|An interesting building in the Village.|
My flight left at 7am on Friday morning from SPI, so it was up at 5am to make sure I was able to get ready and find my way to the airport. I was going minimalist on this trip, so I had everything packed into my camera backpack (including my T1i and two lenses) and a messenger bag for my laptop, charger, DVDs, and book. I checked and double-checked to make sure I had everything, but somehow my oatmeal soap got left behind. (Which I did not discover until Saturday morning resulting in my using the hotel's Aveeno soap which then resulted in my skin going mad red and irritated. Thanks, "natural" Aveeno!) This is where Wendy would say, "crunch, crunch."
If you don't feel like reading the details, feel free to head over to Flickr to view my set of pictures. I certainly won't be putting them all in this post, so you may want to head that way eventually anyway.
My flight to ORD was quick and uneventful. I had a short layover, and for once I did not need to run from one gate to the next in fear of missing a connection. Doubly amazing, my connecting flight to LGA left and landed (relatively) on time. We touched down at LGA and were able to leave the plane at approximately 12:15pm. No checked bags means I get to buy my MTA pass and hop right on the M60 to get over to Manhattan. The bus is always interesting, and other than a slightly grumpy girl who decided she did not want to sit next to me and my bags, it was uneventful.
Once we were in Manhattan, my stop was at Lexington so I could get on the 6 to head downtown. Wendy had booked a room at "her hotel" and generously let me stay there with her. The Hotel Roger Williams is at 31st Street and Madison Avenue, but I got off at 42nd Street to walk the rest of the way. It was a nice 15-minute walk to reacquaint myself with the Streets and Avenues. I got to the hotel right at 1:30pm as predicted.
After I dropped my stuff in the room, Wendy and I grabbed a quick bite at the hotel's little lounge area. I didn't want a lot, and the vegan options were slim, so I had a plate of their homemade thin french fries with ketchup. When I shared with Jack that they cost $10 USD, he was astounded. Yes, this is why I didn't eat at the hotel much, in fact, at all (except for the breakfast which was included in Wendy's room) after that. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the fries. You know what fries look like though, right? No big loss.
The Common Rotation show (opening for Bleu and Tracy Bonham) at 92Y Tribeca didn't start until 8pm (well, 9pm, but the Facebook event said 8pm), so I had a couple of hours to wander around before we would need to head down to the venue. I decided I would head further downtown myself so I could obtain some vegan ice cream at Lula's Sweet Apothecary. Feather from Vegan Around the World had just finished her stay in NYC and shared the existence of Lula's with me. Thank goodness she did! They make all of their ice creams from scratch, and I am betting the flavors rotate daily. Most were cashew-based, which was a welcome surprise. I opted for a two scoop cone which was worth it at $5.50 USD. Yes, technically I could have purchased a pint of vegan ice cream from the store for that cost and received (almost) double the amount of ice cream, but that simply does not compare to a fresh, delicious ice cream cone while walking down the street in NYC. (The building in the photo above was just down the street from Lula's.)
|My flavor choices? Pecan Caramel Fudge and Caramel Ginger Cookies.|
|NYU Deutsches Haus.|
|NYU Deutsches Haus doorway.|
|NYU La Maison Francaise.|
|Washington Square Park entrance.|
|House salad with balsamic vinaigrette|
(which I opted out of once I saw the creaminess, just in case).
|Steamed asparagus with lemon.|
I believe I said on my Flickr photos that I quite enjoyed the venue at 92Y. The staff were very mellow, and we were able to secure a seat up towards the front. Wendy offered me the front seat since she had seen the guys the night before and knew I would be taking pictures. Pictures without other people's heads in them? Always nice.
Since the guys were opening for two other acts, their set was relatively short. It was great to be back in NYC watching them play and observing reactions in the crowd by those less familiar with their act. Long pause in the song? It might not be over, but thanks for clapping anyway. Tuning forever? Adam will stare at his harmonica for as long as it takes. Free songs? Yes, they have them.
|Adam and Eric early in the show.|
|Singing with closed eyes? All the time.|
|Sometimes in between the harmonica playing.|
|Awkwardness. It's a trait, not a consequence.|
By the time we got back to the hotel (via cab) and relaxed a bit, it was 2am. We both crashed since the goal was to get up and take full advantage of Saturday. Surprisingly, we were up at 7am, and I was out the door by 9am with a lofty list of activities. My first goal was to take the N over to Long Island City and the Socrates Sculpture Park. I was a little underwhelmed by the park, but I also didn't get to explore very much because a large number of people were taking a yoga class near what appeared to be the main area. Instead, I walked around the periphery, talked to some folks, and petted a few of their dogs before heading back toward the subway. (En route, I spotted a bus that appeared to be heading to an earlier subway station, so I hopped on and made my way there. Mastering the MTA one day at a time!)
|Looking back at Manhattan from the park.|
The problem was easily solved, though, as I simply walked around the block to Peacefood Cafe. My food luck was obviously not high that morning. I wanted to order the Brazilian Nut Chai, which I was told was made with Brazilian Nut milk which they made themselves, but it failed to arrive as I was finishing my sandwich (Tempeh Avocado yumminess).
|Baked marinated tempeh, creamy avocado, pickled radishes, shredded carrots and cilantro on toasted whole spelt rye bread. The sprouts and jicama/pear/apple (?) on the side were also very good.|
|Chocolate Ganache cake.|
|An artist at work in Central Park.|
|Outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art.|
I spent a solid two hours or more wandering through the first floor. (I spent a few minutes on the roof to see the Big Bambu exhibit.) Other than the brief escape for fresh air on the roof, I spent all of my time on the first floor, and I still didn't see everything. I honestly belief a person could get lost there. It's no wonder they have employees stationed in almost every room. Yes, they want to keep an eye on you and make sure you are behaving, but I also overheard plenty of people asking "How do I get out of here?"
|An artist at work.|
|Big Bambu on the roof.|
|Chai latte at the Candle Cafe.|
|The "Indian Plate" special at the Candle Cafe.|
|Lovely red door.|
We arrive right at 9:30pm and waited for Wendy's friend, Jeff, to arrive as well. While in line, I got reacquainted with some familiar faces. It's amazing that I can still recognize the east coast fans. (Hi, Jo Ann!) The crowd got quickly denser the closer to 10pm the clock crept, but when they let everyone in we were able to secure another great table.
|The Livingroom stage.|
|Set list plate.|
|Eric lost at sea.|
|Adam instructing the audience.|
|Jordan during "Dream."|
|Adam and Eric during "Dream."|
|The Brooklyn Bridges and its many cables.|
|The Statue of Liberty from the Brooklyn Bridge.|
|I'm on a (|
|The last photo from my trip.|
I knew I needed to leave the hotel by 1:30pm if I was going to get to the airport on time. I walked to Penn Station and took the 1 to Columbia University to catch the M60. By the time we got to LGA, it was 3pm, and I got my tickets and through security by 3:15pm. Boarding time was at 3:30pm. Phew.
If you've read this far, congratulations! (Now that I have left NYC, let's get me home.) It took almost as long for me to get home as I imagine it took for you to get here. My flight out of LGA left relatively on-time (perhaps 15 minutes late), but I was not concerned because I knew I had almost two hours of layover time at ORD. I sat next to an older gentleman from Huntsville, Alabama who was traveling home with his older brother after visiting their nephew (son of another brother) who was graduating from West Point. He had never traveled through ORD, so I gave him some tips and directions on getting to his next gate.
My gate wasn't two miles away from the arrival gate, which I should have recognized was too good to be true. I moved slowly through the airport and even stopped at Argo Tea for a (soy) Maté Latte, a little business I had never noticed before during my normal dashes through the terminals. As I waited near my gate, I decided it might be worth paying $8 for the internet, but almost as soon as I had paid, the T-Mobile HotSpot starting dropping and failing and being a general pain. (Thanks a lot, T-Mobile!) I did try to contact them online for a refund, but they said I would have to call. (I haven't done it yet.)
It became even more frustrating that I could not use the internet connection I had just paid for when my flight to SPI got delayed. Thankfully, it was only delayed about thirty minutes, putting me on the ground around 9:25pm. I made it to my mother's house at 9:45pm. We spent a few minutes talking so she could debrief me on the latest family events, and then I collected the boy and headed home. We had the drive back to Champaign in front of us, not to mention his cross country practice at 8am and my full day of work the next morning.
We arrived home to two sleepy kitties at 11:45pm and almost immediately crashed. It was good to be back in our own beds.
So that was my weekend. Not too shabby considering I spent approximately 49 of the 57 hours since I woke at my mother's house exploring (38) or sleeping (11) in NYC. That's a pretty good ratio.