Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Monday, October 06, 2008

4AM @ 23rd & 8th

If you've known me for than a second you know I can't go too long without returning to the ancestoral homeland. Every trip to NYC makes me feel more centered, focused and, I realize how odd it sounds as I write the words, more relaxed.

I try not to do the same things as I did before so this time I tried a new, well, everything. Starting off the new, I stayed at the Chelsea Hotel. If you feel you have a bohemian spirit, staying here will test that theory. The Chelsea has an interesting history, a camp and playground for writers and artists from an era gone by, it always stuck in my mind that it could have been the location where Sid Vicious (allegedly) murdered his girlfriend in the 70's. The hotel is quirky in decor, layout and patronage, although I think the all-night parties and rampant drug use are gone with the new management and an unfortunate upscaling of the neighborhood. Still, The Chelsea will never host the Champagne sipping UES debutinas, nor the investment bankers they begrudgingly marry. Pluses to the The Chelsea are large rooms, incredible location and relatively good rates.

Chelsea Hotel, Entrance

Chelsea Hotel, 8th floor stairwell

Honorable mention for this trip goes to the restaurant/bar called Public in Nolita (Elizabeth & Spring). I was late getting into the city so I didnt arrive for dinner until midnight, about 5 minutes after they stopped serving food. But the Pineapple Pink Peppercorn Caipirinha will be remembered!

The highlights were many for the 48 hours.

Equus, the new play making its opening on Broadway last week, was excellent. If you are not knowing, try renting the movie version circa 1977 starring Richard Burton. Its an intense and interesting pyscho-sexual drama involving the interaction and inversion of a very disturbed and isolated young man and his equally disturbed analyst. The acting by Daniel Radcliffe was extraordinary. He is convincing, clever and he is showing his intent and ability to wriggle out from under his illustrious Harry Potter stigma. He also seemed to be quite at home stripping down to nothing and staying that way.

Equus @ Broadhurst Theatre

Food recommendations for this trip are two:

Empanada Mamas
Hells Kitchen
763 9th Ave @ 51st

I loved this place and went 3 times in 2 days. We have empanada shoppes in Houston, plenty of them but none with the variety EM's has. Personal favorites are the Brasil (ham, potato, cheese and olives) Spicy Chicken (hot red pepper in the dough and the pulled chicken) and the Reggaeton (pork, curry, rice, veggies). Definitely make liberal use of the green sauce that will already be at the table. Service is fantastic and trust me when I say this is one of the few sit down restaurants in NYC where you'll be able to lay down a $20 and walk away with change.

Empanada Mamas, Hell's Kitchen

Meat Packing
835 Washington St @ Little W 12th

Upscale, stylish and trendy but not oppressive. Very impressive Thai fusion, particularly the Ginger Mohito and the Black Thai Tuna Tartar (chopped tuna, basil, orange and thai bird chile). Go early or late for dinner as reservations are not accepted.

The other new place I tried was the NYC Eagle. Waaaay out near 11th Ave where you can almost feel the Hudson, I found where every gay man over 30 with facial hair goes on a Saturday night. I liked it. Its dark, cavernous and crowded. It could've been naughty but that wasnt what I found on the rooftop patio for the hours I was there. The friend I went out with, went away with a lovely Englishman leaving me alone to watch the city and crowd by myself. At 330a I made my way out of the building, crossed the street, passed the strip club, the hip hop bar, every Italian man from Brooklyn and a strip of lonely subsidized housing. At 4am I found myself turning the corner to The Chelsea. And I thought, here I am, 4am at 23rd & 8th with hundreds of other people like me, all quietly walking home, soaking it all in, happy but unaffected.

I love New York.

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Blogger suzy said...

Sounds like a great time.

10:24 PM

Blogger JC said...

I am borna nd bred Texan, but there is nothing like NYC! We love it more everytime we go... too bad you have to save up so much to make the treks.

7:29 PM

Blogger Jim said...

It was Suzy. And I even forgot to mention the MoMA party :)

6:36 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Right JC, its very expensive to stay there. But I am finding less expensive restaurants and entertainment!

6:36 AM

Blogger john said...

New York is a very cool place.
I didn't know empanadas came in such varities.

12:03 PM

Blogger Jim said...

John, In most cities they dont have much variety, but its NYC!

9:40 AM


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