On Friday morning, gnomi and I took the day off from work and heading down to New York City by Amtrak train. The main reason for this trip was to attend the party that my half-brother Danny and his wife Barbara were throwing in New York City to celebrate their recent wedding in Michigan. Since they had various friends and relatives who couldn't make it to Michigan, they decided a New York City party would be a good idea. As one of those who couldn't make it to the wedding, I'm very glad they had the second party.
Nomi and I decided to make a full weekend of the trip, so we took an early train that would get us into Manhattan in time for lunch. We met my high school friend David at My Most Favorite Food on 45th Street, and we enjoyed catching up with him over the fettuccine francais.
The next stop on our schedule was an unplanned one. While at the restaurant, I discovered that my pants zipper had broken, and my only other pants were in luggage that we had checked at Penn Station. So, at David's suggestion, we went to one of my most favorite clothing stores, the Brooks Brothers at 44th and Madison. I have a lot of fond memories of that store. It's where Mom first took me to get a blue blazer for college interviews, and it's where my uncle Robert bought me my tweed jacket as a gift. The clothing can be expensive, but, hey, we were in New York City for the first time in a while, and I needed pants. I ended up buying a pair of country club pleat-front refined twill dress trousers in navy blue, and if I may say so, I make them look good.
So after we said farewell to David, Nomi and I headed over to the Avenue of the Americas in order to meet popfiend for the first time.
That's right. We finally met popfiend.
|mabfan and popfiend
And in real life, he's exactly what he's like online: bubbly, friendly, warm, a real mensch. We thanked him for getting in touch when he realized we would be in his neighborhood Friday afternoon, because it gave us a chance to meet the man himself, the myth, the legend.
We also took a few minutes to visit dianora2, since she works in the same office building.
|mabfan and dia
(Those of you who know dianora2 will get it. For those of you who don't, trust me that she looks exactly like her picture.)
Nomi and I have an interesting story about how we first met dianora2, which involves two separate mailing lists, pop culture, and a Worldcon. But I'll tell it later.
So with an hour remaining before we had to head to Queens, we stopped at our haberdasher, Arnold Hatters, at 535 8th Avenue. Those of you who have seen me in one of my many colorful Kangol caps, or Nomi and me together in our Fedoras, should know that we get all our hats at Arnold Hatters. It's gotten to the point where the Rubin family, who owns the place, knows us very well even though we only stop in once a year or so. This time around, Peter Rubin spent half an hour with us while I tried on a bowler and a homburg, but neither of them looked right on me. In the end, I bought a few more caps and Nomi got a black beret.
Finally, Nomi and I took a cab to Queens and arrived at the home of sdelmonte and batyatoon, where we were spending shabbat. We got ourselves settled in and enjoyed a delicious shabbat dinner and plenty of fannish conversation before going to bed.
Although sdelmonte is a member of Congregation Etz Chaim, on many shabbat mornings he goes to the hashkama (early) minyan at Ahavas Yisroel, right across the street. This shabbat I joined him at the early minyan. I got the chamishi aliyah, and sdelmonte gave a very nice d'var Torah, concluding with the theme that one ought to remember to have compassion for the others around you who are undergoing the same stresses that you are as we get ready for the Pesach holiday.
We returned to the apartment to relax, and then we had lunch at the home of batyatoon's parents, who are most definitely our kind of people.
Back at the apartment, we napped, and then other friends came over to visit, including chaos_wrangler and G., and dragonbear82. I've decided that I need to win a $200 million lottery so I can buy a row of houses for all my friends in that neighborhood, so we can get together every week for gaming and conversation; that's how much fun we had that afternoon.
Shabbat eventually ended, and the other guests left. Nomi and I had brought the DVD of the movie "Enchanted" with us, and sdelmonte and batyatoon had not seen it yet, so we watched it with them. Then they enjoyed the hospitality of our Macintosh laptops while we went off to sleep.
Sunday morning we packed while our hosts began their Pesach cleaning, and then Nomi and I took a cab from Boulevard Taxi to the Danny and Barbara party. The part was held at the Skyview Kosher Deli in northern Riverdale. We finally got to meet Barbara, who is a lovely woman and obviously a perfect companion for Danny. We also met many of the people from Danny's life, and I saw a lot of family, including my brothers David and Jonathan, cousins Hillel and David, aunts Miriam and Debby, and too many others to mention.
(Oh, yeah, I also met a jovial Brooklyn ADA whose brother was the year ahead of me in high school and college. He was very funny when I asked him if he had ever heard of a show called Law & Order.)
I may say more about the party later; when it ended, an old friend of Danny's gave us a lift to the New Rochelle train station, where Nomi and I waited a few hours for our train to arrive. Fortunately, we were equipped with the season premiere of Doctor Who, the season finale of Torchwood, and the DVD set of Kidnapped. So we had plenty to keep us occupied until we finally arrived home at 11:30 pm last night.
This morning, we're both at work, and we're both exhausted. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get to sleep early tonight.
I'd like to end this post with a philosophical note. This is the first time we've been back to New York City since my brothers and I sold Mom's house, and it felt odd. Nomi and I want to continue taking vacations to New York City to see friends, but we're going to have to start relying on some of those friends to host us on those vacations. I feel blessed by knowing that whenever I've mentioned this concern, we've been flooded with offers. Thank you all.
[For gnomi's take on the weekend, click here.]