I spent a couple minutes looking for the $200 I lost right outside these doors when I was moving out years ago. No luck.
We walked around and remarked that sometimes you walk through the worst smells in this city, but occasionally you're hit with the perfect blend of roasted beer nuts from street vendors, flowers from corner shops, and some other indescribable scent - it's very New York. Walking the fine line between putrid and perfection.
We collected the others and made our way uptown. We hit Bryant Park, Times Square, Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall, stopping for almost identical photo ops. (Can you spot the 5 differences between the first two pictures? It's like a Highlights magazine game!)
We talked Ryan and Paul into joining Julie and I for cheap mani/pedis.
This was clearly Paul's first time and the Korean girls very much enjoyed tittering about him being very uncomfortable. I enjoyed it too.
...we dressed up and headed uptown. It was my idea to go to a few swanky hotels that we couldn't afford to stay and have cocktails in the lobby.
Plus, I'd been dying to find "my" drink as I entered my 30s and had a feeling that the Manhattan might be it. Yes, I know that it's cheesy to have a Manhattan IN Manhattan, but I call my birthday Melebration, so I have no problem being cheesy.
We had planned to go to the St. Regis, the Plaza, the Ritz, and the Pierre. We started at the St. Regis and swanked it up. Julie found the Manhattan a bit strong, so I helped her out with it.
The other hotels were a bust (i.e. closed or boring) so we grabbed a cab to the village and the Spotted Pig. Somehow the camera just seems to know when the subjects of the pictures have had 3 Manhattans - it's like it puts on a different focus setting.
Ryan and Paul were amused at a Gary Busey look-alike hitting on Julie. He gave us his card - he's a "filmmaker".
We eventually made our way home and stopped at what seems like the most appropriate 3am snack for four 30-somethings. I realized it was well past midnight and I was therefore 30. We went to White Castle. Yep. It was pretty awesome/depressing. They take your name and yell out your order - hearing "Malisha!! 6 bacon cheeseburgers. Malisha!" as the first meal of my 30s was pretty sad. Not surprising, just sad.
We looked around and there were the four of us, dressed up, eating steamed burgers with 3 homeless guys. I thought, "Yep, this is the best way to ring in the new decade."
However, the 2nd meal of my 30s wasn't much better. Why on earth were we so hungry at 3am?! Between White Castle and the hotel lobby, we were accosted by a food truck and ended up falling victim to sausages and random meat on skewers.
If I ever attempt online dating again, I think I just found my profile picture.
It was a pretty great day - in fact it felt like three days jammed into one.