One of the advantages of our bus tour was that we got a pretty good description of the neighborhoods and what they had to check out; so we decided to check out Soho. It looked fun and artsy. I zoomed in on the area using one of my online map tools and it showed all the shops and places, it really seemed like a great walkable place.
We took the subway down, and got out a stop early to walk past Greenwich Village. New York University is right in the middle of this area, bordering on Washington Park, and the Washington Arch. It was yet another great park, and we walked through listening to a street performer play piano. We followed the music, to find a guy playing a full size grand piano on wheels. No wonder it sounded great, this things was huge. I looked and tried to figure how it got in past the rails and chains, and then gave up because New York.
We headed straight through the University, and into Soho. It was a short walk, and as we approached there were street vendors with various artwares for sale. We chatted with them a bit, and most of them were the actual designers, It was simple stuff, but not too expensive. Soho itself was a big maze of shops, dotted with little coffee shops and Juice bars. Yulia was super excited. This was exactly what she was hoping to find. The streets were smaller and quieter than our neighborhood, It almost felt like a side street in Europe.
We tried out a few competing Vegan Juice shops. They had some great smoothies, very cool organic snacks, and no shortage of trash talk for the other juice shops. We picked up a couple of super spicy Ginger energy shots, at one shop, only to be told that the next shop made a better Acai shot, etc.
Yulia and Sasha were loving the fashion shops. Every brand that I had heard of was there, along with ones both Yulia and Sasha were excited to see that I had never heard of. We kept this up until it was too much, and headed back uptown.
Our feet were killing us after all the farmer’s markets, artists stands, and shops, so somewhere up in Chelsea, Yulia decided that we all needed a pedicure. I thought this a great idea as I planned to leave them and slip out for a PUBicure, (I saw a Guinness sign just down the block…) but it was insisted that I partake as well. Possibly because I had forgotten a toenail clipper and was shredding the sheets each night with my feet.
I was sat in a large massaging chair with a tub for a footrest. The chair was already active punching and pinching my back and ass in an almost comforting but certainly painful way. Yulia and Sasha were immediately comfortable in a way that I was certainly not. We had to wait a bit, but my turn came and a small, very nice, utterly terrifying Asian woman came over and started working on my feet. She filled the tub with a perfumed chemical and slightly too hot water, and dropped my feet in to soak. This was OK. Not creepy at all. I guess.
She came back shortly with some kind of hedge trimming gear and started to pick and trim at my feet. Apparently, I had to unclench my toes for her to continue. I was not aware that I could actually clench my toes that well. Odd. It was very nice that at no point in this process did she ask me “is it safe” or else I would have certainly shat myself on the spot. Once an eternity of toe picking was done, she pulled out what appeared to be a small cheese shredder, covered it in oil, and began grinding off the soles of my feet. This was as marvelous as it sounds. Eventually I sold out my unit, and gave her the troop size and location of my men. She stopped and asked if I wanted a 10 minute massage. I politely declined. Yulia told me that it was part of the package. I politely declined and once released from the chair hid behind a couch and watercolor, throwing pointy little paper cups at anyone who approached.
It was a delight.
The best part was that we paid for the service, which meant we could make it end. Once concluded, we rode back uptown and I went back to the TKTS booth to see what we could find. By luck, seats for Mamma Mia! Were still available. This was on our short list. We were short on time, so we were able to get back to the hotel, clean up, and walk over to the theater. The seats were to the side, but had a great view. Before the show started, I went to the bar and got two wines. It was $40 and came in closable sippy cups. I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or impressed. I went back and we had a great show. The whole cast was excellent, and we had a fun evening of wine, disco, and spandex (with Greek undertones).
The next morning, we headed right back to Soho. It was well worth the extra trip. There was a lot we missed on the first day, and most of the places we hit deserved second visit. We started at our favorite juice bar, and picked up some new shots of some damn blended thing. A really nice gay couple walked up and we talked about the benefits of Turmeric for inflammation for a bit. That led to a short discussion about Fish Oil, then Zyflamend, (my favorite herbal anti inflammatory). The dark haired guy had a hot ass.
We hit most of the rest of the shops that we missed the day before. There really are some amazing shops in Soho. Even I was impressed, and I’m not much of a fashion person. We went back and forth through the streets, and looking down, I saw it! Embedded in the sidewalk were a series of steel bars, in a complicated grid pattern. I knew this right away. For many years I have studied various Metro systems. New York is particularly interesting for all the changes and abandoned stations. And fairly well known to no one is the artwork of a system map set into concrete. This was it. It was an amalgamation of the 70’s and 80’s systems, but was cool to those who knew what it was. I was thrilled, and completely freaked out Yulia by screaming and jumping around.
Once my spasms were concluded, we moved on. We worked our way through the town down to the waterfront. . Along the way we found several great shops. Yulia got a bracelet at a artists shop, Sasha found Converse sandals and a shoe shop, and I passed several pubs.
Once we hit the waterfront, we found an amazing market on the waterfront. There was a big food court, a band playing, and endless booths of typically funky shit. We walked past all this and headed to the docks. We had a ticket for a tour and wanted to see if it was still valid. (It was part of our bus tour package, and we couldn’t be sure as the whole thing was printed on flimsy paper from a street vendor.) By luck, it was still good, so we caught a boat right away., this was a tour under the Brooklyn Bridge, and around the Statue of Liberty.
It was great. We had a full tour along the Manhattan coastline describing the history and architecture of the coastline. We saw the park where we enjoyed the fireworks on the 4th, and found out that that whole area was used for evacuation on 9/11, amounting to one of the largest sea evacuations in history. We toured around both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The views were great, and it was well worth it.
Once back on shore, it was getting late and we were hungry. We wanted to find the small party street we saw on the 4th. My mark was pretty poor, so we wandered about, mostly using the Force. The Force was strong, and after a few wrong turns, we found Stone Street. It was a whole street dedicated to the restaurants along it. With tables along the center. We picked a nice Scandinavian place, and had big plates of fish and booze. We ate until we were more than full, then walked to the main street for a cab.
That ended New York. We were off the Washington D.C. in the morning. New York was better, friendlier, and easier than expected. Start spreading the news…