Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cheesecake and Spam(alot)

On Sunday we met everyone at Junior's Cheesecake in Times Square for a pre-show dinner. The original is in Brooklyn, not far from where Paul works. He told me about the large portions, but he hadn't tried the signature dessert.

After we ordered, our waitress brought us a bowl of sauerkraut topped with pickles and a small bowl of pickled beets. No one else wanted the beets, and I had never tried any before. Not as good as the cheesecake, of course, but still pretty tasty.

I convinced Paul to split an entree with me so I would have more room for dessert. In fact, that's what each couple at our table did. Then came the main attraction. Paul and I quickly decided on the Devil's Food Cheesecake -- a layer of cheesecake about two inches thick surrounded by several layers of cake and fudgy frosting. I wish I would have taken a photo of it. We had enough left for a third person.

Junior's food is about average, but the cheesecake will definitely warrant a second trip.

We had tickets for the 7 p.m. show of Spamalot, and we could see the theater from our window seats at Junior's. I had never ever seen more than a couple of minutes of anything Monty Python-related, but I still thought the show was really funny.

Of course, we all took photos outside after the show.

By the time the show was over, it was dark and Times Square was bright. After a few more photos, we picked up Sam and Don's luggage from Jannette and Curtis' apartment and made our way to Bay Ridge. More about our day in Brooklyn later!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vacation in the city

Memorial Day weekend felt like a vacation, and I don't think I was ever further than 15 miles from our apartment.

My friend Sam and her boyfriend, Don, came to the city to visit us and Sam's college friend Jannette and her husband. I worked with Sam in Springfield, and Sam, Don, Paul and I would go out nearly every Friday night for the best pizza in Columbus.

We started the weekend right- the six of us went to happy hour at Southern Hospitality, a bar on the Upper East Side (one of the owners happens to be Justin Timberlake).

That was followed by a meal at the nearby Vietnamese restaurant Vermicelli. The excellent weather was surpassed only by the delicious food, and we sat at one of the many tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

I think I look slightly scared in this photo because I was seriously learning to use chopsticks. Usually I give up and go for the fork. But I managed the whole meal this time.

Paul and I skipped the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island the following day, but we met up with everyone at Bohemian Hall, an outdoor biergarten in Astoria that we had been meaning to try. The weather was lovely and the beer was cheap- who could ask for more? Ah, yes, and there was some sort of Czech festival, so there was polka music for a time as well.

And that was only the first part of the weekend! More about Spamalot, Coney Island and some of the best cheesecake in the city next post.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Subway floors & the Upper West Side

I tripped over a piece of poop.

Granted, this was no ordinary piece of excrement. It was probably the size of a small rabbit. If it would have been on the grass or near a sidewalk, I wouldn't be complaining. But this was inside a subway station.

Yes, it was an outdoor station, but I still think this is no excuse. What I'm really curious about is the animal this came from. I've never seen an animal as large as it would have to be on a train before.

What's more, today I stepped right in the middle of what looked to be vomit on the floor of my train today. I wasn't the only one. When people are pushing to get on the subway, you don't really have an opportunity to look down. You just move forward. Finally someone put a newspaper over it all, so at least it wasn't slippery.

Happily, I haven't been paying visits only to disgusting messes on subway floors. Paul and I on Saturday took a 75-block walk up Broadway from Times Square through the Upper West Side.

We visited some venerable institutions-- the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Columbia University. But this is the only thing I took a photo of:

You can't get much more historic than the outside of the diner featured on Seinfeld, right?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Odds and Ends from Ohio

Last Thursday night was my sister's not-quite bachelorette party.

"Not quite" because there were just as many men (including Jay and Paul) there as women.

We went to a bar in Paulding County, not too many miles from where Katie's husband grew up and where they are building a house. They've been to this bar numerous times, but I'd only ever heard of it.

It was extremely different than any bar in Columbus, let alone New York City. This photo on the pool table probably explains all you need to know:

At least they asked politely.

I knew this wasn't going to be the type of place we normally frequented when Paul asked the bartender if we could start a tab and she replied that he would have to get permission from the owner of the bar. Nevermind. And when she asked for our ID, I'm sure she'd never seen any from New York before.

Highlight: A man and a woman got in a fight at the bar-- I think at one point she might have asked him if he wanted to take it outside. Katie leaned over and told me they're married-- and the owners of the bar.

Don't get me wrong-- it wasn't all bad. I don't sing, but the karaoke (including a couple of Katie's friends) was pretty good. And the drinks were extremely cheap. In fact, buying a six-pack of Bacardi would be so expensive in a New York grocery store that it was about equal in price to the $2 bottles they were selling in the bar.

In other Ohio news, Paul and I are now landlords. Just using that word makes me laugh. We weren't able to sell the house, but we did get renters for at least a year. We have a property manager, so he'll forward us the rent checks and tell us if the renters have any problems. And I have no problem with that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Sister: Married!!

Five days and at least as many slices of wedding cake later, I'm back in New York.

My only sister is married.

I was there for her final dress fitting Thursday. Paul and I helped decorate the reception hall Friday. And of course Saturday was the big day.

If the ceremony was a blur for me, I can only imagine what it was like for Katie and Jay. Before I knew it, Dad was walking Katie down the aisle. It seemed only a second later that she made the return trip with her new husband.

About 200 people attended the reception-- both the bride and groom have large extended families. I saw each of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family (Mom has four siblings; Dad, two) and at least a dozen cousins and second cousins-- some of whom I see only once a year, if that often. With the exception of my own wedding, I'm not sure I've ever been in a room where I've known so many people.

I snuck in a few dances with Paul and thrilled at least one of my young cousins by twirling him around and 'round for an entire song. My legs ached the next day.

Of course, Katie was beautiful and happy. And although the wedding was obviously the highlight of the weekend, I have good memories of Thursday night, when Mom and Dad treated Katie, Jay, Paul and I to supper at Friendly's. We all seemed to be one big, happy family-- although I'm sure the ice cream didn't hurt.

I have a lot more to write about the weekend, but it will be saved for a later day.

Monday, May 5, 2008

A day at the museum(s)

One of the perks of Paul's job is that he gets free admission for himself and at least one guest to most of New York's major museums. With normal admission prices at $20 apiece for some museums, I was thrilled when we realized in March that we could go to all of them for nada.

So we spent a few Saturday afternoon hours at the Met about a month ago. A couple of weeks later, the Guggenheim. Yesterday, the Museum of Modern Art.

Surprisingly, the latter has been my favorite. And unlike the others, you can take photos in most areas.

Watch your step!

Paul, face to face with a face.

Recognize these?

Paul, pretending he's in an iPod commercial.

We actually had to wait in line to face the crazy mirrors.

We usually follow-up our afternoon at a museum with a walk, and Sunday was no exception. Central Park was crowded, but the sunshine put most everyone on their best behaviour.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Half-marathon man

Only a crazy person would get up at 6:15 a.m. to run 13.1 miles.

My husband is crazy.

Paul ran the Brooklyn half-marathon yesterday, running from the Coney Island boardwalk, through several neighborhoods and finishing in Prospect Park. With a time of 2:11:32, he met his goal of running a 10-minute mile. Next up is the Manhattan half-marathon this summer, in which he hopes to run a 9:30-minute mile.

Crazy man.

I watched him cross the finish line, and I have to admit it was pretty exciting. Everyone was cheering and watching for their family and friends. Paul said it was pretty amazing along the course as well, especially as they got closer and closer to the end. I didn't realize the yells of encouragement actually helped, but Paul says they do.

Paul was obviously worn out at the end of the race, but he says he was well-prepared. Despite water and Gatoride supplies along the route, his face was outlined in salt from all the sweat.

All of the runners had a personal timer attached to their shoes (that's what the person is cutting off in the photo), and the official times were posted.

Yep, I think Paul's crazy, but I'm still proud of him.


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