Day 2 kicked off with brunch for the whole group in the hotel restaurant. Judging from the hearty appetites and lively conversation, it seemed all had enjoyed a good night’s sleep. Over eggs and French press coffee, we got into a very interesting discussion about politics and economics–contravening the rules of polite conversation, perhaps, but signaling how comfortable we all were with one another. Being one of only two and a half Americans at the table, I appreciated the approach the Brits took–genuinely curious and questioning, not accusatory. I would like to think that the next time I go abroad, I’ll meet more of that kind of attitude, rather than the other. (But just in case, I’ll keep working on my Canadian accent!)
Afterward, we split into smaller groups for local shopping, arranging to meet up in an hour or so to start the Tour of Great Stores–to start with Macy’s, move to Barney’s, and finish at Bloomies. Well, at least that was the plan.
“If the Post Office says you’re Santa, that’s good enough for the State of New York!”
We made it to Macy’s, and walked around looking at the decorated windows. On the 34th St. side, they were traditional scenes from Miracle on 34th Street. On the Broadway side, the theme seemed to be “fantasy Christmases”–in space, at the South Pole, in an amusement park, etc. It was a little hard to tell, as it was hard to fight through the crowd to get close enough to read the captions.
After 15 or 20 minutes trying in vain to spot the rest of our party at the designated meeting spot, we gave up and started shopping. We never made it off the first floor, but we did emerge with a prize:
Cute! Red! Leather! And it was on sale!
After an hour or so, a general retreat was called. The survivors of the Macy’s Massacre met up in Herald Square:
We could found a charitable organization and have annual survivors’ reunions.
Then we taught the Londoners how to use the local version of The Tube and zipped right back up to Times Square in approximately one-sixth the time a cab would have taken. Rachel and Corvus caught up with us just as we got back to the hotel, and we brought them along for drinks and merrymaking. It was absolutely wonderful to see how they folded right into the larger group as if they’d been there all along. I think the approach everyone took was, “You’re the good friend of a good friend of mine, so I’m just going to skip straight to treating you like a good friend.”
Corvus and Rachel meet the gang.
Ken and Corvus have a meeting of minds, assisted by margaritatinis.
After drinkies, Corvus, Rachel, Ken and I peeled off from the larger group to go visit the Hello Kitty store (because Rachel and I have very indulgent mates), and go in search of dinner, to be followed by a pub crawl in Greenwich Village. Thus began our adventure of wandering around Chelsea in the dark and cold–a misunderstanding of how addresses run in Manhattan put us some 70 blocks away from our target restaurant, and all we could find in the area was either too meaty for the vegetarians, too raw-foodie for the carnivores, or ‘closed four private parties’ (sic). We eventually gave up and caught a cab to the Village, figuring one pub or another would have food. I gave the cabbie the address of the first place we wanted to go, and was informed that “It doesn’t work like that. You have to give me cross streets.” At this point, I would like to put in a plug for Moleskine’s City Books–the maps came in very handy several times through the weekend, and especially at just that moment.
We had dinner at Jekyll & Hyde, which, although tasty, took so long to arrive that I was starting to wonder if our seating in the “Cannibal Room” was meant to be taken literally. I would have enjoyed the place much more if they’d gone for “creepy and atmospheric” rather than “hokey and slapstick.” Ah, well. Then we moved on to our ultimate goal, The Slaughtered Lamb, a self-proclaimed “werewolf pub”. The atmosphere (and service) were much better here–the cheery fires were quite welcome after the chill of the street, and we had a snug little corner table set apart from the rest of the room. We ordered a round of Irish coffees and settled in.
Well, what would you do in a werewolf pub?
These two are “eat ’em up with a spoon” cute!
At the start of the night, a plan had been floated to finish up with a drink at the Algonquin Hotel, to put a final literary flourish on the night. As it turned out, we got back from our excursion to the Village very much later than we intended, and Corvus and Rachel had to hurry to get the shuttle back to their hotel. So that remains on the lifetime To Do list, as do many things in this fabulous city. But really, that’s the nature of visiting New York: there’s only so much you can cram into any given stretch of time, and you have to leave the rest for another time. At least I’ll always have a reason to go back again!