HeYO! Yes. It has taken me about a week to recover from my NYC excursion, only to turn around and hit Miami just this past weekend, but I’ll save that for the next blog post. “Recover” is probably not the word to best describe my return to my regularly scheduled plethora of activities … it was more like rehab with severe withdrawal. I was on a “Manhattan high” and forced to quit cold turkey at 36,000 feet on the return. Painful. New York is a place that has always been on the top of my list of places to one day call home, and I’ve lost count of the many times I’ve been… but this last visit was particularly invigorating. The energy was incredible…
Wednesday afternoon I hoped on the Long Island Rail (LIR) and headed to Penn Station – from there I checked into my hotel, and got ready to meet up with my friend, and Dog Powered Robot music collaborator, David. He was in the city for the kick-off of his yearlong tour with Blue Man Group, so we thought it would be fun to catch up in the city. As many of you are aware, being in Midtown Manhattan can be an expensive proposition, so I suggested he and I take advantage of the free appetizers in the Executive Lounge. After that we headed down to the Village, and we enjoyed some good wine at one of his old stomping grounds, The Room, located in SoHo off Sullivan St. near Prince. It had a great vibe and allure, and I understand why it’s been described as dark and seductive. It certainly has my seal of approval, if that’s worth anything.
I said a final goodbye to David wishing him lot’s luck on his tour, and decided I was not yet ready to retire for the evening… It was my first night in the city and I was energized. I decided to keep my earlier plans to meet up with a friend from the “oh-so-long ago days of youth group” whom I hadn’t seen in a decade… we’ll call him ‘Joe’. So I sent Joe one last text to see where his evening had taken him. He was out with clients and they were at a private party. Our phone conversation consisted of the following; “You are more than welcome to join us but I don’t think everything going on here is entirely legal…” hmm… this did sound interesting… hmmm ok….I’m in. It was a very, very private party in midtown – lots of white-collar shirts, and “cocktail waitresses” – as for illegal substances, I saw nothing. Those of you, who know me, know that’s not how I roll. And No, NYPD did not bust down any doors, and now that I think about it… that would have been extremely tragic. I may need to re-think some of my more questionable and spontaneous decisions.
Thursday morning I grabbed breakfast and walked down Avenue of the Americas to Bryant Park to check out the Broadway in the Park, (FREE public performances during the summer of highlights from currently running, yep you guessed it, Broadway shows). One of the lead cast members of American Idiot, Tony Vincent, had posted the event on Facebook, and I figured it would be a good way to spend part of the day. The lineup was Mamma Mia! | American Idiot (A.I.) | La Cage Aux Folles | West Side Story and Mary Poppins. All of the performances were great, but I thought the cast members from Idiot, La Cage, and West Side Story were particularly good. Other than watching the show, I met some cool random people, took photos, talked to some of the cast members (including Tony Vincent), met a couple of cute boys (one of which I scored a date with for Saturday night), and was approached by two people who asked if I was famous, or at least in one of the shows. I’m not kidding, one woman in particular insisted she have her picture taken with me anyway.
That evening I decided to make a mad dash to the St. James Theatre to put my name in the lottery for a $27 ticket to American Idiot – I didn’t realize a ticket this cheap was even an option, and I wasn’t planning on seeing a show for sure – but when Tony Vincent asks if you are going to see his show, and you answer, “I’m gonna try”… to which he responds, “you really should.” It kind of obligates you a little bit… well, at least it obligates me, because, well, I’m a push over, that and I figured I should at least try to get a $27 ticket. So I signed up and got in line… only to not hear my name called. Boo. But there was a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel – if you did not win a $27 ticket you could purchase a partial view seat for $37. I figured what’s $10 more? At least I would see the show….well most of it. And I have to say, I actually loved it. In my mind the show had serious potential to be campy, but it wasn’t, it was great! I wish that Omar Lopez-Cepero was on that night, as it would have been cool to see an old college classmate up there, but it was still great and Tony wasn’t half bad either. I even ran into a girl, Shira, that I met earlier that day – She had asked if I wouldn’t mind taking her picture with Tony in Bryant Park – and remembered that I’d had so much caffeine, I could barely hold the camera still – or maybe Tony simply made me nervous…
After my Broadway adventure, I headed over to meet up with another classmate from my University of Miami Musical Theatre Conservatory ‘glory days’, Mr. Matt Gregorio, fka Matt Noblin, aka ‘Italian Stallion’. He was participating in an “Idol” style karaoke contest at New World Stages. I met a bunch of his super cool friends, and I even hopped up on the stage to bomb on my own karaoke version of “Magic Man” by Heart – not the crowd pleaser I would have suspected. Apparently people living in NYC under the age of 26 have never heard the classic. But best of all was Matt singing the Frankie Valli hit, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”. It was stunning and it got him to the top 10. Kudos Matt ❤
On Friday I headed out to Brooklyn Heights to meet up with my girl Dorothy and her little minion, Alfie, a 4 month-old French bulldog/ Boston Terrier mix. We walked around the very posh neighborhood over to the riverside and back, and both the weather and the company couldn’t have been more perfect. Dorothy is the kind of friend you could go months without talking to, but every time you pick up the phone or get to see her in person it’s like picking up right where you left off. I love that girl. Before leaving the awesomeness that is Brooklyn Heights, we stopped in the famous Crumbs Bake Shop for a cup cake sample, a free coffee, and a massive red velvet cupcake to go. It was wondrous to look at on the train ride down to Atlantic City, and it took every fiber of my being not to eat it – the goal was to take it to my family in Jersey – the cake made it in tact – I guess I do have will power.
It was a short but nice, mini getaway, just a 2 ½ hour train ride to Atlantic City. It’s my home away from home, and nothing beats spending time with family. We simply relaxed – very necessary for me as I had been going non-stop since Wednesday, and on Saturday I even got in some ‘sista time’ by the pool.
Saturday afternoon, I of course, putzed around, which made me miss my return train by 1 minute. I’m not kidding I watched in horror as it pulled away on the tracks while I frantically ran up the steps shouting and mumbling a few choice words… and in the process I dropped and lost my credit card. Brilliant. It all worked out in the end because I was able to catch a bus back and cancel my long-lost card in the process.
Next stop, East Village, to my Cousin Shannon’s place – we caught up for a while, shared a beer, ran a couple of errands and got ready for our Saturday night. As I mentioned earlier I had a date with a cutie I will refer to as “PR Dan”. No, not Puerto Rican Dan… but rather ‘Public Relations Dan’ (that’s what he does for Clear Channel) – We met Thursday at Bryant Park. I met up with PR Dan at an Irish Pub (I can’t recall the name of) a couple blocks away from Shannon’s and we had a drink before being joined by my extremely tall and beautiful cousin. We headed over to another bar, ran into a couple of Shannon’s friends and had a few too many. At some point in the evening Shannon needed to leave and dragged me with her. Now here’s the part where I come off as a cold heartless bitch… I didn’t get to say, “goodbye, thank you for the drinks, or maybe I’ll see you again”, – Poor ‘PR Dan’. I felt pretty bad, but I think he can forgive me…. meh?
Sunday was the big day! My best friend from college was getting married! I got up – tried to kill my hangover from the night before with a bagel and a screw driver, showered and caught the F train, eventually making it into Astoria 2 transfers and a delay later. I emerged from the subway onto a street corner where I was picked up by Matt (Karaoke Matt) and Nick Cobey aka ‘Shnatz – both friends from my conservatory days. The drive over to Wyckoff, NJ (wedding location) can be summed up in one word, ‘Hilarious’. I thought I had been cast as the ultimate fag-hag in the prequel to Will & Grace. It was raining, there was traffic, the GPS system was less than accurate, and Nick couldn’t navigate for shit – he couldn’t even act it. I told them to get a hold of themselves and threatened to punch both of them. Despite the insanity, we arrived on time and were thrilled to see that all who were invited from our college group were there, and everyone looked fantastic!
Michal was glowing, and Marc was radiant…they are truly a couple in love and their wedding was beautiful. Our group gift to the bride and groom was a song, “Make Someone Happy” and we even managed to throw in some parts, courtesy of Lilli’s musical arranging expertise. It was a hit. I didn’t get asked to dance by any cute Jewish Boys (they were probably all told to stay away from the shiksas) but I did have the pleasure of Dancing with Erica Dorfler, our own Broadway Starlet. She leads well. 😉 The whole wedding was fabulous. If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending a traditional Jewish wedding, put it on your list of to-dos.
The end of my trip was near. Monday was my last day to play in the city, and I was determined to make every second count – and even included some stupid touristy things into my day. I grabbed coffee with Shannon, took the subway up to Rockefeller Center where I caught a glimpse of the Today Show, hit the MoMA shop, headed up to Central Park, stopped in FAO Schwartz, moseyed through the Garment District and Herald Square, then walked all the way down Broadway to Union Square and over through NoHo where I eventually got some lunch in a French Bistro called, Café Mocha – I had a crepe, it was très délicieux!, especially after walking for 4 hours straight.
I headed back to Shannon’s to gather up my belongings, then I took the F train Brooklyn bound to hitch a ride to the airport with Dorothy, who’s mother happened to be on my return flight home. Goodbye NYC, I’ll see you again real soon, and to quote a new friend, “I can smell it.”