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So, the trip to New York City… my first time, actually. I’ve been to a few large metropolises before: Detroit, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Orlando and Toronto to name them all. NYC is completely different from all of them and it starts with the ambiance.

Starting out in Times Square had to affect my perception dramatically, though. The overall feeling that spewed from the city wasn’t the common perception of impatience, snobbery or discourteousness, but one of surging energy. As Leah said, there is just so much to the city given that there are so many different sectors, each with its own life force. Time Square was bursting with this power because of the sheer vivacity (tactless extravagance) and curiosity (aimless tourists).

We also visited the rest of midtown, much of the upper East and West sides, downtown and even touched some of the NYU campus. Blast to the fact that I didn’t have my camera that night: there is a cube almost identical to the one on the UMich campus! The only difference is that theirs didn’t spin. As Leah and I noticed it and walked near, someone hopped out of the car at a red light. He scampered over the cube and tried to give it a push. He hopped back into his car and then gestured to his passenger that he knew of a cube that rotated. I yelled to him “The one in Ann Arbor spins, eh?” and he looked back, slightly bewildered and replied in the affirmative.

Since Leah had just turned twenty one the previous week, we hit a few bars during the trip. She had received a few suggestions from coworkers and with the power of Pocket Streets on my Pocket PC, we hunted them down. First problem: one of the bars was called Bowery. When I pulled a “Find Place…”, it found Bowery alright. It wasn’t until we were in the heart of Chinatown with no one around that I realized that it found a street called Bowery and had simply shown me the centermost location on that street. We used the Pocket PC to locate the nearest bar she had been recommended, headed in that direction, but ended up going to the closest bar we saw. It was called Pioneer and wasn’t too bad of a place.

It was only 11:30 PM and while the bars in Ann Arbor or Seattle would be full at that time, NYC bars are open until 4 AM and don’t seem to swell until 1:30 AM. There were about 25-35 people inside total, but you couldn’t tell by the noise level. The DJ was blaring a mix of old and new dance (pop mostly) though no one was dancing and everyone had to yell over the music to hear each other. Nonetheless, we had fun. A few (expensive) drinks later, our tongues were looser and we both learned something. Though I paid $7 for a shot, that wasn’t anywhere near as bad as $26 for a Woo Woo (vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice) and a Cosmopolitan when we saw Cabaret!

Cabaret was the first show we saw, but it did pale in comparison to Long Day’s Journey into the Night. Jon Secada as the MC? He can sing, but he cannot dance or act. The actress that played Sally (Melinda Karakaredes (sp?)) did more than an admirable job. I had seen the 1972 version of Cabaret with Liza Minelli, but I do believe that I fell asleep through part of it. I could follow the story well since I had seen the movie, even if I couldn’t understand some of the lyrics of some of the songs.

Long Day’s Journey into the Night was our first idea for the trip. It was closing weekend, Leah had heard nothing but good reviews and it had Brian Dennehey *and* Philip Seymour Hoffman! Even though those seem like bigger names to me, it was Vanessa Redgrave that stole the show. She had a much more difficult role to play and she absolutely sold it. It was a character piece, and thus I was a huge fan. Hoffman’s role seemed small and insignificant at first, but then the final scene changed all of that. Read the book or watch the movie to see what I mean.

The three museums we hit (Met, Whitney and Guggenheim) simply reinforced my ideas about art. If it does not show technical ability or is not visually appealing (very subjective), then it’s worthless. I still dislike watercolors and most modern art, still like primary colors, pale orange and brown against white and silver, Mondrian and Rotko, Meiji period Japanese art, geometric abstraction and period fusion (example: an series of WWII-style Japanese bombers in the shape of an infinity symbol over a burning current-day mid Manhattan done in the style of Edo period Japanese room screens using mother-of-pearl inlay and gold). I probably spent more time in museums in the past four days than I have in the past 10 years combined. No complaints.

Well, that’s it. Pictures to come.