Sunday, March 18, 2012

Getting Off 'The Rock'

St. Thomas can feel confining at times, and most people that live here agree that it's important to get back to the States from time to time.  I guess I'm no different because I was feeling the need to get off 'The Rock'.  So when my best friend's mom decided to throw her a surprise baby shower at their home in New England my boyfriend, Kevin, suggested that we head up to New York City for a long weekend.  I’ve been to NYC several times, and have always liked New York, but I never really understood why people thought it was so special until this most recent trip.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been away from the city life for a few months now.  Either way, the entire weekend was just what I needed.

We didn’t arrive in New York until very late on a Thursday night, and on the trip down I came down with a bad cold.  So, I spent most of our first morning in bed, sleeping.  Finally, around 1:00 p.m. I conjured up enough energy to go get a badly needed, inexpensive manicure and pedicure from a good Asian woman.  It may come as a surprise to some of you, but there are no Asians on St. Thomas.  None.  With this in mind, I have found it impossible to get a good manicure.  Sure, there are nice, overly priced spas down here, but I don’t care how much money you spend, they don’t compare to an urban, Asian nail salon – not even close.   So, call me what you will, I fully enjoyed having my cuticles cut back considerably and my feet scrubbed until I felt minor pain.  When all was said and done, I undoubtedly left the salon with a perfect manicure and pedicure.
Once that was done, I headed off to meet my boyfriend for a late lunch at a Jewish deli.  I love good Jewish food and as you can imagine it’s nearly impossible to come by in St. Thomas.  I enjoyed a bowl of the most delicious Matzo Ball soup followed by a warm pastrami sandwich on freshly baked rye bread.  Even the iced tea was delicious.  The only thing that could have made this meal make me feel any better was if someone’s Jewish mother walked in after our meal to tuck me into bed all-the-while forcing me to take a spoonful of NyQuil.  Alas, I used what little energy I had built up to head back to the hotel to tuck myself in for another nap.
That night I pumped myself full of cold medicine and Tylenol and headed out in the cold air and pouring down rain, to see “Rock of Ages”, an off-Broadway musical that originally starred Tom Cruise.  Personally, there is nothing more entertaining than seeing someone perform on stage right in front of you…throw in some singing and dancing, and I’m mesmerized.  I don’t think that there’s a musical out there that’s too cheesy for me to thoroughly enjoy.  I love them all, and this one was no different.  It was a fun show full of ‘80s rock and roll, and it was exactly what I wanted to do while I was in town.   

After getting a good night’s sleep, I felt much better in the morning.  We had brunch at the Carnegie Deli and gorged ourselves full of bagels, fresh lox, pastrami and blintzes.  We then packed up our leftovers, and grabbed the subway to SOHO.  I’m not much of a shopper, but SOHO is a shopper’s dream come true.  I spent hours happily walking from store to store, splurging on a few things along the way.  I enjoyed every minute of it.
On our way back to the hotel from SOHO, Kevin suggested that we catch another show that night.  Of course, I agreed, so we ended up seeing “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Nick Jonas and Beau Bridges.  We had great seats and the show was even better than “Rock of Ages”.  As a side, Nick Jonas doesn’t have a powerful voice, but his acting was good and of course the girls LOVE him!
On my last morning in New York, I woke up and took a jog through Central Park with Kevin.  I had never been to Central Park, so I couldn’t help but be surprised by how beautiful and big it was.  As we ran through the park, the sun was coming up over the skyline and glistening on the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.  People were out, playing with their dogs and taking in some exercise on bikes or simply jogging like we were.  Typically, when we go for jogs together, Kevin runs ahead of me, but this time we ran side-by-side so that we could enjoy the park together.  It was a really nice memory to have – the two of us, running through the park together on a cold, crisp, sunny New York morning, taking in the city together.      
After our jog, I took the train up to Connecticut to go to my friend’s surprise baby shower. Not only was the shower a surprise to her, but she had no idea I was in town, so I was excited to see the reaction on her face when she realized she was having a baby shower and I had made it!  Of course, she was shocked when she saw me.  She burst into tears and ended up hugging me for a few minutes while continuing to sob.  It made my whole trip worthwhile to see how happy she was that I was there for her.  The afternoon was a really nice occasion, and I truly enjoyed seeing some familiar faces while I was there.  It’s great to know that my best friend has so much support, and was more prepared for her new baby’s arrival.
 The last thing I wanted to do while we were in the big city was go out for a good steak dinner.  I’ve had a hard time finding a good steak in St. Thomas, so I rarely eat steak and had been craving a really juicy, properly cooked piece of red meat.  So, once I got back into the city from my afternoon in Connecticut, we went to Del Fresco’s based on a friend’s recommendation.  I have to say, Del Fresco’s did not disappoint.  I stuffed myself full of crab cakes, a 16 oz (bone in) fillet, lobster macaroni and cheese, sauteed mushrooms and some red wine.  I enjoyed every bit of it, but was happy to have a bit of a walk back to our hotel to shake off how full I felt.
So after a full weekend of fantastic food, good friends, some retail therapy and quality entertainment, I felt ready to come back to the island.  Being in New York was exactly what I needed to feel connected to the States once again.  On Monday morning, I hopped on a plane and headed back to The Rock and back to my own reality – for now.    

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