(AKA My Recent Weekend in New York. (The City. (In Case You Didn’t Know.)))
This weekend, my wife and I visited New York, largely to see an off-Broadway play. A very funny play. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
I’ll hit a few highlights of our trip, but I recognize that very few people are going to be interested in my travels, and I’d starve if I was to pursue a career in travelogue-writing. Therefore, I appreciate your indulgence.
But my wife and I did go to a few cool places and I wanted to mention them.
Okay, the quick details: my wife Lisa and I traveled up to NY, taking the Vamoose bus from Bethesda to 31st Street/7th Avenue. It was an easy walk to out hotel on 35th Street/6th Avenue which has a metro stop where nearly every train running under the city goes through. It’s like the Universal Urban Nexus.
Saturday afternoon, we subway’d down to Brooklyn for sightseeing and dinner that evening.
Sunday, we did some shopping, met up with my sister and her friend Kim for some lunch, then caught a ride to Greenwich village to see a play. (I’ll talk more about that in a moment.)
Monday morning, we packed up, hoofed to the Vamoose bus, and came back to home sweet home. (And retrieved dog, cat, and daughter from various holding cells.)
Okay, the details.
Brooklyn, and Dumbo Specifically. And Excellent Tea.
The northwest section of Brooklyn, where the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges more or less converge is the neighborhood of Dumbo. I didn’t know anything of the history of Dumbo (and still don’t. I did say I would be a bad travelogue-writer.) But my Lisa wanted to go there, and I’m happy to be led to places where they have food.
(Editor’s Note: I’ve just been informed that Dumbo is actually DUMBO, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass*. I’m an incrementally less awful travelogue-writer than I was a few minutes ago!)
We totally missed the subway stop that we had wanted to get off at (my bad), and although Brooklyn didn’t share Manhattan’s brilliant grid system for naming streets (DC also names streets sanely) we managed to get our bearings and head in the right direction. (It’s not hard when your landmark to head for is the Brooklyn Bridge.)
Turns out Dumbo is a fantastic spot to see the skyline of Manhattan, and based on my unscientific observations, the place to go to get wedding photography done. There was a small park with a carousel almost under the Brooklyn bridge, and should I have had the desire to throw a wedding bouquet, I would have hit any number of brightly-dressed bridesmaids in the head.
While walking around the neighborhood, we ran across a series of shops built into an old warehouse that had been converted from industrial use to commercial. Inside was a small tea-shop called Mamselle’s Teas and Tarts. Lisa and I like tea, the place looked cute, we rolled in and must have hung out for 30 minutes chatting with the owners.
Enjoyed some chai latte (with soy milk, if you vegans must know), and some killer carrot cake. There was a sign advertising an offer that beating the owner’s husband at checkers would win a small tea. I don’t like losing and this guy seemed pretty confident, so I was just as happy to give them money for my chai without facing a crushing checker defeat.
They had a great logo:
This was designed by the artist from the next shop. We checked out his studio and picked up some excellent t-shirts. He had some great logos for the Dumbo region, featuring an elephant in a distinctive trippy Indian style. Striking visuals. But don’t take my word for it, check out CAM’s website craiganthonymiller.com for yourself.
Along with the shops, the park, the view, and the tea, Lisa and I enjoyed browsing through a couple of bookstores in the Dumbo area, one pretty cool, another equally cool but in a different used-bookstore way.
We ended up eating dinner with a gent I know from the Jay and Jack Facebook group (you don’t know Jay and Jack? You should!) Scot (the dude in question) is a Brooklyn native and when Lisa and I made plans to visit Brooklyn for dinner, I got in touch with him and he was cool enough to meet us at the restaurant. Per Internet acquaintance meetup protocol, we agreed on a public place.
Scot was a great dinner companion, giving us a New York native’s perspective on other cities, on TV shows that feature New York, on Times Square, etc. Lisa and I like talking TV, and Scot was willing to oblige.
Best of all, he escorted us to the nearest subway so we could get back to our hotel at the end of the evening. Internet acquaintance successfully met.
Sunday, the day we were told to Stai Zitto, Siediti, E Mangia
Besides meeting up with Scot from Brooklyn, our plan was to meet up with my sister Susan and one of her friends from our old neighborhood, Kim. It was a special occasion, since one of my sister’s other longtime friends from back when had co-written and was starring in an off-Broadway play. Shut Up, Sit Down, and Eat.
Tina Giorgi is one of four comedians starring in Shut Up, Sit Down, and Eat, a play which can broadly be described as four Italians waiting for their therapist to show up for a group therapy session. It’s funny and clever. The audience we saw it with loved it, and so did our little group. But we’re pretty biased. Tina was hilarious when I was growing up, my favorite of my sister’s group of friends. I wasn’t surprised that she went into stand-up comedy.
Okay, I already said I was totally biased, so there’s no point in my giving a review, but feel free to check these out: http://shutupsitdownandeat.com/testimonials/
The play is about to end its run (in Greenwich Village), although I think their website is advertising two performances in November happening at the New Candlelight Theater in Candlelight, Delaware.
Afterwards, Tina and her husband Dave joined us all for dinner at a family style restaurant, where we ate too much and brought up some secrets of our past that our parents must never know about.
So, we sat down, and we ate. And now I’ll shut up.
*Scot informed me about DUMBO’s meaning, and my wife confirmed. Sadly, no one told me before I wrote all this. NOW I’ll shut up.