Playing tour guide is exhausting. I realize that New York is an exciting city to look at, but its hard to maintain that excitement for your guests after 6 hours of driving around on top of a bus looking at it. You can only hear how many windows there are on the Empire States Building so many times before you start imaging yourself jumping off the side into the traffic below. I was a little disappointed by the tour guides. For our uptown tour the guy was obsessed with telling us where to get great deals on our shopping. The second one was alright although obsessed with telling us how we should visit restaurants like the Red Lobster and stay away from the $100 glass of red wine at the nice places. He also had a very thick accent, which my Midwestern mother couldn't quite understand. The few other times I've been on the red bus tours I remember hearing crazy stories about dignitaries and riots and gangsters. I felt unfairly disadvantaged being a local because its hard to trust your tour guide when you know they're giving you wrong information, such as pointing out the studios of Sesame Street in an Upper West side building, when actually it is shot at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens (the 2nd floor window had a stuffed Big Bird in it which was apparently enough research one needed to give out such poor information). We were also told that Brooklyn is named that because it means "broken land" when we all know its named after the town of Breukelen in the Netherlands.
Last night we saw the Blue Man Group, which I would have LOVED when I was 15. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but there was a reason the audiences median age was 17. This morning, though, I am excited to get to the Top of the Rock for the first time ever despite the fact that I'm sure it'll be raining all over us.
I've lived across from St. Mary's for almost 2 years now and I still love looking at it every time I walk by, it's beautiful. I like to include it on my tour when visitors from out of town or out of the neighborhood come by. "There's Hanley's, the oldest bar in Brooklyn. And there's the church where Al Capone got married." Its a pretty impressive 2 block walking tour. Apparently, Al also used to make moonshine in the basement of PJ Hanley's when it was called Ryans, which is new trivia to me as of today.
to have a panic attack. For some reason I decided to put some more shelves into the walls in my kitchen despite the fact that the three that are already in there look straight out of a Dr. Suess book the way they're precariously hanging at a slant on the wall. So, in the course of one hour I destroyed my kitchen wall putting in screws and wall anchors, broke my coffee press and lost half of my pretty martini glasses. After the second shelf fell off (the one with the martini glasses) I was standing in the middle of my tiny kitchen in bare feet surrounded by orange and frosted glass everywhere. It was the saddest thing. I had one of those moments where you have no peripheral vision and after a few moments of standing there waiting to wake up your brain has to remind you to breath. So, instead of carrying on with the apartment improvements, I left the mess and walked up the street to get the cutest backgammon board (my newest obsession) and a book about Portugal and now I'm about 90% sure I'm going to go there in a month! This next weekend of playing tour guide to my mother who is coming to New York for the first time will push me into the 100% range, I'm sure.
Sure I could update you on my life for the last few weeks, but nothing happened that you'd want to hear about.
This week a friend of mine I met a decade ago working in Yellowstone is here for the weekend (she still works there with the Park Service). The first thing she said to me when she got to the hotel was, "oh my God, all the people!"
Working in the park you tend to get very attached to the wildlife. You get to know the local buffalo or moose or deer that hangs around your dorm like you'd know a neighborhood cat that shows up at your door every morning looking for attention. The last summer I was there a loner buffalo liked to lay out in between the dorms snorting in the dirt and wagging his tail along to the Phish music while the hippies played hacky sack around him. He occasionally tossed people, but they were always the tourists who happened to lose their way and stumble into the employee area. He never bothered us.