We’ve lived in Philly for almost 9 full years. Philly has been good to us. We’ve furthered our careers, we’ve made great friends, gotten closer to family and each other. But no matter how much Philly has become our home, NY will always be our first and only true love. Nothing will ever change that.
Another year, another VDAY, another NBA All-Star weekend. Last year, we were in New Orleans escaping a tundra and eating plenty of brown foods. This year, we were in NY. YES!! Pat had to work a little, but we had some unexpected fun moments.
First, VILLA’s pop-up shop off Times Square at the Paramount Hotel was really awesome. The Georgetown Starter Jacket was obviously my favorite. (I may publish this without telling Pat because he will undoubtedly ask me to erase what looks like a shameless plug. It’s not. I’m proud, and it looked great.)
Friday, when I met Pat after a LONGGGG work week, I wanted nothing more than to see Pat and eat pizza. I mentioned said excitement about pizza to one of Pat’s colleagues, and he directed me next-door. Could I be soo lucky? I inhaled that white cheese slice. Thank you for NY pizza – real pizza – the way pizza should be made. Can I tell you that it was $4? Ummm, why?? I’ve officially lost touch with NYC prices and cannot co-sign. Anywho, later that night Pat and I opted to attend a private party hosted by Michael Jordan. Last year, we slept through the party, but this year, we actually took a train from Times Sq to 23 Wall Street, yes, 23. And I know. Just a month ago, I said we were too old for parties, and here we were heading to a party. I tell you honestly that this is unusual. Here we are at the Times Square train station entrance. Pat is trying to figure out where we’re going. I’m not being useful.
For a private party, we stood on line for 45mins in the brick cold. The wind blustered. Women around us wore open toe shoes, sleeveless tops, and tulle skirts. Men only had blazers on. Pat himself didn’t have enough clothes on. I had a full length down coat and an unfashionable ski bunny hat. The ONLY sensible person on that line. I remained very open-minded while I busily wondered if we’d lost our minds. We finally got in, me pretending to be someone I clearly was not and spent another 45mins defrosting. 23 Wall Street is the old JP Morgan Headquarters at Wall and William – across the street from the NYSE. From the outside, it’s a big building with some massive columns. On the inside, it is a pretty cool mix of industrial, grand, and old. There was this big gorgeous staircase that doubled as a stage for Arianna Grande. That’s a grainy picture of MJ singing along to all of the six songs that Grande pranced to. And somewhere around 2AM, Pat and I put on our coats to leave and walked into a Prince concert. What just happened!?!?! We were completely confused, but we happily jumped into our plebe section away from the cool people and danced away to Darling Nikki and Doves Cry and then the encore … Purple Rain. Our first Prince concert … and we didn’t know we’d be attending. There’s Prince, the little blip in the front. We were not allowed to take pictures, but I got these in. (Editor’s note January 1, 2017: we knew we were lucky, but we’d have never known how lucky we were to see Prince that night. On April 21, 2016, Prince passed away too soon. After MJ died I’d thought, “at least Prince is still with us.” No mas. We’re ever thankful for our one night.)
We hopped back on the train uptown … getting on the train thanks to a very nice NYer who swiped Pat through the turnstile. Right … don’t walk around without cash or a MetroCard with enough fare. NY trains are ever annoying at 3AM. Busy but annoying. Fell asleep around 4AM.
The next day, Pat went to work. I put on my head phones and walked from 46th Street to my favorite pizza shop – one of my favorite pizza shops. 23rd Street and 8th Avenue – margherita pizza. Oh boy. My mother and I used to watch indie movies at the theater next door after scarfing these slices. 20yrs later, and they still know what they’re doing. Every time I go home, I get scared they won’t be there. But they’re there with the same recipe. I feel a little euphoric walking into the shop. I just sat there slowly chewing looking at people out the window. So much of NY has changed but some good things still remain. I love you, NY.
Notice the tomato juices on the plate … not grease … tomato sauce. And the crust is thin and crisp. From January 4- February 10, I had committed myself to a gluten free, dairy free, white sugar free life. It brought about amazing results – newfound energy, fresh skin, mental clarity, emotional wellbeing. I am committed to this kind of eating, but no such diet is acceptable in NY where every memory brings me to foods of my childhood. I grew up on street pizza for $1, then $1.25, probably close to $2.75 when I left nine years ago. I know Pat enjoyed the same.
On my way to meet Glenn, I grabbed a doughseed … mmmm … so little and sweet. One of the little sweet inventions that sprouted before the oh so exciting cronut … smirk.
My dear friend, Glenn, and I kibitzed for a couple hours about whatever, enjoying the opulent Paramount Hotel lobby. They have bed size sofas, and we curled up the way we always do when we catch up. Pat joined us for a moment before Pat and I ran off for dinner. There were no vday cards or flowers or chocolate. I got to pick what we ate which in our relationship is POWER and LOVE!!!
I had picked a somewhat questionable taco spot off 7th Avenue and Charles Street. When we got outside, Pat turns to me, “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather eat at this Italian spot next door?” The Italian spot looked a little sheeshee. I looked at him and stood by my choice, “no, NY Magazine says this place is good.” I admit that the place looked a total dive, was completely empty, and looked like a bad chain.
We ordered with care, asking the cashier what we should have from the handful of choices. I tried some carnitas and loved it. The masa fries with chipotle crema is delightful, spicy. The corn tacos were delicious. Everything a little greasy, but we thoroughly enjoyed. I had to wipe the dirty counter we sat at. We probably spent 20 minutes and $25 … and then hit the road for Magnolia’s … It was no coincidence that I’d picked a place within walking distance.
Magnolia’s, my haunt of high school days. I can actually make the cupcakes, but like Pizookie’s, knowing the recipe is not good. And baking these treats is an anathema to leading a healthy life. I’m not sure when Pat started eating at Magnolia’s. Did I put him on? Could I be responsible for this addiction? No clue. I was joking with him today that we’ve officially been together so long that I can no longer remember details of any memory. Neither can he. Only bits and pieces. Which makes this blog important documentation. I joked that I’ve known him for nearly half of my life and pretty soon I won’t remember my life before him. It was akin to a love note.
Oh, NY, the best place to go HI/LO. You can enjoy something excellent for $1,000 or $10 or free. You speak to our sensibilities drawing us in. We love you. Our hearts beat a little faster when we land. We feel a little warmer. I’ll walk a mile for pizza in 10degree weather swerving around annoying tourists, walking my NY speed. Are you listening? We love you because you raised us, and you understand us. Can’t ever thank you enough.
I tried to shake this guy out of our VDAY portrait, but he just kept staring right at the camera. Really dude?
Heading back to the hotel for bags and the car, we hailed a cab outside of Magnolia. Our chatty Algerian driver said that he did not buy VDAY as a holiday. It was too commercial. If you love someone, you should be nice to them everyday. We smiled. He was absolutely correct.
Thanks Pat, for our 12th VDAY. It doesn’t get old.