Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Travelogue III

So here we are in the city that never sleeps. The city that’s so nice, they named it twice. Have you met anyone that calls it the “Big Apple” with a straight face? C’mon, be honest. There is no adult this side of 1990 who would in all seriousness, call it the “Big Apple.” I’ve heard “Big” along with all other kinds adjectives and expletives, but never with “apple” following the word “big.”

We hit Penn Station running…well, more like crawling because three hours of sleep can take this Procrastinator so far. We usually stay the at the Sheraton Manhattan, but they jacked up the rates through the roof, so we had to find another hotel in the NYC with a swimming pool. I’m taking the coward’s way out and not mentioning this hotel by name, but it rhymes with “byline” and it's on the edge of the neighborhood formerly known as “Hell’s Kitchen.”

They’ll figure out, but let’s hope they don’t figure out that “Write Procrastinator” and I are the same person, we’ll (family three, not royal "we") probably wind staying here next year. The hotel’s exterior is okay, but the lobby looks like the contestants of pizza eating contest threw up all over the lobby of a Best Western.

The desk people don’t say “hi.” Not to me, not to anyone. I took it as a “slight” slight, when they said, “which one of you has the reservations?” without so much as “hi” or anything resembling a greeting. No big deal, I figured, New York hospitality. But sure as we went on to our room, the people behind us were greeted in the same manner, or lack of manners.

The bellboy was equally as friendly. He saw that we had only two bags and he wouldn’t even show us to the back elevators, much less to our rooms. He said “go right, and then go left.” We weren’t sure what he meant since the elevators weren’t exactly in plain sight the first time you pass by them. You could easily walk past them and on to the next alcove, which we did.

So we went back and he said, “I told you. To the left and to the right.” He was much more interested in some Germans that had eight bags between two people. If the saying in Italy holds true, he got squat from the Germans, because they are allegedly very frugal when they go abroad. On the other hand, I would’ve given him a minimum of five dollars and a maximum of eight, depending on the attitude and whether he gave us relevant information. Oh well, more money for the family and pocket of lint for him.

The room itself was very nice and the bathrooms were better than the Sheraton. The view was pretty bad, a decrepit, gray monstrosity of an apartment high rise that looks like the horrid East German architecture that I’ve always read about. Still, you can’t beat the price or the location because right across the street, is “Desi Deli.” Samosas and chicken curry to die for, man! It’s all good because the Indians and Pakistanis eat there, and like I always say, “eat where the natives to that particular cuisine eat.”

Good stuff, cheap for the NYC and unfortunately, in walking distance. I got a bad case of the “hungries” (herb-free munchies) and I hit the place up. Unfortunately, when I thought I was getting “samosas,” it wasn’t just “samosas” that I got, but chana masala as well. That’s two meals in one, or a full-on dinner instead of a light snack. I cannot live within five blocks of this restaurant or I would weigh three-hundred, easy.

So Tuesday afternoon we were on our way to the Nintendo Center because it’s always on Procrastinator Jr.’s itinerary and on the way over, I was teasing the Missus with Papi Chulo talk in Spanglish. So she ignores that and while we get smoothies for the three of us at the Seattle Café, right by Worldwide Plaza, she nuzzles me. I say to her, “mira, now you wanna talk to me? Why didn’t you want to talk to me before?”

She said, “because I’m not a holler-back girl.” Heh-heh-heh.

So Wednesday early morning, three hours into sleep and she wakes me up again! Three nights in a row, I didn’t mind so much because at least this time, we had air-conditioning that we can run all night. She was basically sleepwalking and we talked it out. I hope it all works out tonight.

Wednesday afternoon, the Museum of Natural was the fun site and we met the Missus’ youngest Sister and our Sister-in-law, who is the wife of the Missus’ only brother. That’s five kids in all. In tow, ages ten to five and all with better behavior than any adult we crossed paths with. Even though I slept until 11:30am which added up to more than any time in the previous two weeks, I was in a zombie-like daze. We shuffled around the museum, then caught the 4:30 show of “Cosmic Collision,” a film narrated by Robert Redford.

This was a 3-D planetarium film, good stuff or what little I saw of it was good. I was out like a light after the first five minutes and the only time I woke up, was when there was a eight-five decibel collision celestial bodies. I loaded up twice on caffeine on our way to dinner, a bottle of Frappucino at a corner store, then at the Starbuck’s on 81st and Broadway.

Let me just say that all of your that frequent that establishment, either you were misrepresented yesterday, or you are the cheapest bunch of tightwads on the planet. The staff? Fast, friendly, efficient, and they get no tips! They went through the five people ahead of me with ease, took my order patiently (with me hesitating throughout because I was sure I had the order of one Sis-in-law wrong), and I looked down to the tip box. What did I see? One dollar and odd change.

Now, let me play Devil’s advocate and say that:
A) Maybe the staff was using the tip box as change.
B) Maybe the staff had just cleaned out the tip jar.
C) Maybe the customers of the Starbuck’s on 81st and Broadway are a bunch of cheap, unappreciative idiots.

I tipped large, because I’m representing the Yay Area and I called out everyone in that establishment, ‘cause they're fuckin’ cheap and they don’t realize how good they got it. I've waited so long at some coffee establishments, that I had to shave again when the order was ready.

Then, when my youngest Sister-in-law explained to me that I goofed up her order, I went back in and they exchanged my order with no problem nor did they add anything that wasn’t supposed to be in the cup. Then I called out all of the customers of the Starbuck’s on 81st and Broadway, AGAIN! I even told the cat that was standing right by the tip box that it was "empty, what are you doing? C’mon man, they work hard for you! Fill it up, man!”

Customers of the Starbuck’s on 81st and Broadway, whatcha’ gonna do? Show me that Californians are wrong? That New Yorkers understand that hard work could at least be rewarded a quarter or two? Prove me wrong? Not likely, because y’all too CHEAP!


On the next travel posting, the culinary uniqueness and bounty that is Carmine’s.

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Blogger Beth said...

I love Manhattan. Next to San Francisco, the city I'd most want to live in (notice I pick all the $$$$ ones). And now I want a samosa ...

BTW, I go to Starbucks every morning for a $4 latte ... and I drop a dollar bill in the tip cup every morning. Holiday weeks, it's $5 every day. Do not worry that I'll shame you.

Thu Aug 24, 02:58:00 AM PDT  
Blogger haahnster said...

I heard a guy down in Florida call it "The Big Apple" with what might've passed for a straight face. He had that stereotypical, Brooklyn-born, everyone else is stoo-pid attitude, though.

Friendly greetings take time, and are therefore inefficient. Manhattan is all about speed and efficiency. I love it.

What are they calling Hell's Kitchen these days, if not "Hell's Kitchen"?

Thu Aug 24, 06:26:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Yeah, if it wasn't for the winters and the fact that I wouldn't make comperable money if I did the same job in Manhattan, I'd move here. We have a stronger union in terms of pay.

$5 everyday during the holiday weeks? You've got me beat by a mile. I only tip big one time during the holidays.


I think that dude down in Florida was mocking you with that reference. You can't tell with the attitude, though.

"Friendly greetings take time, and are therefore inefficient. Manhattan is all about speed and efficiency. I love it."

Oh no, it's just at this hotel. The morning desk wench didn't even bother to say "hi," "bye" or "thank you." They said "thank you" at the Burger King we went to right after and everywhere else we went, they said "thank you."

"What are they calling Hell's Kitchen these days, if not "Hell's Kitchen?""

"Clinton" and it has nothing to do with the President. I used to know why, but I guess I'll have to Google it later on.

Thu Aug 24, 10:41:00 AM PDT  
Blogger katie schwartz said...

OMG, pdawg, you are having the best time! love the travelogues. so entertaining. you are truly too much! so glad I stopped by.

Thu Aug 24, 09:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Writeprocrastinator said...


Thanks. I'm glad you stopped by too.

Fri Aug 25, 08:52:00 AM PDT  

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