We didn't care that it poured the ENTIRE day on Friday. That just added to the adventure. Herr and I got into Penn Station around Noon and immediately started running around like a couple of kids on Senior Skip Day. It probably helps to know that we are not the type of couple who hangs out at the touristy places. We are walkers and explorers and love to just soak in everything, even if that means inhaling the fumes of death coming from the subway grates or getting poked in the eyeball every ten minutes by someone's umbrella. After grabbing a bite to eat near our hotel, we walked the streets of Midtown getting completely soaked.
Based on a recommendation from Tony (Thanks Tony!), we went to dinner in the Lower East Side at Freemans. Getting there was a blast. When we couldn't get a cab (it WAS 6PM Friday and it was POURING) we went ahead and threw caution to the wind by getting into a gypsy cab. The poor driver just couldn' t understand that the restaurant was in an alley and didn't have a street number. When I told him to drop us off just before the alley, the driver became very put off and said, "No Miss, I drop you off at door." I tried to explain that the alley couldn't accommodate a vehicle, but he shook his head and insisted he would drop us off at the door.
The food there was fantastic. We enjoyed the hot artichoke dip and I had some kick-ass macaroni and cheese. Herr had sausages on a bed of greens, which were quite yummy. We didn't expect to have entertainment, but we did. It came in the form of the table next to us. The young woman complained to the server that she didn't know that when she ordered the, "whole fish" it would come out of the kitchen with the head AND tail and that she didn't know there was so much skin and bones. She said that the skin was grossing her out. The server quietly suggested that she flip the fish OPEN because that's the part to eat. Voila! She still couldn't manage because she was too busy having a lover's spat with her boyfriend.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and took a nap because, um, we're LAME and we needed to rest up before we met our friends for drinks at the Waldorf. Since we are usually in bed at 9PM on most Friday nights, we knew we needed to rally. It was a wise choice on our part since we ended up not getting back to our hotel until after 1AM.
Herr and I ended up running around Chinatown and Little Italy and SoHo Saturday morning. I got a great manicure in Chinatown and got to stop by Pearl River Mart. I couldn't possibly come to New York without running in there and picking up some crap I never knew I needed. On this trip, I bought the girls some brocade mary janes and alarm clocks that bark like a dog.
The wedding itself was at Mark and Phil's loft in Hoboken. We got there around 5:15 and enjoyed some champagne and milled about until the ceremony started. It was a really intimate setting and incredibly beautiful. Phil's friend Dina spoke during the service about the rings and that they symbolize much more than the circle of life. It was pretty moving and I got a wee-bit misty-eyed.
People commented that they were surprised that Mark got teary during the services. PULEEZE! I have been blind-ass drunk with the man many time during college and after. He and I have both gotten teary eyed over some pretty ridiculous stuff. I would have been much more surprised had Phil cried, or had Mark NOT cried.
After Mark and Phil were officially hitched, we got on the bus (or "coach" as Phil kept referring to them) and headed into the city to have a reception at the Modern. The reception was in the private dining room at the Modern. We were blown away by how beautiful the room was. It overlooked a courtyard that was filled with people having drinks and enjoying the beautiful evening.
I feel I should mention that, while I have attended many lovely weddings, Mark and Phil's wedding has completely raised the bar in terms of elegance and good taste. Think about it: Mark has spent his career in the New York restaurant industry and has a position with a company that gives him thousands of contacts in the hospitality industry. Phil is a man of impeccable taste. A wedding planned by two gay men is just no match for a hetero couple. Frankly, it isn't even fair that a gay wedding and a hetero wedding be compared to each other. I should also note that their friend Thomas, who is an event planner, also helped them out. Those three are the equivalent of Superman, Spiderman and Aquaman combining forces to fight evil. Herr and I were the equivalent of Scooby and Shaggy. Also, a gay wedding is always going to rock because there are going to be fewer problematic people there. There will be no creepy Uncle Al there because he probably doesn't approve, and Mark and Phil wouldn't want him there anyway!
During the champagne and hor' douvres portion of the evening, Herr and I were able to meet and mingle with many of Mark's friends whose stories we have heard over the years, but never got a chance to meet. It was definitely like putting the pieces together of a huge puzzle. It was evident that Mark's friends felt exactly the same way about us.
The food and drink were impeccable, but the people at the reception also made it a night to remember. Mark had left me a voicemail the Saturday before, telling me that he was on his way home with a huge bottle of wine so that he and Phil could figure out the seating chart. They needn't have stressed. Everyone was incredibly nice and interesting, and several were quite entertaining. I have a feeling that I could get into trouble with a couple of his friends if I spent any amount of time with them.
After the reception, Mark made sure we all got goody bags from Kyotofu. I had every intention of saving our goodies to give to the girls, but that didn't happen. It wasn't until I ate every finger licking goody out of the bag that I actally looked at the name on the bag and noticed that the word, "Kyotofu" contains the word, "tofu." Shut up--I was drunk! Those treats were amazing!
The night was still young, so Mark and Phil had planned for everyone to meet up in the lounge at the Shoreham for a nightcap. I couldn't help but notice Phil and Mark stealing glances at each other while we were there. It was so sweet. It reminded me of my wedding day. Except mine was at the St. Louis County Court House. And we were couple of #14. Actually, it didn't remind me of my wedding at all. Our wedding was nice, but there was a rather large twinge of fear between us. We were so young and poor and didn't know what life had in store for us. Mark and Phil don't have to worry about that. They should know that their lives together will be just fine.