jfk > burbank
New York City
The last day or so in New York City was hectic, filled with nostalgia, a mouthful of pain and an unwillingness to leave. I missed living in New York City and I spent the longest stint there than I had in a very long time. Unfortunately most of that down time was spent recharging, detoxing (a problem considering I was trying to kick pharmies until the dentist visit gave me a real reason to ingest generic vicodin), and pulling my hair out over the last leg of edits for Lost Vegas.
I also hung out with my brother. We ate local NYC foods and we watched a Jets preseason game and a lot of baseball. He caught a couple of games at the new Yankee Stadium and I finally got a chance to sample the brand new field. I was impressed with the integration of new fan amenities and Yankee nostalgia. The food was top notch and there's a selection of foodstuffs beyond dirtywater hot dogs. Derek and I feasted on $10 pulled pork sandwiches from Brother Jimmy's. We would have gotten steak sandwiches from Lobel's but the line was too long. I took a pic of the butcher slicing meats behind the glass (see pic below). I heard that those cost $15 but are worth every cent.
Derek stained his shirt when he attempted to pour BBQ sauce on his sandwich and most of it ended up on his shirt. I went with the chipotle sauce and chowed down as I watched the tail end of batting practice from the Texas Rangers. We had fourth row seats in section 326 which was the lowest part of the top level. Not too shabby viewing wise, but a tad overpriced at $70 a pop. But hey, it's the new Yankee Stadium. Kaiser Steinbrenner has bills to pay.
We had the aisles seats (in a row of 25 seats) which was good because we could get up at anytime. Sadly, we sat in the family row. One guy had his wife and three kids in the middle of the row and they kept getting up. A twenty-something year old guy and his 4-year old son sat next to me. The little one kept having to pee and they were getting up a lot. The kid was funny and repeated the things the vendors yelled, especially the beer guy hawking Coors Lights. The kid kept screaming, "I want a hotdog. I want a beer! I want a hotdog. I want a beer!"
The Yankees got off to a hot start but Joba Chamberlin blew the lead when he gave up 7 runs... all with two outs. He couldn't shut the door on the Rangers and he got rocked. The Yankees attempted a valiant comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but fell short and lost by one run.
Derek and I walked around for the last third of the game and checked out different sections of the new stadium. We hung out in the standing room only area behind the bleachers and noticed some of the obstructed views, but even those seats out in the outfield had awesome views of the remainder of the field.
On Wednesday morning, I woke up early, wrote for an hour, then walked through my old neighborhood. I stopped off at the old candy store to buy the newspaper. $2 for the New York Times? I plopped down 50 cents for the tabloid rag instead. Better sports section in the Daily News anyway. I wandered over to the Starbucks in search of a free copy of the NY Times. At 8:30am, the Starbucks in Riverdale was filled with old people, unemployed guys my age who used to work on Wall Street that were looking up charts from their lap tops, a smattering of MILFs with carriages sipping on drinks with whipped cream, and two wanna-be screenwriters in the corner working on their romantic comedies who look like they haven't shaved in weeks.
I ate breakfast at the Greek diner and listened to the last bits of wisdom from the old Jewish guys in the back booth. They spoke loudly about the chances of success for the Jets rookie QB and why Derek Jeter should be the MVP this season.
I went back to the apartment and packed. I traveled to NYC fairly light, but accumulated several things on Phish tour. After cleaning up my storage space, I discovered a few items (books, clothes, running shoes, Halloween costume, old screenplay) that I wanted to take back to LA with me. My fairly light bag all of a sudden was an overly stuffed bagged which I had to check-in at the airport. It was too heavy to lug around the airport or carry-on.
My ride was 10 minutes early which was cool. They called just as I was about to leave the apartment. We got caught in traffic and the ride was twenty minutes longer. It took almost 70 minutes and I got stuck listening to talk radio. I could have requested that he turn it off, but then I'd be pressured to talk to the driver. I was way too stoned to have any sort of conversations. If anything, I relished the last bit of alone time as my thoughts drifted as we navigated across the outer boroughs to JFK.
I loaded up on foodstuffs at the airport for dinner (Buffalo chicken Caesar wrap)and the flight (Clif bar and a large oatmeal raisin cookie). I did not have any reading materials with me (all my books were in my checked bag) except the edits/notes that Derek made on his copy of Lost Vegas. He was one of the handful of people who read the draft. His initial reaction? "Needs more trips to strip clubs with Grubby and more Flipchip Vietnam stories."
I thumbed through a few pages before I boarded my JetBlue flight to California. There was lots to watch on the free TV, so I put away the Lost Vegas edits. I watched the Yankees game, some of the WSOP episodes, and the first two episodes of the new season of Top Chef: Las Vegas.
Our flight time on the ticket said 6:10. The pilot got on the intercom and said that the actual flight time would be 5 hours and 10 minutes with 35 minutes of taxi time at JFK. I was flying out around 6:30pm which is the busiest time at JFK airport because that's peak European rush hour traffic - when the red eyes to all destinations in Europe take off in order to arrive in the morning of the next day.
For some reason, we got lucky and bypassed the huge line which saved us thirty minutes on the ground. Our pilot made up more time in the air and we arrived 50 minutes early. That has only happened once before and that was a KLM flight from JFK to Amsterdam (similar situation... we had no waiting time getting out of JFK and made great time in the air). Nicky hadn't even left the apartment by the time my flight was wheels down at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.
We left the Valley and drove over the hills of Hollywood en route to our apartment in the slums of Beverly Hills. It was much cleaner due to a major overhaul that Nicky undertook over the last week. I realized that I spent a total of 15 days there since mid-May. Nothing is worse than paying rent on a place that you're barely at, but that's why I live in LA instead of NYC. It's much cheaper and a better value considering how much time I spend on the road.
At this point, I don't expect to go anywhere (except a few side trips to the beach up in Malibu) until Lost Vegas is complete. Until that happens, I have only one thing on my mind, locking myself in the my office and writing and editing until...