Yesterday I was acting crabby cause the kids wouldn't do anything I asked, like bathe or practice the piano, and Jake said "you look like you need a vacation."
To which I snapped back: "I just had a vacation."
"Oh," he replied, "but I don't think running about New York for 5 days in high heels and frigid temperatures is an actual vacation. A trip, yes. But not a vacation."
Which is totally true! Because I am still recovering from my vacation! Not that I would ever trade my trip to NYC for 5 days on the beach, because I like trips way better than vacations, but trips do take it outta ya. You know?
Such a sage, brilliant man, that Jake Beeswax. And also, so good at finding things. And fixing things. Although, I DID take apart the broken roller ball apparatus on my Blackberry, scrubbed all the many, many microscopic parts with dish soap and a toothbrush, and put it back together all by myself this weekend with directions I found on the interweb. So I'm not a completely helpless female.
So, NEW YORK. We left the hotel by 9 am most mornings (7 am our time), came back to change before dinner, and didn't come in for the night before midnight. Which is the best way to do it, of course. Who sits around in their New York Hotel rooms, even at the Plaza? Nobody, that's who. Nobody smart, anyhow.
Don't be mad, okay? Because, I totally forgot to take a picture. I brought my camera, but left the battery at home on the charger. My Mom took like two, though, with her iphone. I'll try to get her to send those over.
I'll just start at the beginning. We checked into the Plaza and started to get ready for dinner and Billy Elliott, when Jen informed us that she had brought fancy, fancy dresses for all our evening escapades, and that night would be the fanciest of all, so we should try to keep up. (Okay, she did not tell us to keep up, she knew this would be impossible.) But luckily, I had packed my Nanette Lepore black-with-the-copper-sequins flapper dress for just such an emergency. And coincidentally, Jen had brought the biggest hair accessory ever made, to go with it. So we dressed as if we were going to the Oscars, and headed further down into midtown, to DB Bistro Moderne (French American 55 W. 44th St (between 5th and 6th Ave) 212-391-2400) where we ate hamburgers.
Okay, not just hamburgers. Like, the fanciest hamburger ever: sirloin filled with braised short ribs, black truffle and foie gras. All the food was great. You should go there. Then, we had extra time before the show, and plus I couldn't walk because I was wearing the worst shoes EVER, so we stopped to eat pie. It seemed reasonable at the time, people.
By this time, as you can imagine, we were quite full. Luckily, flapper dresses are quite loose-fitting.
Billy Elliot (Imperial Theatre 249 W 45th St. Between Broadway and 8th Ave) is brand new from the West End. I'd never seen the movie, but heard it was cute. Tickets were quite dear, so our seats weren't fabulous. Couldn't bring myself to pay scalper prices.
First, the bad. I cannot recommend this show to anyone, for two reasons:
1. Small, tiny children, cussing up a storm. (I am not being super prudy. F bomb dropped by 9 year old almost before curtain all the way up).
2. Small, tiny children, cast in the role of small, tiny gay children. (Okay, just the one.)
Lastly, the good. The music was very good, the choreography fantastic, and the child stars incredibly, horribly, unbelievably talented. With just a few changes, this could have been a family show. But it wasn't. I repeat. It was not. So sad.
Came back to hotel where the third toe on my right foot was entirely bruised because of bad shoes. It was totally worth it. Sometimes it becomes very clear why women are a mystery to men. Am a mystery to myself, occasionally, wearing such stupid shoes, and enjoying it.
The next morning, we hurried downstairs to the Palm Court for breakfast.
I immediately spied some scones, nearly hidden under some chocolate croissants at the continental breakfast table. We procured them. They were deemed fabulous. We each got three, with some berries. Except Mom, who was still under the delusion that she would eat only healthy foods on this trip (silly, silly Mom), and got nasty oatmeal, but then shared my scones. We ate scones for breakfast every day, which were even better when we thought to ask for clotted cream with which to slather them.
We headed out for some serious shopping, 5th Avenue style. First we stopped in the diamond district (47th St between 5th Ave and Ave of Americas [6th Ave]) because, well, Jen had some loose stones she needed to get tightened up. (That was our rationale, just go with it.) We pressed our foreheads up against the windows for a great long while, then went to go see our friends at H. H. Jewelry. They are our diamond BFFs, and fixed Jen's ring asap. We tried on lots of enormous stones, then went to some sort of brasserie in Rockefeller Center for lunch. Had some mushroom soup, croque madame, panini, artichoke salad. So good, we will probly put it on the permanent food itinerary. If we can remember the name of it.
Then we headed over to Saks Fifth Avenue, which was packed full of people, scrambling over each other to snatch up 40% off handbags. There were no handbags left on the shelves, except for one. I reached for it, and was able to catch a glimpse of the price tag- $2,500, but of course, 40% off! what a deal!- before a lady yanked it from my loose, untrained-in-handbag-shopping grip, saying, sorry, that's mine, and slid it onto her arm with 6 others. I'm not lying to you, people. There were ladies in actual fur coats (I touched one, surreptitiously) yelling at each other about 3grr purses. It was fantastic, really. It really didn't feel like there was a recession going on over to the Saks.
But Jen was starting to panic, because of the crowds, so we quickly went upstairs and bought matching jeans with rhinestones on the butt. Which also seemed like a good idea, at the time. On the way back down, the elevator opened on the shoe floor, where boxes and tissue were literally flying through the air, people were yelling for sizes, and one look at Jen's stricken face told us it was time to get outta Saks, 40% off or no.
A quick trip to Bloomingdale's, and a few other quick stops, and we were back at the room to change for the show: August: Osage County.
So, here is another show I cannot recommend to you, even though I really, really want to. It was three and a half hours long, with two intermissions, but would have been only two hours long, without all the profanity. But yes, even so, we stayed. I would have sat longer, had they kept acting. It was one of the best plays I have ever seen. Mom loved it. Jen loved it. Jen said it restored her faith in serious theater. It doesn't give you everything, like a musical. It expects something of you, as an audience. Like, it expects that you know some t.s. eliot:
This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.
And at the end, you are such an emotional wreck, it takes you some time to recover, and get on your feet, and give them a standing ovation.
(But you also feel like washing out their mouths with soap.)
But guess what? Afterward, there were no cabs to be found, because it was Friday night in the theater district, and it was COLD. So we walked almost all the way to Carnegie Deli (854 7th Ave at 55th St [kitchen hosing begins at 2:30 a.m., so best to be out before then, or you could get dampened by errant hoses]), where I got giant piles of pastrami with a side of sauerkraut, pickles and mustard, and then did not listen to Jen and my Mom's warnings not to eat so much or I would get very sick, and finished it up with cheesecake with strawberries. I totally dominated that meal, and didn't feel even so much as a single quease.
So sorry, I thought I could make this travelogue compendious, but it turns out I can't make anything short; is just not a skill I have. So I will have to post the final New York installment later in the week.
Tune in next time for more food, three more shows, more shopping, eating, the Tenement Museum, an (unsuccessful) attempt to go to Church, and snacks! I'll bet you are on the edge of your seats! If so, you should get up. Your bum will get sore.