the best man.

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the best man. curtain.

You know how when you go see a show you can’t be sure that it is going to be amazing until it’s all said and done? Well, I was barely a few minutes into Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and already in love. The pre-show curtain and the state delegate banners built the excitement and then when the television news man did his segment from right above the  audience like a narrator preparing us for the next big thing I was enthralled and as I focused on the set and the action and the dialogue I was also thinking to myself “ohmygosh I love this show.”

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the best man. cast.

Put it this way the cast alone was worth watching doing nothing but put them all in a show, dress them up and give them lines and you’ve got something really special.

The play was about the 1960 nominating convention in which there are three potential candidates. John Larroquettes’s “Secretary of State William Russell” and John Stamos’ “Senator Joseph Cantwell” and the other guy who we never meet on stage. James Earl Jones plays former President Artie Hockstader who we think might endorse one of the two top candidates at the convention thereby sealing the deal for them. We quickly learn how each of them handles the press, what kind of wives and marriage they have and of course that there is more than meets the eye to their backgrounds that might threaten their runs if the other releases the data.

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intermission curtain.

At one point, James Earl Jones broke character on stage while lecturing Secretary Russell about his campaign. He noticed, as probably the entire audience did, that there were a couple of huge flies buzzing the room. One of them landed on the white carpet near where he was standing and was hopping around so he broke character and tried to squish it with his foot meanwhile saying “there’s this fly here” and gesturing toward it in the middle of his dialogue. He is THE James Earl Jones, however and he wove it pretty seamlessly into the dialogue and carried on as he found his seat and never flinched. You felt like that was really something that President Hockstader would have done (although we know otherwise). John Larroquette however turned beet red trying to suppress laughter as he too carried on with his lines. It was this real moment that had us laughing and appreciating the human actor on stage before us performing in real time under real conditions and reacting like anyone else only with more finesse and refinement.

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final bow.

Angela Landsbury’s Mrs. Gamadge was brilliant. Her timing was impeccable and the part seemed like it was written for her. Kristen Davis played Cantell’s wife while Cybill Shepherd played Russell’s wife.  Their characters or stories could not have been more different and yet they were still candidates wives and they really managed to share with the audience their different perspectives.

I know that some of the cast has turned over since the show debuted and yet I can barely imagine anyone else playing these key roles. It closes on September 9th so I encourage anyone out there with the slightest interest to see it. Be dazzled and enjoy the brilliance before you. The sets are beautiful, the dialogue was on point, the cast was amazing, and overall it was really an easy show to fall in love with right away.

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4th in philly.

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We spent the 4th of July in Philly by way of Amtrak! It was my very first Amtrak ride which I’ve romanticized over the years so I savored every minute of it. Actually I didn’t. I was up too late the night before, I woke up ridiculously early for the ridiculously early train, I didn’t have any coffee and was overall not a very happy traveler that morning. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.

As soon as we arrived in Philly we took the SEPTA to Independence Park. Let’s take a second to discuss the Philly train system. First it’s called SEPTA which stands for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. This is all fine and dandy but seriously doesn’t it sound like a toilet? Whoever thought that SEPTA was an acceptable acronym must have had a sense of humor. Also, the SEPTA is way cleaner than any NYC station I’ve ever been in. It was so clean I could see the sheen on the floor!

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Our first stop straight off the train was a photo op with the Liberty Bell. The bell is pretty big and also pretty awesome and cracked for those of you non-history buffs out there. It was awesome to beat the crowds.

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us and the liberty bell.

UntitledI won’t’ spend valuable blog space to mention the horrendous restaurant we went to for breakfast on the hotel front desk’s recommendation of a place locals eat at. Ok, I will. Thinking back on it, it feels like a train wreck that I have to share in order to move past. It was called “Honey” or something like that and was supposed to have great pancakes. I mentioned before that I hadn’t had coffee yet right? Well, Honey was jam packed with tourists and cops. We found two stools at a bar and waited for our food. My coffee never came so eventually I went to go get it and realized that there was one guy cooking all the food which totally enraged me. Also the coffee tasted like mud. Who planned the schedule? Then after people who came in way after me started getting their orders but people who came in around the same time as me were not I went up to the counter to ask about my order. When I told them that I was 42 and they were sending out orders in the high 50s the guy freaked, apologized, checked with the kitchen staff and promised it was next. Suddenly, all the 40s that were skipped were being sent out asap. I sat back down and in spite of myself, I cried over nothing and everything. I eventually grudgingly ate the blandest eggs and potatoes ever cooked and tried to shake it off. So, there, now you know I’m a crier on no coffee and little sleep.

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there were hundreds of these Bolivians.

On to happier things. Paul scored a silly red, white, and blue hat that he wore with the bill pointing up and we joked all day that he was the spitting image of Will Smith after that. We found a shady spot to watch the parade and figured that it was going to be a really short one since the route was really just a couple of blocks. As it turns out every municipality within 200 miles had to have their fire department and police department represented in addition to what was probably 300 Bolivians dressed in a terrifyingly bright array of costumes that made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. It was actually a lot of fun and we got free American flags. There were tons of Ben Franklins, floats, monks, asian community groups, mascots, and more firemen and officers from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It was silly and fun.

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my husband the fresh prince.

Later we decided to fullfill my husbands nagging curiosity and trekked in search of the famous philly cheesesteak. It was actually a long walk, mostly in the sun (which made me think about how in New York we are rarely in the sun because the buildings are so tall) but we made it to the corner where both Geno’s and Pat’s are located. They were surprisingly small but busy. We scored a table at both locations and dug into our treasures. Only they weren’t that good. I don’t mean to blaspheme but that is not what I grew up imagining them to taste like. We walked through an area that was supposed to be the Italian area but it was really a bunch of Mexican bodegas and like 2 Italian restaurants.

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Geno’s

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Pat’s

UntitledAfter finally checking into our hotel and taking a short respite we went out again to the WAWA Welcome America Party on the Parkway which is basically an outdoor festival leading up to a free concert leading up to a huge fireworks display. It was fun but it was also a little like every other outdoor festival just in a different city. You know, funnel cakes, hamburgers, italian ice, someone trying to sell newspaper subscriptions. After walking the festival we found a shady bench to wait for the fireworks. As time passed we chatted & did some people watching. There were some people at a nearby bench opening 6 pack after 6 pack which I feel was likely illegal, a guy near us gathered a crowd as he did his spray paint art, a couple of ingenuitive women had a couple of coolers full of ice and kept refilling it with bottled water that they were selling for $1 each from the comfort of their lawn chairs. Actually there were tons of people in Philly selling both water and pretzels from grocery carts. A couple napped in the grass until some kids who I have termed hooligans tossed their contraband fireworks near them as they made their mad dash to avoid the officers that approached on hearing their fireworks suddenly going off more than once.

The concert leading up to the fireworks was pretty awesome. We chose positions pretty far back so that we could avoid the inevitable crush of the crowd and manage to exit whenever we wanted to but the audio was still great and the video screen was awesome. The Roots were the backing band and DJ Jazzy Jeff made a surprise appearance which was fun since we’d been joking all day that Paul looked like Will Smith in his ridiculous America hat. Then when we thought it was over Lauren Hill came out and did a set too! Oh and a ruckus broke out right beside us wherein a gap formed in the crowd and some guys face was firmly pressed against the concrete by an officer’s knee as he was getting handcuffed.  Somehow though we made it back to our hotel safe by opting to walk rather than squeeze onto the train with thousands of other revelers. We got a decent night’s sleep before starting our tour of Philly again in the morning. More on that later…

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Renegade Craft Fair 2012

The day after the wedding we were supposed to do the GOGI: Get Outside on Governor’s Island 10K. However, after missing the earlier train and maybe too much wine/champagne it didn’t happen. BUT we still got out of the apartment for the Renegade Craft Fair which was held directly across from the Brooklyn Flea, so of course, we did them both.

I am one of those girls that doesn’t leave the house without sunblock because I tan so easily. Not on this day. We were out in the blazing sun with little to no tree cover/shade. I quickly dehydrated (despite purchasing lots of water) and I also turned a very unattractive shade of red. It wasn’t my best day but I tried to enjoy it nonetheless. Rather than bore you with my sun exposure any longer I’ll just post some highlight photos of our day.

view of manhattan.

view of manhattan.

There were a lot of things at the Renegade Craft Fair that I’d never seen before which is pretty awesome. For example we bought a chalkboard T-shirt for our goddaughter.

replicator.

replicator. I don’t understand this 3D printing stuff.

all the hats in the world would not have made me feel better about how hot it was.

RCF 2012

look at all those smart people wearing hats.

This idea is not new, in fact it seems we see this concept at every fair we go to but they are still pretty cool. We each picked out one of these little books. No clue what is going in them yet but we own them now.

book journals.

book journals.

One thing that constantly surprises me about New Yorkers is that they will literally settle on any bit of grass and make it their personal lawn or beach.

sun-bathers.

sun-bathers.

coat rack clock

coat rack clock

These letters were arranged in the word TIG which I thought was pretty cool since the only Tig I know is Tig Notaro. I recently read on her Facebook page that she is moving to NYC for some fancy new opportunity in television. I am looking forward to being best friends with her. Obviously, we will be best friends.

tig

tig.

I almost bought this mask. But when I touched it I realized it was plastic and not ceramic which is my preference. You are surely aware of my affinity for the style.

mask.

mask.

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wedding.

grooms.

grooms.

In my last post I went into great detail about how I’d turned my friend’s wedding into my my own personal fashion dilemma so I figure I should recap the big event. And why not do it in list fashion.

1. dress. I picked the purple Ralph Lauren dress and it looked great. Husband wasn’t super happy when I handpicked one of his shirt/tie combos to match my purple dress. He looked awesome in his suit & later thanked me for making him wear a full suit rather than going without the jacket.

2. shoes. I later had a shoe nightmare in which I left DSW with a pair of black Michael Kors crinkle patent leather pumps, a pair of Anne Klein ballet flats, and a pair of Kelly & Katie wedge sandals. Ok, ok, any day where three pairs of shoes leave the store in my lawful possession is not a nightmare.

3. train. We caught the train from Grand Central where they were hosting a Subway Series interactive exhibit sponsored by Delta Airlines. I scored 3 boxes of cracker jacks, some cookies and some airplane peanuts for free (which we promptly devoured on the train). Oh we also had a free photo taken – scroll down to see our ridiculous photo. The views on the train weren’t as awesome as the Hudson River line but the ride was pretty quick.

Table setting

table setting.

4. interrupting the groom. Oh and because of my insane level of paranoia related to possibly being late to the wedding (everything), I had us take an early train. We arrived at the country club almost an hour early! We were directed toward a guest holding area where we, of course were the first guests. BUT on the way there, we walked passed an open door in which I noticed one of the grooms, so you probably think I did the logical thing, you know smiled and kept walking. Nope, I walked right in and disturbed the groom during his pre-wedding prep. It was one of those things I couldn’t stop myself from doing but the whole time I just knew I was imposing. He was great about it and introduced us to his future husband and was overjoyed on their big day but still, probably don’t do that at the next wedding you go to.

Wedding View

ceremony view.

5. ceremony. The ceremony was outside overlooking a body of water and in the distance you could see tall ships and a bridge that lit up at night. They each had a jar of sand to represent themselves and during the ceremony each of their mothers poured some in a larger jar and then they poured some in a larger jar to represent their newly married life. it was super amazing.

6. back to the shoes. the heels were perfect for me, small 2-2 1/2 inch heels, oddly comfortable. BUT guess who decided it was a good idea to slather lotion on her feet before leaving the apartment. I wore my AK flats until just before getting off the train at which point I put on my heels and realized almost immediately that I was suddenly slipping and sliding inside my heels. I stuffed some tissue paper in the tips of my shoes to keep my heels from stepping out of them. it was a decent if temporary solution. Husband was a good sport and gave me some stabilization while walking.

7. Grass is outside. Heels sink in grass. There was a nice paved path to the seating area and the entire ceremony took place on a fully paved area. BUT I decided to veer off the pavement and promptly sunk. My entire heels were in the ground. I wasn’t alone but still, I’m obviously a rookie. Oh but, my other two co-workers who wore heels also had flats in their bags to change into later so I was happy not to be alone in that!

music.

music.

8. Post-Wedding/Pre-Reception. We enjoyed oysters, shrimp cocktail, some other seafood-y concoctions and of course the standard cheese/crackers/grapes options in addition to red and white wines and pink cosmos while being entertained by the same live string quartet and pianist group that performed during the wedding. It was awesome.  The grooms eventually came and made the rounds and we of course got some group photos.

salad

This salad was almost too good to eat. almost.

9. Reception. Table 10 was reserved for our office suite. It was nice to see everyone outside of the office and never once mention work! My husband totally approved of the dinner options which included a steak that tasted divine. No rubber chickens here. The salad looked like a work of art and tasted amazing. In lieu of guest favors the happy couple donated to the local animal rescue which was awesome. Also, rather than one giant cake there were individual desserts.

entree

No rubber chickens here.

10. Music and dancing! The first song was a Frank Sinatra classic promptly followed by several more and of course Etta James. My husband doesn’t dance, so when they invited couples to dance the first dance with the newly married couple, he asked me (expecting me to say no) and I jumped at the opportunity. My rhythm was terrible but I was happy. After dinner I slipped into my flats and took to the dance floor for some faster songs with a couple of women from my office. The happy couple joined us which was awesome.

11. Taxi! Being responsible New Yorkers, those of us that needed to take the train back to the city decided to take the 2nd to last train of the night to be safe. We said our sad goodbyes before dessert was served and asked the valet to get us a car. Turns out people at country clubs do not call cabs, they give you random phone numbers and tell you to call them yourself while they ignore you. We called about 4 different cab companies. They each said it would be like 30 minutes. This is an outrage for us city folks. We all wanted to go back to the reception but if we missed the car when it finally arrived then we’d miss our last chance back to civilization so we stuck it out. The 5 of us squeezed into one cab and then waited at the train station for about 35 minutes before the last train finally arrived. One of the girls was able to score a dessert and we al shared it with our hands as we waited.

train

Obligatory photo of ticket taker.

12. Drunk Train. So, the train was full and most of the passengers were annoyingly underage drunks going to the city to wander aimlessly and who knows what. The actually boarded the train with alcohol in their hands and boasted loudly “This train is the best place for underage drinking!” Some of them actually just held bottles of vodka and tripped over their own 6 inch heels. There were no groups of seats together so we finally settled on a car where we all took end-cap seats.

us

Pre-wedding. Husband wanted it to look like I was hitting him with the bat but I was too stiff and awkward. But it is still ridiculous which is generally his goal.

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Three Weddings and a Funeral.

I went dress shopping this afternoon for a wedding I’ll be attending this weekend. Yes, I realize it’s a bit late in the game for this kind of thing and yet that’s where I find myself. I did’t take a dress home, but I did take a pair of cute shoes home. Not heels just tiny wedges to wear to work. Back to the wedding, a work friend from my new-ish office is marrying his partner and was kind enough to include me in the invite list. The wedding is at a country club just north of the city. At first I was super excited to be going and honored to be invited then it finally set in that I don’t remember the last wedding I went to. I am not one of those girls that is a bridesmaid in 10 weddings before she even turns 30. Maybe I don’t have deep personal female friends or something I don’t know and I somehow don’t really know a lot of people who have gotten married recently.

Dress options below. I promise the dresses fit nicely. But now I’m not so sure of the patterns.

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*Caveat, within the last two weeks, two people in my life did, in fact get married in Texas in two different ceremonies. One was for one of my former students (actually two former students married each other). Kat is brilliant and I am so super sad to have missed her big day. The other was for my niece (who is actually a year older than me). We grew up like sisters living in the same house, we even shared a bedroom for the better part of our adolescence then we grew up and apart. We are not best friends or anything and I am positive I wasn’t missed at her wedding (our family is ginormous) but I was still happy for her and her long time other half and their daughter to be joined as a family in that way.

Ok, back to dress shopping. I am horrible in heels. Or shoes all together. My feet are so wide and awkward and they swell at the slightest amount of walking that I just usually forgo cute shoes for functional shoes (i.e. flats). But this is New York. So, not only have I not been to a wedding recently, but I also have never been to a New York wedding (much less a same sex wedding but that’s actually beside the point). So as I texted with one of my best friends in Texas about my dress shopping experience and sent her some iPhone photos of me in a Macy’s dressing room I was trying to figure out what one wears to a New York country club wedding that will be held outdoors weather permitting. I found a Ralph Lauren design that seemed to cover up some overly curvy areas in two different floral patterns that I finally, mostly decided on but the shoes is what froze me. What shoes would I wear with either dress? Ugh. So after a while of toiling I put them both back on the rack. Lame. And went to the shoe section to find shoes then buy the dress that would match the shoes. Brilliant right? Except I already told you I left with only a pair of work flats. No wedding shoes and no wedding-guest-dress.

If it wasn’t bad enough that I am turning this work friend’s wedding into my own personal fashion dilemma, here’s a little more shallow to add to this post. My legs currently look frightful. Not ’cause they are pale or flabby or oddly tanned (all of which are pretty accurate and contradictory) but rather because they were attacked by mosquito’s at a funeral we went to upstate this weekend. My husband’s cousin who he idolized as a kid when their mothers were each going through some major medical issues passed away. It was a massive heart attack while riding his motorcycle, they said it was instant and that the crash didn’t make a difference (but really this last bit probably doesn’t make a difference to anyone who loved him because he is gone nonetheless). I never met him but I feel like I knew him now and I also feel sad to have not known him before. My husband and his cousin were hoping to get together this summer so we could meet his wife and daughters. His wife was amazing. His daughters were strong. I was in awe of his family and of how true his friends were. I hope to one day be remembered as fondly as he is by so many people. I hope to leave a positive impression on the world after I am gone. Anyway, as I sat on their deck eating a hodge podge of neighbor and church pot luck type food considering my life and what I want out of it and in total awe at his wife, I was attacked by every mosquito in upstate New York. So, my legs look ridiculous. Like my legs looked when I was 10 years old running around the back yard and not knowing any better than to avoid the bugs. I’m using a cream and a spray to keep me from scratching and hopefully to heal these bites but so far they look bright red and at least nickel sized. Any suggestions on getting rid of these icky spots before Saturday are totally welcome. My friend from Texas suggested Tea Tree Oil, Resinol, and something she said I could find at feed stores. I love you Jess but seriously, I am not buying my ointments at a feed store. (stay tuned, next thing you know I’ll be eating those words.)

Long story short, although I really want to wear a dress and be cute and fashionable at this wedding, I also don’t’ want to distract the grooms as they walk down the aisle with my spotted legs. The dress dilemma continues and now anyone reading this knows how neurotic and shallow I am. good night! (I had to put a light hearted spin on the funeral subject.)

tiny motel we stayed at. Can you believe they had free wifi and we didn’t get axe murdered in our sleep? Mostly cause I didn’t really sleep. I imagine that’s a prerequisite for the axe murdering in your sleep. I may have never mentioned before I don’t do well away from the city. Any city, really, I need to be near lights and sounds and people always.

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Texas. Big Apple BBQ.

BBQ Recap:

We spent a recent Saturday at the Big Apple BBQ 2012 in Madison Square Park. Here’s the recap…

My nice fresh out of the shower smell was promptly over powered by the Ed Mitchell smokers. I was sadly in line alone and  had to make small talk with the others in line with me as we awaited the 11:00 am hour when the food could finally be sold. Why was I alone? Oh, you know ’cause my husband ditched me in favor of another line and in order to maximize our food intake by splitting up. Ok, whatever, I know its brilliant to maximize our bbq intake by dividing and conquering but still. I am not a pulled pork super fan so I wasn’t surprised when the Ed Mitchell pulled turkey made me happier than the pulled pork. Pork, however, might be my favorite meat in general, I just don’t need it to be totally pulverized.

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As I snapped this photo I was literally in a cloud of smoke.

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Obligatory NYC crowd shot.

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This year the Checkered Pig blew me away with their fall off the bone delicious ribs and super amazing cole slaw. I am not really a slaw girl and generally assume that the sides at these events are just there for show (I saw a lot of industrial sized cans of pre-cooked baked beans behind some counters) but this cole slaw was special. Not the heavy handed cabbage dunked in mayo variety.

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Seriously, the cole slaw was so good it deserved a solo photo!

Another rib/slaw combo came close to the Checkered Pig but there was no real competition in my mind. I can’t remember the name of their booth but I do know it was near the Fried Pies…

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this is not a photo of fried pies. for some reason that photo wouldn’t transfer from my iPhoto so I posted a photo of the 2nd best ribs.

We tried three varieties of The Fried Pies which were not as good as I remembered from last year and yet still pretty good. The fact that I am in love with the Hill Country Chicken  Double Cherry Pie with Streusel Topping didn’t help their cause, nor the fact that I had just had the HCF pie the day before. Oh we also had to sample The Salt Lick, whose line was insanely long and yet the food was not up to par. The brisket was dry and the sausage was, no that was pretty good. Up here we really only find italian sausage so this taste of home was totally welcome but I couldn’t finish it because I had already eaten too much.

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Here’s a photo of my husband (I am quoting him): “BBQ bath salts crazy” on me

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5boro 2012.

Since I blogged about my experience with the 5Boro last year I’ll try not to be too repetitive but it was really similar except, (spoiler alert) this year I finished it! Oh and if you like the photos and are wondering how I managed to take photos of myself, I didn’t. I barely pulled my camera out the entire ride, husband on the other hand was a shutterbug, these are all his.

hydrate.

hydrate. hydrate. hydrate!

The BQE was a breeze compared to last year’s disastrous delays. However, there were a few delays in other places like Harlem and of course at the start but again, this year I finished, so who cares? Last year I was determined to get the ride done with which didn’t really work out so well, so this year I made a real effort to actually stop at the rest stops, grab the free bananas, bagels, and raisins as often as I needed them. I got stretching in, I hydrated and I kept repeating to myself that I could do it. My mantra was especially useful when I would glance over and see people 3 times my age cycling comfortably or when I’d see a 5 foot mother pulling her kid in a trailer or the guy on the unicycle or the other guy on the old time high wheel bicycle manage to keep going. I met a group of people old enough to be my grandparents who traveled from Canada for the ride and said they frequently do centuries I need to figure out their secret, but I’m sure it’s just simple dedication to a goal. “I can do this” was my mental mantra.

Battery Park - starting line.

Some people wore funny helmet gear. Not pictured is the obligatory beach ball being tossed around. I refused to hit the ball out of general grumpiness and terror for the 40 miles ahead. I saw a few people wipeout last year and this year alike as the miles went on. I was focused on not doing that although I came too close for comfort more than once.

kid in trailer.

Seriously! What is with these uber-fit parents pulling their kids for the entire 40 miles making the rest of us look like chumps? I was chatting with one guy who brought his 6 year old on a tandem and said next year he wants to bring his 3 year old too.

The Conrad

This is me trying to be excited for the ride when really I’m dreading it.

Another major difference was that this year I didn’t want to do the tour. When Bike New York announced that entry would be based on a lottery, I was actually happy because the odds were against us getting in. When the husband wanted to put our names in (because he was super excited) I agreed that he could, all the while expecting the odds to beat us. Then he got the email that we’d been accepted. The 40 miles I couldn’t finish last year were suddenly coming back to mock me this year.

We again got a hotel room near the start, last year we stayed at the Millennium overlooking the 9/11 Memorial, this year they sold out quickly so we booked at The Conrad overlooking the Hudson. All I can say about The Conrad is that it was the most amazing hotel I’ve ever stayed at and I’ve technically stayed at that hotel before, when it was the Embassy Suites Battery Park. It was awesome when we stayed there in 2010 while we did some apartment hunting before moving to NYC. But now it is insanely stunning, everything is different in a good way, everything is super high tech and completely re-furbished or replaced all together and the customer service at The Conrad was amazing once we were on-sight. There was a snafu with their bike storage policy, as in when I agreed to pay $300+ for a one night stay at their hotel I called to ask about a bike storage fee and they said there wouldn’t be one. Then the night before the ride I called again to see if we could get an early check-in and they told me it would be $50 per bike, “by the way.” A call to the manager did nothing, he was a horrible customer service representative for The Conrad Brand, but a compliant on social media and not only was our bike storage suddenly free but also the hotel manager (different guy from the previous night) personally greeted us and showed us to our room. He gave us a tour of the room and showed us how to turn the lights on and off, ’cause it’s that high tech. Seriously, I must return to The Conrad. In fact, the loads of amenities made it super hard to leave the next morning for the bike ride.

start

This year’s staggered start seemed to relieve some of the bottleneck but like I mentioned above a new one developed in Harlem that I don’t remember from last year. We basically walked through Harlem rather than rode. But this year rather than try to tip-toe on my bike I immediately dismounted and pushed my bike, which for me helped conserve energy and frustration. Oh, but back to the staggered start: This year we actually got to hear a little welcome speech because of it. Last year if you weren’t in the first group closest to the speakers then you didn’t hear a word. So that was kinda nice if abbreviated, but seriously after inching forward from Battery Park we were all ready to go anyway.

Queensboro!

I actually rode pretty far up the incline of the bridge (or at least I’d like to think so).

Oh, also, this year was a bit cooler and more overcast than last year so I was able to leave my jacket on the whole ride. (That’s my UT Longhorn jacket by the way! I got it on sale at the UTCoop for like $10 a few years ago and it has been totally worth it. Hook ’em.) This was fine and dandy until I finally took my jacket off only to see a very distinct tan on the back of my hands. Very awkward at work. And, yes I slathered on the sun block but just a few times and I don’t think I ever gave my hands much thought. Plus once you are riding for a while you just feel dirty. Same stripe-tan around my calves where my tights ended. Now that I think of it, this year I also brought along my trusty seat adjuster thingy so adjusted my seat height a few times during the tour in order to get the most power out of my legs as possible which was a major boost to my overall endurance.

Yay!

This is me super excited to have made it this far and super shocked that I am not totally spent yet.

Verrazano bike pushers.

Check out all these people pushing their bikes.

My favorite part of the ride aside from rolling into the finishers party was that the stop before the Verrazano was right at an easy transition point rather than at the base of the spiral on ramp. (disclosure: i am not a driver and don’t really know the technical words for the spiral ramp and whatever we used this year.) What I can say is that the climb to get to the top wasn’t as daunting visually and likely physically this year as last year (although, if you read last year’s post you know I didn’t even attempt the Verrazano). I kept pushing myself a little further thinking when we get to the really awful part I’ll dismount, I actually rode most of the way and only dismounted near the top to give myself a little rest. Then after snacking and stretching I was so ready to be done with my bike by the time we rolled out of the festival for the ~3 mile ride to the Staten Island Ferry. Those 3 miles were like a cruel joke. My legs were revolting but somehow I made it!

view of Manhattan from inside the Staten Island Ferry

view of Manhattan from inside the Staten Island Ferry

prize food!

We indulged in Wafels & Dinges at the finishers festival!

Oh, sheesh, another thing I should mention is that the ride seemed better organized this year and the tour volunteers seemed more dedicated to their roles and much better informed than previously. Last year I was stuck on the BQE with a few of the volunteers who flat out said they were in it for the free ride. But this year the volunteers were so awesome that at a booth in Battery Park selling last minute shorts and power bars I saw a cyclist ride up and ask for a water bottle (the one thing they didn’t sell). A volunteer overheard, emptied his personal bottle and handed it to the cyclist telling him he needs to stay hydrated and instructed him to rinse and refill it at the fountain nearby. So that’s awesome, but again, I don’t want to do it again. I slew the dragon. I’m good, really. I’d rather be running.

Verrazanno

Still happy and alive on the Verrazano!

lady liberty

Husband snapped this photo from inside the Staten Island Ferry. Awesome.

Staten Island Ferry

We were inside the belly of the beast!

You’d think the day would be over at this point exiting the Staten Island Ferry. But no. We still had to catch a train home. Then transfer to another train home. Happy to be a finisher!

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