April 27th, 2007

NYC Vacation—Day 3

We had a lazy morning this morning, not getting up until about noon. This may be the city that doesn't sleep, but we sure did!

After grabbing breakfast at what's become our favorite deli, just around the corner, we took the train down to South Street Seaport, which is where the "lower Manhattan" TKTS booth was moved to after the fall of the Twin Towers.

On the train, two women, older ladies both in some tiger motif outfits, asked us if they had to move up any cars as they were going to the South Street station, for which you had to be in the first five cars.

"You're in the third car," I replied, as we were doing the same thing and I had counted the cars to make sure we were within the first five.

"Oh good," the one said. "We're going to that half-price tickets place."

"So are we," I replied.

"Oh good! We'll just follow you guys then!"

These women proceeded to engage us in the kind of conversation that I hate—a loud back and forth exchange of, "What are you thinking about seeing? Have you seen this? I don't want to see that one because..." etc.

A "local" lady sat in a nearby seat and I was watching her expression as this exchange was taking place. The "tiger ladies" were totally oblivious to those around them. Self-awareness was not their forte.

The local listening to us, and watching us, kept making this ever-so-smallest of a smile, that rang, "Tourists!" and it was a demure looking smile that reminded me of Whoopi Goldberg in her shyest moments as Miss Celie in The Color Purple.

Speaking of The Color Purple, there are ads splashed all over NYC touting Fantasia currently starring in The Color Purple on Broadway.

Exiting the station, the women tried to follow us at the beginning, but we were in a hurry, it was quite a distance to walk, and though we'd've been happy to help them out, we didn't know where we were going either, and we weren't going to adjust our day to accommodate them. They fell further and further behind, and eventually we lost them altogether.

We found the TKTS booth, and I here I am in front of it, talking mid-picture, looks like:

The "red list" was for this evening's performances, and the "white list" was for tomorrow's matinées.

We ended up buying tickets for tonight's performance of Deuce and tomorrow afternoon's matinée performance of Chicago, as the better seats for Chicago were for tomorrow.

Tickets in hand, we set off to see Wall Street and Ground Zero, first stopping at a little coffee and pastry shop at which we had split of the most awesome piece of New York Style (what else???) Cheesecake with our coffee. So incredibly creamy.

We walked the short four blocks, or so, that is Wall Street, and as always, I was in awe of the plainness of a street that is so integral to the financial heartbeat of this country.

Here's a picture in front of the New York Stock Exchange, which is supposed to have had the ticker tape as its focal point, but which actually must have been somewhere between it and me.

As we walked from Wall Street over to Liberty (which the cop pronounced Libity) Street, we passed a homeless woman, who yelled at me in this very gravelly voice, "Hey handsome! How 'bout buying me a hot dog? I'm hungry!"

We walked around the entire square hole that is now a mere memory of the Twin Towers. Even almost six years later, and in spite of the signs that say, "Please understand that anything left in this fence will have to be removed," there are still remnants of love and loved ones crying out:

We caught the 1 train back uptown, and exiting at our hotel stop at 23rd, we witnessed the most amazing thing. I know that even my sight-impaired friend "Jeanie-baby" would find this amusing.

On the sidewalk, just as we exited the subway, we saw a blind man walking in the downtown direction on the sidewalk. He was sliding his cane back and forth on the ground.

Coming right at him, in the uptown direction, a guide dog was leading its blind female companion. The red-tipped white cane nearly swiped the guide dog.

I wondered if they practiced this scenario at all when training guide dogs.

We had dinner at a steakhouse called Porter's on 7th Avenue, close to our hotel. I had the most delicious entrée—Marinated Jumbo Shrimp, which came with these slivers of fresh ginger, and some boiled potatoes and green beans on the side.

We had a few cocktails at Happy Hour in the hotel bar, at which there was a group of about 8-10 guys who seemed to be happy to be away from their wives, doing a lot of hugging, butt slapping, and back patting in a general testosterone frenzy as each one arrived happy to see the others.

Joe and I just enjoyed the scene. We were sitting at the end of the bar, right next to where they were gathering and at one point, one of them was standing so close to Joe's seat that another of them said, "What're you gonna do, sit in that guy's lap?"

Joe bit his tongue from saying, "Uh, I wouldn't really be opposed to that."

At 8:00, we saw Deuce in the Music Box Theater on 45th Street. There were actually five characters in the play, but essentially, it was a two-woman show starring Angela Lansbury and Marian Seldes.

I just loved this play. It was pretty much exclusively dialogue between the two main characters and they explored a gazillion themes from lasting friendships to friendship tensions to Lesbianism in women's sports to jealousy to pride, to aging to immortality.

Angela actually flubbed a few of her lines, but she is such a pro that she pulled it off as the aging character's mistakes instead of her own, or perhaps she's that good, and the "mistakes" were "written into the script." Regardless, the audience was forgiving, and she was marvelous to watch.

We decided to abandon the "gloss" and the "attitude" of Chelsea, and check out the West Village bars tonight.  Our first stop was at Marie's Crisis, which turned out to be just a gay old time.

As soon as we opened the door we were submerged in song—so many people hovered around the piano singing their lungs out to, as the night progressed, almost every tune from every Broadway show ever produced. There obviously were a lot of out-of-work musical actors in the place.

Joe and I didn't know most of the songs, which both surprised us and made us fear that if anyone noticed, they'd take away our cards.

There were several (straight) couples in this place, and the woman of one couple kept turning around to look at Joe. Eventually she came over to him, introduced herself, and said, "I'm so attracted to you. Are you sure you're gay?"

I bit my tongue from saying, "You couldn't tell by his showtune repertoire."

Her name was Rachel, she was shit-faced, and she was totally infatuated with Joe—no correlation implied. I think her husband was more infatuated with showtunes, but I digress...

Late into the night, we meandered down Christopher Street, arguably the most "gay" street in history—it's where those who came before me asserted their humanity so that the rest of us might be treated a little more humanely—and we stopped in the Stonewall Inn, where it all started so many years ago.

Before heading back to the hotel, we had some pizza at a place that reminded us of Spiritus Pizza in P-town. There, we witnessed two of the most butch Lesbians I think I have ever seen, catering to their respective Lipstick Lesbian Ms. Rights, or at least Ms. Right Nows.