So the weekend of June 5th (actually by "weekend" I mean Friday--Tuesday, I like a long weekend) was spent in NYC for my and my two best friends' birthdays. We landed in JFK and took the A train way out to the tip top of Manhattan where Drew lives, in Washington Heights. It was really starting to rain pretty heavily, and even though we found a neglected umbrella on the AirTrain, it just wasn't cutting it. Luckily Drew lives close to the station.
Luis was working late, so Drew and I caught up while D popped out for beer and wine. Drew cooked African peanut soup, a recipe from a vegan friend. We all had two helpings and it was incredible. It would make a great winter dish, and even though it was June, the weather was unseasonably suited.
Luis showed up and he and D were introduced. D had beer, the rest of us wine, and 3 bottles later it was time for bed. I'm really glad we got to squeeze in a night at their place, it's so easy to kill both wine and time there. Any conversation that can range from Slovakia to enema kits is a win in my book.
Saturday we all got a slow start to the day; I walked down to the local bagel shop for everyone's order. Eventually we set off for Christopher St., which is always great for people-watching. There was a street market set up as well, with lots of yummy looking foods and trinkets...
The creepiest book ever written?
On the way, we also passed the usual barrage of (fun, not creepy) sex shops. The people who work there are--seriously--almost too helpful. They are more than happy to open/demonstrate anything in the store. I not only learned the benefits of glass anal toys and dildos (!), but got to touch the inside of a fleshlight. Ew. I don't recommend that one.
We walked out to the pier at the end of the street. Drew said, "I always think of you at this pier! Gay Sex in the 70s!" (Drew and I watched this documentary when he visited me in TX; this one was during our day-long film & margarita bash. The docks featured in the film were the scene of much anonymous sex; they used to be just off the pier--you can kinda see the remains.)
The gorgeous weather meant a ton of half-naked bodies on the "lawn" area, sunbathing and an insane number of dog-walkers. I noticed a huge drop in the number of smokers while out and about in Manhattan, yet I don't recall all these fucking dogs. It's like all the smokers quit (apparently a pack is $9.50) and got a dog instead. I guess I prefer the dogs?
After a long break enjoying sitting and sunshine (and subsequently only a mild burn for me!), we walked through Union Square (I would spend far too much on foodie here every week if I lived near, yikes) and finally arrived at Les Halles a little early.
The service here is consistently shit (though our waitress really did improve from her initial ambivalence-bordering-on-irritation) and the food is always mind-blowingly tender. I had my usual (filet de boeuf, bearnaise), others had ribs, flat iron steak, mussels...I forget. It was OM NOM NOM to put it mildly. Desserts, shared, included bananas flambe (what a show) and the creme brulee, and a dessert wine. Totally satisfying on a transcendental level.
Then we all said goodbye and Drew and Luis left back for Washington Heights and we left with Gene and Emily for Brooklyn. I think Les Halles (the Park Ave location) was a perfect in-the-middle spot considering the two of them live quite far apart.
We took it easy the rest of the night with beers on the stoop (aka "stoopin' it"). They live in a fabulous two-story brownstone, with their apartment on the second story, in Windsor Terrace. Brooklyn is sooooooooo nice, I'm a fan. Bigger streets, more space, more quiet...I guess it's cheaper than Manhattan considering the space, but it's still pricey as hell.
More on the rest of the weekend next! But in addition to Gene and Emily, we also got the company of Chazz (brown) and Isis (white), their two miniature Italian Greyhounds. I'm not a dog person by any stretch of the imagination, but these two are damn sweet, often a little cat-like, and I'll take 'em both anyday.
And yes, that is their lion blanket cushion. LOVE.