Sat. Sept. 8, 2012:
I woke up relatively early despite the fact that 1.) the previous day’s exhaustion and 2.) I did not sleep all night, just tossing and turning pierced by horn honking and sirens. With my Dunkin’ Donuts fix in-hand we walked to Magnolia Bakery. The streets were a lot less crowded because the commuters were not in town, it was the weekend. I made a beeline for the cupcakes, no time to dillydally looking at inferior baked goods. We split a lemon coconut cupcake and a chocolate cupcake with boiled icing. The lemon cupcake had lemon custard in the centre, but it was no match for the boiled icing. It was amazing! The cupcake itself was not as good as the Georgetown cupcake, not as creamy and soft. They were setting up for a parade, but it looked like Mother Nature was going to rain on their parade and by that token us. It started slowly and then it was just pouring rain. What else could we do, we kept walking.
We arrived at Dylan’s Candy Bar soaking wet. The candy selection was quite good; it would have to be for there are three floors. We had Chewy Runs, a Rocky Road Bar (marshmallow goo with cashews all covered in chocolate) and a chocolate covered marshmallow blob with a salted caramel centre. The third one was essentially a Viva Puff cookie without the cookie base, Brent hates Viva Puff cookies yet he ate up that little chocolate.
The rain stopped for all of 5 seconds, just enough time to give us a false sense of hope. Drenched and dripping we hid out in the Frick Collection Museum for a bit. This museum is run by geniuses: the admission is only allowed for kids older than 10! Subsequently we were not bothered by screaming children; we could look at fine paintings by the likes of Renoir and Turner in peace and quiet while people stared at us as we left puddles everywhere.
When we got back outside the rain had stopped, for real this time. We took the break in the weather as a chance to go to the Central Park Zoo (had originally been planned for later in the day). Also the Frick Collection was a lot smaller and had taken less time than anticipated. Soaking wet and freezing cold we made our way through Central Park, eating chewy runts. Well trying to, I kept getting banana ones and having to forfeit them to Brent and keep digging in the bag for non-gross ones. We found the Zoo using a map of the park on a lamp post.
Here is where my illusions of the Central Park Zoo as formed by the movie Madagascar got shattered. One by one it all fell apart. First: you had to pay admission to get in! Second: there was no Senior’s Day listed. Thirdly: there were no lions, giraffes, hippos or zebras. There were some penguins, but they smelled to high heavens and had no interest in stealing spoons. There were monkeys, but not the newspaper-reading-coffee-drinking kind. And still, I loved it, except for the sad and depressing polar bear: he would swim back and forth, eyes closed, he knew the route. And he just did that, back and forth back and forth, over and over. We headed back north through the Park, stopping at Bethseda Fountain on our way to get lunch. We were voraciously hungry as we had spent the whole morning walking and had eaten nothing more than sugary goodness.
First we went to Lansky’s Deli because it was closer, but the line was to the door and we had no intention of standing in line waiting for food. Off to Gray’s Papaya for hot dogs! The place had a great set up: all they sold were hot dogs and fruit juice, and there were really only three things you could have on your hot dog making for fast and efficient service. The hot dog was delicious, which was helped by the fact that I did not get sauerkraut on it. Satiated we headed to the American Museum of Natural History. We got lost along the way, taking a dead end to what we thought was an entrance, then trying to enter through a side entrance that just led to the planetary exhibit. Eventually we made our way to the grand front entrance. There was a giant line-up of people at the admissions windows, but no line-up at all near the self-serve kiosks. It is crazy how many people were just standing in line.
There was so much stuff to see in the museum, we spent over three hours walking around, our backs and legs were hurting, we were hungry again- but we saw it all. It was great; we got to touch fossils, multiple fossils and not just a little sliver of a tiny piece of it. There was a confusing display about the size of stuff in space compared to the size of other stuff, and eventually we figured out how to get to the lower level of the display and it was so crappy down there. There were broken scales that would have told you how much you would weigh on other planets.
We headed back to Lansky’s and fortunately there was no line-up this time, we were seated right away. I had to order the motza ball soup, out of curiosity’s sale. Alas I also wanted a knish but was told they were all sold out. So I just stole some of Brent’s fries. I attempted to bite his triple-decker sandwich but it took multiple bites to get everything in one mouthful. The soup was delicious, the motza balls were just bland and weird and oversized chunks of bread-like stuff. The service there was slow, which on any other day would have been fine. But we were glued to the TV as the U.S Open had been cancelled because a giant storm was heading our way. We wanted to get out of there quick. It did not matter, the rain got us anyways. We had made it maybe two blocks. We still had a good 20 blocks back to the hotel. It was really bad down near Times Square. There is nothing worse than being packed into a slow-moving space with rain-soaked people while street vendors try and sell you an umbrella: you are already drenched, what good is an umbrella now?!
Back at the hotel, in dry clothes, we headed down to the lower level; the elevator button said there were vending machines down there. It lied. There were just construction materials. We sat there watching Storage Wars, rain soaked and exhausted. A movie came on HBO that we had both heard critics rave about, so we started watching it. About half an hour in we were both confused and not enjoying it. As we were about to change the channel a new character was introduced and it got kind of interesting. Then it got dull again. In the end: we watched the entire damn thing. The cravings got the better of me and Brent went out to get candy and soda while I stayed behind waiting for the room service guy to bring us a bottle of wine. Brent had tweeted that he was staying at the hotel and for that they gave him a free bottle of wine. It took the guy forever to show up. And then we did not have a bottle opener. So I had to call again for room service, and again had to wait an inordinate amount of time.