Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New York City

Alright my readers, after much anticipation, here is my account of my trip to the big apple....
Last week my friend P called me up to announce that she was going to New York City for the weekend. She said her parents were driving down to visit friends and she was tagging along. Now I've been on vacation with P's family in the past and they drive her mental, and for some reason they think I'm the bee's knees. So, I asked if there was any room for me in the car. I wasn't doing anything better in Toronto, that's for sure. I called my mom to tell her I was leaving town only to have to listen to the inevitable fretting about me getting my body cavities searched at the border, loosing my passport, getting mugged, beaten and god-knows what else. I'm not saying my mother's fears are unfounded, I'm just saying that if my mother had nothing worthwhile to worry about, then she'd worry about something that wasn't worthwhile.

P's family lives down near the American border (an hour an a half drive out of the city) so the night before the trip we take the bus down to her parents place. Now I don't know if any of you have ever tried to take a bus out of town on Holy Thursday night, but it's insane at the terminal. And huge line-ups and being packed in the bus like sardines doesn't bother me nearly as much as the inevitable run-in with people you don't want to run into at the bus terminal. I'm particularly sensitive to this because I hate running into anybody, ever. And running into someone you don't want to see at the bus terminal is much worse than running into them on the street, because there is always the chance that you're going to the same place and you'll have to sit next to them on the bus. So I walk into the terminal, gritting my teeth, trying to look for P without making eye contact with anyone I might have to make awkward conversation with - this is a difficult balancing act. Anyway, I did run into someone, my pal Core who wasn't going anywhere at all, just happened to be in the neighbourhood to pick up some tickets for another time. The first time ever I ran into someone I like at the bus terminal. A good omen for the beginning of a trip.

We get down to P's hometown, her mom picks us up, Miss Ash joins us, P's mom serves us an amazing dinner, then announces that we're leaving at 5 am the next morning. So we headed out for a drink anyway. Now, I don't know if 19 (the drinking age in Ontario) is younger now than it was when I was 19, or if I behaved this way too and was oblivious to it's effects on others, but, my god, some of the people at the bar we went to were obnoxious!

4:30 am, dear God that's early! The bridge over Niagara Falls isn't nearly as fun at that hour either, did you know that they turn the lights off on the falls at some point of the night? It make sense I suppose.

Half way there, we stop at a McDonald's and in the line next to us were a huge Pennsylvania Dutch family, dressed in traditional clothes, so cool. I thought eating at McDonald's would be verboten for them.

We get into NYC, miss an exit, get lost, get directions from a woman named Lakeesha and know we've arrived.

Now the friend we are staying with, the Hegelian, has recently become religious and was planning on attending Good Friday mass. I thought, a nice old church in New York, the holiest day of the year... why not go to mass with her. We get there, meet up with her, and head into mass, P's Muslim, at least culturally - I've seen her eat a whole lot of pork lately, so we know she's not devout. Anyway, the service is nice enough, until they get to the point where they venerate the cross. The venerated that darn cross for like 3 hours. P fell asleep. Then they had communion and everyone started to get up and go to the front row by row again - P looked at me like a deer caught in headlights. Thankfully, the communion went much faster and we headed to a nearby sushi restaurant to eat some fish.

The next morning we had canolis and egg and sausage rolls and headed into the city and straight down to battery park to catch the Staten Island ferry. I've done this before a couple of times, but P had never done it, we got some cute pictures. Then we went shopping. Oh how we shopped. Steve Madden shoes, they are sooo lovely, you can get them in Toronto, but in NYC they have a whole store devoted to the man. Then we went for dinner at a Cuban restaurant in Soho, the Habana Cafe. I can't talk enough about how good their roasted corn was. It was so good, I'm salivating while I write this. It was roasted, then rubbed with lime, then sprinkled with cheese then sprinkled with spices and finished off with a dab of mayo. The rest of the food was good, but that corn, that corn! I need more of that corn. After that we went to a bar called Max Fish. Cute decor, friendly patrons, I met a guy named Stan, he started hitting on me, then realized too late that he'd played his cards wrong and made his commitment too early - I was the only one in my posse who wasn't single, but once you hit on one girl in a group, it's too late to back pedal and try to hit on another one in the same group. Stan, tried anyway. It didn't work.
The next morning we headed straight for White Castle for breakfast. Sooo tasty. P thought it would be terrible, but really liked the clam strips. Then we went shopping for ghetto fabulous clothes for P. Then we headed into the city again and were late meeting the Hegelian after Easter mass on the upper east side. Here's my question about the upper east side, are blue double breasted blazers with gold buttons back in fashion and I don't know it? Or is this the only pocket of the world where they are still in fashion, or are they in an 80s time warp? What's the deal. It wasn't just old guys who were dressed that way either. Blue double breasted blazer with gold buttons, khaki pants, and loafers? I don't get it. Someone please explain...
Anyway, we headed into Central Park with our papers. P got the Sunday New York Times. I got the Vanity Fair with my boyfriend David Miller in it. I'd never normally buy Vanity Fair, so I had to flip through to make sure that it was the David Miller issue, horrible picture of him though, he's looked much better. Vanity Fair had better articles than I was expecting.
We grabbed some Pizza and headed for Serendipity - the cafe made famous by the John Cusack movie of the same name. We had an hour and a half wait, so we headed for a nearby bar, better than sitting on the sidewalk with our Let's Go New York guidebooks and our windbreakers looking like tourists - shudder! Every time I go to NYC I always worry about looking like a tourist asking for directions, pulling out the guide book or a map, but then I get there and I realize that there are so many tourists there, that it doesn't even matter.
Serendipity was cool, the frozen hot chocolate was tasty. P couldn't stop eating it, even though it made her so cold she started shivering. She could barely get her spoon in her mouth but she wouldn't stop eating it. Then she asked me for my sweater so she could warm up and keep eating - I said no way Katherine Hepburn! She tried to protest but then she dropped a spoonful of her chocolate on her self the very next moment. This may seem harsh, but thanks to my bum knee and all the stairs we had go up and down in New York, P called me 'Gimpy' the whole trip - as in, "Come on, hurry up on those stairs Gimpy!"
After Serendipity we headed back to the Bronx and played NY themed Monopoly. It was me, P, the Hegelian, and a male friend of the Hegelian from school, I can't remember his name, let's call him Andrew. I love Monopoly, especially when I'm winning. I love to trash talk, and make deals, and I've been described, when playing Monopoly, as insufferable. The girls tried to explain this trait of my personality to Andrew, seeing as we'd only just met and I seem like a lovely person when I'm not playing Monopoly. They even tried to do an impression of my Muwahahaha winning Monopoly laugh and the way I fan my money. Anyway, it was obviously not descriptive enough for Andrew because while the girls where trying to freeze me out and get everyone to gang up against me, Andrew continued to deal with me. Needles to say I won and everyone was, as usual, disgusted with me by the end of the game. I love Monopoly.

We drove back bright and early the next morning and P's parents dropped us at the bus station. Now if you thought the bus was busy on the way out of Toronto, we had to stand in the aisle of the bus the whole way back.


tokyo tintin said...

jenni, if you liked corn like that so much, why didn't you tell me when we went to cancún? they have exactly the same thing in mexico and i could have got you like a basket-full for five pesos! jeez!

sounds like an awsome trip though.

i'm looking into doing some interesting travel when i get back; any suggestions miss eastern-seaboard-road-trip queen?

Jennifer said...


Miss Ash said...

Sounds like you had a great time!!

You missed the exit on the way into NY, was P's mom's husband driving by chance? He missed the exit to my house years ago when we repeatedly told him it was the next one coming up LOL.

You could probably make that corn yourself, just like the corn on Gerrard.

Jennifer said...

Yes P's stepfather aka 'the stupidest man alive' was driving. He was actually really nice to me.
As for the corn, I don't think you understand. I've been enjoying roast corn for years. I don't remember if I had it in Mexico but I do remember Tokyo Tintin pointing it out to me on a cart in the town square in Merida - loved that square - those coversation chairs were awesome. I've had the roast corn in little India as well. All of the roast corn I've tasted over the years paled in comparisson to this fabulous, magnificent, magical corn

Princess Pessimism said...

Jennifer - It does indeed sound like you had quite the adventure.

I do recall reading a magazine article about one state, where I was horrified, that the people there were still wearing acid wash jeans, teased bangs, and poofy lace sleeves on their prom dresses. I think it was Missoiri...but I cant remember 100%.

And as for Monopoly...that time you and Howie made all those deals, and anihilated me and whoever else was playing, has taught me to never play that game with you again. Ive never won a game of monopoly...but playing with you, you guys destroyed me...ganging up and laughing about it...RUDE...LOL!

jane said...

I just want to say (re. friday mass) that even the Jesuits (soon to be priests) who were there, who usually love liturgy, thought that it went on waaaayy too long.

so all my sympathies and apologies again!

it was great seeing you, and I still have some aero bars left. mmm, aero, chocolate of the gods...

Jennifer said...

I love Aero too, I don't eat it nearly enough (maybe because of the weightloss challenge), have you had the caramel ones?

Thanks a million for having us, you are a gracious and lovely host, your futon is spacious and comfortable, and your cat is totally insane, your home is my favourite home in all of the US of A.

Those crazy Jesuits are so lovable.

yrautca said...

Finally we see jennifer. That was an extended sabbatical.
Very interesting post. How many people must you know to run into someone at a bus station. You must have been pretty wild in your single years (although like I said if you havent a rock to show for it, you are single in my book). What did you have at McDs? I am thinking you went all out and got a cheese burger with fries. You ended up at mass? That must have been a funny situation. Somehow I cant imagine you in such a place. What happened to Stan has happened to me like a thousand times. Commit myself too soon and then cant go back to hit on others. Women should start wearing something to indicate they are not single.

I think the double breast blazer and loafers are still in among certain well off middle aged men. Just look at Dave Letterman for example.

I am very glad you ate with no holds barred. Good for you jenni. I hope you keep it up.

Anyway, good to see a new entry in your blog.

tokyo tintin said...

oh, and FYI, if you hate the bus so much, why don't you just take the train? everybody knows that only white trash take the bus (even if the train schedule isn't as convenient)!

Jennifer said...

1) I don't hate the bus, I hate running into people at the terminal.
2) There are two trains a day to and from Niagara and I was leaving from St. Catharines which has no trains.

I won't eat dinner before 6 and all the various other rules you set out, but I won't wait more than 12 hours to go home, or make P's mom drive me all the way to Niagara after driving my ass the 9 hours from New York just so that I won't be white trash in your books. You crazy bastard.

BTW do you want me to mail your tapes or wait till you get back, I have quite a few ready to go...

Jennifer said...

Oh, and I can't wait for you to get back!

Anonymous said...

Oh my. I had trouble getting past the first paragraph re: your mother's reaction. It sounds much to familiar. They still do that at age 90, so enjoy and get used to it. And, maybe the navy blazers, etc. are making a come back. I've seen them lots of places down there of late. Three Hours? You were far more patient than I young lady. I start falling asleep after 45 minutes.

Anonymous said...

Forgot one thing. Forget about bloody Togo young lady. The Yankee peace corps activist can meet you in Paris via Air Chance.

Jennifer said...

Whatever Mom, uh I mean Bill...

tokyo tintin said...

after re-reading your post, i see that, as you pointed out, you were in fact, complaining about meeting people at the bus stop, and not the bus itself, so i retract my smarmy train v. bus comment. --st catharines *does*, however, have a train station. (though it's inconveniently located from what i understand).

although the train is about a quazillion times more dignified than the bus, i realise that it's often the only option --which is really unfortunate. take japan here, where i can hop on a train that comes every 10 minutes and go basically anywhere in the whole country where people live. i'm really going to miss that. it's so amazing. i think we should turn all streets into railways and abolish private cars. it'd be great for the kyoto protocal too!

Jennifer said...

TT, you are going to bitch so much about transit here when you get back. I did and I was only there for two weeks. I don't even know how you are going to handle it. You should join the TTC riders activist group or something to get all the bitching out of your system before you accept the TTC for all it's warts and inefficiencies. Maybe if you hang out in the burbs of Quinte for a while first then you'll be glad of the TTC when you get back, but probably not.
Did you hear about the time I took the train to NY a couple of years ago and it was delayed by hours both ways, I wanted to tear my hair out by the end of it, and I was in first class too, imagine how I'd have felt if I was squeezed up next to some asshole.

tokyo tintin said...

PS to 'anonymous'

i must take mild offence to the 'air chance' statment. air france actually has one of the best on-time performance records of all the legacy airlines (even with all of their silly strikes).

maybe i'll encourage jenni to go to togo just for that! mwhahahah!

Jennifer said...

The only way you can encourage me to go to Togo by coming with me.

tokyo tintin said...


for some reason the train to NYC really sucks. i only ever hear bad things about it (though not your story).

something to do with crossing the border taking forever. i just shows how *un*important transit is to most north americans. i mean a train in europe might cross four countries in one trip, and leave ten times in a day, but who cares? gotta love that stupid car!

booh, i'm so over going back to canada already.

Jennifer said...

In my case it was something to do with switching train engines at the border, the cars stayed the same but they had to hook up an Amtrak engine. Also they had to drag some middle-eastern-looking people off the train to torture them in secret prisons no doubt.

Any you are coming back to Canada and that is final young man!

I'm going to the post office this afternoon and you haven't told me if you want your tapes mailed or not. You'd better tell me or I'm just going to send them to New Caledonia!

tokyo tintin said...

sorry, i keep forgetting about the tapes. you can hold on to them. i'll watch them all when i get back (reluctantly),

Princess Pessimism said...

Jenni - St. catharines indeed DOES have a train station. Via dearest. Its about 5 minute drive from the bus terminal downtown...I will take you there before vegas, so there is never any doubt about which is your perferred method of Travel.

Trib said...

Sounds like a great trip! Hopefully P didn't stress too much about communion, it's really common for people to stay in their seats for whatever reason.

I agree with yrautca that non-single women should wear something to indicate their "taken-ness." I suggest large pointy hats.

Jennifer said...

Oh my God Trib, that's hilarious!

P called the communion 'the cracker' and assured me that she already knew not to go and get 'the cracker' - after all her parents sent her to Sunday school as a child, at first they didn't realize that it was religious and then when they found out, they decided that free babysitting was free babysitting. Our newly religious friend hasn't been baptised yet and I think the church is a criminal organization, so suffice it to say that no one in our row went up for any reason during the service - although, after all that travel and walking, my feet could have used a good washing - I think we must have gone to the wrong service for that part.

As for an indicator of my taken-ness, normally, it's irrelevant because if I go to a bar that seems too pick-uppy, I usually wear a big uninviting glare, that usually keeps all but the smarmiest boys away. My girls call it the 'bitch pose.' I just got caught off-guard that night is all.

Also, I usually wear a ring on my right hand, one I got for my 16th birthday that easily passes for an engagement ring. In dire situations I've been known to switch it to my left. It's saved me from some very unwanted advances over the years - as long as the guy doesn't look to closely at the ring tan on my right hand - it's sort of the opposite of the guy who takes off his wedding ring when he goes to the bar.

berly02 said...

New York has some of the best food. It sounds like you had fun!