Living in NYC is like hosting a party attended by a lot of supermodels. Or getting a boob job. People you haven't seen in ages just drop in all the time. I've had old friends in town for seven weeks straight now. Compare that to living in Seattle when I'd be surprised if more than one person visited within the span of half a year.
Jen stopped in over a month back, and we grabbed dinner at Blue Ribbon Sushi in Soho. It was my first time there. Visitors are always a good excuse for a nice meal out. Who else did we spy in the lobby of Jen's hotel? Clive Owen. I wanted to ask him to repeat one of the funnier lines from the movies in 2004 (delivered with his signature venom in Closer, "You writer.").
Rich was in town the week after. Martinis at 2pm in the afternoon, and a slab of bacon at Gramercy Tavern at happy hour (my first time in the bar area there; the bacon entree, if it's still there, is artery-clogging nirvana). After that, Glengarry Glen Ross on Broadway, followed by an 11 pm surf and turf dinner at some steakhouse near Times Square. They brought out a slab of red meat the size of half a loaf of bread. It took me a week to recover, and even then, angioplasty looms large.
Then Bill dropped into town. More late afternoon martinis as we waited for a seat at Union Square Cafe. Seated at the bar, we battled the dizzying influence of the martinis with USC's famous garlic potato chips, then chose some heavier artillery in the roast suckling pig.
Karen was in town for James's birthday, and we visited EN Japanese Brasserie in the West Village. We had the omakase dinner. I've been a few times now, and I prefer to order a la carte. The omakase wasn't all that satisfying taste-wise or portion-size as compared to the food my previous visits. Go a la carte, order the pork belly. I can't but help thinking of izakaya restaurants in Vancouver when I try izakaya in NYC. Vancouver's are better and two orders of magnitude cheaper.
Who was next? Howie, I think. His tastes are quite specific. We had Double Shack burgers at Shake Shack on a sunny afternoon. Nothing better, though the lines there are borderline prohibitive. The burgers are really good there, but remember to get at least a Double Shack burger. The regular Shack burger doesn't have enough meat, the Double is just right, and the Triple is indulgent. I needed all the calories to keep up, what with Howie keeping me up past 5am some four nights in a row. My body clock is still on the graveyard shift some two weeks later.
This past weekend, I was waiting for Scott to join me for a bike ride when Audrey called me on my cell. Turns out she was in town for a wedding and only a few blocks away. I rode over and walked her and her boyfriend and friends down to the Ashes and Snow exhibit, then met back up with Scott where we battled the annoying Fleet Week crowds all the way up the West side until we reached Central Park. The Central Park loop of 6 miles was just barely tolerable, what with pedestrians wandering out in front of us with nary a look in either direction. We couldn't really go that fast for fear of running over some fellow New Yorkers. We rode back down 5th Ave., my first taste cycling NY city streets in high traffic, and it was an adrenaline rush. Just plain terrifying. Scott rode without a helmet; he's crazy (Scott's also training for an Ironman, more proof he's crazy). A few times I felt like I was in a BMW commercial as city buses on either side of me collapsed in on me. This must be what it felt like in the approach run towards the exhaust chute of the Death Star in Star Wars. Not an experience I'd seek out, and I shudder to think of someone trying to learn to ride clipless pedals in Manhattan.
I also visited my new nephew Evan and happy/tired parents Alan and Sharon out in Long Island this weekend. We celebrated Sharon's birthday by battling Mace Windu and General Grievous in James's copy of Revenge of the Sith for XBox. No wait, correction. We ate cupcakes to celebrate Sharon's birthday. The light saber battling was just calisthenics for the fingers.
Dave's in town this week. We had dinner tonight downstairs at BLT Fish (upstairs, the fancier half of the restaurant, is reservations only). I hadn't eaten all day when I met up with Dave, and two beers on an empty stomach left me a little loopy. This always happens when people are in town--I end up drunk before dinner. My fish and chips? Nothing special, but Dave's striped bass impressed. Afterwards I stumbled home, and just as I collapsed on my sofa, my phone ran. Bill was in town for Book Expo. A short cab ride later, he was sitting on my beanbag. We caught up again for an hour or two. By the time I jumped online, Dave had already posted about our dinner.
Emily's in town next week, and then nearly the entire family comes through the week after. Cirrhosis the weekend after? Exhaustion, at a minimum.
Of course, I'm under no illusions that anyone is here to visit me. I'd like to think it's personality, personality, personality, but as with real estate, it's all about location, location, location.
Somewhat related note: is there a term for someone you haven't heard from in ages who suddenly e-mails, then when you respond, they go silent? E-mail and run? Pump fake?