Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sweltering New York

I met up with my friend Isabelle tonight for our ritual bi-weekly girlie chats at the Bookmarks rooftop bar, at the top of the Library Hotel.

We stumbled across this place for the first time back in early April. We had originally planned to go to the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central but found it closed for a private party. We asked for a recommendation and they suggested Bookmarks on Madison & 43rd.

It was a cold evening and I remember how we justified drinking copious amounts of wine as the only way to keep warm. We haven’t looked back since and always meet there. The service may be painfully slow and the drinks expensive, but it is more than made up by the fantastic views of the city (the Empire State Building in particular), the cool music and intimate size of the actual deck.

Unfortunately, tonight, our hang out was hosting a private party and we had to go to plan B – the outdoor Bryant Park CafĂ©, just in front of the majestic New York public library.
They asked for ID before letting us in. I’m getting pretty used to it here as I constantly get checked (hey, I’m not going to complain if they really think I’m under 21!) but this time, they actually stamped our hands! Having to go to the bar and discretely showing the stamp to get a drink was hilarious, if a little embarrassing.

It was probably the hottest & most humid night of the year – imagine a cross between being in a sauna and a steam room. It’s pretty hard trying to look glamorous when you’re "glowing" a little too much and your hair is starting to look like it could rival Foxxy Cleopatra’s afro! But this time, we justified our consumption of chilled white wine because we were desperately trying to cool down.

Eventually, the inevitable happened - the skies opened dramatically and torrential rain forced us to run out of the bar in search of a taxi.
New Yorkers will tell you that there are no taxis in Manhattan when it rains. A fact that I can most unfortunately confirm. We got drenched, huddling under the same small umbrella, almost jumping under any taxis that were going past us in an attempt to make them stop.

A man on a bike taxi asked me where I was going and when I answered the Upper West Side (a good 50 blocks from where we were), he said he would take me but that it would be $30. I have never paid more than $20 for a taxi ride, not even from Battery Park at the bottom of Manhattan to the UWS, but desperate times require desperate measures so I hopped on.

I spent most of the (rather bumpy) ride texting my friends explaining that I was being cycled around by this poor guy – at least I was protected from the rain but he wasn’t!
In the end, I felt so bad that I gave him $40. Most expensive, but most unusual & fun taxi ride so far!

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