Wednesday, July 05, 2006

how I spent my holiday weekend

As good as it sometimes is to leave New York for a long weekend, it's even better to stay in the city. Since so many people travel, the streets and restaurants are empty, so it's easy to get a table or take a walk without getting crushed in the usual mob. And while everyone else fights traffic trying to get back into the city before the work week starts, I get to stay home and relax. I was on call for Saturday and Sunday, so I couldn't do anything too far from home but I managed to have fun anyway. I was cat-sitting for a friend, and I managed to get some cool shots of her cats. They didn't mind posing for me; I'll have to figure out how to get mine to behave for my camera.

I enjoyed several great meals over the weekend:
  • Trader Joe's filet mignon
  • south Indian vegetarian cuisine at Pongal
  • Mexican at Maz Mezcal (taking advantage of the holiday crowd to get a good table)
  • the hottest Thai food I've ever eaten at Sripaphai in Queens
  • Chinese on the Fourth of July where the wait staff were all mesmerized by the Germany-Italy World Cup semifinal.
I went to the Mets-Pirates game at Shea on Monday night, where the Pirates took advantage of the Mets pitching staff and won 11-1. By the end of the game I was just embarrassed for the Mets, though I was cheering quietly for the Pirates the whole time. I even stood up for Nate McLouth's solo home run in the eighth inning, and I would have jumped up for Ronny Paulino's home run that preceded it if I hadn't been so surprised that the ball left the park in the first place. Despite the loss, Shea was nearly packed until the end of the game, as it was fireworks night. For a ballpark fireworks display, the show was surprisingly good. The soundtrack was a little odd, though: it included "I Go To Extremes" by Billy Joel and a Kelly Clarkson song as well as some more patriotic music.

I watched Tuesday night's excellent Macy's Fireworks show from an apartment on the 43rd floor of a building near 42nd St. on the east side. I'm moving up, literally: last year I watched the fireworks from a 20-story rooftop near Union Square, and this year it was the 43rd floor. Next year it's the Empire State Building or bust. Since my camera has a special fireworks setting, I tried to take pictures. However, it seems that even with fancy digital technology you still need a tripod to get great photos of fireworks. But some of my pictures turned out OK, so you can get a sense of what the show looked like. As we were inside, we got to listen to the soundtrack for the fireworks this year, and it was better than the one the Mets put together the night before. You can't go wrong with Sousa marches and "God Bless America." I could have done without the pop-patriotic songs, though. The best part after the show was watching the crowd file off the FDR and being able to wait until the streets were less busy before walking home.

In case you hadn't figured it out already, photos from the weekend are up on my Flickr site.

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