Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer Visitors -- 2008

Summer always brings a wonderful influx of visitors to NYC. Our first round of visitors this spring were Ian and Kim, visiting from LA for the weekend. They won the award for "Amazingly Agreeable Visitors," sharing our interests and tastes throughout the city; they were a blast to have and easy to please. We took them to the enjoy the intensity of Fuerzabruta, my favorite "show" in NYC, to experience some amazing sushi and sake at the underground sake den, to eat hot-dogs, and sandos along the way and hit up some crazy bars around town. Overall, it was a blast to have them.

A couple of weeks back, my parents also dropped by NYC for a week-long visit en route to California from Newfoundland and Boston. Mom and Dad, the happy, traveling, "country mice" (mom's words), arrived in NYC on a Monday after 3-solid weeks on the road. After settling in, to their priced-just-right accommodation they surveyed their new Upper West Side neighborhood. After multiple visits to NYC throughout their lives, including yearly visits since I arrived here, they have a great comfort level with the city and all it holds. Which, as a host in a city, gives you great comfort for your guests but also presents you with a problem. What new things and experiences can you introduce to them on their trip?

Throughout the year, in between my parents visits, my daily adventures in this city reveal so may cultures, ambiances, experiences and opportunities I want to share with them. So, I tend do I say this, "over plan" many of their trips. I never thought of myself as a "planner" until my parents started visiting 4-years ago. Now I'm the go to resource for many of friends who have heard of my "famous" 10-day itineraries sure to exhaust any reasonable human being. Before this last trip began, I willed myself to leave plenty of wiggle room in our schedule which worked out surprisingly well.

We experienced some new adventures including different neighborhoods, attractions, and shows, along with some old hauts such as favorite restaurants, shops and strolls. Of course, the new experiences are the memories that have stuck.

Perhaps the most outlandish was The Slackers show at Irving Plaza in Union Square. The two-parts-SKA, one-part-Rock NYC band always puts on an amazing show. They draw fans and skankers of all ages, which made it a fun show to rock-out at with the folks.

The rest of the top-4 list included: the NY Botanical Gardens, with picturesque rose gardens, and perfectly manicured laws littered with Moore sculptures for the summer; a trip down Arthur Ave. for some real no-menu-needed Italian fare; and a viewing of the acclaimed Broadway play, August:Osage County, which was a life-changing experience and quickly entered my top-5 best plays list before the curtain fell.

Surprisingly we tried on some new restaurants for size, like Hakana Grill, Stone Rose Lounge and my personal favorite out of the bunch, Cafe Nior. The old staples like Da Andrea, Saigon Grill, Calle Ocho, Dinosaur BBQ, Republic, Paladar, Corner Bistro, etc. all made re-appearances for good reason.

We toured the city by foot, subway, taxi and occasionally, bus. We caught-up, chatting about their month-long journey to India, 3-week long trek through Newfoundland and New England, and our recent mini-trips to Vegas and New Orleans.

It's like food to the soul....

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