Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Time to sit back and unwind...

With it being the unofficial end of Summer (ie, Labor Day), I would like to apologize for the lack of updates in my summer shenanigans.

I have either forgotten the details, been too hungover, or blocked it out... either way, sorry 'bout that.

Maybe things will be a little clearer in the Fall, once I have time to reflect.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Night of the Italians... and One Ceiling Fan

Heat can make you do crazy things. Especially extended bouts of excessive heats, like we've been having this month. I think we've been over 90 degrees 20 out of 24 days in July so far, which in my person opinion is ridiculous.

So what's the best cure for beating the heat, other than standing in front of your self-installed window unit air conditioner? Why... going dancing, of course.

That was not technically the thinking when my friend (and former co-worker) Andrea and her sister Claire invited me out on a Saturday night to "The Delancey" -- a club at the bottom of the Williamsburg Bridge on the LES. I had never been there, but last summer our kickball team had played a match or 2 in the school playground right next door, so I knew just how far into BFE this place was. One of Claire's friends, Jenni, was the lead singer of a band and her band was performing there that night.

I get ready (which really was just touching up my makeup and putting on some eyeliner and more deodorant), and head all the way down to what in all intents and purposes is China. The trains were allll sorts of messed up from construction so I ended up just walking from Broadway-Lafayette down to Delancey and Attorney Street. It was in the lower 90s, so it was sort of a hike, but at least it was dark so I didn't have to worry about getting sunburned.

I meet Andrea on the stairs down to the venue. Apparently upstairs is a club, and downstairs is the live music venue. I haven't seen Andrea in months, actually since her birthday party in Queens when I lost my phone in a Gypsy Cab on my attempt to go home.

I say hi to her sister, who I also haven't seen since that night.

"Hey Claire! How are you?" I say as we give each other a hug.

"Great! Glad you could come out tonight! And if you want to save some money, I have a bottle of whiskey in my purse." she of course says the last part quietly and then unzips her purse to prove her point.

I only laugh and get a jack and coke at the bar. Then Andrea and Claire take me around to meet their friends in the band. They are going on in about 10 minutes.

The band starts to play, and they are... well they are pretty bad. They are from California, having just moved to New York like 6 months before, and Jenni thinks she is Gwen Stefani. Which she's not. But she's cute, and enthusiastic, jumping around on stage and genuinely having a good time. Her guitar player is this skeevy looking Italian with shaggy black hair and not quite skinny but not quite fat either. They finish their set, and we hang around the back bar for a while with Andrea and Claire's other friends. From church. There is nothing stranger to me than hanging out with your church buddies while you're knocking back shots. But anyways...

Eventually we decide we need to move on.

"Let's hit up the East Village."

"Ok, well where to then?"

"I don't know. But let's just start walking and we'll find a place."

We aimlessly walk for about 10 minutes. We find a bar, have a drink, leave. Find another bar, have another drink, leave.

"There's this Italian bar we have to go to," the skeevy Italian guitar player (who's name is J.V.) says, "We'll drink for free all night!"

Now. As good as that sounds, I find it hard to believe because we're now at least 10 people deep, and while we might be able to get a free round, and am having a hard time trying to believe we will be getting all of our drinks free all night.

We stumble upon another bar, Blue&Gold, where someone in the group had run into the cast of SNL & Natalie Portman a few months ago. Imagine the biggest dive bar you've ever seen. Then multiply that by 100 and then don't clean it for 10 years and you'll get Blue&Gold. But they had super cheap PBR and (more importantly) $4 jack and cokes.

I was in heaven, with no plan to leave. This fratty mcfratterson named Drew starts talking to me about NASCAR of all things (after he learns I'm from the South and I insist I know nothing about it). Luckily, at that second, Claire comes over and grabs my arm.

"We're leaving. That bar that J.V. was talking about is right around the corner." she says.

"But.... $4 jack and cokes...." I stammer.

Too late, we're already out the door. And in truth, the place we're headed is literally across the street, down the block.

We walk up the steps at what is now 2am to find a small bistro that happens to have a bar area, that is now crowded with a TON of Italians, most of them insanely attractive. Ok, so this isn't so bad, I think. As soon as we walk in, the bartender -- a tall, dark, scruffy man with tattoos and piercings -- says, actually SHOUTS, "Beautiful women shouldn't have pay for drinks!" and throws his hands in the air, smiling.

Ok. New favorite place.

We sit down, all 10 of us, and J.V. brings us glasses and glasses of Sangria from the bartender, who's name is Giovanni.

We're all drinking and talking, and Giovanni comes over and kneels next to me and Claire, talking to us.

"Oh man, Giovanni never does that!" Jenni says after he walks away, "He must really like one of you."

No sooner then those words had come out of her month, Giovanni was back with shots of Italian Liqueor. And then another round. And another.

He jumps back over the bar to turn up his European Techno dance music, and motions for us to come up on the bar.

ON the bar.

Claire and Jenni immediately climb up.

Claire stands up and promptly smacks the back of her head on the ceiling fan. Oops. She shakes it off and then the two of them proceed to dance on the bar, careful to steer clear of the fan and the strings of lights hanging next to it.

"Come on! Come up here!" Claire yells. Giovanni smiles. Of course I go up.

We're dancing, having a great time, when all of a sudden Jenni grabs the string of lights and we're yelled at and made to get down.


Claire climbs down first, then me and Jenni. I look around though and can't find Claire or Andrea anywhere.

"Hey, where did the Branleys go?" I ask one of their church friends about the sisters.

"Ohhh. Well, uh, Claire's head is bleeding from when she hit on the fan. They're in the bathroom."

"WHAT!?" I ask, confused and walk to the bathroom.

I open the door, and Andrea is pressing some paper towels to the back to Claire's head. Claire is convinced she's fine; Andrea is not really believing it. I take a look at it, and well... it's a nice gash for sure. The same length as the fan blade right on the back of her head. But it's not bleeding anymore. And it was already clotted and starting to scab over.

"Seriously And, it's not bad. It's not even bleeding anymore," I tell Andrea, "and I've cracked my head open like 3 times. No worries, she's fine."

We stick around for a little while longer, trying to decide if we should take her to the hospital. Claire insists she's fine, it doesn't even hurt, and she should just go home because she's tired. After a few more people looked at her head, they agree -- no stitches necessary -- but maybe we should stop and get some rubbing alcohol to clean it with. Who knows how dirty that fan blade was.

We head to Astor Place at what is now 4am, to the 24hr Walgreens and buy a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some of those liquid bandaids.

After pouring it on her head at the entrance of the Walgreens, everyone parts their separate ways.

"Maybe when you get home, you should stay awake for a few more hours, in case you have a concussion." I tell Claire before I get in a cab and head home.

I finally crawl into bed at 5:30am and wake up at noon to meet some other friends for brunch.

While I'm getting ready (and still a little drunk, mind you), I get a text message from my friend, Laurie, that was going to join us that night after her rooftop party, but then never did.

"So. How was it last night, pretty lady?" she texts.

"Wild. Fun."

The next day, I text Claire to make sure that she's ok.

"Hey girl... how ya feeling??" I send her.

"Hey!!! Just a little headache but otherwise ok. So much fun last night -- must do it again!" she writes back.

"Yes - but without the ceiling fans next time." I reply.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BAHHH! Lots o' updates

Forgive me.
I've been busy.
Lots of stories to catch you up on.

Next up on the agenda... The Night of the Italians and One Ceiling Fan.

-A. B.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars - June 2010

One of the things I miss most when I'm in New York are stars. I mean, we get plenty of the Hollywood kind, the recording artist kind, and even the Broadway kind. But I mean the little ones that twinkle in the night sky, that thanks to some some amazing light pollution, are hardly ever visible in the city.

That's why after a night out with my NSLP* Jared, his old roommate Nash, and Nash's boyfriend Graham, I was more than excited to venture up to our rooftop to look at the stars and smoke a cigy (or 3).

Laying on our backs, with the world spinning from the margaritas and vodka crans, the stars looked extra bright, extra twinkley. With smoke swirling above us and darkness all around us, we talked: about life, love, the constant pursuit of NY happiness (whatever that may be), and how AWESOME it was to see the stars. After about 45 minutes, Jared and I head back the 5 flights of stairs to our apartment, where we proceed to pass out. As I'm about to fall asleep my original plan for the evening echoes in my head: "I'm not going too crazy tonight. I have to go to Jersey tomorrow morning with Rob for a Rugby Tournament".

Fast forward to about 7 hours later. It's 9:30am, and I think I'm on the verge of death's door. Though I do spend a vast majority of my weekends trying to forget the stress of the week at the bottom of my beer bottle, I very rarely get hangovers. It comes with years of practice and usually a little pre-medication before the party starts.

This time, however, was very different. Bound and determined to make it to this Rugby match, I get up and attempt to shower. This proves to be quite difficult as I basically only want to lie down and/or vomit. I manage to wash my hair, and then promptly get back in bed and pass out for another hour. After coming to, I realize I have 20 minutes before Rob said he was going to call me and determine a place for us to meet to take the PATH train. But I'm having a hard time imaging even being able to walk to the bathroom, much less make it to New Jersey.

I text Jared from bed.

"Bodyguard, I think I'm dying...", a line from one of our favorite videos at http://verymarykate.com/ is all I can manage to send him.

"Omggg me too" is his response.

I manage to make it to the bathroom a few minutes later, and try to expel the extravagance of last night, to no avail. I succumb to laying on the cold, tiled floor instead with my feet sticking out of the door.

"God, babe. Are you ok?" Jared is now standing at the door to the bathroom, and looks completely fine.

"I told you. I think I'm dying. Like legit." I manage to say as I roll over from my stomach to my back so I can see him.

"Well you certainly look like death. I thought you already left... when were you suppose to Rob?"
"He was suppose to call me like 20 minutes ago. Can you get my phone? There is no way I'm going to be able to rally from this."

He goes and gets my phone from my bedroom, and I proceed to text Rob that I'm so hungover there is no way I'm going to be able to go this morning.

Literally, 30 seconds later I get a text back from him that says: You and me both, I just woke up myself, there are 3 games total, the 2nd one starts like around 3, wanna go then instead. I need time to recover.

Thank you GOD! I reply with a "yes, of course. I definitely need time to recover before trying to make it to Durrty Jerz".

"No prob... not gonna lie, I was typing you the same text. I'll give you a call in a cpl hours" he responds.

Sweet victory. I head back to bed, and back to sleep until 2pm. I feel like a whole new person.

Shortly there after, I get a text from Rob checking on me, seeing how I'm feeling. He's feeling a million times better so we decide to meet at Penn Station in a hour.

After grabbing a sandwich at Subway that I tentatively eat, and a large iced coffee, I head down to Penn Station. It takes us a while to find each other, as Penn Station is larger than expected.

We exchanging pleasantries about how hungover we each were from the night before, and then we head to the NJ Transit corridor.

"Ok, we have to take the PATH train to Harrison. Let's find a map." Rob says, pulling the written directions out of his pocket.

"Is NJ Transit the same as PATH?" I ask, genuinely not knowing.

"Uh.... I don't know. I thought so."

We crowd at the map, but see nothing that says "Harrison".

"Maybe PATH and NJ Transit are different. Where do you get on the PATH train? Let's find a subway map."

We finally come to the conclusion that in fact the PATH train and NJ Transit are 2 completely different things. Neither of us had ever been to Jersey before, so it was only logical to think that one was part of the other. We walk from Penn Station, 1 block over to Hearld Square to catch the PATH train.

"So... now what do we do?" I ask, staring at the foreign turnstiles, leading to what looks like the old dilapadated, rejected NYC transit subway cars.

After trying to decipher how to use the machines to buy the PATH tickets, and which train we need to get on to get to Harrison, we board the train.

"This is going to be an adventure for sure." Rob says.

"I hope we don't get lost. I didn't bring my passport." I reply.

We take 2 trains to get to the stadium. The whole time making Bruce Springsteen jokes, and commenting on the fact that New Jersey really DOES smell. Bizarre.

We get to Red Bull Stadium, which is gorgeous by the way, just in time for the last match at 5pm.
Rob picks up the tickets from will call (left for him by his boss), we go find our seats, then decide to hit up the Beer Garden, which is down in the parking lot.

Now for someone that is constantly surrounded by gay men 95% of the time, this rugby match was like a whole new ball game for me (literally). I have never seen more straight, white, WASP-y guys in one place. It was incredible. And very exciting as most of them were insanely attractive, in that Yacht club kinda way.

We have 2 beers at the Beer Garden, which was basically part of the parking lot fenced in by Bud Light posters, 2 pub tables, and a bunch of guys throwing around a rugby ball. Super classy.

We head inside after the national anthem, and find our seats, which was insanely good, right near the goal line.
Now I know nothing about Rugby. The only thing I think of when someone says "Rugby" is that Friends episode when Ross tries to impress his British girlfriend by joing a Rugby team, and then proceeds to get the shit beat out of him to much hilarity.

Turns out, Rugby is the shit. Like seriously. The game was amazingly fun, the crowd was small but intensely into it, and the match was between the US national team and France A (which makes me think that France has more than 1 team?). After heckling the Frenchies for a good 2 hours, cheering for grown men to kill each other, and making friends with the fratty mcfratbrothers that were sitting around us, it's time to head back to the city.

2 trains and over an hour later, we're both completely exhausted. We head south of Penn Station to grab a bite to eat, and then head home. I was bound and determined to head to bed early, as I wasn't completely feeling 100%.
But considering how my morning was, it was a major victory that we were even able to make it Jersey, and back, in one piece.

And now I know that New Jersey really does smell as bad as you think.

- A. B.

*non-sexual life partner: also known as my gay bestfriend, gusband, etc

Friday, June 11, 2010

From the beginning...

This week marks the 6 year anniversary with my affair with New York.
After much debate, and lots and lots of stories over happy hours/brunch/water coolers I've decided to document all of the day-to-day stories of my experience in this insane city.

I promise, none of these stories are made up.
Names will be changed.
Places will try to be as accurate as possible (as much as I can remember anyways).
I'll mix in current stories, as well as the best ones from the past 6 years.

A. Beaverhausen