Monday, April 9, 2012

Day two - Friday July 13th A day in the Park

It seems I have been doing this blogging thing off and on for many years. In an effort to consolidate some of the older posts on different bogs into this one here is a post originally placed;Thursday, July 19, 2007

The thing I didn't mention before is that in my hotel the bathrooms are shared. That means that for each 4 rooms is one bathroom. Not a big deal except that as you may recall my floor was still undergoing some renovation. There were workmen and equipment and painting going on. Oh and two of the bathrooms on my floor were out of service. I took it as all part of the adventure, taking the elevator down a floor to shower. I never did see another guest except in the lobby so no awkward moments with a towel and bag of toiletries in hand.

Today was the brunch at Bob and Doris’ place. I don’t remember what I did first, perhaps I’ll come to me. I think I got my first full night’s sleep in months. I haven’t seen any pictures yet but I think I was wearing my brightest tie-dye. Back down to the subway at 42nd St. and over to Grand Central again where I found a coffee place and ordered something I expected to be sweet but was not. From there I went to the street (I don’t know how many time this weekend I would walk out of a building or stairway and walk a block or two in the wrong direction and have to back track) I walked to Madison Avenue to get a bus uptown (or is it downtown?) I saw that on some of the signs in the subway but it just said ‘downtown’ and not if that’s where i was going or where I was at. Figuring north is up hmm . . . Okay I googled it. I was going to the upper east side. Toward Harlem but a mile or three short.
Things were to get going at 11AM and I got to the street just in time. I was looking for 140 something as I recall it was between Lexington and Park Avenue (woo woo). I got to where it should have been but it was a dry cleaner or something. Was I on the right street? I looked at my printout of the eMail. I gave in and called Laurie. “Where are you?” she said. She said she’d go onto the roof and look for me. “I’m next to a store that says . . ” “Oh I see you, look up” I looked up all around till I saw her on top of this huge brick building. “ hey there you are, I’ll be up in a minute” I went into the next block. I grumbled to myself about how back home each block got it’s own hundred block. Soon I was in front of a nicely painted building with an impressive front door. I tried to open it, it was not moving, when a voice said to push harder. Nice lobby, I found the elevator, the voice came from it’s operator. He said “Penthouse?” “Yeah, are there many people there yet?” “a few” At the top there were 2 doors I picked the likely one and knocked. Waited and let myself in, me and my quaint country ways. Nice entry, hardwood floors, nicely appointed. Wow and honest to goodness New York Penthouse. Someone guided me to the living-room where there was Grand piano and many people all talking it up. Cousins from Israel. Some from Florida and so on. A nice buffet in the dining room. I don’t usually do coffee but one more won’t hurt.

I walked out onto the roof. It was a kind of deck that went on 3 sides of the penthouse. Everyone was gathered on the side where you could see the east river. Focus was on a rooftop below were a woman was sunbathing topless. "Bob, you even got us entertainment". Harry said. Harry and Nancy and a couple of their friends from Arkansas where among the onlookers.
The outside of the penthouse building seemed to be covered in metal and painted deep green that had oxidized to the color of a chalkboard. You could write on it with just your finger. I mean that’s what I saw someone, who I don’t remember who, doing. I met more new people and got up to speed with some others and in no time it was 2 hours later.

Originally several people were to ride bikes with us through Central Park. Then just Laurie, Bob and myself. Then Bob decided not to go but walked us a couple of blocks to a bike shop that had rentals. It’s my nature to always find-out what something costs before diving in. My adopted family may be Jewish but I am still mostly Scottish when it comes to spending money. (two ethnic stereo types in one sentence cool) I’m on vacation, going with the flow, doesn't matter what it costs ‘cause I was bound to say “okay”. They brought out 2 bikes a ten speed and a mountain bike. At first I choose the mountain bike. I figured with my great size and all. It turned out not to be tall enough. I can’t remember how many years or decades it’s been since I was on a ten speed. I never did get the thing about shifting back in the day. My old bike always jumped the sprockets. For Laurie of course, bikes are all the time. She’s one of those people that do all that kind of thing with the biking and the racket ball and the being healthy.
The street next to the bike shop was going away from Central Park so we went around to the next block and toward the park. Flying past those row houses on tree lined streets. It was all so picturesque that feeling of being someplace completely different. We had plotted a course to an entrance where a road intersected, 90th street I think. We stopped at a cart vender selling ice cream and popsicles. Laurie wanted a Big Stick and would settle for nothing less so we went on. The main road was blocked off to traffic so it was open to bikes and service vehicles. we went a ways on this road over some little hills and found another vender. It seems they all sell the same brand ‘Good Humor” so no big stick. We got water. You know it is just like they say, big and parkish not like a forest exactly because there is so much grass. little trials here and there. All right in the middle of miles of city. So beautiful. We got off the paved road and onto a large dirt road. We got to the reservoir I remember from the movie ‘The Marathon Man’. The fence around it was 10 feet high of dreary gray chain link in the movie. Now it was a nice wrought iron. We stopped at a group of benches were roads met the reservoir. In real life I am a poster child for the sedentary life. One reason for driving around bundles of newspapers all night is that at least it requires more movement than computer work. I was out of breath again and sitting was a nice choice.
I was concerned that riding with me was not challenging enough for Laurie, she had to go so slow. She was great about it though. Just the week before I was told that biking in central park without having been on a bike in years was madness, just didn’t make any sense at all. I tried not to be put off by the lack of confidence in me. This is where Laurie was so amazing not only was she providing the kind of companionship and friendship that had been lacking in my life for sometime but she never doubted my ability to do this ride, was kind a and patient with me and served as tour guide to boot. Again I wondered why everyone was being so nice to me. I remember in the days I did massage putting in the extra bit of compassion not included in the fee was always my pleasure to serve. It must be something like that.
We had been looking for a castle she knew was somewhere in the park, we were chatting and I teased her about being able to talk to strangers at random. She walked up to an old englishman on the far end of one of the benches. He was a tourist also but reckoned the castle was over in that direction (he pointed to a path and a bridge). We mounted up again and diverted onto a smaller path. Not sure of the directions we stopped a small maintenance vehicle with a couple of guys that seemed to be park employees. They told us we were looking for Belvedere Castle it was over in that direction, they pointed. Just then we saw the old englishman walking that direction. Off again and soon we were to a corner of the castle and the road was just too steep for the bike so we walked them the rest of the way. Now this was neat, made out of large stone blocks. She insisted that she didn’t want her picture taken but I should climb up inside so she could click off a couple. On the way back down we met the old englishman again and I guess this is the other side of being easy to talk to because he felt compelled to tell us (well Laurie) his life story. We rode off and was stopped by this goofy guy in a uniform who told us that the tails were for foot traffic only. We got off and walked to the next rise and then rode on.
Then we were back on the city streets and in front of what on the maps is The Metropolitan Museum of Art but the signs out in from said something different. There were lots of people just hanging out on the steps lots of activity. All the activity was invigorating so i lead the way back to the bike shop. At one point careening around cars and trucks on Lexington Avenue. Not bad about $15 each for 2 hours.
There were plans for dinner at this special place but that was hours away. “What do you want to do? have you seen, the statue of liberty, ground zero, the Brooklyn Bridge?” “ I don’t know if there’s time for a trip to liberty island, ground zero ahhh . . . , how about the bridge?”
I don’t know how we got from there to the subway but soon we were on our way down to the Brooklyn Bridge. I’d seen a couple of TV documentaries about it, those workers that got the benz and all that.
By the time we got there I had to pee something fierce. We were near city hall and there was a kind of booth thing with a police woman inside. I asked for directions. She didn’t know of any accept inside the building and maybe security would let me in, I’d just have to ask. I recalled the security at the air port taking my shave cream and having to remove my shoes at LAX. This wasn’t so involved, the usual but your things in the tray so someone can look at them through X-ray or something then walk through the free-standing door frame scanner thingy. Err, Err “What’s this?” Remember ChouChou had given me a little present of a swiss army business card? In it was a little letter opener with a blade less than 1” in length. Suddenly I am a security threat and I picture myself languishing in GitMo. Actually the guy thought it was amusing but needed to keep it while I was in the building. For such a big and busy, full of people city this part of city hall was empty, and kind of seedy even spooky for a place with 22 foot hight ceilings and marble floors. Mission accomplished i went back down stairs and got my weapon back.
We walked out on the bridge as far as the first tower. Did I mention how nice the weather had been. cool and a little breeze? Couldn’t see the Statue of Liberty from there. I began to think it was a something for a different visit to the city. We got hot dogs and sat on some grass under a big tree to relax. I had been there for 32 hours and hadn't met the abrasive, superior new yorker yet. What’s up with that? Back to the subway and midtown where our Hotels were. Notice how I am getting used to the lingo.
I really needed to freshen up but i don’t recall there being time. The next stop was dinner with the whole group, many of the people from the brunch and then some. We were rejoined by Dyanna and Tommy. The time was getting late so we got into a cab, I sat in front next to the driver. A guy on his 50s or so with a long white beard and turban. Laurie asked him if he was from India, he said yes. She said she had been ther recently and decribed how much she liked all the temples. Her favorite deitey was Kali feminine powers and all that. (I dark figure as i recalled seeing somewhere). He said that there were many faiths and questioned what she believed. She finaly said “ Are you hindu?” He said “No” I said “ You’re a Sikh, aren’t you?” “Yes” “We have a lot of Sikhs where I come from” “Where do you come from” “ Bakersfield, . … California. ther are a couple of temples there” We were running late and he was driving fast. I had heard about New York taxi drivers skill, when he said to buckle up i did it. We had a little trouble finding it, Diana had written down the address. 24 First Ave of we went to 1st and 2nd and needed to go to 1st and 1st. Lucky Cheng's, the original drag queen restaurant. Yikes!
It was a little hard to find as the entrance was narrow and up some steps.

Here is Laurie with our waitress. He/She said she was saving up to complete the conversion to female.
Bob's Big Birthday Weekend Events lots Happened that day

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