“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, “The Great Gatsby”
New York City is such an exceptional thing, glittery and prickly in all the ways you would expect. I’m so glad we had a chance to get away, specifically, to NYC.
The air was cool and autumnal — the streets were always wet and yet it never seemed to rain. We saw a play, had drinks at Sardi’s, met up with friends and topped it off with a romantic dinner for two: so good.
The original plan was to stay in a shmancy hotel. I insisted that it was our “mini-honeymoon” and therefore worth it — but have you ever booked a hotel room in New York? Congratulations, you must be a millionaire! I mean, MY GOODNESS. For $400 a night, I’m going to need a lot more than a bed. I’m going to need free meals served up on a golden platter — for $400 a night, even silver will not do. Pssh.
So we stayed on a friend’s an air mattress, but it was just the right balance between seeing one of my bridesmaids post-wedding crazy and seeing the city.
Friday afternoon we hauled a** to New Rochelle, and for the price of a half-dozen sugary sculptures called cupcakes from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe we were in. We then rushed back in to the city. With about an hour to curtain, we rushed over to the ticket booth in Times Square, which I swear is brighter and more incandescent than ever. The pickings were slim — Newsies, Annie, Avenue Q — so we went for the dark classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?” by Edward Albee.
I love, love, LOVE Edward Albee’s dark humor, and the cast’s comic timing was perfect. It was, admittedly, a strange show for a newly married couple to see. Well, really any couple. At it's core, it's a play about an Ivy League couple that emotionally cut each other for fun. The New York Times called it a shattering revival. Even a funny review by Bros on Broadway thought it was hilarious. Just "It's too much about relationships for a good date. The audience was full of couples and the dudes all looked miserable." Joel wasn't miserable ... I don't think. Anyways, if you're heading that way: Highly recommend.
We went from there to Sardi's. I saw an ad in the Playbill and thought, "Why not?" So many good adventures started that way. You can think, "Oh, no, they'll never let us in. We're wearing jeans and T-shirts," or you can walk in and up the stairs and order a vodka martini and a beer. That's what we did.
I was surprised to overhear a very chic woman say she had dinner reservations for 11:30. "After theater," Joel said with a shrug, and I loved that. I love that Joel who watches sports 23 hours a day loves the theater, used to go see Broadway plays four times a year and for him the whole thing was as natural as shrugging on a jacket — you pick out a play, buy a discount ticket, find your theater, enjoy. I added Sardi's. "I never thought I could go to Sardi's," Joel said. And for that, I guess he loves me :)
It was an early night — we were back in bed by 1:30 — but I'm starting to realize I don't mind that. I know longer feel compelled to stay out a little bit longer to meet more people, see more things, push daylight just a little bit longer. I'd just as soon stay home. And maybe skip the Met the next day and take a nap instead. And that's just what we did. We stayed all nice and cozy in New Rochelle until dark when we ventured out to meet up with some friends in a small little restaurant that was warm and steamy. It had a glass front room that made me think of the cafes and in Israel, but maybe the cafes in Israel were borrowing from NYC ...
And then were were off to our New York steak dinner. I had this in my mind as an ideal. I blame "Sex in the City" and/or "A League of Their Own." Regardless, I let Joel know early on that that was an expectation so he could plan: Good man that he is, he brought a suit and his wallet. He made us 9:30 reservations at Prime Ko — a spectacular kosher steakhouse on the Upper West Side. We sat by the window and stared deep into each other's eyes. Our fingers intertwined over candlelight. I could see myself from the outside and I thought, "You are a cliche!!!!" But from the inside, from one of two seats at our table, I thought, "This is why this is a cliche. This feels soooooooooooooooooooooo right. Who knew? I guess everybody."
Because I never felt so pampered. I had tried to teach guys what I thought "romance" was, and it always fell flat. Or they had tried too woo me in ways that should have worked, but ... nothing. So I was apprehensive going into the whole weekend. What if my expectations were too high? What if they were unreasonable? What if we fought? What if we got to dinner and had nothing to talk about?
But it wasn't like that. It clicked. And I guess that's how you know that you've found The One. Sometimes I'll tell people, "I knew because ..." but I think really it's a million tiny affirmations that add up to indisputable proof.
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