Friday, October 10, 2008

Manhattan Nights

I realise that I haven't blogged much about some of the most entertaining nights out I had over the summer. I've always liked a party - I take it from my Dad who always has to be the last one to leave, just like me. This is especially true since I became single two years ago. With no-one to answer to or to alert of my whereabouts, the party girl in me has truly been unleashed ...

Singing Queens
One of Marie's friend is a DJ who regularly plays in New York. He invited her to dance boat party where he was DJing and we decided to make a girls night out of it with two other girlfriends, Lisa & Libs. Donning our best summer nights outfits we made our way to Chelsea Pier, the idea being that we would sail around Manhattan for around 3 hours while drinking and dancing.

As soon as we started queuing to get on the boat, we realised that it might not quite be our scene. Our fellow party goers were clearly avid clubbers and on the young side. Our fears were confirmed when we eventually boarded. We went straight to the bar and ordered some white wine, only to be told, after the barman poured us a glass each in a plastic cup that this was the last of it ... Clearly, wine was not the tipple of choice at this party and we suspected that alcohol was probably not the vice of choice in any case.

We managed to find an awkward corner in which to stand, surrounded by sweaty crowds. The hard house music was deatheningly loud. I was bracing myself for three hours of hell when Libs and I exchanged a panicked look and I knew then that she felt the same way as me. We hatched a hurried plan to get off the boat as soon as possible. Marie and Lisa also shared our feelings and we literally jumped off the boat minutes before it sailed.

Instead, we went to the rooftop bar of the Gansevoort Hotel, in the Meat Packing district. Sipping cocktails in real glasses, with cool music playing in the background, is much more my idea of fun these days. It came to that time of the night when, after a few drinks and lots of chatting, our feet started tapping along to the music and going to a Karaoke bar seemed like a very good idea ... We hopped in a taxi to Sing Sing in the East Village and while the rest of the night is a little blurry, I do know that we spent hours in our private room, belting out 80s hits until the early hours of the morning.

Friends Melting Pot
Paul, an old friend of mine, was in town from London and staying with me for a week back in July. On Friday night, we made separate dinner plans but agreed that we would meet later at a birthday party he had been invited to in the Lower East Side.

So I first met up with Kimmy, Debbie, Joe and some of his friends at Kum Gang San, a traditional Korean Barbeque restaurant in Midtown. One of our dinner companions was Korean and ordered everything for us. It was a wonderful way to sample new and exciting dishes. One of them was a seafood soup: plump prawns and scallops were floating in a fragrant broth as well as something round, dimpled and white, which I could not identify. Joe and I happened to take a bite of "it" at the same moment and our faces convulsed. Upon biting on the chewy exterior, a bitter liquid came out of it and we both immediately spat out the offending "thing". Joe's friend laughed and told us that we had just tried something called "sea squirts". We googled it on our blackberries and were horrified to find out that it was a slug-like sea creature, known for eating its own brain when it found a rock to set up home. I won't be trying that again.

I left my friends who were going on to Soho and went to meet Paul. The party was on the rooftop of a newly built apartment block, with amazing views of the City glittering in the night. As Paul started to wholeheartedly embrace my love of living in New York (not difficult when you're sipping a cocktail with a view like this), Marie called me and we decided to leave the party and join her and a few other joint friends at Toy Company on Norfolk Street.

No, we did not go to a children's toy store. The Toy Company is a "secret" bar that could easily be missed if it wasn't for the small sign on the entrance gate, surrounded by burly bouncers. A short walk through an underground tunnel leads you to a bar that looks like a Victorian living room, complete with a huge fireplace, antique chandeliers and velvet paisley wallpaper. There is also a back room which can only be accessed through a sliding bookcase. The main quirk of the place is that all drinks are served in tea cups. It was impossible not to lift our little fingers as we drank from our dainty cups and I had to convince myself a couple of times that it was indeed wine I was sipping and not the finest Earl Grey.

Brooklyn Barbie
Strictly speaking, this event did not happen at night and did not even take place in Manhattan but it is one of my favourite summer memories. Larry hosted one of his infamous barbecues at his house in Brooklyn on July 17th. He spent hours cooking southern style pork and twice baked potatoes, bought enough meat to feed an entire army and a group of around eight of us made the trip across the East river to attend it.

Larry lives on the ground floor of an old factory, set in a quiet residential street populated by families and elderly people. The barbecue was set up right on the pavement and thankfully one person in the group actually had any kind of meat grilling skills. Pop music was blasting out of his appartment and competing with a rather odd-looking group of teenagers who were practicing line dancing in the park across the street. Evidently, we drawned out their music and engaged in an hilarious dance-off with them. Phil had the best dance routine, writhing around on the balcony in suggestive ways.

More salacious entertainment was brought on by the children's paddling pool Larry had also placed on the pavement and we spent hours throwing water at each other. I believe that Larry changed outfits a record number of five times due to the constant soaking, while we were left to dry off as best as we could until the next water fight.

Other highlights of the day included putting make up on Phil's face while he was "resting" from drinking a little too much vodka, as well some rather rude things being done to a Little Mermaid Disney figure ... I don't think the neighbours have quite recovered from our antics yet.

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