Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunday Top 10: The New York Experience

My Little Brother Lewis has spent the weekend in New York City, which is where I live. He came all the way from New Orleans (YEAH, that New Orleans. Uh-huh. The one with the weather and the rain and the high winds? Yup. Yeah. Fo' real. Yes, he still lives there, yup, he lived there then, too, etc.) I'm not a great hostess because I dislike crowds, other people, and overpriced drinks (well, I dislike the first overpriced drink. After that, it gets easier and easier), but I'm trying my best to provide a New York Experience, e.g. saying "This is the WORLD FAMOUS New York City subway" every time we get on the train.

I'd like to share some tips with you, my readers, on how to give your out-of-town guests an authentic slice of the Big Apple, and how to keep your charges awake in the city that never sleeps.


SUNDAY TOP TEN: HOW TO PROVIDE VISITORS WITH THE ULTIMATE NEW YORK CITY EXPERIENCE! YEAH THAT'S RIGHT I SAID ULTIMATE!


10. SHOW YOUR GUEST SOME ART. ART IS FOR THE PEOPLE.
Take them to Target Free Friday nights at the MOMA. This will remind them of waiting in line for the Raptor at Cedar Point, except instead of being wedged between a 180-pound, 4-foot-5 sunburnt pre-adolescent eating a cotton candy puff bigger than his brain and a teenage couple necking and wearing matching air-brushed t-shirts that read "Class of 02," you will be traveling between a team of emaciated Williamsburg hipsters and a family of five Norwegians who are all a good foot taller than even you.

9. SHOW YOUR GUEST SOMETHING AVANT-GARDE. Makes Your Guest Feel so Existential and Stuff, Like Outside of my Body but Looking in?
Once inside, please direct him to the following art-works and please urge him to consider what these pieces of art have to say about; space, time, culture, life/death, the futility of love, the interconnectedness of all human persons, the evolution of thought, etc.:
-a large panel painted earth-green
-a wire tacked to the wall and then extended to the floor, where it is also tacked
-a square of dark blue tile set in the middle of a gallery, much like the flooring placed in the middle of an bloated living room in The Sims when you totally run out of money (you know what I mean if you play The Sims)

Side note: I love Rothko. I've bought many of his posters at the poster store. Whatever he does, I dig it. But this Marden guy? ... Look, I also believe that when people say "What is that? doodles? I could have done that." The answer is "No, but you DIDN'T do that. Which is why they are an artist and you work at Goldman Sachs/The Olive Garden." But sometimes--I mean--really. Seriously?



8. SHOW YOUR GUEST HOW FUN IT IS TO GO SHOPPING IN NEW YORK
It is always a good idea to go to major shopping areas on the weekend after Thanksgiving, and it is a good idea to bring your guest. This way, they can learn how to walk in the street, and how to employ a take-charge attitude. This will be very useful for those who live in The Big Easy.

This is Lewis, braving the masses of bargain-hungry shoppers, Saturday, in Soho.

7. SHOW YOUR GUEST HOW QUIRKY AND NEAT AND ALMOST-FAMOUS YOUR FRIENDS ARE, SORT OF
Have an Orphan Thanksgiving for which there is a lot of wine, a huge salad, three variations on the common potato, macaroni and cheese, marijuana, more wine, and no turkey. Invite a hodge-podge of friends who are in town, e.g: An art dealer, An Enterprener, An actress/singer and an actress/filmmaker/musician/roommate. It is best if some of these people know each other already, but not in the same way (perhaps) that you know them, and also if they each know random other members of your general web of friends. The more vague connections the better. Also make sure they are all good looking, like in movies. Here's what I'm talking about:


6. SHOW YOUR GUEST HOW FUCKING CROWDED EVERYTHING IS, ESPECIALLY MOVIES BY MASTERS OF WIT LIKE CHRISTOPHER GUEST
Take your guest to a movie for which you have to sit in the second row because all the other seats are taken. (Side note: when was the last time I saw a movie from anywhere but the second row? I mean, perhaps it's different, not seeing everyone's skin defects up close?) As the lights dim, a couple will enter the theater and a man will exclaim: "Why do they sell us 15 dollar tickets for a movie with no seats?" Good question, and the answer is: "This is New York, goddamit."

5. SHOW YOUR GUEST AUTHENTIC NEW YORK CUISINE.
Only in New York do bagels, pizza and hot dogs count as an authentic native dining experience. I didn't eat any of those things, but my guest sure did. In fact, I honestly didn't even know where to direct him to look for pizza, bagels, or hot dogs. However, if he had asked "where could I find a Snacks-4-life banana walnut cookie?" I woulda been like "Sit down, let me draw you a map."

4. SHOW YOUR GUEST HOW MESSY IT IS WITH EXES IN NEW YORK
Invite your now-married ex-boyfriend who is also now-a-police-officer to meet you and your brother and your brother's friend Liz for dinner. Because your ex has been trying to see you for like, months (and you have been refusing because you aren't the girl who sees married men anymore), he will be more than eager to meet you for dinner at Rosa Mexicano on his way somewhere else, which feels safe to you, but also guaranteed to be awkward. When there is a pause in the conversation, say something cute like : "Nice ring." You will realize you are--at last!--in the presence of a human person who used to take care of things and make decisions for you, and you will leap on this chance to make him pick what you should eat and then order it for you, which you recall being safe back in the day but is apparently not safe any longer because it looks like animal and so you just eat the tortilla itself, leaving all the chicken on the plate and making the margarita-to-food ratio approximately 4-1.

3. SHOW YOUR GUEST THE REAL SOUL OF NEW YORK CITY: NYC'S FINEST, ETC
Nag your ex-the-cop to tell 'the one about the guy who went through police academy and then as soon as he graduated and got his gun he shot himself in the head' and "the one about the girl who got an abortion and brought her fetus to class to prove she had a legitimate absence" until he chuckles nervously and suggests that perhaps you ought to tell the stories yourself because you know them so well.

(Pray your ex still doesn't know how to use the internet and does not read this blog).

2. SHOW YOUR GUEST THE JOYS OF "WEATHER" IN NEW YORK CITY
I had a particular challenge as my guest is from NOLA, home of the Legendary Hurricane Katrina. But still, it's always fun to try to catch a cab in NYC during a torrential downpour. TORRENTIAL. The kind of rain where opening your umbrella is like throwing a fetus into a windstorm. It's cute also if you make gestures to Mary (who is catching the cab for you because she has more moxie than you) to thrust her body in front of a cab in order to demand the proper amount of attention. Without putting her life at risk, she will succeed, because she is fearless.

1. SHOW YOUR GUEST HOW GRITTY NEW YORK STILL IS, REALLY, DESPITE THAT BATH AND BODY WORKS ON THE CORNER

Me: 'This is Washington Square Park. You know, like from the movie Kids? This used to be where people could buy crack. You can't buy crack here anymore.'
Drug Dealer (to you and your brother): I got herb, I got herb, want some pot, got some herb--

(a few steps later)

Me: I smell pot.
Your Guest: Yeah, that's definitely what that is.

In conclusion...
I've tried to cover all the authentic bases, though unfortunately we did not have time for the following authentic NYC experiences:
-Taking the Q train to Queens, accidentally
-Trying to get to Brooklyn on a weekend when the L is down
-Taking a train late at night where it's just you and the crazy guy with straws in his ears, who is performing an interpretive dance with small Duane Reade bags functioning as the other characters
-Waiting in line for brunch at Sarabeth's on a freezing cold Sunday morning


There's always next time!

14 comments:

haviland said...

The NY experience from a real NYer (who doesn't do NYish things...) is really the best. I do love it when people say, "do we get to ride the SUBWAY???" as if it's saying, "do we get to ride in a LIMO?" Of course what they don't understand is that for a NYer, we miss cars so much...the thought of getting into any automobile that isn't yellow or black and charges you, like, $3 per half a mile or whatever, is exciting.

I have to get a car soon, seriously.

marie lyn bernard said...

Hav if you get a car, the car might need it's own blog. Because the places it will go....

Anonymous said...

did you know that rothko ended up killing himself? you should become a moma member if you haven't already.you can take guests for 5 bucks and you get in free. a good way to tire the out of towners out.

marie lyn bernard said...

or you, dear anonymous, could just take me as your guest!

marie lyn bernard said...

p.s. i didn't know that rothko killed himself. gawd, all my favorite artists kill themselves. kurt cobain, elliot smith....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, even more sad, is among the main reasons that Rothko killed himself was because people were buying his paintings and not keeping them together as a group as intended.

Book Cannibal said...

Good stuff, except the Q train don't go to Queens. Really, I've tried. You can accidentally take it to Coney Island though, which is a great accidental vacation destination when you arrive at 6:30 in the morning after being passed out on it all night. I've heard.

marie lyn bernard said...

I am Rothko-esque suicidal upon realizing I didn't put a site-meter on my new template (just fixed that), which leads me to wonder...if your blog is on gawker and you have no site meter to record the traffic, did it make a sound?

BC: Yeah, that would make too much sense for the MTA. Q going to Queens? Ha. Interesting rumor about Coney Island for the hangover. Luckily I got a ride home last night.

steph said...

look, queens isnt that bad. it has AMAZING thrift stores. so i have all these neato clothes to play dress up in. and i can live there and feel like a celebrity in hiding.. um. so queens is good if you* like to dress up and pretend to go out.. then change into something else and pretend to go out wearing that.. then you can really go out to a sketch bar in your retro lace nightie you are pretending is a dress and pretend to be way famous, and when some queens hick drags you to bed by your hair, you can just pretend hes a fan of yours and you are paying him back for his years of devotion.
*please notice i switched from first person to second personal plural, because i would never do such things.

marie lyn bernard said...

my princess,

queens is not bad, that is for sure true. i trust that you like it, and cameron lives in my favorite hood (chelsea) and still misses queens, which is a supreme endorsement.
the thing that is bad is that you end up in queens when you are trying to go to midtown, or brooklyn, or something, because that just seems to be what happens. i think.
maybe i should put on a frilly nightgown and check it out some time. I hear there's a twin matress with my name on it!

your serf,
han solo

steph said...

swoon!

Velvet Sea said...

any NYC trip is not fully authenticated until you've had a discussion about which combination of trains to take from one place to another that takes longer than the actual train ride itself.

marie lyn bernard said...

You are so right.!

I'd say that we did take care of that on his last day when he was going to stay with a friend who lived "in New York" but by that he really meant "in Bay Ridge" and there's no conversation we could ever have that could ever take longer than I imagine it took him to get to Bay Ridge. I live in West Harlem, so you can just imagine.

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