The day started innocently enough as we arose and got ready for church. My wife found the address of one of the Moravian churches where she had worshipped on a previous visit to New York. It turned out to be about ten blocks down the street, so a quick cab ride got us to the church on time. The service was lengthier than normal (even the pastor said so to us afterwards), but we didn't mind. It was their Thanksgiving celebration and was lots of fun. They have a really neat tradition of bringing food to church on Thanksgiving, presenting it at the alter, then selling it after the service and using the proceeds to help fund their Thanksgiving outreach programs. I bought a jar of hot sauce (as is becoming my tradition when travelling) and two apples. My wife put the sauce in her pocketbook and I put the apples in my jacket pockets to eat later.
After church, we headed to the theater district to pick up our tickets for "The Producers," which my friend had arranged for us to get. (He knows one of the actors.) We had plenty of time to enjoy a calzone from the restaurant next to the theater before heading in for our seats. The show was really funny. If I hadn't already known it was written by Mel Brooks, I probably could have guessed. It's just that kind of humor, you know?
The show ran longer than either of us expected, which we didn't notice until it was over and we realized we had 5 minutes to make our dinner reservations at Tavern on the Green. My wife quickly grabbed us a cab who got us there before they gave our table away. Wow. What an incredible restaurant. We had a very, very relaxing meal, both of us enjoying the venison. It's definitely a great place to go for special occasions. As it was our first anniversary, I think it qualified. <grin>
After supper, we went out for a romantic ride in those horse-drawn carriages they have in Central Park. Our guide was funny and took several pictures of us as we enjoyed the night-time tour of the park. Once the ride was over, our guide was going to take our picture next to the horse. But the horse wouldn't cooperate -- he kept rearing his head towards us and nuzzling against my arm. If you've been paying attention, you've probably guessed what I realized -- the horse smelled the apple in my jacket pocket! So, I fished them out and our guide let my wife feed the horse. That was pretty cool.
Then we walked around a bit and headed to the subway, which we took to Greenwitch Village. We found a Scooby-Doo postcard for my friend (who didn't know who Scooby-Doo was until our previous night's dinner conversation enlightned him). And as we walked down the street some more, I heard the unmistakable sound of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" eminating out of The Back Fence, a bar we happened to be standing by. So we went in to investigate.
It turned out to be a guy with a guitar, a guy with a bass, and a gal with drums playing to about 10 bar patrons, half of whom were watching ESPN on the TV. We went back to the corner to get a drink and enjoy whatever else this group would shoot out. Turns out they didn't really have a setlist, but just kinda took requests from the floor. They played some Dire Straits and some southern rock. Since it was "Ring of Fire" that got me in the door, I kept requesting songs that were more southern rock or country. And they obliged with some Allman Brothers.
Well, the requests from the floor were slow coming in, so I kept making 'em. As they were straying away from country, I told my wife I wanted to see if I could get them to gracefully get to Willie Nelson. They were playing "Momma's Got Her Squeezebox" by The Who at the time. So I requested "Honkey Tonk Women" by The Rolling Stones, which they played. Then Tom Petty, which the obliged with "Yer So Bad." Then, and only then, did I think it was safe to ask for Willie Nelson. And they did it with "On The Road Again." By this time, another group of people started yelling requests for Hank Williams.
That's when the band admitted that they weren't a country band. Although they did pull Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" out of their bag of tricks and the guitar player played the hook from Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman". Between sets, I talked with the band some and they were laughing about how they really don't know any country, but some folks from Nashville came in requesting country. That's when they did "Ring Of Fire." And some of the other guys in the bar came to talk to me: "So, you're a Hank Williams fan? We're from Texas." The Texas boys had an Egyptian and an Indian with them as well.
My wife and I ended up staying through three sets until 2am. We both agreed that the band will always remember that night as the day that some southerners and Texans came in and hijacked their set list. And, for a band who doesn't do country, they did a pretty good job of fooling us. Their last set was nothing but country/southern rock.
Back to the hotel and much needed sleep.
Monday found us getting up, getting packed, and heading to the airport for an uneventful flight home. Monday afternoon found me asleep on the couch.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my New York trip celebrating my first year of marriage with my wife.