Sunday, June 29, 2008

Someone is having the Best Week Ever

So following a great weekend in the Capital Region, I kicked off this week on Monday by attending the Red Sox-Diamondback game at Fenway Park. The heat and humidity caused some thunderstorms to blow through the area and delay the game by a half hour, but the game was played. Fast forward through two days of work and you come to Thursday. After much back and forth I was like a maniac on stubhub and priceline and bought two pairs of tickets and a hotel room and two one way tickets to NYC. This was the first time I'd been back to the city since moving out a year and a half ago. It was worth the wait.

Thursday night's bus ride was a bargain at only $10 a person (way cheaper and more comfortable than the Albany trip) and got us into the city around 10pm. Unlike Boston we weren't feeling rushed knowing that bars would be open til 4am. Hansen was stayin in the city for business and was kind enough to let us crash in his hotel room. It was a nice night in NY so we walked the 20 or so blocks through Times Square to the hotel. We checked in and headed to Virgil's for some BBQ. After stuffing our faces for the first time (and definitely not the last) we headed uptown to meet up with Hansen. After meeting up we decided we would head back to Midtown and go to McFadden's. We enjoyed a couple beverages and decided it was time to move on. While Steve and I had only a handful of drinks, the rest of the crew had been out since dinner and some(Hansen) were ready to go back. Sam had other plans however and we headed to the west side to Home club for a round of drinks. Then it was on to the diner. At about 4 oclock, after our stomachs were beyond full, we called it a night and headed back to our hotels.

Friday morning I was up at the crack of dawn in anticipation of our big day. It was the day that not only would I be attending my first game at Yankee Stadium, but I would also be attending my first game at Shea Stadium in only the fifth Subway Series split double header. Around 10am we checked out and parted ways with Hansen. We walked down to our hotel right in Times Square where we dropped off our bags. Then we grabbed some NY bagels and headed over to Rockefeller Center to eat up. Then it was off to the Bronx.

Yankee Stadium is huge, and so is Yankee Stadium. The new stadium is like the old stadium with new seats. Anyways. It's huge. We got there about an hour before game time so had some time to walk around and check it out. Our seats were upper right field near the foul pole and after we settled in we got to enjoy a great game. It was a great game not because the Yankees won (they didn't they got spanked 15-6) but because for the most part there was a lot of action on both sides. Hits, steals, a Mets Grand Slam. Every part of the day was enjoyable, except maybe the $9 beers. But hey it's $9 beers they bring to you in your seat, as opposed to the $7 beers you have to go get at Fenway.

We stuck it out to the very end, because who leaves a game before its over? 4 hours after the start of the game we were out of there and back on the Subway to see the second half of the Subway Series over at Shea. It took us probably an hour on public transportation to get out to Shea but we made it. This time the tables were turned. The Yankees not thinking too hard about the first loss, came to Shea and shut out the Mets and sent Pedro home early after just 5 innings. Our seats weren't as good this time around, but we were able to move a little closer to enjoy the game. We also stuck this one out to the end before heading back to the city.

When we started the day the plan was to go out after the games, but after a short night of sleep the night before and marathon drinking at the two games we decided to head to a diner and then call it a night so we could get a full day in Saturday before heading back to Boston.

We checked out of our hotel around 11am Saturday and went over to NBC to buy tickets for the studio tour. With the first available tour not available until 1:30pm we had some time to go grab some NY Pizza and take a short stroll through Central Park. While walking through Central Park we decided to take the 5:30pm bus back to Boston to give us time to get back and maybe see a movie. Plus we had time to do a few other things before rushing back to catch the bus. I call to make reservations and surprise surprise, the 5:30pm bus is sold out, and so are the rest of the buses. Luckily we were right by the Apple store and while Steve took the time to update is pizza game, I found us two tickets on one of the other discount buses for 5:30 also. Now it was off to NBC.

I have done the NBC tour before, but last time I was by myself and it was the middle of the week so Conan and SNL were taping or rehearsing so I only got to see the NBC Nightly News and Sports studios. This time around we got the full blown tour. Seeing every studio and learning a lot from the beautiful Kara. After the tour we had about and hour and a half and Steve had never been Ground Zero, so we jumped on the subway and headed downtown.

The last time I had been was a year and half ago and at that point little had changed from after the attacks. The stairwell from building two was still visible and make shift memorials still existed. Now with plans finalized and construction began it was kind of an in between stage. There was no more rubble remaining, but there hasn't been significant progress in construction. It definitely did not have the same effect on me that it has in the past, but it will be interesting to see the final result in 4 years when it's all said and done.

Now with about an hour left before we had to head up to the hotel we decided to grab some lunch in Chinatown. As we were walking our way down Canal St, fighting vendors and tourists the sky decided to open up and down pour. Now not only were we wet from the heat and humidity (read "sweating like pigs") but we were also getting a good shower from the rain. It let up after a few minutes and we began searching ferociously for a quick bite to eat at a relatively safe looking Chinese restaurant. We finally settled on Big Wong. Don't ask why we decided to venture here, but we did and it was delicious. Steamed dumplings, BBQ Spare ribs, Chicken Fried Rice, and Beef Lo Mein all hit the spot perfectly and while we sat in the cab ride uptown we both fought exhaustion a combination of food coma and walking all over the place. "I'm glad we decided to come to NY and walk around and be fat as opposed to sitting on the couch watching movies all weekend." We made it to the bus just in time to grab the handicap row (with extra leg room!!) and the 4 hour bus ride wasn't that bad. We opted out of the movie last night and was asleep on the couch by midnight.

We set out to see two baseball games and did a lot more than that. I realize why I love NY and definitely look forward to going back soon. Next time on the agenda: Little Italy, Comedy Cellar, Conan/SNL, and McSorrely's. Now it's back to work and making money so I can spend it on our next trip.

Travelling is fun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Birthday, Grad Party, and Friends

Well two weekends in a row I've had the time of my life. First I was able to go to the cape for a weekend and take a full day to hang out in the sun on the beach. Then this past weekend I was able to share my birthday and graduation celebration with friends and family to make for one kick-ass weekend.

Friday night Albany and Boston collided when we took Lark Street by storm and taught the Bostonian what happens when bars stay open past two. The Shate 08 pub crawl lacked the -ate but we still enjoyed ourselves starting with SoCo and lime shots at Legends and getting kicked out of Bayou at 3am after some intense sing-a-longs reminiscent of basement parties at 8 Eldora. Just when we thought the night was over (after momma Caitlin ushered us all into cabs) we made one last stop, Dino's pizza. Like Pizzeria 54 in Downtown Albany or Sunrise or Little Stevies in Boston, Dino's was delicious probably because of the deadly combination of our intoxication and the time of night. Then it was off to Rose Ct.

The following morning was an early one for some of us. The weather was Sunny from the start and by the time everything was set up and the official kick off started at 1pm the bathing suits were on and the cannonballs started. The weather never wavered (although I may have). Friends and from from across the Northeast came to celebrate and make it a special day. Thank you for that. The keg was shortly after beer pong started. The quote of the night may have been my grandmother just before midnight..."I'm glad you are playing this game. You seem to be sobering up by how bad you are playing."

After two long nights of drinking we called it a night just after One. The thunderstorms were intense Sunday morning and made for a perfect Sunday Funday. Our attempts at a double feature were thwarted by the 'intelligent' schedulers at Regal and we were only able to see The Incredible Hulk. I'd give it a solid B. Good, but not incredible. More food and cake and birthday presents and then Sunday night we kicked back watched some Dateline, read some books (The Art of Racing in the Rain, and The Last Lecture were gifts that I got over weekend and were so good that not only did I finish them already, but I also was moved to tears both times). A quick late night dip to cool off and then we passed out for the last time in the 518 for this trip.

An early morning bus ride today proved disasterous, although not because of anything we did. We arrived 45 minutes before departure, secured our tickets and sat down and immersed ourselves into our books. About 20 min prior to departure we lined up to make sure we got a seat. We were still standing in line 40 minutes after our scheduled departure with no sign of our bus, or anyone that cared to explain the delay. We finally were asked to change gates and our bus was loaded. Steve and I got the last two seats before people were bumped to the later bus. Now we are already an hour delayed and the bus driver announces that we have to make an unscheduled stop in Springfield, but would not be making the other stops. Fine. Well when we get off the exit for Springfield, the bus driver asks anyone who may know how to get to the bus station to come to the front of the bus to give him directions.

Needless to say we made in one piece back to Boston. Tonight barring thunderstorms and rain we are going to the Red Sox game. Then a couple days of work and then down to NYC to see the Mets Yankees game for my first trip to Yankees Stadium and a possible double header at Shea Stadium also a first for me. So we will see.

Thanks again. Love you all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

No One Can Get In The Way of What I'm Feeling.

It's been a few weeks and Alicia Keys has inspired me to get back to blogging. Why? because blogging is what I do and what I enjoy and what I've been missing the past few weeks. Lots of things have happened. I've been looking at apartments. I've been to Albany and back. I've bought a ton of new CD's and yet nothing seemed to have inspired to me to sit down and write. It's been nice out too so I've been doing my best not to sit inside behind a computer, but sometimes its needed. I need to update my resume and my cover letter because I'm going to be applying for a job at Berklee College of Music. The other day I got to work at CPK and realized that I serve other people for a living. That's not what I want to do with my life. I have a degree. I'm going to try and make it useful.

Alicia was awesome tonight. Jordin Sparks rocked the house as an opener and Ne-Yo was good. Hopefully I'm going to the Cape this weekend and hopefully I'll have more time the next couple days to write. I have a lot on my mind so there will be plenty to write. Happy 80th birthday Grandpa. Hope is was a good one.