Drinking up New York, with a sip of Connecticut

After some good times on the 4th of July, I was ready for more in NYC. I sat down with Mark and helped mix their latest song, Cyderobin (the band) has been sending out a song every week to their email list and it's been keeping them busy.

The next night brought a small group of people to the house, drinking on the roof top and enjoying conversation. I also managed to sell some old audio gear no one had been using, a good way to keep Sallie Mae at bay.

Connecticut was the plan for the next day, with my folks across the country in Wyoming it seemed like a good time to invade their empty house and have some drinks. Before this though, we had to make the mandatory trip to Shake Shack, a great burger hut on 23rd and Broadway in the park.

Mark and I filled up on burgers, cheese fries and shakes, and with Elvis torso in tow, we headed up to the Ginger Man to get our beer fix. We knew it would be odd to show up with Elvis a third time, but we had no choice, as he had to come to Connecticut with us. We sat him on the floor with our bags until the bartender asked about him, then up on the bar he shined while we drank good beers.

We filled up a growler on the way out for the train ride, and headed to Grand Central. Mark secured a seat on the train and I waited for Charish, she showed up just minutes before the train left with two beers in hand thinking she'd have to wait for us. We drank her beers and cracked into the growler as he shot down the tracks to New Canaan.

Once in town, we made a quick stop at the market to pick up some beers for the night, a mix of good beers and coors light to fill in the gaps. A cabbie took us to the house, beers were quickly popped open and into the pool we went. Some friends I hadn't seen since high school showed up, we all enjoyed the pool and hot tub into the night, splashing each other, "Taste the rockies!".

Mark organized an impromptu cook off breaking into teams, I got to be the judge of the drunken midnight snacking. Soon enough people were leaving and we all passed out. In the morning I drove Mark and Charish to the train station, then headed off to my dad's place in New York about 45 minutes away.

I stayed there for the night, catching up with family and eating good food. In the morning I headed back to New Canaan to wash my clothes and relax a bit. I walked a few miles to the train station. One truck pulled over, I thought perhaps to offer me a ride, although I hadn't been thumbing. He just wanted to ask about the Elvis torso I was carrying.

The train got me to Grand Central, then the subway to Astoria where I dropped off my bag and Elvis, then I headed right back into Manhattan and to Mark's bar to have some beers. When he got off work we once again went to the Ginger Man. We had several good heavy beers before calling it a night.

We met some friends the next day, among them was Will, we made a stop at guitar center where he picked up a new guitar. From there we headed to the sushi sake spot where we got loaded with rolls and shot after shot of hot sake and bonzais. We left with smiles on our faces, Mark went to work and I followed him for a beer before heading back to Astoria. Carl gave five dollar bills to dispose of recently deceased snake, Dr. Strangles.

The next night was another one for drinking, Mark's bar first where Charish and I met up again. When Mark got off a group of went to a spot and got Mexican Bulldogs, a margarita with an upside down corona in it. From there we were Brooklyn bound to a bar his friend worked at for all types of margaritas and shots on fire.

The next day we caught a movie before going to poker night at one of Mark's co-worker's apartments, at this point I'd already met a number of them. Mark spotted my $20 buy in, there were about 8 of us playing. Mark got knocked out, bought back in, knocked out again. He decided he'd rush home to try to catch Sean, he'd just flown in from a trip to San Diego with Kelly, they'd also drove up the coast to Spokane and Idaho.

I stayed until I had all the chips, leaving one guy silent staring at the cards on the table. I took the pile of money and walked quickly through the streets hoping I too could catch Sean before his first sleep from a long trip. I was successful, they were happy to hear I'd won the game, "Where's my beer then!", Sean said, and nothing made more sense. I ran to the corner and grabbed a six pack, running back even quicker and got to popping and cheers while we caught up a little bit.

I caught up with Sean more the next night, Mark went to his folks place in CT and Kelly was at work. Sean made up some awesome baked ziti and we headed Sunswick after, a decent beer bar in Astoria.

The next night was a party, come 11 the apartment filled up along with our cups and glasses. At midnight our shot glasses clinked as it was officially Mark's birthday. Even Alex dropped by unexpectedly, good timing, he used to live on the first floor of the building, but had moved out just weeks ago.

As the party winded down just a tad, one girl had the idea to crash the party next door, I went with her. We were followed by Carl and others who I assume were trying to stop us, when they busted into the party behind us, we were quickly asked to leave as it became apparent we weren't welcome.

We met some Irish men spilling out of the party later who swapped us beer and swigs of whiskey, apparently some were later looking for a fight as well, one that never came. I found myself on the roof as I usually do during Astoria parties, in this time some commotion occurred. I made my way into the kitchen, everyone had dispersed besides myself, Mark and Carl. They got into it a bit arguing about one thing or another that had happened, I sipped some tequila standing by and let them get it all out, or as much as they could.

Soon I thought Mark went to bed, as it turned out he had gone walking down the street to blow off steam and sort of passed out on the steps to the library. I decided to wander over to the party next door again, I brought a bottle with me as a peace offering. They weren't happy to see me, I stood by the gate with one of the guys who lived there, him nicely asking me to leave, me asking him to do a shot. I left the scene shortly.

Again I was on the roof, hurling empty beer cans nearby to spark some more action out of the night, not much came of it. They soon filed out of that backyard as things died down, a small fight broke out among them, and that was that.

I woke up in the morning, Mark had gone with Carl to clear things up from the previous night. I met up with him later and we headed to the new beer garden in Astoria where we had a couple pints. From there we headed into the city where we planned to rendezvous with a big group to go to a spot for his birthday dinner, we met at Mark's bar.

There was a beer and sausage tasting going on as it turned out, Mark finagled a wrist band and we made the rounds trying several different beers and food as the rest of the crew assembled. Shortly after we walked into the crowded streets of Times Square and on to a restaurant called Dallas BBQs. We drank big drinks and ate good food. I almost got kicked out for going down an up escalator, but a combination of my ignoring the shouting management and our good waitress talking them down spared such an exit.

From there a few of us went to another bar until it closed, we stumbled over to the Ginger Man, but it had just closed as well. Mark and I dropped into the subway, a drunken and tired tangle plopped us in a 34th street station after a ride or too. I tried to convince Mark that we needed to change trains to the uptown N, but he wasn't buying it and opted for staying put on a bench in a haze of sleepiness. I went to the right train, sleeping most of the way to Astoria, but waking up for the right stop and making the walk to apartment. As it turned out, Mark did what he's done so many times before, winding up in Brooklyn and going through a series of transfers and sleeping through his stop several times, not actually getting to Astoria until the sun came up.

This day has been a day of total relaxation in the humid heat of the city. Tomorrow will be the last day in the city, then Mark, Sean and I hop a train to Connecticut where we'll jump in a car the next morning to go to Portland, Maine. They're set on driving back that same day after having some good times, but I intend to stay a night or so, and then journey up into Canada to a few cities like Quebec, Montreal and Toronto. From there, it's one route or another to Arizona and on to Mexico City.

It's been another great time in the city I once lived in for some solid years, and it may be the last time I see this apartment that was once my home. I'm happy to see my friends are still keeping things going, and I'm happy to keep going myself. Good times.