It all started as a joke. Or a snide comment. Something like that. Sarcasm was definitely involved...but sarcasm can lead to great things.
It was the start of a typical workday, about 9:30am, and I suggested to a co-worker (in paraphrase), "uh, we should hijack a military helicopter and make a run to Manhattan for lunch." Why a military helicopter, you may ask? No idea; could be a style thing: one mustn't joyride in any old beater. Plus, a Chinook or Apache might have a bigger fuel tank. It just wouldn't be STYLIN' to putter up to NYC in a stolen, rusty traffic helicopter from Channel 5.
I hadn't been to New York since 1991, and still had fond memories of my best Indian restaurant experience. It was Panna II in the East Village, and it's a feast for all senses. All senses. Eyes as much as taste.
Before we knew it, Greyhound bus tickets were ordered and we had a plan. Saturday. 7:00am. Bus outta DC. Get to Port Authority in time to hustle a cab down to 1st Avenue for a plate of curried bliss. Walk off the lunch through the Village, back up Broadway & over to Port Authority, to bus home. One rather long, wacky day.
Panna II was everything I remembered -- The decor was even more insane (they had gone tremendously freaky with the christmas lights 14 years ago, and it looked like they had acquired a few more since then).
After lunch, it was imperative that our walk include St. Marks Place, where I had blown so much cash during those previous visits; books, records, insane little things...
As the photo (above) proves, we also ran into Barney on St. Marks, who's looking a little rough around the edges these days; it seems his retirement from children's TV wasn't going so well.
Once we started heading north, to Union Square and beyond, it became clear that Christmas Shopping Season in NYC is a seriously intense experience. The Macy's on Broadway had become Mecca for all these millions of bodies, these drones, clambering towards the building like termites driven mad by chemical signals squeezed into the air from the gigantic inflatable Scooby Doo above the front door...
Anyway, we found our bus and returned home alive. Barney didn't have the cash to come along, or I figure he might have... A bigger set of photos is on the Flickr site here.