It's definitely been a pretty interesting past couple of weeks, and here are some of the ways I've been keeping busy.
Today: The Chocolate Show! Seriously.
Think like the Simpsons episode, with the gummi Venus de Milo at the candy show, except just chocolate.
All you can eat free samples of fancy pants chocolate of all varieties and nationalities. Plenty of truffles, chocolate bars, barks, various flavored chocolate samples and even chocolate flavored peanut butter. There was also a lot of "spicy" chocolate, with things like cayenne pepper incorporated... which wasn't too delicious.
Of course, no New York City event is complete without some sort of crazy fashion thing, so the Chocolate Show opened with a super hero themed fashion show with clothes made of chocolate, like this Bat Girl...
I basically stayed until I started feeling a bit ill and then wandered to a pub in Midtown for dinner.
I wandered through Times Square on the way to the subway to get home and there's always something fun in Times Square. Tonight? Election-themed condoms for sale.
I thought about picking some up as a goofy souvenir/piece of history... but they wanted five dollars per rubber... jiggawha?
Apparently that's still a dollar off the price on their Web site.
The guy seemed perturbed that I took his photo without buying any of his "wears"... despite the fact he was in Times Square surrounded by camera wielding tourists. Whatever.
He probably would have made a mint if he was there on election night. Times Square was pretty packed that night and full of energy.
... and there were plenty of big screens to watch the returns.
Eventually though, I had to eat dinner so I wandered to my favorite bar in the area, Smith's in Hell's Kitchen. I got myself a free campaign button while I was there that I wore quite proudly throughout the rest of the evening:
The Dewar's girls offered a free glass of Dewar's and ginger ale... but I counter-offered and ended up with a free Dewars on the rocks instead. Mmmm...
I eventually ended up at the Rockefeller Center where the NBC studios are and watched the end of the returns with the throngs there in Midtown. I couldn't get a good picture, but they project a giant electoral map on the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink and color states red and blue as the returns come in through the night, which is pretty neat.
They also lit up a skyscraper blue and red and had balconies for each candidate rise up the side of the building as they received electoral votes and there was a big "270" marking victory.
The crowd reaction was pretty interesting as the Obama symbol rose above 270 mark (when they counted California's mass of electoral votes). Some people were cheering, a lot people were very confused and I think there were people saying "What the hell is going on?" in at least four different languages right near me.
Side note on the Election Day subject - most polling places here are in schools, which I originally thought was kind of odd since I was thinking that I would be walking into a place filled with kids. However, here in NYC, Election Day is a day off from school for kids, which I thought was kind of interesting.
The next morning, newspapers were in crazy short supply. I figured I would pick up a New York Times, since it was pretty historic to elect a black President and all, but that plan didn't work out because I was not alone. Newspapers were sold out all over the city. Some people apparently bought like 15 copies at a time, I guess to try to turn a profit. Some that day sold for hundreds of dollars online, but the New York Times is selling them online for $15 making those buyers hopefully feel very, very dumb. I'll stick with my Post and Daily News thank you very much.
Wednesday though, the New York Times building was swarmed with folks trying to get papers, but they didn't have any either. The Post and Daily News made extra runs to restock throughout the day. The Times did a few small extra runs late in the afternoon, but only sent papers to a few Midtown transit hubs - but even then it was in small numbers.
Some other quick random things...
* So now that Dyson has finished making the perfect vacuum cleaner, anybody know what his latest mission is? It's the perfect hand dryer! I had read about his new life's mission a while ago but had never seen one until the other day at the Shake Shack in the Upper West Side (you know, where like Madonna and A-Rod live).
It worked, but it was kind of creepy... you stick your hands in the top and it automatically shoots a "blade" of air from both sides to dry your hands. It works, but the air is actually pretty strong, to the point where I was hesitant to put them back in. But it worked and was pretty neat.
Oh yeah, the Shake Shack shake was pretty good too, but that was kind of secondary to finally getting to see an Air Blade.
* There is a little open area with benches behind the building I work in and the other day they were filming some Law and Order there. Unlike last time I stumbled upon some Law and Order, this time there were people I recognized there: Goren and Eames, which means it must have been Criminal Intent.
It's blurr-tastic! They were really ancy about flash photography, and I figured since my coworker and I already ruined one of their shots as we wandered into it on the way out the building I would behave.
* Halloween was fun. I lamed out and didn't wear any costume because I fell asleep after work and rolled out of bed and headed straight to the Village to join an estimated two million of my closest friends celebrate late into the night. They had a parade, but I don't think most people noticed. It was basically just an extremely crowded mess of drunken folk in crazy costumes wandering the streets. So it was a lot if fun.
I think I saw my favorite costume on the train ride home. I was chatting with a Sarah Palin look-a-like and out of nowhere she squealed in horror. I realized she was looking at a guy who was dressed as an escaped mental patient in a hospital gown... and nothing else. He had been riding the train bare-ass the whole way and you could see all the goods as he walked off the train into the station. All I can say is that dude had to have been pretty cold all night and where did he keep his wallet and Metro Card?
* Oh yeah, and in a fit of awesomeness, Maker's Mark has taken over the entire underground walkway from Grand Central Station to the S shuttle to Times Square.
This is just one of the ads they have there.
They have dozens of different clever ads of all kinds in the walkway on pillars, walls and even an ongoing projection of some sort of Maker's Mark commercial.
Maybe they are trying to make sure they are on everybody's mind as "Repeal Day" approaches (even though it seems Dewar's is doing the marketing for the actual day...). Either way, I know I'm excited.
Well, if you got this far, thanks. Hopefully I'll try to post a little more regularly so my posts don't end up being Homeric epics like this one, but we'll see. I've actually been keeping myself pretty busy.