Week Two: Reality Bites (Coughs & Sneezes)

After a fast start back in the city jumping right into seeing people, going places and doing things, week two knocked me on my ass with a nasty and long-lasting cold, complete with four days of fever and chills to go with the massive, head-clogging congestion, tear inducing sore throat and matching earache.  Walking Izaak 2 blocks to the dog park in the morning required a 2 1/2 hour nap to recover. Overall, It lasted 12 days and nights.

During this period Melinda fought off the worst of the symptoms (helped by her flu shot?) and worked 12-14 hour days training her 80 employees for the Grand Opening of the Times Square Microsoft Surface Store. On my better days I managed to walk uptown and meet her for the walk home at night, I hopped the LIRR out to Ron Ostermann’s house in Garden City, Long Island for the Giants v Redskins game and even went to dinner at Boqueria, with my niece Meagan and her husband Tom.

What we didn’t get to do was attend the taping of The Daily Show on October 18th that featured President Barack Obama. Reservation email in hand, I sweated my way up to the theater on 11th Avenue and 52nd Street to meet Melinda. Arriving at 11:20 A.M. for a 1 P.M. ticket distribution there were about 100 +/- people already lined up.Tickets were distributed at 1 PM sharp and at 1:10 P.M. the ticket dispensers were about 15 people away from us when a Secret Service agent walked down the line informing those of us without a blue ticket in hand that all tickets for the evening’s  show were gone and we could leave. We would not be getting into that days taping. Disappointed as I trudged back to the apartment, but watching TDS that night I learned that the reason we didn’t get tickets was that the USO had requested ~30 tickets for female troops that were in town; how can you be disappointed when these women warriors get a chance to see their Commander-in-Chief up close and personal? Anyway, I emailed TDS and explained the situation and they responded with guaranteed VIP tickets for the show on November 27th.  Win-Win.

I’m feeling better, Melinda’s store is open (more on that later) and life is good.

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Hitting Our Stride

We have completed our first week in New York City and I have to say it has been better than I’d hoped for. Because Melinda will be swamped with work once everything gets up and running at her store, we booked a number of things to do this first week while we knew she’d have some flexibility with her schedule. After landing last Saturday night, we went to the NY Giants v Cleveland Browns  game on Sunday, with my friend from kindergarten, Ron Ostermann, attended the Asian American Art Association’s 30th Anniversary Gala on Tuesday and completed the week at Jon Stewart’s Night of Too Many Stars, last night.

While Melinda was conducting her new employee training I was revisiting old haunts in the Chelsea area, forgetting how much of my life took place in this neighborhood. I stopped by my alma mater, Baruch College, my daily watering hole, The Old Town Bar, and former employers Barnes & Noble, Geer DuBois and A.I. Friedman. I wrapped up nostalgia week by having lunch with Tom Lynch, a high school classmate that I last saw in 1974.

This week the pace slows and we’ll be bike riding in Central Park on Tuesday afternoon, before watching the USMNT WCQ match at Smithfield’s, a local soccer pub. The next day we plan on visiting the Statue of Liberty (and Ellis Island if the day is long enough) and then catching the Seattle Sounders at Smithfield’s, again.

On Thursday, October 18th, we will be lining up early outside The Daily Show studio to ensure that we get seated for the show’s taping. The guest that evening: Barrack Obama, President of the United States.

Back in the New York Groove

“Many years since I was here

On the street I was passin’ my time  away

To the left and to  the right, buildings towering to the sky

It’s outta sight in the dead of night– Russ Ballard

Melinda, Izaak and I landed at JFK Saturday night at 8:30 and by 11:30 we had unpacked and were exploring our new Chelsea neighborhood. The first thing that hit me coming back to New York is the smell. Maybe it’s because I smoked cigarettes for most of the thirty years that I lived here and my sense of smell was poisoned , but I don’t remember the smells being so strong, distinct and enveloping. Pot smokers casually walking and toking on 23rd Street, food vendors grilling sausages, garbage piled high on the street corners, car,bus and truck fumes everywhere and it all blends into an assault on your senses. You can smell it and taste it. It tastes like New York.

Getting Ready to Return

In five days Melinda and I will board a non-stop flight to New York City along with our dog, Izaak. We will leave behind most of our belongings, in a house we’ve been renting in Seattle, Washington, for the past 18 months. We will be staying in Manhattan through January 2013 and then… return? I don’t know, that part of the story has yet to be written. Melinda has taken on a high-profile, special project for her company and I have quit my job so I can accompany her.

I was born and raised in New York, Queens, to be exact, but I left in 1987 to be with the woman I love. I am returning for the same reason.

To mix a couple of sayings, there are 8 million stories in the city, “half of them are true and the other half just haven’t happened yet”. (The Angels Take Manhattan, written by Steven Moffat)

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.