Saturday turned into a busy day, filled with at least one first.
I headed into New York to see my friend Marc for the first time in two and a half years. Marc moved to Poland several years ago to teach English, and he hasn't been back in quite awhile. On one of his last day's in the US, we were able to get together, but the Wild Lily Tea Room, where we were supposed to meet was closed for a private event. Boo. So instead we wound up at the a french cafe called Le Gamin on 9th Ave. We each had a very nice vat of cafe au lait and I had the nutella crepe as a snack. We talked for quite awhile, as you can imagine. Marc headed back to Poland today, but come September he will be in London for a year, getting a masters degree in linguistics.
Anyway, in the evening, I met up with Kate and Bart who joined me in New York to celebrate Pablo's birthday. We were supposed to hit Hasaki on East 9th Street, one of my favorite sushi places of all time, but by the time we got there - an hour wait. Curse you New York, and your late diners!
So we wound up at Cucina di Pesce, which is an Italian place on 4th Street and 2nd Ave. I used to frequent this neighborhood when I was in college and had a subscription to the New York Theater Workshop, but I haven't been to Cucina in about five years. Cucina was as solid and reasonably priced as ever, and we only had about a ten minute wait for a table. Plus, we got to sit in the back garden room under the giant skylight - lots of atmoshphere. The downside - the service was abyssmal.
We walked a couple of blocks south and made our way into Second on Second, which is a karaoke bar. Paul was already several sheets to the wind, but Kate and Bart did attempt to catch up to him. I have never sang at a karaoke place before - not even in a private room. So color me surprised that Bart was able to convince me to do a duet with him (I voted for "Gin & Juice," but Bartles chose "Build me up Buttercup.").
When it comes to our dearest friends' significant others, I feel it is only fair to hope for something simple - that our friend will choose someone who makes them happy, treats them well, and around whom they are themselves. I've had plenty of friends who dated jerks, plenty of friends who turned into someone else around a boyfriend or girlfriend. Kate, with her sense of humor and general quirkiness, would suddenly become demure and "normal" around the boy she dated before Bart. So I was always happy that Kate acted as crazy around Bart as she does around me, that he always has her back, and that they make each other happy. That is the base. If you happen to really like your friend's boyfriend on top of that? Gravy. So I consider myself emminently lucky that Bart is such a good friend of mine now. And that must be why I felt no shame bouncing around in front of a bar filled with strangers, howling "Why do you build me up, buttercup, baby just to let me down?!?!" alongside Bartles.
It was no Snoop D-O-Double G, but it was a pretty good preliminary outing int he karaoke world.