03 May 2009

The High School - College - Vegas Reunion

Clearly my father was only out to use my highly efficient labor skills. So I'm glad I only gave him one day of my two day trip. I spent Sunday meeting with some friends who live in the New York City area. There are actually a lot of people from high school and college who live in or close to the city, so I chose to only tell a few of them I was coming. It was a calculated decision, because I've visited the east before and been overwhelmed by trying to see everyone I know and spending quality time with them. This time I decided I wanted to catch up in person, and just see the smiling faces I miss the most.

I asked my dad to bring me to the city for a 9:30 brunch. We arrived at the restaurant at 9:58.

"See. You're friends aren't even here yet."
"That's because brunch isn't until 10."

And just as the clock struck 10, I saw Joel. I haven't seen Joel since he abandoned me in Vegas last year. He says he left because he knew I was about to leave. Too bad I don't believe in this "preemptive" desertion" crap.

Rebecca, Angie, and Cassie appeared within minutes. It turned out Joel, Rebecca and Cassie were all on the same train. It also turns out Angie, Rebecca and Joel all have birthdays in December, and that Angie, Cassie, Rebecca and Joel all have brown hair. It shows me I gravitate toward the same type of person, and always have. We had brunch at Markt on 6th Avenue and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine - for the first half hour or so. It was hot.

We shared a bread basket, drank coffee, and had breakfast. I enjoyed my waffle with fruit, and didn't mind paying $3 for iced coffee. I did, however take issue for paying $3 for a second iced coffee. I feel coffee (and most beverages) should have free refills. It's not like a new pot had to be brewed. It's not like these were large glasses. I speculate we were charged for time it took our waitress to get the coffees. But if that was the case, we should have gotten the coffee for free, because we easily waited a half hour to get our check.

Brunch was our only actual "plan" of the day. I left it to the locals after that and they decided I need to see some sights. We went to the Flatiron building, mostly because it was a block away. I saw the famed Shake Shack next door in Madison Square Park. We walked to Union Square, where we arrived right on time for free orange juice from Simply Orange. I would have preferred their lemonade (it was hot, and Angie doesn't like orange juice) but free is free, and I can't take issue with that.

We visited the Chelsea Market and walked along the Hudson where it was a little cooler. We saw Hoboken (where Angie lives) and spotted The Statue of Liberty in the distance. We walked to the Christopher Street Pier, and took in some of the best sites the city had to offer that day.

New York is not known for its grass. But there is a very green patch along the pier. On a day that begged for Sunbathing, New Yorkers typically confined to tiny apartments claimed even less space on that green. I found it a little ridiculous. It was too congested for actual relaxing - most people seemed to be there just to be seen. We obliged. If you beg me to stare, I will stare. And if you look ridiculous, my friends and I will notice.

We sat on the pier until we were squeezed out by an obnoxious birthday party. It was for a kid named Sebastian who was seven. He was a bully. And he kept eating frosting off the cake before the other kids got there. He had a Spongebob pinata and at one point yelled "let's kill Spongebob." I hope his parents gain control of him before he starts torturing cats. Somehow I don't see that happening.

Jen met us at the pier and we went to Tortilla Flats for margaritas. Again we sat outside and again we had good conversation. I really enjoyed it. These are people who know me and who didn't know each other. Most of them were with me when I was eating really poorly, and putting salt on everything. I now realize every pound I have to lose is a plate of french fries or DP Dough calzone or cup of frozen yogurt I ate with glee way back when. I considered embracing my fat as happy memories, but decided against it. If I ate now like I did then, I'd have a stroke within a year. That's not even an exaggeration. It was that bad.

Eventually the friends left. Angie & I had margaritas in their honor. Cyrus came from Brooklyn and the three of us went to the Coffee Shop, which is really a restaurant. We ate and swapped stories. We spent a little more in Union Square, marveling at the Metronome, and enjoying the weather. Eventually we walked to a train station and parted ways. Angie & I went to Hoboken, where we looked at the Christopher Street Pier from the other side. It was significantly less fun without the people watching.

I love my friends. And I'm glad I got to see them and introduce them to other potential friends. A lot can be accomplished in a day.

A more visual perspective of our day is below. There are nine stops beginning with the $3 coffee cup.


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