February 08, 2006

Adventures on or near Broadway

On Friday night, Rose and I decided to continue our effort to catch up on Oscar nominees and go see Capote (it ended up being sold out, so we actually saw Transamerica instead, which was very good). I met her at the Conde Nast building, we got some Chinese food, and went over to the hypermegaplex on 42nd Street, which has good and bad aspects. For instance, I like the thing where I can buy tickets from an electronic kiosk instead of having to wait in line -- but I don't love how much effort it takes to get to the theatres themselves, which are stacked to the sky and involve navigating copious amounts of escalators to reach.

Leaving the theatre involves negotiating a different set of escalators, which deposit you discreetly down the block in an antechamber in front of an Applebee's, for some reason. Now, the second floor of the building you end up passing through to leave the theater is currently under construction, and they have put up wooden barricades so you can't easily go meandering amidst the lumber and plastic sheeting and whatnot, and are rather herded along toward the next escalator.

Unfortunately, that next escalator was out of order on Friday, and as we descended on the escalator that fed onto the floor where construction was taking place, a worrisome scene came into view: a dense wad of people crammed into the barricaded off area, waiting their turn to walk down the one-person-wide broken escalator.

I must say I've never felt anything quite like what I felt as we were inexorably pulled down into the minimob; there was nowhere for us to go when we got to the bottom of the escalator. We pushed our way around and through people to try to get out of the way of the people behind us (with Rose barking her shin on the base of one of the barricades while doing so -- it was impossible to see through the crowd -- and nearly tripping and falling). In retrospect, the thing to do would have been to turn to the people behind us and tell them to pass word back up the escalator that people should stop getting on it for a little while, but alas, I was not thinking so quickly. We finally got downstairs and went to complain to the manager and tell them to fix their firetrap before someone got hurt, but it was sort of unsatisfying; I don't think the guy we spoke to (who said he'd just sent someone over to try to fix the problem) really understood that it was a crisis situation and not just an annoyance. Meh. I believe we have now downgraded that theatre to "emergency backup" status.

On Saturday night, I went with my new-but-already-good friend Lorinne to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (which was excellent on all counts -- music, lyrics, acting, the funny). Before the show we grabbed a prix fixe dinner at Les Sans-Culottes (or, as I prefer to think of it, the No Pants). As we were waiting to order, I noticed that another table seemed to have a awkwardly sized rack of meat on it. What an odd thing to order, I thought. And then, unbidden, the waiter brought us a rack of meat of our own (sausages, mainly), as well as a basket of vegetables and some bread and pate. Except for the bread and pate, this all seemed...difficult.

Like, so, the meat rack was this spinny, vaguely precarious-looking thing about 18 inches high with stuff hanging from it. Hard to approach. And were these racks recycled from table to table? We were a little mystified, although I did cut myself off a bit of sausage because, well, sausage, and only nearly knocked the rack over in the process, which I took as a victory.

The basket of veggies, theoretically less daunting, had its own barrier to easy eating, in that all the vegetables were raw and whole. Not so bad if you feel like cutting up a tomato and putting some dressing on it; kind of tricky if you're in the mood for a carrot.

The rest of the meal was normal and quite good, especially dessert (mmmm, clafoutis); all in all, I felt the meal had a pretty good ratio of good food to slightly surreal appetizers (an aspect of presentation which is frequently skimped on by restaurants).

Posted by Francis at 02:21 PM

We had a similar escalator situation once in Philips Arena in Atlanta. We were leaving after a hockey game; the arena folks were handing out some kind of freebie as folks exited the area. This caused a back-up at the exits, and folks were coming down the escalators and running into the back-up. It IS a very scary feeling.
That's only happened once, thank goodness. At least they seem to learn from mistakes. They only gave out round mouse pads before the game once too.

Posted by: Janice in GA at February 8, 2006 03:40 PM

"So little of what might happen, does happen."
Salvador Dali once wondered why, when he ordered a lobster, he was never presented with a flaming phone book. The real question here is, was he using "flaming" as a colloquial adjective? Or did he literally mean, "flaming, i.e.: burning up?" Or would it have been in English at all? Are these direct translations? Food for thought...just like our surreal appetizers.

Posted by: Lorinne at February 8, 2006 04:30 PM

Actually, Salvador Dali took a lot of flak about that remark from the Gay and Lesbian Telephone Book Alliance.

Posted by: Francis at February 8, 2006 04:38 PM

Amounts of escalators? *Amounts* of escalators? Oh, Francis, you of all people....

BTW, I vaguely recall from many years ago that there were some actual deaths in a similar escalator situation (possibly in a subway terminal?)

Posted by: Rick at February 8, 2006 05:23 PM

I like to think Francis wrote copious amounts of escalators to be funny. And Rick, you don't vaguely recall, you vaugely recall (that's Francis joke in paragraph 6).

Posted by: Orange at February 8, 2006 07:51 PM

Hmm, I'm starting to feel this urge to curtail my policy of quietly correcting misspellings and typos in people's comments without calling attention to them.

Posted by: Francis at February 8, 2006 10:11 PM


Long time reader, first time poster (not really, but fun to say). Perhaps Rick is recalling this incident:


Escalators=no fun

(Sorry for the link, not up on my coding)

Posted by: C at February 9, 2006 08:43 AM

Sorry, Francis. :-)

So it's kosher to edit comments to fix people's typos without telling anyone? I've only done that once. You run a tight shop here, man.

Posted by: Orange at February 9, 2006 10:26 AM

Re: the meats and veggies:

I encountered something like this in Paris last year, when, at the Sergeant Recruteur, we were served baskets of smoked meats, hard sausages and vegetables as a first course. Along with bread and pate, the thing to do seemed to be to slice off what you wanted and put the rest back in the basket, which clearly did go to the next table when we were done. It was actually pretty fun, but there was no tippy stand involved.

I wonder if this is some obscure food tradition or just something the occasional restauranteur thinks is a good idea.

Posted by: Rosa at February 13, 2006 02:53 PM

i like world of warcraft, they're so comfty and good.

Posted by: world of warcraft at October 22, 2013 09:28 PM
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