Friday, 15 February 2008

Of course there’s a catch

So my plan for this weekend, this lovely long 3day weekend for President's Day, is rest and relaxation. Apart from dinner with my friend Deesha on Saturday night I have nothing planned. I cannot wait.

Famous last words!!

Regular readers of this blog may recall that R&R was also the plan for LAST weekend except it didn't quite turn out that way owing to my last minute decision to join one of Rafael Risemberg’s Chelsea Gallery Tours that I enjoy so much. Rafael does a tour every two weeks alternating between a monthly "Best Exhibits" tour and a monthly tour focused on Gay & Lesbian artists, and last Saturday was the most recent 'Best Exhibits' tour where I happened to meet Bill and guess what....he asked me out and I went on a date with him on Sunday afternoon.

We had a nice time shuffling around New York for a while, despite sporadic blizzard-like weather conditions. It was so weird. It was sunny and a balmy 45F when I left the apartment to meet him at 3pm, so I didn't bother with the extra layer I usually have on me, or with a hat, because I was worried I would be too warm. I should have paid more attention to the weather forecast, because as soon as we arrived at Union Square and started walking over to the west village - what a surprise the 'L' train wasn't working again - the temperature had dropped significantly, the wind had whipped up and by the time we got to 8th Avenue it had started to lightly snow, so we scurried as quickly as possible over to Chelsea Market on 9th Avenue and 15th St to grab a coffee from the Ninth St Expresso - divine coffee, I only wish they would serve it hotter, although I'm scared to ask if they could just zap it in the microwave for 30seconds, I feel it would be offensive to them as artisans of the bean, especially as I once heard one of them laugh derisorily behind the back of a customer who had the nerve to ask for a macchiatto. "Where does he think he is," the hipster barista huffed, "Starbucks!!"

Fortunately this weekend's hipster barista girls were very nice, so Bill and I stood for a while chatting and sipping our mochas before venturing back out onto 9th Avenue to see how the weather looked. The snow had stopped, the wind was back to being more of a breeze than a gust, so we decided to risk a walk through the village, via Myers of Keswick as I had a yen for Heinz Tomato Soup - I'm a great date aren't I, I take my dates grocery shopping. Actually he was quite taken with Myers of Keswick and even happier when I treated him to a Crunchie. Americans, I've noted, seem to be particularly fond of Crunchies when it comes to British sweets, and Bill was no exception.

As we left Myers of Keswick the wind suddenly whipped up again and Bill pointed to the sky and marvelled at how fast the clouds were moving.

"Um, I don't think those are clouds", I said, "I think that's snooowwwaaaaaiieeeeeeeee!!"

That's the closest written approximation I can get to the kind of the noise I made as hundreds, nay thousands, of tiny snowflakes smacked me in the face. I started to really miss my hat at that point, but we both preferred to just continue walking around instead of popping in somewhere for another coffee so soon after our last one, so with an umbrella held against the wind we continued walking down Hudson and I pointed out the likes of the White Horse Tavern at Hudson and West 11th, the place where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death with 18 consecutive whiskies or something, before returning to The Chelsea Hotel to breath his last - I do like to woo my dates with grisly facts - and then made a left onto Leroy St where I pointed out number 10, which was used for the exterior shots of the Huxtable house for The Cosby Show, even though the Huxtables supposedly lived in Brooklyn, not the West Village.

Look familiar Cosby fans?

We trotted across Seventh Avenue and along Bedford st before heading down across Houston to SoHo, where we popped into Room & Board on Wooster to use the loos and shelter from the now very frigid temperatures. Although we were thankful that it had at least stopped snowing.

Tip for tourists: the best places for loos without queues in bustling SoHo are contemporary furniture stores. The second floor of Crate & Barrel - first floor to Brits - on Houston and Broadway and the second floor of Room & Board on Wooster between Prince and Spring are your best bets.

Bill was quite taken with Room & Board and we wandered around for a while admiring designer sofas and what not.
First date and we are already choosing furniture??? Moving a fraction too fast perhaps??? ;-)

As it turned out Bill is a big fan of architecture and design, and I quite like all that gubbins myself as a former wannabe architect – I studied architecture for a year before realising it was something I enjoy more as a hobby than as a potential career and switched to do a Maths degree. Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm a pointy head - so we spent a good while pottering around all the great designy places in SoHo including a visit to admire the fabulous ribbon like stairs in the Longchamp store at 132 Spring St.
Eh Voila!! I did French as well as Maths, note my command of the language ;-)

Amazing aren't they? They were designed by London based architect Thomas Heatherwick. He designed the whole store in fact, but I do love the ribbon effect of the stairs. You can see more of Heatherwick's work here.

After pottering around SoHo we headed up to NoLiTa for a nosy around, but most of the shops were closed, it had started to snow again and we were getting hungry, so we started looking for places to eat, ending up at Quartino, a fabulous organic Italian place on Bleeker at the north end of Elizabeth St. The only problem was that neither of us noticed it was cash only and when it came time to pay the bill neither of us had enough cash on us. Uh-oh!!

Bill, kindly volunteered to brave the cold and dash to the Chase ATM the waitress told us was around the corner on The Bowery while I stayed with our bags. The cash only thing seemed to be a bit of a problem for this restaurant as the women sat next to us had the same issue and shortly after Bill left to visit the ATM one of the women followed suit.

After 5minutes, she returned and the women paid the bill and left the restaurant. Bill still hadn't showed. Another 10minutes went by and I started to wonder whether he'd run out on the check. The waitress also seemed to think the same thing as she kept giving me concerned looks and making jokes about him being lost. I was worried, but then I still had his bag with me and he didn't seem the type. I sent him a text message asking if he was lost.

No response.


Two minutes later he stumbled through the door smiling sheepishly.


"The bank was closed" he said, “I had to go up to the Wholefoods to get cash”

"Did you try your card in the slot by the door", the waitress asked

", I just tried the door. It was locked"

"Yes, you have to swipe your card to unlock it" she laughed.

"Oh!! Hmmm. We don’t have that in North Carolina" said Bill

...and there's the catch kids, I had a very nice day out with Bill, but he's not of these parts, he was just here for the weekend visiting a friend.

It was fun for the 5.5hours it lasted!!


Dylan said...

So you pointed out number 5 Leroy Street, but then took a picture of number 10?!

Previously you dated a guy who wants to move back to Israel, now you've gone on a date with a bloke from North Carolina...any chance you've got vague commitment issues, given that you're clearly taken with people from a long way away?!

Have a good Presidents Day weekend!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Commitment issues????

Oooh someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!! I can't help who I meet or who asks me out.

I shall sort the Cosby photo pronto, thanks for pointing it out.

Dylan said...

Sorry, I was teasing you. I'm going to have to stop teasing in this country - people take me far too seriously!

*Brit Out Of Water wanders sheepishly back to Humo(u)r School*

fishwithoutbicycle said...

No worries Dylan, tone is tricky to discern when it's not a face to face interaction.

Cosby house is #10. I must have had 5 on the brain for some reason. Enjoy the long weekend.

Dylan said...

To be honest, I tease The Special One face-to-face and she doesn't get that I'm teasing her either! I may have to face up to the fact that I'm not as funny as I am in my head...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Dylan I'm sure you have your moments :-) I think the commitment phobic thing is a sore point with me at the moment as an acquaintance made that assumption recently, but I don't think I am at all. I was seriously considering moving to Israel for Tel Aviv, he just didn't want to take the risk. I think North Carolina bloke is also a southern homebody. I need to find me a New Yorker - native or otherwise.

Dylan said...

Mr Right will come along when you least expect it. I can't say I was expecting to find true love on a short trip to see some friends one Thanksgiving, but it's funny how things work out...

Keep the faith - that bicycle will be delivered soon, I'm sure.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Cheers Dylan :-)

Amel's Realm said...

NOOOOWWWWWWW I know why you're so into art and design he he he he...;-D

And I used to LOVE the Cosby Show. I grew up watching it.

And LOLLLLLL about the thing with the ATM. Since I moved to Finland, I almost never use any cash except when I go to the flea markets.

Btw, I also don't think that you have a commitment problem based on what I've read about you so far. :-))))

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, actually this type of thing never usually happens on art tours.

It was funny about the ATM, as the minutes passed by I seriously thought Bill had run out on the check. However it wasn't as if it was a huge amount, so I wasn't too worried about being unable to pay it.

Thanks on the commitment thing. I'm glad to have your support on this one :-)

Agnes Mildew said...

Oh! That was an anti-climax - I was getting all excited for you, hoping that Bill was Mr Right. What a shame he is from another state. Then again, at least you had what sounds a really fantastic afternoon out.
And gosh, what a clever person you are, eh? A Maths degree!! What on earth led you to marketing? Then again, my degree was in Speech Therapy and I ended up in marketing, too. What's wrong with us?

airheadgenius said...

I cannot stand that Bill lives in NC! I was debating between wide brimmed or one of those modern attach-with-hair-clip jobs (for hat at wedding) as it's been my experience that inclement weather dates tend to lead to something meaningful. Ah well...

Sister Sassy said...

looked like fun! And the cosby house, great!!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Agnes, Bill and I exchanged information, and he plans to visit New York again in a few months, so you never now, but my expectations are low.

So not THAT clever, but I do still dabble in maths, as I work as a statistical consultant supporting marketing.

Hey Genius, well don't disgard the hat idea just yet. We are keeping in touch so you never know. From your photo I'd say you'd suit a clip on type thingy in your hair, it would be very chic!!

Hey Sassy, it was a lovely day. Bill was easy company. Have a great weekend.

Kitty said...

I love Room and Board. The showroom is relatively new. Also check out Mitchell Gold on Lafayette, in the new wavy grey building, opposite the triangular park. Both stores feature nice modernish not run-of-the-mill stuff that everyone seems to have.

I'm glad you went on the date. It's good to get up on the horse again, no?

I love, love, love Soho. I cannot get enough of it. It's just a wee too expensive and filled with tourists sometimes.

happy three-day weekend, Fish!

Flowers On A Friday said...

bugger! what a shame he's a stranger to your parts (no sniggering, please!). sounds like you had a lot of fun. any chance he'll be ny side on a regular basis?

the ribbon stairs looked incredible! what a wonderful idea. there are certainly some talented people on this fine planets of ours, aren't there?

your post has started me thinking about food and what i miss from blighty: got to be salt and vinegar crisps, cajun spice (i know it's not english but i can't get it in poland) and...real ale. i can't help it. going to uni bristol turned me down the old man path of liking real ale over lager.

have a good week, fish :)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, R&B is great isn't it. After our trip last weekend I've been salivating over their catalog again. I'd never heard of it until a colleague mentioned it to me a year of 2 ago and since then I've been hooked. Thanks for the tip on Mitchell Gold, I shall have to check it out. I also love the John Derian store in the East Village.

Yes, it was good to go on a date again, especially as it was such a good one. I'm not quite ready to throw myself into internet dating as it seems you have to endure a lot of bad dates, although I know it worked out well for you, but I'm open to offers :-)

I love SoHo too, but if I have to do any actual shopping I go as soon as the shops are open to avoid the crowds. It drives me crazy when it's busy and I have to shop, I can only deal with the bustle when I'm not under pressure. Have a good one.

Hey Flowers, he plans to return to NY in a few months, so you never know, we've exchanged information, but I have low expectations. It was fun while it lasted.

Do you have a Myers of Keswick equivalent in Poland for the British ex-pats? It's great, they carry Salt & Vinegar crisps, Monster Munch, Skips, Hula Hoops, a good selection of Brit sweets, treacle pudding, Ribena and Tizer and best of all....British bacon. Mmmmmmmmmmm!!!

Blur Ting said...

Ooohhh! That sounds like a lovely date!! ;-)
The first few dates usually have their charms. Makes me reminisce about my own first dates :-)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Blur Ting, it was a lovely date. It's a shame he's not local :-)

Flowers On A Friday said...

fish, you're killing me! i have no access to any of that gorgeous food...and now i can't stop thinking about it.

covent garden chicken soup is another great one!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Sorry Flowers, maybe it's a budding business opportunity for you.

At least you can find recipes for Covent Garden soups. I made my own Carrot & Coriander. It was pretty good.

thewishfulwriter said...

Aw, I alreday love Bill.

And he's from NC...which makes me love him even more.

How cute is it that he was running all over town to get cash. :)

Those ribbon stairs are amazing. We dont' have nuthin' like that here in my parts of Virginia.

And I'm jealous of the snow. It's 72 degrees here today. WHAT THE HELL? February is when we normally get most of our snow days. I'm crushed.

And this might possible be the most random comment I've ever left....

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Heather, yeah Bill was a sweetie, I have fond memories of last Sunday.

We didn't get proper snow yet either as it didn't settle last week. It's 61F in NYC today.

Bangs and a Bun said...

As you are the only other British blogger I have come across (yeah, I'm fairly new to this whole thing), I have to give you a high five a) for use of the word 'loos' and b) for saying maths, not math. Hurra! I find that people don't know what the hell I'm talking about when I say 'loo'.

Anyway, sound like it was a nice date regardless.

I linked to you - hope you don't mind.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Bangs and A Bun, thanks for linking to me, I'm flattered, I really enjoy your blog. I have a brief list of other ex-pat Brit bloggers in North America on the left side nav if you want to check them out too.

I try my best to maintain my Brit ways, I listen to Radio1 a lot which helps ;-)

sid said...

You went on a date? Sweet. Too bad he doesn't live in NY ...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Sid, yes I had a date, a good one too, so it is too bad he's not in NY. Ah well.