i keep telling people how sad it is that the whole time i lived in baltimore, i never made it up the road to New York – especially sad given that it was a mere 3 hours away. some friends periodically head up for one reason or another, but it’s always tended to be a specific gig in the past, and i don’t feel like crashing their thing. for some reason, i never got around to taking the proverbial bull and just setting up a trip myself, but it’s all better now.
last week, Suz and i stopped in to visit Di & co at her house before heading over to iron bridge. they all had other plans and couldn’t go with us, but we all wanted to get together for a pre-cocktail while everyone was in town. somewhere in the end of the conversation, Diana remembered a trip that she was about to have to cancel. “can you get out of work next weekend?” she asked excitedly. “i was supposed to go to the tribeca film fest with someone else next weekend, but they’ve canceled, and i still really want to go. you in?”
i bailed out of work a couple of hours early friday in our effort to roll out before traffic got brutal up 95. by the time i’d gotten home, Chris had filled up my market bag with road snacks. well, his gourmet version of road snacks anyway: complete with a couple pairs of bamboo chopsticks, we dined on 2 different kinds of homemade sushi, teriyaki eggs (sounds horrific, but i swear they were amazing), fruit chips, red grapes, and a bazillion different kinds of bottled tea and juice. we wheeled in not too late that evening, and even the most mundane of sights had me giddy like a kiddo:
we were staying at a friend’s house in the upper west side, and Melina’s hospitality was even more marvelous than the views from her window. after the longish drive, we played it low-key that night, just stopping in to the local wine bar for a nightcap, snack, and catching up.
saturday morning, Di and i woke up and headed off to check out the sights before catching a noon showing. we grabbed a quick pastry at the local french bakery, and strolled off to the subway. throughout this trip, i was utterly fascinated by the baroque flourishes on the older buildings. i’ve been in other urban areas this old, but these were uniquely heavily decorated:
our first movie was a bittersweet comedy called ‘stay cool‘, about a guy who was a big nobody in high school but has since gone on to be a bestselling author, and is invited back to the hometown to give the speech at graduation. he meets up with old friends just as wacky as they were back in the day, chases the girl that got away, and has some fun shenanigans with a high school cutie who’s crushing on him. it was cute without being sappy, and the soundtrack was all killer 80s tunes; the most serious flaw was sean astin’s over-the-top flaming homo performance (we got it, your character is gay, no reason to make it a crass stereotype for the laffs).
lunch was at a way fun restaurant called cafeteria, and this was probably the moment where i felt totally immersed in NYC. all the waiters were beautiful, the food was artful, the cocktails killer, and we were in the hip life:
since our first movie had been early-ish, and our next wasn’t until late, we had plenty of time to relax with Melina before heading out. her apartment block borders the hudson, and she took us out for a stroll along riverside park and to a great spot called the boat basin. since this was the first genuinely warm weekend after an unseasonably long cold spell, everyone and their dog was out enjoying the outdoor venue, and it was a college-level crazy battle to get a round of cocktails. top-notch relaxation was had at both the park and the excellent italian restaurant for dinner later before we rolled off for our other movie that night.
somehow, both days we ended up catching one “arty” session and one mainstream comedy flick. saturday night, our highbrow selection was a series of short films – ‘wake up call‘. i’m personally a huge fan of short films, especially in 2-hour doses (an all day marathon maybe not so much, but this was perfect), and this did not disappoint. ‘the tin woodsman’s home movie no.2’ was bafflingly bad, ‘section 44‘ was hilarious, and at the very least things were interesting.
sunday, things were reversed, and we did our art film first – a documentary about CBGB, ‘burning down the house‘. Di totally loved it, i thought it was a grittier & longer ‘vh1 behind the music’, but the soundtrack and concert footage was awesome all around.
our last movie of the festival later ended up winning the audience award, ‘city island‘. this one is the one most easily imaginable as getting a mainstream release – it’s smart, funny, has a great cast, what’s not to like? as if the movie itself weren’t fun enough, this evening’s show was also the red-carpet premiere of the movie, with the whole cast causing a flurry of excitement before hand and then sticking around for q&a afterward. the second post-movie comment came from a familiar sounding voice, and was nothing more than a guy praising the film’s merits – when he turned to to back to his seat right in front of us, it was joey pants!
this was a fantastic weekend, and absolutely an adventure. i ate in fabulous restaurants, drank wonderful cocktails with flowers floated on top, snapped illicit photos of famous people, cruised the subway like a pro, caught one or two of the touristy sights to see, and had a blast.
i’m so ready to go back.