This area has changed a lot since my visit in 2003. Somehow, it seems less somber now, which, in a way, made me sadder than when it was more so.
We took a stroll over to Wall Street. I wanted to be reminded of how mundane the actual street is, and Steve had never been on it before.
Steve took a picture of the New York Stock Exchange, and then realized the he was at the end of his roll of film, and hadn't brought another one with him. We stopped in a Borders, where he used the bathroom, and I asked about film.
"We don't sell any, but Duane Reade's would have them. There's one two blocks back that way, or turn right at this corner, and go two blocks that way."
I waited outside while Steve went in to get the film. After about 7 or 8 minutes, I went in to make sure he wasn't "shopping."
Turns out he'd first, unknowingly, purchased a disposal camera, which he didn't realize until after he'd taken it out of the packaging. A time-consuming exchange took place, which is what was taking so long.
While I was standing outside, I noticed a "bill" posted to a pole. It was a city permit warning that there will be no parking along this street on Friday, October 7th, where an episode of CSI will be filmed.
When Steve came back out, we walked back to Wall Street to take a couple more pictures. On the steps of the Federal Hall National Memorial, which is a building catty-corner to one corner of the NYSE we saw two interesting things.
On the top step, in the middle of the building near the main doors, were two armed military guards. They were in full what looked like full riot gear.
On about the third or fourth step from the bottom, off to the right, were three mannequins, wearing, presumably, clothes from Huffy's. There were photographers about, with huge cameras that intimated a photo shoot. At first I thought the mannequins were live models.
The whole scene was very confusing, as people were gathered around looking at this vignette, while the armed military guards were on the top steps, and all on a "heightened terrorist alert day" for New York City.
We left the financial district and took the subway up to to Canal Street. Thinking the 1, 2, and 3 trains (all red) stopped at Canal, we hoped on the 2/3 Express, and found out that it didn't stop there.
We got off at the first stop after Canal, walked around to the downtown side of the tracks, and waited for the next 1 train, which did the trick.
We exited at the Canal Street and Grand Street corner, and walked down Grand all the way over to Little Italy, passing through Soho on the way.
We had a late lunch / early dinner at a restaurant recommended by our friend Bob. He used to live in New Jersey, and frequented this place at that time.
We ate on one of those tables on the sidewalk, and this was just a great, great all-around dining experience.
The waiter was a real gem, and the food was absolutely delicious. Steve had lasagna, and I had a pepperoni pizza. We each had a salad, and the bread and butter that came in a basket before the meal.
I was fumbling with my order, telling the waiter I wanted a pepperoni calzone, but wanted a recommendation.
"Get the pepperoni pizza," he said. "Trust me."
I started to talk, and he just shushed me. "Trust me."
"Okay, about the salad, I just want to make sure it's not going to come with Blue Cheese dressing on it," I said as he walked away.
"Calm down. You're making me nervous, here."
This cracked us up, and he was off to put in our orders.
The salads arrived with a nice Italian Dressing. Hello!?! You're in Little Italy.
After dinner, we stopped across the street at a Gelati stand, at which we'd watched many, many people stop while we ate. I got two scoops of Pistachio and Steve got two scoops of Strawberry. Yum!
We walked to the subway station, through Chinatown, and had to quickly move through a couple of places with very strong smelling raw seafood in buckets.
We took the 1 train uptown intending to get off at the 50th Street stop. The train traveled way too long after the "Broadway" stop, which I assumed was the 42nd Street stop, to be the 8 blocks that would have been 50th. "Let's hop off at the next stop," I said to Steve.
The next stop was West 4th Street, and looked at the huge map in the station quickly enough to realize that that previous Broadway stop was not that Broadway, and were able to hop back on the same train before it left.
We took the 50th Street exit, and walked over to the NBC Studios to purchase tickets for one of the tours tomorrow. After getting there, and discussing it with the ticket agent, we decided to just buy them tomorrow, since they said there really aren't any lines this time of year, and that would allow us to not be so committed to a schedule tomorrow.
We walked over to the Winter Garden Theater, this time armed with the correct paperwork to get Mama Mia tickets for tomorrow night. We were able to get the last two together in the orchestra section.
We stopped in a store called the Spirit of Broadway in hopes of finding some refrigerator magnets of Broadway plays, but did not have luck.
We caught the train back downtown, and back at the room I took a short nap, while Steve watched TV, and caught up on some phone calls.
When he woke me up, the terrorist alerts were all over the television, but we quietly took the subway back uptown to see Hairspray.
We had great seats for this show. A "princess" sat next to Steve. She was quite talkative, and I was silently thankful that Steve had that seat.
Neither of us had ever seen this show, and didn't really have any idea what it was about. We'd heard about it, of course, but as we found out later, not all about it.
After the show, we went to a bar called Ty's, where it was "Bear Night," in The Village.
Shortly after ordering our drinks, and taking a stool at the bar, we met and entered into a conversation with Patrick Butler, who is a photographer in the city. He's done some work for GQ, Vogue, and Jane.
We told him that we'd just seen Hairspray, and in the course of the ensuing conversation, Steve and I learned that, apparently, everyone in the world but us knew that the actor playing Edna Turnblad was a man.
The role originated with Harvey Fierstein. Divine played it in the movie. And this man played her in the production we just saw:
We had a big, big laugh about this. I later talked to Robert, and of course, he knew all of this "drag" history as well. We almost had to turn our gay cards back in over this one.
There was a guy selling leather products in this bar, and before the night was over Steve and I both ended up purchasing leather arm bands.
I struck up a conversation with the guy selling them, not know at the time that he was, as he was over at the bar instead of near his table of products. He had a t-shirt on with the word "rodeo" on it, and I asked him if he was at Atlantic Stampede 2005.
In the course of the conversation, we ended up back at his table, of course, and before it was all said and done, I was the proud owner of a $30 black leather armband, with a zipper pouch to hold a driver's license, credit card, and/or money.
Steve and Patrick hit it off, and as the night ended, Patrick gave us a recommendation for a mid-night snack, and said he'd meet us back at Ty's again tomorrow night.
We took a cab to Florent's on 69 Gansevoort St. Steve had a burger, I believe, and I had a cheddar cheese omelet with toast. Both of our meals came with French Fries, too. I actually had a choice of hash browns over the fries, but opted for the fries.
The food here was very good, and in spite of desperate need of more staff, we were taken care of in a timely manner. Our poor waiter was running around doing everything, and dealing with a bunch of drunk customers to boot.
All in all, a fine third day in the city.