Thursday, October 13, 2005

Condensed New York

Greetings from Richboro, from where I will attempt to re-cap the past few days in a few posts.
Let's discuss pleasant things first. I went up for a long-scheduled trip to New York this weekend, primarily to see a U2 show. A secondary, but by no means insignificant, reason was that I hadn't been to New York since January. It seems inexcusable, until I consider how damn busy the summer has been with family events and work schedules. It never ceases to amaze me how busy we seem to be despite being fairly boring folks.

Anyway, we arrived in New York City during what is apparently the monsoon season for the northeastern United States. Usually I am not deterred by a little bit of rain. But with the exception of sporting some rather fantastic pink and purple galoshes, I found nothing redeeming about this week's rainstorms. New York got more rainfall in one day than it received in all the time from the beginning of July through September, which is nuts.

We still managed to achieve our most important aims. The show was brilliant. I had seen U2 play at the Meadowlands just after 9/11/2001, and that was great. But I had never seen them play at Madison Square Garden, which I'm told is second only to seeing them play in Dublin. Based on Saturday's concert, I would be inclined to say it was the best gig I'd seen. The audience was incredibly enthusiastic, even up in the nosebleed seats where I was, and nobody onstage seemed the least bit jaded at playing the Garden for the gazillionth time. They seemed to regard it as a bit of a homecoming. If you are so inclined, I very much recommend catching them in NYC proper. Quite a spectacle.

The crowd was leaving the complex in an appropriately jovial mood -- which was quickly quashed by the insane downpour and stinging, cold winds outside. Umbrellas were being launched five stories into the air after being ripped from people's hands by the wind. We briefly considered heading out anyway after warming up in our nearby hotel, but our cozy quarters proved more inviting than the weather outside, and I made the unusual choice of staying in on a Saturday night in NYC.

The next day consisted of us running about and hopping the Subway to all points between Times Square and Washington Square (security threats be damned). We caught up with old friends, visited some shops, enjoyed what will probably be our only lunch at the way-overpriced Second Avenue Deli (home of the $10 fried matzo) and picked up some cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. The night was capped off by a required visit to Rockefeller Center and a dinner at the always fabulous Bamiyan Afghan restaurant. I always get a bit greedy when I visit old favorite restaurants, because I don't know when I'll be back. So Jeffrey and I loaded up on sweet Afghan tea, pumpkin turnovers, beef kabobs, meat dumplings in yogurt sauce, and of course, delicious doogh.

I have learned in the past few visits to target my itineraries on specific areas in the city. Thus, no Met or Central Park this time. Although I never feel like I have enough time in New York, I had more pressing reasons for condensing my visit as much as I could before I had to leave...