Memorial Day By Numbers

by Bryan

Stripping bartenders, sleeping in the grass, rainy disco parties at the beach – it must be Memorial Day weekend! And let’s recap it, in numbers!

2 (number of celebrity sightings, Friday)
I woke up early Friday, still in pain from the night before, when our softball team went out for drinks. A friend was coming into the city from Atlanta, and as she does not know her way around the city very well, I was to meet her at the Port Authority despite my hangover (she offered to let me sleep in, but as I was already awake, I decided against it). I acquired a Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee on the way to the train and sat all the way at the front, which put me off at 40th street for the 42nd Street station. I was walking on 41st Street when I saw Pete Milano, a friend from SpotCo., a company that handles many aspects of Broadway play advertising (a fellow softballer, he too was iced coffee-ing). This was celebrity sighting number one, the appetizer, as he was filming a Rent promo with Tamyra Gray of American Idol, season one. Now, I wouldn’t know Tamyra Gray if I used her as a toothpick – which I could have done, because she was the thinnest person I have ever seen – unless someone pointed her out to me, as Pete did, and I moved along quickly to my waiting friend at the Port Authority. Flash-forward: lunch has just been completed with said friend, and we are walking into Central Park via Columbus Circle, where we have just visited the Borders in the Time Warner Center. I got a free Nantucket Nectars pomegranate juice there – don’t ask me how. Anyhow, we’re waiting to cross the street when I see a platinum-blond, tube-topped woman with a stroller on my left, and it’s none other than Gwen Stefani with her once-famous husband and children. Now THAT’s a celebrity sighting. No doubt.

1 (number of birthday parties attended, Saturday)
I actually skipped a birthday party on Friday night because I was too tired to think. I was woken up late at night by some friends who were in our back yard, tending to Edgar, who had fallen asleep in the grass. I barely recovered in time for my friend Ryan’s birthday at Daisy May’s BBQ on the West Side. For our party of 10, we ordered two “Pork Butts,” which I learned is not in fact the rear end of the swine, but instead the shoulder (the actual butt? “Ham.”). After the festive feast – notable because the Red Sox were in the process of going 11.5 games up on the Yankees at the time. 11.5! – we went to the bar Circus, a free-popcorn-and-peanuts, cheap beer establishment that more than lived up to its name. To make a dreadfully – okay, extremely pleasantly – long story short, the bartender did a striptease, another bartender breathed fire off the bar, and Ryan and Ravi celebrated Ryan’s birthday by giving each other wrestling chops across the chest, a primitive, drunken act that is pretty much as entertaining as it gets. But I have said too much: you really had to be there.

7 or so (number of ribs eaten Sunday)
Sunday we had a barbecue in our backyard. I spent the first half of the day concerned that too many people were going to come, thereby lowering the number of delicious Casey-prepared ribs that each person would be allowed to enjoy, and the second half wondering if anyone was going to show up. In the end, we had just the right amount of food for everyone, and more than enough beer. Good times. Bonus good times for including our upstairs neighbors, with whom I wish to remain on good terms, and super crazy bonus Hellenic good times for learning that my only friend from Astoria is related to my next-door neighbors, a fact we learned when he showed up at their barbecue. As a child of a small, quiet town and of Mary Jo (who stressed good neighborly manners), I am always wary of making too much noise or generally riling my neighbors, but my inside source tells me they find Edgar and I to be “nice, quiet boys,” and even better, any knowing someone on the inside over there makes any possible problems that much easier to negotiate. I don’t mean to go on about it, but it makes me happy.

1 (number of rainy beach bars visited)
After the barbecue on Sunday, the party transferred itself to the Long Island City Water Taxi bar, the ingenious little three-year-old spot that faces Manhattan on Queens’ southwesterly most shore. It’s really just a large outdoor area with truckloads of imported sand, where you are free to drink (from their bar) and enjoy the best views of Manhattan maybe anywhere. On Sunday, there was to be (and was in fact) a professionally-run dance party, Turntables on the East River, a relocated offshoot of Turntables on the Hudson series, one event of which I attended last year. And it would have been great, except for two things: 1) it was pouring when I arrived, and 2) I was not on heavy drugs, which seemed to be the necessary condition for enjoying the party despite the rain (as the music was quite good for a dance party). I spent some time under the canopy that was set up for the DJs and live drum players, but moved back outside when the rain let up. I may have even cut loose for about 20 minutes on the dance floor with some members of our troupe, and there may be photographic evidence of this, before going home at the early hour of 1 p.m.

0 (number of any things really done Monday)
On Memorial Day itself, I helped myself to a cup of coffee in the morning and proceeded to use that energy to sit on my butt. It was off-and-on cloudy by noon, which gave me enough time to watch the film I had Netflixed but had laying around for two weeks, The Queen, which was hard to gather the muster to watch but well worth the wait. I then cleaned up a little before briefly entertaining Casey (he wanted to use our backyard, picnic-style, for lunch) and then starting a book I’ve had sitting around for weeks. A nap followed, some television after that, but things have finally wound down. It’s probably just in time. The critical number from this week/weekend is the number of dollars I’ve spent on God Knows What, and it’s time to bring it back to Earth. To that end, I went to the grocery store earlier and replenished the supplies around here. I had to make room for it in the fridge around all the leftover beer. Which leads us to the final number…

1 (number of celebratory drinks for a great time had)
Apple juice. Yep, it’s like that.