Because of potential issues that are as yet unresolved regarding the Ithaca situation, I will save the accounts of last weekend for a future date. I know, I know, you all really want to know about exciting new innovations in the field of online community journalism, but you'll just have to be patient until this thing plays out.
As for the New York City portion of the trip, I was about three paragraphs into my adventures when I realize it will be better to simply provide the highlights of my two days and three nights in the Big Apple.
In approximate chronological order:
1. Getting to ride next to Heather for the entirety of the 5+ hour bus ride, rather than the foul-smelling meth addict that two members of our group sat next to during portions of the trip.
2. Heather falling asleep with her head on my shoulder. (It's nice to feel useful.)
3. Upon exiting the bus, Matt's very audible comment that the meth addict "smells like a hamster cage."
4. Feeling useful again, I successfully guide the other members of our travel group onto the correct subway train.
5. Whupping Mulligan and Tom in six straight games of ping pong while drinking PBRs in a Village bar.
6. Eating a slice of Two Boots pizza with Mulligan and Tom while having an intimate discussion about baseball.
7. Playing with an iPhone in the Apple Store. (They actually work really well, although the keyboard thing is pretty useless if your fingers are larger than a toddler's.)
8. Eating brunch with Heather, her cousin Sarah and Sarah's husband (whose name regrettably escapes me) in the Village. Sarah and her husband are aspiring actors/playwrights who live in Brooklyn.
9. Taking dirty pictures of the Wall Street Bull's huge brass balls.
10. Taking dirty pictures with the Statue of Liberty using the clever skill of perspective.
11. Enjoying another meal of Two Boots pizza with Heather in Grand Central Station.
12. Stumbling upon the HBO summer film festival in Bryant Park, finding a table to sit at, and watching most of Marilyn Monroe's last film "Bus Stop."
13. The short yet inspiring conversation about people, life and God I had with a homeless man in Brooklyn. He didn't even ask me for any money. For a hobo, that guy really had his shit together.
14. Enjoying part of a crumb bun Heather bought from a farmer's market in Brooklyn.
15. Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.
16. Splitting a massive "sandwich" with Heather at Carnegie Deli. (The "sandwich" was essentially a huge pile of pastrami and corned beef placed on top of two slices of rye bread.)
17. Walking through (and getting lost in) Central Park.
18. Eating dinner in Little Italy, even if my veal tasted a little too much like chicken fried steak.
19. Enjoying drinks with Mulligan and friends at Pravda, a Russian bar with expensive vodkas.
20. The kindly Asian cab driver that saved my ass by giving me a ride to LaGuardia on Wednesday morning in time to catch my flight. (Which, of course, was delayed by two hours. Awesome job as always, US Airways.)
And for a few of my least favorite Manhattan moments:
1. (Unnamed group member) interrupting a perfectly good conversation between me and Heather on the bus to talk about her husband in Iraq. (Although I do sympathize with her situation. Plus, she was sitting next to the meth addict, so she can hardly be blamed for poor social etiquette.)
2. A certain group member's shitty attitude during our walk on our first night in New York.
3. Getting lost in Chinatown, mostly due to my not listening to Heather's directions.
4. Trying to catch a freaking cab on Wednesday morning, when the subway tunnels were flooded by the early morning storm that dumped three inches of rain in an hour and actually spawned a tornado in Brooklyn.
5. The 15 hours of travel on Wednesday, leaving Mulligan's apartment at 8 a.m. and finally arriving in Lawrence just past 11 p.m.