Wednesday morning, we got up early, had our deluxe continental breakfast (this one had waffles and bagels!), then headed to downtown New Haven to catch a train to New York City. This process was pretty simple, though the parking garage at the train station was full so we had to drive around looking for a place to park overnight. The luggage box on the roof of our car can occasionally make parking garages difficult. The first one we tried had a max height of 6'2", and the luggage box didn't clear. The second had a clearance of 7'2", and as I slowly edged under the test bar at the entrance, the owner came running out and said I wouldn't be able to park there. I asked why not. He suggested that, even though I could fit under the test bar, there might be places lower in the garage. I thought this sounded a little stupid, said I wasn't too worried and asked if I could try. He informed me that he wouldn't be responsible (ah, the sue happy world we live in) and walked away disgusted. Sam got out and walked alongside the car as we easily cleared the ceiling up four floors to the roof.
The train ride lasted about an hour and a half. Our first order of business was to head to the Lower East Side to have lunch at Paul's Boutique. The place was said to have good sandwiches, but Sam and I were really more concerned with the Beastie Boys reference. The Let's Go entry simply said: "Like Fred Flintstone drivin' around with bald feet, the mozarella croissant is delicious." Awesome. I had a chat with the owner of the place (who had a framed copy of the eponymous album behind the counter), and he eagerly explained that the cover photo was taken on the exact corner where the restaurant now resides, Rivington and Ludlow. When I referenced the track that states that Paul's Boutique is in Brooklyn, he quickly broke out the album cover and showed me a signpost caught in the photograph. He also explained that the actual store is in Brooklyn, and the B Boys simply hung the sign for the photo. Once again, awesome.
After lunch we made our way down to the large empty space where the World Trade Center once stood. Sam and I were up in the Trade Center in 1999, so the absence of the buildings was more powerful than we had imagined. There is a large fence surrounding the area with descriptions of the old buildings and the new structures that have been proposed. There was also a set of panels listing all of the victims of September 11th. One of the more depressing things to witness at the memorial was the various people snapping pictures of their friends or family in front of the large hole. Just to prove they were there, right? First of all, it would be really hard to tell from a picture that someone was actually standing in front of what used to be the Twin Towers. Second, should you really be smiling and making silly faces in front of such a fresh wound? There was a guy wandering around screaming that he knew "the truth", but Sam and I wanted a cup of coffee too much to go ask him, so we headed to a cafe instead.
At 5:30, we made our way uptown to meet our friend Rob for a tour of his office. Rob works for Electronic Arts, a top producer of video games based in San Francisco. Get this, his job is to sell advertising space WITHIN video games. For instance, if you're playing a football game, the best player's jersey might have a Nike swoosh or Coca Cola symbol on it, and this could be the work of one Roberto Fazzalari. In the conference room at EA, there was a huge table, a bunch of really cozy chairs, a gigantic TV and a video game console and joysticks. It was pretty damn cool to be on the 31st floor of The Lipstick Building in NYC playing a snowboarding game in the conference room of EA!
Once we had played a game or three, we headed out to dinner and met up with a friend of ours named Anna who we met in Guatemala at Celas Maya. She's really cool and has traveled all over the place - it was great to catch up with her and really weird to think that the last time we saw her was at a bar in San Pedro la Laguna. The restaurant we went to had delicious burritos, plus margaritas and mojitos were $3. Needless to say, we enjoyed this special. To end the evening, we headed back to Rob's with some beer and watched The Daily Show before crashing on his futon.