Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Lifestyle Envy

Everytime I visit Manhattan I end up having a great time, but always come away with a sense of lifestyle envy.

Last Friday started off like any other night out with my friend Chuki: we had no plans, but a sense that something fun was going to happen and she couldn't decide what to wear. After swapping some stories while getting ready for the evening, we headed out for drinks and a bite to eat a local bar restaurant, Uptown. The ambience was trendy but not snooty and the food and drinks were just what we needed. Although Chuki had to abandon me at the table a couple times to orchestrate our evening plans via cell phone, I was perfectly happy to sit there people watching (my people watching time has been seriously limited in the Worcester area)...

By the time we finished our drinks, we were a pair with a plan so we hopped in a taxi and jetted downtown to a private club on the lower East Side where Chuki's Dalton friends had put us on the list at the door. I really didn't understand what exactly a "private club" entailed until we arrived at a non-descript awning and entered to find two women at a desk with a list of names. "Chuki and Anne?," she asked when we inquired about the list. We nodded. "Head on up on the roof," she replied. Roof, huh? Pretty cool. So we hopped in the elevator and cruised up to the rooftop of the ~20-25 story building. As the elevator doors parted, I was greeted with a scene from Sex and the City (my only real basis for comparison of a true Manhattan social life): groups of attractive, stylishly clad 20 and 30-somethings clustered around a glass enclosed bar area which opened onto a patio with a brilliantly lit swimming pool surrounded by chaise lounges and wooden patio furniture. The tables were adorned with candles and laterns and waiters scurried about bringing vodka-tonics and martinis to the club's patrons. After locating Chuki's friends we found a table and the four of us sat and enjoyed a couple cocktails (while I marveled at the views and general atmosphere of our location). Two drinks later (with less-than-impressive service - apparently an accepted feature of private clubs), we were ready to head out to our next social stop to meet up with some other friends.

A taxi ride later we arrived at Flatiron Lounge. We sipped mojitos, people watched and discussed nothing of any importance for a half hour or so before deciding it was time to head back to Chuki's friends' apartment to chill. After yet another taxi ride, we were riding up in an elevator in an apartment building in the east 30's. The doors to the elevator opened to reveal a locked apartment door, flush with the elevator doors. This was a first for me and I guess I gave away my Manhattan-naiviete because one of the guys asked, "Haven't you ever been in apartment building below the 50's?" in a somewhat amazed voice. Actually? No.

One of the guys was employed as a wine distributor in the restaurant industry so a few minutes later a couple chilled bottles of white wine were open and I was wandering around with a glass, giving myself a tour of their apartment. Gleaming parque flooring gave way to the floor-ceiling windows of this elegant five bedroom apartment with full living and dining rooms, a modern kitchen and two baths. It wasn't neat or clean, and it was still your typical 20-something male apartment in terms of decor and furnishings, but the space was amazing. From the crown molding to the 15 foot ceilings to the views of the city, I was impressed.... and a bit jealous since realistically, I'm never going to be able to afford to pay the $2000 a month in rent it would cost to live in a place like that. Turns out, the guys are being forced out later this month because the apartments in the building are being put up for sale - for a mere $2.5 million each. Riiiight.

Anyhow, we drank wine, listened to the "Black Tie mix" on an iPod, dressed up in costume clothing, had a 4am dance party to a Daft Punk song and finally crashed on various sleeping surfaces around 5am. Saturday morning we pulled ourselves together enough to walk the 15 blocks to an excellent bagel place for a true New York bagel complete with lox, cream cheese, tomatoes and onions (and a healthy dose of coffee). As we wandered towards her apartment, Chuki and I happened upon a street fair where we treated ourselves to some $2 bead bracelets and marveled at the truly amazing amount of junk that is for sale in this world.

Three hours later I was on a train to Washington, D.C. Story to be continued...


Post a Comment

<< Home