Sunday, June 20, 2004

Another Set of Updates...

Well, another banner couple of catch up:

June 9th: Wednesday
Phil Spanninger, my friend from Accenture I mentioned before, finally made it into Manhattan, and his cousin's son, Nick Spanninger (I guess that makes it his second cousin? Not sure how exactly extended family trees work), works for the Yankees, so we went to see one of the interleague Yanks/Rockies games.

Because Phil got out of work rather late, and because I managed to get us lost (I've never been to the stadium from the West Side), we didn't get to the game until the 6th inning. However, the seats were phenomenal! We were just to the right of home plate, only a few rows in -- we were on television whenever a left-hand hitter was at the plate...had we gotten there in time, we could have sat right behind home plate, but I actually preferred being there...I’m not saying this as a sour grape, I sincerely preferred it -- since we weren’t behind or below the netting, we had a better chance of grabbing a foul ball. It was kind of a moot point, because there were no foul balls that came our way, but man, what seats!!! And it was a great game to top it off -- Jeter hit a home run to tie the game up just as we got there. The Yankees won again, of course, maintaining their supremacy within the entire league, ahead of any other team in the MLB by four wins.

After the game, we all went to a small bar in the Village, right by where Phil’s cousin, Martha (or “Marty”) Spanninger, lives -- as much as Nick is embarrassed about it, I should mention that if you’re ever on Waverly Place between 6th and 7th Avenues, just before Waverly turns sharply northward before hitting Grove Street (it’s pretty complicated around the Village), on the sidewalk, you can see his name written in the pavement.

Irregardless, one of the topics we chatted about at the bar was around ABC’s great programming, since Marty works at 20/20. I would have to say that of the three major networks, for news coverage, I would have to pick ABC hands down. I’ve always been a fan of Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel (both of whom I've had the pleasure of meeting), Diane Sawyer, and Barbara Walters; and my news source has always been ABC’s Eyewitness News, based on the fact that they provide the best coverage available in my opinion, aside from the locally dedicated NY1 (plus, Liz Cho is the most gorgeous newscaster at present, aside from maybe Natalie Morales). My partiality could stem from the fact I began watching ABC news because I went to high school with Ernie Anastos’ son, Phil, and I would run into him from time to time at events -- although he is now with CBS, the last time I saw him was at one of the annual amFAR summer event at the boathouse in Central Park.

After grabbing drinks and chatting, Marty and others headed home (it was, after all, a school night), while Phil and I met up with a couple of Phil’s friends from Chicago, Matt and Tim, at Bowery Bar (BBar).

I hate to keep digressing, but BBar needs to be profiled some more, since it is one of the bars in New York City that marks one of the significant change of the times in recent years. As some of you may know, the Bowery was a pretty rough place even as recently as the late 80’s, where the homeless literally lined the sidewalk (it is also on this street that the famed CBGB’s resides). In the 80’s a garage was converted into the bar known today as BBar, and became the place where anyone who was anyone was at -- it was driven pretty much by the fashion industry, and designers, photographers, models, and those who wanted to be near them would fill the place to the brim.

Its legacy remains, and the scene is still there, although by no means as glorious as it may have been at one point. I’ve spent many summer days at its outdoor section, but my most memorable moment there has to be the World Cup back in 1998, France vs. Brazil. The bar is owned by a French and a Brazilian (I believe?), so they’d set up two huge televisions, right at where the garage doors used to be – in other words, the televisions split the outdoor and the indoor sections, and thusly the French and Brazilian fans. I ran into a lot of my high school buddies that afternoon, including Nick Bourbon (yes, of that Bourbons) who was obviously rooting for the French, and the rest of us who were rooting for Brazil, including Jared Cooper, Adrian Walters, etc. The sure bet was on Brazil (I guess just as it was on Smarty Jones most recently in horse racing), and many of my friends lost a lot of money that day.

BBar is also where I got to meet Lenny Kravitz, whom I’ve been a fan of for a long time, and I still have his autograph to this day. Another memory I have of BBar is one of the brunches we’ve had there, with a group of about 10 of us -- it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, we were enjoying the prix fix brunch and sipping on mimosas, nursing hangovers. We had probably spent a good two hours there, and when we received the bill, it was almost $4,000!!!. We pored over the bill to discover that they had charged us for 9 bottles of Dom Perignon...trying to remember if in fact we’d had that many champagnes, we came to realize that the novice waitress had made our mimosas with Dom Perignon. We were flattered that they thought we had such expensive tastes, but surely we had better sense and knew better than to make mere mimosas out of Dom Perignons!

Nevertheless, the night was a good, laid back one, with a lot of good laughs. At the risk of being somewhat lewd, one of the most memorable moments that night was when Matt made a comment about huge breasts and made a funny, literal reference about catching a girl with large breasts, by motioning as though he was bass fishing, catching “the Big One.”

June 10th: Thursday
For as long as I could remember, I’d spent every Thanksgiving with Barbara and Ken Finn, save for the past two years since they’d moved to Naples, Florida. Because they don’t have any children of their own, they’d taken me in almost like their own son -- I remember one of my first jobs ever was teaching math to younger kids at Barbara Finn’s post-school tutoring programs in Rye. They are one of the nicest couples I know, hailing from the Mid-West (St. Louis, to be exact), and I’ve always enjoyed being around them.

They were back in New York all week, and were having dinner with my parents, so I’d joined them at my parents’ apartment. It was great to see them, pleasant conversations (mainly around entrepreneurship and exchanging ideas, since the Finns are entrepreneurial types), and, as usual, they’d extended their generous invitations to me to come to Naples any time I wanted, to only worry about getting there. After they’d left, I spent some time with my parents at their apartment, and took my time coming back to mine...

June 11th: Friday
Patricia (or, “Patty”), Andrew Farnsworth’s girlfriend, had one of her best friends in town, and because it was her birthday, we went out and grabbed some dinner at Merchant’s, up on 61st Street. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jared Cooper there -- I often forget that Jared and Andy have known each other since when they were like 5. We did some catching up, since the last time I talked to Jared was almost exactly a year ago, when Jeremy Tick pulled his crap on me, and I was seeking legal advice -- Jared is a lawyer. He had just won another case earlier this past week (he has a perfect record thus far), and from what he was telling us, it was just a stupid case he was obviously a little undignified by.

Irregardless, after the meal, we walked over to Casa la Femme and had some drinks -- I wasn’t aware that Casa la Femme had moved from its SoHo location, so we talked a little bit about that, had some awesome lamb chops (when Jared’s girlfriend offered me some of her salad, I replied: “no thanks, I had my vegetables yesterday”), and called it a night at about 2 a.m.

June 12th: Saturday
The birthday celebration continued on, and we started at Bungalow 8. To be frank, I don’t really understand the obsession with this place -- it’s kind of a crappy space, as compared to other venues Amy Sacco runs. I still prefer Lot 61, at least aesthetically, but I guess Bungalow 8 is one of those “hip” spaces whose time has come and gone in my opinion. Nevertheless, we then went down to SoHo to 60 Thompson, the hotel bar, where my only resistance to leaving was because of the pretty blonde waitress -- she reminded both Andy and me of the “stereotypical” Greenwich/Rye girl, in a good way. In a very good way.

Once Andy and Patty managed to peel me away from the hotel, we then moved on to Taj. I must comment that it was strange to walk into these places with my high school colleagues, all of us in our 30’s, dressed well, especially since I ran into some of the people I knew from when I ran the model agency -- in those days, going out in ragged t-shirts and jeans was fashionable, and I felt somewhat amused by being on the other side of that “fence.”

With that said, we then hopped over right next door to Slate to get some games of pool in -- considering the fact I was in the company of amateur pool league pros, I didn’t get my butt whooped too badly. Ok, so it was still pretty bad. At least I didn’t cry.

We finished the late-night / early morning off with a light meal at L'Express, which is still one of my favorite late night eateries in Manhattan. Had me a burger and I was off to bed...

With all of that said, I need to update on this past week, but this post is already getting lengthy, so I'll get to that some other time...


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