November 27th, 2011

Vacation recap

First off, the shows in descending order of preference:

1. War Horse, London. This is a truly amazing show, and while some of the emotional punches are very straightforward it's still quite powerful. The artistry of bringing the horses and other animals to life is phenomenal.
2. Book of Mormon, New York. This is everything that I expected it to be, and my expectations were high. It's hilarious, biting, edgy, and pretty much exactly what you would expect from the creators of South Park.
3. Driving Miss Daisy, London. Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones... 'nuff said?
4. Seminar, New York. Alan Rickman may have a type, but he does it well. I found the story compelling, and the other actors held up well. 3 and 4 are close, and it would be easy to flip them.
5. Broken Glass, London. It's a good play and was well-performed, but everything else just happened to be better.
6. Crazy For You, London. It was a fun little throwaway diversion, but that's what I expected. The show plays like a Gershwin jukebox musical.


Memorable food:

1. Daniel, New York. This was an all-around exquisite dining experience, as one would expect. The only negative I can think of is that the first amuse was beets three ways-- I don't know why the chef didn't read my mind and know that I'm not a fan of beets. (Still, two of the three were good.)
2. Colecchio & Sons, New York. Everything was excellent, but it was no Daniel.
3. Keen's Steak House, New York. It's a proper old-fashioned steak house, with a scotch collection that is to die for. I'm never allowed a wine list (and for good reason), so it's amusing to be in charge of the alcohol for a change.
4. Spice Market, New York. This was an excellent lunch, marred only by some desserts that didn't quite work as well as they could have.
5. Neal's Yard, London. It's the cheese shop of the gods. I walked with a style in mind, and before I said a word one of the cheesemongers offered me a taste of something-- it was exactly what I was thinking of. I swear he read my mind! I bought a couple of cheeses and some crackers, and turned this into a couple of meals.
6. Gastroarte, New York. Some things worked, some things didn't. I now know where Wylie Dufresne's failures go to die. To a large extent, this is a great illustration of how spoiled I am-- some of the food was excellent, but it couldn't hold up to the other excellent stuff I ate.
7. Watching a certain someone have lunch at a random crap Italian place near a theater. The wine (which was included with the lunch) made Two Buck Chuck look like quality goods.


Hotels:

The hotel in New York (Dream Downtown) was aggressively modern and gloriously funky. The room had large round porthole-style windows with a great view. The bath tub, sink, and toilet were chrome. The shower curtain was chain mail. The bar cabinet had a porthole, and a purple light illuminating the glassware. There were mirrors everywhere, and it seems that the Gideons couldn't be bothered to stop by. Only downside: the bed killed my back.

The Hotel in London (Radisson Edwardian Grafton) was quite nice, except that the room was quite small and the internet connection was flaky. Still, it was right on top of a tube station, and also on several bus lines that went exactly where I wanted to go. The latter fact turned out to be useful, since several tube lines were closed for the weekend. It was half an hour walk to theaters, and I did the walk a few times.


Fire alarms:

1. Hotel in NY, but it was a drill.
2. Hotel in London, at 1;30 a.m. I looked out the window and saw fire trucks and smoke just below my room, so I thought it was best to evacuate. It turned out to be Tesco's burglar alarm, which fills the store with smoke if it detects a break-in. Lovely.
3. Tate Modern, London. Just as I was about to leave, the fire alarm went off. Everyone evacuated.


Directions:

In the space of one hour, three different people stopped me on the street in London to ask for directions. All three got correct directions to their destinations. I don't know why, but this seems to happen to me all the time.


Zuccotti Park:

We walked down to the park. There were a few dozen protesters out there, and about that many police officers. The park was decked out in holiday lights, and save for the barricades, journalists, and cops it didn't look like the center of a political movement. http://yfrog.com/nx1fkjyj


Weather:

New York was mostly nice, save for a bit of annoying rain at the end. London was gorgeous! I spent the whole time in a light jacket. This is the first time I've been there in November when it wasn't utterly freezing.


Miscellany:

There's a new (maybe) Banksy in London. I was up way too early this morning, so I hopped over to take a look. Here's a picture.

It's not clear to me whether my life is perversely interesting or interestingly perverse.

We went to Brooklyn and survived the experience.

I randomly switch between tenses when I write, and I'm too lazy to fix it.

We went to a Charles Gatewood opening in New York. I only knew two people there-- Charles and my date-- but it still felt homey.

I seem to be developing a taste for arm warmers and leg warmers. I think this worries me.

My plane leaves in an hour-- I'm currently sitting in the Star Alliance Gold lounge at Heathrow. I can't wait to sleep in my own bed!