Chewing the Big Apple

Nick and I returned late last night from our a-w-e-s-o-m-e weekend out in New York City. We left late Thursday night after work and drove to Stroudberg, PA and stayed at the Quality Inn hotel right off of I-80. My sister, her beau Tom, and Nick fell right asleep, but I, a bit too excited to be in New York stayed wide awake staring at the ceiling until 4:00am. Eventually, my heart beat calmed down and I was able to catch some zeez.

We were off the next morning, only an hour and half from New York and I drove, weaving in and out of the traffic and loving the smell of the eastern seaboard. Ahhh, how I miss the grit of the Big Apple…

We dropped Carm and Tom off to see the Empire State Building while Nick and checked the car into a parking lot. We walked the city, Times Square and made fun of everyone, inlcuding ourselves. I grabbed a lovely NYC falafel sandwich while Nick slurped down caffeine and met up with my best bud, Tricia, who has a fabuous two story fantasy apartment 10 blocks from Central Park and 3 blocks from Times Square. I tell you, some people lead extraordinary lives. Her fiancee, a chef who cooks Alex Rodriguez’ lunches was off traveling somewhere in Boston. Nick finally met Pouzo (POO-ZOE), Tricia’s famous bulldog. I wasn’t sure how that relationship was going to go, but Nick seemed alright with him for the most part.

I headed off to meet my good friend, Jen Buckley, for coffee and Nick headed to meet up with the rest of my family. At 8:30pm, we all met downtown for a welcome reception. Delish food, wedding cake #1, and an open bar got us all off on the right foot as we toasted Geri and Jim on their wonderful union. My family – in from all over the country – had an awesome time just catching up and talking about the weekend, hugging, and laughing. There’s really no replacement for family. Nick and I were glowing.

Saturday began with Pouzo trying to lick Nick’s face and Nick jumping out of the roll-out we were sleeping on. We headed to Central Park for a nice long walk and experiened first hand why autumn in New York is arguably the best time of year in the city. Soooo gorgeous and relaxing.

If you remember my friend Becky, who was my dearest friend from my trip to the Philippines, lives in New York and met up with Nick and I for a quick lunch at Dean and Deluca. It was hard to tear ourselves apart and laughed for an hour straight while Nick just shook his head at us.

Off to the wedding at St. Francis Xavier…a beautiful church with rich music and lots of friends and family. I must must must learn how to take picures during the vows. I had to put my camera down because I was bawling when Geri started crying. Aigh, it was a debacle. I can never get a grip when people start crying. It’s like someone else’s tears are the keys to my tear ducts to lose control.

Off to Cipriani’s on 23rd street where we partied like rock stars all night. If this gives you any clue how the night was going: NICK FAST DANCED WITH ME. It was like an alternate universe. I loved it.

Typical Factora family scenario: we waited outside on the sidewalk for 45 mintues because we couldn’t decide where to go. Never mind we had native New Yorkers in the group, never mind that everyone was fine with WHEREVER, never mind that we were in walking distance of a gazillion of suitable bars and restaurants that could have accomodated us. No, we wait 45 minutes until my uncle states, “Ok, we’re going to the Waldorf Astoria lobby and we’ll decide there.”

RED FLAGS, BUTTONS, RINGS, LIGHTS, AND BANNERS were waving in my head. Nick is shaking his head, “Typical Factora decision. We’re in Manhatten and decide to go the LOBBY OF WALDORF to try and make a decision about where to hang out.”

I kind of screech, “No!! We’re going to Dewey’s. It’s three blocks from here. It’s a bar. That’s where we’re going!” and proceed to march in the wrong direction.

Thankfully Nick redirects my shoulders and says appreciatively, “Nice effort though, babe. They’ll follow.”

So another 30 minutes later we finally enter Dewey’s.

A bit of drama rama enfolded after about an hour: we were kicked out of the bar.

Oh, so typical…

We had two underage boys with us (my cousins – one 15 the other 7 year old – who were appropriately not allowed in the bar. We spoke with the manager who said that as long as they stayed with their parents and didn’t drink, they’d be fine.


So we sit and order drinks.

After they get their orders in and take 3 sips of their beer, the manager comes out and says, “please finish up and leave.”

Uh, ok.

So, apparently he changed his mind that we could stay. Fine, I slirp down my crazy drink of tap water with ice and lemon while Nick barely had drank his draft and got up from the table. My male cousins, 827 men strong, are puffing out their chests like angry peacocks and flooding the bar, demanding to have their bill waived because they should have told us up front we weren’t going to be allowed to stay and why should we now have to pay for a beer that we got 3 sips out of. Oh dear.

So, all hell is breaking loose and I’m rolling my eyes. I tell Nick, “Let’s get out of here before we’re all arrested.”

Not to stereotype males in bars, but things can go from pleasant to out of control is .04 seconds.

So, I’m anxiously waiting for Nick to get out of the bath room so we can leave and I hear escalating voices from the bar. Oh dear.

Nick, where are you? Let’s go! Let’s go!

I sneak through tall people’s armpits and raised glasses to find Nick standing absolutely still, enraptured in ESPN sports scores. While my family is having a throw down with managers and bouncers and threatening to sue, Nick is trying to figure out the Red Sox scores.


“Ohhh! Hey!!”


“I was just checking -“

“I know what you were checking. Now is not the time to be checking ESPN scores.”

So we exit in the midst of a lot of drama and make it home after an eventful night downtown.

Sunday morning we wake up and head to brunch at the Waldorf. Geri and Jim were upgraded into the finest suit they had to offer in the Waldorf Towers. Barack Obama had just checked out as the previous guest and Geri and JIm were next in line. Of course everyone – regardless of political party – was going crazy and my father whipped out his cap that said, “McCAIN FOR PRESIDENT 08!” while we feasted on our lovely brunch.

I was brainstorming what to touch in the suite so I could say I touched the same things as Barack and decided touching every door handle was the best option. I also plopped down and sat on the bed to make sure I got sit on the same mattress that our potential next president had slept in.

After a family picture, Tom, Carm, Nick and I loaded up the car and head west for Ohio.

This post doesn’t even BEGIN to give this weekend justice. It ranks in the top 3 weekends of all time.

Pictures soon!