subways, lesbians and columbian liquor
November 4 and 5. 2000
The day started with a somnolent 7 am drive to NYC. While I stopped to fill up Bessie, the sky was painted with that green gray light of an impending storm. I paid for my gas and a heavily caffienated drink and set out for NYC.
After parking my car in Long Island City and getting a ride with John into the city (he had work today, ick), I took the subway up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I sat on the cold steps waiting for the bus that held my classmates to arrive. I was asked to move several times by Met minions loitering out on the steps. I finally sat way off to the side, where I thought I wouldn't offend them. It gave me a good view of a man who had set up a small amp and was strumming on a guitar, the sound echoing eerily off the roman columns on the front facade of the museum. I watched various tourists pose for photographs in front of the building, and hold their small cameras with small blinking red light bravely upward.
The tour my professor led us on wasn't too incredibly interesting, not so much because of her ability to lecture or the subject matter, but because of my appallingly low tolerance for museums. I was rather disturbed to discover a few weeks ago that I just don't like museums. I don't hate the art within the museums, but all the stuff that comes along with it: loud people with small children who usually have no clue about art yet pretend they do to impress those in their group. People who get those rather annoying tours on tape and, with headphones affixed to their heads, are blissfully unaware just how loud they are talking to their companion. And I hate being chained to a group or another person, and having to go at their pace, instead of viewing the work the way I want to.
I didn't linger long in the Met after our tour was over. I took some pictures in my favorite secion, the Gothic sculpture. I LOVE all things Gothic, especially the sculpture found on cathedrals. And the cathedrals...they're so creepy and have so many secrets of religion hidden in them. Someday I'll get to Europe and visit all of them.
Next was my foray into the Subways. If you want to see where I went, you can look here at the map. I had lunch at Times Square, which while being absolutely packed with annoying tourists, is such a glorious assault on the senses every time I'm there. Like being stuck in a pinball machine as big as a couple of square blocks, bounced around from the huge neon billboards to the lines of shady looking guys selling rolexes, to the waves of people who cross the street every time the light changes. I hung on tight.
I got on the 1 train at Times Square, planning to ride it all the way to the end, at 242 street. It was very crowded in the car when I got on, and I had to stand, one hand clutching a pole and the other clutching my camera, wondering if I could stop being a chicken and actually take some pictures. The crowd began thinning out once we got above 66th or so, and I was able to get a seat. I people watched for a while.
The two white girls across from me were laden with shopping bags and had British accents. A young black man was slouched in one corner of the car, frequently dropping the crushed paper bag he had clenched tightly in his hand whenever he dozed off. A black woman with bright red lips wearing a business suit was looking rather irritated and kept glancing at her watch.
I love the elevated subways. Once we got out from underground, it was so much more entertaining, looking down on everything, being on the same level as many of the shorter apartment buildings. I got out at the 225 street stop on the way back to take some pictures. It was a windy, cool day, still trying to decide if it would rain or not. Up on that platform looking down for miles at the subway track, there was such a feeling of air, of spaciousness, of being above it all.
I rode the 1 train all the way down to the other end, at South Ferry, right next to Battery Park and the Staten Island Ferry. At this point I really needed to find a Starbucks (yes, even I have been claimed for their corporate clutches), and I did, on the bottom floor of this sleek, intimidating corporate like structure. I got some hot cider, which was delicious and creamy, though the apple taste wasn't as sharp as I like it.
I got on the 5 train at Bowling Green and took it to Fulton Street, and then tranferred to the A train, which I took up to the Port Authority to meet John. I was so tired at this point that while on the train I began to doze off, and nearly missed my stop. Our appointed place to meet was an Au Bon Pain near the Gate where I take the bus home, I was a little early, so I seated myself at the cheap metal tables and wrote for a while and waited for him.
After dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant, we walked to the theatre and got in the line on the street leading to the door. About halfway up I realized they were searching bags. This produced a significant amount of anxiety on my part because I had a camera in my bag, even though I had no intention of using it during the concert (it was out of batteries by then, anyway). As I approaching the big beefy guy in a red shirt, my heart beat faster. "Have your bags open!" they were yelling. The guy peered into my bag with a mini flashlight for all of three seconds before pushing me past him. I was in. I was in. Whew.
(Some day I'll tell you the story of my first Tori concert, which is why I'm paranoid to sneak cameras into concerts)
By the time we got in, the Hammerstein Ballroom was already filled with people and smoke and plastic cups of beer. I have to admit, though I like a formal concert setting, there's something in me that loves general admission shows. The informality, the energy of the crowd, the ability to get stoned by simply breathing the air. The low bass beats of the filler music between acts pulsing from the stage, a pause or interruption causing the audience to collectively glance up and wonder if the show was starting.
John, being six feet tall, could see pretty much everything, so I was extremely envious. After the crowd pushed us around, I ended up in front of him, thoroughly squashed in between the people around me. He ended up putting his arm around my waist for most of show, which was really nice.
Ani went on quite early, at 8:30. I was in back of all these tall people, so I could only see her intermittently, which is really a pity, because she's so interesting to watch. While some musicians strum their guitar benignly and sing sweetly, Ani attacks the guitar strings with her ferocious duct taped nails. Her vocals are a series of percussive phrases that she venomously spits at the microphone. She is so amazingly kinetic on stage.
But getting to the music. Not surprisingly, most of her songs were from her most recent albums, and even included a couple new songs not on albums yet, as is her custom. Her backup band now includes a small horn section, which is an addition since I saw her last. The backing band was very tight, more together than I remembered it to be.
Anyway, the show wasn't the best of hers I've ever seen. She did play a lot of my favorite songs, especially including "Letter to a John". As she started singing the first verse, "Don't ask me why I'm crying, I'm not going to tell you what's wrong, I'm just gonna sit on your lap for five dollars a song...", I felt my throat catch and my eyes well up with tears. I'd forgotten what a powerful song that is.
The next morning, as John and I were getting off the subway coming back from having some breakfast, the New York Marathon was passing right by his house. It was an amazing thing to watch, and the spectators were so supportive of the runners. I was amazed by the sheer volume of people coming off the Pulaski bridge from Brooklyn into Queens - over 30,000 people run the race every year.
In the early afternoon I met up with Dave Koba to attempt to help him with his webpage. I sat down at his g3. Macs are a complete mystery to me, mostly because I hardly use one anymore, now that I'm not taking any computer classes. It was also hard to get used to his retarded black keyboard, which made the keys hard to see in the dim light, and plus I was used to my ergo keyboard here at home.
I ended the weekend having dinner with Dave and his friend Pashman, a fellow law school grad who was just funny as hell. We ate at a place called Annie Moore's right across the street from Grand Central. I think it was a place that catered to tourists mostly (any place that the waitresses have accents falls into that category), and turkey club I had was unmemorable, but the company was good and very entertaining.
I made my way back to Queens, said a brief goodbye to John, and got back on the road for home. It was dark, and I HATE HATE driving on the NJ turnpike in the dark. Plus there was this huge spectacular vehicle fire on the side of the road, which while being entertaining, slowed traffic down considerably.
Still, I managed to get home in just under 2 hours. Whew. What a weekend.
One Year Ago:
all writings, (c) 1999-2000, BRR