Spent a bookended weekend (Friday through Monday...err... Tuesday) in NYC. We went to NYC under the guise of Sorin taking care of some business, which really only needed a couple of hours, but why drive ALL the way to NYC and not dance?!?! That would be crazy! So in order to not be crazy, we went to 5 milongas in 4 days. Uhm... yea.... did I mention that we were not crazy?!? heh heh heh
So we drove in on Friday, which took HOURS longer than it should have. (I hate 95 South.....), arrived at our hotel in Stamford CT., unloaded the Jeep, unpacked, chilled for an hour or so, and then hopped on the motorcycle and sped.... uhm.... well.... tried to speed into NYC. Again, HOURS longer than it should have taken, but what can you do? Find another route! Which we did for the rest of our stay. Thank whatever gods there may be. So Friday night we went to Dancetango.com at the Ukrainian East Village restaurant. And can I just say now that the food was FANTASTIC!! Really amazing. And there was one waiter/bartender who took care of the entire room and not only did he do a great job, but he was incredibly good to me as I told him of my food allergies and he checked with the chef to have my food specially prepared so I could eat it! He was gratefully thanked and well tipped for his attention, which he seemed to think was no big deal. But let me tell you, after having an allergic reaction or gone into anaphylactic shock because the waiter or chef made a "mistake" with my food, you tend to get a little over cautious when you eat out, and having someone take serious consideration of what you tell them earns BIG points in my book. I will go back to eat at the restaurant and recommend it to others simply because of the care this young man took with me. Nevermind the fact that the food is delicious. So there you go, if you are ever in the East Village, go to The Ukrainian Restaurant on 2nd and 8th, you won't be disappointed!
The dancing, however, was not fantastic until late at night. The milonga went from 9pm to 2:30am and the dancing was mediocre until around midnight, then the scene picked up. I had some good dances and chatted with some lovely people. I also spied some really good dancers whom I hoped to see later in the weekend as I was not able to catch their eye. It might not have been the best milonga ever, however if you go for a late dinner and then have a drink or coffee and start dancing around midnight, you'll have fun.
So, back to the hotel we went. Amazing how quickly it takes at 3am! In bed after 4.... now this life I could get used to!
Saturday - tango in the park! After wandering the park a little trying to find the milonga, we finally heard strains of DiSarli over a hill and hurried towards the sound. There they all were, dancing around a statue of Shakespeare (rather lovely I thought as I adore Shakespeare). It was also ingenious how they dealt with belongings in Central Park, everyone piled their stuff under the statue and the line of dance was created around Will. Brilliant. The surface was concrete, and..... uhmm... stuff... like leaves and twigs and rocks and flotsam and jetsam.. however there were piles of chalk at three locations, so you could coat your shoes. Now being the smarty that I am, I neglected to bring anything other than my Comme il Fauts... oops! So I danced for an hour and a half and then changed to my little puma-like sneakers. At which point I realized that since no one really knew me, and all the leaders were asking after looking at the women's shoes, I was not going to be dancing much for the last half hour! Which was ok. My knees were complaining a little from the pivoting on concrete, so I waited for the last dance to come on and Sorin and I danced one last time around Will before we headed over to Lafayette Grill for that milonga.
We got to Lafayette, I changed clothes in ladies room, which was a riot. TINY bathroom, six women sharing space around one mirror taking are of hair and make-up. Sharing space and gossip as if we were all sisters. I loved that. Time to eat though! We were starving! Another amazing meal, although this one was pricey! Sorin spotted a instructor that took part in the Boston Festival whom he enjoyed dancing with, she lives and teaches in NYC. We chatted for awhile before the milonga started. There was live music interspersed with DJ. It was fine, although not fantastic. And the crowd was of a different sort. Most people were there to have some wine with friends, chat, dress up, and maybe dance a tanda or two. It was more of a social outing than a higher level milonga. Other than Sorin, I did have a great dance with a lovely lead, D from Santa Fe. He was a fantastic leader, one that listens and inspires his follower, and I had a great time dancing with him. This was one of those few exceptions where accepting a dance from a leader you have not seen before turned out to be a gold mine. We discovered a mutual friend in the tango world, and compared notes as to where we would be the next day. He was going to the Seaport miloga, as were we, and agreed to meet and dance again there. Yea!
Again, back at the hotel and in bed around 4am.... loving this.....
Next day was GORGEOUS! Sunny, not too hot, and lovely. We headed in town and stopped at Sansha at 8th and 53rd to buy some dance sneakers, there was no way I was going to dance on a pier in my Comme il Fauts!! The park was bad enough! So we bought our sneakers, found some great Thai for a late lunch, and then headed over to the Pier to check it out and wait for the milonga. Now this milonga was a great time. It seemed like everyone who was into tango was there. And the setting was beautiful. Right on the water between two ships, cool salty sea-air breeze, and a great DJ, Ko. I danced pretty much the entire 6 hours, and my Sansha sneakers were the best. I got to dance with pretty much everyone that I wanted to, including the gentleman who is Morgan Freeman's twin from the Chelsea Market Milonga whom I had seen before and always wanted to dance with. His followers always have that dreamy, blissed out look on their face, and now I know why!!! Unfortunately I missed dancing with one of my favorite NYC leaders, L was there, whom I first became friendly with at the Providence Tango festival, but we were never free at the same time, so I did not get to dance with him, which was sad. But all the more reason to go back soon!
I had possibly the best time at the Seaport Pier Milonga, great dances, great people, chatted with new and not so new friends, and just reveled in the night and the music. Some time near the end of the night, I crawled back to Sorin, who was chatting with D, with what I can only describe as a happy tango high and told him that I had one tanda left in me and it was his. So off we went after awhile, and by the end of the tanda, we had our arms wrapped around each other in a true embrace/hug and the night ended in the most perfect fashion: exhausted, happy, within the warm hug of the man I adore dancing under the moon near the sea.
Monday, plan was to go into the city for 10am, take care of Sorin's business, I would go fabric shopping, and head out before rush hour to be home before dark. Well, apparently the tango gods took some offense at that plan, and decided that we needed to stay for one more milonga. So after three hours of sleep, we checked out of the hotel, packed the Jeep, jumped on the motorcycle with the bare minimum and headed into the city only to find that the office Sorin had to visit was not open until 4pm! Whoops. So fabric shopping first while we figure out a new plan. New plan began with, well, since we want to avoid rush hour, lets stay for dinner, and since we are staying for dinner, why not stay for the Dance Manhattan milonga? OK! Yup. Did some shopping, took care of business, went back to Sansha's to buy cheap canvas jazz shoes as our shoes were safely packed away back in CT., had dinner, then went to Rebecca Schulman's Luna milonga. Rebecca was just back from San Francisco's Tango Exchange and the poor thing had not slept yet.
We were greeted multiple times with "You're still here!" We had a great time dancing, and it was amazing to see a Monday night milonga that was so crowded. It was very well attended and it seemed to be a great diverse mix of abilities, so everyone was having a great time and dancing. 12:30 came very quickly, we said our goodbyes and jumped on the bike to zoom back to CT., where we loaded the bike on the trailer and headed back to Boston. Yup. Sorin was a dear and drove through the night while I crashed. We stopped at some point so he could take a power nap and then we got home around 6:30 in the morning and went to bed.
Possibly one of the best weekends ever, despite multiple challenges with traffic and vehicles, schlepping gear around the city with us, and dealing with other challenging moments. I just love NYC!