Sunday, December 12, 2010

New York in winter

Last weekend in NYC was the perfect getaway.  Only one vacation day used, and three full days in the city.  We stayed at the Solita Soho (yes, there's a Solita now), with an excellent view of the Museum of Chinese in America ... just plain MOCA for short.

Friday night my flight got in at 8:20, and by 9:15 I was at the Red Lion on Bleecker, enjoying the last hour of the last Friday Night Campfire of 2010 with Martin Rivas and Craig Meyer.  I think I saw at least fifty of the songs they played that night, in medley form.

On Saturday, Paul and I walked around the Lower East Side in search of food, eventually finding some ... but not before being driven from our first two choices by huge crowds.  Memo to self: Christmas weekends in NYC bring the tourists out in droves. (Holla!) I wandered around Little Italy and Chinatown in the afternoon, before heading to the Bowery Ballroom for Jeff Tweedy and the Autumn Defense.  I hadn't seen the AD in awhile, and I enjoyed some of the songs from their newest album.  I also appreciated hearing "A Full Five Paces" live again for the first time in years.

Jeff Tweedy, the night's headliner, played an enjoyable set.  There were plenty of little flubs and mistakes, the kind that make things more entertaining for the crowd - at least, for me - but don't necessarily make a great show for the performer.  However, Jeff didn't seem phased.  I realized I've been spoiled by the marathon solo shows for charity I've seen in recent years - the respectable 1.5 hour set seemed short in comparison.  But whenever I get to hear such songs as "Bob Dylan's Beard," "Chinese Apple," and "Country Disappeared," there's nothing to complain about.  The Bowery is a tiny place, and we were very lucky to get in.

I spent Sunday with Allison, from brunch at Shopsin's to dinner at an Indian restaurant in Park Slope.  In between there was shopping in Soho, a visit to a friend's store in Brooklyn Heights, perusing Christmas trees on the street, and delicious smoothies.  I think I'm nearly as excited about Alli and Olli's impending new arrival as they are!  (Okay, that's totally not true.  But I am very excited.)

Monday, I finally experienced Momofuku.  Paul and I went to the Noodle Bar, and I now get what the fuss is about.  The ramen was amazing, but I think the pork buns were my highlight.  That pork belly!  I wouldn't be surprised if it appears in my dreams.

Sunday afternoon it was off to Tarrytown for Jeff Tweedy and the Autumn Defense again.  I have to admit that one of the most exciting parts of going to Tarrytown, for me, was its proximity to the former home of the fictional Draper family from Mad Men.  If we just stayed on the train, I exclaimed to Paul, we could go to Ossining!  So as you might imagine, my favorite part of Jeff's performance may have been his announcement about wearing a suit to honor Eugene Draper's birthplace of Tarrytown.  I was most impressed because I couldn't even have come up with that particular bit of trivia.  So, Jeff, or the person who told Jeff ... my hat's off to you.  The show itself was good, though shorter than Bowery, and our seats were in the acoustic sweet spot.  "What's the World Got In Store" was a welcome surprise.

Early Tuesday morning I flew home.  I was back at work by mid-morning, and by the end of the day it was hard to believe I'd ever left.  But I had!

For the first time in recent memory, I don't have any future flights scheduled.  I'm not sure how long that will be true, but I'm enjoying it for now.  Still, I'm looking forward to whatever 2011 might bring in the way of trips, concerts, or (my favorite) both.

(Update: the whole "not having any future flights scheduled" thing was true for exactly eight days.)

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