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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer over, NYC

I finished up my summer internship successfully last week. As I left after my last day, it was storming pretty well as what was left of Ernesto came through. This sums up the weather pretty well:

It continued like that on my way up to NYC later that evening. My Amtrak train was leaking, though thankfully not on me. It stayed pretty nasty on Saturday, but Alex and I got out and around anyway. (Including to Doughnut Plant...I ate three of their doughnuts and did not regret it.)

Alex's new place in Queens is nice, enormous by NYC standards, only a couple blocks from the elevated subway station. And I liked his neighborhood, which is nice in a pre-gentrification kind of way...it's heavily Greek, and there's a corner grocery store and most other things you'd want within easy walking distance. The subway ride to Manhattan is easy.

We had a number of very New York experiences:

  • Sitting in a bagel shop, a man ushered in a four-piece brass band that was for some reason walking down the street and cajoled them to play. They were about to start when he said, by the way, he's not paying them or anything. The band stalked out.

  • We went to see a movie that was only out in NYC and LA, and the director just happened to be doing a Q&A in the theater after the show. (Mutual Appreciation, it was absolutely fantastic, like an Alexander Payne film from my generation, stripped of the slight goofiness and not afraid to be awkward. See it if you can.)

  • While eating gyros, a man sat down at our table. He was difficult to understand due to his poor English and the fact that he was presumably very high on something; he proceeded to stare at us and scold our gyro-eating technique.

  • We went to the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum next to Central Park, housed in the old Carnegie mansion, and saw, among other things, a very extensive exhibit on silverware design throughout the centuries.

  • When we attended a stand-up comedy club, we were seated in the front row and became part of the routines of three different comics. They only said nice things, of course.

  • After Alex had to leave for a grad school orientation event, I went to Coney Island and got a chili-cheese dog from the original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand. (Decided the $6 for one ride on the Cyclone wasn't worth it.)

A very good trip. Here are some blurry cell phone pictures:

The view from the subway platform near Alex's apartment.

This gator occupies a place in the roof garden of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; he evidently incurred the wrath of some restaurant patrons.

This bit of categorization at the Duane Reade next to Penn Station struck me as unorthodox.

I got home late last night, and this morning was hectic because my car had been parked at a city meter all weekend with its key broken off in the ignition (I'll spare you the story). I cleared things up with some help from Jaclyn shuttling me around, Andrew feeding the meter, the Saab dealership in Hunt Valley, the title to the car, and a pair of tweezers.

But it also turns out that classes don't start until next week, I just have my public health ones this week. An unexpected respite, since I apparently can't read a calendar...


gastropodblue said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! Man, I miss going to New York. BTW, a ride on the Cyclone IS worth the $6 charge. Trust me.

lj said...

That brass band story is *amazing*. I'm glad to hear that Alex has found himself a nice place.

I read a review of Mutual Appreciation in the NYT recently. Long B&W scenes in a bedroom with nothing much happening made me think of Breathless.

teague said...

I think the comparison to Breathless is actually pretty apt. It doesn't have "I-don't-give-a-damn" editing to the same extent, but it matches stylistically and thematically in a number of ways, and the film print is so gritty that the comparison much easier to make.

Jesse, I'll take the Cyclone next time I'm there. I do like roller coasters. And the Cyclone promises to increase the thrill by seeming like it might actually collapse at any moment...

doug said...

Tell me about those doughnuts, Teague! (I am still plotting my very own doughnut shop, opening sometime this century.)

Jelly, cake, raised, or other??

teague said...

All of the above, Doug.

The Doughnut Plant's basic dougnuts are largeish raised ones with flavored glazes (last weekend I had vanilla bean and coconut). They put up a bit of resistance when you bite them, but stop short of being chewy.

I also had a jelly doughnut, vanilla bean glaze with organic strawberry jam. Doughnut Plant jelly doughnuts are square, and they have a hole in them. The jelly is delicately arranged in a thin conduit running inside the entire doughnut, so you get both doughnut and jelly in each bite. All their doughnuts are the best ones I've even had, but the jelly ones beat the pants off their peers by an even larger margin.

Alex had a tres leches cake doughnut, and said it was fantastic.

Doughnut Plant has kept itself specialized like your prospective shop ought to do. They sell doughnuts and some related pastries (cinnamon rolls, churros), and they've got a big kettle next to the cash register with exactly one choice of hot beverage (it was chai last week, which was great).

I'd be happy to come to Mpls for a week or so to help with the doughnut experimentation and tasting.

lj said...

If any of you doughnut fiends happen to be going through Madison, I recommend Greenbush Bakery. From the sound of it, it won't be able to hold up to this Doughnut Plant, but it's still damn good. The apple (& blueberry) fritters, in particular, are not to be trifled with. It usually took me 2 or 3 days to eat one (I'm not exaggerating).

Donut Delite, on the other hand, is a Middle Eastern restaurant. (apparently when the guy bough the building from a bakery, the local donut constituency wouldn't let him change the name or remove the pastry case)

Andy said...

Man, I feel like I've been waiting forever to see Mutual Appreciation. Looks like I'll get to do so just before I depart Seattle.