Monday, July 6, 2009

Evil spirits come OUT!

I've finally been able to mostly exorcise myself of the demon virus that so willfully and mercilessly attacked me on the shores of Robert Moses State Park beach about 10 days ago. I mean, there I was, enjoying my time with my old paramedic cohorts, recalling past days, and marveling at how much some of us have aged (in a good way). It seemed to creep up on me at first, a little tickle in the throat, some sneezing and coughing, and then the next thing I knew, my voice had bailed on me. It wound up staying away more or less for about four days, causing me to miss some work, and making me feel generally miserable. I finally broke down and went to the doc, though I had actually started feeling better at that point. The problem was a productive cough that would not go away, and phlegm that was looking a little suspicious in my book.

As it turns out, I probably had a small, underlying bacterial infection so some antibiotics were prescribed, and I'm doing far better.

Now, as for the NYC trip: It was a grand time. We got down there on Thursday, and spent most of that day with my mom. She made dinner for myself and Mrs. N., and we just chilled a bit, especially after a 7 hour drive. We left a little later than planned, and ran smack into NYC rush hour traffic. Oddly enough, I was okay with it, took it in stride, and didn't lean on my horn. The only thing I had to adjust to, as is always the case when I drive down there, is that I become more aggressive in my driving. It's like riding a bike. You don't forget how to cut the other guy off with aplomb, and give the finger to the asshole that cut you off, all at the same time.

Friday was a great day. We met two friends, Ben and Susan, that moved to NYC about two years ago from Rochester. They live in Brooklyn, in an area I'm familiar with, in a brownstone building. Susan is a web developer with a small company near the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and Ben is an audio/video exhibit designer at the American Museum Of Natural History on Central Park West. We met Susan for Lunch at Yatagan, the small but wonderful Turkish kebab house in Greenwich Village. I have been going there since about 1978, a little hole in the wall with wonderful food. As Susan is a vegetarian, there was something for all of us there. She was head over heels with the food, and as we left to go meet Ben at the museum, I showed her some of the other eateries that line MacDougal Street between Bleecker and West 3rd St.

We hopped on the subway at the West 4th St. station, right under what was the old Waverly Theatre, home to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, when it first came out as a movie in the mid-70's. We rode uptown to the museum, where Ben secured us tickets to see a show at the Hayden Planetarium/Rose Science Center, which is part of the museum. It was all about cosmic collisions, and it was the first time I have been to a show at the Hayden in quite a while. I have very vivid memories of going down there on Friday nights back in the late 70's with my friend Cliff, smoking a few joints in the park next to the museum, and then going to the Hayden for the Pink Floyd laser show. (Wait, I can remember those times? Obviously I didn't smoke enough!)

After the show was over, we met Ben, and he gave us a guided tour of some of the new exhibits in the museum, especially those he was involved with designing. As it was about quitting time for Ben, the four of us hopped over to a wine bar that was nearby, Riposo72. Not a big place, but lots of atmosphere, and an incredible wine selection. We shared a bottle of Septima Malbec, and a large plate of assorted fruits, cheeses and bread. We stayed for close to 2 hours, talking and then started walking back downtown towards 32nd and Broadway, where Mrs. N. and I were going to meet my cousin and his wife for dinner at a Korean restaurant that Mrs. N's hairdresser recommended.

We strolled down Broadway from the 70's on down, and for a brief moment, I began to wonder why I why I ever moved away from here. I sheepishly admitted to myself that I missed the energy and drive that New York generates. As we walked closer to Times square, the mass of people seemed to double, then triple within just a few minutes. For a time, I felt right at home again, but then I realized that while I was enjoying the moment, it was not something I craved as the everyday anymore. I just soaked in the energy and the moment for what it was. Just at Times Square, Ben caught this great pic of 42nd Street, looking west at sunset. It had been raining just a short time before, a torrential rain, and the sky was left as you see it here:
Rather recently, within the last few weeks, a portion of Times Square on Broadway was made into a pedestrian walkway. No cars coursing through the vein-like, snaking thoroughfare, that is one of the oldest in the city, if not the oldest. There is only a small break where 7th Avenue crosses Times Square, then the pedestrian mall starts up again, down to at least 40th Street. It is an eerie sight, with folding chairs that the city has provided there for the pedestrians to allow for relaxation if needed. It is an interesting idea, but we'll see how long it lasts, based on what effect it has on the traffic flow.

We get to 32nd, and make the left turn off Broadway, and right there is our restaurant. it's strange how you can live in a city your whole life, and not know that there are pockets of ethnic fare and businesses in a particular area. As it turns out, the area of 32nd St. between 5th and Broadway is known as "Korea Way." Who knew? Certainly not me, and I grew up in NYC. It's all Korean businesses and shops and restaurants.

The restaurant that was recommended to us was Kum Gang San. I have to say, that it was without a doubt the best Korean food I have ever tasted. The portions were plentiful everything was very fresh, and the staff were terrific. It's also open 24 hours, so if you have a craving for kimchee, Bul Go Ki, or marinated beef short ribs, (which are to die for ) then this is the place for you. It is also incredibly reasonably priced for a Manhattan restaurant.

We had a nice time with my cousins, and they graciously offered to drive us back up to the Bronx, especially since it was on their way home. They parked more towards the east side, so we took a leisurely stroll down 32nd St, and found their car near 2nd Ave, and made the 30 minute trip back up to the Bronx.

Tomorrow, the tale of the reunion, and demon that made me speak in whispers.


Kathleen said...

Great post! Felt like I was right there.

Glad you're feeling better!

Peter said...

Now I know what I missed when visiting NYC: a native guide.

And your vivid account even managed to make me feel like boarding a plane and really see more than "NYC from a tourbus"

I can totally relate (as a non-native) to your "while I was enjoying the moment, it was not something I craved as the everyday anymore" comment:
NYC felt fun and gave me that adrenalin rush we're all familiar with, but I also would have serious issues living there.

By comparison downtown Antwerp feels virtually provincial.

I'm looking forward to your tale of the reunion.

jay said...

The very best visits are those made with friends, or to see friends, aren't they? That's what I'll be doing in the autumn, although I have never lived in DC or Delaware, or any of the other places we might get to see. Nashville is on the list - and the last time we went we saw very little of the area .. something to do with having been involved in a traffic accident within half an hour of picking up the hire car. And apparently my Nashville-resident friend didn't know you shouldn't offer cops on duty a slug of wine. Tee hee.

Gaston Studio said...

Also glad you're feeling better.

Heard so many people say the same thing, that at first they miss the energy of NYC but wouldn't want to have to put up with it again on a daily basis. Never lived there myself but still 'love to visit' there's simply no other city like it in the world!

VioletSky said...

This makes me want to visit NYC again. I loved my first time there and cannot wait for my second...and third...

Yeah, the energy is great for an uplift before returning to the quiet normalcy of home.

Mr. Nighttime said...

Kathleen - thanks, and yeah, so am I.

Peter - Easily accommodated my friend. All you have to do is get on a plane, and I'll drive down to meet you.

Jay - Your friend offered the cop a slug of wine??? ROFL! Hmm...well, you were in Tennessee, so they might have been better off trying moonshine or Jack Daniels. ;-)

Gaston - Believe me, I have occasional fleeting thoughts of moving back, but they are soon tempered by the daunting prospect of dealing with traffic everyday, not to mention the money I would fork out every year in bridge tolls.

Violet - You had best let me know when you plan on going down so I can be your tour guide. No excuses!

Bina said...

Sounds like a GREAT time! It's nice to visit somewhere when you already know where all the good places are!