Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shopping Fever!

On Monday, before we left New York, my son and I had lunch on the Upper West Side. Our plan was to walk from there across Central Park, get on the subway one last time, collect our bags from the hotel, and head to the airport. Seeking to delay the inevitable as long as I could, I suggested we take a spin through Zabar's, the fantastic food market and housewares store. Good sport that he is, he agreed.

Once inside, our inner conspicuous consumers emerged into the light. Here's what he wanted to buy:

And here's what I wanted to buy:

Yes, it's a $3,300 espresso maker.

Mmmm . . . $300 cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Postively 4th Street.

My 12-year-old son and I just got back from a greatly anticipated trip to New York. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but we managed to do a lot. We arrived at about noon on Saturday and, after checking into our hotel and grabbing a slice of pizza, we got on the subway and headed downtown. We strolled through Little Italy, which is touristy as hell but buzzing with activity, and from there we took a long walk through Chinatown. I've been there a dozen times but it still blows my mind, just like it did when I was there with my parents for the first time in 1980 (when we attended part of the Democratic Convention).

The boy and I ventured to the Lower East Side, where I'd hoped we could tour the Tenement Museum, but we arrived too late. Luckily, though, we were not too late to visit what turned out to be a highlight of the trip: Economy Candy.
It's a wonderland of sweets from my childhood; it hadn't dawned on me until I looked around in there that you never see Clark Bars anymore. Feeling the "hey, it's vacation" vibe, I let my son spend as much of his own money as he wanted. You'd be surprised how far $15 can go in this place. How much I'll eventually pay his orthodontist in another story entirely, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. As for Saturday, my son got his sugar fix and I ate a Clark Bar.

Mmmm . . . Clark Bar. I had a Proust-like moment when I tasted it -- I could see myself at my son's age, outside the little drugstore near my childhood home, just finishing one off, wrapper in my hand. I could also see myself as a college sophomore, dressed as a Clark Bar for Halloween. Yeah, you heard me -- I dressed as a chocolate bar.

So I guess I had two Proustesque flashes, but I digress. After Economy Candy, we wandered around the Lower East Side a bit more. Before I knew it, he was smoking. I guess that's just what happens in those parts. Looks good on him, though, don't you think?

I let my son choose the dinner locale that night. That meant only one thing: ESPN Zone. THE WORLD'S LOUDEST RESTUARANT! WHAT? SORRY, AM I YELLING? MY EARS ARE RINGING!

The next day, it was time for Reds vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium. First though, a nice long walk through Central Park, where I tried to convince my son that we should pack up the rest of the family and move to New York. He was concerned that our dog couldn't make the transition, and rather than suggest we could just leave her in Cincinnati, I pointed out every dog being walked in the Park. I think I made my point after we passed six or seven, but I belabored it, as is my wont, until we lost count at about fifty.

Oh, and since he was smoking, I also taught him to drink coffee. Black.

Unfortunately, the Reds lost, but just getting there with my son was a great experience. Paying $9.50 for a cup of beer was a great experience, too. It was special big city beer. Plus, my purchase helped the Yankees finance their new $3 billion stadium. Note the solid gold lettering above the entrance.

There was more to this trip, but it's late now, and I've just written more than I have in the last two months combined. I'm tired and I want to save some material for another post. It was nice getting away for a couple of days with my son, and I wish we could have stayed longer. He's a good kid.

Well that's an abrupt ending, isn't it?