When we moved to New York we were threatened by the promise of many visitors, and we were warned by other New York friends that this would happen. Don’t you people know I moved to ESCAPE you?! I kid, I kid. I love to play tour guide, and whenever I would catch wind of friends or family or mere acquaintances coming into DC I would offer (read: beg to give) suggestions on things to see, do, and eat. I’m in a new city and am figuring these things out for myself, but have already discovered so many great things that I’m itching to share them.
Luckily I got to scratch when my parents came to visit a couple of weekends ago. This was your standard “New York 101” visit as my dad has never really done the tourist thing in the city. Not to mention, it was typical for my family in the sense that the women decided on everything and the men just sort of followed. Well, maybe it’s not typical just for my family. Is that not the way the world works? Case in point: we stood in the TKTS line and ended up with tickets to “Altar Boyz” on Saturday and spent a good chunk of time walking around the Bastille Day street fair on Sunday; basically three to four hours of our weekend were devoted to gay, and really, what middle-aged, American, white father isn’t into that? And I’m labeling the Bastille Day festivities as gay because the words “French” and “street fair” might as well be “drag show” and “ass-less chaps” to most middle-aged American fathers. Oh, and rewind, I’m sorry, did I say middle-aged? I meant SENIOR CITIZEN, because that’s what my father is, an AARP card carrying SENIOR CITIZEN and don’t you dare try to charge him full-price for anything because he is OLD.
Consistently, and in true Casey style, we couldn’t visit the Museum of Natural History/Rose Planetarium without calculating exactly how we could spend the least amount of money possible. I mean, obviously my dad with his huge old man discount was one thing, but, “hmm, well maybe we should just get a membership?” “Wait, is MOM considered a senior citizen?” “John and I both have student IDs on us – great!” “Can Kiki pass for under twelve? Maybe if she gets out of line they won’t question it.” All in all, we didn’t pay full price (SUCKERS!) but I’m sure wasted minutes, hours, potential YEARS of our lives weighing in on all the money saving potential in this situation.
All jokes aside though, I know my parents had a good time and I had a lot of fun showing off what we’ve been up to, showing them what a great area we live in, and how much we’re enjoying it.
John’s parents also came into town this past weekend, but it was a little different because both of them lived here for a period in the 70s. They’d been back to the city since then, but it was still nostalgic for them, remembering places they liked to go to and seeing how much everything has changed. And not to continue picking on dads, but why do men have such a hard time grasping the concept of change? I had to laugh because my dad recommending bars in DC that were cool 30 years ago? Happens all the time. Complete with absolute shock when met with “what the hell, that place closed like 25 years ago”! John’s dad did the same thing with New York establishments, so I guess it’s in the Y chromosome. They did introduce us to two things, however, that haven’t gone anywhere in a very, very long time.
The first was McSorley’s Old Ale House on the Lower East Side, which being established in 1854 makes it New York’s oldest pub. This place is unbelievably awesome, which is a word I hate using, but I really don’t know how else to describe it. This could very well be somewhere that just tourists go at this point, but I really don’t care. Two choices of beer, light or dark, and it’s a two for one special. Irish men in their 50s and 60s holding down the fort amongst posters of it’s most famous guests; you know, like Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt. Crowded, friendly, full of life, has stood the test of time, and Irish. Could you ask for anything more in a pub?
Secondly we made the trip out to Jones Beach. John and I have been very excited about the prospect of living near (well, under 3 hours) to a beach and were looking forward to testing out some of the closer options. I’ve read that basically everything besides the Hamptons is ghetto and to be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, I grew up going to Ocean City, MD, and a good ghetto beach is like Proust’s madeleine in my mind. Yes, there are people in Kmart bathing suits who aren’t speaking English. Yes, that old woman with the cottage cheese ass is wearing a thong. Yes, that morbidly obese child is being fed chicken tenders and hot dogs. Don’t expect Ina and Jeffrey Garten to show up with a pesto and peas pasta salad and a bottle of wine. But it’s a beach, and it’s relatively close, and it works for me.
In other news, tonight this woman attempted to cross the street when it wasn’t our turn and cars were turning towards us. This is commonplace, but the woman was almost run over and came back to the curb, turned to me and said, “typical New Yorker, can’t wait for the light”, and I just looked at her, gave her a confused, semi-disgusted look, and ignored her completely. She made a second attempt, but got spooked yet again and retreated back to our curb. “Pshaw”, I said to John. “Number one: if she were a REAL New Yorker, she wouldn’t have even talked to me. Number two: 57th runs east-west and the lights are different. Even I know that.”
Slowly but surely.