Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Exporing Manhattan: The West Village


Got up at 7, and met Bill downstairs at 8. Class didn’t start until 9, and it was only a few blocks away, so there was no need to hurry. We explored Midtown a little, then eventually decided on a place for breakfast. I ordered a ham, egg, and cheese on an onion bagel and a black coffee, but got ham, egg and cheese on a Kaiser roll, and a coffee with cream. Yuck! Who would put cold cream in hot coffee? I exaggerate. It wasn’t that bad.

We found the Oracle Training Center at 540 Madison Avenue, got badged, and went up. Class was a full 24 people or so, and they only had computers for every other person, which I found extremely odd based on a) Oracle’s bottom line revenues, and b) the fee for the two day course could have in itself bought two computers for each person. Minor annoyance, I guess. The class was really good, and right away Bill and I were picking up some really useful stuff that that we’d be able to incorporate when we got back. We also realized that the Discoverer Administrator training is something we should’ve considered too, as it was being taught in the same classroom Wednesday through Friday.

We had an hour for lunch, so we walked around, blowing most of that time not really finding anything, until we came to Smiler’s, just around the corner from our training. It was a good sized deli with a huge salad bar. Chicken Parm Hero for me, since I knew this town has a pretty high standard for them. It was fine. Nothing amazing. We sat in the upstairs dining room right on the corner of 54th street and Madison Avenue.

Back to class for the remainder of the afternoon. On the way back to the hotel, I stopped in a gift shop and found a cool “I ♥NY” shirt, but written in Chinese, for Zoë. I also got something cool for Dad, that I can’t mention here, and some postcards. I want to get Tristan a miniature Statue of Liberty, because he was really admiring them in Chinatown a few weeks ago, but they didn’t have any there. For the others I may buy something for, I don’t have a good clue yet.

Relaxed in the hotel for about an hour when Jerry called and gave me some directions on how to get to where he, Truck, and I were meeting for dinner, Tavern on Jane, at 8th Ave. and Jane Street in the West Village.

I bought a metro card, as the one I had was about empty, and took the short train ride to the 14th street station on the E train. The restaurant was easy to find. It’s amazing at how the character of the city can change from one neighborhood to the next. It’s pretty easy to see why the Village is so popular too. It’s very comofortable.

Truck showed up shortly, and we went inside and had a drink. For Truck a gimlet, and for me a Brooklyn Lager that I really enjoyed. Jerry showed up a few minutes later, and ordered himself a Stoli on the rocks. We debated over whether to go somewhere with outside patio dining, as the weather was incredibly nice, but decided on staying there to eat, and then finding a patio for drinks.

We started with some calamari. Both Jery and I had the hanger steak with some kind of potatoes and spinach, and truck had something I can’t recall. It was really good, and too much to finish. Another lager for me, vodka for Jerry, and wine for Truck.

The White Horse Tavern (567 Hudston St. at 11th St.) was our next destination. They had plenty of sidewalk seating, so we picked a table and got a round of beers; Yuengling Lager for Jerry and I, and a White Horse Ale(maybe) for Truck.

It's always been great to hang out with Truck and Jerry (and Buick, not that he was here). They all have excellent senses of humor, in addition to being extremely intelligent, so when you're conversing with them, you feel like you can use 100% of your brain. With too many people, I feel like I have to turn my brain down to 60% or so, then at places like WalMart or the grocery store, I just leave my brain on 'Idle'. These guys are also very skilled musicians, not that we were doing any of that at the time, but that was the reason we all met.

After a second round of beers (White Horse Ale all around) we finished with shots of Scotch, whose name I can't remember. We said our good-byes, Truck and Jerry headed back to Hoboken, and I headed for the E train, half-lit and with Ben Folds Five cranked on the iRiver. I'd bet I blended in pretty well here.

I'll see these guys again in about three weeks at Truck's wedding in Cambridge, Massachusettes.


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