Spent the weekend in NYC with Camille. For those of you who know me, you know about me being the Goatman. See the link for info on the real Goat Man. I never actually saw the Goat Man myself, but my Grandma Palmer always told Pop, when he came in the kitchen door with muddy shoes, or filthy from working in the yard, “Hoooooooooo-Weeeeeeee! You look like the Goat Man!” My family has always referred to someone dressed like crap or dirty or smelly as the Goat Man. (Possibly from dumpster diving with their Grandfather? Not that I would know anything about that.) Pop is the Goatman. I am Goatman Junior.
It is funny how families have inside jokes that become part of their own language, and I often forget that not everyone knows what it is to be The Goat Man. Just like only a select few know what is to have a hair “shark” or “whermp,” “accordion stomach,” or for a dog to have “salmon.” Wet paper is anathema to us. As are Band-Aids stuck to the side of a pool. Suffice it to say that we as a family are all quirkily insane (insanely quirky?) But I digress – Camille and I decided that we would call this trip Goat Man Takes New York.
While I tend to avoid the mob scene at all costs, it was pretty fun to just give in to all the touristy Christmas stuff happening up there, and I have to admit it gave me a little of the Christmas spirit. I had never been to NY during Christmas before, and they do not mess around. They even decorate the scaffolding on buildings under construction. I wonder how anyone with kids manages to keep the Santa secret, because at any given time, you can be walking the city sidewalks in a throng of Santas. The usual street musicians play Christmas carols (my favorite was the steel drum version), and I have never seen so many tourists wearing Christmas sweaters, Santa Claus hats, and bells around their necks in my life. I did wonder how more of them didn’t get splatted by taxis, because I don’t think one single person within a mile radius of Rockefeller Center was doing anything but looking up. The whole scene is fun, and pretty contagious. That being said, I was completely annoyed by the mass material consumption. I am not a shopping lover by nature, and it baffled me how throngs of people wanted to do nothing but buy!buy!buy! when they could be enjoying all the city has to offer. By Sunday morning, I was ready to shove into oncoming traffic the next threesome of midwesterners who pulled up short in front of me right in the middle sidewalk (wearing Christmas vests and Uggs, no less).
On Friday, we checked into the Intercontinental, then headed over for the Empire State Building. The view is great, and the I am glad I did it, but I will probably never subject myself to it again. I felt just a little too much like cattle. Here is my video from the line. (What can I say? I got bored. I had to mock with mooing. It had to be done.)
Camille and I kept a running list of the New York jobs that seemed to suck the most. I personally detest any job where a person is forced to hawk their wares, or anything that involves a song and dance. With that in mind, the guy in the above video has a crappy job. The guys who dance on the piano at FAO Schwartz have a crappy job. But the crappiest job EVER has to be the poor bastards who get to MC the Barbie Catwalk at FAO Schwartz. My absolute worst nightmare. On the other hand, employees get to hang out in the Leaky Cauldron and around a life-size Iorek, so it is not all bad.
Friday night, we had burgers at some Irish(ish) pub and then had beers with Harris and Anne. They live in Brooklyn and get big props for coming in to meet us despite Anne being a little under the weather and Harris leaving the next day for Tokyo. (For those who know Reese, he’s started blogging again – ShiftyEye, we hardly knew ye! – and is documenting his time in Tokyo. Anne is also supposed to be contributing to their blog, but she has yet to appear. Hopefully, she will rectify this soon.)
After they left, we walked around to look at Christmas decorations and enjoy our buzz, strolling along, taking in the Santas galore, and seeing the Rockefeller tree at night. Walked all over to find a place to get another beer, then had one more at the hotel. Got to bed at a reasonable one-ish.
Woke up the next day with a bit of a sinus headache, but headed out to find a bagel and coffee. I love the food choices in the city. I guess I could have called my trip Goat Man Eats New York. Although i am surprised how little I ate while i was there. There is so much to do I just kind of forget to eat.
Saturday was fun. Lots of walking around, and we saw Grease at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. I am not a big fan of musicals, but if there was one I would want to see, this was it. It was good, but not great, although I was really impressed at how much work must go into each production, and i thought the sets and props were way cool. Camille had been planning and looking forward to it for months, so her excitement was contagious. Afterwards, we went to Rockefeller Center for the NBC Studio tour (more feeling like a cow in a cattle chute) and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the tour. Seeing the studios themselves (for Conan and SNL) was pretty eye-opening about how much they trick the audience into thinking they are seeing things that they aren’t. No, there were no famous people there. I was v. impressed with my knowledge of production, though, when the snooty Canadian hipsters didn’t know what Silver Cup was, and I did. Take that, Canadians! My man’s in the biz!
After that we cooled our heels in the room, then changed and headed out to meet my friend Jonathon in . . . the E. Village, i think? (I don’t really know my way around NY that well.) Camille and I decided to do the subway, since we hadn’t used it yet for the trip. Glad we did, as the walk was awesome after getting off and we saw more on foot and subway than we would have in a cab. (Plus, I just love the subway. There is such a sense of accomplishment for me in finding my way around a different city.) We started at Grand Central (which was right by our hotel) and made sure to check out the weird echo in the basement of the station next to the oyster bar. Harris, I’ll be honest – I thought you were fucking with us about that. It was v. cool.
Went to meet Jonathon and his roommate Chris, at Euzkadi. Very cool place, laid back, with great servers. It had perfect lighting. Camille had a salad and it was tasty. I had beer. There is nothing better than drinking beer in a nice warm bar while the snow is coming down. We stayed there for a while, then went back to J. and C.’s apartment (very nice and huge!) for more beer. It was a perfect end to a v. long day – My feet were thanking me for sitting on a couch, drinking beer, and talking music. Oh, yeah, and Chris’ dog, Norman Bates, was cute as all get-out. I mean, I say that about all dogs, but this one was beautiful.
We caught a cab back to the hotel a little after one. It took a while to catch the cab, and we were being pelted with sleet, but it really doesn’t hurt that much if you drink enough beforehand.
Drank the perfect amount on Saturday, because Camille and I both felt great on Sunday. We headed out into the bitter, windy cold and rain. It had been coming down all night, and the sidewalks were icy and there were huge, ice cold puddles at every crosswalk. Of course, I stepped right in the first one i got to, and couldn’t feel my toes for the rest of the day, but our flight was at 3 pm and decided against buying a new pair of shoes for one morning of walking around. We walked the stores on 5th Avenue and Madison Ave. We stopped in St. Patrick’s during the 11 a.m. service, which was really beautiful. We made fun of people. We decided to go all out and hit the FAO Schwartz, which was crowded but funny.
Worried about the weather, we got back to the hotel in time to check out and make sure our flight was still on schedule. It was, so we grabbed and cab and headed to Laguardia. I was much less nervous about the flight home, which is v. unusual for me, as I am usually a complete nutcase about it. This is partially because I figured out on the flight up that all i really need is a Xanax and TRIVIA IN THE BACK OF EACH SEAT OF THE PLANE. Mother of God, why did they not think of this before? Best invention since pay-at-the-pump! You’re pitted against other people on the plane, so that you can say, “You’re going down, 27C!” when they are beating you. (Except you probably should only say it in your head, or Homeland Security might meet you with handcuffs at the arrival gate.)
I was despondent upon realizing we were bereft of trivia on the flight home. Things took a distinct turn for the worse when the Captain came on the loudspeaker to tell us, “We have had reports of some turbulence upon takeoff here from Laguardia. Much of this has been severe turbulence. Now, let’s put this into perspective: Severe turbulence is not going to damage the aircraft, but it will be very uncomfortable, and will require that you remain in your seat with your seatbelt fastened.” He then proceeded to attempt to convince the passengers of his prowess as a pilot by telling us about his background in the Air Force. Um, okay, so are you comparing this flight to a battle situation? Awesome. Just awesome. Thank God for prescription sedatives. Turns out it wasn’t half as bad as had been reported earlier. Which is good, because I don’t have great bladder control since having children.
We arrived back in Atlanta and I made it home and I was really glad to see the Rugrats, which is the best indicator of a relaxing weekend trip.
I miss New York, though. Great city. Wish I had more time. Didn’t get to hit one museum. I am sure Todd is shaking his head at the thought of having to go with me in the future. Not because he dislikes art, but because he dislikes how long it takes me to meander through museums. I guess I’m already planning my next trip. I think I’ll call it The Goat Man Returns.
More pics in my NYC set on Flickr.