This past Saturday was my 26th birthday and my first birthday as a New Yorker. A Saturday birthday is always nice for obvious reasons, but one that falls on a three day weekend is an extra-special, controversial perk. Thank you, Christopher Columbus. John and I are very good at weekends; we feel incredibly guilty lazing around on a nice day and so we always try to make the most of it. Because of this, a “birthday” Saturday probably doesn’t differ much from any other given Saturday, not to mention the world revolves around me (well, at least this house does) it’s hard to think of much more that could possibly be done to celebrate, but John managed to shake things up a bit.
The morning started with flowers, and instead of our usual fancy weekend breakfast of lé Honey Bunches of Oats, we went to a soccer pub near our apartment to watch Germany play Russia in a World Cup qualifier. I love watching soccer, especially when it’s related to the World Cup, so this was a fun way to start the day. It probably seems that I have adopted the German team as my own, and maybe even soccer itself, because of German John. This is partially true, because I would not have a reason to cheer for them without him, but I think I definitely get into the games more than he does. Unlike Germans, I am very easily excitable and therefore an excellent fan. Plus, they’re just a likable team because they’re remarkably polite, sportsman-like players who aren’t drama queens. Plus, hello, reason 1, reason 2, reason 3, reason 4, reason 5. Who knew German guys were so hot? Did they ever teach you that in high school? Me neither. Oh well, take heed ladies. The game started at 11am, so we had brunch at the pub ($12 got us entrées and two drinks each!) and watched Germany beat Russia 1-0, qualifying for South Africa in 2010. There may or may not have been talk of us qualifying to go there as well . . .
We came home where I got my second gift of the day (flowers being #1) – tickets to see Bye Bye Birdie on Broadway! We haven’t been to a Broadway show since we’ve moved here and I’ve been dying to go. I’m so excited to see this one as I love the big musical revival productions where I know all the words, and I’m sure it will be a really fun show to see. With my incessant “Put on a Happy Face” renditions, John is already regretting this gift.
Next off, we headed to SoHo to go to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex. I have the apparent good fortune to have been born the day after John Lennon, and in his honor the museum (which is normally $25) was free! There’s currently a special exhibit called “John Lennon: The New York City Years” that I’ve been meaning to get to. I feel like I have a cosmic connection to John Lennon. He’s one of those artists that I just “get” and feel like his music really speaks to a person with my kind of sensibility and brain. I don’t know how I feel about astrology, but it’s sort of a weird coincidence that so many artists that I love and admire and “get” happen to be fellow Libras. Hmm. Anyway, enough of my kookiness, the museum was great! I can’t imagine what the real deal is like in Cleveland! As you start the self-guided audio tour they show a “history of rock ‘n roll” film and I am a huge sucker for a good montage. I loved it. The John Lennon exhibit was interesting and nicely done. His solo career is obviously my favorite of all The Beatles, and he wrote some of his best songs right here in New York. In a few videos he talked about his love for Central Park and the all of the distinct neighborhoods here, and it just made me so happy to hear someone I admire so much talk so lovingly about the city I am living in and have dreamt of living in for so long – and on my birthday! It sort of felt like an affirmation that this is where I’m supposed to be, and it sounds like he had a similar experience when he moved here. It was the perfect way to spend the day.
As we were walking to the subway to head back uptown, we decided to pay a quick visit to Rice to Riches. So conveniently located right by the station, how could we resist? This meant that the first birthday dessert was mascarpone rice pudding with dried cherries. Mmm.
Before we headed to dinner, John gave me yet another gift – a “gift certificate” for a pet! We’re still deciding whether or not we’re staying in this current apartment, so as soon as we get that straightened out we’ll be the proud parents of a dog or cat (probably a cat as we’re too busy/unpredictable for puppy-wrangling at the moment), but I can’t wait to head over to the ASPCA and adopt a sweet friend! We already have a ton of ideas for names.
Finally we headed to dinner on the Lower East Side at my favorite restaurant _______. I love this place and I don’t want anyone to know about it because I don’t want everyone to go there because I already like the people who go there so I’m not going to tell you what it is!
Oh wait. No one reads my blog.
Ok, so John took me to my favorite restaurant, Via Della Pace, on the LES. The first time we went here there was some sort of party going on and the Italian bartender/owner/manager was completely out of control – it was hilarious. He was up on the bar, passing out limoncello, and everyone was singing. The majority of the crowd was legit Italian, and the cozy, sophisticated atmosphere made me feel like I was living la vita bella in Roma. The same guy is there every weekend, playing a muted, subtitled Fellini movie and manning the playlist of Hotel Costes-sounding or Italian rap tunes with his personal iPod. It’s just a blast. We had never eaten there and were pleasantly surprised by how delicious the food was and how reasonable the prices were. We started with a bruscetta with prosciutto, tomatoes, and shaved parmesan and an appetizer of bresaola, gorgonzola cheese, pears, and honey. Unreal. I had a baked rigatoni dish and John had the salmon and we happily skipped back and forth between Pinot Noir and a Sangiovese, and ended with my birthday cake of apple strudel and ice cream. It was a great gift to spend the evening at one of our “special” places in our new city.
We came home, watched my favorite movie Charade, and I got one more gift: a certificate to get SCUBA certified! This is a great gift in itself, but it also means that soon we will have to go on a trip or else the gift is totally pointless, and I don’t think John wants that resting on his shoulders. DO YOU, JOHN? So perhaps next year we’ll be heading to South Africa for the World Cup, a safari, AND a dive trip! Ahem.
So I apologize that this was very longwinded, but we managed to squeeze a lot into the 10th and I don’t want to forget any of it. It was a great day, and even though I’m totally freaked out that I’m already 26, I think it’s going to be a great year.