So last Friday, me and PT Scarborough Is A Tourist went to New York City to visit our ol' buddy Ethan Kaye Dot Net. Herein lies our tale. All my photos can be found in a set here, or you can click the individual photo links as they appear in the report.
We started early on Friday the 27th. Very early. PT showed up at my house at 3:15 am. (I was amazed he made it on time--fifteen minutes early, even!) PT had been up all night, and would go on to stay up for about 42 hours. Anyway, we had to be at the airport at 4:00, so off we went. When we went through security at the RDU airport, we emptied our pockets, took of our shoes, dumped our carryons onto the belt, etc. I get through first, and as I'm filling up my pockets, I notice like three of the security people reaching for aerosol cans and spraying them about. What is this, I think, some sort of bomb-detecting spray? Then I notice they're cans of Lysol at about the same time I hear them say "something is smelling up the place bad!" As a joke, I point at PT and say it was him. Obvious thing to do at the moment, right? Well, it was him. He had to take his shoes off and send them through the xray, and apparently he's been wearing those same shoes since spring with *no socks*. Oh god...the smell just wafted through the whole security checkpoint. It was like the stench of a dead hobo. I can't describe it. I started laughing like an idiot, but it was foul. When we got into the city, Ethan and I made PT go to a shoe store and buy new shoes, then walk out to Union Square park and change shoes and socks out in the open (we could still smell them in the open air and moved away a bit). We then told him to just throw his old shoes in the garbage; they weren't coming back to the apartment.
So we get to our plane, and it was TINY. Only 13 rows, two seats on one side and one on the other. We were in the last row. PT sat by the window, which was odd, since he's aerophobic. Still, he enjoyed the view. We just zipped up to NYC in no time, then got a very nice cab with a very nice driver that dropped us off directly in front of Ethan's apartment. Ethan's apartment, by the way, was nice. Good location, with a 24 hour bodega two doors down, a pizza place on the other side, great restaurant next door (named "Toast"), and a train stop on the corner. Wow. And inside it was spacious and clean and cool and looked basically just like his Chapel Hill apartment.
Our first stop was a restaurant called, oddly enough, Jackson Hole. As we were making our way there, Ethan went on and on about how big their burgers were, yadda yadda yadda, whatever Ethan. Well, he was right. These things were huge. Hopefully, PT will upload the burger pix he took while we were there, and I'll include a link in an addendum. They claimed these things were seven ounce burgers, but there's no way. Like ten ounces, maybe. And delicious. Ethan urged me to try a bialy, which was good, but I was really craving a real New York bagel. (By the way, the spellcheck didn't like the way I first spelled "biali", and suggested "labial" as an alternative.)
We then jumped back on the subway and started our tour through the city, basically shopping like madmen. Our first task was the aforementioned replacement of PT's shoes. I wish I had taken a picture of him changing shoes, but there were unsavory characters about, and I didn't want to flash the iPhone. I lose track of what we did when, but I think we went to The Strand at this point, and to a comic book shop or two. We stopped by Virgin Records, and I bought Patton Oswalt's new album (which you should all buy) and some stuff for my mom. In the evening, Ethan tried to take us to a barbecue restaurant. It smelled great, but we have barbecue in North Carolina, and I wanted New York food. So fortunately, they were full up and we just had a pizza from the place near Ethan's. It was delicious.
The next morning, Ethan had a show at UCB at 7:30 am, but he left at 3:30 am to watch some shows and warm up. We didn't have a key to the apartment, so PT and I were locked in jail until Ethan returned around 10:30 or so. After a while, we realized that one of us could leave, and the other could buzz him back in. So PT Scarborough Is A Smoker was chosen to make the bagel run, and upon his return I finally had the delicious New York bagel I had been craving. Ethan came back with his parents, and we had a nice visit with Annie and Danny before seeing them off. We then headed for The Village for some GREAT fun. We hit MORE comic book stores, including my favourite, the two-story Midtown Comics, where I bought a great Don Bluth animation book. Went to my new favourite store in the world, Toy Tokyo, which is just PACKED with cool Japanese toys. I could've spent hours and many hundreds of dollars in there. I bought several blindbox toys which were pretty cool. Ethan then took us to an INCREDIBLE vintage toy store a few doors down which had all sorts of crazy shit on shelves and in cases and hanging from the ceiling. Another place where you could spend a bundle, but I was overjoyed to find a Mego-style Mils Mascaras figure for only $10. Sweet.
Lunch on this day was one of the huge highlights of the street. I asked my native New Yorker friend Carlo where I should go in NYC, and the first thing he said was "Dumpling Man". One look at the website and their cool logo made me want to go, but once I saw the menu page, I was hooked. You order your dumplings, and women behind the counter make them, completely by hand, fresh for you. I got some of everything, and scarfed it down. Cheap, fresh, delicious, my kind of place. Didn't hurt that there was a hot tattooed chick behind the register who I got to smile for me. PT and Ethan seemed to dig it too. Even Evil Ethan liked it.
We found a cool niche dvd store where I found the copy of H.O.T.S. I had been looking for for years, a memory from the early days of Skinemax. We also hit a really nice dirty book store with a grand selection of dvd titles, including some really kinky themes I hadn't seen on dvd before. Dinner was at the restaurant right next to Ethan's apartment, a place called "Toast". It was pretty good, and we all flirted with the waitress. Ethan will be making his move soon.
The next morning was the start of our hellish trip home. We got up at 7:00 am for an 11:00 am flight. Waiting for the 1 train took about a half hour of standing in the early morning heat. Then there was construction on the line, so the train was very slow. When we reached Penn Station, we had to book it to make it to our connection to NJ Transit to take the train into Newark. That was a nice ride, but boy is New Jersey a trashhole. And PT wasn't looking too good this early in the morning. I thought the train took us to the airport, but it turns out we needed to take ANOTHER train to the airport proper. The airport area looked like a war zone or somewhere Swamp Thing might live. Take my advice and avoid Newark. The check-in person was actually really nice, but the security sucked. We waited an hour to get through the security checkpoint, and they were rude and ridiculous. I may never fly again, due to the stupid security checks.
So then we got into our gate area, and there was NOTHING back there to do. There was a sandwich place, a "Dick Clark's American Bandstand Bar", and a coffee stand. No bookstore, no newsstand, no shop of any kind. What a hole. We waited an hour for our plane; turned out it was the same tiny one we flew up on. We even had the exact same seats, in the last row, next to the huge loud engine. So we wait a bit before taxiing out to the runway, wait in line for a while, then get out of line to make room for other people. Apparently, there was some weather between Newark and Raleigh that was a problem. So after a looooong time of sitting there, the captain finally gets on the blower and informs us that we've been given a new flight plan, but don't have enough fuel, so we have to go back to the terminal and load up again. All of this, and the row in front of us was two parents and their baby and toddler. Devils. Then back in line, wait for a while, and finally take off. We were supposed to leave at 11:00. We left at 2:00. That's THREE HOURS on the runway. Fuck. And PT was freaking out, because a) he's plane-o-phobic and b) it had been hours since he had a cigarette.
So from then on, it was no big deal. At least the view was pretty. We flew home, got out of the airport, we got into PT's car, and journeyed back home. All in all, a fine trip. Good to see Ethan Kaye Dot Net again, nice to roam about NYC, and fine food and shopping. We agreed it was a good vacation, but PT summed up the airline experience nicely with this.