Apparently Unimpressive, OR a Week of Escorting My Family around NYC

I’ve been quite profoundly lazy for a little while, which means two things: 1) I’ve built up a prodigious amount of unposted city photos over the past two weeks, and 2) it’s time for me to put them somewhere.

My family flew into New York for a week-long vacation beginning on July 14th, and for a few days, I escorted them around town to my favorite neighborhoods (Greenwich Village, Soho, etc.), took them to my favorite restaurants, directed them to the best museums…so on and so forth. I tried really hard, you guys. So hard. Except I got the feeling that they were highly unimpressed for some reason. They’re very much suburban people, my family. I remember at some point, my brother complained about the filthiness of the subway, which struck me because…well, because duh. It’s a subway. In America.

But anyway! Onwards.

I’m going to do this at a breakneck speed and in the briefest way possible because otherwise tl;dr —

First thing on the 14th, I had to take an NJTransit train to Newark Liberty in order to collect the family from their arrival terminal. Don’t let the colors in this photo fool you — much of Jersey is absolutely, absolutely reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, not an indie film. In my brother’s words, a lot of Newark is “jank.”

We stayed in Chelsea, and this was the view. Excuse my added coloring. It was decidedly less pink in real life, I promise.

I’d planned to take my family to a specific Thai place for lunch on their first full day in town, except stupidly, I forgot to check the place’s business hours, and it ended up being that we walked for 20 minutes in the direction of Gramercy from Washington Square Park for no real reason at all. Place was closed. This kind of thing always happens to me.

Washington Square Park

This fabulous guy was doing a sand painting in Washington Square Park:

He had a lovely portfolio sitting nearby with glossy images of all his masterpieces, and all I could think about as I paged through it was the idea that every single piece of his is invariably destroyed. And then all that’s left is a photo.

Soho is, in actuality, an intensely retail-based neighborhood. If you’re on the right street, you’ll pass art galleries and cute coffee shops, but aside from that, it’s not much fun unless you’re in a real shopping mood. For this reason, I think my parents were supremely bored.

My brother, however, was delighted — especially since I gifted him a couple t-shirts from the fashion label I currently work for (they have a store on Broadway near Houston).

Marzipan pigs at Dean & Deluca, Soho, 7/15/12

On the 17th, my family went to the Met and Columbia University without me. (Thanks, guys.  :/ )

No idea what this is, because I wasn’t there

I don’t know what this is, either, but it’s pretty

I was, however, permitted to take them to the New York Public Library Mid-Manhattan branch on 5th Ave and grab dinner with them on West 32nd Street in Koreatown.

NYPL staircases

Aaaand we rounded off the week with a visit to Times Square. Alas, they didn’t get to see the lights in the dark (honestly, we were too tired by 7 pm to bother sticking around for sundown), but it was a slightly overcast day and they still got a hint of the full effect.

It looks super-bright in the photo, though. I blame my contrast layers.

– – – – –

Foraging: tried out Amy’s Bread at the Chelsea Market on 9th Ave between 15th and 16th streets. For a place with such an underwhelming name, it’s surprisingly good. I had some kind of Tuscan salami sandwich, which was sized just well enough that I could have half of it for lunch and save the other half for dinner.

Also tried out the bubble tea at Miro Cafe on Broadway, just south of Houston St. (I told you, I have an uncontrollable bubble tea problem.) Their tapioca isn’t nearly sweet enough (or sweet at all), but it has a good consistency and the tea is decently fragrant. And I think it’s green tea, not black, as is more common, but I could be wrong.

I even tried some bubble tea from Chai Time in Flushing, and I think it may be my favorite bubble tea out of all the teas I’ve tried this summer in New York. Unsurprisingly so. Flushing contains what they call “New Chinatown,” I think?

– – – – –

In other news: I’ve started reading Anna Karenina at work during my downtime (I say started; I’m really halfway done). And it is bleak. I’ve never been entirely at ease with the concept of  marriage  — mostly because I’ve seen so many examples of partnerships that don’t work, and of pieces of literature in which they’re dashed to pieces — and Tolstoy is absolutely not helping.

Lately I’ve also finished Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (profoundly uncomfortable in a somber, dignified way, as only the British can manage), Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and short story collection Drown, and Julian Barnes’s gorgeous, elegantly restrained The Sense of an Ending, about the disconnect between what we think people are and the facts they keep from us — the ones we can never fully understand.

Still working on Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. It is, unsurprisingly, still too trippy for me.

– – – – –

Currently on heavy rotation: “Drive By” by Train, which I admittedly used to think was a jingle for some kind of life insurance company whenever I heard it on the radio in stores. No joke. I legit thought it was for insurance. (“Oh, I swear to you: I’ll be there for you; this is not a drive by,” etc. It makes sense! I guess I just never picked up on the rest of the lyrics.)

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