Monday, March 31, 2008

St. Patrick's Day, Take Two

St. Patrick's Day was two weeks ago, but you wouldn't have known it if you were in Bay Ridge yesterday.

Our neighborhood held its St. Paddy's Day parade yesterday afternoon for some reason, and the route was right by our apartment. I watched from one of our bedroom windows.

It started with one of the local politicians handing out green bagels (alas, I could not sample one since I was inside) and it ended with all of the nearby bars being packed and LOUD for the rest of the night, at least past midnight when I went to sleep.

The parade itself reminded me a bit of Defiance's Halloween Parade, except this one had fewer floats and more bagpipes. I had no idea New York City had so many bagpipe bands. I'd never before seen so many kilts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Church, Bay Ridge-style

In honor of Easter this week, I'll talk about church.

St. Anselm's in Bay Ridge is the first I've ever attended that has a subway running underneath it. The first time we were there, I wondered what the rumble was every 10 minutes or so. I think I figured it out by the end of mass.

The train isn't loud, but it's definitely noticeable. It causes a slight vibration throughout the church too. I haven't quite gotten used to it, but it doesn't really bother me.

Also, the church has a statue of a saint that looks exactly like Sean Connery, circa "Indiana Jones." If you don't believe me, you really will have to pay me a visit. I'm not taking a picture, so don't even ask!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Miscellaneous with Mom and Dad

Despite the day-long Saturday rain that visited at the same time as Mom and Dad, we did a lot last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

In addition to the TV shows, we saw "Chicago" on Broadway, walked around Times Square, visited Rockefeller Center, took the Staten Island Ferry and did probably half a dozen other things I've already forgotten. And of course, we visited Little Cupcake! Here's a few of the best pics:

Friday, March 14, 2008

A different kind of "View"

On Sunday night we went to the View restaurant- not the TV show.

The View is a revolving restaurant on one of the top floors of the Marriott Marquis in the middle of Times Square. We arrived at 5:30 and stayed for two hours, so we saw lovely views of the city in the daylight, at dusk and at night. The napkins pictured a map of everything we could see, which included the Chrysler Building and the Hudson River.

But we were there for more than the good views! We celebrated Mom and Dad's upcoming 30th wedding anniversary. I suppose they give Paul and I something to strive for. :-)

We ordered the dinner buffet, which was interesting for more than simply the food. The buffet stayed in place while the part of the floor with the tables circled around it. It seemed that each time we got up we had to walk in a different direction to get to the buffet! The food was pretty good, too. We all especially liked the shrimp, but of course my favorite part was the dessert bar. Who can resist mini-cannolis, bread pudding with vanilla sauce and all the chocolate you want to devour?

All in all, it was an experience I'll be glad to repeat!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Angus burger, anyone?

Mom and Dad really wanted to go to a specific McDonald's in Times Square while they were here. I couldn't help but laugh-- did they want to visit the Applebee's a few blocks away as well? Maybe we could find a Bob Evan's. But if this is what they really wanted to do, who was I to say no?

It was better than I thought. They happened to see this particular restaurant on a Food Channel program and thought it looked interesting. The front looked like a Broadway theater-- in fact, it was next door to Mary Poppins. Inside it was huge. We got there toward the end of the lunch rush and sat on the third floor, where the only seats were available. The inside was very modern, with a lot of metal and musical performances being projected onto the walls.

The food was the same ol' stuff, but for a Mickey D's, it wasn't so bad. I had more McDonald's in the last week than I have in the last year-- we also went to a McDonald's near my work on their last full day here. It's not as nice as the one in Times Square, but it does have a live piano-player!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No business like show business

My parents came for a long-weekend visit, and it was just as much a vacation for me as for them. I was able to show them some of Manhattan and Brooklyn, but we also did plenty of stuff that was new for me too.

We did so much that this will have to be a multi-day post, so stay tuned. And stay tuned (yes, I'm very punny today) to David Letterman on Friday night-- we got last minute tickets to the taping. The Late Show tapes Friday's show on Monday evening, and we were able to get tickets by stopping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Sunday, filling out a form and proving we were fans by telling them about our favorite segments.

The guests were Jaime Pressly (from My Name is Earl) and a comedian. More interesting was seeing the set in-person. I watched Letterman with Dad from the time I was a little girl until I graduated from high school, and sporadically since then. Although I'm not a frequent viewer now, I have such good memories of watching it with Dad that I really wanted to see it in person.

Unfortunately, Paul and I got split up from Mom and Dad when we were seated, but the two of us were about nine rows back directly in front of where Dave does his monologue at the beginning. It was a neat experience, but probably one I won't repeat soon- we had to be there by 5:30 to pick up the tickets, return at 6 to get in line, wait a bit longer to be seated and then wait some more until the one-hour taping started at 7. I'm glad we did it though.

The next day we went to a completely different taping-- The View. A relative of a relative is a stage manager there and was able to get us tickets (Paul went to work). The handful of us who got tickets this way were seated first, in the front-- we were in the second row and I think we almost could have reached out and patted Barbara Walters on the shoulder. I was amazed how small the set was! I think I heard it holds only 200 audience members.
Unlike at Letterman, we could take pictures inside the studio during the commercial breaks. A couple of the hosts even came out and talked to the audience. The woman sitting next to me spoke to Sherri Shepherd for a bit.
The breaks were the most interesting. I always thought it was a large stage, with the table at one end and the couch where they do the interviews in another. Nope. The crew moves everything out of the way and sets everything up in the 2- or 3-minute breaks.
The woman who got us our tickets chatted with us for a bit and was extremely nice. It was also fun to see her name in the credits at the end of the show. Of course, I taped that day's show on the DVR and we watched it when we returned to the apartment that night. The back of our heads were shown quite a bit!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Getting groceries

One of the most frustrating parts of living in New York City is getting groceries.

The grocery store we frequent now is so small that you could probably fit about 100 into the average Kroger Marketplace. The selection is small, and the aisles are even smaller. Carts are a huge pain because of the tiny space and large crowds; it's easier (albeit heavier) to carry a basket.

We go to Associated about once a week and buy only what the two of us can carry back to our apartment. We walk there-- it's about a 10 minute stroll, and there's no parking lot anyway. We get grocery ads only sporadically, so I usually take a look at a flier as soon as I enter the store and quickly memorize the prices. Associated has good sales-- you just have to make sure the cashier charges you the correct amount. Every time but once they've overcharged us on at least one product. Luckily Mom trained me to watch the scanner, so I catch most of the mistakes.

About once every month or six weeks we go to Foodtown, about 14 blocks away. It has a parking lot, so that's where we stock up on cat food and litter. The store itself is larger, but the aisles are just as narrow. It's so busy on Sundays that we've had to wait in line for a shopping cart.

The selection still amazes me. Many of the stores don't carry large tubs of flavored yogurt, but you can choose from multiple styles of rice or ricotta cheese. I know it's because of the neighborhood's demographics, but it's still frustrating.

Luckily we can get the necessities (fruits, vegetables, milk and eggs) across the street. I always have onion nan on hand from the Greek grocer on the corner, and I just found a health food store nearby that sells yummy blueberry granola. I just miss being able to go to ONE store to get everything I need.


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