expensive beef and potatoes are somehow unlike the fare eaten by the rest of America, even though it is still a greasy, fatty, salty mess.  Good burger, by the way.
My peanut butter chocolate shake being held up to the back of American Museum of Natural History.  This restaurant was chosen so that the Barrys could continue to the nearby Children's Museum while I head off on my day,  Little do we know that this location choice will have a deep impact.

Deep impact coming soon!
The Barrys post lunch.  Note the accidental triangular composition of the family, suggesting the child at the family triangle's apex while the parents make up the foundation.  Sure, you can look at this and see a shot of a family at a burger joint.  But then you would be missing the subtleties of the art of photography and would hate yourself.
This is what can happen to a tray of food when a small child is involved.

Lunch is over.  We get our coats and head to the door.  But we are trapped.  Literally caged.  Why?  Why can we not leave?  Because the President of the United States of America, whose Birth Certificate I have seen thank you very much, is about to visit the American Museum of Natural History across the street.
Everyone stood and stared in that direction until we saw the President's car.

Can you see it?  I shall assist you.
A crop is a zoom and arrows help, too.  Our President sits in that vehicle.  You know, I tend to be nonchalant about most everything.  I did not care too much about the Hollywood superagent next to me on the plane, or the movie star who I sold running shoes to in High School, but the President?  I am not nonchalant about our President.
There stands the NYC cop who made sure that nobody inside the burger joint came running outside with bad ideas.  I am literally not typing the jokes that could go here because I am fully aware that humor is lost within data mining.  Maybe I should delete data mining while I am at it. 

With the President safely inside the museum, we were allowed back onto the streets.  The Barrys headed to the Childrens Museum while I headed to the subway to his the East Village.
This shot was taken because Barbie loves churches, and I am not sure if my lovely wife who is lying in bed recovering from stomach illness has ever seen this corner church.
NYC Subway Station Candid.  March 2011.

This is no big deal for New Yorkers, but it filled me with joy that I totally knew how to hop onto the 1 train, switch to the E train at Columbus Circle, and then jump to the L train at 14th street, taking the L across the island of Manhattan and getting off at 1st Ave to hit the East Village.

Anytime an Angeleno truly understands another city's mass transit, said Angeleno is filled with both a sense of pride in himself and a sense of sadness that Los Angeles totally lacks decent mass transit.
I did not go black and white for this shot of bicyclists by Tompkins Square Park.  The point is not that it is a candid, but that 47 degrees is so comparatively warm to recent temperatures that it is absolutely a day for biking.  And, since I skipped the black and white here, I actually pushed the color saturation about as far as it can go.  You cannot tell, but I can.

Why the treck down to the East Village?  My unofficial son was going to have his roomies Fed Ex his San Francisco Giants clothing to Los Angeles for him to wear to the season opener between the Giants and Dodgers, and I offered to save them the trouble and stop by to pick the stuff up.
Yours truly with Nate's NYC Crew.  The only one I know is Mia, to the far right.  Let us just say that if Mia had been the one who came to our spare room in L.A. instead of Nate, I would be as happy as Barbie is right now.  Decipher that at your leisure.
There is a genius named David Cross who does comedy.  In his comedy, he speaks of living in NYC and always coming across used condoms in the street.  I suspect that this one is not used, but it was still in the street and out of its wrapping.  The David Cross NYC Condom Theory has photographic support on the Waste.
NYC Subway Candid.  March 2011.

After arriving back at the hotel and finding Barbie still alive but not well, I hung out in the room until Mister Jesse stopped by to hang out at the Ritz lounge.  Little did he know that I planned to bring him up to the private Club Lounge.
Mister Jesse checking his phone in the Club Lounge, allowing me an opportunity to take a picture of his cursedly perfect hair.
Room service dinner for those with a stomach virus, a shared plain hamburger patty, steamed broccoli and white rice.

Honestly, I could eat like that every night and be perfectly happy, though I would probably sub in a turkey burger.  I do not need all these fancy meals.  I am a simple man at heart.
Closing time in the hotel room.  The day is coming that I can use the iPhone's HDR setting to manipulate pictures that have light and dark elements within them.  Lacking that ability, I chose to balance the light to the feet.

Tomorrow we fly home.  Definitely looking forward to it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

NYC, March 2011, Day 5

I realize that people often read these Waste posts out of order.  If somehow you are reading this after not having read yesterday's post, allow me to fill you in on what you need to know.  One, we are in New York. Two, we basically came to New York because the NBA game that we had tickets for last November was cancelled and then rescheduled for today.  Three, we have been visiting friends and eating meals in New York for several days.  Four, last night Barbie and I both got very sick with food poisoning.


There is one thing on this day's agenda: lay in bed and rest until it is time to go to Madison Square Garden to to watch the Orlando Magic play the New York Knicks.  That is it.  We spent all morning and afternoon just trying to gather the strength that we will need for tonight.
Room service was ordered.  That burger did me good.  Barbie could barely make herself eat more than a few spoonfuls of her chicken soup.

I kept feeling better and better every hour, which was good news.  Barbie was having a much harder time.  I know you do not want the details, but suffice to say the difference between us most likely relates to the fact that my body expelled more poison more quickly than hers did.

That said, there is a Knicks game to attend.  It will be the fifth arena where Barbie and I shall see a NBA game together.  The other four?  The Los Angeles Forum, Los Angeles Staples Center, Salt Lake City Craphole (okay, that is not the arena's name but those Utah Jazz fans were so horrible that I will never not want to punch a person wearing Jazz paraphernalia in the face), and Miami American Airlines Arena.
I have a PDF of our tickets to tonight's game in my iPhone, which meant walking down to our Club Lounge to ask a nice concierge person to print them out for me.
As long as I am here, how about a picture of the Ritz Carlton Central Park Club Lounge?  Nice spread.  If I was able to even consider eating, I would have done so.  Alas, the remnants of the feeling of food poisoning made this spread look particularly unappetizing to me.
Magical.  I asked the person at the desk for her email, sent the Knicks tickets PDF to her, she printed them, and handed them to me.  Voila.

Seriously.  It is Six PM and I have gotten out of bed twice for a total of maybe fifteen minutes and have still managed to make this Waste post exist.  But it is time to rally.  Barbie got out of bed, got ready, and we headed to Madison Square Garden.
Sure, I used the NYC Subway App in my iPhone to get us here, but you have to love helpful signage.
Here we are...  Madison Square Garden, which labels itself The World's Most Famous Arena.  It is just a hunch, but I bet that the people who came up with this catchphrase share the same mindset as those who named our nation's baseball championships the World Series.
From the side you can see the actual arena.
Entering!  I was sincerely excited, and basically over the food poisoning.  Poor Barbie was excited but not over it, and being a trooper.
Almost there!
I know it is not barefoot, but my feet have been to Madison Square Garden.
Easy to tell which person got more of the poison out of their body faster, no?
Game on!
Next to us were six Brooklyn boys.  They sat one seat over than they were supposed to and then the usher guy came over and made them hand over every ticket.  There was so many loud words being thrown around in Brooklyn accents that it was probably the best conversation I have ever heard.  Barbie said, "I wish you had gotten that on video."

I especially loved that after it was all over one guy kept complaining that the curse word guy gave us a hard time and then his buddy kept saying, "He's just doing his job, you're the curse word."  It was beautiful.  Too bad that the Colossal Waste editor does not allow swearing on the Waste.  That cursing was funny.
Halftime trampoline dunker.  In case you cannot spot him...
...he is in the circle.  Dude is way high up there, yo.
Madison Square Garden panorama.  Seriously good shot.  You should probably right-click-open-in-new-window this one.  Seriously good.
Happy Knicks fans.  I have failed to mention that the New York Knicks have lost six games in a row before tonight.  They really need a win.
Barbie and the Brooklyn Guys.  They might have been from Queens, or the Bronx, or Long Island... but to us they are the Brooklyn Guys.
Overtime baby!
Very happy Knicks fans.  The losing streak is over!
A picture of the scoreboard, proving that the Knicks did in fact win a basketball game.

Barbie got to see her favorite player Dwight Howard play in person, and now we are headed back to the hotel.

Man do we need to get back in bed.

This Waste post is proof yet again that a day in which we do almost nothing at all in New York City is still relatively interesting.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NYC, March 2011, Day 4

The agenda today, like any other day in New York, involves meals with friends and meals with friends.  Our delightful friend Mez chose a place very close to us for brunch, which means that we will be going for a short walk into the East Village today.
Community gardens are cool.  
As we approach Cafe Mogador we see a particularly affectionate couple in front.  I was pretty sure that it is my friend, but even if it was not I would have taken their picture.  Turns out it was him, sans goatee.  It has been so long since I have seen his face hairless that I literally was not sure of his identity until I got close enough to touch him.

Arguably that shot should be black and white.  It is candid.
This picture is right-side-up on the iPhone and on the computer, and then Picasa flips it.  One click would fix this, but... you guessed it, I love the happy accident.

I failed to take brunch pics.  My bad.

After brunch it was time to head back to Denise's and load our things into a car to head to the Ritz Carlton Central Park.  Why the switch?  Friends staying down the street from the Ritz and such.  But first we must walk back to Denise's, which takes us through the East Village where our unofficial son lives.  Certainly we have to pass by his place and say hello to it, even if he happens to be in our home in Los Angeles right now.
Again, the public parks of New York city are plentiful and wonderful.  In Los Angeles, all the parks are literally for activity; sports, playgrounds, etc.  We do not have parks that are simply there to not be buildings.  To sit in and relax.  It is quite a deficit, really.
This is where our unofficial son lives!  How cool that mere weeks after his joining us in L.A. and becoming part of our family we happen to walk by his home in NYC?
One of the better street signs you will see.
It is time to head to the Ritz Carlton Central Park, and Oreo has watched the suitcases come out of our room and knows what is up.  He is trying to make me want to stay, and it is working.
Denise is extremely lucky that I cannot live with a cat due to allergies.  Because Oreo would love to live in the better weather of California and have the extra space to roam that our home would provide.  Yes.  If I was not allergic, there might be a cat-napping.  (Do not worry Denise!  Your Oreo is safe at home!)

We hopped into a car and soon we were 60 blocks further North than where we had begun.
The view from our new room.
Jodi and Dmitri met us at our hotel, and we went for a short walk for coffee.
They took us to the Momofuku Milk Bar around the corner.  Irony has kicked in.  The New Yorkers have taken us to the same place that we went to yesterday, only a smaller satellite location with fewer choices.  In the largest city in the USA, what are the odds we get taken to the same place by different people?
Dmitri, Jodi, and Barbie enjoying their sweets.  
Question: Is something art just because you hang it on a wall?   Answer:  Kinda.  (For the record, I like this piece very much, even if it requires an electrical outlet.)
Yes, there is a compulsion to take pictures of the Apple Store.  I wonder how many people are stuck in the past like me and see a great big Power Mac Cube when they look at this sucker?
Our new home, the Ritz Carlton Central Park, is right THERE.

We got back just in time to get ready for dinner.  I tell you; eating, walking, eating, cabs, eating and walking.  Madness.
We arrived at Sushi of Gari, the fantastic Upper West Side sushi restaurant that Mez introduced us to last November.
Yours truly, Barbie, and Peter.  See.  I am slowly adapting to this concept of taking pictures of people.

So... at Sushi of Gari we learned from Mez to simply order Chef's Choice and let it roll.  Therefore, I never saw anything on any sort of menu that would allow me to tell you what we were eating.  But what I did do for you, literally you, was type into my phone what I heard the waitress say in her broken English as she said it.  Perhaps I could have cleaned up the descriptions.  As was once said in a Kids In The Hall sketch, that would require an effort.

Without further adieu, chef's choice tapped into an iPhone:
Tofu & spinach.
Mackerel; Snapper, salad, pine nuts; Seared salmon; Tuna with radish purée.
Sautéed prawn roll; soy sauce snapper; Baby yellowail jalapeño; Tuna creamy tofu.
Salmon steamed tomato; Fluke sweet pepper relish; Bbq toro with Garlic Sauce 
Seared foie gras.
Mille crepe. 
Banana bread pudding.

And this concludes the meal.  Tonight, after ordering dessert, I received texts from two friends about relaxing for a late drink at the hotel.  How perfect is that?  I honestly cannot recall exactly how things happened before we all become connected by wireless devices.  We would have had to actually plan all of this earlier in the day.
Peter, Barbie, Monique and Rick at The Oak Room, the bar attached to the Plaza Hotel down the block from the Ritz.  I nerdily included this to show off how much detail the iPhone's camera picks up even in low light.
The same picture adjusted in Photoshop Mobile on the iPhone.  You would believe it was taken with a flash, no?  All that detail was there, hidden in the darkness
Outside The Oak Room hung this photograph on the wall.  I cannot tell you why, but The Beatles, based on their hair and clothes likely soon after their first appearance on Ed Sullivan,  are sitting with Dr. Joyce Brothers in The Oak Room.  What the heck?  Was Dr. Joyce Brothers on the same episode that The Beatles appeared on?
Up in our room these chocolate covered strawberries awaited us.  We did not eat them.  We still have not.  Their fancy little tuxedoes remain intact.




An hour or so after getting to the room tonight, I did not feel well at all.  In fact, my skin started to hurt and my body began to ache.  I laid in bed while Barbie worked on her laptop, and I knew what was sure to come.  And it did.  Food poisoning.  Food poisoning to a high degree.  And a few hours after my body expelled everything that it could in every direction that it could, Barbie came down with the same thing.

And that was the end of our day.  Shivering, aching, skin hurting...  if Barbie had not given me a sleeping pill after my body had long been emptied I might have laid there awake and miserable for twelve hours.

And that was that.