Thursday, August 26, 2010

Neighbors and Birthdays and Dogs, Oh My!

Tonight, in celebration of a friend-who-just-moved-into-our-neighborhood's birthday, we went to Manhattan.  That's right, folks, we outer borough folk do head into Manhattan for some entertainment and merrymaking!  Yes, we will continue to try to lure you into our realms ("I'll take you to the Beer Garden" being one of the key baits), but we also head over to the island once in a while.

Anyway, this friend and his roommate, also a friend, recently moved into our neighborhood -- a few short blocks away from our crappy little prewar apartment, in fact! -- which is very exciting because, well, as an outer borough person, most of my friends live in other, fancier outer boroughs, or in Manhattan, or even in New Jersey.  So it can get lonely out here in Queens on occasion.  But now there are people around the corner with whom we can grab lunch in a Greek restaurant, or make friends with the panhandlers on the N or Q into Manhattan, or sit at the Beer Garden and talk about how awesome Queens is, and how smart we are for living here.  I'm stoked.

But yes. Birthday.  So we went into Manhattan, and we took advantage of the absolutely beautiful day by getting a round of drinks at Pier 66 Maritime, which houses an historic barge (now a bar and grill!) and several historic ships, including a fireboat and the Lightship Frying Pan, which was underwater for 3 years before being pulled up and restored.  The weather was absolutely glorious, and it was awesome to be on the Hudson, enjoying a beer, even if the swaying of the barge on the river gave me a touch of the queasies.

Afterwards, we headed down to the High Line, a relatively new park in Manhattan, reclaimed from an old elevated freight train line that was abandoned for about 50 years.  Nature took over, and then landscape architects came in, refined the plants that were already there, built benches, and made it a really beautiful park for strolling above the city streets.  We walked the current length of it, from 20th Street down to about 14th, and I can't wait to see what the next section to open looks like.  It's a really lovely space where urban and natural mix wonderfully, and the breeze and views from that elevation are fantastic.

As the sun was setting and we hadn't eaten yet, we wandered around for a while before ending up at Benny's Burritos, which, sneakily enough, is part of the Blockheads mini-chain of Mexicali food establishments.  After a much shorter than anticipated wait (think 8 minutes instead of 40), we slid into a table in the very noisy dining room and proceeded to gorge ourselves on chips, salsa, guacamole, burritos, and 3 dollar margaritas.  Delicious, cheap, and a hit with everyone involved.

We split up after that, with the birthday guy having a bit more party in him than the rest of us, and E, our other friend and I ended up on a train back out to Astoria.  A man got on with a service dog that must have been in training.  He kept standing up rather than laying beneath the man patiently, and at one point the motion of the train must have got to him, because he vomited in the corner.  I don't think I've ever seen a dog so happy to get off a subway as this dog, who practically opened the door with his nose once they got to their stop.  He was clearly trying very hard, though.  I have a huge place in my heart for service dogs.  They're smart!  They're well-behaved!  They're helpful!  You can't pet them!  Seriously, all I want to do when I see a service dog is give it a giant hug and belly rub.  This urge is probably largely because I know you aren't supposed to distract them from their work with lovin', but it doesn't stop me from wanting to more than anything else in the world at that given moment.

Tonight was no different, because the dog was young, and trainsick, and SO SO CUTE.  If I had any ability to give away cute things, I would totally train puppies to be service dogs, but I wouldn't be able to give them up.  Also, puppies are hard.  They require walks and they puke and pee on the floor and lick you and are kind of smelly.  When my cat pukes, I tend to pretend I don't know what happened until E steps in it on his way to bed and has to clean it up himself*, so I can't handle dog puke, which is obviously much more gross.  Gosh, what will happen when I have children?  I don't want to think about it.

*This may or may not have just happened.  He's a pretty good guy!

1 comment:

  1. The High Line is indeed a lovely place! I'm lucky in that my office isn't too far from the 14th St. entrance so it's easy to head over there for lunch or hang out after work, though we don't do it nearly often enough.

    I like to feel smug about living not in Manhattan too, but it is somewhat diminished by living in the NJ.