|My eensy Pod room.|
Instead, I ended up wandering dreamily every day into Central Park to eat my lunch and indulge in luxuriant reading and people watching. It got to the point where people asked me for directions - "Where is Strawberry Fields?" being the most popular question. Thrilled to be mistaken for a local, I was only too happy to help.
It's hard to imagine that Europeans bought this island in 1626 for $24 worth of beads from the Lenape tribe, who were living there at the time. That's about $1,000 in modern currency, which might buy you a dirty curb at today's real estate prices, nothing more.
Much as I was drawn to Central Park during the day, Times Square would pull me in at night, like a zombie drug. With a large portion shut down to car traffic, the area is a meeting spot for every kind of human you can think of. One night I sat on the phone for hours with an old friend while a creepy Latino stood nearby, insisting I take his compliments. "You are beautiful. I SAID 'You are beautiful!'"
Beth, and we came upon two guys playing an oud, a pear-shaped instrument that sounds like a sitar. It's used in Middle Eastern music, has no frets and a long white 'pick.' It has a bent back neck and looks like it may have derived from the lute.
We sat and listened for awhile to the beautiful music while some young blonde girl babbled in my ear about wanting to be an actress. She decided that she loved me and I decided she was a druggie loon. Still, it was a lovely encounter with an exotic instrument, and where else would I learn about it other than Times Square? Saved me a trip to Qatar, that's for sure.
When I arrived on Tuesday night, I hurriedly checked into The Pod and started sprinting toward the St. James Theater on 44th. My pal, Laurie, had gamely offered to buy us half-price tickets to 'American Idiot' (Green Day's musical) and all I had to do was get my butt there before curtain. But, my feet were too slow and the cabs weren't moving so in the end, I jumped on a pedi-cab and watched my driver go toe-to-bumper with very large tour buses; he would not be intimidated. Also, he spoke little English and had legs made of lightening.
'American Idiot' feel like some leathered up version of 'Glee' but with newer songs and more electric guitar. The set was high and the walls were embedded with televisions, allowing for much commentary on the media. Kudos to Green Day and the cast for executing one damn fine rock opera.
Also, Beth and I managed to escape the confines of the New York Hilton for a few hours to visit a local comedy club, Ha! The comedians were all men, all funny but a bit lazy - meaning they relied too much on swearing, poop and sex jokes. First up was Kevin Brown, who plays Dot Com on the hit show, '30 Rock.' Kevin was big, he was funny but most of all, he was CUTE. Beth and I developed permanent crushes on the spot.
On our way home, we stumbled across an amazing site: At 3:30 in the morning, a line of people nearly half a block long all waiting for "the best halal in the city", as one fellow informed us. Evidently, they open at 7:30 p.m. and stay open until 4:00 a.m.
one of the best street food vendors in the city. Located at the corner of 53rd and 6th Ave. - make sure you check it out on your next NYC visit.
Although it was great to come home to Colorado amidst an exciting lightening storm and a flooded kitchen (don't ask), I gotta say, I miss the Big Apple already.