Sunday, August 16, 2009

Brother Visiting!

My brother is in between terms at Colorado Mountain College, so my Mom booked him a ticket out to New York for four days. He got in late Friday night, exhausted. While he actually got here earlier than he was planned for, it was because my Mom put his name down wrong, as Matt S--- Douglas, leading to a huge mess that proved difficult to change because she did it through Expedia.

He finally got here around 11, and we went to Corner Bistro, where we split a Bistro Burger and had a couple McSorley's. Matt's not 21 yet, but he has a fake ID, which apparently was in our home in Seattle. A week before he came, I called up my Mom and asked her to send it to me so we could go into bars, etc. She did so readily, which Matt and I both thought was hilarious. That would NOT have flown when I was twenty and three-quarters. We went to a Belgian Beer Bar, Vol de Nuit, in the Village after, and kind of ambled around looking at all the drunkies.

The next morning we went to Murray's Bagels, then walked down the High Line (which I LOVE). We then proceeded to walk all the way to the tip of Manhattan via the Hudson River Park, in ninety degree heat. I can't believe we did it. I was surprised that Matt was able to stand it, because most visitors aren't used to walking so much and get tired more quickly than the "natives," but Matt's been walking up some big hills, he doesn't have a car, and he's at 6,000 feet, which definitely prepped him for the walk. I checked later and it was about 3 miles--I figure we walked about 4 including our roundabout way and a couple detours.

We then took the Staten Island Ferry, which I had never done before. It leaves every half hour, which is quite convenient. The 3:30 pm ferry was packed with a million tour groups. We had to fight to see the Statue of Liberty. We decided to walk around a bit on Staten Island, but that was a mistake. There was nothing there. He wanted to get a drink in this one pub, a sketchy old man bar, but I knew the Lower East Side awaited so I steered him away. We took the 5pm ferry back to Manhattan.

As I was contemplating how we were going to take the subway to the Lower East Side (there's no direct way), I suddenly saw a sign for the M15 bus, and in a stroke of genius realized it would take us where we needed to go. Fabulous. The cold air zonked Matt out. We grabbed a couple mojitos and some chips and dip at Le Cubain, which just opened, and then Rita arrived just as we were leaving. We decided to go do some more happy hours and then head up to the sushi place by Anna's old apartment that I had never been to but was touted as "good and surprisingly reasonable." We went to Pianos, which was a bit too loud and Matt & Rita accidentally ordered a beer that wasn't in happy hour, that took a couple of tries before the waitress fixed our bill (The magic words: "I think there was a miscommunication..." which I think worked because I didn't assign blame). We then went to Iggy's which was amazing. We had a hilarious bartender (who later gave us his "card") and Rita made friends with the Jewish couple next to us. We ordered some weird shot that the bartender described as a "Red Headed Slut but with x instead of y" don't remember exactly, and Rita was joking that there should be a shot called "Big Jewish" something or the other. They met on Fire Island years ago, and told her that she should go there for the day, at least. We had a few drinks/beers/shots each, and the bar tab was on the high side for my eyes, but I am trying to be better about spending money, so I signed away. We then went up to Sapporo East on 10th and 1st, but first made a detour into a liquour store (my idea...maybe after looking at the bar tab??) to buy some SoCo, and then we bought some cokes at a deli next door. We went into an alley to fill them up. It was amazing. Drunkenness: accomplished. We had to wait about a half hour for a table, so it was good we had some drinks to sip on. We ordered some pretty good rolls and this creamy, warm crab and avocado appetizer thing. I was drunk, happy, and now full. Though I normally cab it or take the subway from there, for some reason all three of us walked home. Rita had forgotten her keys so she slept over. I drank lots of water (It didn't entirely work...).

That morning, at like 8, I looked over and Rita was gone. I thought she was in the bathroom. But then a half hour passed and I realized she went home. I called my phone from Matt's phone, found it, then texted Rita to see if she was okay, to which she responded "No one home but safely eating a sammy in the park." I thought that was ridiculous, and said so. Then I went back to sleep. I woke up a couple times, and eventually realized that we would not be making the 11am tour of the Lower East Side. I eventually roused my brother out of bed. We went to La Bonbonnerie for brunch, a diner that I adore for its surroundings and service more than its food. I ordered the Challah French toast and two eggs (the latter were a little excessive, but I like to get my protein). It was delicious. We then took the A train to Jay St./Borough Hall, and got out and walked to the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so crowded and soooo hot. The views were beautiful. I was pleased that I got to do some new things with my brother--the ferry and the bridge--because as much as I like showing people around, I like doing new things too. We got off the bridge and I got us slightly lost before we veered into Chinatown.

Matt got some inari sushi, which was surprisingly delicious (it's also really cheap--bean curd with rice inside). I got my coconut water, and we got some starburst-like chinese candies that my brother really likes. We wandered into this park in Chinatown that I had never been to before that was really cool. There were a couple bands of musicians playing on all their Chinese instruments. In the park there were all these people playing this game with checkers-like pieces and boards of dots connected by lines, and groups of people would gather around to watch the game. It was about 90% people who live in Chinatown, 10% tourists with guidebooks. Considering Canal Street is about the reverse proportion, it was refreshing to get a sense of this community in an entirely different light. I went to Chinatown Ice Cream Factory to get some red bean ice cream (pretty good, slightly bland), and then we scouted out for bathrooms and settled for a nasty McDonald's. I took Matt to Joe's Shanghai, where I also brought my parents, and we ordered some Soup Dumplings. They seat you at tables with other people you don't know (something that freaked out my Mom the first time we were there). We were sitting with a couple and this single army-looking guy, when a single tourist was seated at our table. She seemed very confused about why she wasn't being seated at an empty table, and introuduced herself and apologized for interrupting. We explained that we all didn't know each other. It was nice to know the rules and be able to explain them--I also like that this place is so friendly to single diners.

It was soo hot, and we were nearing the end of our adventure. We walked up Little Italy briefly, then over a block, where we stumbled upon this Banh Mi place I had heard about but never been to. It's in the back of a jewelery store, and the sandwiches are huge and $3.75 and delicious. Matt and I split one. Mmmm. We then took the subway back, where my brother has proceeded to fall asleep for the past three hours. Mad Men starts in 45 minutes. I can't wait.

Matt leaves Wednesday morning--we're planning on going to a Mets game and spend another evening hanging out with my boyfriend, who was away this weekend at Phish shows. It's supposed to be over 90 again the next couple days. Argh.

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