Fairytale of Queens

Weekend before last I hopped an e-saver to NYC to visit my brother. Most of us suspected he'd never leave NC, but most of us were wrong. Not only did he get out of dodge, he projectiled into what some might call center of the universe territory. I don't mean Queens (his burrough), but wander Time Square, and try to tell me the sheer volumes of people don't make you feel like you're smack dab in the middle of it all. Of course I've never been to Tokyo.

But I've always loved New York. Before moving to Chicago I briefly thought it would be my next home. Even this past weekend the long-lingering question of "could I move here?" persisted in the back of my mind. The answer is at once "yes" and "no." Yes because there's endless inspiration in its bustle, buildings, sass, style, fashion, food, people, and transport. Better yet, it's not landlocked! But no because I've grown accustomed to a lifestyle that I could not afford there. My Chicago apartment is small as it is and would likely cost 3 times as much in NYC. But oh how I do love the place. I generally feel pleasantly slackjawed while I'm there, soaking it all in, wringing a little out to make room for more, and repeat.

Although the original plan was to meet Gracie the Amazing there, stay with her roommate-free friend in Manhattan, and meet my brother out at night, fate's folly stepped in and foiled that idea. Not so amazingly this time, Gracie slept through her flight from Atlanta and never made it to the city, so arrangements had to be rearranged on the fly. No place does on the fly as well as NYC, which is exactly what makes it a place of fairytales. As sappily sad as I was to lose Grace's company, whipping up new plans was a breeze. Turned out my brother's roommate was out of town, and I actually scored my own room in Queens with a coveted window A/C (enter hallelujah chorus). So day one consisted of navigating the subway, sweating, wandering the streets of midtown and downtown, sweating, and meeting some new friends for a Cuban dinner. Later that night we grabbed drinks with old friends and caught up until the wee hours of the morning. With that kind of night mostly behind this recovering nightowl, it was Sunday morning coming down, but only in body. My spirits were good, and it was a welcomed lazy day.

When I finally stirred Sunday evening I found myself absolutely famished. With brother still sleeping it off, for the first time ever, I took me, myself and I to a cute little restaurant around the corner from my brother's abode, called Stove. There I happily enjoyed a delectable feast of warm beet salad, sole wrapped crab, and a few bites of bread pudding that I couldn't resist despite my one-week foray into the world of no sugar/no carbs. For Sleeping Beauty back on the ranch I also ordered a Chicken Kiev to go... The food and atmosphere left me rejuvenated and relaxed, and even though I didn't see more NYC sites that day, I felt completely satisfied. Company is splendid, but there's something liberating about spending a day all by yourself in a foreign city.

The next day, United predictably canceled my crack of dawn flight from LaGuardia back to Chicago. I was forced to instead detour through Newark later that day, which gave me the added benefits of seeing more of the city via bus and unintentionally missing a day at the office. Fairytale, indeed.

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