Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Los Padres, la Ciudad

Looking back, I don't remember all that many times that I've spent one-on-one time with Mom and Dad. Practically none, I think, even in adult life. But they came into New York City for the weekend, so I got most of Saturday with them and also Sunday brunch. It taps into a subtle but still detectable sense of deferred attention-seeking from childhood, like it's nice not to have so many brothers around for once. No offense to anyone, obviously! Haha, you guys are all great too.

So I may not have been the specific attraction for the padres, who came in for a friend's Saturday night retirement party and also went to the marvelous West Side Story on Friday night. But! We did have a fine time together, heading to the ever-interesting Lower East Side Tenement Museum (following brunch at the first satisfactory restaurant we passed on Lafayette Street). In the afternoon we went into Williamsburg for the tour at the Brooklyn Brewery and a late pizza lunch at a place right by the subway stop called Fornino, where a window sign claims their pizza was voted best in the city in 2006. It's pretty good in 2010, too. The Brooklyn Brewery tour is a stationary affair, only involving one room. But you don't need too much of an excuse to hang out in their sunlit industrial space (previously a small steel plant and then a matzo ball factory) enjoying the warm air and that comforting new-beer smell. And the actual beer. And the presence of their invincibly calm brewery cat, hanging out atop a pallet of barley unbothered by the hundreds of human strangers in its midst.

Sunday morning we did brunch again: buckwheat crepes at Bar Breton in midtown, with Mandy along, since I'd crashed for the night with her & Tabitha up in Washington Heights.

So that is that. Parents, now back in the home suburbs, are no doubt enjoying their time with Mike now that he's back stateside for Chinese New Year month. Mike, for his part, must be totally used to the individual attention, being the youngest child and all. Lucky little bastard.

Rounding out the weekend: Saturday night, dinner at Havana Alma de Cuba on Christopher St. with college pals Kathleen (who was an '02-'03 Astoria roommate as well) and Andrea, and Andrea's husband Conrad, who's a chocolatier. Plantains! You need good plantains in your life. Sunday afternoon, solitary football watching at a Philly cheesesteak bar on 9th Ave. called Shorty's. (Pro: a small but good beer selection! Con: that one skinny and nasal-voiced Indianapolis Colts fan who won't shut up!) On the train ride home I had a pleasant conversation with the mother of my sophomore-year dorm RA. By coincidence, Bonnie (the RA) was seeing off her mother (Meryl) and they happened to wander into the car I was sitting in.

I'm looking forward to the continuing family time this winter: Mike on the east coast sometime before mid-February; Pete and the padres in Bradenton for Pirates spring training in March; Nate in NYC for Shostakovich's Nose at the Met Opera right after that.


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