Day two NYC. It’s cold and windy and our plans to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge were wisely delayed thinking that a 50 mile an hour wind gust and me on a bridge were not an experience I was looking for on this journey. So were does that leave us? It leaves us with early morning yoga class, a blustery walk around mid town Manhattan, the worst Jamba Juice ever, two potential service disasters at meals avoided with wise and honest words, a sensory overload experience on Broadway, the whiniest 13 year old boy I have ever seen and a couple memories of my Dad. Do tell you say? Well here’s the (not so) quick version.
After a fairly average yoga class in a beautiful space with a nice but inexperienced teacher, I woke up CJ and we started our day on the streets. Within minutes we could tell that the New York weather Gods would not be smiling on us today. We decided Jamba juice oatmeal and some wheat grass juice were in order. Exciting vacation breakfast huh? Well aparently the Jamba’s in New York have discontinued wheat grass, and they are out of bananas, and mixed fruit, and apple juice. WTF? Isn’t “juice” part of your name? We settled for the apples and cinnamon oatmeal and made the best of it.
5th Avenue, Trump Tower, Central Park, Plaza Hotel, yadda, yadda, yadda (preferred over blah, blah, blah by my girlfriend now) and we wind up at a famous place called Joe Allen’s for a late lunch after a loooong walk.
A grumpy redheaded bartender (energy and hair color twin to my “over walked” girlfriend at that moment) asks us if we want a table and when we tell her yes she literally jumps over the bar. I tell her she could have pointed at a spot but she says that she is “required” to seat us. A terrible inconvenience I’m sure! As we are getting settled our soon to be waiter looks at the empty table next to us that just left, declares the word “SHIT!” and runs out the door. We know that drill. It means they left with all signed copies of the charge. No tip. Apparently his effort running was to no avail because he comes back, looks around the table some more and then slumped off to be miserable like all servers do when they have lost money. To his credit he rallies and takes pretty good care of us right up until the time we see him in street clothes walking out the door. Huh? I guess we are going to finish up on our own? After a little bit another nice waiter stops over and offers us dessert. “Mealus Interuptus” averted. I will say the buffalo wings, meatloaf and grilled shrimp spinach salad were all top notch. I’ll give the whole experience a B+.
Trump Tower is a glitzy hunk of early 80’s excess ordained in marble and gold chrome. It’s actually part awesome, part tragic, and a little bit sad much like the Donald’s head. We got a Starbucks tea and asked the barista when the building was built, to which we got the answer “I have no idea” (I’m just thinking you might want to know that if you work in the building). I also took a pee. It seemed appropriate. Enough said.
While we were at intermission during “The Lion King” at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway, I saw one of the ugliest displays of whining I have ever seen. I was in line for the Men’s room and a boy that was clearly at least 13 was openly weeping and saying to his Father, “I hate musicals. All we ever do is go to Broadway Musicals. I hate it I hate it I hate it I really do.” The exhibition continued out of the bathroom where he was then crying on his Mother’s shoulder about how miserable his life was. Now mind you I know most 13 year old boys aren’t into show tunes, but really? It’s the Lion King, and it’s awesome, and it’s a privilege to see a show on Broadway! CJ has been waiting her whole 28 years to experience this privilege. The sad part? Both his parents coddled him and said they were sorry. I’d have told him what an ungrateful, selfish, spoiled brat he sounded like and told him to grow up, but who am I to correct someone’s parenting methods. I’m just sayin.
After the show tonight we “yelped” up place to eat. We were thinking Italian. I found a place within a few blocks with 4 stars and 232 reviews. Trattoria Tricolore. I was worried that they might be packed post theater. Apparently it’s more of a pre-theater place because they were less than half full. We got a table right away, ordered a bottle of Pellegrino and a bottle of Gavi and relaxed while we perusing the menu. Our waiter came up and asked if we were ready to order and we ordered a salad to get started, It arrived in a minute and the food runner asked us if we were ready to order. Then one minute later a different server asked us if we were ready to order. I waved over the man who sat us (seemingly the proprietor) and said “If you are all in a hurry to go home we can leave, but if you say you are open and seat us we’d appreciate the chance to relax for a while and enjoy the experience.” His answer? “You’ve been here over twenty minutes, you should have had enough time to order.” Now I’m no restaurant service expert, but I’m thinking that maybe that wasn’t the best answer available. I reply, “You know actually what I was hoping for was for you to acknowledge that I am a bit frustrated, apologize for not letting us know the kitchen was closing right as we sat down and offer us some solution to the situation.” Damn Lettuce and Zingtrain service seminars never leave your brain once they are in there! The surprising thing was that he actually became genuinely contrite. It was like he was just called on his bullshit and got reminded that all customers deserve the “full show” no matter what time they come in. We all need that reminder once in a while (self included). He came back when we were ready and took our order himself, made a few suggestions and delivered the best seafood ravioli with brandy tomato cream sauce and Veal Milanese on homemade spinach pappardelle I have ever tasted. We were honest and polite about feelings and it turned out well. A nice example of how things are supposed to be, eh?
So how does all this random information about day two in NYC come to some sort of cohesive point. Well it doesn’t but it leads me to what I think were the two best parts of day though? Both things that made me think about my Dad. More about that later. Off to a much needed sleep now…