Feb 18, 2015

New York City!

Over NYC by Finijo

Years ago I posted a blog entry titled John Trent Kuykendall, because I was looking for a long lost friend. A few months back, I found him and was fortunate enough to have -an unused ticket that allowed me to fly business class to New York City for a reunion and a pretty fabulous weekend. 

Snit by Finijo

I managed to choose the coldest time of year for my trip. Not only the coldest time of year but the coldest it had been in 20 years, so our activities were somewhat limited. Braving the cold, we managed to do a few things on my list for this trip, and having the list unfinished, leaves the necessity for a return trip to do all of the things we did not get to.

Subway Escalator by Finijo

When I got to the apartment from JFK, we decided to grab a bite to eat and happened upon the TKTS booth with no line, allowing us to get tickets for the show I was dying to see, Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco Theater. It was fantastic, all the more so because David Cameron Mitchell was starring, even though he injured his leg and was in a full leg cast. He is brilliant in his hilarious show and he managed to work the injury into the show (he was attacked at a Dress Barn). It was an unforgettable performance. 

Down by Finijo

With a wind chill factor in the negative, I thought my face would freeze on the way back to John's place after the show, but managed to survive. We also got to have we got to have a conversation with an interesting couple on the subway and share some very interesting people watching.

 Ed Koch is Gay by Finijo

This was my first trip to New York City since 1978 and things have most definitely changed. The last time I visited NYC it looked pretty much just like it looks in The French Connection, dirty, dangerous, and bleak. Although I only got out to a few places, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Roosevelt Island, everywhere I went it was so much cleaner than I remember (with the exception of the snit piles which consisted of grey snow and trash). I think that in spite of all that transpired in NYC over the years, the city and the people have managed to make the city better than ever and also developed a sense of humor. 

Take That Poseur by Finijo

Because of the weather, we only ventured out during the day for the rest of the trip. We talked and caught up and watched so many movies I lost count. One of the movies was one of John's favorites, and it is now one of my favorites, too: The Normal Heart. I never knew Ed Koch was gay, which makes his inaction with regard to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 80's all the more sad, because it fostered an atmosphere that allowed the virus to spread unchecked and kill thousands of homosexual men in NYC. We laughed our asses off watching Bad Words and This is Where I Leave You. Jane Fonda is still amazing and Jason Batemen could read a cookbook and make me laugh. I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Hansel and Gretel much more than I expected, and the rest of the movies we binged on during the freezing nights in Brooklyn escape me at the moment. The delicious brownies John made are, alas, still with me.

View from Roosevelt Island by Finijo

Another outing that was on my bucket list was to take the tram to Roosevelt Island and have breakfast. This was totally worth braving the cold for, especially when it started snowing while we were on the island and we got to take the trip back in the snow. I got a pretty good video (albeit with some glitching) of the tram ride. Our breakfast at the Riverwalk Bar and Grill was delicious and our server (Teri) was awesome. I think we sat there for about 3 hours reminiscing and catching up on our lives over the last 20+ years. I don't think either of us realized it was Valentine's Day until Teri brought us each a little signed Valentine's Day card with Hello Kitty on it. 

Junior's Cafe in Brooklyn by Finijo

We ventured out for breakfast at Junior's, an old school deli cafe in Brooklyn for a great breakfast and more conversation. With the record low temperatures, we became very adept at bundling up before leaving the apartment, but we were still at the mercy of arctic wind gusts that sliced through the buildings and hit your face like the smiting hand of Mr. Freeze. I was surprised and very pleased that the street vendors still made it out every day that I was there, mainly because they all seemed to have a pretty good selection of scarves, ear muffs, and knit caps. Damn, it was cold!

Freedom Tower by Finijo

Coincidentally, my trip to NYC overlapped with my cousin Andy's work trip. We met up for a drink near Freedom Tower. He had just gone to the 9/11 Museum and I wanted to see Freedom Tower and the fountain, but knew I couldn't handle the museum. Andy did visit the museum and told me that I made the correct choice.
9/11 Drained Fountain by Finijo

I don't think I will ever want to visit it. I have been to the Holocaust Museum in Houston several times over the years, and while it moves me, there are several decades separating me from the events that brought so much misery to so much of the world. I am touched by the events profoundly, but there is a level of detachment for me that allows me to read about and view the relics of that era that I don't think will ever exist with 9/11. There is no detachment, only a wound that is very slowly healing as the years quickly pass since the event that changed everything.  I think the museum should exist and I think it will be necessary for understanding for generations not yet born. They will need what that museum offers to put the events in context with the lives they were born into. I do not have than need, or the desire to relive the impetus for what has evolved into more than 10 years of wasteful war. I see the result of that on a human scale in my job each day and it wounds me.

Brooklyn Statue  by Finijo

To end on a lighter note, I have to say that I can't wait to go back. The city has a bit of whimsy to it that didn't exist 35 years ago. The people were actually friendly and even the public art makes you smile. I loved getting to see my friend again after all these years and I have a laundry list of things for us to do when I return. I am not going to wait 20  years for our next reunion.

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