The weather this past week has been less than attractive – but that hasn’t stopped my fellow wanderers and I – nor does it mean that Mother Nature hasn’t been putting on quite a show…
A few days ago, I met up with an old friend from the west coast (sounds like the beginning of a Billy Joel song) – anyway, we went to Allegretti for dinner at the bar. The always charming Alain Allegretti was there to make sure we were sufficiently spoiled – and we were! Wines from the Cotes deProvence (white then rose) with”A Taste of Nice” – baby artichokes, icicle radishes with tapenade, fried zucchini blossoms, pissaladiere, petit farci (small stuffed pepper), and brandade (salt cod and potato goodness), followed by tender octopus salad, flash-marinated hamachi, and the house special Nicois ravioli (braised oxtail and orange scented beef jus). All so good that we were too full to even consider dessert.
As we said our goodbyes, the weather took a turn for the worst. Just a few yards from the door and the wind whipped up, lightening crackled across the sky splitting it open and releasing a torrent of rain so heavy that an umbrella would have been useless, had either of us had one. Within moments we were both soaked to the bone. After the heat and humidity that preceded the storm, we (and the other drenched pedestrians) were so relieved by the cool shower that we turned into children again – spinning around, arms overhead, whooping and laughing like it was the first time we’d been out in the rain! The lights of 6th Avenue twinkled in the near-blinding deluge and we felt lucky to be in the middle of that wet fantasy world.
The next of the two rainy nights out was not quite as eventful, but a wonderful NYC experience nonetheless. Last night a group of us decided to try a couple of places we’ve never been before. First, we went to happy hour at the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea (Art of the Himalayas) – they have a cafe and lounge that turns into quite the happening spot on Friday nights… cocktails, snacks, music, movies, and free admission to the museum. Can’t beat it for a step out of the ordinary.
We waited out last night’s storm in the comforts of the museum lounge, then the sky cleared just in time for sunset. We hopped in a taxi and headed to Pier 66 (aka The Barge, aka The Frying Pan). Three of the four of us had never been here before and now we are all wishing we had known about this place for more of the summer. The location consists of a permanently docked barge and and two boats, one of which – The Frying Pan – spent three years sunk in the Chesapeake Bay before somehow finding its way to the Hudson. The former sea-going vessels are now the home of one of the best dive bars in NYC… bar, hamburger-hot dog joint, music & performance venue, and nautical playground for semi-grown-ups (at least after dark). We enjoyed cocktails, hula dancers, and some worthy char-grilled hamburgers along with one of the most incredibly breathtaking sunsets I’ve seen in NYC ever!
It’s nights like these that make the less attractive parts of summer in the city worthwhile.